5 posts from April 2010

April 30, 2010

What a Ride!

My friend, Jen and I were talking the other day about where we were in our lives a year ago.  She was commenting on how much she has changed as a rider in just one year, remembering her training for her first century:  how she didn't eat properly and had never gone more than 30, then 40, then 60 miles before on a bike.  And now she's done TWO centuries (one with serious elevation), has interest in mountain biking, and has joined the VeloGirls to expand her repertoire of skills.  Go Jen!  Wow!  I had been thinking about my riding in the last year, too.

A little over a year ago, my husband said, "Hey, Trek is having a contest.  You should enter!"  I read the details and decided that it would be interesting to at least dust off my brain and write about why I rode my bike.  I never would have imagined how much that one essay would impact my life!

I thought I rode a lot a year ago.  I thought I was content with my "relaxed" (aka: slow) riding, enjoying the scenery and exercise.  I thought racers were crazy people.  I thought I wasn't a competitive person.  And I thought I had no desire to go anywhere different on my bike.

But then I wrote that essay.  And I waited to hear if I would be picked.  I didn't think I would be, but I secretly hoped.  And before I knew it, I was making arrangements for the kids to be left over a series of days with Chris and two (very wonderful) friends so I could go to Trek Headquarters and become an official Woman Who Rides.  And it's all been (biking) downhill from there!   

A year is simultaneously long and short.  In this year, I've done a couple of centuries, done my first road and mountain bike races, met and hung out with some truly incredible people, and completely changed how I view myself as a cyclist.  I've taken my role as a Woman Who Rides seriously, and I truly hope that people have seen that you don't have to be perfect or even good on a bike to enjoy it and where it takes you.  Yes, I have had the advantage of the incredible support of Trek (I am a very lucky girl!) and my fellow Women Who Ride.   But Trek started the bike rolling with opportunities.  It was the bike that continued it:  My new Madone and Fuel EX led me to the guys at Trek Store of San Jose and more rides with Lorri and the Velogirls...which led me to consider racing...which led me to do bike skills classes...which led me to my fabulous teammates... all which led me to the bike community I've been searching for for a long time.    

Tomorrow I go to do the Trek Dirt Series mountain bike camp.  I'm incredibly nervous and doubting my ability to learn to ride cool things like wheelie drops and how to ride skinny teeter-totters.  Today, my friend Constance taught her first Boot Camp class at the YMCA.  She did a great job!  I saw her afterward and she was so excited.  She said, "It was completely outside my comfort zone.  But if I don't do something new, I don't grow, so I have to do this for myself."  Perfect.  That is exactly how I could sum up this year.   

Seriously

My final blog comes just as I organize my school's spring bike program.  I spent yesterday afternoon visiting 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade classroom to announce our May classes, signing up 90 students to play on bikes.  They are "super psyched" and so am I.  I've never been too excited about bike gear and I still need reminders on what's what on my frame (seat tube? seat stay?)...I feel much more confident riding with kids, focusing on helmets, chains, tires, and brakes.  Once all that technical stuff is taken care of, it's all about fun.  Games and sprints and showing off and crusing down hills.  Words like performance, endurance, components, and spandex never come up with third graders.

Thanks to TREK, I don't need to worry much about my bike's hardware.  My 520 has carried me through 3 long bike tours and is ready for another trip through Washington state this summer.  So I focus on serious fun, watching my students experience the power of two wheels.  Reading the posts of RJ, Roxy, Amy, and Mary, I'm reminded of so many thrills that come from cycling - whether racing or commuting, cruising or climbing...There's still a whole world of cycling to explore and I just might find myself a mountain bike someday. 

April 27, 2010

Time to Get Fit!

"Fit" as in getting your bike fine tuned to your body - core, legs, arms, shoulders, back, hands, behind, soft tissue areas, etc.  Really, a perfect fit makes for a smooth, efficient ride with no soreness at the end of your journey.  I'm lucky to live just a couple miles from my friendly bike "gurus".  Not just any gurus either...I get to hobnob with the store and service managers, Matt and Derek at the #1 Trek Dealer in America, Wheel and Sprocket of Delafield. Nice guys? You bet!  Know how to fit? You bet!  Cater to your needs, answer your questions?  You bet!  It all starts with making sure your bike frame is the right size for your height and weight and matches the kind of biking you intend to do: trails, road, cross country, cruise, race, commute - to name a few of the styles.  If you are lucky - have a bike for each purpose or at least 2 or 3!  You'll really get a kick out of riding a variety of roads and trails for pleasure or racing.  As Wheel and Sprocket says, "Enjoy Your Ride".  And to ENJOY it, get fit!

Your bike shop will guide you to the right bike selection and let you test ride, preferably where you will do most of  your riding.  The seat is a really important component of riding comfortably and the Bontrager inForm will guide you and your bike guru to find the best saddle for your shape, you'll sit on a form, make an impression on it with your bottom and viola! a saddle can be selected that fits your form.  We all vary back there and down there!  So start there and you'll be a happy camper!  Then, the handlebars are another testy little variable - go to the pros at the bike shop for help and proper fit and selection.  Matt, the "master fitter and manager", you'll know him by his fashionable blue glasses, did all of this for me when fitting my Equinox, a superb triathlon bike and yes, it is fast and comfortable.  Well, fast, as in fast-for-me!  From the start of our fit session (plan on an hour and a half or so) to walking out the door a few days later, after Derek in Service put all the pieces together, I have been flying down the road feeling fit, too.

DSCN1161 DSCN1155 
 DSCN1163

DSCN1177 GO ENJOY YOUR RIDE!

 

April 20, 2010

You're Never Too Old To Start Riding

I'll admit that I am the oldest member of the Women Who Ride AND I never started to ride with gusto, never owned a bike, didn't know how to shift or ride up a hill until I was about 45 years old.  OK, I did ride on a borrowed bike when I was a teenager a couple times, but that doesn't count!  Before I read about this gentleman who rides 15-20 miles a day and didn't start his riding "career" until he was 85 years YOUNG, I thought I was THE oldie but goody!  So I say to anyone out there who has a desire to ride with the your friends or your kids but has been afraid to get on a bike because you think you're too old, too wobbly, or too out of shape - now is the time to start, don't wait until you're 85!  Although Mr. Braun did and he does it well.  Today IS the first day of the rest of your life.  Go for it, ladies (and gents)!   Biking is fabulous exercise: it firms those back sides, thighs, calves and gives you balance and works your core.  What more can you ask for?  Well after some training, you might ask to try different terrain or you might want to race or even compete in a triathlon after you've gotten your sea-legs so to speak.  All this is possible once you turn that first wheel.  You can read more about Amy and Roxy's racing adventures on Trek's Women Who Ride website.  I just hope that all the stories and experiences will entice you to get on a bike and experience the freedom and confidence you gain from just riding a bike, it's that simple.  Got For It!
April 9, 2010

Big City Riding

Manhattan Bridge Verazano Br  
 

A perfect Easter weekend in NYC, starting with our bikes on the Fung Wah bus, Chinatown Boston to Chinatown NYC.  In a busy city, I was delighted to meander slowly through the masses, glad to see so many people out enjoying the sun.  We stayed with our good friends Micaela and Nathan who cooked delicious meals for us and shared some lovely walks through Brooklyn.  My last time cycling in NYC was May 07, for the Five Boro Bike Tour.  No better way to see the city - but don't skimp on locks.  Lots of good bike signs and extensive lanes made our travels smooth.  Even spotted an HBO film shoot in Prospect Park - like true tourists, we stopped to gawk.  After the torrential rains of March, April is looking good for cycling.  

These women shared their stories and captured our hearts, convincing us that they should represent Trek. Of course they ride for the love of it, but more importantly, they ride for opportunities cycling offers. Read about these opportunities. Their stories will put a smile on your face and inspire you to experience life by bike. They are Trek Women.
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