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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Happy Halloween from Peterson Racing!

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!

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Things got a little scarier the next day at the Seattle Cyclocross race #4, held at Sprinker Recreation Center….Image

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.

‘Hungary’ for More!

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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. 😉

RJ to Compete at Mountain Bike Orienteering World Championships in Hungary!

Peterson rider Rebecca Jensen, known as ‘RJ’ around these parts, has been elected to the US Mountain Bike Orienteering Team and will be representing the USA at the MTB-O World Championships this August in Veszperem, Hungary!

In Mountain Bike Orienteering, instead of following a pre-set course such as in a regular mountain bike race, competitors are provided a map to find their own way. The map shows highly detailed contours and rates the technical difficulty of each trail. Checkpoints are circled on the map and must be visited in the designated order, thus the challenge to the competitor is not only to navigate to the next point but to also make smart route choices. For instance, a competitor might consider whether going the shorter, steeper and technical route is faster than taking the smooth but longer trail around. GPS devices are not allowed in orienteering, only a compass may be used! But RJ emphasizes that the primary skill is being able to read the map and associate it to the terrain, not ‘compass magic.’

RJ setting out controls for a meet in Salmon La Sac

RJ has been orienteering for 3 years since she moved back to the Seattle area. Upon arriving in Seattle, she discovered the Cascade Orienteering Club online. With no prior experience, she called up a high school cross country buddy to join her and showed up at a local meet at Lake Sammamish State Park. After an hour of gleefully running through puddles instead of around them, she (and her friend) were hooked. She has attended every Winter Series meet since then, except for that one time she had a wedding to go to. Her Winter Series Overall ranking steadily climbed from 15th woman in the series in 2010, to 7th in 2011, to 3rd in 2012– the most recent overall ranking includes a win at Fort Steilacoom.

Since moving to Seattle, RJ has also picked up mountain biking. Her dabbling in Xterra, an off-road triathlon series, soon led to age-group wins, then a qualification to attend the US Xterra National Championships. Exploring the endurance aspect of the sport, RJ’s first long mountain bike ride was the 2011 Capitol Forest 50– in which she happily placed 6th, only 5 minutes out of 3rd. Results aside, the attraction remained that mountain biking was always fun and dynamic, no matter how she finished.

Now RJ will be combining her passion for mountain biking and orienteering! To read more about RJ’s orienteering pursuits, check out www.RunBosco.com

To get a flavor for orienteering, check out RJ’s most recent orienteering video from Salmon La Sac below!

Echo of Echo

by Lisa Toner

I got an “echo” of my past, so to speak, at last weekend’s Echo Valley Epic 30 mile mountain bike race! 

Each year, on the last day of school, we observed a great tradition:  Mom pulled up in the loaded minivan and whisked us away to Lake Chelan, where we spent a week with some family friends whose grandparents generously loaned us their timeshare. This was the purest of childhood fun: swimming, boating, tennis, morning runs, sunbathing, brownies and ice cream, and movies.  Freedom! Bliss! Security!  I had a blessed childhood.

One year, we got a Barracuda mountain bike, which I adopted.  I was so proud because it had SHOCK ABSORBERS!  We began taking mountain bikes to Chelan, where we rode the trails of Echo Ridge.  I don’t remember much other than dust, heat, and feeling infuriated as my friends faded into the distance on the long climbs.  Here’s a group shot; I’m in the middle, in the awkward phase of middle school.  I’m probably feeling self-conscious about my huge legs. Little did I know that I’d someday appreciate those legs for their power output!

One year, a very important thing happened after an Echo Valley mountain bike ride: the van broke down!  We had to pedal all the way back to the resort, a grueling ten miles!  OK, most of those miles were downhill, but we probably didn’t have any food or water, and we’d already done a long ride.  I vividly remember how famished and proud we were when we finally rolled up to our door.  I got a sunburn on my lower back that stayed tan for several years.  Looking back, this was an important moment in my life: dealing with the unexpected, doing something you didn’t think you could do, suffering a little, and being thrilled… on a bike. I was in an insecure, nerdy phase of life, so this was a very positive thing for me. 

Fast forward 12 or 13 years (wow, that is half of my life so far!).

It was the last day of school–for my husband Jon, who was about to submit his dissertation to the UW and finish 10 consecutive years of higher education. The end of school means a much different thing now: instead of blissful freedom and security, it’s uncertainty, joblessness, travel, and transition.  It’s still the start of an adventure, just a more open-ended one without any illusions of security.  Leaving my husband to copy edit his 300-page paper one last time, I picked up my teammate Cathy and friend Kamila and we set out to cross the mountains and race bikes in Chelan. The weather was ominous.

We killed time in the town of Chelan until the rain stopped. It made for a nice, romantic bike picture.  

 

It was almost dark when we arrived at the race course, where we pitched my tent and fell sound asleep.  The next morning, we had a leisurely start to the day. We enjoyed coffee and oatmeal. Four Peterson Racing girls were there: Cathy, Courtenay, Sarah, and myself. The atmosphere was lighthearted and fun; you wouldn’t know we were about to go out and suffer for 30-60 miles.  Since it was windy and cold,  I put on a baselayer, arm warmers, knee warmers, and a jersey, which was a good choice.  

The race began with a 2 mile climb, then entered a 13.5 mile main loop. It was a winding maze of double track, fire road, and a few bits of singletrack.  It had about 3600 feet of climbing in 30 miles!  Since there were no obstacles to distract me, I set a hard, steady pace and turned the pedals.  The scenery was gorgeous and it smelled like ponderosa pine and sagebrush.  I had correctly arranged my food and water this time, so I ate plenty and only needed to stop at one aid station.  I came in 11th/30 or something, completing the course in just over three hours.  Sarah, who just got into mountain biking, had a very strong race and placed 6th, Courtenay (racing for her dirt team, Cycling NW) WON the 60 miler in under 5 hours, and Cathy was right behind me.  Good times were had by all!


Race Report: RJ at Stottlemeyer (including poetry!)

Last week, Lisa shared her race experience of the Stottlemeyer 30 Mile Epic. She said, “The course included some fire road climbs, twisty technical sections, flowy gravel singletrack, and lots of fun!!!”

I would concur, but would like to emphasize, the TWISTY TECHNICAL SECTIONS!

My goodness! There were miles upon miles of roots. And I don’t mean, ‘oh, you’re riding along and bump! you hit some roots and pedal on.’ No, no. These are slow grinding roots. Your front wheel is clawing up one while your rear wheel is still slipping down another. I begin to feel like Indiana Jones in a snake pit and the roots are leaving the earth to tangle me up and eat me alive!

To further impress this point upon you, I have written some Haikus.

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ROOTS

Roots rise from the earth

knock me off my bicycle

now I ride a stump.

 

ESCAPE

Pedal furiously

trying to escape the wood

roots hold me hostage.

 

 

Ok, for reals though. That’s the magic of mountain biking– every course can offer something so drastically different than the last. At Beezely Burn, the sand did not suit me and I got last. At Echo Valley, the climb/descent course design suited me and I won. The unique part of Stottlemeyer was the root sections that tested your slow-speed technical skills. I finished mid-pack.

So while Stottlemeyer was not a podium performance for me, it was time well spent on trails that challenged my current skill set.

GO MOUNTAIN BIKING!!

-RJ