It takes a team

It takes a team

To truly line up on the start line requires focus, planning, commitment, and preparedness in your Physical, Mental, Recovery, Nutrition,Team and Luck.

Physical training is putting your body through incredible stress, and suffering so come race day whatever the course and opponents have to offer, it feels easy in comparison to what you have been doing in training. Maybe not easy… but you are prepared and ready for the challenge. 
Not every race is won by pure power. It takes a strong, confident, sharp mind to know your opponents, course and winning strategy, to navigate through the peloton like a boss, and conduct your face with a cool calm nose breathing demeanor even though your legs are screaming at you to stop. It means believing in yourself and the work you have done, and knowing you can suffer even harder and won’t die from the pain you are feeling in your legs, and lungs. It means trusting your instinct, and to be patient so when you do strike it is with purpose, because you have played this moment over and over again in your head, arms out stretched over your head because you just won. 
Recovery is not just a shake, its easy spins to the coffee shop to meet your neglected friends, its visiting that person who spends hours working your muscles like rising dough, often inflicting giggles because thats what you do when you’re in pain. It means guilt-free naps in the middle of the day, sleeping in and sleeping often. It means pretending like you are a vegetable posted up on the couch sipping on your Maxim water bottle.
Nutrition – this is a BIG one. Nutrition matters on the bike off the bike, in training and recovery. It takes time and experimentation to learn what works for you. For me I am still learning how to properly fuel on the bike. Off the bike I feel pretty solid but getting myself to eat and drink on the bike, and to do enough of both is a challenge. This year we, the Fearless Femme Team  made the switch to Maxim, a European company now in the US which has been the fuel of the Tour de France teams for over 25 years. I had found a nutrition product in the past that had worked for me so I was a bit nervous to make the change, but it was an easy transition that has produced amazing results. 
The first and most important is simply that I want to use it. The Hypotonic Sports Drink tastes great in all three flavors, and is not too sweet like a lot of other sport drinks, so when I get a bottle feed I’m never disappointed in what I get. I’m satisfied knowing I’m getting a drink with all the essential vitamins, electrolytes and energy that I need so if I fall short on my other nutrition intake needs I know I am getting optimum nutrition from just my bottles. It’s like this product was made for me. All they have to offer from Carb load to gels are effective, so this encourages me to use them.
Without a team to race with, and a team of people to support you its hard to be a professional in any sport. I am fortunate to surrounded by an incredible team. 
Race Team: Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing, is a merger of two teams and sponsors with long term vision and goals chartered to advance and advocate youth and community cycling, as part of Pure Energy Velo, a  501c-3 based non-profit organization. 
With the team comes a star cast of sponsors: 
Coaching: Kendra Wenzel of Wenzel Coaching has been an integral part of my training and progression on the bike. We have an exciting path ahead of us.
Recovery/ Massage: Colleen Mcclenahan is experienced working with athletes. Her technique is slow and deliberate, which encourages the tissue to soften and melt. She has been amazing for recovery and correcting injury. 
Mental Preparedness: Melinda at GritPerformance fills the gap between hard work and mental strength. Melinda has experienced both the thrill of success and the challenge of adversity as an athlete throughout her life, battling her own addictions to running, skiing, swimming, yoga and recently mountain biking. As a coach and instructor Melinda speaks the language of an athlete while implementing brain based research skills for success.
Nutrition: Not only has Maxim Sports Nutrition properly fueled me but the team of Laura Borgelt, PharmD an English Channel swimmer, USA Aqua Bike National Champion and Ironman triathlete, and Brendan Lundy MBA co-founder of many start-ups, both domestically and internationally and athlete, as a former European cyclist and as an international triathlete, have both been a great resource with a plethora of knowledge and experience. 
Luck: There is no practicing luck, but to be successful in a race you need to have a lot of luck on your side. In my mind that means being a good person on and off the bike and keeping your good karma bucket full.
Want to build good karma and build an awesome Nutrition regime? 
Then go to Maxim Sports Nutrition and get a SPECIAL DISCOUNT of 20% off when you use Discount Code :  FearlessFemme  Use this code and you will support Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing  and this may even gain you some luck in your next race.
I cannot thank this team enough.
Maxim Sports Nutrition
Racing, training, dirt, and adventure

Racing, training, dirt, and adventure

When I’m up I’m up, and I want the world to know it. I want to share the experience with everyone who has helped me, pushed me, and believed in me along the way to get me to this moment. So when I’m down, I socially shut down, my blog, and athlete page suffer, and I go into hibernation. I fundamentally know that I will not lose your support, and that this is all a process. In a sport as grueling as cycling, a lot of things have to go right and luck needs to be on one’s side to have a good day, let alone a fantastic day. And, even fewer things need to happen to make for a bad day on the bike, often completely out of one’s control.

So why am I so hard on myself and why the shut down? Its hard to say “Hey, world I’m making progress, I’m doing better then last year, I’m crushing my power numbers but it just doesn’t seem to be enough right now to get me on the podium, sorry for falling on my face, but I’m getting closer to being there, I hope you will still believe in me and cheer for me!” I also am not one to make excuses or point fingers, if I was crashed out gapped off, dropped or have a mechanical it all comes down to something I did, did not do, or a decision that was made at some point leading up to or after the starting gun went off. It could even be karma getting me back for killing that spider last night.

What I am trying to say is it is hard for me to share and talk about the bad days, the hard days. I’m embracing them though, as part of the process, and am learning how to navigate through them and still share my racing experiences with all of you in a positive, honest way.

I promise to be better moving forward. Choosing not to look back to much I will summarize the past few months.

I went in to several stage races with expectations, and personal goals, some where met but many where not. At Joe Martin this year, I was in the first chase group, that much closer to being in the select group of top contenders. In my second year of stage racing I can feel the gains, but know I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. With a new team, and a team that is developing its riders it has been an interesting navigation exercise. We have been set free to learn how to race and to learn to finish a race. This has been both liberating, but also difficult for me to navigate as I am accustomed to having a role, a job to accomplish that often lead to me not finishing or even being expected to finish with the leaders. So with this new found freedom and expectations to finish the race and to try and finish with the leaders, I was learning to race my bike all over again, and maybe the right way for the first time.

I had an incredible training camp in Bend, Oregon where I got to spend some quality time with the people and pups that I love, riding my road bike on killer climbs and my mountain bike on mind blowing single track that made me question why I do not race dirt. This was great prep both mentally and physically for the races to come.

I am currently out on the road again just finishing up Pro Road Nationals in Chattanooga where I came up short of my goal to cross the finish line. I, along with 53 other riders, were pulled and only a very select group of 23 riders were allowed on the finishing circuits. Now in Richmond, I am enjoying the company of awesome teammates training together getting ready for the upcoming races in Winston Salem and Philly. No matter how the races go expect updates.

Thank you all for the continued support.

Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing

Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing launched in Houston TX a few weeks back. It was a crazy fun week of getting to know new team mates, dialing in equipment, training, riding for photo and video shoots, and riding for fun! We got to meet sponsors and the supporting community at our team lunch and spread the word about our 501(c)(3) a development of Pure Energy Velo, who’s mission is to build community health and awareness through cycling.

We then drove across the big state of TX then AZ to get to CA where we have spent the last two weeks racing and training, first competing in the San Dimas Stage race (Race report can be found here at Cycling Illustrated), and then riding many hours on the beautiful roads of CA in prep for Redlands Cycling Classic. The race kicked off Wednesday with the Highland Circuit race, a hell of a hill on one side and a technical crit style course on the other. Today was the Time Trial at Big Bear Lake, a 7.65 mile roller coster ride. The hardest part of this stage for me was the drive up and down the 48 mile twisty mountain roads, my world was spinning.

The next few days consist of the return of the famous Yucaipa road race, with three grueling circuits and then a 6 mile climb to the Finish at Oak Glen Village, this will be a very decisive race and could be a big shake up to the GC.

Saturday brings the race into downtown Redlands for a fast technical crit, my personal favorite. This 60 minute race highlights the bike classic in the community. Spectators are able to get up close and will experience the high speeds and aggressive racing. We hope to see all the kids we visited the past two weeks at school visits come out and race in the kids race as well.

Last but not least on Sunday, the Sunset Road Race, a 68.3 mile race that is ripped apart at the seams in the “neutral” start. If a racer manages to survive this, they enter onto a fast technical circuit where a small select group will then descend back into downtown and finish on the same crit course as the day before and the over all winer will be determined.

Both the Crit and Sunset will be live streamed, so tune in on Saturday and Sunday to watch the action play out. All race times and info can be found here.

Follow the team for updates on FaceBook on Twitter @FEARLESS_HAUTE.

While you are here also check out my updated pages with race schedule, sponsor and other team info. Lets do this!

Off Season

Off Season

Off season. What does that mean?

Your feet are standing in one spot, but your emotions are all over the place. Its like a rubber band you have been pulling on and pulling on, and then you come to a stop at full tension, and someone lets go on the other end. What happens next? Everything comes rushing at you, and you hope that this year you are prepared for it.

The race season is over: no more racing. No more packing your bike, just to unpack it a few hours later in a different state. No more proving the car rental agent wrong, “No I do not need an upgrade. I can fit all of this into a compact.” Suck it car rental agents all over the country. I never came back for that upgrade.

No more airport runs to pick up teammates. No more grocery runs and calculating the perfect amount of food so you don’t run out, and so you don’t have leftovers. This became a personal challenge of mine that somehow turned in to a really gratifying game when I won.

No competitive remembering where hosts keep their kitchen devices so I can smugly ask teammates, “what are you looking for? Oh that? that is in the drawer left of the stove in the way back.” Why smugly you ask? Because not everyone can have this superpower to see something once and then know were it is when you can’t find it. You will thank me someday.

No more “sleeping” on an air mattress, waking up with your butt on the floor, or hating yourself in the middle of the night for forgetting to put that extra blanket under you because you are now air-conditioning-frozen, even though its 100 degrees outside.

No more lying awake playing the end of the race (which hasn’t happened yet) over and over again in your head, and analyzing all the different ways you might win or lose the race.

No more timing race day down to the minute: what time you wake up, when you will have your coffee, when you will go to the bathroom, when you will eat breakfast, pack your pre and post race snack, load up the car, drive to the race, unload the car, prep your race wheels, sign in, pin your number, warm up, change your wheels, pre race snack, hit the bathroom one last time, and then one more time after that. Line up… wait. Wait some more. Race your bike. Eat, drink, repeat. None of that.

No more post-race recovery, clean up, and depending on how the race played out, no more going to the podium or playing the race over and over in your head to analyze what went wrong. Or if you made the podium, there’s no making sure you’re zipped up, podium hat is on with your sunglasses placed just so that they re not blocking the sponsor logo. No making sure you are standing just right so all the things you are insecure about will not show up in the podium shot.

Off season means no negotiation of who showers first, or checking your post-race email inbox and working until its well past your scheduled bed time, only to start the process all over for race day 2.

Off season means everyone goes back to their home states and countries, and then thats when the rubber band hits and you have about two weeks to deal with it, to not look at your bike, to start panicking about who you will ride for next season, to reflect on what went right, what went wrong, where you can make improvements, and when you try and relax and enjoy this short break before the real work starts.

The off season in my opinion is the hardest part of the year. This is where you begin to lay the foundation, where you are honest with yourself and where you dig deep both mentally and physically. The workouts on the bike may not be intense at first, but they are long, depending on who you are and what your coach’s training philosophy is. You may start running, you may go to the gym and start lifting. In my case I do both.

Running = put your shoes on and your out the door. Freedom is quiet trail runs, breathing deep, and alone time with your thoughts.

Lifting = hard work, noticeable achievements week to week, working your arms to the point that it’s hard to lift that recovery drink (and by recovery drink I mean adult beverage. It is the off season after all.) to your lips with trembling arms.

Bike = long slow distances, a lot of time in your head, and building a strong foundation for the coming season. Endurance, endurance, endurance. Depending where you live this may also mean a lot of trainer time. This is my second year in Portland, Oregon, and sometimes the rain is coming down so hard that the streets are flooded, or its just so cold that no matter what you do your hands and feet go past numb to that painful stabbing feeling in a short period of time. I find that a good trainer/rollers and a great playlist help me to get through these indoor training sessions. Its even better when you can do it with a friend or go to your favorite computrainer studio (mine is EndurancePDX)  and share laughs and painful workouts with your buddies.

The most important thing to me about the off season is finding a balance between getting the prescribed work done and allowing myself to have fun, indulge a bit now because once race season comes around you will allow yourself these simple pleasures less and less. Find motivation in friends and in yourself by going over your upcoming season goals no matter how big or how small over and over again. It’s a great use of your time on those long solo rides. Keep up the positive self talk, and envision yourself on that top step as much as possible.

There are a lot of exciting things coming in 2015 and I will share all of those soon enough. 2014 was a hard transitional year from crit racing to stage racing, I learned a lot about racing and about myself. I also had one of my better seasons, standing on that top step several times, taking back-to-back wins on multiple occasions, and taking home the Oregon Criterium State Championships.

The hard decision to change coaches was made and I am really excited about the progress we have already seen. As a graphic designer I have been really fortunate this year to be able to work with so many amazing clients. Without them I could not keep the same focus on my training as I do now. We got a dog, Abi, and she now has an Instagram hashtag: #abitheaussie. Abi, you have filled my heart with joy, and you have tested me like only a puppy can. I look forward to many adventures with you little girl. My support system is what gets me up in the morning and to bed at night. Without Gino, the friends who have stuck by my side, and the new ones here in Portland I’m not sure I could do this – any of this – without you. It’s your belief, your cheers and friendship that keep me going, as well as believing in myself and this crazy dream I have. 2014 you have been a tough one, I thank you for all that I have learned but I am excited to move on to 2015.