Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gear'n Up for Winter; The Essentials...

If you live in Iowa, you skipped the knee warmers and went straight to tights. Let's face it, riding the trainer indoors all winter is no fun, so don't be afraid to ride outside on the colder days. The key is wearing the appropriate clothing; freezing on a bike will ruin any ride. 

I know it's only October, and I hate to be Debbie Downer, but it's time to start gathering the right gear before winter comes... Ladies, get your Christmas lists out!

The essentials to cold weather riding:
  • Hat. Most body heat is lost through your head so a good hat comes first. One like thiswill do well. 
  • Gloves. During the REALLY cold rides, my hands have never gotten cold in these. Good gloves are $$, but they are a good investment. 
  • Socks. WOOL. These make my feet toasty just looking at them. 
  • Neoprene Shoe Covers. My old shoe covers were a workout just to get in and out of. Just got Specialized booties and love them already because they are EASY to slip on.
  • Warm Jacket. Everyone needs one nice, heavier jacket for winter riding; preferably one that wicks sweat well. I have one similar to this that makes me sweat in the coldest of weather. 
  • Tights. I don't have them, but these Specialized tights look like a good buy.
Remember to layer layer layer!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Lil' Different...

Alright, I'm quitting racing to train for something a lil different. Now, which one of you will be my partner??

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

5 things EVERY saddle bag should have...

If you don't have a saddle bag, one like this is perfect. I love my Specialized bag.
  • 1 spare tube (2 if your really unlucky).
  • 1 or 2 CO2 cartridges. I like to carry CO2 instead of a pump; pumps just get in the way. If your cheap like me, you'll buy your CO2 at a sporting goods store instead of a bike shop.
  • A CO2 head like this one. Make sure if you have a threaded head, buy threaded CO2 cartridges.
  • 1 or 2 tire levers. These are my favorite, for the obvious reason.
  • Spare change. You never know when you'll bonk; having a couple dollars will come in handy when you need that King Size Snickers bar! Also, if your tire punctures, put a one dollar bill between the tube and tire (keeps the tube from coming through the tire).
Other things to consider for the jersey pocket:
  • Energy. This should be a given, but never go on a long ride without proper nutrition. I like Luna Bars because they taste good and I can actually get them down while riding, unlike Power Bars, etc. Hammer Gel is great for races because it's quick, easy, and painless.
  • Mace Spray. My boyfriend keeps bugging me about carrying Mace in my jersey pocket, and he's probably right. For women that ride paved and dirt trails a lone, it may not be a bad idea to carry a little bottle of Mace.
  • Cell Phone. Duh
  • Identification. With all the bike/car accidents that have happened around here lately, more people are carrying some form of I.D. God forbid it did happen to you, your family can be contacted much sooner if you are carrying identification.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Paceline Perfection

Not only are pacelines flat out fun, but they GREATLY conserve energy if done properly. Weather it's in a race or a leasurely ride, it will make a group of riders roll faster and smoother together. 

It does get frustrating when riders join a paceline but don't know, or understand, how to keep a proper paceline flowing. It's not their fault either; everyone has to learn somehow from somewhere. For women especially, pacelines can be intimidating at first; so pay attention:

A Single Paceline can be started with 2 or more people. All riders assemble into a single-file line and maintain a steady, consistent pace. The lead rider pulls off to the side and drifts to the back of the line. The rider behind him/her then takes the lead for a few seconds to several minutes (sometimes the group will agree on a how long to pull). The rider taking the lead should maintain a steady pace and not accelerate at all. 

A Double Paceline is ideal for larger groups with more road space. Instead of one single-file line, riders will establish two lines riding two abreast. The two lead riders will keep a consistent pace until pulling off. The rider on the left will pull to the left, while the rider on the right will pull off to the right. Riders should make sure no cars are coming and plenty of space is provided before drifting to the back. The riders next in line do not accelerate when taking the lead, but continue to maintain a steady cadence. 

A Rotating Double Paceline is a little more tricky than the others. It is often formed to keep a group moving faster and requires less rest. This paceline is more energy efficient because it is constantly rotating (nobody pulls more than a few seconds at a time). One line will move faster, while the other slower. (Slower line will be blocking wind for faster line). The rotation should move clockwise if the wind is coming from the right and counterclockwise if from the left.  Lets say the rotation is moving counterclockwise, then the lead rider on the right side will make sure he/she has enough room, then move left and take the lead of slower line. The rider will drift all the way back until last in line, then move right into the faster line again. The rotating paceline may take a few rotations before becoming in sync and steady. The rotation gets out of wack when the lead rider of the fast line accelerates, creating a gap. Try to glance back before drifting to either side to make sure you have enough room and not creating a gap.

Tips for any paceline:

  • For experienced riders, keep about a foot between wheels. Widen the gap if inexperienced
  • NEVER overlap wheels!
  • Ride predictable 
  • Don't accelerate or decelerate suddenly
  • Don't jump into a paceline with people you don't know. Their riding style may be sketchy and dangerous
  • Don't be afraid to communicate. Let a rider know they have enough room to pull off if they look weary. Hand signals, such as a flick of the elbow, can also be used to make aware you are rotating through. 
  • If you become tired, don't hesitate to be the "gate keeper" and sit in the back for a couple rotations. 

Thursday, October 8, 2009

First things first... save the kitty!

G-strings, granny panties, thongs, tighty whities..... take em' off before slipping into the lycra! Ladies, for your own sake, and those riding behind you, DO NOT wear underwear with your cycling shorts. The chamois in these shorts are designed to be worn without undies and can actually be harmful. The seams on your underwear can cause painful chaffing, and trust me, nobody wants that. While we are on the subject, keep the kitty purring and slap some chamois cream on there!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Coming Soon!!

Ok, this blog should be up and running within the next couple weeks! My goal is to have a place for women riders and racers to gain understanding, tips, and share the same love for the sport as I do. Basically, this site is all things WOMEN CYCLING, what's better than that?

Check back shortly!
Outdoors Blogs