Posts Tagged ‘women’

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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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.



Mountain Bike Review: Specialized Safire Comp Women’s Full Suspension MTB

August 30, 2010

I tested the 2010 Susan Komen Limited Edition Version from Bear Valley Bikes

I tested the Susan Komen Limited Edition Version from Bear Valley Bikes

Small Safire from Bear Valley Bikes

The Demo Bike

TESTED: Specialized Safire Comp, Susan Komen Edition from Bear Valley Bikes

Price: $2400 for the Comp (tested),  to $7400 for the Carbon Fiber Top o’ the Line Pro Version

Bike Size: Small, with an Effective Top Tube of 540mm,  Weight: 27lbs

Rider Size: 5’4″  Back Length: 545mm (find out why that’s important HERE). Weight: 120lbs (135lbs with gear).

Terrain: Big Bear, California

(The Exact Specs can be found on Product Wiki HERE, or BikPedia HERE


Spec Highlights:

  • FRAME: Safire FSR M5 manipulated alloy frame w/ women’s ORE TT/DT, sealed cartridge bearing pivots, DMD front, replaceable derailleur hanger, disc only, 120mm travel
  • REAR SHOCK: Fox Triad, custom on-the-fly 3-position switch 1) lock out 2) Open 3) ProPedal pedal assisting damping, rebound adj., 7.25×1.75″
  • FORK: Fox F130 RL, 130mm travel, compression and rebound adj. w/ LO, alloy steerer
  • FRONT BRAKE: Custom Avid Elixir SL, alloy backed semi-met organic pads, 160mm rotor
  • REAR BRAKE: Custom Avid Elixir SL, alloy backed semi-met organic pads,S/M: 140mm, L: 160mm rotor
  • BRAKE LEVERS: Custom Avid Elixir SL Hydraulic, tool-less adj. reach
  • FRONT DERAILLEUR: Shimano M660 SLX, DMD, top swing, dual pull
  • REAR DERAILLEUR: SRAM X-9, 9-speed, mid cage
  • SHIFT LEVERS: SRAM X-7, aluminum trigger

SPECIALIZED OFF-ROAD: A REAL WOMAN’S BIKE

Specialized really does want us girls to ride mountain; why else would they make, not just one, but a series of REAL women’s mountain bikes? These bikes are not candy; they are hardcore mountain bikes that a woman can tailor for the way she rides. And on budget . From the sizing, weight and geometry, to budget and componentry, Specialized seems to be one of the “Big Boy” Companies to actual listen to what we women mountain bikers have asked for; then they stepped it up a notched and gave us some dream bikes, like the Safire, which is available in Carbon. (Oh, how I would love to test that bike!) But what I tested while I was in Big Bear CA, was the more budget conscious “Comp” level of the Safire. It seems that Specialized Comp level is a perfect Beginner/Intermediate bike, due to the “bang for your buck” quality of the components.

But what draws me in to this bike, is the unbelievably correct geometry. It is absolutely spot on. Somehow they managed to figure out how to make the head tube angle slack enough to handle any downhill (at 68.5°), yet not sluggish on tight corners and uphill.

Descending

At first I was a little unsure of it, so I picked my way down some trails. Well, that’s not what this bike wants to do. It wants to go fast, and it told me so. Steep downhill with roots and rocks means nothing to this bike, and given a chance, and some well guided direction, the Safire will glide down the trail pretty effortlessly, without “tugging me down the trail” the way some bikes do when they’re longer in the cockpit. Cornering was so easy, even at speed off-camber. The tight geometry made even tight corners smooth and fun. After a few trail runs, this baby felt as secure as a sofa, on the downhill.

Climbing

But how does it perform, going uphill? I really thought that the slack head tube angle combined with the 130mm fork meant a lousy ride uphill. SO wrong, was I. Specialized figured out how to make the head tube just a little shorter, which allows a woman to move her weight further forward for the climb, without losing traction in the rear.

Out of the saddle on climbs, I was able to get over the front end without leaning on it, and the front end never felt like it was was trying to force me to sit down (which also happens when a head tube is too tall). The kicker for me? When I stood up and tried to give it pedal bob, it responded by smoothing out the ride. I felt none of that “walking in molasses” feeling that you can get with a lesser suspension system.

Of course for longer climbs it’s very easy to lock out the suspension which completely eliminates all bob. Sorry Bob.

I would heartily recommend the Specialized Safire for women who would like a light all-mountain to cross country bike. This is a fun bike to ride.

In the last few years, I’ve demo’ed MANY mountain bikes directed towards women, but this is the first one that’s good enough for a “Girl Meets Bike” recommendation.  No, I don’t work for Specialized or anything like that; I’m just a girl who really appreciates good design.  I’m looking forward to testing other frames before I decide on which full -suspension bike is “The One” for me, but this is DEFINITELY in the running.  I’m hope to try the Myka FSR, which is Specialized’s first Women’s Full Suspension 29er.

Proper suspension set up is vital to truly experience what a bike has to offer. Without it, even the most amazing bike can feel like a dud.  Many thanks to Clay and Derek of Bear Valley Bikes for setting up the suspension beautifully for me. A review of their Bike Shop is coming very soon…

Girl Meets Safire, the Bike:


For those of you that want the quick and dirty version, here are some thoughts from the day.

  • Women’s geometry, 130 mil suspension, fairly light. Has my dream come true?
  • Why does the chairlift have to be so friggin’ cold!
  • Take your hand off the brakes..the brakes.
  • OH SH* , oh, no, I’m OK.
  • Trust the steep…Wow, do I love this bike.
  • the bike wants to go fast.
  • OH SH* no, I’m… Actually, that was fun. Should do that again!
  • Wheeeee!!!!
  • Stomping it! It can handle uphills!
  • Love these trails.
  • Love this bike!
  • Comes in carbon, there’s a 29er, comes in carbon, there’s a 29er.

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.

Girl meets bike shop Now open: SALE!!!

October 26, 2009

girl meets bike shop is now open.

Oh, it took me so much longer to get the store open and properly Googlefied, but now it’s all hooked up and ready to go!

To kick off the store I have almost everything on sale for 15-55% off (with most savings around 30%). For an EXTRAORDINARY deal, follow me on twitter:
http://twitter.com/girlmeetsbike . I have a Black Friday coupon coming up that will saving you even more money off ALREADY DISCOUNTED items.

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

Food and Weight: “What Do You Eat?”

April 27, 2009

For most of my adult life, I’ve weight around same weight: 115-125 lbs., with “extremes” of about 105 (due to illness or injury) to about 130 (due to “the pill”). I am about 5 feet, four inches tall.

I hear you quietly judging me. Yeah you. You’re thinking “she’s too _____” This part is for you. The rest of you may move on to the next section.

According to everything I’ve read, that is suppose to be a normal healthy weight. Yet when I was in my twenties 110 lbs was “a little chunky” to be a dancer. It seems that nowadays, 120lbs is too slight to be an athlete.

Objectively, I kind of laugh at both ways of thinking. At least now I do. There was a time when what others thought of me and my body influenced me and the way I ate, but as I got older I realized something important. Generally, if someone is bringing up my weight, either too heavy or too light, it usually is a reflection about how they are feeling about themselves. I used to think this was more of a female thing, but I have found that both sexes can behave in this manner. The FACT is, I’m normal. I’m exactly within all normal limits. I even have 25% body fat, which is normal for a woman who exercises regularly.

But I find how people react to normal female body size, to be  a VERY interesting thing. I think it probably has something to do with American culture, but I’m no Anthropologist.

WHAT DO YOU EAT?

Life is an Experiment, and My Body is the Laboratory

I play around with nutrition and food. I admit that I’m always trying to get my best nutritional bang for my caloric buck, so occasionally I’ll try something new, to see how that works. For example:

I was a strict vegan for about 1 1/2 years.

I avoided wheat and rice for one year.

I even gave up coffee (and all other caffeine) for one year. Boy, I’ll never do that one again.

Through these experiments (et al.), I was able to glean a few things about myself.

This is the answer to the question ” what do you eat?”, which is a question I get a lot. No, I’m mean,  A LOT.

I’m a foodie. Food must taste good. I mean it. There is NO excuse for bad tasting food, except in super duper caloric emergencies.

Garbage in, Garbage out, meaning, if I eat a lot of bad food, I just don’t feel as well. Conversely, The more nutritiously I eat, the better I feel.

Coffee is the water of life. Ok, maybe not quite that, but I have found that not drinking it does not make me sleep better, however drinking this delicious beverage does make me feel good. And it tastes good. And, to be quite honest, it connects me with my New Yorkerness (it’s a cultural thing). Studies go back and forth about coffee; some showing benefits, others show the dangers of overuse of caffeine.  I don’t think it’s all that bad for me as an athlete, as I have found that it helps me in recovery, but that’s just what works for me. Then again I treat coffee with the respect it deserves; after all, it is a food, and a precious one at that.

I should NOT eat anything with (cow) dairy, as I seem to be lactose intolerant. I’m OK with goat cheese.

Fast food makes me really ill.( Remember “Supersize Me?” )

Eggs are easy to digest. (Omega-3 eggs are a good way for me to get Omega-3 in my diet without pills)

Organic and/or Kosher can taste much better.

Generally, a sandwich isn’t a sandwich without tomatoes.

I will sometimes throw on extra calories with lime ice pops and vinegar & salt potato chips; I’m not recommending it, it’s more of a rebellion against all things nutritious, which I sometimes need.

I feel more alive and even keeled when I eat lots of leafy greens and fruit.

Potatoes, turnips, and other root veggies also agree with me.

Lemon and vinegar is also a big part of my diet. I seem to tend towards a high acid diet for some reason; it actually settles my stomach.

Too much pasta or bread doesn’t work for me.

Oatmeal is yummy.

I make chocolate chip cookies that aren’t that bad for me. Yum.

My riding supplement is Endurox. Sometimes I’ll bring along a Luna Bar (Lemon Zest) Carbboom, or Sports Beans. Sometimes I bring actual fruit.

I like fish, and can eat tuna sandwiches every day for many days in a row, if I must.

Red meat and chicken are OK one or two meals a week. Any more than that just seems to mess with my digestion.

I like bacon (and pork, in general) but don’t digest it well. Fortunately, I LOVE veggie bacon, and even turkey bacon.

Soy yogurt smoothies are AWESOME just after a ride.

That’s what I eat. Mostly.

Here’s what I’ve noticed about how my body behaves with regards to caloric intake:

No matter how much exercise I do (meaning even if I’m expending 8,500 calories in one day), I can only top out at eating about 7,000 calories. I can only eat so much, which is why I sometimes plan for the fact that I will lose weight during certain points of the season.

My metabolism fluctuates with the amount and type of exercise I do.

Changes in my eating OR exercises habits take time to catch up to one another.

About gaining, losing or maintaining weight: No one of these is any easier than the other. Any of these can be hard to do in a balanced way.

Kudos to all who acheive their goals, whatever they are.

LA BRAKELESS – Los Angeles Westside Finally has the Ultra-Cool Fixie Shop it Deserves

December 20, 2008

Nestled on the busy bike-laned Venice Boulevard in West LA is a little bike shop that is simply perfect, if you are a fixed gear rider. LA Brakeless is so unobtrusive that you could easily pass by it several times before finding it. For fixie lovers, that just might make this cute little LBS even more alluring. Just Riding Along, out of the corner of your eye, you see a bike leaning against a storefront that’s more set back  from Venice Blvd than other stores. Like a bright light shone in your eyes, all of a sudden, you see the bling, bling, bling in the window. You realize, this must be it…

LA Brakeless, still with no sign

LA Brakeless, still with no sign

Walking up to it, I realized that THIS is the Local Bike Shop gone all sorts of right. Their presentation is sleek and beautiful. There is no want for annodized parts here; every color that you can think of is here, and presented as the jewelry that they are.

Inside the Store

Inside the Store

Sugino Display

Sugino Display

As slick as the components looked, I expected all sorts of hipster attitude, and worried that my first purchase here, ironically, a brake (for my Xtracycle), would be judged as harshly as my “far too blue” Ourys. I looked particularly girly that day, wearing a dress on a single speed Xtracycle. Would anyone even talk to me? Well, I got exactly the opposite, of attitude. Laid back and young, the owners of this store and their workers understand that their customer is everyone from the housewife to the hardcore. They don’t talk down to anyone, nor do they oversell anything – they don’t have to. Their stuff is so carefully picked and displayed, that it speaks for itself even if you don’t know that much about bikes. The owners, Anna and Efram are both absolute sweethearts, and obviously very talented young entrepenuers. I have no doubt that this shop will catch on, and the coffee shop next to them will be forever grateful.

Oooh, Yummy new Ourys

Oooh, Yummy new Ourys

Soma Soma Soma

Soma Soma Soma

I could definitely imagine saving $800 hard earned bucks, and building up a special fixie here, one with a symbiotic personality to match me. Oh wait, I did that! This is the bike shop that inspired me to build Girl Hero – the bike -now you can see why.

Brands are very carefully picked here; for anyone who knows parts, this is a welcome relief from the occasional fixie component one might find in your average shop. In addition to the traditional fixed gear brands, they also have the rest of the fixie culture lifestyle brands. Cool knog bags and gloves, and Nutcase Helmets are displayed as achingly yummy eye candy.  I’ve been there a few times now, all very good experiences, so I feel comfortable throwing my support to them. The other REALLY cool thing about them: they are open from 11am until 9pm Monday-Saturday(Sun 11-6), which is far more convenient than the shop that closes most nights at 6pm, before people leave work.  Smart.

LA Brakeless

12220 Venice Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA  90066

310-294-9051

www.LABrakeless.com

Annodized Handlebar du jour?

Annodized Handlebar du jour?

Colored Chainring Bolts

Colored Chainring Bolts

Nutcase Helmets

Nutcase Helmets

Girl meets bike gift Ideas

December 18, 2008

Searching a for a gift for that special girl on a bike?

Here are some cool new gift ideas, along with a little advice on what not to get for your girl on bike.

First, let me save you some money with the do not gets:

  1. Do not surprise her with a bike she has not participated in buying. Instead, arrange a few days worth of demos (do your research on women’s fit). It will make her feel more connected to the bike if she participates from the beginning. Besides, women can be harder to fit than men, so it’s important that she’s there, physically, so that you can get it right. Far too often people are sold bikes that are too big for them, because that’s what in stock at the shop, and the salesman is trying to make his/her commission. Be wary of this, PARTICULARLY for mountain bikes, where she’ll need to get behind the saddle, for riding safely, downhill.
  2. Do not get expensive components without being absolutely sure that they can be returned after they are installed, if they don’t fit. Things like handlebars, stems, and saddles are often the solution to women’s bike fit issues, however, some bike shops are not friendly about returning these kinds of components, once the have been installed. And no, they don’t care that you’ve never ridden it; they care about the tightened screws, and the clamp load, and that the part really can’t be sold as “pristine new” after that; they are within their rights to worry about such things. So talk to them, and make sure about policy before you buy/install.

Anything else is pretty much fair game.

Now to the FABULOUS gifts for your favorite girl on bike.

Nice Little Stocking stuffers for Little Money:

  • Knog Frogs ($14.00) and Gekkos ($30.00) – They are little, stylish LED lights, that keep you seen, as with Frogs, and allow you to see as with Gekkos. Frogs require a watch battery, so although it’s replaceable they don’t last very long,. They are sort of an emergency light, for people find occasionally find themselves in a situation where being seen by traffic would be an immediately awesome thing. Gekkos, on the other hand, run on two AAA batteries, and have three LED lights as opposed to one. Although it’s not amazingly bright, it’s enough to allow you to see along a dark road fairly well. The AAA batteries mean that you can get rechargeable batteries, and never worry about having to buy batteries for your bike lights again. You’ll have that battery thing taken care of.  EDIT: Ever since I posted this, I’ve had numerous complaints about the Knog lights. Most of the complaints are about them not being bright enough. THAT concerns me so much, that although I like the Knog lights, I will no longer recommend them. I will be trying some by Planet Bike, and write a head to head review when I have more info. Thanks to those of you who voiced your concerns.
  • Action Wipes – I have just discovered these. This is an AMAZING product. They are these reuseable “Apres Sport” moist cleansing wipes made with fresh ingredients like Eucaplytus and Tea Tree oil; they come in a little ziploc packet that you can tuck into your back pocket, and WOW are they cleansing and refreshing. Did I say that you can wash them and reuse them? 5 count pack is $3.49!
  • Brave Soldier’s Crash Packs – Does your gal mountain bike, and occasionally push the envelope? Get her the gift that says you care about her knarly extreme sport boo-boos. For $12.00 you have almost everything thing you need to get yourself through trail/road rash crashes. I’d add in one big patch of Tegaderm or Duoderm for good measure (cause nothing says “I love you” like taming the burn of road rash). Find this at your local bike shop.

    Makai Bikes Bell

    Makai Bikes Bell

  • Makai Bike’s Bells – I have to mention this cute little company and their cute little bells. If they weren’t cheap enough at $10.00 a pop, they have some adorable fishie bells on sale right now for $3.79!

Very Nice Choice gifts for $40-$500

  • Deuter Race x Backpack/Hydration system – I use this for commuting, as well as mountain biking and hiking. It has everything I need and nothing I don’t. The back length is  small, the straps are comfortable and placed for small shoulders, the weight is distributed well on the back, and the hip belt which has two front pockets, conform to the curver of women’s hips. All of this lead to an exceedingly comfortable pack that stays puts on rough mountain terrian. It even has a stow-away helmet holder, something I appreciate as a commuter. $100.00. The Deuter name is European, and had been making backpacks for generations. I find the general consrtuction and quality of these packs to be some of the best ever. By the way, another good Deuter Hydration pack for women is the Deuter EXP 6 SL, for $80.00

    Nutcase Helmets

    Nutcase Helmets

  • Does she NOT wear a helmet, but you wish she did? Maybe she’ll wear this one – Nutcase Helmets – Perfect as a commuter helmet, Nutcase helmets may be the answer for women who have hair damage from the stupid plastic parts on the inside of ALL the other dang helmets. Girlz with long hair, you know what I mean. These have pull out pads, and each helmet comes with two sizes of pad. I have not tried one of these helmets yet, because I just got mine in. Try to get the Nutcase Helmet at a local bike shop if you can, because the the graphics have to be seen in person to be believed. The girly ones are SO cute, she’ll want to wear a helmet, for once.  What a great way to say “I love your brain.” $40.00.
  • Base Layers – I am an absolute sucker for that which keeps me cozy and warm. To keep me cozy on the coldest days I go for Craft Base Layers, particularly the Pro Zero, which has ribbing, to form a small layer of dead warm air. It works very well, and the wicking capabilites exceed any other synthetic layer I worn. But if I think even for a moment that I might get wet, I immediately switch to wool. Technology be damned, wool is the only thing I know of that keeps you warm, even when soaking wet; some things we just can’t improve upon. I like both Ibex Wool the best, followed by SmartWool as a close second. Either way, it’s like giving warm hugs.
  • And speaking of keeping dry How about a really great Rain Jacket? – Castelli has done a beautiful job in designing the New Amazzonia. The shape is precise, and form fitting, without being restrictive. There’s no doubt that this is a cut meant to fit in “bike position” as the tail swings way down to protect your bum from rainy day “skunk pants” (also avoided with fenders), or any torential downpour you might happen into. This jacket is actually rugged in it’s materials and construction, quite surprising for the less than rugged Castelli brand. Of course, they didn’t skimp on the style points either. Zips under the arms help to control temperature regulation. $140.00
  • Baby, it’s cold outside! Keep her Apple Cider Warm in a Bombshell Red Batitti jacket from Castelli. The cut is casaul on the bottom; there’s no elastic, so it’s non-binding. Up top is all style and tech that keeps the cold completely off of her neck. Inside is thick luxerious fleecy goodness and outside is a special Windstopper fabric with 4-way stretch made exclusively for Castelli. And can we say gorgeous? Oh yes we can. $190.00.

    Castelli Vertice Jacket

    Castelli Vertice Jacket

  • And the best Jacket for Winter 2008? That would be the Vertice by Castelli. $330.00 will say she’s this kind of special. There, now that you are over the sticker shock, let me tell you about the jacket. It has Moto styling that says “hot and ready for action”, Fabric that stretches just enough for comfort, that same awesome keep the cold out collar as the Batitti, and Full Windstopper 4 way stretch fabric. As the Batiti feels cozy, fluffy, fuzzy warm inside, the Vertice is not; it’s fleecy, but the fabric is thinner, making it a perfect shell. The zips on the chest are vents, and have the best placement I’ve ever felt or seen. This is the jacket for the gal who has to deal with large temperature fluctuations, like 40 or fity degrees in one ride. Oh, and this jacket laughs at rain, and wind, and general inclement weather. So, is she this kind of special? Wouldn’t you spend that much on a stylish and warm coat for her anyway?

    Etxe Ondo Sies Tights

    Etxe Ondo Sies Tights

  • Best Winter Tights ever, Etxe Ondo’s Sies Tights – If you haven’t ever read my blog before then know this; I’m obsessed with Exte Ondo. They have bar none, the best chamois, cuts, and construction. The Sies Tights are no exception, in that the quality is superb. The pattern on the leg is not just a pattern; it places compression on the leg exactly where you need it. The fabric is Themalite, which will keep you warm and dry, as it has amazing wicking capabilities. And of course, they are HOT looking. $205.00

    Xtracycle Free Radical longtail system

    Xtracycle Free Radical longtail system

  • Still wanna get her a bike? Okay, how about an inexpensive, one size fits most beach cruiser from Makai Bikes – For less than the cost of a Castelli Jacket, you can get her an awesome little run-around bike. This little online store has cruisers starting at $159.00.
  • OR even better, make it into an Xtracycle! For less than $500.00, you can convert her bike into the most fun commuter bike around. Longtail bikes are more stable, and can of course haul incredible amounts of stuff. For the gal who’s mostly a commuter, this is a really sweet option.
  • OR the Best Gift of all, (still wanna buy her a bike?) A BIKE FIT from a professional bike fitter, preferably one who specializes in women’s fit. This is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. Depending upon Who’s doing it, expect to pay $125.00-$500.00 depending upon the technology and equipment used for the fit. Expect to pay even more when you have to swap out for the parts that fit her. But this is the gift for the Ultimate cyclist.
  • Is she an eco-girl but not exactly the Ultimate cyclist? Consider getting her a Totally Tubular Messenger bag. The bags and wallets are made from used tires and tubes, and remnants from an upholstery factory. Obviously they are wicked waterproof and strong. No two are the same. $80.00
    Totally Tubular Messenger Bag

    Totally Tubular Messenger Bag

    What’s on your wishlist, girls?


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