Each year our Velo Girls club jersey designs just get prettier and prettier. For 2013, we commissioned Team Velo Girls member (and graphic artist) Lindsay Platoshyn to design a fun and funky kit. Orders have been pouring in via our Velo Girls membership registration page but we've got a limited, one-week ordering window directly with Pactimo for those of you who didn't order with your membership.
Please note, all orders will be delivered mid-March (in plenty of time for the Cinderella Classic).
At this time, we're offering three items through our Pactimo store -- short sleeve jersey, sleeveless jersey, and wind vest.
You can also place an order for cycling shorts, cycling bib shorts, or long sleeve jerseys with your club membership. At this time, we don't have enough pre-order on these three items to add them to the Pactimo store but if we reach minimums, the order will also go in for delivery before Cinderella. If you've already purchased your 2013 membership, you can still click over to the membership site and order (just click the "clothing only" option).
And if I've completely confused you, just shoot me an email with the items you're interested in ordering and I'll help you out -- Lorri@velogirls.com
Where will you ride in 2013?
One of the really cool things about Team Velo Girls is that we're a multi-disciplinary team. Our members include road racers, mountain bike racers, cyclocrossers, and endurance road riders who lead all of our club rides. These awesome women, ranging in age from 20s to 60s, are experienced endurance riders who focus their goals on helping you achieve your goals. Each year they put together an awesome schedule of training rides to help you challenge yourself and prepare to ride in some great organized rides. Each of our progressive training ride series is designed to gradually increase your duration and climbing and to prepare you to ride your best events yet! These are members-only rides, so make sure to join or renew your Velo Girls membership for 2013.
ENDURANCE SERIES #1: CINDERELLA
JANUARY 19 TO APRIL 6, 2013
Join us as we prepare for the Cinderella Classic, a fabulous all-women's ride on April 6th. There are 2 options available - a metric century (63 miles) and the Challenge ride (90 miles). This popular event sells out every year so register early. If you don't receive a registration card in the mail, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send one to you.
You'll also find details and RSVP for all Cinderella Progressive Training Ride Series rides + events at our meetup: meetup.com/velogirls.
- January 19th - Cinderella Kick-Start Clinic
- January 20th - Cinderella Shake-Out Ride (with Melo Velo) - 15 miles
- January 26th - Cinderella Ride #1
Paradise Loop from Mike's Bikes in Sausalito - 25 miles, rolling hills with one small climb.
- February 2nd - Cinderella Ride #2
Three Bears from Orinda BART - 21 miles with 1,500' of climbing.
- February 9th - Cinderella Ride #3
Los Altos Ramble from Woodside Town Hall - 28 miles with 951' of climbing
- February 16th - Cinderella Ride #4
Lagunitas from Mike's Bikes in Sausalito - 37 miles with 1,850' of climbing
- February 23rd - Cinderella Ride #5
Edgewood, Los Altos, Golden Oad from Woodside Town Hall - 43 miles with 2,000' of climbing
- March 2nd - Cinderella Ride #6
Moraga Loop from Orinda BART - 45 miles with 2,100' of climbing
- March 9th - Cinderella Ride #7
Los Gatos from Woodside Town Hall - 45 miles with 2,500' of climbing
- March 16th - Cinderella Ride #8
Morgan Territory Loop from Heather Farms Park in Walnut Creek - 54 miles with 3,233' of climbing
- March 23rd - Cinderella Ride #9
Pt. Reyes Station from Mike's Bikes in Sausalito - 60 miles with 3,900' of climbing
- March 30th - Cinderella Ride #10 + Series Celebration!
Woodside from Burlingame Caltrain Station - 30 miles
- April 6th - Cinderella Classic
Series #2: Billy Goat Climbing Series
May + June
Hills, you either love them or hate them, right? But if you ride in Northern California, there's no way to avoid them. Join Team Velo Girls for this series of all the best climbs in the bay area, including Mt. Hamilton, Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tamalpais, and Old La Honda. This series focuses on elevation gain (not mileage) so you'll get a big bang for your pedaling buck! Detailed schedule will be available in March.
Series #3: Foxy's Fall Century Progressive Series
August - October
Let's keep our cycling fitness up through the fall months. We're going to prepare you for an awesome fall century - Foxy's Fall Century on October 19th in Davis. Detailed schedule will be available in May.
In addition to these series, check out the calendar for our other club rides:
- Melo Velo Beginners' Road Ride
- First-Timers' Mountain Bike Rides
- Midweek Madness Co-ed Road Ride
- Dirty Velo Girls Mountain Bike Rides
So what are you waiting for? Pull out your calendar, pencil us in, and join us for a great year of riding in 2013!
Velo Girls & Savvy Bike Winter/Spring 2013 event and clinic calendar
Everyone can benefit from our skills clinics, whether you've been riding six months or two decades! We take the hit or miss out of the learning process to help you flatten the learning curve. It doesn't need to be difficult or painful to learn to ride or race a bike. We'll help you ride "with" your bike instead of "on" your bike. And we'll help you have fun!
By popular demand, we introduced our Bike Skills modules in 2008. We took our most popular two-day bike skills clinics and broke them down into 4-hour modules so you can focus on those skills that are most important to you. Some of these clinics are for women or men only; some are co-ed.
We highly recommend you participate in Bike Skills 101 (or an equivalent clinic) prior to registering for our more advanced road clinics.
Registration is open for all our January - June programs at http://savvybike.eventbrite.com
CINDERELLA KICK-START CLINIC
January 19, 2013 | Redwood City, CA
Are you planning to ride the Cinderella Classic on April 6th, 2013? If so, this is the PERFECT clinic for you. We combine the best skills from our Bike Skills modules, along with important information about nutrition and bike maintenance, to start you off in the right direction for a successful event. Then, join us for our progressive training ride series that begins the following week and you'll be crossing the finish line in style! Meet other women who will be riding Cinderella and have a GREAT day of bike-love learning.
CARMEL VALLEY WOMEN'S CYCLING ESCAPE WEEKEND
March 22-24, 2013 | Carmel Valley, CA
Join us for an action-packed weekend in beautiful Carmel Valley. We'll be based at the historic Los Laureles Lodge, featuring adorable rooms and mouth-watering meals. We've got plenty of options for both road cycling and mountain biking. In addition to supported rides + educational seminars, we'll fill your girls' weekend with yoga, spa time, and wine tasting. Escape with your bike to amazing Carmel Valley!
SAVVY BIKE SKILLS CLINICSBIKE SKILLS 101: FUNDAMENTAL BIKE HANDLING SKILLS - SPONSORED BY BICYCLELAWYER.COM
This 4-hour co-ed clinic is the foundation of everything else you'll learn on the bike. This is the clinic where we teach the old dogs new tricks and the newbies the fundamentals. You'll learn about balance and weight distribution and how that affects your ability to ride your bike safely and confidently. We'll learn skills like riding with no hands, emergency stops, and how to look behind you while holding your line, how to steer, and counter-steer. After just four hours, we guarantee you'll be a better bike handler and have much more fun on the bike. PLEASE NOTE: Bike Skills 101 is the pre-requisite for all other Bike Skills road clinic modules.
February 3, 2013 | Redwood City, CA
March 16, 2013 | Redwood City, CA
April 28, 2013 | Redwood City, CA
June 8, 2013 | Redwood City, CA
BIKE SKILLS 102: FUNDAMENTAL MOUNTAIN BIKE SKILLS
It's time for a little dirty fun! We'll teach you the basics (and not-so-basics) of balance, weight distribution, and how to use the terrain to your advantage. Learn to rock, roll, hop, and jump. Master the art of steep climbs. Learn to descend with confidence and skill. After just four hours, we guarantee you'll be a better bike handler and have much more fun on the bike. You'll need a mountain bike or a cyclocross bike for this clinic.
April 7, 2013 | Palo Alto, CA
BIKE SKILLS 201: CLIMBING + DESCENDING SKILLS - SPONSORED BY TERESA CALLEN OF IMAGE ARTS SALON
Bike Skills 201 is a continuation of what you've learned in Bike Skills 101. In this 4-hour co-ed clinic, we'll teach you how to climb like a pro - seated climbs, standing climbs, short climbs, steep climbs, extended climbs. And then, we'll teach you how to come back down again, focusing on a fast straight descent, and then a technical switchbacky descent. Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 101 or equivalent experience.
February 3, 2013 | Portola Valley, CA
March 16, 2013 | Portola Valley, CA
April 28, 2013 | Portola Valley, CA
June 8, 2013 | Portola Valley, CA
BIKE SKILLS 301: PACELINES + GROUP RIDING
Wheelsucking is an art! Whether you're a racer or a recreational rider, group riding skills will help you ride longer, faster, and farther. We'll learn draft theory and basic pacelines, beginning with partner work and progressing to more complex group riding skills and introductory racing techniques. Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 101 or equivalent experience.
March 3, 2013 | Woodside, CA
May 5, 2013 | Woodside, CA
BIKE TOURING 101
May 25-26, 2013 | Pescadero, CA
Have you thought about touring on your bike but don't know where to begin? We'll unravel the mysteries of supported, fully-loaded, and semi-loaded touring for you. This new program includes a two-hour seminar on the topics of equipment, bicycle choice, what to bring, how to pack, camping, cooking, safety, and choosing your route. Then, we head out for a weekend of semi-loaded touring with a 40-mile hilly option or a 25-mile rolling option, both ending at Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel in Pescadero, where we'll have dinner, spend the evening, soak in the hot tub, and sleep. The next day, we pack up and return to the start. This is a fully-supported event and includes ride nutrition, dinner (Saturday) and breakfast (Sunday), SAG, and your accommodations at the hostel.
5TH ANNUAL ALPINE ALTITUDE ADVENTURE (AKA DEATH RIDE TRAINING CAMP)
June 21-23, 2013 | Markleeville, CA
Join us for a fun, co-ed training weekend in Markleeville, CA, home of the Death Ride. This 5th annual co-ed weekend camp is designed to help prepare participants for the rigors of endurance riding at high altitude. Based in Markleeville, CA, this camp is appropriate for Death Ride participants and others who wish to gain high altitude experience. Daily mileage options range from 25 - 75 miles. Registration fee includes camping (Friday + Saturday), a Friday skills clinic, SAG on rides, cycling nutrition, Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Sunday breakfast and lunch, and lots of fun with cool folks. Thursday and Sunday night camping options are also available. You are responsible for transportation to/from Markleeville, however participants will be encouraged to carpool.
2013 TRI-FLOW DEVELOPMENT RACING PROGRAMSThe Tri-Flow Development Racing Program is designed to be a small, focused training program that teaches cyclists how to road race and supports experienced racers who aren't part of a season-long team. Because of the small group size, each participant will receive very personalized attention. This six-week program will prepare participants to race in the Bariani Road Race in Zamora, providing both skills and fitness training. The entire group and coach will race together, and we'll provide full logistical and strategic support on race day.
Registration for this program is $525 and includes a custom team jersey, USA Cycling race license, race registration, six weeks of coached group training (two sessions/week), a group training plan developed just for this program, and email coaching (and group) support.
BARIANI ROAD RACE
February 3 - March 17, 2013
7th Menlo Park Grand Prix - Results, Videos and Photos
The 7th Annual Menlo Park Grand Prix was a smashing success with some amazing racing and some of the best women's fields we've ever seen. Congratulations to all racers on their performance yesterday!
Special thanks to all our event partners and volunteers for making it possible, and to the vendors, participants and spectators who made it a terrific, fun-filled day.
7th Menlo Park Grand Prix - July 22, 2012: Fun for the whole family
Join us for our 7th edition of this always-popular criterium on July 22nd at Bohannon Industrial Park in Menlo Park. With a full day of racing action, the Menlo Park Grand Prix, presented by Mike's Bikes, is part of the Northern California Nevada Cycling Association BikeReg.com Premier Series, featuring the very best men and women elite and masters racers in the area. In addition, this year's race is the NCNCA Masters Women's State Championship Race, where you can watch the top masters women go head to head for the honor of wearing the state champ jersey for the coming year.
In addition to our adult races, we're bringing back the Menlo Park Mini Prix, a free fun race for children ages 12 and under. The kids will race at 10:00am and every child will receive a medal! You can pre-register your child on-line or just arrive by 9:30am to register at the race.
The Menlo Park Grand Prix is a fun-filled event for the whole family. We encourage you to come, race, spectate, and bring the kids. In addition to the children's race, we've got a bouncy house to keep the kids active and entertained. We've also lined up some of the best gourmet food trucks in northern CA to keep your belly happy. National Holistic Institute is providing free massage throughout the day. And you'll enjoy walking through our sponsor expo, featuring some great companies who support Velo Girls and the race.
We've got great news for the racers, too. We've lowered our registration fee from previous years and you can save an additional $10 if you register before July 1st! So please, register early to take advantage of extra savings!
10th Anniversary Velo Girls Kit from Pactimo!
I'm just so excited about our new partnership with Pactimo! I've been riding in Pactimo clothes for the past couple of months and they are by far the BEST cycling clothes I've worn. I'm even more excited to unveil our special 10th anniversary kit, designed by Team Velo Girls member Denise Soultanian. In honor of our 10th year, we're offering a full line of clothing, including long sleeve, sleeveless, short sleeve and mountain bike jerseys as well as bibs, shorts, arm warmers, vests, and gloves. Here's a little sampling of the items you can order (click to enlarge).
Please note, if you already ordered a jersey with your membership, you DON'T need to order again -- I've already taken care of it for you.
In order to receive everything in time for Cinderella, we've got a very short ordering window. Orders will close at 10:00am on Monday, February 13th. Don't miss out on this opportunity to get one of the coolest-looking kits for women on the road today!
To order, go directly to the Pactimo Store.
You'll need to create a login and enter the password: velogirlsclub
Dream it, do it
Have you ever dreamed of changing your life and re-defining your career? Check out this great video from ABC7 about Velo Girls sponsor Gina Centoni of Alioto Centoni Restoration + Development and how she transitioned from the board room to a hard hat. While this might not seem a traditional career path (especially for a woman), Gina found that her management and analytical skills enhanced her business partnership and has been key in her success in a new industry.
Thanks for your support Gina + Mike! We're thrilled to welcome you to our family of sponsors for 2012.
Cinderella Series Kick-Off this weekend
The Cinderella Classic is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) women's cycling events in the US. Each year, 2,500 women cyclists converge on the east bay of San Francisco in the spring to ride and revel in all things women's cycling. This event, now in its 36th year, was one of the inspirations for the founding of Velo Girls.
Team Velo Girls is again leading a FREE series of progressive training rides on Sundays beginning January 22nd to help women prepare for Cinderella on March 31st. Check out our calendar for more details on these and all our rides + events.
Please note that this is a FREE series of rides, but is open to Velo Girls members only. If you're not already a member, come on out and check out a ride and then join.January 22nd -- Woodside Town Hall -- 15+ miles
January 29th -- Orinda BART -- 22 miles
February 5th -- Mike's Bikes Sausalito -- 30 miles
February 12th -- Woodside Town Hall -- 35 miles
February 19th -- Orinda BART -- 40 miles
February 26th -- Mike's Bikes Sausalito -- 45 miles
March 4th -- Woodside Town Hall -- 50 miles
March 11th -- Orinda BART -- 55 miles
March 18th -- Mike's Bikes Sausalito -- 55 miles
March 25th -- Mike's Bikes Sausalito 30 miles + post-ride BBQ
Welcome to our new sponsors for 2012!
Velo Girls has developed some amazing relationships in the past decade with businesses and individuals who support our mission: to help women improve their lives by riding a bicycle. Many of our sponsors have supported us for many years. Our goals in sponsorship are to support local, California and US businesses, develop long-term relationships, and to truly endorse the companies with whom we align ourselves.
For 2012, we'd like to welcome the following NEW sponsors to the Velo Girls family:
Alioto Centoni Restoration + Development -- Presented by Mike Alioto & Gina Centoni, their restoration and development services include design development, floor plans, pest repair, facade makeovers, specialized restoration & development projects, and whole house remodels. Gina is an active Velo Girls member and one of the only female general contractors in San Francisco.
John Hendricks Law -- Renowned for their strong commitment to client advocacy and representation, the Law Offices of John T. Hendricks offer full-service legal representation to businesses, their owners and other enterprises worldwide. The firm was founded with a singular focus: to provide clients with the highest level of legal services, from litigation, to advice and counseling, to transactional matters of all sizes. John is an active cyclist (with a very tall bike) and participates in the AIDS/Lifecycle event annually.
Pactimo -- Pactimo is thrilled to be the official outfitter of all Velo Girls programs for 2012 and 2013. Based in Colorado, Pactimo creates the most comfortable, technical, and visually stunning clothing in the cycling industry. As a relative newcomer to the custom clothing industry, they bring a fresh energy and innovative spirit to their work and have been honored as one of the fastest growing companies in Colorado.
Savvy Bike -- Savvy Bike is the evolution of a successful, 10-year coaching program in northern CA, offering professional bike fit and skills coaching services to men and women. Founded as Velo Girls Coaching Services in 2002, the business has expanded to serve more than 1,000 cyclists each year. About 40% of our clinic participants and about 60% of our bike fit clients are men, so it was time to create a brand that reflected that. Check out our 2012 clinics + camps schedule at http://www.savvybike.eventbrite.com/
Specialized Bicycles -- Specialized is more than just bikes! Yeah, they make some of the fastest, lightest, most awesomest bikes in the world, but they also focus on the ergonomics of cycling and create helmets, saddles, shoes, gloves, and other clothing and components that help the rider get the most from his or her cycling experience, whether it's shredding the gnar on a favorite trail, commuting to work, or competing in world championship events! Velo Girls is excited to begin a partnership with Morgan Hill, CA-based Specialized Bicycles for 2012!
Beauty + balance + intimacy
As a small business owner, I find myself (like other small business owners) sometimes doing more "business" than actual coaching. Year-end is always super-busy for me in this respect -- finalizing all the details for Velo Girls (the club + the team), membership renewal, securing sponsors, publishing my Savvy Bike coaching calendar, and (this year) trying to launch two new websites. I've spent an inordinate amount of time riding my desk instead of riding my bike.
Today I spent the day in my mobile office (aka Honda Element) with meetings that took me from San Jose to Carmel Valley to Santa Cruz. Along the way, I snapped a few images, the best of which I want to share with you.
While I would have rather been riding my bike today, the miles in the car reminded me of the many things I LOVE about riding. I love the people I've met, the places I've been, and the things I've seen. Today I was awestruck with the amazing beauty that is California. I saw winter hills, redwoods, Spanish moss, mistletoe, California live oak, eucalyptus, and madrones. I saw farmers' fields, a sandy beach, and country roads. I crossed the path of cows, horses, deer, peacocks, hawks, skunks, and a wild boar (still roaming Carmel Valley Road where I last saw him 3 or 4 years ago).
We're blessed to live here and experience this beautiful state in such an intimate way -- on the saddle of a bicycle.
Munday funday -- 26 December, 2011
Holiday Gift Ideas from Velo Girls
We LOVE to support the companies who support us and we think YOU should, too. Check out some of the great products from our fabulous sponsors.
Savvy Bike -- check out the jam-packed calendar of clinics and camps in 2012! now there's a gift that will just keep giving every time you get on the bike. also available are gift certificates for professional bike fit + coaching.
Tri-Flow Superior Lubricants -- their new soy line of products is THE BOMB!
Eshutter Creative -- graphics, photography, and AWESOME web design.
Erik Butler Photography -- nothing tells a story as well as a photo and Erik tells some EPIC stories.
Gary Brustin -- let's hope you don't need him, but if you do, the Bicycle Lawyer will help you navigate the ins + outs of bicycle personal injury law.
Jan Medina Real Estate -- who wouldn't want to tie a ribbon on a new house in San Francisco? Jan will help you!
Image Arts -- Teresa Callen and her lovely + talented stylists will make you look and feel beautiful. Teresa also has a fabulous new line of products.
Silicon Valley Finance Group -- if you're still keeping your receipts in a shoe box, call Jan Reed. she'll help your business maximize profits!
Mike's Bikes -- hands-down the BEST bike shop in Northern California. check out their 12 Days of Deals for your holiday gift list.
KENDA -- the best tires for road or mountain.
GU Energy -- the best sports nutrition products on the market. indulge in some of their holiday flavors (much better than giving a fruitcake).
Pactimo -- stock up on the BEST clothing in the bike industry.
Defeet -- these aren't your daddy's socks -- fun + functional socks, warmers, and base layers for the cyclist you love.
Rack + Road -- bike racks, ski racks, cargo boxes. you've got the gear and Rack + Road will help you haul it.
Action Wipes -- there's nothing better to freshen up after a ride than Action Wipes!
Betwixt -- nothing comes between us and our chamois except Betwixt!
My Favorite Day of the Year
For the past seven years, I've put together a Velo Girls team for the Turning Wheels for Kids Big Bike Build in San Jose. I never had a new bike as a child. I had hand-me-downs from my sisters and rummage sale bikes purchased by my grandmother. My first brand new bike was a Specialized Hard Rock I purchased when I was 25 years old. So, the thought of providing new bikes to underserved children resonates with me.
This year we had an awesome, co-ed team of 25 volunteer bike builders. Some of them have participated in the build in previous years. Some of them had never built a bike before. But together, we helped build 2,400 bikes in about three and a half hours.
Turning Wheels for Kids is a GREAT organization and they've been expanding their reach each year since their inception in 2004. In addition to an increasing number of bikes/children served, they're now offering bikes at other times of the year as well as bike maintenance and riding clinics. Check out their site, click around, make a donation, get involved, get your company involved, be inspired to start a similar program!
Susan Runsvold, the founder of TWFK
Before: 2,400 bikes to be built by 800 volunteers
Team Velo Girls with some of our pretty blue cruisers
some of the 2,400 finished bikes
this pretty much sums up the experience
Do you remember your first bike? What was your first brand new bike? How did you receive it?
Corner Office with a View
This past weekend we premiered a new clinic: Bike Touring 101. The goal of this clinic is to introduce cyclists to all the opportunities available in cyclo-touring and then to support them on a short two-day excursion. The clinic included a two-hour pre-trip seminar that covered all the ins + outs of various types of touring, bikes, equipment, clothing, etc.
The weekend started Saturday morning in Woodside where we loaded all the bikes and headed out for the coast to our evening destination: Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel. Of course, this meant a trip up and over Skyline. With loaded bikes, no personal records were set on Old La Honda, but the extra weight on the bikes made for smooth sailing all the way down to San Gregorio. On Sunday, we returned to Woodside through farmlands and redwoods. In between, we feasted on local produce, specialities like Olallieberry pie, visited local highlights like the San Gregorio General Store, the Harley Goat Farm, and even had lunch at the world-famous Alice's Restaurant.
The weather was simply perfect: warm, sunny, and clear skies on both Saturday and Sunday. Sitting in the hot tub at the hostel during an amazing sunset on Saturday evening was a rare delight (no fog!). We cooked an amazing dinner on Saturday evening from local foods gathered in Pescadero and everybody slept well at the warm + cozy hostel.
This clinic is definitely a keeper, and I've already started planning more advanced options for 2012.
Here are a few of my favorite images from the weekend:
holiday decorations in La Honda
unique signage at Harley Goat Farms
Jan, happy that the climbing is over and the goat cheese is beginning!
lovely goat cheese
the historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse
the perfect ending to a perfect day
Next up is a late addition to the coaching calendar: co-ed Bike Skills 301 (pacelines + group riding) on Sunday, November 6th. There's still time to register so come learn how to play nice with others on the bike!
Announcing the 2011/2012 Velo Girls Endurance Challenge
We want to keep you on your bike this winter! Why? Because you'll be that much fitter for all the great rides + events we've got planned in 2012. So, I'm excited to announce the 2011/2012 Velo Girls Endurance Challenge!
What's that you say? Well, it's a little contest of sorts to keep you motivated and put a bit of a competitive spin on your cycling motivation this winter.
Here's how it works:
#1: You must be a current (2011 or 2012) Velo Girls member. Not a member? Not a problem. Join here: 2012 Velo Girls club membership
#2: You must record your bike rides on Plus 3 Network as part of the Velo Girls group. Plus 3 is a super-cool website that lets you keep track of your training and earn donations on your behalf to your chosen beneficiary. Just click on over to Plus 3 and check it out. It's fun and it'll make you feel good too.
#3: Ride your bike! Each ride earns points in the Velo Girls Endurance Challenge. Every foot of climbing earns points, too, so log your rides with your GPS for more opportunities to win.
That's it! Three simple steps.
At the end of each month (November, December, and January), we'll announce three lucky winners:
Winner #1: most road miles logged.
Winner #2: most mountain bike or cyclocross miles logged.
Winner #3: most elevation gain.
I've got some super-awesome prizes for the winners, like Velo Girls cycling jerseys and other fun gifts from our sponsors. So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to have your best year ever on the bike..... with Velo Girls!
Munday Funday - October 31, 2011
Just in case you missed this video when it went viral on Facebook last week, here's a cool link for you to enjoy while firing up your computer this morning. This video was shot by Jason Anderson at the Bay Area Super Prestige cyclocross race on October 23rd with a quad-copter GO-PRO video camera. Yup, a little radio-controlled helicopter with a video camera attached. Check out the video and you can see images of the quad-copter at the end. Pretty darn cool. Turn up the volume and watch it on the big screen for full effect.
Doesn't this just make you want to race cyclocross?
I'm thrilled to again sponsor the annual Supermarket Street Sweep. Check out this year's poster! Then click over to the blog and see how you can get involved with this fun event that benefits the San Francisco Food Bank.
Unless you're riding in a bubble
YOU need this! You NEED this! You need THIS! what IS this? THIS is group riding skills and who better to teach you how to play nice with others than the expert coaches of Velo Girls Coaching Services!
Just this weekend at our Bike Skills 101 clinic, I was having a conversation with a number of participants about our upcoming co-ed Bike Skills 301 (pacelines + group riding) clinic. One of them stated that she would never ride in a paceline, even though she rides on her husband's wheel all the time. Another stated that he loves riding centuries and would love to ride them faster but doesn't like riding in close proximity to other riders. And yet another stated that he pacelines all the time but doesn't always trust the riders he rides with.
Bike Skills 301 (pacelines + group riding skills) is the PERFECT clinic for all three of these cyclists (and probably for you, too)! Why? Because whether or not you ever race your bike, you'll have the opportunity to ride with other riders at some point in your cycling career. Group riding is FUN! Group riding will help you ride longer and faster. And if you learn the skills, you'll be a safer rider and can share your knowledge with your friends and other folks with whom you ride.
First, we teach you the science behind pacelining -- draft theory. We teach you about energy savings and how to find the ideal position in relationship to other riders. We teach you how to find the wind (and how to protect yourself from it).
Then, we teach you how to be safe when pacelining -- communication skills, how to safely position yourself and how to modulate your speed without having a negative impact on other riders.
And then we take it all out on the road and work on group riding skills, starting with two-rider partner drills and progressing to various types of pacelines and echelons.
So, unless you're riding in a bubble, you'll have lots of opportunities to ride with other riders, which means lots of opportunities to ride faster, longer, and safer by utilizing group riding skills.
Our last co-ed Bike Skills 301 clinic of 2011 will be held on November 6th in Woodside. I would highly encourage you to come and add some skills to your cycling toolbox. Bring your teammates, friends, or significant other so you can learn together and reinforce your learning. Register by October 30th and save $20!
Click here for NOW: Bike Skills 301 Registration
Congratulations to Team Velo Girls member Mariska Vodegel on her win at CCCX Cyclocross #4 at Manzanita Park!
Little-known fact: I was a pretty darn good musician in a former life. I attended Ithaca College on a full music scholarship. My major was the oboe, but I played all the woodwinds, French horn, mallets, keyboards, and sang. Music was my life -- my everything. I had planned to be a professional oboist with a symphony orchestra. It was a crazy-risky career choice for a girl from a poor, working-class family. But somehow, my parents were very supportive of this goal.
By an odd twist of fate, coupled with a healthy dose of performance anxiety and a case of cold feet, I changed my degree program a couple of times and graduated with a BFA in Theatre Management. That was career #1 for me and I managed professional theatres for the first 13 years of my career. That was also the career that brought me to California back in 1997.
Music is still a HUGE part of my life. I have more than 12,000 songs of all genres in my iTunes library and that doesn't include all the cassette tapes I've never converted or replaced. I listen to music from the moment I awake until the moment I go to sleep. I listen in my home, in my car, in my office, and while I'm sitting on my roof-top deck. It's the soundtrack of my life. But the one place I DON'T listen to music is while I'm riding my bicycle.
When I ride my bike, I want to connect fully with my environment. I want to see, hear, and smell the world around me. I want to unplug from the technology that pervades every waking moment of my life. I want to take myself off the grid, without distractions of phone, text, email, or facebook. I want to immerse myself into the sensory experience of riding my bicycle in the great big wide open world.
The debate of whether or not cyclists should listen to music while riding is in the same league as the Campy/Shimano debate, the Hatfields and the McCoys, or Democrat versus Republican. Cyclists get pretty emotional and passionate in their opinion about this. I'll just suffice to say that in California, the vehicle code (which also governs bicycles) states that you can wear one earbud when riding a bicycle.
When I listen to music, I listen with every part of my brain.....with every part of my being. It actually makes it challenging to focus on certain types of work (like reading and writing) so I have to be very careful how loudly I'm listening to my music and what types of music I listen to. I have a mix called "mindless music" that is comprised of jazz, classical, and other types of music that I won't find myself really listening to (or trying to sing along with). But even then, I realize that I'm easily distracted by the music in the background.
I was listening to a new download tonight -- Peter Gabriel's New Blood (Special Edition) which is superb and you should check it out. I allowed myself the luxury (and distraction) of playing it on my Apple TV through the sound bar on my television (which has phenomenal sound quality). I felt myself being transported into a place of familiarity (with lyrics I remember from 20 years ago) and emotion (with the orchestral + operatic qualities). It was an all-encompassing experience and I wasn't able to keep working.
And, in that moment, I realized that because I get so focused and involved with the music I listen to, it wouldn't be prudent of me to ride while I listen. I can lose myself in music. When I ride I need to focus 100% of my attention on my environment. I need to think about other road users, the terrain, and my own state of physical being. When listening to music, using every bit of gray matter I've got, there's nothing left to be alert and aware when I'm riding.
So yeah, I've always thought I just wanted to escape technology (and that's true), but the reality is that music is such a complete sensory experience for me that there would be nothing left to pedal my bicycle safely.
How about you? Do you listen to music while you ride?
P.S. This image has nothing to do with this blog post but I was searching for related images about music and cycling and the brain and happened upon this happy guy and wanted to share it!
If Mickey Mantle rode a bike
I went to see a movie this weekend -- Moneyball -- the story of Billy Beane, the Oakland A's, and sabermetrics. Yeah, a baseball movie. I'm not a big baseball fan and don't really know much about the sport or its history, but Moneyball received positive reviews from my friends and who doesn't want to stare at Brad Pitt for two hours?
The film opened with a quote by Mickey Mantle:
Immediately, before even knowing the context of the quote in the sport of baseball, I felt the urge to share this quote with my cycling world. You see, that's how I feel about my job. I teach people how to ride a bicycle. But we all know how to ride a bicycle, right? In my opinion, no. Although most of us have ridden bikes since childhood, we don't really KNOW how to ride a bike. Of course, when I tell people that, especially cyclists who have been riding for a while, I run the risk of offending them. But by the end of a four-hour Bike Skills clinic or a two-hour one-on-one session, clients agree that they really didn't know what they thought they knew. And they agree that NOW they know how to ride a bicycle.
As children, we're very in touch with our environment and how we interact with it. We have a keen sense of proprioception. We listen to our body. When we hop on a bike, we intuitively know what to do. We don't try to fix, manage, or correct the natural physics and mechanics of the bike. We let the bike do what it was designed so well to do. We don't over-think it. We trust the technology and the science behind it. And riding a bike is easier because of this.
In the past 10 years, I've developed a career of teaching folks (mostly adults) how to ride a bike. More than 900 men + women participate in our various Bike Skills clinics each year. For some, this is their first experience riding in their entire lifetime. For others, they're returning to the bike as an adult after a hiatus. And for others, they've been riding for a long period of time but want to really learn and understand how to ride. Some folks want to learn specific skills (like descending or group riding or racing or mountain biking). Some folks find me because they've experienced fear or a serious crash or simply the frustration of not being "perfect" at this sport that was so easy for them as a child. Many feel they don't need the fundamentals. Of course, in my opinion, everyone needs the fundamentals. The fundamentals are the foundation of everything we do on the bike.
So, like Mickey Mantle and the sport of baseball, I try to enlighten cyclists about all the things they don't know that they don't know. We all know how to ride a bike. We've done it our entire lives. But it's pretty amazing how much we don't really know or understand about riding a bike.
Come, learn, understand, improve in our final clinics for the 2011 season:
Oct 22nd -- Bike Skills 101 -- Fundamental Bike Handling Skills sponsored by BicycleLawyer.com
Oh, and Mickey Mantle DID ride a bike. He's often discussed the importance of life-long fitness and an active lifestyle. Here's an image from a 1977 print ad by AMF.
The difference between cats and dogs
When I was a child, I assigned gender to lots of things. Spoons were girls, forks + knives were boys. Cats were girls, dogs were boys. Boats were girls, cars were boys. Salt was a girl, pepper was a boy. Mustard was a girl, ketchup was a boy. Birds were girls, squirrels were boys. You get the idea. Some of these items were genderless, some not. I have no idea why I did this. Was it based on appearance or behavior or utility? I'm not sure. But somehow, in my child's mind, there was a difference between feminine and masculine and I clearly felt the need to distinguish between the two.
Flash forward to my 20s and I focused the efforts of my MBA on the study of gender.
Flash forward again to my 30s and I started a business based on gender.
Now in my 40s i've had the unique opportunity of spending the past decade working in a women's-focused organization (that allows men to join us from time to time, too).
While others might disagree, I definitely believe there's a significant difference in how the minds of women and men work. We approach sport differently. We approach learning differently. We approach community and relationships differently. We tick differently. We tock differently, too.
Yeah, I know that none of this is black + white. I also know that some of this is learned behavior (not inherited behavior) and that there are generational differences. But all in all, I still believe that there is great value in gender-specific activities from time to time in our lives.
In 2003, I developed a two-day women's cycling clinic. In later years, at the request of our clients, we developed a series of men's clinics, too. And eventually, as our client base shifted to 40% men, we started offering co-ed clinics. But there's still something very special about our women's-only Girls Got Skills clinic sponsored by Jan Medina Real Estate. So even though we've let the boys come out to play for many of our programs, Girls Got Skills will forever remain a women's-only event.
Our next Girls Got Skills clinic is October 8th + 9th, right here on the San Francisco peninsula. It's two days jammed-packed with women + skills + bikes + fun! We learn fundamental cycling skills, group riding, and climbing + descending. We share our challenges and our successes. And we have fun doing it in a safe, comfortable environment.
There's still time to register! As a matter of fact, if you register by Sunday, September 25th, you save $20 on the registration fee (score!). So please join us for a fabulous, women's-only cycling weekend in October. I guarantee it will change your world.
Cyclo cyclo cross cross cross!
Have you been wondering what's all the buzz about cyclocross? It's a fun but challenging sport that's beginner-friendly and appropriate for the entire family. And best of all, it's happening at a park near you! In this four-hour clinic, you'll learn all the skills needed to get started in this incredible sport, including mounts, dismounts, and how to shoulder and carry your bike. We'll also share information about bikes & equipment, the local cyclocross racing scene, and how to train for a successful season. We'll finish off the day with a simulated race and de-brief. You'll need a mountain bike or a cyclocross bike for this clinic.
Each year since 2003, we've offered a cyclocross clinic. Over the years, we've had some fabulous guest coaches, including Sheila Moon, John Funke, and Julie and Paule Bates.
This year, I'm thrilled that Josh Snead will be coaching our clinic. He's thrown his hat into the coaching ring big-time, to rave reviews from the racers he's been working with. Here's a bit about Josh in his own words:
I've been racing various types of bikes for 15 years and racing at the elite level in cyclocross for 7 seasons. I've been 20th at elite nationals (2006), 12th at a USGP (Alpenrose dairy in Portland, 2006), 5th at a UCI race (in PA, forget the name but Todd Wells won), 4th at masters nationals (2009) and I've won about 30 norcal races over the last 5 years (13 wins in 2008 alone).
In 2008 and 2009 I won the Bay Area Super Prestige series overall. In 2008 I also won the CCCX, Bikemonkey cx and Sacramento cx series overalls as well as the NCNCA cup. I've won the Lion of Fairfax 'cross, my "hometown race" 4 out of the 5 times it's been run. I've finished on the leader's lap at a "B" level (elite without pro contract) in Belgium, which I would say was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
Other Palmares- I am a pro mechanic with World Championships and World Cup experience (wrenched for Canada's national team in 2005 at cx worlds in St. Wendel Germany). I've worked for pro road teams during stage races in the US and I have about 15 years experience as a full time shop/private mechanic.
I have also directed the Above Category Junior Development program for the last year and have helped these U18 riders achieve podium and top 10 results at cx nationals as well as at road national and state championships.
Did you see that Movie about the Great Indoors?
Yeah, probably not. What's so great about being indoors?
I've been thinking about the great OUTDOORS a lot lately, probably because I've been camping in my happy place for the past two weeks - high in the mountains of Markleeville, CA.
I grew up in rural upstate New York. The great outdoors was my everything - my playground, my athletic field, my library, my game room, my kitchen. Recreation meant being outdoors, in the rain of spring, in the heat and humidity of summer, in the crisp, cool days of fall, and in the freezing snow of winter. As a child, I built forts in the woods, went fishing, played games, and rode my bike. The last place I wanted to be was indoors. Outdoors was freedom. Indoors was chores and family responsibilities. Outdoors was my happy place. Even when I was doing indoorsy things like reading books or playing board games, I preferred to do it outdoors.
My summers were spent on a tiny little lake in the mountains of Pennsylvania. There was no television. There was no radio. Instead, we fished and caught bull frogs and went for hikes and picked berries. We cooked outdoors. We sat around campfires telling riddles. We paddled the canoe and swam and spent entire days in our wet bathing suits.
There's something special about the great outdoors that, if you've spent time there, you just intuitively know. The air feels different. You can identify the sounds of birds or bugs or squirrels or chipmunks. You can tell the difference between the sound of the wind in the trees and the sound of a rushing creek or river. You know what time it is by the changing light.
And somewhere, somehow, in this phase we call adulthood, many of us lose the great outdoors.
And, sadly enough, many of today's youth never experience it at all. Yeah, maybe there's an annual family trip to the mountains or a Girl Scout hike in the woods, but many of today's urban youth don't have the opportunity to really get to know the great outdoors - to smell the trees and the grass and the dirt, to feel the crunch of leaves or pine needles under our feet, to hear the birds and the bugs and the animals.
I've been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to volunteer with a great organization here in Northern CA - Trips for Kids. I've been trying to remember when I first learned about TFK and their great programs - probably about 10 years ago now. TFK provides inner-city youth with the opportunity to get out into the great outdoors, even for just one day. They take kids, many of whom have never seen the ocean or the mountains, out on day-long mountain biking trips. Trips for Kids provides the bikes, helmets, and all equipment needed (thanks to great industry, corporate, and individual sponsorship) and even teaches the kids the basic skills needed to successfully complete a short ride.
I remember my first ride with Trips for Kids, back in 2003. Velo Girls was putting on a special Girls Day in the Dirt for them. We met the TFK volunteers and the girls at China Camp, played some bike games (to teach them skills) and then went on a short ride. Although these girls lived within spitting distance of the ocean, most had never seen it. Most also didn't have a bicycle of their own (something my generation took for granted). And most had never ventured more than a few miles from where they lived.
The response was overwhelming. These girls experienced every emotion you can imagine: joy at being somewhere so beautiful, fear of trying something new, and gratitude that there was an organization like TFK and it's volunteers who wanted to provide them with a very special opportunity.
So, as we watch childhood (and adult) obesity statistics skyrocket, I have to wonder how we could change that if we simply re-introduced the youth of today to the great outdoors. What would happen if we reduced our time with the television, computer, and WII, and increased our time playing hopscotch, kickball, jump rope, and riding bikes? What would happen if we put down the computer and picked up a compass? What would happen if we took our children on a hike instead of to the movies?
Is it naive to think that we could change the world one child at a time? I don't think so, and neither does Marilyn Price, founder of Trips for Kids. So, next time you have the opportunity to spend time with a child (your own or someone else's), think about the impact of the decision you're about to make. Will you share the great outdoors with them? Will you encourage them to explore their world? To be active and healthy? Is there really any other logical choice?
Velo Girls Coaching Services Announces Clinic Dates for 2nd Half of 2011
We're pleased to announce the dates for our various clinics in the late Summer and Fall.
Bike Skills 101 - Fundamental Bike Handling Skills - sponsored by BicycleLawyer.com
July 24th, Sept 10th
- Bike Skills 102 - Fundamental Mountain Bike Skills - August 21st
Bike Skills 201 - Climbing + Descending Skills sponsored by Image Arts Salon
July 24th, Sept 10th
- Bike Skills 301 - Pacelines + Group Riding Skills - August 7th
- Bike Touring 101 - October 29-30
- Girls Got Skills sponsored by Jan Medina Real Estate - October 8-9
Learn all about our other coaching programs and rider clinics in the Coaching section of this site.
I Am Mike
Check out Team Velo Girls member Tammy Won, featured on one of Mike's Bikes new bus ads. We LOVE Mike's Bikes and are honored to represent them. The awesome photo was shot by our official team photographer, Erik Butler. Erik is teaching a live-action photo workshop in the bay area on June 11th -- check it out and learn how to shoot bike races (and other action sports) from a seasoned pro.
Results from 6th Annual Menlo Park Grand Prix presented by Mike's Bikes
Results from the 6th Annual Menlo Park Grand Prix presented by Mike's Bikes are available here.
Munday funday: 7 February, 2011
Although this graphic has been viral in the bike world on Facebook, Twitter, and various forums, i think it's incredibly clever and visually stunning so I wanted to share it with my hub of friends and readers.
The print was created Aaron Kuehn, a Los Angeles artist and cyclist, and appeared as a 2-page insert in a recent publication by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Aaron has now screened two limited-edition runs of this print -- sadly i missed ordering one for my bike fit studio so i hope he'll print another.
Enjoy! And click the links to learn more about Aaron.
Psst! Hey you! Over there! Yeah, you.
I know you've been thinking about it. You see everybody else doing it and they're smiling and sweating and glowing with success. And you wonder if maybe you could do it, too.
Guess what? You COULD do it!
Since 2002, Velo Girls has been developing women bike racers. We teach them skills. We help them improve their fitness. We create a team-oriented environment. And we support them like the rock-stars they are.
In 2006, we introduced the women's development racing program sponsored by Tri-Flow Lubricants aka the Tri-Flow program. There had never been a program quite like this in the bike racing world. We won some awards for our innovative program. And since that time almost 80 women have learned to race their bikes and have continued to race their bikes as elite and masters-level athletes locally, regionally, and nationally.
So quit thinking about it and start doing it. Yeah, you!
Our first Tri-Flow Women's Development Racing Program of 2011 begins in just a couple of weeks. We'll train together twice a week, culminating in participation in the Bariani Road Race in beautiful Yolo, CA. We'll learn lots of skills. We'll do some high-intensity workouts to transform ourselves into road racing warriors. And we'll learn about race preparation and tactics. And we'll have fun. Yeah, you!
And if you like racing, you'll have the opportunity to continue with Team Velo Girls. If you find that bike racing isn't your cup of tea, that's okay, too -- you can check this one off your bucket list and move onto swimming the English Channel, climbing Mt. Everest, or competing in an Ironman triathlon.
The first program of the 2011 season starts on february 16th. We've got a great group of women already registered and space for two more team members. Yeah, you!
Email email@example.com for more information. Yeah, you!
Musings on girls and women in sport
While a plump groundhog in punsxutawney, pa is making news by seeing or not seeing his shadow today, there's another february 2nd milestone that's just as worthy of media attention. Today is national girls + women in sports day. Woo hoo, says me!
Of course, just the fact that we need a national day to recognize something like the privilege (and right) of girls and women to participate equally in any activity starts the wheels in my head turning.
Many of the athletes i work with are too young to remember Title IX. Oh yeah, it's a hip women's activewear company, right? Um, no, it's federal law that was enacted in 1972 that prohibited discrimination in education (at least in federally-funded institutions). Best known for it's impact on athletics, by providing supposedly equal opportunities for men and women in scholastic sports, it also applied to other educational programs (such as vocational education). And while critics complained that Title IX reduced opportunities for male athletes, women applauded the fact that they were now considered equal in the eyes of the federal government.
Yeah, i was only 7, so what do i know? What i do remember about the date (june 23rd, 1972) is that my sister susan was supposed to graduate high school. Graduation was cancelled due to the devastating flood caused by hurricane agnes. Our house was spared (by about 1/2 mile of chemung river flooding to the north and 1/2 mile of seeley creek flooding to the south). We were ready to evacuate. My father helped sandbag the river. And i vividly remember walking around in the days post-flood, seeing half washed away homes (that looked like doll houses), inches of stinky mud and muck on all the streets and in the stores, and houses (and cows) floating down the river. The five bridges that separated one half of my hometown of elmira from the other half were washed out. My father couldn't get to work (on the other side of the bridges). And high school graduation was cancelled. Hurricane agnes proved to be a blessing in disguise, because my poor little town of elmira, ny underwent a huge transformation due to the economic recovery.
So i guess i missed the news about Title IX.
A few years later i signed up for my first softball team. I was younger than all the other girls and we had a winning team, so the coach never let me play. I guess he hadn't heard about Title IX either. Ball sports weren't really my thing anyways, so there! I will admit, however, that i was a pretty darn good bowler, but i never really considered bowling a sport.
I was a tall girl -- 5' 10" since 4th grade. Yeah, i was tall. Tall and skinny and gawky. Not graceful at all, even though i'd been studying dance since i was five and twirling baton since i was 2. I was not an athlete. Then again, were any girls my age considered athletes? They were tomboys. We didn't click. I climbed trees and built forts and rode bikes, but the girls who played sports with balls were just weird.
In junior high school, the basketball coach tried to recruit me to play for the school team, but i was involved with ccd after school. By high school, i'd missed my opportunity. It was too late. All the girls who had been playing for the past two years were athletes. I was not an athlete. So i stuck to what i knew -- books and music.
I finally gave in and joined the track team my senior year because i thought it would be good for my college applications -- you know, make me look well-rounded or something. It took me a month of daily training before i could run a whole mile without stopping. The coach declared me a sprinter. I ran a half marathon to defy him (he said i couldn't do it). I couldn't walk for days afterward. In the spring, i was recruited for high jump and long jump (because i was tall). I earned a couple of varsity letters, won a few trophies and some award for being outstanding in field events. But i was not an athlete -- i was simply doing it for my college applications (and the boys on the track bus were a nice bonus).
I missed my opportunity with sports. I went away to college, did college things, thought about rowing crew, changed my mind about rowing crew when i found out the team had to run to the boathouse (in ithaca winters) down the big hill at 5:00am. Yeah, i was definitely not an athlete.
Post-college i dabbled with step aerobics and bought a bike but i was too focused on advancing my career to really spend any time being healthy. It wasn't until my late 20s that i quit smoking, started inline skating, skiing, and playing volleyball. But i still wasn't an athlete -- i was simply doing these sports for the social aspect (meeting boys in the ski club).
Before i knew it, i was 30 years old and moved to sunny california, where everyone was an athlete. What was i doing here? I sure didn't fit in. I wasn't an athlete. But then something happened. I started riding a bicycle again, after more than a decade of not riding a bike. I liked it. It stuck. I was an athlete!
In many ways i regret the fact that if i had any athletic potential at all, i missed my opportunities as a child and young adult. I wish that i'd been one of those sporty girls from the sporty families that did sporty things. That was not my family. And our schools, at the time, didn't encourage female athletes.
I look at the difference between my youth and that of my nieces -- now all in their 20s. They grew up playing soccer and softball and basketball. They swam and dove. They could basically play any sport they wanted to play. The opportunities were there for them in their schools and in their communities. They were athletes, thanks to Title IX. They had the opportunity to participate in sports that weren't part of school sport programs when i was a girl. They could compete. And excel. And grow as individuals because of their experience in team and individual sports. They learned life lessons. They learned how to be competitors. They learned how to be team players. They learned how to win and how to lose. And they are healthier, well-rounded individuals because of these opportunities.
So, if you've followed along with my ramblings all the way down here, i'll ask you to celebrate the opportunities provided by Title IX. Encourage a girl (or woman) to be fit and active and participate in sport. Volunteer with a program for youth. Mentor that young cyclist. Give a shout out to the youth sailing in the lagoon. Nudge your wife or girlfriend to join in that group ride or run or dance class. Be thankful that the youth of today have the opportunity to develop as athletes, and more importantly, as individuals because of Title IX.
Waiting with bated breath
Wait no more! Without further ado, I'm thrilled to announce the Velo Girls Coaching Services 2011 clinic and camps schedule. Registration has already opened for all events through June and many are close to selling out, so if you're interested in participating, I would encourage you to do so soon. A $20 early bird discount is applied to all registrations processed more than 2 weeks prior to a clinic. All clinics are co-ed with the exception of our two-day Girls Got Skills clinic which is for women and girls only.
Just click on the date and you'll be whisked away to our fancy-dancy registration page for that specific clinic session:
Bike Skills 101 - Fundamental Bike Handling Skills - sponsored by BicycleLawyer.com
Feb 12th, March 20th, May 1st, June 18th, July 24th, Sept 10th
- Bike Skills 102 - Fundamental Mountain Bike Skills - March 26th
- Bike Skills 103 - Fundamental Cyclocross Skills + Tactics - TBA summer 2011
Bike Skills 201 - Climbing + Descending Skills sponsored by Image Arts Salon
March 20th, May 1st, June 18th, July 24th, Sept 10th
- Bike Skills 301 - Pacelines + Group Riding Skills - April 10th, June 4th
- Bike Skills 302 - Racing Skills + Tactics - May 7th
- Alpine Altitude Adventure (aka Death Ride Training Camp) - June 24th - 26th
- Girls Got Skills sponsored by Jan Medina Real Estate - June 11th + 12th
To learn about each of these clinics, visit our Coaching Programs page.
Say "hello" to the new Melo Velo
After a short hiatus, the Melo Velo is back! this ride is a staple in the Velo Girls calendar and a great introduction to group riding and to Velo Girls.
The Melo Velo is a beginner ride (or a ride for those of you just starting out again). Led by experienced cyclists and Team Velo Girls members, we'll help you get started on the road to longer and more challenging rides. All riders are welcome for socializing and support, but this is an easy, beginner, getting-used-to-road-biking ride. You'll learn shifting, group riding (don't worry, we stay way behind each other), the rules of the road, and how to drink from your water bottle while riding -- all in a very friendly and welcoming environment. All types of bikes are welcome (but gears are definitely a plus on the rolling terrain).
Meet at Woodside Town Hall in Woodside at 9:00am on Sundays, beginning February 6th. We'll ride north on Canada Road and return -- 15 miles, mostly flat with little rollers. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Party like a Velo Girl
Yeah, it's time for another Velo Girls Night Out! Join us this Thursday, January 20th at the British Bankers Club in Menlo Park as we kick-off our first endurance training series of the season -- Cinderella + Tierra Bella.
Come meet the team and we'll share our tips + tidbits about preparing for the Cinderella and the Tierra Bella. You can ask questions about bikes, gearing, clothing, and nutrition. Or you can just socialize and meet some new cycling friends. Happy Hour pricing ends at 6:00pm so get there a little early for a drink special. We've even got some fun surprises for you!
RSVP to email@example.com
FREE Cinderella Training Series from Team Velo Girls
Join Team Velo Girls as we help you prepare for some of the most popular events in northern CA. Each of our progressive training ride series is designed to gradually increase your duration and climbing and to prepare you to ride your best events yet! Our training series are FREE, but these are members-only rides, so make sure to join or renew your membership for 2011.
Series #1 - Cinderella + Tierra Bella - January 22nd - April 16th
Join us as we prepare for the Cinderella Classic - a fabulous all-women's ride on April 2nd. There are 2 options available - the Cinderella Classic (63 miles) and the Cinderella Challenge ride (90 miles). This popular event sells out every year so register early. If you don't receive a registration card in the mail, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send one to you.
And once you've ridden the Cinderella, let's keep that momentum going and ride Tierra Bella together! We've added in a ride on April 9th to keep you fresh for the April 16th century (other distance options available, too).
- January 22nd - 9:00am - Burlingame Caltrain Station - 30 miles
- January 29th - 9:00am - Presidio Sports Basement - 38 miles
- February 5th - 9:00am - Fremont BART - 38 miles
- February 12th - 9:00am - Presidio Sports Basement - 45 miles
- February 19th - 8:30am - Canada + 92 - 55 miles
- February 26th - 8:00am - Orinda BART - 55 miles
- March 5th - 8:00am - Mike's Bikes Los Gatos - 60 miles
- March 12th - 8:00am - Canada + 92 - 70 miles
- March 19th - 8:00am - Presidio Sports Basement - 75 miles
- March 26th - 8:00am - Canada + 92 - TBA
- April 2nd - Cinderella Classic!
- April 9th - 8:00am - Presidio Sports Basement - TBA
- April 16th - Tierra Bella!
Munday Funday: December 13, 2010
Munday Funday: December 6, 2010
The Long Way Home
Who doesn't like a little challenge? after a month off the bike in October, doing nothing but physical therapy and coaching clinics, I wanted to get back on the bike, add in some yoga (more on that in another post), and just find some consistency in my riding, my energy levels, and my mood. During October I'd also been focused on weight-loss and my caloric deficits, combined with the end of Daylight Saving Time, seemed to be affecting my sleep patterns. I needed balance. I needed energy. I needed a goal -- something that was consistent and achievable and that would motivate me.
So I gave myself the goal of riding at least one hour every day in November and December. I set no parameters besides time -- I could go long or short, flat or hilly, road or dirt. I would listen to my body, vary my intensity, and keep it fun.
I started a day early, with a challenging mountain bike ride with Team Velo Girls at Waterdog on October 31st. It hurt -- mentally and physically. In the 12 years I've been riding, I've had some extended periods of time off the bike, but usually due to illness, not injury. When you return to the bike from illness, you expect to be winded and to feel weak. I didn't expect this after my hiatus in October. This first ride was a wake-up call for me.
So, November 1st came and I rolled. Pretty easy at first. Road + dirt. 7 days in a row for a modest total of 10 hours. And on the 8th day it rained. And I was tired. Really tired. I ramped up a little quickly, I think, with 10 hours on the bike that week as well as 2.5 hours of yoga and swing dance. So I gave myself permission to take a nap instead of a bike ride. It was the correct decision.
Week #2 went well, but again, I had one day that I was just completely exhausted. So I gave myself permission to nap instead of ride. I decided that I hadn't failed at my goal by missing 2 days. I was still out there riding and being consistent, and that was the intention of my goal. In those 6 days I was able to ride 10 hours and also danced for 1.5 hours. I was learning how to manage my time to add in the riding and yoga. I was making time for myself!
Week #3 and my body was happy (as was my mind). I was sleeping well, the weight-loss continued, and with the exception of one significant bonk, I was having great rides! I started doing some more challenging rides. most of my rides have been solo. I was having fun riding by myself, something I haven't done in years. I was listening to my body and going easy on days I needed recovery and hard on days I wanted challenge. And I was mountain biking a lot. All is good.
Week #4 and I planned to ramp up my yoga. I finally found the time of day and styles of yoga that really worked in my life. My goal was to practice 5 days this week. Life is good and I'm finding balance. I'm really happy. I'm smiling so much that I'm starting to annoy myself. Unfortunately, a silly sleeping injury (seriously) kept me off the bike and out of the yoga studio for 3 days. on Thanksgiving day I got back out on the road for 3 hours in freezing cold. And I'm proud that I was able to maintain my caloric deficit in the face of Thanksgiving dinner. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday included more rides (road and mountain) and my first ever double-header yoga day.
November was a good month. I got on the bike 24 of 30 days. I rode almost 40 hours for a total of more than 400 miles, including 5 mountain bike rides. I practiced yoga 6 times and took 4 dance classes. I feel consistent. And happy. and very mobile. My head is in a really good space. I promised myself at least an hour a day -- just for me -- and I was able to achieve that.
One of the ways I've been able to fit this all into my schedule is to combine my bike + yoga time. No, I'm not stretching on the bike, but rather I'm riding my bicycle to yoga class. I have this silly 5-mile rule -- I don't drive my car if I'm going somewhere that's within 5 miles, so this fits right in with yoga class. I can ride the short way (only about 15 minutes), take class, and then take the long way home, the scenic route. The road less travelled. I've enjoyed riding through the hills and canyons of Hillsborough and Burlingame. I'm rediscovering roads I haven't ridden in years. I'm swearing under my breath at the 15-20% grades that pop up out of nowhere and then applauding myself at the top of those hills. I'm admiring the mansions. I'm noticing the subtle changes of fall: golden and red leaves transitioning from tree to ground. And I'm enjoying every single moment on the bike.
How often do you go out of your way to discover a new road, climb a new hill, or check out a new vista? Too often in the past, I found myself "training" and forgetting what it is that I really love about the bike -- the same thing that I loved as a child -- the freedom! I was so concerned with the destination that I missed the journey. So I'll encourage you to give yourself the gift today of freedom. And fun. And cycling. Go ahead, take the long way home!
Turning Wheels for Kids 2010
Were you one of those lucky kids who had a bicycle? Wait! Don't all children have bicycles? Nope, and that's a down-right shame. Susan Runsvold thought so, too, so in 2003 she began planning what she hoped would be a project with her own friends -- collecting donations to purchase a few bikes to give to children who might not otherwise have one. In 2005, Turning Wheels for Kids was born.
Turning Wheels for Kids has grown to become a fabulous holiday tradition. With the support of the silicon valley community (individuals and businesses), each year the organization is able to purchase 2,000+ children's bikes. And then 700+ community volunteers (including Velo Girls) come together on one day in December to assemble these bikes. It's a festive, fun-filled day and the end result is that 2,000+ children from all over silicon valley will receive the holiday gift of a bicycle.
Join us on Saturday, December 11th, for the annual Turning Wheels for Kids big bike build. Velo Girls will once again have a co-ed team of volunteers for the event and we'd love to have you join us. The bike build is held in San Jose from 8:00am until all the bikes are built (usually around noon). You don't need to be a bicycle mechanic to participate and we welcome men + women (and mature youth, too). It's a great holiday tradition.
If you'd like to join the Velo Girls team, just email email@example.com.
Munday Funday: November 29, 2010
As many times as I've watched this video, it still brings a smile to my lips and tears to my eyes.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! whether you celebrate this day in a traditional manner with friends + family or in a less traditional way (for me, on the bike), I hope you'll each take some time to reflect on the blessings we have and the opportunities we've been given. since this is technically a bicycle-related blog, I'll share some of my bicycle-related thanks.
I'm thankful that I ride a bicycle. yeah, that pretty much sums up my life, so if you have a short attention span, you can stop reading now.
I'm thankful for all the amazing places throughout the world I've visited while riding my bicycle. I've been fortunate to ride in New Zealand, Australia, and Spain, but even more fortunate to explore every nook + cranny of the amazing state of California, as well as Colorado, Oregon, Washington, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Alaska. there's no better way to really experience the country than on the seat of a bicycle.
I'm thankful for all the really cool people I've met while riding my bicycle. my life has been filled with folks who've shared a few miles or many years with me.
I'm thankful for the personal challenges I've experienced while riding my bicycle. I've ridden up mountains, in the dark, snow, cold, and rain. I've ridden on the dirt and on highways. I've done things I never would have thought possible -- all on a bicycle.
I'm thankful for all the extra yummy + delicious guilt-free calories I've been able to consume while riding my bicycle.
I'm thankful that I've been able to build a career riding my bicycle, and that in doing so, I've enabled lots of other folks to share in the benefits of riding a bicycle.
I'm thankful (and hopeful) that I love a sport that I can continue to participate in long after most folks have resigned themselves to the couch. I plan to be that little old lady you see with the long silver ponytail under her helmet.
Yes, I'm thankful for riding a bicycle!
Getting There By Bike
I've long been a bike commuter. It began with my desire to get more training time in way back in the winter/spring of 2000. I was training for my first california aids ride and felt that my weekend long rides + weekday spin classes just weren't doing it for me. At the time I was working in san francisco and living in san mateo. Each way, the commute was about 22 miles. Interestingly enough, I found that the total time commitment to commute by bicycle was similar to the total time commitment of commuting by car or taking the train. Yeah, car traffic was pretty crazy + unpredictable back in the day.
So I started commuting to work. My decision to do so was pretty impromptu. I decided one saturday morning to try riding to san francisco from home, checking out a possible commute route and timing myself. So I bought a set of bike lights, declared myself a bike commuter, and, two days later, I jumped in.
My first commute was a great adventure. I had no plan. I didn't really have the right equipment. I had too much stuff to carry and didn't have a good way to Carry it. I had nowhere to park my fancy new road bike. And once I arrived at work, I didn't have anywhere to shower or prepare for the day. I remember walking to the nearest gym (where my employer had a deal for us), proudly stating that I was preparing for the ca aids ride, and expecting them to let me shower for free. The desk clerk felt sorry for me (or maybe I just stunk) and let me shower -- that one time. After that, she informed me, it would be $10/day. When I got back to my desk, I emailed our team Schwab cycling club list to find out where there was a shower on-site. Unfortunately, there was nothing in any of the buildings near me except one secret, private shower that had been built for the ceo of the company. He had moved offices and no one was using it, but my contact suggested I could sneak in + out and no one would notice. And that's what I did for months.
My commute home was equally as adventuresome. Less than a mile from my office, I nearly killed myself trying to avoid a muni bus. I ended up with my front wheel in a Muni track and took an embarrassing tumble onto Market street. I got a flat tire 3 miles from home and didn't know how to change it so I rode home on it. But I survived and was ready to try again.
I quickly learned that I couldn't carry so much stuff on the bike. I started emailing files home instead of carrying paper (yes, this was pre-access-at-home days). I left three pairs of shoes at the office (brown, black, and blue pumps -- I was set for every occasion) as well as a warm winter coat. I stored a complete set of toiletries (including towel, wash cloth, blow dryer, and curling iron) at my office. Go ahead, laugh about the curling iron, I dare you! And I tried a bunch of different bag systems, finally settling on an oversized lumbar pack from rei to carry just my clothes, wallet, and palm pilot.
As you can see, it took some planning. And preparation. And a few attempts before I had a seamless commute.
I continued to commute for the next year (while I was still working in sf). Somedays I would ride to work and take the train home. Somedays I would ride both ways. Somedays I would add on some extra mileage just for fun!
And while my original goal was to increase my training time, what I learned was that there was a huge emotional/mental benefit to bike commuting as well. When I arrived at the office, I had already achieved something great. I was able to check something off my list before work even began. And I found I had more energy and less stress than if I had been sitting in my car, stuck in traffic, for 60-90 minutes.
Since that time, i've continued to commute and errand by bike. I actually went car-free for two years -- a big accomplishment living on the Peninsula (during a time when Caltrain discontinued weekend service). I transitioned to a cyclocross bike with mounted racks and panniers and eventually to a touring bike. I still have a five-mile rule: If a trip is within five miles, I dont take my car. There were some definite lifestyle changes involved in these decisions, but overall, i'm thrilled with the fact that I choose to live as car-lite as possible.
Commuting and erranding by bike is a great way to save money, contribute to our environment, reduce stress, and stay in shape. But it can seem like a daunting lifestyle change. Velo Girls would like to help you learn how to make this change. One of our members, Torea Rodriguez, took my may Bike Month Challenge, and has forever changed her life. On Wednesday, December 1st, she's going to share her experience with you.
Join us at Mike's Bikes in Palo Alto for our 2011 Velo Girls membership kick-off, where Torea will be our featured presenter, discussing the ins + outs of transportational cycling, from 6:00pm - 7:30pm.
You'll find details of this and all our rides + events on our calendar.
Put a little Bang in your Yin Yang
Energy. It's an amazing thing, right? We've got it, we don't have it, we want more of it, we have too much of it.
I have observed that the more energy i expend, the more energy i have. Funny, isn't it? When i'm active, riding my bicycle, i feel energized and alive and ready to conquer the world. I'm on a roll and there's no stopping me. When i'm inactive, not riding my bicycle, i feel tired and sluggish and depressed. Yeah, there's something to this energy thing.
So, i've returned to practicing yoga. My objective is to balance my physical being -- all the years of high-volume riding coupled with poor posture and bad ergonomics in my office, as well as a couple of serious past injuries. What i didn't expect was to balance my emotional being as well.
In the past, i've practiced Bikram yoga, an intense, athletic form of yoga that's practiced in a heated room. Bikram is yang.* bicycle riding is yang. Participating in both has created some interesting imbalances in both my physical and mental self. Bikram is physically challenging for me. There's no half-way for me in bikram. Being a wee bit competitive in nature, i push too hard, i stretch too far, and i end up sore, tired and potentially injured. And then i quit.
My favorite yoga studio, Being Yoga in Burlingame, offers 40+ classes a week. Most of these classes are bikram, but a handful are other styles of yoga. So i've decided to check out some other styles. Interestingly enough, these non-bikram classes are offered in the middle of the day, a time when my energy starts to flag and i find i need some activity to push me through the afternoon.
Enter Yin yoga. Wow! It's a form of deep yoga with poses that are held for a long time (some of them 10-15 minutes in duration). Instead of focusing on our muscles, yin goes deep into the connective tissue -- ligaments and tendons -- exactly where my broken + abused body really needs some focus. Let's see, yin yoga + yang cycling = balance. That makes sense to me.
The other interesting concept behind yin yoga is that it's very meditative. Being a wired, add, hyper personality, i've never felt comfortable with meditation. Yeah, i think a lot on the bike, but mostly my mind is pinging and ponging between a gazillion ideas at the same time. So for me to actually shut off my mind and focus on just one thought, one mantra, for an extended period of time seemed challenging. But i found that it was actually quite easy to be in the moment. And i also found that it helped my mental focus at other times, too.
Balance. It's a funny thing. Oil + vinegar. Sonny + Cher. Yin + Yang. It's all starting to make sense to me now.
*If you want to learn more about yin + yang and the theory of contrary but interdependent forces, start here.
Munday Funday: November 22, 2010
Grant Yourself Permission
Many years ago, when I first became a cycling coach, one of my clients shared this little nugget of psychological wisdom. She wasn't referring to cycling, but I found it an important lesson for just about anything in life. I immediately stole it and began using it as the preface to my skills clinics. It's simple yet brilliant.
I know you're on the edge of your seat waiting to learn what this piece of advice might be. Of course, if you've participated in one of my clinics, you know exactly what i'm about to type.
"Grant yourself permission to be a beginner." It's okay to not be perfect at everything you do. It's okay to go through the learning process. It's okay to be right where you are right now. It's okay to fail and try again and learn and improve. It's okay to be a beginner.
Whether you're learning to ride a bicycle or race a bicycle, mountain bike, or even ride a unicycle, it's okay to be a beginner.
Something happens to us in adulthood that creates a mental challenge for us to learn something new. We've become successful. We have college degrees, jobs, and healthy relationships. We know how to balance a checkbook and do laundry. We can multi-task. We find it difficult to ask for help. And suddenly, it's not okay (at least in our own minds) to not be perfect at something. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to succeed. And when we don't find immediate success, we're embarrassed and frustrated and (all too often), we give up before we've really given ourselves a chance at success.
I always chuckle when someone says "It's just like riding a bicycle." If that were true, I wouldn't have been able to build a successful business that focuses on teaching adults how to ride and race their bicycles.
Although most of us rode a bike as a child, many of us stop riding for a period of time (usually our 20s) while we're living life in other ways: College, career, family, etc. And then, when we decide it's time to ride a bike again, we're faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. Something has changed since childhood. We have fear. We understand pain + mortality. We have a job to go to on monday. We've forgotten that riding a bike should be fun. We worry about what others will think of us. We feel judged. We've forgotten what our body feels like and how to interact with a bicycle.
So instead, we try to manage the bicycle. We try to fix it and control it and conquer it. And because we don't understand how a bicycle really works and we no longer listen to our body in quite the same way we did as a child, we fail. We crash. We're afraid. And we're frustrated.
I experienced this myself. I rode a bicycle from tricycle to 10-speed free spirit through my early 20s. It was my transportation. It was my freedom. I rode to the playground. I rode to school. I rode to my boyfriend's house. I rode to parties. I rode to my job. I rode everywhere. And then.....I stopped riding.
In 1999, after a decade-long hiatus, I decided that it was time to ride a bike again. I had moved to california and everyone here was healthy. They worked out at the gym and they played outside. They rode bikes. And I wanted to ride a bike, too. So I dusted off my 10 year old specialized hard rock mountain bike and started riding. And I failed. I was afraid of everything: Cars, getting lost, falling off the side of the road, going downhill. And I was frustrated that I was afraid. And I was frustrated that I had failed. And I was frustrated that I was frustrated. How was it possible that I had ridden a bike for more than 20 years but now I was a complete failure?
But those of you who know me well know that i'm stubborn. I really, really wanted to ride my bike. I was obsessed with riding my bike. I registered to ride in the california aids ride, a 7-day ride of almost 600 miles from san francisco to los angeles. I had nine months to train. It seemed impossible. I would conquer it. And I did. Within three months, I had ridden my hard rock almost every day. I completed my first century on the coyote creek trail (solo), riding back + forth + back + forth. I eventually conquered my fear of riding on the road and ventured away from the bike trails. And then I started riding with groups. Before I knew it, I was commuting in the dark from san mateo to san francisco. And then I was leading rides for team Schwab and for the california aids ride. But I still wasn't a perfect rider and that frustrated me.
When I was given the opportunity to change careers in 2001 by Charles Schwab, I decided that I wanted to share the amazing physical, mental, and personal transformation that i'd undergone by riding a bicycle with others. So I became a coach and a personal trainer and founded Velo Girls, one of the first women's-only cycling organizations in the united states. And then I began the process of deconstructing the physics of riding a bike so I could teach others in a way that was logical and progressive. I wanted to break down those barriers that kept adults from riding, kept them from succeeding, and kept them from having fun. I wanted to help adults understand how to ride with their bicycle (not on their bicycle). I developed a series of skills clinics that I tested out on our very first racing team. Those clinics were the foundation of Girls Got Skills, our racing development program, and our four-hour bike skills clinics.
And the rest is history.
So, if you're frustrated or afraid or embarrassed, you're not alone. I was there and hundreds of adults with whom I work each year were there, too. It gets better. But the first step in learning is to give yourself permission to be a beginner and be patient with the learning process. If you do, you'll open up a world of possibilities for yourself.
Sometimes, you gotta get dirty!
I remember way back when, in march 2002 when I founded velo girls, I said we would never do two things. One of those things was race. The other was mountain bike. Neither of those proclamations lasted very long. I'm smart enough to listen to our members and develop programs to meet their interests. We started racing in the summer of 2002 and added weekly mountain bike rides (called the dirty velo girls) in 2003.
This Fall/Winter, join Team Velo Girls members on our Mountain Bike Adventure Ride series as we head out to the best of northern California's mountain bike trails every Sunday. these intermediate-level rides are guaranteed to be fun-filled adventures for everyone! all women are welcome.
This week's ride is Saratoga Gap @ 10:00am. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll find details on the Dirty Velo Girls Mountain Bike Adventure Rides and all our other rides + events on our calendar.
Grab your Crayons!
It's that time of year -- time for the Velo Girls annual Club Jersey Design Contest! So pull out your crayons, watercolors, colored pencils, or your laptop and get those creative juices flowing. Your design could earn a place in Velo Girls history, worn by women throughout northern CA and the world!
Here's the 2010 winner for a little inspiration, designed by Team Velo Girls member Bonnie Osborn (and her partner in crime, Ken).
The deadline to submit your design is December 15th, 2010. You'll find all contest details here.
2011 Begins Now!
2011 will be here before you know it! What are your goals for the next cycling season? Are you planning to race road or mountain? Participate in the Cinderella Classic? How about a century or double or the Death Ride? Whatever your goals, the foundation of next season is built now!
Join Coach Lorri Lee Lown and Team Velo Girls on our new series of 2011 Season Prep Rides, beginning this Saturday, November 20th, and continuing through January. These rides are designed to help you build your base endurance for the 2011 season. We'll start with two-hour rides and increase the duration and intensity each week.
Please note, these coached rides are open to current Velo Girls Club, Team, and Lifetime Members only. If you're not a Velo Girls member, you're welcome to participate in one ride, but are encouraged to join.
You'll find details on this and all our rides + events on our calendar.
Sweeping the Streets for a GREAT Cause
Velo Girls is thrilled to support the 5th Annual Supermarket Street Sweep, a super-cool event that benefits the San Francisco Food Bank. Check it out, grab your bike, and join in the fun on Saturday, December 4, 2010.
Just Added: Bike Skills 301 (group riding) - October 24, 2010
You asked and we listened. Everybody wants to learn how to safely and efficiently ride with a group, whether that's one riding partner or a 50-person peloton. So we added another session of our ever-popular Bike Skills 301 (co-ed pacelines + group riding) clinic to the fall calendar on Sunday, October 24, 2010.
This 4-hour co-ed clinic will teach you the fine art of wheel-sucking. Whether you're a racer or a recreational rider, group riding skills will help you ride longer, faster, farther, and safer. You'll learn draft theory and basic pacelines, beginning with partner work and progressing to more complex group riding skills and introductory racing techniques. We highly recommend that you participate in our Bike Skills 101 clinic prior to registering for Bike Skills 301.
Also on the calendar for Fall 2010:
- Bike Skills 102 (co-ed mountain bike skills): October 2, 2010
- Girls Got Skills (2-day women's cycling clinic): October 16-17, 2010
- Bike Skills 101 (co-ed fundamental bike handling skills): November 13, 2010
- Bike Skills 201 (co-ed climbing + descending skills): November 13, 2010
Gravity Magazine for Women in Action Sports
I know all about labors of love. When I founded Velo Girls in 2002, it was because I felt a passion to help women improve their health (physical and mental) through bicycle riding. I was recently interviewed by another "labor of love" -- Gravity Sports for Women. During my interview, the editor told me that Gravity Magazine has been two years in the making. And this week, they've officially launched! You can check out the feature article here.
And here's a little more from the passionate woman who wants to promote and celebrate the women who "do." Check out her magazine. Follow her on Facebook. And support the women who support the women who do!
Gravity Magazine, Women in Action Sports is new on the scene so we would like to take a minute to tell you what we're all about. Please kick back, and enjoy:
Gravity Magazine is the female reincarnation of every action sports publication ever made. Well, maybe not in the literal sense, but we dream big.
Our website is custom-built for those athletes who do not merely throw, catch or kick balls. It's for those who jump off cliffs, scale rocks, shred powder, ride waves and grind pavement. We are compelled-in the face of an ever growing female presence-to shed light on an overshadowed segment of action sports: Women!
Not because boys are less badass than girls, or because "women can do it too," but because women have been doing it, are doing it, and will continue to do it; they just haven't received the proper media coverage-until now. Gravity Magazine highlights women in every faction of the extreme sports world: amateurs, professionals, artists, photographers, publishers, instructors, and everyone in between. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit publication, we are committed to the representation, empowerment and support of women in all action sports through features, videos, photos and more.
To all of the inspiring women who have graciously lent us their time to help fill the pages of our website; and to all of our generous contributors without whom this would surely never have materialized: A big resounding Thank You!!
We genuinely hope you enjoy exploring our online publication. Our company and website will be evolving in the months to come. Keep coming back for updates, events, news and dedicated coverage of extreme females in action sports. If you are a female athlete or a woman involved in the industry, we would LOVE to talk with you! Please feel free to drop us a line for inquiries, comments, suggestions or to GET INVOLVED! On the flip side, we are always looking for writers and content contributors-shoot us an email!
A note from Gravity Magazine, Women in Action Sports Editor in Chief,
It's not all about the road bike
Bike Skills 102: Mountain Bike Skills - Sunday, July 25th
It's time for a little dirty fun! We'll teach you the basics (and not-so-basics) of balance, weight distribution, and how to use the terrain to your advantage. Learn to rock, roll, hop, and jump. Master the art of steep climbs. Learn to descend with confidence and skill. After just four hours, we guarantee you'll be a better bike handler and have much more fun on the bike. This clinic is highly recommended for both mountain bikers and cyclocrossers.
Bike Skills 103: Cyclocross Skills + Tactics - Saturday, August 7th
Have you been wondering what's all the buzz about cyclocross? It's a fun but challenging sport that's beginner-friendly and appropriate for the entire family. And best of all, it's happening at a park near you! Join guest coaches Julie + Paul Bates in this four-hour clinic where you'll learn all the skills needed to get started in this incredible sport, including mounts, dismounts, and how to shoulder and carry your bike. We'll also share information about bikes & equipment, the local cyclocross racing scene, and how to train for a successful season. We'll finish off the day with a simulated race and de-brief. You'll need a mountain bike or a cyclocross bike for this clinic.
Details and registration for these and all our clinics can be found here.
Carolyn's CCCX season wrap-up
Team Velo Girls member Carolyn Thompson recently completed the CCCX cross-country MTB race series with the concluding race on June 27. She entered not only with good hopes of finishing well, but finished with lessons learned (and shared) after her 2nd time racing the series.
I had to take first place in the final race of the series to place first in the overall points for my category. My opponent had been injured and not feeling well and I have been feeling strong so I though my chances were good... it was not going to be easy but I at least had a shot at winning.
How to do the Death Ride without really dying
After coaching last week's Velo Girls Alpine Altitude Adventure camp, I wanted to share my top tips for Death Ride success. I've participated in the Death Ride three times (2010 will be my 4th). There are lots of ways to approach an event like this. Here are my best suggestions:
- Have a Plan. If you don't have a plan, you're less likely to keep on schedule, make the time cuts, and keep going when the day gets challenging. In your plan, include details like your time goals (print these out and put them on your bar, stem, or top tube), nutrition (what to eat + drink and when), and clothing.
- Stick to your Plan. Don't get lost in the moment. Revisit your plan during the day as needed.
- Have a Partner. In my experience with the Death Ride, I've found having a partner encourages accountability. Discuss with your partner in advance if you'll ride together the whole day. If not, when/where will you re-group. Discuss your challenges and how you will support each other during the day.
- Pace Yourself. Ride at YOUR pace - a pace that is sustainable for the entire day. Don't get caught up in the excitement of the early morning hours and try to keep up with the hammer-heads. Remember, some riders will be much faster. Some riders aren't planning to complete all five passes. If you start out too hard, too soon, you're likely to suffer later in the day.
- Go Easy on the Easy Parts. Yes, that's what I said. Resist the temptation to hammer on the lower grades and the flats. Allow yourself to recover on the easy terrain and conserve your energy for the hard terrain (when you really need it).
- Remember to Breathe! Altitude affects individuals in different ways. In general, you will feel the effects at higher intensities. Try to prepare mentally for the negative effects of altitude (shallow breathing, rapid heart rate, headache, and nausea). Don't linger at the top of the climbs, but rather at the bottom. And don't panic when you suffer the effects of altitude -- remember that when you descend many of these negative effects will disappear or lessen.
- Freshen up for Five! As you pass through Markleeville, take a quick break to change clothes (a clean chamois will make you very happy), grab an icy cold drink from your cooler and your favorite treat, and an Action Wipe. We leave all of this in our car on the route so we can make a quick stop to refresh before the final climb.
- Don't Try Anything New. The day of the Death Ride is not the day to experiment with your nutrition, hydration, clothing, or equipment.
- Expect the Unexpected. For many riders, this is the most epic and challenging day they will have spent in the saddle. Over the course of 10 hours, anything can happen. Try to be flexible and roll with it.
- Don't Forget your Lotions + Potions. At 5:00am you're probably not thinking about sunscreen and lubrication. Here's your reminder. Apply early and apply often. I'm a big fan of Betwixt + Zealios and will be taking extra little sample-size packets with me on the ride.
- Celebrate your Victories! Participating in the Death Ride is a great accomplishment. There will be times when you feel overwhelmed and unhappy. Remember to smile. If someone says "good job," even if you feel awful, just smile and say thank you. Ring a bell or holler at the top of your climbs. Appreciate the great feat you've accomplished.
- Be in the Moment. Stay focused and aware, especially when descending. Although the roads are closed to cars (on Monitor and Ebbetts), there are 3,000 bicycles on the road. Be aware of others and your interactions with them. Ride safely, don't take undue risks, and have fun!
- Honor Mother Nature. It's true, you'll experience lots of different weather on an event like the Death Ride: cold morning temperatures, blazing sun and heat, and (most years) rain, hail, thunder, lightening, and chilling temps in the afternoon. Even if it's 90 degrees mid-day, it's likely to be cold + wet later in the afternoon. Don't ditch your layers before climbing Carson (you might very well need them).
Velo Girls Coaching Services announces additional 2010 clinic dates
Due to popular demand, we've added a bunch of dates to our 2010 coaching calendar:
- Bike Skills 101 - Fundamental Bike Handling Skills sponsored by BicycleLawyer.com:
Jul 17, Sep 18, Nov 13
- Bike Skills 102 - Fundamental Mountain Bike Skills:
Jul 25Aug 7, Oct 2
- Bike Skills 103 - Cyclocross Skills + Tactics: Aug 8
- Bike Skills 201 - Climbing + Descending Skills: Jul 18, Sep 18, Nov 13
- Girls Got Skills sponsored by Jan Medina Real Estate: Oct 16-17
Six Weeks to a Century
Join Team Velo Girls members in preparing for your late-summer events! This series is designed to increase distance and climbing weekly, while riding some of the best routes the Bay Area has to offer.
JULY 3 (SATURDAY): Tiburon Loop from San Francisco: 38 miles with 2,200' of climbing
JULY 11 (SUNDAY): Portola Loop from Burlingame: 50 miles with 3,200' of climbing
JULY 18 (SUNDAY): Calavares Loop from Fremont: 60 miles with 5,600' of climbing
JULY 25 (SUNDAY): South Bay ride TBA
AUGUST 1 (SUNDAY): Los Gatos Loop from Canada/92: 75 miles with rolling hills
AUGUST 8 (SUNDAY): Point Reyes from San Francisco: 80 miles with 6,000' of climbing
Details for the series and all our Velo Girls rides, clinics, and events can be found on our club calendar.
Contact email@example.com to RSVP for the Six Weeks to a Century series rides.
Ladies: Start your engines ... NOW!
Happy summer! By this point, you've probably had several solid months on the bike, completed a century or two, and are thinking "what's next?" Don't let another year pass you by wishing you'd learned to road race.
Velo Girls has just the program for you if you've tossed around the idea of racing, the Tri-Flow Women's Development Racing Program. In this award-winning, innovative, learn-to-race program, you'll work with a small team of other women just like you, women who are ready to challenge themselves to try something new. You'll meet with the team twice a week, once for high-intensity training and once for endurance and skills training. You'll learn everything you need to know to successfully complete your first road race, and hopefully continue racing during the summer months. And you'll be supported with expert coaching, a team kit (jersey + shorts), a training plan, and email support.
I'm especially excited about an addition to the program for this summer! Kristin Keim, JFKU Doctorate candidate in Clinical Psychology/Sport Psychology Graduate, will be interning with Velo Girls. The mental part of the sport can be equally as challenging as the physical aspect, and Kristin will help you conquer your demons and perform at your best mentally.
so what are you waiting for? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Or click here to register now! Consider this your personal invitation to challenge yourself in ways you never thought possible!
Falling off the bike
There was a recent thread on the Velo Girls email group that prompted this post. In that thread, a rider commented that a specific local century ride was dangerous because the roads were in poor condition and that these roads caused at least three crashes during the event. With no disrespect to the original poster, I feel obliged to share some thoughts about these assertions.
Roads do not cause crashes. Unskilled riders cause crashes.
I've had the opportunity to ride and race my bike all over the world. I've ridden my road bike on baby-butt smooth pavement, on cracked and pot-holed farm roads, and on dirt roads (including an epic 1/2 mile dirt climb on Happy Canyon just this past weekend). You can ride your road bike on sand, gravel, grass, and ice. If you limit yourself to riding on perfect pavement, you might as well just ride loops in a business park (there are plenty of them in northern CA). Some of my most memorable rides are those that took place on less than perfect roads. These are the challenges we remember long after the ride is over.
When I first began riding a bike again as an adult, I was scared of everything. Instead of riding intuitively, I tried to manage every obstacle and bump on the road. I tried to control the bike instead of working with the physics of the bike to allow it to do what it's supposed to do. I was nervous and I didn't understand how my bike worked. And somehow, I never crashed (although I probably should have given the way I rode).
So, how do riders not crash when riding on variable terrain?
How can we be there if we aren't going anywhere?
Velo Girls, Michelle Goldberg and Patty Namba, participated in a unique fundraising ride. Michelle shares her experience:
We kept riding, and riding, and riding, around and around and around. Neighbors were starting to wonder. One neighbor, sitting on her porch, eventually fell asleep watching us go around and around and around.
At one point, I asked Patty if we were there yet. Her response was "How can we be there if we aren't going anywhere?" So very true that was.