Peterson Racing p/b Spokeswomen is an all-women’s race team based in Seattle, WA. We are currently recruiting strong cyclists of any category who are ready to race road, track, or mountain, this season. No prior race experience is required, but you should have some cycling fitness and a willingness to jump in and start competing this spring or summer. We ask that each teammate completes ten races per season and volunteers at one of the two local races we help put on (May 11 and June 8). We have extra kits for you and are happy to support you with training and starting to race. If you are not ready to race this season or are someone who races only cyclocross, please consider joining us in September when we open our roster again. We’d love to hear from you! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you are interested. We check this blog for comments, but not too often. For the quickest communication, please email one of us. See you out there!
The days are getting longer, and lately it’s been 50 degrees and drizzly. For cyclists, this is far more comfortable than 40 degrees and pouring rain! With the early season mountain and road races just around the corner, most of us are increasing our training hours and looking forward to racing again sometime soon. You’ll see some of us at the first Budu MTB race this Sunday, February 17, at Dash Point Park in Tacoma. Our time trialists are also gearing up for the early season TTs, and the Mason Lake World Championships (er, Road Race Series) kicks off the WSBA road season in early March. It’s been awhile since we last posted a teammate of the month. As we get back into gear with racing and blogging, we are proud to highlight Mirna Nieto, the 2013 president of our team.
Mirna’s hometown is Chihuahua, Mexico. She moved to Seattle in 2006 to further her career. She began racing in 2011 with SCCA/Starbucks, where she helped build a successful women’s squad for the team, mentoring new riders and helping teammates gain skill on the road. As one of the founding members of Peterson Racing p/b Spokeswomen, Mirna’s commitment to the success of our team, and women’s cycling in general, is evident in her outstanding leadership and service both on the bike and off.
On the bike, Mirna is an avid Cat 3 track racer. Though she plans to put most of her energy toward riding at the velodrome this year, she also has a strong background on the road, where she is a Category 2 racer. She has raced extensively in road races, criteriums, time trials, and stage races. She has won a few local road races, including two State Championships. As a Cat 3, she won the Capital Stage Race GC, meaning that she had the fastest overall time out of 4 diverse stages (two road races, a time trial, and a criterium).
Mirna was treasurer of Peterson Racing last year, and will serve as president this year. She oversees many aspects of our team and often hosts board meetings and team meetings. In addition to this and her busy career, she is also very involved with the Marymoor Velodrome Association (MVA). She serves on the board, working mainly with the Development Committee, whose purpose is to retain new riders and help them improve. Last year, she taught the PeeWee Pedalers class, which is geared towards kids 5-8 and focuses on bike safety, skill building, and playing fun games on bikes. This year, she plans to focus on the development of women and junior riders on the track by leading the mentor program for new riders that come through the track class (a class which is required for all new track racers). The goal is to pair new racers with a mentor who can help them navigate the first year of racing and support them as they gain skill. If you are interested in track racing–we highly recommend it to racers of any level, since it is a fun race discipline and a great way to learn tactics and gain fitness–please visit http://velodrome.org/mva/.
It’s time to start putting in some winter base miles! The Pacific Northwest’s rainy climate makes it possible to ride year round, but the constant rain and gray can be tough. Be smart so you can get fit without burning out! Here are the results from a team conversation about the best/silliest/most fun ways to get ready for the spring race season. For tips from a true pro, check out Jess Cutler’s winter training tips.
1. Know the weather.
- Don’t just check the weather forecast; check the Doppler radar and wind directions, as you may be able to avoid rain by seeing which direction the weather moves.
- If you’re going over any big hills, check the freezing level so you don’t hit ice or snow!
2. Moderation and Balance.
- Go with the sunbreaks and ride when it’s not pouring rain.
- Mountain bike, trail run, or ski when it is raining!
- I’m serious, though: It’s a delicate balance of training through crappy weather and burning all your mental matches too early. If you can balance it so that you are training enough and also not suffering too much, that is key. Otherwise you will probably burn out when it keeps raining through July. If you can find other activities to get out of the rain now and again, it really helps. Plus snow is brighter and less dreary than cold rain.
- Set your goals for later in the season. We have a lot of races here, and you don’t have to be in shape for the early March training races.
- Run in the winter!
3. Get the right equipment.
- To keep your feet warm, and maybe a little dry, layer up on booties (use at least 2), and little hotties (toe wamers) on your shoes, under your booties. Of course, aren’t we all “little hotties”?
- Take extra tubes with you, as flats may be more likely.
- Plastic Baggies are excellent rescue devices for cold feet. Place them (trimmed if possible) over your socks inside your shoes.
- Investing in a quality raincoat is a must.
- Use full fenders with a buddy flap for your buddies!! You can buy a buddy flap, or just make one with a piece of a yogurt container and some duct tape.
- Keeping your core and hands warm is extremely important. I recommend wool base layers, especially in the rain because they stay warm even when wet. For the hands, on a cold rainy day glacier gloves are a must. They are inexpensive and available at Peterson Bicycle!
- Good bike lights help you be seen when it’s dark out.
4. Be creative with indoor training…or go on vacation.
- Plan a trip to drier weather! Albuquerque, here I come!
- I like to work out to old Billy Blanks Tae Bo or play some Kinect (Dance Central, Zumba, Kinect Sports…). Come cross train with me sometime! Oh, and ice hockey is fun, too.
- We have conflicting feelings about indoor riding: (1) Avoid the trainer at all costs (normally I’m ok with the trainer, but this year I’ve had trouble because I keep getting distracted by my flooding basement. Every time I go to ride the trainer, I have to deal with that instead…) (2) If you get stuck with your motivation, try riding the trainer every day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. If you do enough indoor riding you’ll eventually go stir crazy and feel ready to get outside. (3) get rollers because they improve your handling and cadence. (4) ride the trainer and rent all the movies you didn’t get to see during the year and watch them on the trainer. Preferably with good soundtracks. Action movies are more exciting when your heart rate is up.
- Go to the rock gym, yoga class, or lift weights to build core and upper body strength. Solid fitness in your core can go a long way on the bike.
5. Sometimes, you just have to ride in the rain.
- If you do end up out on a miserable rainy day, avoid stopping unless absolutely necessary. If you let your body temp drop too much it can be very difficult to get it back up.
- Put warm water in my water bottles. I drink more that way.
- Suit up and ride in the rain and enjoy how green it is…then treat yourself with a nice cup of hot chocolate when you get back
- Add Bailey’s to the hot chocolate!
- Soak in the bath after a cold ride to regain feeling in your limbs.
- If you’re going to ride in the rain, ride with a friend. It’s no fun to suffer alone.
6. NOT recommended:
Get injured so you can’t ride. And spend all your time in the pool (where its easier to pretend its summer.)
Ride in the rain so much that you burn out.
Alli Greening is one of our newest teammates. Here’s the story of how she moved to Seattle and connected with us. Also coming up on the blog: our best winter cycling tips, some triathlon race reports from the summer, and a look at our 2013 roster. Stay tuned!
I’m one of the newer racers on Peterson Racing p/b Spokeswomen. I thought I could contribute to the blog by sharing the story of how I found the team and how glad I am to have found them!
I moved to Seattle this summer for a new job, and well, really, because I couldn’t take another Tennessee summer–it was 106 degrees and soggy the day I left! I arrived to a beautiful mid-summer and early fall, raced a couple late-season races, and started attending the meet-the-team rides that were hosted by women’s teams and co-ed teams looking for women. I had a friend visiting for the weekend that Peterson Racing p/b Spokeswomen, and another team, were both hosting rides. My friend was a cyclist too, and so I emailed both teams saying I’d like to meet them but had a friend visiting, and asking if it would be ok to bring her. I never heard back from one team, but the Peterson Racing president replied back quickly, encouraging me to come with my friend and even offering to loan me an extra bike! I was greeted by several warm, beautiful, and strong riders and we chatted for a couple hours about what the team had to offer, expected in return, and what I was looking for. I was excited by the family feel of the team, their desire to have fun and not take themselves too seriously, and their involvement with a very cool women’s charity, Jubilee. I think my house guest was even more excited!
The incredible summer weather inevitably turned into what I’ve heard is typical for Seattle: 40-something and lightly raining. It’s due to continue, I’m told, into June. This leads to what the most important part of the team is: training buddies!! There is no way that I–a desert rat who started racing during the 15 years I lived in Albuquerque, NM–would get on a bike in the rain, much less race in the rain. In NM, if it rained we just delayed the race for 15 minutes until it was sunny again. Well, with my new team, I have had company for my winter biking misery every weekend I’ve been off work since the rain and cold weather started. The extra bonus is that I’ve had a Nordic skiing or snowboarding buddy for the other weekend day, too! I’m excited to get our kits for New Year’s and step up the winter training in hopes of finding a bit of fitness I can use to support one of Peterson Racing p/b Spokeswomen’s many strong riders in the 1/2/3 field this spring. Maybe along the way I’ll even do my first Nordic race with a teammate too!
I don’t have many Seattle cycling pictures yet, but I got dirtier than I’ve ever been on a road bike last weekend and Tara snapped a picture at the end of the ride, so here it is!
Lisa Toner here: I love fall, but riding in the rain (even on a cross bike!) is just not the same as those sunny days on smooth asphalt. This summer, my husband and I did a 12-week cycling trip in Europe. Below is a post about our ride up Alpe D’Huez, the climb made famous by the Tour de France. You can read more about our touring adventures here.
Alpe d’Huez. For your information, it’s pronounced quickly, like one word: “Alpaydwez.” When French people asked us about where our travels would take us, we tried telling them “Alps” or Alpe d’Huez. Despite our best efforts to sound French, they nearly always said, “I do not know this place.” Finally, a bike shop employee coached us in the ways of pronouncing it and we repeated it over and over. (I don’t know if we ever fully mastered “Chamonix,” because even when we said it in our most French way, people still looked confused.) Oh, the joys of traveling in France when you don’t know the language!
American cycling friends take note: Once you can pronounce Alpe d’Huez the French way, just say that while toting a fully loaded touring bike. You will surely impress any Frenchman, particularly chubby guys sitting outside a bar. Your glory may last for a moment as their eyes widen, looking at your heavy bike. Then, when it’s apparent you don’t speak French, only English, they will slap you on the back and congratulate you for this year’s big Tour de France victory, inevitably thinking you are British. Then, when you say “no, I’m American!” They will do yet another double take, laugh loudly, and say “Lance Armstrong, hahahahaha, Lance Armstrong!!” and make needle-stabbing motions on their wrist. I usually try to explain that I’m a Tyler Farrar fan, but at that point the conversation was hopeless. (This is a true story that happened several times!) Ah, bike love.
We got a taste of cycling legend when we spent a week doing some giant climbs in the French Alps as we made our way from Grenoble to Chamonix and the Swiss border. Of all the big hills in the world, perhaps none is as symbolic as Alpe d’Huez, a climb that rises about 3300 feet over about 9 miles, ending at a ski area. To put that in perspective, Washington Pass, the first big climb I did, gains about 4500 feet in 38 miles. Alpe d’Huez is a remarkable road literally carved into a cliffside. Each of its 21 switchbacks is numbered (counting down as you ride up!) and named after a Tour de France stage winner. In the summer, hundreds of cyclists climb it daily; near the summit, you will find several professional photographers camped out, taking shots you can later buy from their website. The Dutch love this climb because a Dutchman won the stage many times in its early history. Dutch road graffiti is visible all over the climb. (How do the Dutch train for hills in such a flat country? A Dutchwoman I spoke to said they skate and ski a lot in the winter.)
From Grenoble, we rode gradually upward to Bourg d’Oisans, the town at the base of Alpe d’Huez. Camping was expensive there; the cheapest we found was La Cascade, which gave a discount to foot and bike travelers. It was about €25 per night for a tent and two people. We pitched our tent literally 50 meters from the start line, a sign that said “depart.” We would leave most of our gear at camp and do the ride as an out-and-back day trip.
We got an earlyish start for the climb, mostly avoiding the hot sun. As promised, it started out steeply, with lots of 11% grade in the first few switchbacks. We kept a steady but hard pace. For the ride up, we had Nuun, water, and a few chocolate hazelnut bars in jersey pockets. We rode without stopping. Jon had a small pannier; not the most fashionable cycling attire, but we had to carry a giant SLR camera and stuff to change a flat. Plus, Jon derived no small amount of satisfaction from chasing down people on carbon fiber bikes and dropping them. He pulled away from me near the top while I kept a hard but sustainable pace.
If you’re curious, it took us about 1 hr 15 minutes to reach the top at a steady pace on our touring bikes. I think a fast time for amateur racing cyclists is around an hour. I was tired and a little disoriented by the throngs of people shopping at an open air market. There, we were revived by some delicious cured meat, cheese, and fresh fruit. I had been too afraid to try those cured sausages until this point, but nibbling on free samples convinced us that they make an excellent recovery food. We bought a few, not realizing how valuable they would be over the next few days when we entered rugged mountain territory.
The descent was kind of annoying and chaotic. We braked almost continuously and stopped for lots of pictures on the way down. We saw all sorts of cyclists making the pilgrimage.
Down before noon, we lay around in the shade for the rest of the day and watched the Olympics with a bunch of cheering Dutch people. (The campground lounge had a big flatscreen TV!). We didn’t realize that today’s climb was a mere warmup for the sufferfest tomorrow would bring.
Happy Halloween from Peterson Racing!
Summer went by quickly for our team! Some of us rode in circles really fast at the Marymoor velodrome. Lindsay Felker represented Peterson Racing at track nationals. Our triathletes completed some big races on tough courses. Lots of us had fun on the mountain bike. Life also happened for our team: four teammates got married, we had some injuries, and several teammates moved out of the state (we miss you!).
As the leaves turn and the rain falls, we’ve been reconnecting through meetings, parties, ‘cross racing…and with scary costumes. Alicia organized our second annual Halloween Costume Ride last Saturday. Good times were had by all despite the rain!
Have a safe and happy Halloween. See you out at the cross races! Look for more updates on our summers and the fun we’ve been having racing cross bikes in the mud.
Since I returned from the Mountain Bike Orienteering World Championships in Hungary, the number one question I’ve been asked is the casual but curious, “so, did you win?” I think most people were trying to be funny, but perhaps a few thought the sport was niche and undeveloped enough that I stood a chance..
None of us on the first ever USA Mountain Bike Orienteering Team had actually been.. mountain bike orienteering before. Sure, we were mountain bikers. We were orienteers on foot. We’d been in adventure races that required navigation by bike. But there are seldom any pure mtb-o events in the United States. So we ordered Checkoslavakian map holders, plane tickets to Hungary, and did the best we could..
I’m proud to report, that we got totally steamrolled! Now, that sounds funny– to be proud of finishing in the bottom 10, but picture this:
Imagine that you were a pretty good cyclist, a solid runner and had some swimming skills. Now imagine an opportunity appeared to represent the USA at a newfangled thing called “triathlon” at none other than the world championships!
You’ve never combined the three before. You’re not really sure what people do about changing clothes between sports. Your friends haven’t heard of “triathlon”, but it’s pretty common in other countries. You’re the best shot your country has got, and this new sport sounds fun, so why not?
You show up with some equipment you had to order off the internet, like “aero bars” and a weirdly shaped bottle that fits between them. You’ve watched videos of ‘transition zones’ online. You’re hoping that you look legit.
Now, imagine that you CRUSHED it. You’re a total noob to the sport, but you throw down and show all these other countries how to do the sport they invented. You wouldn’t be impressed. The “world championship” would feel like a congregation of amateurs, not elites. You just spent $2000 on a plane ticket to try a European hobby.
No, you’d want to GET CRUSHED so that you could be impressed and inspired. This new sport should present irresistible new challenges.
Of course, that’s how it went down for us. We got completely, utterly, totally crushed– which was a remarkably, perhaps ironically, inspiring experience. Our finishing times were consistently double, once triple, the winning time. The performances of the podium finishers seemed superhuman. We compared our split times to them like a triathlete might compare mile splits in the marathon leg of Ironman, and we were left in total awe. How did they do that?
So when people asked, “so did you win?” it was with great pride that I told them, “no, I got crushed.”
And I’m ‘Hungary’ for more.