13 posts categorized "Training & Rides"

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!
December 30, 2009


My normal workout routine has been blown off course this vacation - in some unexpected ways. 

Expectedly, and as a bonus, on Christmas Eve, Chris was off work, so I took a dawn patrol ride with my friend, Jen.  We braved the cold (while we certainly do not have the weather most of the country is enjoying this time of year, 45 degrees is chilly when heading downhill), and rode some local hills.  It was a nice change to have a bike ride mid-week, which dark has prevented me from doing since October, and I was thankful to have my best riding buddy able to join me.

Continue reading "Unexpected " »

December 16, 2009

Thoughts on Training Plans

If you have spring or summer cycling goals, this is the time of year to develop a training plan.

Now, "training plan" doesn't have to mean that you're gearing up for a great big championship race (but it could!), it can also mean that you're working toward that fun charity century ride or bike tour. The real purpose of a training plan is to: chart progress, articulate goals big and small, and create a progressive riding schedule that puts you in peak condition for your target event.


You don't have to be on a training plan to have fun on a bike-- but if you are, you can keep track of how you have improved, which will encourage you to keep riding!


Goals are much less likely to be realized if they hide in a dark corner in the back of your brain. Write your goals down! Declare them! Share them! And if your goal is big, create a lot of little goals to meet it. That way you can reward and recognize your progress!


If you ride medium fast here and there, ride hard once in a while and take it easy when you're tired-- you will certainly be a fit and healthy person! However, if you want to be in "peak condition" for a certain event or ride, a training plan will methodically build your fitness-- moving from endurance to strength to speed. 

If you have not been on a training plan before, try one! I recommend doing it with a coach's guidance (such as a coach from Chris Carmichael Training Systems). 

A training plan doesn't have to be rigid and BORING. You can go for playful rides with your friends, racing each other to the yellow sign down the street. For an endurance ride, ride to a faraway diner you've always wanted to try. If you need to recover from a tough ride, take it easy and spin down to the local cafe to meet a friend.

So if you have cycling goals that are swimming around in your brain-- give it a try!

December 8, 2009

Offseason Rekindling

So what does everyone do in the off season to stay in shape? Nebraska, unfortunately, doesn't cater to the outdoor athletes much, so we have to either punish ourselves and ride in the snow or go indoors. I do both. 

My off-season generally starts the minute after I finish the Dakota 5-0. By the beginning of Sept, I've been training and racing for a solid 7-8 months. Though my coach keeps me from over doing it, my body and mind deserve the break. I take a couple months off from structured riding and go have fun. Ride to ride or GASP - not ride at all. Dunt-dunt-dun! I also do it to rekindle the fire to get back in the saddle with a purpose. I have no problem being lazy but I can only do it for so long then it's time to get back to business.

Late October is when I usually start weight training. I work with a local guy who's also a rider which is really helpful because he knows how to tailor my routine to our sport. But before we even do that, he helps me recover and starts me doing routines that challenge unworked muscles. I do that for a few weeks to get my body used to the idea and then the routine starts to get harder. I'm in that stage now. I go in for my next consultation tomorrow. My trainer hopes that by the time I'm back outside, I should be able to balance on an exercise ball and do curls. Cool! For cardio, I'm on the trainer. Today is the first day it has really snowed (except for when we were on our honeymoon) and I did 1.5 hours of spinning while watching TV. Sometimes I'll do one-legged drills, high RPM drills, low RPM. Sometimes I'll watch tv or actually do a bike specific video. Those are great for getting in a higher HR workout. If the weather's above 30 and it's dry outside, I'll usually pile on the layers and ride outside on my steel hard tail. I'd rather be a little bit cold and get in a good ride than half-ass it on the trainer any day. I also do yoga which has been such a benefit. It has given me better balance and a stronger core. I really enjoy the challenge too.

Mostly, off season for me means my thoughts go to other things that aren't bike related; other friends, other activities, family, or projects that have been on hold since the first warm day. It's time to unwind and put things back in balance. Guilt free.

November 17, 2009

Wahoo! A new bike!

A new bike is always a fun post, and I am very excited about the newest addition to my garage!  My brand spanking new mountain bike arrived last week, and I did an inaugural ride this weekend.  Beware, there's some serious bike geekiness going on in this post, but pictures follow as an incentive to read (even just a tiny bit).  

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that my upcoming birthday would be a good excuse to get a mountain bike.  I wanted something that was going to grow with me; while I have recently been doing some mellow (but fun) riding, I had gotten to be a decent rider before I had kids and I've been feeling ready to up the ante a little bit.  So I headed down to my favorite Trek dealer, Trek of San Jose, to do some test rides.  I was trying to decide between the Fuel EX 9.8 and the Top Fuel WSD.  Tough choice, huh?

Continue reading "Wahoo! A new bike!" »

November 14, 2009

Riding a Familiar Trail

Fall Riding on the Centennial Trail from Rebecca Jensen on Vimeo.

A video in appreciation of a local rails-to-trail that I now ride on a regular basis.

When I was a kid, we'd drive to this trail, unload the bikes, and ride ride ride alll the way to Snohomish, where we'd get ICE CREAM at that really cool antiquey-ice cream shop, then we'd ride ride ride back. BOY I thought that was cool. 

Now I'm cruising it on my carbon fiber Trek. Which is also-- VERY COOL.

November 6, 2009

The Only Downside

Perhaps the only "downside" of a Trek Madone..

Trek Madone Autumn Leaves

..is that you'll want to stop and take pictures of it all the time. ;)

October 21, 2009

Bicycle Girls!

When I started riding with VeloGirls a little over a year ago, I was searching for some riding buddies.  I hadn't been doing much mountain biking, so I decided to join the Dirty Girls ride.  One ride was all it took for me to look forward to each ride with them.  It was awesome to find a group of ladies that was so open and encouraging...and FUN.  Although the beers & burgers & chatting afterward certainly helped matters along, it was mostly the rush of mountain biking with a bunch of girls - and I mean that in the best sense. The lack of testosterone may seem counter-intuitive when doing something macho, but I can vouch for estrogen's sensitivity, encouragement and nurturing when learning new skills.

And then I also started riding the Midweek Madness road ride late last spring.  While the spirit of competitiveness was more evident here, estrogen still found its way out in the form of instruction, encouragement, and chattiness.  Again, I loved riding with a group of girls.  Girls know how to laugh when a friend kicks their butt up a hill.  The same friends aren't afraid to cheer LOUDLY when someone conquers a practiced skill, even if it's a coveted one.  At the same time, girls also appreciate the beauty in a new bike, but don't over-analyze and exclaim over every headset, crank, or brake choice (but if we do, it's our prerogative!).   

Let me just say that I thought I pretty much had it made riding these two rides!  Who could ask for more?  So, I was surprised when Lorri (VeloGirls founder & superwoman) recently asked me to officially join the VeloGirls race team!!  I had an honest-to-goodness heart-fluttery disbelief over that one, and had to read the email again!  I told Lorri later that I felt like the class geek that had been invited to join the coolest sorority.  Of course, I said yes!!!  I am still agog, and cannot wait for race training to start!   I am going to do the Tri-Flow program, a six week training program to learn all the ins and outs of racing that ends with the Snelling Road Race on February 27th.  I am truly thrilled to be learning more from the VeloGirls.  I couldn't ask for a better group of girls to start racing with!

October 13, 2009


A couple of months ago, I attended one of my favorite classes at the Y (Boot Camp).  It was a particularly brutal work out, which is saying a lot considering that the instructor, Rachel, loves challenging programs.  As we were finishing up our stretching, Rachel acknowledged the difficulty of the day's class and said, "Congratulations!  You are now more fit than when you woke up this morning."   

 Wow.  That quote has stuck with me, and encourages me every time I think about slacking off and ditching my exercise regime.  An hour's worth of time, one day at a time...getting more fit each time.  That's it.  So I go now to get my butt kicked in Rachel's spin class.  And I will be more fit when I return.  Very cool.

October 12, 2009

Cycling makes everything better

Thank goodness for cycling.  Why do I say this?  I've been moping around for the last month, trying to keep myself motivated while rehabbing a sore knee.  Turns out that after breaking my right leg seven years ago, I never fully recovered muscle mass in my quad...which has translated into some painful running moments as my knee joint absorbs too much of the work my muscles should be doing.  In a nutshell - no running for me for at least 3 more months and probably very little running for a good while after that.  

Continue reading "Cycling makes everything better " »

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