Posts Tagged ‘girl meets bike’

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

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Interbike: A First Look at Specialized Women’s Bikes

September 29, 2010

The Specialized Women’s 2011 bicycle line is very impressive indeed.

Specialized has rethought bike design for women in a three dimensional way; this makes their mountain bikes particularly easy to handle in all types of terrain.  The Specialized MTB bikes I tested are light enough to Manipulate and maneuver,  but  have a weight distribution that made it easy to keep  “tires to the ground”.

For Women’s road bikes, the Amira will be the bike to look out for. This is their premium bike for women. There are a lot of details that make the Amira stand out (it has all the earmarks of a really fast bike). One look at the geometry and you can see how nothing compares. It’s also sexy as anything.

If you are a fan of Specialized already, you need to try one of their 2011 bikes.  But if you’ve had questionable results with their Women’s geometry bikes from previous years (hey, I wasn’t always a big fan), then you really need to try the 2011 series. Specialized really went back, did their homework, and found what really works for Women’s geometry; and in this 2011 line up, it  shows.

In the coming weeks I will have separate reviews of 2011 Women’s Specialized bikes, including:

Myka – A 29er Women’s Hardtail Mountain Bike, with entry level pricing (warning, this bike could make mountain biking addictive).

Safire – Women’s All Mountain Bike (a dream to ride in 2010, with some interesting changes for 2011)

Era – Women’s Cross Country Performance Mountain Bike (2011 line adds a budget conscious carbon fiber level).

Amira – Women’s Premium Road Bike, redesigned again ( the delight is in the details).

Have Things Changed for Women in Bike Shops? (Updated 9/27)

September 17, 2010

Update: Sept 27th 2010

So far, about half the women surveyed said they recognize these, shall we say, regrettable sales tactics. But the other half say they have no problem in their local bike shop, or that their shop has improved. It makes me think that things are changing, but we have yet to reach the tipping point when it comes to the female cycling consumer. There are truly great cycling products available for women nowadays. So why are they not making it on the the floor the of local bike shop?  Why are these bike shops still not connecting with their female clientele?

Could it be that they need a lesson on “Selling to Women?”

This was the title of a seminar I attended at Interbike, put on the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition. It was a wonderful seminar and panel discussion; I personally walked away with new ways to help women feel more comfortable and confident about cycling purchases, and the whole shopping experience while in their local bike shop.

However I couldn’t help but notice that most of the audience were female. I have to say, it felt a bit like preaching to the choir. Why didn’t male dealers/buyers/ local bike shops owners jump at this chance to learn about how to easily increase their customer base?

Guys, if you were at Interbike,why didn’t you check out this seminar? What would get you to go to a seminar like this?

Members of the press who attended, what did you think? (By all means, post a link to your site in the comments).

(coming soon: Women’s Products at Interbike: A First Look)

Have Things Changed for Women in Bike Shops?

About a year ago, I made this cartoon series called “Jane Meets Bike Shop”. I’ve reposted two of them here.
Would it surprise you if I said that this was actually more than just a joke?

These were based on a compilation of real experiences of many women. OK, perhaps with a bit a humor and sarcasm, but my question today is:

Have things changed over the past year?
Is it any easier for a woman to “through a leg over” a bike in her size, at the bike shop? Are women getting treated with more respect as a consumer, at the bike shop?

Take a look, then take the quick poll at the bottom. (please leave a comment, if you like).

Jane Meets Bike Shop

Some women of a town would like to enjoy riding their bike. However, the one “good” shop in town just isn’t very good when it comes to understanding the female cyclist.



Race Ya? Virtual Trainer Racing Through Twitter

January 21, 2010

It’s been POURING here in Southern California, which makes it impossible ride outdoors. But I HATE (with a captial H8) being on a trainer. It is boring boring boring. Outdoors, I can be on a bike for up to 10 hours, and enjoy most of it. Indoors, I’m fidgeting in twenty minutes, ready to stop after about a 1/2 an hour.
So I want to motivate myself (and you) to stay on the bike trainer longer. How?

Twitter Trainer Race!

Next Twitter Trainer Race:

Tuesday, January 26th at 10:30 AM, Pacific Standard Time

Rules:

  • You have to have a Twitter account, and be on an indoor bike trainer.
  • Check in by following me at girlmeetsbike, then send a reply to @girlmeetsbike that you are entering the “race”. I’ll Twitter some reminders before we begin.
  • At about 10:30am I’ll ask you to get ready, get set and go!
  • Ride your bike! For the purposes of this race, I don’t really care how fast or slow you go; the important thing is to stay on. The pace you set for yourself should be determined by your personal training program. DO keep track of your time.
  • Twitter me when you’re done. Tell me what your time was.
  • The twitterer who is on the their bike for the longest time wins! I’ll tweet the winner at 1:30, three hours later. If you ride longer than three hours, well OMG, wow! I’ll make a correction, but maybe you should being challenging Lance instead of Twitter folk, eh?
  • There’s no prize, save the satisfaction that you might ride on the trainer longer than you normally would, but isn’t that a prize in itself? BTW, this is obviously the honor system. It’s all about having fun, and being social, while biking indoors.

Got cabin fever? I do. Let’s turn boredom into fun!

This was Fun!

Twitterer @cardiffcrew had taken up the challenge last week, and WON by about 14 minutes.

Yeah, @cardiffcrew!!!!

But Could I actually go as long as one hour, without stopping, on a trainer?

I did it! Thanks to @cardiffcrew joining in and cheering me on at the end, I was able to get through that last 15 minutes; for the first time in about a year, I kept my pedals turning on a trainer for one full hour (yeah me!). Plus it was fun to have someone to workout with, even in virtual space. As it turned out, @cardiffcrew was on the trainer for an 1o minutes, because of the Trainer Race, so we both won! Yeah us!!!

What social media formats would get you working out more often?

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 http://forums.mtbr.com, 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.

BLACK FRIDAY COUPON

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 http://girlmeetsbikeshop.com/pages/security.

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.

Three-Peat World mtb Champion Rebecca Rusch talks with “girl meets bike”

October 2, 2009

You should know Rebecca

Rebecca Rusch is an incredible mountain biker. Yes, she is a crazy adventure racer, but she’s also dominated Women’s Endurance Mountain Biking for a while. Recently, she won the 24 Hour Solo World Mountain Bike Championship (for the 3rd year in a row) then just three weeks later, won the Leadville 100.  This is the signature of a true champion: the ability to extend their peak season and win. And her wins over the past eight years have been staggeringly good. So my number one question isn’t for Rebecca Rusch. It is for sports news and cycling news outlets. My core question is:

Why isn’t Rebecca Rusch more well known? Why isn’t the media making a HUGE fuss about her? Isn’t this a great role model for your girls?

Girl Meets Bike Meets Rebecca

I have to wonder if my questions showed Rebecca how much I’m NOT a “reporter”. Each one seem to take her slightly off guard, and at first I wondered if she understood why I was asking such “different” questions. But after a few, she got it.  It’s because, when talking to women riders who aren’t necessarily racers, they have VERY different questions from those being asked of her, in Pro journalism. As we sat down outside of Interbike’s Specialized booth she welcomed the more fancy free questions of a “girl meets bike” interview. What I found in Rebecca was a warm and approachable woman, with a passion for sharing the biking experience with other women. Truly, she is a valuable role model for getting girls on bikes.IMG_0485

Girl Meets Bike: How many bikes do you have? Do they have names?

Rebecca Rusch: “Ha, just like shoes, you can never have too many.” Counting for a sec, then “Eight. I think…some have names, others haven’t earned one yet.”

GMB: Which is your favorite?

Rebecca Rusch: I’m favoring the 29er at the moment, that’s the one I rode in the Leadville 100.

GMB: Oh (that’s a rather tall person’s bike, so I asked) How tall are you?

Rebecca Rusch: 5’7″

GMB: Ah, so you can fit a 29er without much problem.

Rebecca Rusch: Yeah, it fits me fine.

GMB: How does it ride?

Rebecca Rusch: Smoother, faster on doubletrack; good for a course like the Leadville 100. But I also love my Era, Specialized’s Women specific model.

GMB: I noticed that your bike has a Bike Pure Spacer on it. Why did you join Bike Pure?

Rebecca Rusch: They approached me, and I liked what they represent. That is, that they concentrate on praising the clean riders of the sport. It’s a very positive message.

GMB: Is doping a particular problem for women’s mountain biking given that upper body strength plays an important role in mtbing?

Rebecca Rusch: I haven’t really seen that, but the prize money is so low for women, that it just wouldn’t be a consideration.

GMB: Is doping likely to become an issue as Women’s Mountain Biking becomes popular?

Rebecca Rusch: I hope not, but I don’t think it’s likely.

GMB: Why Not?

Rebecca Rusch: Because [both monetarily and health-wise], it’s expensive, and it’s not worth the payout.

GMB: What would you say to a U23, or teen that is considering using EPO, CERA, or other kinds of drugs to enhance their performance?

Rebecca Rusch: NOTHING, absolutely nothing, is worth your health.

GMB: What about the issues of Pay Equity? Many of us have heard the argument that women’s racing doesn’t attract enough women, and so the purses should be comparatively lower than the men…

Rebecca Rusch: I do understand the dilemma that promoters are in, but  lower payouts for women is not the answer. An example (of pay inequity) is The 24 Hours of Moab race. The first place woman came in well before the second place man. But second place man got $2600 while the first place woman got only $600. The fact is, it is just as expensive for women to train for a race as men, and the fees to enter aren’t lower. The solution is, have the same payout for first second and third place women, and less payout or no payout beyond that. Women don’t need payouts for tenth place.

GMB: That makes a lot of sense.

GMB: Now, moving on to things more personal:

what’s your favorite saddle, chamois, chamois cream combination?

(She laughs, at first. I realize how I’ve just asked a question completely out of left field, and something a normal journalist would NEVER ask.)

Rebecca Rusch: Well, the saddle has got to be the Toupe, which is a Specialized men’s saddle. Chamois is the BG chamois in the higher quality Specialized women’s shorts. And for Chamois Cream, I use Beljum Budder with a little Noxema (yes, like in Grandma’s medicine cabinet) mixed together.

spec chamtoupebeljum budder

GMB: What’s your favorite outfit off the bike?

Rebecca Rusch: Flip flops, definitely ; with Bermuda shorts.

GMB: What’s your favorite outfit, on the bike?

Rebecca Rusch: My Team kit (her specialized uniform). I’m proud to wear that.

GMB: So Specialized has been good to you, as a sponsor…

Rebecca Rusch: Yes, they’re very supportive of their women riders. They’ve done a lot for women’s fit with BG (Body Geometry) , in both bikes and clothing. I’m very picky about who I choose to sponsor me. I have to believe in the products I use.  Specialized has been a good match for me.

GMB: Do you think women ride differently than men, given that our size, proportions and strengths are different?

Rebecca Rusch: I certainly see a difference in the attitudes of riding between men and women. Men have a more gung-ho ride-it attitude. For me there are some things that are easier and faster to walk, particularly in a race.

But yeah, women ride differently than men. Women ride with more grace and finesse…

GMB: As opposed to “brute forcing” through it?

Rebecca Rusch: Yes.

GMB: Do you think it’s helpful and important for women to ride mountain together, so that they can get visual cues of how to ride certain obstacles and trails?

Rebecca Rusch: Yes, If I’m out riding with other women, we like to stop and figure out how to ride the obstacle.  Sometimes just seeing another woman do an obstacle makes you think, maybe I can do that too. How did she do that? Then you figure it out together.

GMB: So you really appreciate your rides with other women.

Rebecca Rusch: It’s different. It can be more fun. Guys can be competitive, like trying to get me to “race” on a casual ride. But when I’m out riding with the girls, it’s about fun and connecting with my friends. Some of my best rides have been on my Cruiser with friends.

GMB: What’s your favorite trail and what do you do to maintain it?

Rebecca Rusch: I would say the Perimeter trail on Mt. Baldy (Sun Valley ski resort mountain) is my favorite, because I can do the ride from my house, climb 3300 ft of single track to the top on one side of the mountain, then ride down 3300 ft on sweet, rolling single track down.  Takes less than 3 hours and is a killer climbing workout and great descending skills.

I help maintain my local trails through the Wood River Bicycle Coalition. Wood River Bicycle Coalition is our local cycling organization that works on everything from safe routes to school to mtb trail development.  I recently helped put on two short track races that raised money for them to build two pump parks in the valley.  Local sponsors and companies such as Smith Sport Optics as well as a ton of local athletes are involved.

Many thanks to Rebecca Rusch for this interview.

More About Rebecca Rusch

Recently, Rebecca signed with KT Tape, that excellent Kinesiology Tape I reviewed a while back. KT Tape is sponsoring a promotional ride in Central Park, so if you live in New York City, YOU have the chance to ride with Rebecca Rusch!!! Lucky dog! Details about this event are on blog at http://rebeccarusch.wordpress.com/. Her blog is a good read, and maintains the same approachable experience that I had with her.

More about Rebecca Rusch’s career, articles with “REAL” cycling questions, video and other stuff here:

Rebbeca Rusch at I am Specialized

Best At-A-Glance stats: BikePure.org

She talks to VeloNews about Cape Epic HERE

Cool Specialized Video about Cape Epic, an amazing opportunity, in the form of a race, HERE

Two great video interviews of Rebecca Rusch:

CyclingDirt.org

BikeRumor.com

Is It Time for INTERBIKE Already?

September 1, 2009

In the spirit of getting back to business

It’s that time of year again. Just like in the fashion world, September is January for those in the bike industry. All year long, companies that work for and with all things bike, have been battling it out for what will be the next coolest thing. Every year,the next coolest thing is revealed to a captive audience of bike geeks at Interbike. In a few weeks, the amazement and wonder of Interbike(1) begins.

Yep, I am a Bike Geek, and I impatiently await the marvels that will be set before me. What wonders will they reveal this year? Will the trend of recognizing women riders continue? It would be wonderful if it did. Only a few short years ago, the business of Interbike was, well, a bit sleazy IMHO. Set in Las Vegas, it was easy to ignore the call for “real” women riders products, in lieu of the easy out for most of the bike industry, which was that, if you want to call something a women’s product, just “shrink it, and pink it”. Gone is that ABHORRENT practice! These days, the bike industry is finally realizing that if you want to make money, you NEED to cater to the other (nearly) half of the cycling population(2). NO ONE has recognized this better than Rich Kelly, marketing manager for Interbike. In the couple of years since he took over Interbike, he has helped change, not just the mood of the convention, but indeed the biking world itself, from an “old man business” community, to a fresh young hip, and girl-friendly place to be. It’s amazing and wonderful how much the industry has grown (up), and Interbike (via Rich Kelly) has been a wonderful contributor. Nearly gone are the “booth babes” of the convention (those are girls who are usually Vegas showgirls, and have NOTHING to do with bikes the rest of the year). In their place, is a far more palatable type of pulchritude: actual women riders, and venders, buying and selling things to and for women. There’s even a little sorority of sorts that has form by way of the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition luncheon. I always seem to get grounded and have clearer, more set goals after meeting with these dynamic women.

Plus, once again this year, we will have an amazing “urban cycling” fashion show put on by Momentum Magazine. Here’s what it looked like last year:

Grafton 3/4 Sleeve Jersey- You had me at Wool/ Silk Blend

Grafton 3/4 Sleeve Jersey- You had me at Wool/ Silk Blend

Luna's Merino Wool Pro Sweater

Luna's Merino Wool Pro Sweater

So what am I looking forward to seeing? Well, the first thing that to comes to mind is LUNA cycling clothing; yes, the yummy Luna Bar company has now launched their own clothing line for women. And who better, really. They’ve been paying good attention to women’s physiology for a long time, and have built up a great reputation, by way of their awesome, some years unbeatable racing team, the LUNACHIX. These women know how to ride, and I have no doubt that the LUNA gets plenty of chamois/cycling clothing opinions from their often winning roster. No doubt, they’ve come up with something interesting. (HINT- I got a glimpse of the wool/silk blend gear at Sporteve early this year, so I KNOW it’s gonna be good).

Road tires, and Wheels: There have been leaps and bounds in the technology of them round things. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for lightweight riders (those under 150lbs). And when I say “they” I mean that I want to see everyone’s gear. I have no loyalty to any brand right now, save my Michelin tires. So Wheelbuilders and tire companies better bring it ’cause I wanna see, and I’m listening.

More to come as Interbike nears…

(1) Interbike is the annual international conference for the bike industry.

(2) Women now make up ~47% of all cyclists. That’s up from ~44% two years ago. From Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) June 1, 2009 issue, P 26.

What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes an Interesting Story

May 22, 2009

I spent a few days out in Palm Springs, to ride a desert area and try to get used to the climate as part of training for the Furnace Creek 508.  Though most of the training was uneventful, there was one ride where a few things went awry. I should have had a lot more water and Endurox BEFORE I went out; that was my main error. But hey,  what doesn’t kill you, makes for an interesting story. And this kind of failure is an important learning experience for me.

Training in The Heat

I got out  late in the day, but it was just as well: how else can I know if I’m ready to stand the desert heat and dryness of Death Valley unless I just go for it? Well, I sure did. I got out at around 9:30am, by which time it was already 102° F. The ride out to Desert Hot Springs by way of Indian Canyon was rather intense. The speed limit is around 50 mph, but thankfully most of the way, there a good shoulder. The wind was intense once I turned west. That wind tunnel there is my least favorite thing to ride, which is why I rode it. I don’t remember the road being quite that rough, but wow, Desert Hot Springs roads are rough. It was tough being out there all by myself, mostly because I felt very unprotected from cars, but I seriously needed to train like that.  Most of the ride was OK, but at almost exactly mile 40, I got exceedingly hot. My head was burning up inside my helmet. I checked the top of my head to make sure it wasn’t actually on fire. Then I realized that I had gone a bit too far on the road I was on: I wasn’t exactly lost, but I was disoriented. Then the nausea set in. Okay, I recognized this as Heat Exhaustion. It’s so true that knowing the problem is often the first step towards a solution. Thankfully, I came across a grocery store, a Ralph’s with a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf inside. I went in, sat down and had ice cold water (great idea), bit of a frozen soy latte (bad idea) and  bagel (good idea). Then I realized that I had my iPhone on me and bang, knew exactly were I was. I was lucky that day to meet some very nice strangers; the girls at the Coffee Bean counter were very sweet. I chatted with them for a little while, partially to figure out where in the Desert Cities I was, and partially to see if I could hold a conversation coherently. I also chatted with a local guy who rides and, quickly figured out what happened. I seemed alright so I went on; after all, I only had another 15-20 miles.

Only? Yeah, um ah, no. I went on to ride in some of the worst heat-plus-wind-plus-dry I’ve ever experienced. I’m usually not one to slow down or pull over, but I did both several times in these last miles. It was 112°. The goal then was to make it the rest of the way, on my own, but safely. It was one of the toughest 60 milers I’ve ever done. But I did it on my own, and safely; in spite of everything, I did alright. I had a massage the next day with a skilled local; this helped to flush out any toxins and prevent a whole world of pain. I can’t begin to talk about the benefits of a proper massage after an intense workout.

I’m happy to see that I’m changing as an athlete, as I get older; I’m getting a bit wiser, in that I’m reading my bodies’ signals better. Rather than just pushing on (which is my instinct), I stopped to evaluate myself.  I realized that “Plan B” was in order: getting into the shade somewhere, with my bike, drinking cold water. “Plan C” consisted of taking a cab back to the motel. I’m happy that it never came to that, but was willing to make that happen, if necessary. This shows a maturity and discipline in my training that I didn’t have fifteen years ago.

girl meets bike meets guitar hero = Girl Hero: the bike

December 13, 2008

Honestly, I like to have fun with my bike builds. I’ve been working on “the look” of my commuter fixie, and I finally came up with it. The Wheel stickers are Wheetags skullz. I couldn’t find anyone selling these in the city yet, so order them online directly, if you want them.

The bar pad is from the most awesome bike shop in the Los Angeles Zone. In West LA, a little fixie shop has just spread it’s wings and blossomed into the bike shop YOU would want to own if you ever opened a bike shop. It’s perfect it’s beautiful it’s friendly it’s LA BRAKELESS. More about them soon (I feel a bike shop review coming on, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it). But for now, back to me and the bike that they inspired.

Coincidentally, I’ve just been introduced to the game Guiter Hero.

So I had these stickers.

Well, here’s the result.

I know it’s a bit, well you know, but I love it! Somehow, I need to make these stickers permanant. I don’t often “show” my bikes, but I thought this might be fun to share. And now, I’m going to play some Guitar Hero while thinking about a bike shop review. B-bwna-naa!


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