You Spell “Heartbreak” D-N-F

August 7, 2016 at Ironman Boulder was going to by my day. For 20 weeks, I had trained, putting in 15-20 hours of swimming, biking, or running a week, meticulously tracking my progress and ensuring every piece of the puzzle laid in place. Ironman Boulder, my second full distance race, was my chance to make right what I felt had gone wrong for my at my first event. I was a faster swimmer now, a confident cyclist, and my running had improved enough I felt pretty sure I wouldn’t take 7 hours to run a marathon ever again.10

The day was going to be my day. Until it wasn’t. All of the best laid plans, the bright outlook, the excitement and enthusiasm proved to be not enough and instead, on race day, I learned something new: what failure felt like. I learned a lesson that is real, emotionally raw, heartbreaking, and hard enough that even now, days later, I’m still dazed.  When the medic pulled my chip at mile 101 of the race, my heart sunk and my stomach knotted- not only in my own self-pity, but in the realization that Continue reading

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Best Water Bottle for You

I am not sure that someone can be considered a water bottle expert exactly.  But if they can, I am pretty sure I have a Ph.D. in water bottles.  My husband calls my collection excessive; I call it thorough.  You need different water bottles for different things even in cycling.  Let’s talk about when you need what.

When you are riding short

You just need some20160804_095248thing that fits inside your water bottle cage on your bike.  Unfortunately, water bottles and water bottle cages are not universal, so you will need to find one that fits yours.  But don’t feel like the more expensive the better.  Honestly the water bottles you get in race goody bags generally work great for this.  You may want to up the ante and get an insulated water bottle if you live in a hot climate or like your drink ice cold like I do.  Look for an easy open spout that you can open with your mouth.

When you are riding long Continue reading

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Journey into Triathlon

My journey into Triathlon has been one of both immense happiness and sadness. I more or less happened on the sport as a way to mix up my running and cross train more. I purchased my first road bike in April of 2015. After purchasing my bike, I started riding with some girls from the local YMCA. These girls were the real deal! They were serious riders, and most were training for various races: Ironman Arizona 140.6, Beach to Battleship 70.3, and Ironman Muncie 70.3. I was blown away at their strength, courage, and ability to simply endure and keep going. I wanted to be like that and find that type of strength within myself. Each time I conquered a distance as a “first,” these women cheered for me and genuinely felt happy for me. I was hooked on the bike and running. Naturally, according to my tribe of women, I needed to add swimming into the mix. I started dabbling in swimming off and on of that year. I wasn’t ever really serious about it nor did I commit to the pool.

January 2016, I decided to do something I never do. I Continue reading

Swiss Planks

Crosstraining for Cyclists

 

You either love it or you hate it: cross training.  Some relish the idea of changing up their workout and trying new things.  Others find the idea of deviating from their regular cycling schedule either daunting or a nuisance.  The fact is cross training is necessary to not only make you a better cyclist but also helps to prevent overuse injuries.

As a trainer and coach I have learned over the last decade that your cross training should differ depending on whether you are in or out of a training cycle.  So if you are 8 weeks out from a big race your cross training will vary greatly in frequency and type than if you are in a maintenance phase months out from any race where you will be pushing your pace or endurance.  Here are some general guidelines for cyclists to follow when look for cross training options and figuring out how to fit them into their exercise plan.

When you are OUTSIDE of a training phase:

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Part 2 – the Handlebar Bag

Ladies love their purses – well, I certainly do. And while riding bikes might have limited your style statement in the past, those times are long gone. Join me on a journey of fabulous options that will turn your commute to work, your coffee ride, or your touring in an adventure where form meets function!

Part 2 of the series introduces you to an alternative that I discovered relatively late in the game: The Handlebar/Cockpit Bag. Read Part 1 on the Trunk Bag, Bent Basket and Pannier Set here!

Detours DayPass Handlebar Bag

Detours DayPassI am surprised that it took me so long to think about handlebar bags. They are the easiest feature to keep your phone, wallet or camera accessible while riding – plus some of them, like the Detours DayPass, transform into mini-purses that are not only cute (a purse design with radishes??? Yes!) but super practical. In addition to their secure buckle straps for the handlebar, the DayPass comes with a detachable shoulder strap so you can carry the purse around when you’re done riding – it definitely has become my perfect companion for a coffee date with friends! It also comes with reflective details for more safety on your way back home.

Banjo Brothers Canvas Barrel Bag Continue reading

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Sunscreen – Biking Under Cover

If you want to bike outside, then you may want to consider covering up to reduce your risk of skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Studies prove that using sunscreen reduces the risk of developing skin cancer. Other things you can do to reduce your risk are to seek shade and wear clothing that protects your skin from the sun.”

Since it is difficult to find a biking route that has 100% shade coverage, here are some of my favorite sunscreen tips:

  1. Cover it up – clothing is great protection from the sun. Try one of the Continue reading
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Part 1 – the Rear Rack

Ladies love their purses – well, I certainly do. And while riding bikes might have limited your style statement in the past, those times are long gone. Join me on a journey of fabulous options that will turn your commute to work, your coffee ride, or your touring in an adventure where form meets function!

Part one of this series on all things transportation is rear rack options.

Business Casual: PoCampo Uptown Trunk Bag

Uptown Trunk Bag
PoCampo
is probably one of my favorite brands when it comes to Continue reading

Post Ride Recovery – Recover like a Pro

As I write this I’m getting caught up on today’s stage of le Tour de France, eating a sweet potato topped with pumpkin chili, and drinking coconut water. It was a HOT and humid ride this morning, and I’m certainly beat from the heat on this 36+ mile ride. I’m currently on a cyclocross bike that forces me work harder in order to keep up with my riders on their carbon fiber road bikes, and I was riding with some strong people on a route with a lot of rollers. It’s time for recovery!

This post discusses recovery for work efforts of a moderate to hard intensity – think working in a heart rate zone over 70% heart rate maximum (HRM); if you’re new to cycling or are on a multi-day tour with long miles each day think over 60% HRM.

HRZ

Cool down:

As I mentioned, I’m watching the Tour. If you’re into one of the best and most challenging sports rollersevents in the world and are watching, too, you’ve probably noticed the cyclists spinning on their bikes during interviews post-race. It doesn’t take a lot of time to spin out those legs and cool it down – 10 to 15 minutes of easy spinning, either on a trainer at home or slowing it down and taking an easy pace as you approach the end of your ride, is enough to take the edge off those legs, lower the heart rate, Continue reading

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Have a safe and FUN group ride!

Riding in a group can be fun, increase your skill set making you a better and faster rider, and can be incredibly frustrating. I’ve been coordinating and leading group rides for years, and I’ve seen just about everything (both good, bad, interesting, and entertaining!). Here are some tips to ensure that you have a FUN, not a frustrating, group ride.

1 –Wear a helmet. This should be a given, but you’d be surprised how many people show up without a helmet. Especially if you’re participating in a shop supported ride, you won’t be allowed to join if you don’t have a helmet.

2 – Leave the ear buds/music in the car. When riding on the road, you need to be able to Continue reading

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Wade Franck Memorial Bicycle Ride

There are bad days on bicycles. Bad days like when the wind is in your face, the sun is just too hot, or you bonk real hard. And then there are really bad days on bicycles. Those are the days where you leave for your bike ride and have no idea that by the time you return, your world will look completely different than it did when you put on your jersey, pumped up your tires and rolled out of the driveway.

I had one of those days on August 16, 2015. My boyfriend, Wade Franck, and I were scheduled to compete in the Urban Assault Ride – a bicycle scavenger hunt – that day. He picked me up at my house, loaded my bike on his car, and we joined many friends and acquaintances at the starting line in Downtown Des Moines. Here we are at the start of the race:

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Jess and Wade

We raced through the course, completing obstacles and having a great morning together. It was a really good day – right up until it wasn’t. About half way into the race, we were Continue reading