women’s cycling

Bicycle Components – where to splurge and where to save

Bicycle components, what to splurge on, and what to save on is a bicycle owners biggest dilemma. If your finances are limited, you can purchase a few components that will give you the most bang for your buck. I’ve personally had to decide what it is that’s a priority for me. Do I splurge on a new seat, or, do I buy those really spiffy, gotta have cycling shorts? While they’re not all true components, these are the things that are the most essential to me: a really spectacular pair of over- the- top (some of my co-workers still harass me about HOW much money I actually spent) cycling shorts, a bicycle pump, the seat, and last but critically the most important, good brakes.

1. Shorts

Ah, one of my favorite topics, cycling shorts. This is a totally personal choice based on style, economics, preferences, and what works best for you. You may go through a lot of trial and error here, but the most important advice is to go 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

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:

Finding local group rides, classes, and clinics

You’ve been riding and building your base, but you haven’t ventured very far from home. Maybe you’re nervous about riding alone too far away as you aren’t sure how to change a tube if you get a flat, or you don’t have a solid base. Perhaps you aren’t familiar with the trails, want to increase your distance, or just want some company while riding. Group rides and clinics are a great way learn basic maintenance, see new trails, and make friends who also enjoy cycling.

But how do you find events? Cycling a wonderful thing, and the professionals in the industry are typically very eager to share their love of cycling with the rest of the community. As such, many local bike shops (LBS) offer a variety of opportunities for cyclists of all levels to learn more about bikes, ride with others in group rides, and build their base with indoor cycling classes. There are also a lot of people just like you looking for friends to ride with. Continue reading

For Your Eyes Only

At least officially, it has been spring for a while, and all cyclists are dying to put their trainers back in the basement and get out on the roads.

Sure, better weather and longer days are definitely welcomed by all of us, but they also require a well thought through investment into protective eyewear. When spending hours upon hours outside, it is important to have the right lenses, right fit – and, let’s be honest – the right design. Just like with helmets, many women tend to need women’s specific glasses, and luckily many brands have invested in women-specific designs for high-performance sunglasses. I tested a variety of glasses to see which ones work best for the many different kinds of riding and racing that I do. While all lenses provide 100% UVA/UVB protection, they each have different strengths.

Here is a guide for what’s new for your eyes in 2016: Continue reading

A Little Maintenance Goes a Long Way

Regular riding is great for your body, but can be hard on your bike and gear! While our steeds are built to take a beating, treating them right along the way will help you get more consistent performance and a smoother ride while on the road or trail. Below is a simple guide to help you stay on top of the simplest maintenance tasks which can have a big impact on your bike’s wear and tear.

Every Day Before You Ride

Give those tires a squeeze! If they feel soft, you better check your pressure and see if you’ve picked up any thorns and punctures on your last ride. If you’re riding tubeless, pulling out the thorn/nail/whatever and spinning your wheel should allow the puncture to seal back up. Don’t forget to top off your sealant every 4-6 months depending on your climate.

Optimal Bike Tire Pressures:
Road Bike: 100-120 psi
Mountain: 30-50 psi
Hybrid: 50-70 psi

How are them brakes working? Before you even start to roll, Continue reading

Benefits Of Working Out

As we all start to get busy, it is important to remember the awesome benefits to working out.  When we remember why it is important to workout, we are more likely to do our best to fit it in our schedule.  Here a just a few of the many benefits of working out…

Health Benefits – Exercise Can:

The Pros and Cons of Large Events

I love large cycling events – the energy of hundreds or thousands of cyclists lining up to start, the satisfaction of breaking a PR, the challenge of eating my entry fee’s worth of Oreos, I love it all! Well… almost all…

Let’s be honest – everything has its pros and cons, and here’s my list of the ups and downs of large cycling events:

Pro: Pre-planned accountability

huntsman 140 end jamie horizThis one is huge for me. Every spring I sign up for 5-10 cycling events and it keeps me accountable to training and ramping up to be ready for my summer schedule. Could I plan a full cycling calendar on my own? Sure. But the reality is Continue reading

Fast-Twitch VS Slow-Twitch: What is the difference and does it really matter?

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What kind of cyclist are you? Do you find it more important to outsprint the girl riding next to you or would you rather be able to ride for hours and hours without wearing down? Believe it or not, some of this is genetically determined. Our athletic strengths whether we are a sprinter or an endurance rider often depend on our muscle fiber composition.

Muscle Types:

Slow Twitch (Type I)
The slow muscles are more efficient at using oxygen to generate more fuel (known as ATP) for continuous, extended muscle contractions over a long time. They fire more slowly than fast twitch fibers and can go for a long time before they fatigue. Hence,slow twitch fibers are very Continue reading

Morgan: Planning & Training for Long Races or Rides

My first endurance cycling event, and I’m almost ashamed to admit it because it wasn’t Race Across America, The Triple Bypass or some other legendary cycling feat, was RAGBRAI. Yep. The annual bike ride across Iowa. Pretty sure I just killed any sex appeal or athlete envy you might have had for me. So, moving on…At the time, I was new to the bike and the thought of riding 500 miles in one week was daunting. I trained by riding alongside Ryan, trusting that by doing exactly as he did I would prevail. After all, he’s an Iowa boy, forged in the RAGBRAI tradition since birth.When July rolled around, I was ready: My bike was dialed in, I had a thousand miles in the saddle and was well rested. My first day was glorious. My legs and lungs dutifully carried me through 70 miles of corn-speckled hills. When we rolled into camp, I felt like a champ, ready for the next six days. By week’s end, I was a blistered and bitter trainwreck. In spite of my training and Ryan’s ever-present encouragement, I was OVER with RAGBRAI and everything having to do with Iowa. God save the poor bastards who escorted me home that year.Ten years and ten RAGBRAI later, I understand what went wrong–terribly wrong–during my virgin endurance event. To this day, I share this nugget of hard-won wisdom with my clients and ride buddies who endeavor to ride an endurance event: It matters little how well you’ve trained if you can’t enjoy the experience because of (understandably) rookie errors.

Before I even consider prescribing a training plan I climb high on my soap box for the How to Prepare for an Endurance Cycling Event That has Nothing to do with Riding a Bike lecture.

And so it begins… *(Don’t fret, next edition I will give you the never-fail, top-secret, chick-rider-only training program)

5: Spend an Extra “Ben Franklin” for a Professional Bike Fit.

Let me be abundantly clear on this one, gals: The 43 second slap shot job performed by the 18-year-old who sold you your bike does NOT qualify as professional. Nor does having Neighbor-Who-Rides-All-The-Time bestow his well-intentioned and erroneous opinion regarding your bike and body. Why am I so adamant about this? Because riding an ill-fitting bike is inefficient, uncomfortable, and dangerous. Not only do you risk irreparable damage to joints and soft tissue, but you’ll likely stop training due to pain or disdain. By training for an endurance event, you are agreeing to spend more time with this machine than your husband. A professional fit is not optional.

4: Plan the Ride, Ride the Plan.

I promise you I’m not stating the obvious here. This isn’t a pep talk about riding adequate miles. Plan the Ride, Ride the Plan is being honest about your intentions during the ride. If you intend to get up early and ride before dawn, do that during training. If you plan on eating gels and bars and sports drinks, do that during training. If you plan on sleeping in, riding on coffee and candy bars until the first bar graces the horizon, do a variation on that during training. This might seem like a strange bit of advice coming from a wellness professional. However, I’ve seen too many people train like a saint and ride like a she-devil and wonder why they feel like road kill. If you join a ride to perform, train for performance. If you join to party, I hereby give you permission to train for that, too. Either way, you’ll likely be more prepared and safer than if you plan for one and do the other.

3: Use Protection.

Imagine this: Day five of RAGBRAI; A haggard blonde combing the aisles of the drugstore filling her basket with balms, salves, blister guards, creams, and bandages. She is desperate to create a barrier between the gaping sores on herself and the bike seat, (which might as well be made of sand paper). After testing various combinations, she manages to eek through the final 150 miles of rub-rub-rubbing on her weary privates. The moral to my true and tragic story? Protect yourself.

If your event is multiple days of riding, practice riding multiple days in the chamois you intend to wear and on the bike seat you intend to rock. Do not ride a new chamois or a new seat. That, my friends, is torture. Furthermore, do not, under any circumstances ride a chamois two days in a row without washing it. Just imagine all the bacteria growing down there… all day.

It’s a vulnerable area—Protect it.

2: On the Bike is Secondary.

What could be more important than what you do on the bike in an endurance cycling event? What you do off the bike! In fact, ask any experienced rider to share an off the bike saga and prepare to settle in for a long tale.

What you eat, when you eat it, how much you eat, where you sleep, when you sleep, how you sleep in a high school gym with 200 other farting, snoring, restless riders while it’s raining to beat hell, where you pee, where you poop, where you poop right frickin’ now because that burrito just hit you like a freight train, what to do when you start your period, how much stuff to carry, what to wear, what not to wear… As you can see, off the bike is exceedingly more unpredictable than on the bike. Hence, the goal going into any event: Be consciously aware that off that bike events are bound to happen, they will affect your best-laid, on-the-bike training plans, probably require more effort to rectify, and when taken in stride are a glorious, maddening, harrowing, and exhilarating part of the on the bike experience.

When off the bike throws you a curveball, tap a veteran cyclist for support, be creative, and practice letting go. When off the bike is finally resolved, get back to the rhythmic predictability of on the bike.

1: Take Care of Your Body.

This is your trainer speaking. On the surface, my profession is dedicated to helping clients train for various events. Our real job is stewarding bodies. We are that little voice that reminds you to take care, for without her any event would be impossible. You may hate her. You may look at her in the mirror and lash out. Starve her, stuff her, work her, neglect her, cover her up, cut her, mock her, pinch, prod, and curse her. All that, and at the end of the ride, she–this villain–will loyally pedal you through life.

You might not like her, but if you train her and take care of her, she will adapt and grow stronger. Feed her good food; Nutritious stuff that will help her rebuild after a tough training ride. Take her for a massage or a visit to the chiro or the spa; Let some healing hands have their way with her, especially the sore parts. Smear her up with sunblock, wear a helmet, stay off of busy roads, and make sure she doesn’t get smashed or ripped open or burned or hurt. And, when you’ve had a particularly good day in the saddle, maybe riding further than ever, or effortlessly passing some punk, or climbing a hill you never thought you could, or just feeling frickin’ awesome, give her a little pat on the arm and a “Good job, honey, we did it.”

It’s a simple deal: You take care and she (that little voice in your head) will shepherd you through the ride. And, maybe somewhere along the way, you might come to an agreement.

– Morgan


Have a topic you’d like to read about from Morgan’s perspective? Leave a comment below or ping us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram with #MoxieMorgan