Come Meet Team Group Health!

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Team Group Health is leading off the Meet the Team Road Rides this Saturday, September 10th! Do you know of any women interested in racing or interested in checking out Team Group Health?

Team Group Health (TGH) is an all-women team that carries about ​65​ riders on the roster each year of all sizes, ages, and abilities. TGH has a strong contingent in Road, Track, Mountain, and Cyclocross. We are looking for some women new to racing as well as current cat 123 and cat 4 racers. The team is committed to developing strong, safe riders ready to race in all disciplines and has the experience to share with a strong history of being given the national title “Best Team” by USA Cycling ​three​ times and ​two time ​WSBA women’s champions. There are a number of racing scholarships available for women new to road racing this year.​​

Seattle rides will meet at 9:15 at Leschi Park, 201 Lakeside Ave S, Seattle 98122, with the rides departing at 9:30 and proceeding at a social, “no drop” pace around the south end of Lake Washington and returning across I-90 to Leschi.

These are social rides, at a conversational pace, around the south end of Lake Washington. Allow about 2 hours. The ride may stop for 5-10 minutes along the way, but otherwise, be prepared for a continuous ride. These rides happen rain, wind, or sunshine! Bring a functioning road bike (full fenders are appreciated on damp days), helmet, water, some food, weather-appropriate clothing, a little money, and an extra tube in case you flat.

 

2016 STP with Team Group Health

Team Group Health helped out our title sponsor, Group Health, pull off another successful STP.

Bailey Coerver, Nikki Mohrbacher, Stacy Munn, and Karen Wilkinson made the 206 mile trek in a one-day STP to arrive in Portland on Saturday.  After a nice recovery night they were up on the finish line along with Renae Smith and the rest of the Group Health Marketing team to welcome finishers to the park and provide them with give aways and pictures to document their accomplishment.

The ride was an excellent team effort with the weather cooperating by providing pleasant temperatures and just enough sun and wind to make it a great training ride.  It was definitely a long training ride, but we worked together and made a lot of friends along the way that helped take some pulls. We met up multiple times with Group Health CEO Scott Armstrong and his crew of cyclists supporting the cause as we passed by them after a few of the food and rest stops.  It is always so fun to see thousands of cyclists of all ages and capabilities out there enjoying the ride.

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Team Group Health fitting helmets at the Bikes for Kids Event

On July 9th, members of Team Group Health (Lizzy Baker, Laura Fife, and Lee Smith) represented our sponsor, Group Health, at the STAR 101.5 Bikes for Kids event. The radio station is giving bikes to deserving kids as part of their Summer of Bikes event, and Group Health was there to give away high-quality Bell and Giro helmets to every child who needed one. Team members fit helmets to each child, and handed out Group Health “Ouch Pouches,” which were a big hit with kids and parents alike. The kids all went away with smiles on their faces, in some cases still wearing their shiny new helmets.

 

We were also interviewed on STAR 101.5 about how to properly fit a helmet. Read all about the 5-Step Helmet Fit Test

https://www.ghc.org/healthAndWellness/index.jhtml?item=%2Fcommon%2FhealthAndWellness%2Fchildren%2FparentingChild%2FwheelSafe.html

 

 

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The Ride for Major Taylor

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.
https://www.cascade.org/learn/major-taylor-project

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Women’s Road Racing Skills Clinic!

https://www.usacycling.org/register/2016-118

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!

 

Recovery for Masters Athletes, MD Endurance Coaching

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).

Other tips:

 Manage stress.

 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!

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Marsa offers a variety of coaching services. Talk with her or see her website for details.

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Race Report for 2016 USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross Nationals

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!

 

Congratulations to Lisa Coyne! 4th place at CX Nationals!

Way to go Lisa Coyne, to grab 4th place during CX Nationals!

 

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TGH takes on Iowa at 2015 UCI Carousel Volkswagen Jingle Cross Races

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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!

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Susan Fleenor in Outdoors NW Magazine

Outdoors NW

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!