Teammate Highlight: Aimee Warnke

We are looking forward to welcoming Aimee Warnke home from Afghanistan. Last fall, she joined our team, but immediately found out she was being sent to Afghanistan for the year. She’s sent us occasional updates from the field. 
Name: Aimee Warnke

Hometown: Rolla, MO

Racing Disciplines: Road, Triathlons, hope to start racing CX once I get home

Quick story about Afghanistan: I am a platoon leader for a 35 Soldier vertical construction platoon. We deployed to Afghanistan at the end of January for nine months and have been doing deconstruction as part of the CENTCOM Material Recovery Element to close bases around RC-East.  Our main mission was to close down FOB Sharana, the largest forward operating base to date to be deconstructed in Afghanistan.  

Before departing, I shipped a bike I got on Craigslist and a trainer over here, so I have been able to ride ~1hr most days in addition to some running and weights (when we have a gym available) to stay in shape.  In the picture of me riding my bike on top of the containers, my platoon had thought it would be a really funny joke to hide my bike there…so I just climbed up and rode on top. Afterwards, I told them if it wasn’t moved back to its normal spot by the next evening they would all be running 10miles with me on their next day ‘off’….it got moved pretty quickly ;)  

I’ve had a great group of guys to lead over here and we are all extremely excited to be coming home soon. 
Goals for when you return home: Try out CX; signed up for IM Canada 2014; race road/crits next year with the team

 
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Teammate of the Month: Mirna Nieto

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.

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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/.

Teammate of the Month: Allie

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!

-Alli

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Rider of the month: Jessica Cutler

Jessica Cutler is rider of the month for May!  She is our team president and a founding member of Peterson Racing p/b Spokeswomen.  A native of Bainbridge Island, WA, Jess is a Cat 1 on the road, a Cat 1 in Cyclocross, and a Cat 2 on the track.

Jess has had an amazing season so far.  She won every local race she entered, placed 3rd in the GC at the Sea Otter Pro/1/2 stage race, and was invited to guest ride at the Tour de Gila with Primal/Mapmyride, a women’s pro cycling team.  The Tour de Gila is held in New Mexico.  Its five tough stages include three road races, a time trial, and a criterium.  The last race is called the “Gila Monster Race,” which speaks volumes about its toughness!  Jess raced strongly in each stage, ending up with 15th overall GC and helping her teammate place 6th!

For those who haven’t heard, Jessica has some AMAZING news to share!  We are so excited for her.  I’ll let her speak for herself in this excerpt from her blog:

After having a really fun and hard race at Gila, I was offered a mid-season contract by Primal/MapMyRide. After much deliberation (actually not much at all because these ladies are amazing!) I have signed a professional cycling contract to race for the remainder of 2012 (and hopefully beyond!) with Primal/MapMyRide!

I am so excited to have found such a good team for myself and doubly excited that they liked me enough to sign me right away!  Everyone involved with the team is so supportive and kind and the sponsors are extremely generous and committed to supporting our team.  There is a huge breadth of experience on the team and I am so excited to learn from and race with these awesome ladies!

We at Peterson Racing p/b Spokeswomen are excited to have been a part of Jessica’s journey to the pro ranks so far, and will to continue to support and cheer her on!  She will remain our team president for this season and will continue to act as a board member for the team in future years.  Since she signed with Primal/Mapmyride in the middle of the year, her new team director will release her to ride for Peterson in a few local races if she chooses and if they consent. You will also see her out at Marymoor for track racing this summer.

Rider of the Month: Andrea Casebolt

Rider of the Month

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Name: Andrea Casebolt, junior racer

Category/Discipline: Road 3, Cross 3

How you got into cycling: I got into cycling because of my dad. I watched him race a cross race in Portland about seven years ago and thought it looked really cool so I wanted to try it out.

How to balance life and cycling as a junior racer: Being a junior is great! A little hard with managing training with school, but I get by. Knowing that I started at such a young age and already have a good amount of experience is nice because I want to do cycling for forever. Racing as a junior at nationals is also pretty cool, you get to meet a lot of new people. It’s nice to have adults that are willing to support us with training and racing is great as well.

What’s your favorite thing about cyclocross, your main race discipline? My favorite thing about cyclocross is definitely the getting dirty aspect. Having to jump over obstacles is pretty sweet too. I like the challenge cross brings with all the different kinds of weather and terrain you have to race in. It’s not as strict as road, the environment is so laid back and chill. Not saying it’s not hard to race cross, because it definitely is.

 Favorite cycling memory? Hmmm… my favorite memory in cycling was in Kansas City, 2007, when I won the Cyclocross National Championships. Earlier that season my dad had broken his ankle in Steilacoom right after he had won and was about to move up a category… he told me that he was proud of my performance at the Seattle series so when I went to Kansas City and crossed the finish line first, the expression on my dads face. He told me he felt like he had won vicariously through out me. That was something I will never forget.

-Andrea

Rider of the Month: Jessica Culnane

Jessica Culnane has started off the season with some really strong racing! She placed 3rd at Mason Lake 1, WON Sequim 1, and placed 3rd at Sequim 2, earning her upgrade from category 4 to 3. Way to go, JAC!

Nickname: JAC

Hometown: Snohomish, WA
Years racing:
1
Category:
4
Past cycling achievements: Third place at my first and only two crits last year as a Cat 4. 3rd at Mason 1 and Sequim 2, 1st at Sequim 1. Riding the Cascade Loop (Washington-Stevens Pass).
Why you decided to try bike racing
: Races help break the barrier of what you think you can do, and I love this. Most of my life I have raced to some extent, but it was running, triathlon, or multisport–so I thought I’d try bike racing next! I also wanted more discipline in my cycling efforts, not just riding when it’s nice out in search of the best scone.
What has surprised you so far about being on a race team:
I’ve always felt pretty competitive and dedicated to athletic pursuits. But now I realize, I’m just slightly above average and this team is where it’s at! They are intelligently committed to the sport and pushing themselves to new abilities. They inspire me to ride harder and stronger, but laugh when things go wrong.
What keeps you riding:
It is where I find my bliss. Whether it is pulling the team into a head wind, with sideways rain/hail, with numb hands or zipping around Mercer on one of those perfect ‘this is why I live in Seattle days’, life narrows in on that moment. New perspective is gained on what really matters and the insignificant is gone by the time I get home. And of course it is just fun to go fast!
What type(s) of racing you hope to try this year:
The only bike races I’ve done thus far are a few off the couch crits, so I’m excited be a little prepared for some races and race for a longer distance. Stage races seem like my cup of tea.

Rider of the Month: Cathy Varland

To help you get to know our team better, we’re going to highlight one teammate per month.

First up is Cathy Varland!

Hometown: Hoquium, WA

Category: Road 2

How you got started racing: I joined the WWU cycling team in college after getting a running injury.

Past Cycling Achievements: 3rd in the GC at Elkhorn as a Cat 3, finishing with the lead group on stage 4 of Cherry Blossom 2010, “competing” against Kristen Armstrong at the Mt. Hood Stage Race in 2011.

Why you’re excited about Peterson Racing p/b Spokeswomen:  It’s a team of strong women who are supportive of one another on and off the bike. We focus not just on racing but also growing the sport for women and giving back to the community.

Any thoughts about women’s cycling in general? Cycling provides a great opportunity for women to challenge themselves. Training and racing builds confidence that carries into everyday life. It’s awesome to see women working together and kicking butt during a race.

What keeps you riding: It keeps me sane! I love the freedom and the challenge of cycling. And the cycling community is full of wonderful, supportive people who I love to hang out with.

Favorite memory in cycling: A few epic training rides I’ve had with teammates. The rides that make you want to cry when they’re happening but leave you feeling strong and accomplished when you’re done. Those are good times!

When not biking: I hang out with friends and family, work, snowboard, and spend time outside.

When you’re not on the bike: I love to be outdoors or spending time with my friends and family.