Archive for the ‘Cycle Maven Blog’ Category

Training: The Older You Get, The Harder It Is To Come Back…Pfft

May 8, 2014

That’s what I’d always heard.
“It’s gonna take you  longer, and it’s going to hurt more and more each time.”
So now that I’m older here’s what I’ve got to say:
Screw you, buddy.
The older I get, the smarter I train, and recover.
Science and technology are making that easier and easier for me. So there.

Here are some basics that I KNOW will always help me.

  1. Start small and build up.
    Nope, it doesn’t matter what it is, but the general rule is that 21 days makes a habit. So I build my programs 3 weeks at a time, and the build is usually gradual and comfortable.
  2. If anything hurts, STOP NOW.
    Tomorrow is another day, and long-term injuries that do not go away come from not stopping. Good things come from controlled failures.
  3. Nutrition and Eating Schedule.
    I generally have a good diet, but I try to have more protein and fat in the beginning of my season, and as I need more calories, I put in more carbs. I also go from eating 3 larger meals a day, to 6 smaller meals. The difference in calories on season and off season is incredible (from 1600 kcal/day to 3000 kcal), so I have to fit them in somewhere. But I have discovered that when I eat is just as important as what I eat.
  4. Myofacial Release and Stretching.
    I know. I hate it too. But rollering and stretching are the best things for keeping me balanced. I have problems with Hyper-mobilty so I have to be careful about building muscles evenly, and keeping my tendons in balance. Most of my injuries have come from a muscle or tendon being too loose while the opposing tendon/muscle is too tight.
  5. Compression.
    This is a precious gift from the materials science gods and goddesses, and GAWD does it work. #ifuckinglovescience.   It cuts down on soreness immensely.
  6. A Weight Training Program.
    No, not just going to the gym a grabbing a couple of kettle balls for a 10 minute pump. I am talking about a serious program like powerlifting. Powerlifting is excellent for cyclists in particular, because it helps stave off bone loss. In fact, it increases bone density pretty much exactly where we need it. Oh the other thing? Crashing with a good deal of natural armor (aka muscle), is better. I really KNOW this to be true for me, because when I have a good deal of muscle, I bounce and yes, even skid better. Sorry about the imagery.
  7. A Coach
    “Any racer who’s only had themselves as a coach, is eventually coaching a fool.” – Girl Meets Bike.
    Yes, I said that, and I mean it as much for myself as anyone else. Want to get better? You have to have a qualified objective observer. Nuff said.

    “Thinking getting older sucks? Consider the alternative.”

              Steven Wright

AIDS/LifeCycle 10 Podcasts a success…

April 18, 2011

It seems that AIDS/LifeCycle is taking up all of my time right now. We are in crunch time of ALC preparation, and I’ve also taken on these podcasts (which has been a HUGE learning experieince in itself), so I have not been able to blog for Girl Meets Bike in a while.

What I can tell you is this:

  • Being an ALC Cyclist Representative is wonderful, but requires a lot of time and multi-tasking.
  • Much of what I do is either coaching, teaching my cyclists how to fundraise, or filling out reports mentioning every interaction I have with them (that’s right, it not all fun and games 😉 )
  • Being a podcaster is insane and wonderful; it’s also like a second job right now, but I think it’s really important, and worth my time.
  • Podcasting it for AIDS/LifeCycle is an experience of a lifetime, if just for the stories I get to hear from our participants and clients.
  • When I can get out for a ride on my own, it is usually on my New Specialized Myka. I hope to put up a review of the Myka soon, but I can honestly say right now that this bike is the most versatile bike I’ve ever owned.

The Podcasts Can Now Be Found On The Girl Meets Bike YouTube Channel

The quality of the first one is bad, but it gets better as the series continues.

How to size up a Mountain Bike – girl’s quick and dirty version

December 16, 2009

Who would ever think that you would hear those words put together: Women’s Geometry Mountain Bike. It is sweet music to the ears of women who have been riding their ill-fitting mountain bikes for years, and enjoying mountain biking in spite of problems like endo-ing off a bike that’s too big. But it seems as if all of a sudden, for 2010 many manufacturers have created real, “made for a woman’s  three dimensional body” proportioned bikes. There are many to speak of, but how do you figure out your size?

First, you should ask yourself

What are you using this bike for?

What kind of terrain is in your area?

Here are a few things to think about:

If you live in an area with a lot of quick up and downs, consider rapid rise shifters.

If your live in an area with roots, and rocks, and flowy singletrack, full suspension can be a godsend.

If you plan to shuttle, and/or live in a very steep area, consider a bike with a bit more travel (4-5 inches of suspension), and a more slack geometry.

If you have sustained sometimes never ending hill climbs, mostly smooth trail or fire road, or if budget is a big concern, then consider a hardtail.

Weight Matters

Tips for Light Riders (150-120 lbs) and Very Light Riders (under 120 lbs)

Don’t let anyone tell you that the weight of the bike is not the most important thing to you;  you on average, weigh two thirds to one half of the guy standing next to you. For controlling the front end, you only have (again, on average), about one third of his upper body strength. That front end has to be lighter for you, otherwise your shoulders will ache unreasonably, (and in a group you’ll probably be the first to tire). Steer clear of bikes that are over 30 lbs., unless it is a downhill bike.

If you are 120 lbs. or less,

Be sure to research which forks and rear-end suspension systems allow fine adjustments for your weight. This is VERY important, as there are still many that do not cater to the 120-90 lb. range.

Unless you have unbelievable strong shoulders, try to stay under the 25 lb mark. Yes, do ask for it to be weighed in front of you. Or better yet, bring your own scale. (Yes it’s true; bike shops guys love me.)

Size Matters (or not)

The labels are at best confusing, and at worst, deceiving. For instance, most men who are 5’10” have no problem finding a bike: since they are average height for a guy, they pick out a medium. OK, that makes sense.

But if you are a woman of average height (5’4″), EVEN IF IT IS A WOMAN’S bike, you will most probably fit a small or XS. But it’s possible that even the women’s small will be far too large for you. I can think of at least two women’s mtb bikes that cannot sell to 53% of the women’s market because they don’t make their women’s bikes small enough to fit women average height or shorter.

So how can I tell if it’s my  size? The best and easiest way that I have found, is with a secret weapon: with my imaginary friend, the Effective Top Tube (or EFF).

Effective Top Tube is the horizontal distance between the center of the head tube, and the center of the seat tube. Much like fitting a backpack, If you measure your torso from C7 down to the Sacrum (which is a few inches longer than the backpack measurement), you’ll have a wonderful guide to which bike will likely fit you well.

So this Woman’s Specialized Era fits a woman of average height in a Small; in fact, this size would statistically fit the majority of women. Do the buyers in local bike shops take note of this when ordering? One would hope so.

Have a friend measure your back with a cloth measuring tape, so that the measurement hugs the contours of your back. They can locate your C7 vertebra, because it is the big lump at the base of you neck, when you tilt your head forward. Then have them contour straight down to the bottom of the spine (there should be a little protuberance at the bottom, that’s the Sacrum). Cut a piece of non-stretchable string exactly this length. and take it with you when going to the bike shop. If you see a bike that you think will fit you, use the string to make sure it is the same size as the effective top tube. The Effective Top Tube measurement of each bike is also available under the “geometry” section of the bike information, and most brands list them online, usually in centimeters. Using this as a simple measuring tool can keep you clear of bikes that are not your size.

A Few Choice Words About Standover Height

Unless you ride your bike with both feet on the ground, it’s really not that important, and much less important than spine measurement.  Just make sure you can stand over your bike.

Geometry Matters

This is the easy part. Your geometry depends upon where you live, or the terrain where you will ride. Not sure? Check out what bikes other women ride in your area. Or go to, and look up your state or country. If you search around, you’re bound to find out some information about what bikes (i.e., light cross country, single speed, downhill bikes, etc.) people are riding in your area.


November 24, 2009

This Friday is your chance to save an EXTRA 20% off of already discounted prices. For 24 hours Girl Meets Bike Shop will take 20% off all items, INCLUDING those on sale. Details for discounts here

Coupon Code: GMBS8HLFRJV4

Sale is BLACK FRIDAY SALE is on Friday, November 27th,valid until Sunday November 29th at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time.

How it all went terribly pair shaped….

August 27, 2009

I won’t be doing the Furnace Creek 508 this year because I ran out of money. That’s the short explanation. The long explanation is that the combination of the economy tanking, and three major financial blows in one month killed any plans I had of  doing the Furnace Creek 508; all of a sudden it had become way too expensive, and out of my reach.

It’s hard to plan for something like this, and then have it pulled from under your feet. I’ve been working on doing a major race/ fundraising event for about a year. Every bit of training effort that I had went into this. But, all in the same month, my dog got bitten by a nasty off-leash dog costing us a fortune in veterinary bills, then our garden had major erosion control issues (threatening the integrity of our house) and then our SUV blew up, which was suppose to be the follow van. When I realized that I’d have to rent a “follow van” for about 5 days, that was the breaking point. It was like trying to tap blood from a stone.

In the end, all the money that I had for The 508, just wasn’t there, and then some. I’m behind the eight ball at this point, trying to make the best of things, to come back from this, but it’s going to take some time, certainly more than I have for this year.  I am heartbroken. I really wanted to do this, or at least do the fundraiser, but I don’t even have the money for that.

Another hard part about this: my training was going really well! With the exception of a bizarre soreness that I’ve been feeling over the past few weeks, my power/mass has been improving steadily. What a bummer to be all dressed up like this, with no place to go.

Then there’s the weight that I added specifically so that I could start cranking out the watts as I lost it. Ugh, now I have to lose those pounds by diet, rather than extra work and cycling.

It’s embarrassing to have your whole year’s worth of planning time and effort crushed like this; without a steady direction of where to go what to do next, I feel like a fish out of water. Indeed this has been my beautiful disaster.

On the other hand, I’ve often said that what doesn’t kill you makes an interesting story, so I’m hoping that in spite of a lack of fun 508 tales I should still have enough from my adventures as a coach, bike fitter, and bike clothing retailer, and RAAM crew member, for a fascinating book called “Girl Meets Bike Book”. For the next little while, I’ll be writing my little heart out, trying to create a book that will inspire you, yes you, to get on your bike and feel joy, get exercise, and save money too.

PLUG,PLUG, place to shop:

I’ll also be opening my online store again, and I’m selling some of last season’s goods HERE. I’m selling incredible stuff at an absolute bargain right now, so pick up some deals now, while you can (and help a girl get back in the saddle, financially).

When I Bike, I Always Carry…

May 1, 2009

I was always a bit of a girl scout; always prepared (to fend for myself). So of course like any good cyclist worth her salt I always carry a descent bike repair kit, consisting of:

  • 2 tubes
  • Air pump or CO2 canisters
  • tire levers
  • a good multi-tool
  • a 15mm wrench, if I’m riding with bolts, instead of quick-release skewers
  • ID + money
  • water bottle (with either water or supplement drink in it.)
  • cell phone

But practically speaking, this is not quite enough to get me through a ride over 2 hours. After that, I need food, I need more sunscreen, and I probably need to find a restroom. So for most of my rides, I carry my “consumables case”. This is essential for me to stay on the bike and ready for action. I highly recommend this for any girl on a bike, but particularly for those gals who put in the long hours, you’ll probably need this, or something like it:

1. Action Wipes – I used to hate carrying around baby wipes because of the smell, but when I need to re-apply sunscreen or chamois butter, I need to clean my skin with something; it is absolutely essential in order to prevent saddle sores, pimples, and general skins problems due to bacteria. Enter Action Wipes. Action Wipes allow you to clean up and reapply, but smell and feel much nicer than baby wipes. In addition, they can be washed (I put them in a lingerie bag, hang dry), and reused a few times; just a couple a spritzes of the AW Sports Spray on a clean wipe, and you’re ready to go again. I’m very pleased to say that Martha of Action Wipes is Sponsoring Team Osprey for the RAAM. Right now, Action Wipes is having a contest, in which you can win a ONE YEAR Supply of Action Wipes: details here!

2. Sunscreen – Time to re-apply. I found out the hard way that applying sunscreen every two hours is absolutely essential in Southern California. All it takes is one time without it, to damage skin and risk skin cancer. My latest sunscreen is a Los Angeles based company which uses all organic ingredients: Coola (SPF 45) . The other sunscreen I like is a dusting powder called ColoreScience (SPF 30) which works nicely when I just can’t deal with any more goopy stuff on my skin.

3. Chamois Cream– I like Assos, but I’m searching for something without parabens. My guess is that the next Chamois cream I will try will be Beljium Budder, IF I can find it. I carry it in a small cream pot.

4. P-Mate – Why? Because I like to wear bibs. Because I don’t like port-a-potties, but I have to use them. Because I like getting rest stops done fast. P-mates have changed my life in this way. ’nuff said.

5. Energy drink powder – If you’re on the road it’s easy to find water, so why carry extra weight? I carry extra powder, and mix it as I need it. As I’ve said, Endurox seems to work well for me.

6. Food- Sure, I could probably find food along the way, but while riding I prefer to eat things I’ve tested and know will not upset my stomach: most energy bars do. But one Luna Bar in Lemon Zest, works for me, so I always have one around for “emergency rations”.

These are my consumable essentials; I can’t imagine going out for a 3-6 hours ride without all of the above.

I was wrong to change formats, staying with blog…

December 9, 2008

Ok, I admit it. The online magazine format does not work. I spent more time fussing about with the formatting and typesetting than anything else, which slowed down my article-writing time to approximately one second divided by zero. In addition, I’ve found out that people prefer this format to the magazine, given the same article. Well lesson learned. I’m quitting the new format and will just be posting here, so this will turn into girl meets bike, girl on bike.

I guess sometimes it’s best to stick with simple.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be posting the articles I should have posted on girl meets bike. Sorry for the delay, but I guess like most bloggers, I have things to learn about what’s easiest for both reader and writer. Thanks to my followers for sticking with me.

Dura Ace Electronic 7900 First Look: Nice but want to be more Impressed

October 3, 2008

I love Shimano componentry; always have. As a person who knows that her bikes will always be around, I have the philosophy of “Buy once, buy right”, which includes a drivetrain that I will really enjoy riding. Enter my favorite, Shimano Dura Ace 7800. After having ridden the 7800 Grupo for a couple of thousand miles, I’m more in love now, than when I first saw them. So when I heard that Shimano’s new 7900 grupo was now electronic shifting, I was intrigued. I had to see it and test it myself. Mind you, I have yet to really ride it, so I have no idea how the brakes respond in a real world circumstance. I’ll reserve full judgement until I get a true test ride.

Much slimmer hood design, better for smaller hands

Much slimmer hood design, better for smaller hands

Index finger is on shifter button.

Index finger is on shifter button.

At the Shimano booth, I see that there is a test bike in a trainer, so I hope on for a ride, to see how it feels. The first thing I noticed was how easy it is to switch to a larger chainring; it was literally the push of a button with no effort at all. Niiice. The front derailleur placement happens automatically, so no more adjusting for trim. No more fussing around at all. Impressive. I was also taken with the design of the hoods, and marvel at how I could fit my small hands on and around the hoods, so much so that I wonder if this is a “women’s version”. No just a more aerodynamic one. There’s no cables under the hoods, so it allowed Shimano to play with the design a bit.

Then come two bombshells:
1. This full version of the electronic 7900 isn’t going to be available until January, when it will cost you a whopping $4000.00, not $2400-$2700 as I’d originally heard. That’s the price of an incomplete version of this grupo coming out sooner (in a few weeks), but you’ll probably want to wait until January, and not change out part of your grupo.
2. Battery life: Are you joking? 500 to 1000 miles between battery changes? Yep. For the many +100 mile/wk enthusiasts this would never do. Forget doing long Charity rides, like the nearly 600 miles, week long charity ride, AIDS LifeCycle. ….And where do I get the battery, and shouldn’t I have my bike mechanic check out the electronic system while he or she is changing the battery, and … WAIT a second, what does my bike mechanic know about electronics anyway?! The answer is most probably darn near nothing, at least not right now. There is the Achilles heel.

To me, that makes the Shimano 7900 grupo is like a Tesla car; sure I want one, but it’s too expensive right now without enough benefit, (or qualified mechanics to fix it).

I do, however, reserve the right to change my mind if improvements are made on the battery life (they should make it rechargeable), and as bike mechanics become more proficient in bicycle electronics.

The This Changes EVERYTHING Sale!!!

September 13, 2008

I’m having a SUPER SALE right now at

Everything in the store is on sale, most items 30% off, some up to 50% off!
But hurry, as the SUPER SALE sale ends next Sunday Sept 21.

Why? Because I’m changing everything! Well, almost…

CycleMaven.Net which is the Women’s Cycling services, and which is my online store,
will now be

Girl Meets Bike at

But I also wanted someplace to express my opinions, and also share the wonderful blogs of other women cyclists, share how-to videos, reviews of bikes by women, and reports from the racing seen. Thus, the idea of a Webzine was born. I hope to bring women on bikes all over the world together, to learn more, have fun playing with cycling fashion, or whatever!
So, coming sooon….

Ya got that?

Any confusion, just head to the Hub Girl Meets Bike
I hope that these names will be easier to remember, and that the sites are more fun for gals to explore.
Girl Meets Bike — Shop Read Learn Ride

Shop  Learn  Read  Ride

Shop Learn Read Ride

%d bloggers like this: