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Oh to climb like a god

To climb, to reach, to strive valiantly…to come up short again and again…to push yourself to your limit and hold it there, balancing on the precipice of sanity and cruelty, to exercise your demons and blast away your fears of death and challenge the almighty to take you if now be the time, to go into the void of your soul and find a way to keep pushing when nothing in you wants to continue.  To give everything that you have, and watch as others dance by and take the prize from you without effort or toil.  Then the next to find you have the grace, the gift, the favor to be the one at the front, setting the pace, driving the machine toward the summit and able to respond and then push back on your limits again and again to a place beyond your mind and fly with the Angels toward the heavens and taste the heat of the sun as Icarus did…and yet not be burned…to fly, to be free of the chains of this devilish coil and taste the sweet refreshing dew of the high and hallowed mountains, having bent them to your might and courage and resolve as you scaled heroically the peaks on your life on a bicycle.

Hmmm, I get kinda emotional when I think about climbing, what it really means to me.  I just finished our first night of Hill Climbing boot camp and I am reminded that I was fortunate to start my riding career in Steamboat Springs, where climbing was what you did on a bike.  When you live in the mountains, you learn how to climb.  I remember my first time getting to the top of Rabbit Ears pass, I felt like I had found a new world, the summit meadows of freshly melted of snow, the quiet deer grazing and still little ponds of pure mountain water, it changed my soul and MAN do I miss it!  

I usually make the climb from the Crystal turn where we park up to Sunrise or Chinook or both, but for me Chinook is the best climb between here and Colorado.

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Seattle Bike Show Review, formerly Seattle Bike Expo

I think this was the 19th year in a row I had a booth at the Seattle Bike Expo or Bike show.  It is interesting to see how things have changed over the years, I was the first professional Bicycle Coach in Seattle to be at the show in 1997, at that time people said “who needs a bike coach, everyone knows how to ride a bike!”  How wrong they were…but this year there weren’t any other coaches there, but there was some cool stuff despite there being less bike shops in attendance.

#1 on my list is the new locally made Gerard bicycles, a very sexy looking road machine created by local racing/cool guy legend John Sheehan, former Irish national champion who is making these sweet rides out of Kirkland!  They look like a cross between a Pinarello and an Orbea, Here is a link and a pic:Oh and there were some cool bikes from Portland, and fenders and other fancy artesian stuff…but who cares, I’m not really into the “slow” bike thing, although I support anyone not in a hurry, just don’t get in my way : )

#2 holy crap the Electric bikes are here!  This show had more electric bikes than charity century rides, there were blocks of 10 booths ALL electric with CRAZY looking machines that looked like mini motor cycles, scooters, regular bikes and trikes.  

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When things don’t go according to plan

By: Heather Nielson

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? The basic premise is that while in pursuit of your goals, whether it’s diet, work, fitness, or money related and you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing on a daily basis 80% of the time, you’re doing pretty good. It’s very rare to have everything in life go much better than that for very long. If you’re anything like me however, 80% just isn’t good enough. 100% is the bare minimum. However, my definition of 100% has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. I hold myself to pretty high standards and for better or worse it’s gotten me where I am in life, career and bicycle racing.

Over the past few years however, I’ve realized that those ‘black and white’, ‘all or none’ standards really aren’t the best idea; nor are they the best, healthiest or fastest path to success and here’s why: let’s say I laid out a training plan for the next 4-6 weeks, slowly building time and intensity on the bike; as well as weight, reps and sets and types of exercises in the gym; then I would go and do THAT. No matter what. I didn’t care how tired I was, how stressed out I was, what the whether was like, personal life (wait, what’s that?), or any other silly life commitments like laundry and cooking. All the other stuff got done of course, but I was continually over-trained.

The last few years, I’ve learned to let go of some of that stubbornness and trust other people who know more than I do, who know me and care about my success to help me reach my goals to advise, guide and coach me. I’ve also learned to listen to my body and take more recovery; even when it didn’t follow my or our training plan. Learning to trust these other few people has been a lot more difficult than I anticipated because let’s face it, I’m a self-made woman. The result? I got stronger, faster and I’m able to balance more of the rest of my life in a healthier way. Am I training ‘more’? No. I’m training smarter by balancing more recovery, maximizing my time on the bike, trusting my support system and listening to my body.

Learning to let go of the ‘plan’ and trusting that if you never stop listening to your body and those you trust, keep asking questions, keep learning, keep moving forward that you’re actually exactly on the path you should be on, and you’ll make gains in exactly the way you should and are capable of. You will get closer to your goals and your potential because you learned to adapt faster which means you’ll get stronger….faster. Trust me.

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The make-before-then-re-heat-healthy-breakfast!

By: Heather Nielson

I live alone and I love to cook but sometimes cooking for myself can be difficult because cooking healthy dishes wherein you need to buy most ingredients in bulk means that oftentimes some of it can go bad. So, most of the recipes I’ve made or altered are scaled to 4-6 meals. I cook a vegetable or meat dish and store it in containers that I just grab during the week; which is a great time saver and means I can still eat healthy no matter how busy I am!  Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and the whole morning ritual of making my coffee and breakfast and enjoying it while catching up on my news, e-mail, social media etc – it’s my favorite part of the whole day; other than the bike ride I do right after of course! I’ve learned to enjoy the preparation, art and effort that goes into cooking and then the meal itself. Mindless eating can lead to a whole spectrum of issues. Slow down! Enjoy it. Healthy food can taste good if you give it a chance.

Mornings can be hectic for me, just like everyone else and sometimes having something to grab from the freezer and re-heat in the microwave that isn’t a sugar filled pastry from the coffee shop on your way to work is a literal life saver. Below is a recipe for a Salmon Egg Bake that can be portioned and frozen for later.

Salmon-and-Egg-Bake

 

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbl Coconut oil
  • 2 large zucchini shredded
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • salt, pepper & dill to taste
  • 8 eggs
  • 6 oz salmon – thawed

Instructions

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  2. Add the zucchini, onions, salt, pepper and dill
  3. Stir fry until water from zucchini is evaporated; about 5-8 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees
  5. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs
  6. Add shredded salmon and mix in well
  7. Add in zucchini mixture, mix well
  8. Pour into a greased 9x5x2 baking pan
  9. Bake 35 minutes

ENJOY!

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Warm in the Head for Cycling

I remember my first road race.  It was up Rabbit Ears pass in Steamboat Springs Co.  I realize now that bike racing on courses with 8 mile climbs are pretty simple.  It is all decided on the climb so all you need to do is get to the climb in as good as shape as you can, and then go as hard as you can…for as long as you can.  At the top of the pass you see if anyone else is around to ride with, if not then hammer on till you can’t go anymore and hope you finish well.  That is what I love about cycling, it is just like life.  You seldom know how it will turn out, you set your goal, you work to prepare, and then you race.  Only the racing will tell you what you really want to know, it is how you find out how good you really are and what you need to keep working on. 

I wrote my first bike racing manual in 1998 when I had retired from racing, here is a picture of the cover:  It is short and to the point, getting down what I consider the key points to racing well.  They are what worked for me and what I learned from my previous coaches and following my cycling path for 11 years after college.  It is called “Warm in the Head.  A racers handbook” which is a phrase I heard in Europe racing there with the national team in 1990 during the Tour d la Avenir.  Now I know it means “fever” for cycling, and it makes me laugh because that is what I see in people who love cycling, a fever for the sport.

My fever has changed over the years,

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