Spokeswomen in Action: Jubilee Community Dinner

Jubilee2On Thursday, some of the Spokeswomen ladies (Cathy, Emily, and Tracy) teamed up to prepare and serve dinner at Jubilee Women’s Center on Thursday night. We love giving back to this amazing organization and sharing a meal with a wonderful group of women. Click here to learn more about Jubilee Women’s Center and how you can get involved!Jubilee1

Later, the ladies joined a few of their teammates at Seward Park. Summer time in Seattle is the best! We took advantage of the awesome weather and had a team BBQ and potluck. Great times with a great group of ladies (and their significant others)!BBQ1BBQ2

Quote of the month

“The bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can’t get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

– Susan B. Anthony


Bicycling empowers women!

Jubilee Annual Fundraising Breakfast Recap

This is a belated post about the Jubilee Benefit Breakfast on October 3. The event was a huge success, raising $258,698 to support Jubilee’s programs. It’s Jubilee’s 30th anniversary this year. 
We wanted to give a special thank you to our teammates, friends, and significant others who contributed to this event…. Lori, Tara, Linnea, Mirna, Sandrine, Niels, John, Jason, and Candice. Thank you for your time and donations.
Our team received a special recognition in the event brochure and slide show. I know the Jubilee Center staff really appreciate our team’s support. Keep spreading the word about this great organization and stop by Jubilee for a tour if you’ve never been. 🙂

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.


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/.

‘Hungary’ for More!


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. 😉

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!

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.