Team Group Health joined the Cascade Bicycle Club at their Ride for Major Taylor last Saturday, April 16th, 2016. The Major Taylor Project is in its 9th year and reaching more students than ever! With the partnership of Group Health Cooperative and Team Group Health, the Project will expand to its sixteenth School this fall!
The Major Taylor Project (MTP) is a year-round, youth development cycling program produced by the Cascade Bicycle Club Diversity and Inclusion department, integrating bicycling, healthy living, bicycle maintenance, road safety awareness and the importance of working toward individual goals. MTP is focused on introducing youth from diverse communities to recreational cycling and creating an inclusive culture of bicycling. MTP uses the bicycle to help students expand their worldview and encourages them to explore the agency they have to change themselves and their communities.
When: Saturday, February 20th, 10 AM-2 PM
Where: Pacific Raceways racetrack, 31001 144th Ave SE, Kent, WA 98042
Who: New and experienced Cat4 road racers, collegiate racers, riders interested in learning skills and exploring racing, Cat3 racers wanting to hone skills
Learn basic bike handling, pack riding, cornering, and sprinting! Practice racing in a controlled environment with experienced upper-category racers providing instruction and mentoring!
As competitive cyclists striving to improve our performance, our brains tend to focus on the “pushing hard” part — the spirited team rides, the intense hill-climbing training, and of course the races themselves. But how well are we using our time off the bike to boost what we can do on the bike? And as we get older, how can we keep our bodies strong and our times fast?
Our teammate and sponsor Marsa Daniel, owner of MD Endurance Coaching, is an expert on athletes’ performance AND recovery, especially when it comes to cyclists and rowers. She offered some great tips and inspiration at a seminar attended by a number of TGH’ers, stressing that our bodies’ ability to recover from a hard effort can be just as important as the hard effort itself. Efficient recovery becomes even more important for masters athletes, as our metabolism slows and our muscle mass decreases.
Muscle mass! That’s Marsa’s No. 1 tip for older athletes. Increased muscle mass does lots of things for us during recovery, from kicking metabolism up a few notches to slowing the effects of aging and promoting brain health. So the older racers among us should be carving out time to hit the gym for some quality strength work, especially during the off-season.
Marsa also described individual metabolic types, and how that should affect each racer’s approach to recovery (see her website for details).
Cut down on sugar.
Sleep (well) for 8+ hours — our bodies do lots of things during sleep that boost
recovery, so this is essential.
Address nutritional deficiencies.
Understand fats, and make sure you’re getting enough of the omega-3 variety.
She also reminded us to eat breakfast (a nutritious breakfast!), never get too hungry, eat protein consistently, limit alcohol and caffeine, choose pasture-raised foods to help reduce inflammation — and be sure to laugh and have fun.
Teammates came away with a wealth of ideas and resolutions.
“I have been thinking that I need to work on my strength more than I have in the past few years. This talk really highlighted to me that it’s even more essential now,” says Rosemarie Schmidt.
“I’m digging out my omega-3 oil as it has been hiding away in the refrigerator, I will be taking that more often! “ vows Amanda Anttila
Faye Christenberry noted that getting stronger and staying healthy is definitely harder to do as she gets older. “Marsa’s talk not only made me feel like it is still possible to improve, but she also gave us a lot of useful information on how to achieve it. Great motivation to start!”
Evidence of that great motivation: For dinner the night after Marsa’s talk, Paula Froke went for salmon and a double serving of broccoli (both rich in omega-3 fats) while sadly skipping the potatoes and wine (killers for sugar-burners like her). Later that night, she followed Marsa’s advice to not check her phone or computer in the last hour before bed, and read rather than watch TV. Anything to boost a good night’s sleep!
Marsa offers a variety of coaching services. Talk with her or see her website for details.
Team Group Health was represented at the 2016 USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross Nationals that took place in Asheville, NC from January 4-10th by Amanda McNabb, Niki Weiss, and Lisa Coyne. Lisa Coyne had a great race leading her to a podium finish in the Master Women 55-59 category. Here is her exciting race report:
It was 22 degrees in Asheville and Niki and I puffed out steam as we began the first of 2 climbs on frozen ground. We were on our first reconnaissance of the course that was touted as being the most technical ever set. The climb got progressively steeper, culminating in a stout run-up. From the top there was a great view of the river valley below from which we climbed and the Blue Ridge mountains beyond. Niki coached me through the off-camber slalom that began the descent, and then we rattled down the rough, straight gravel road. After a tour of the lower land that featured red North Carolina mud frozen into ruts and 2 flyovers, we ground up a steeper 2nd climb that sidled up the hillside terraced by cow paths. There was a shockingly steep drop through the woods. It took me several tries and 2 trips over the bars to find lines that would get me down the turns cleanly! After this recon and 2 other visits to the course I was no longer terrified of its steeper features and felt ready to race.
By the time I raced at 2:30, it had warmed to 55 degrees and the sun and wind had almost dried the course. After a #1 call up, I missed my clip at the start and had to work my way out of mid-pack at the hole shot to be back in medal contention. I worked my way into 3rd, but on my 3rd lap when punching up a riser that led to the first big climb, my quads began cramping up. I backed off a bit and was able to continue racing, though I couldn’t generate full power without the legs locking up. Three people passed me on that climb and I felt the chance at a medal slipping away. But on the 4th lap when turning through the last descent I saw my nearest competitor, Karen Nash, putting her chain back on her bike just ahead. She jumped on her bike just in front of me and we accelerated down the hill and onto the flat stretch that led to the barriers and the last turn to the uphill finish pavement. I caught her at the barriers, pushed my bike hard to remount just ahead of her and stomped on the pedals. Knowing she was right behind me, I fully expected her to sit on my wheel and pull around before the finish. My legs were toast and efforts at sprinting weren’t yielding much speed, but I yanked on the bars and crossed the line in 4th place with her still on my wheel.
Luckily the podium at Nats is 5 deep, so I got to stand up there on a beautiful evening, at a beautiful venue under the last of the day’s bluebird skies with 4 great riders. We all wore giant smiles as Georgia Gould placed medals on our necks. What a wonderfully gracious woman Georgia is! She said something kind to each person as she presented the medals, spent the day co-announcing the women’s racing and came to the women’s wine event that evening to be interviewed (or was it roasted?) by the other race announcer along with a few other up and coming notable racers. Hopefully you too will get a chance to meet or cheer for her. Hearing these women speak and chatting with other racers who ranged up to age 66 was an affirmation of the quality and camaraderie of the USA women’s cyclocross scene.
Next year’s event is in Connecticut, but the Colorado women have given me pointers on racing in the snow. So Niki and I think we should rally a contingent of TGH to attend in 2017!
Way to go Lisa Coyne, to grab 4th place during CX Nationals!
An intrepid crew of 5 Team Group Health racers journeyed to Iowa City, IA to race in the 3 day Jingle Cross Pro Cyclocross Race Dec 4-6. Jingle Cross has a reputation for bringing cold, snowy conditions, but 2015 proved unique. In the week leading up to the event, the area saw some snow and 8 inches of rain, leaving the venue thick with mud. The course changed slightly each day, and thanks to “Mt. Krumpit”, is not the easy, flat course a newcomer to Iowa might expect. The weekend kicked off with Friday Night Under the Lights, followed by full days of racing on Saturday and Sunday with course conditions that were sometimes slick, sometimes heavy, and always ready to clog a bike’s moving parts with midwestern mud.
TGH racers showed off their PNW mud skills with strong results in 3 categories. Jadine Riley claimed a podium finish each day in the Master Women 35+ field, with 2 second places and a 3rd place. Sharon Gregg also earned 6th place finishes in this field each day.
The Women Category 3 field included Niki Weiss and Amanda McNabb, riding strong in a large field plagued by crashes and mechanicals.
Gina Estep, after a late-season upgrade to Category 2, used her shiny new UCI license to test herself in the UCI Elite field. She was able to line up with the likes of US National Champion Katie Compton and former Czech National Champion, Olympian, and 2014 World Cup Champion Katerina Nash and made us all proud with a strong finish each day.
The heavy mud also gave TGH a chance to showcase what we do best – teamwork. Bike exchanges in the pits, rapid mud removal between laps, and addressing mechanicals between races required all hands on deck to keep everyone moving.
Special thanks to our fellow Washington racers who made the journey to Iowa for their support on-site, and to the TGH board for logistical support to make this adventure possible!
Our very own dirt-loving Susan Fleenor is featured in the current issue of Outdoors NW Magazine (page 27)!
Proudly sporting her TGH kit, Susan Fleenor was selected from a list of 70 women to be featured in their Women of the Decades article, highlighting inspiring athletes of all ages and abilities. Representing the age 50 to 60 decade, Fleenor’s racing mantra is “the body achieves what the mind believes.”
Nice work Susan!
TGH is out in full force this road season, attending races throughout the state and getting some great results.
Washington State Road Race Championships
In June, the ladies of TGH picked up some hardware at the WSBA State Championship Road Race in Bellingham.
Held again on the challenging North Shore course, it was a rough day on the bike for many as the road claimed many flats, mechanicals and DNFs.
Not for our Cat 4 squad however. They rode strong and it was first-year-racer Moriah Patashnik, who crossed the finish line first, claiming her first win and State title of her cycling career. Congrats champ!
For the Pro 1/2 and Cat 3 field, it seemed like an especially tough day in the saddle as the first riders started dropping in the first few miles of the race. By lap two, the pack was shattered, leaving little chase groups and singletons throughout the course.
Thanks to great teamwork, defending State champion, Anne-Marije Rook, was able to get back to the lead group after a minor mechanical and ultimately sprint to a second place finish, taking home the silver medal.
Nice work, ladies!
Washington State Criterium Championships
The State Championship Criterium race was held in the Georgetown neighborhood in Seattle in July. In the Cat 4 race, Moriah Patashnik fought her way onto the podium again, this time coming a little short and going home with the silver medal.
The Pro 1/2 race was a full hour of action-packed racing. The attacking started at the sound of the whistle and barely eased up. TGHer Anne-Marije Rook bridged over to a two-person break, which continued to expand until it was six-women strong. Together, the break worked hard and lapped the field but remained on the front to keep the pace high and the sprint clean. The sprinting for primes continued to be fierce before the -cat-and-mouse game started with two laps to go. The finishing sprint was a close one, and Rook won by only a wheel-length thanks to a bike throw.
The Cat 3s raced with the Cat 1/2 but were scored separately. Racing smartly and using her 1/2 teammates to her advantage, Lisa Coyne was the first 3 to cross the line, earning herself another State Champion title.
In April, we traveled to Monterey, California, with 25 women and 40 bikes to compete at the Sea Otter Classic. At this massive event, TGHers were able to compete in Enduro, XC mountain bike, downhill, road, crit, circuit and cyclocross races while spending quality time together in sunny California.
A big shoutout to our sponsors, TGH Board and support crew for making it all happen!
See some highlights, here:
Specialized is a new sponsor for Team Group Health this year, but they are definitely not new to cycling!
They have over 40 years of innovative and trendsetting pedigree behind them. A big part of their innovation is their attention to the female rider.
Everything from their bikes to their gloves, helmets, saddles and clothing all designed by Dr Andy Pruitt at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine and the Body Geometry team at Specialized.
So whether you’re riding around the block with your kids, around the Puget sound, setting personal records or running the barriers at your first cyclocross race, you can rest assured that Specialized has got you covered with scientifically proven, women-specific products.