Our awesome club president, Karen Wilkinson is currently is California, riding the Amgen Tour of California. The only woman riding all the stages of the ATOC this year!
Here’s a quick Q & A with Karen after the first two stages:
- Tell us, what exactly are you doing at ATOC?
I am doing the Tour of California Race Experience, which is one of the bucket list events through Carmichael Training Systems. I am here with 16 men, Chris Carmichael, CTS coaches, four mechanics and four soigneurs. We ride all the stages leaving with a 3-4 hour head start and need to be off the course before the pro peleton catches us. We stay in the hotels along with the pro cycling teams and eat breakfast and dinner with them. They make us travel like them also, with our one suitcase and race bag each day. Each day ends with a massage and dinner/team meeting. The rides are supported with a follow car for neutral support. And after we finish each stage, we get to hang out in the VIP tent to watch the finish of each stage.
- That seems like quite a feat, what possessed you to do it?
I had a very hard year with career change, etc and decided I needed to do something big. [My husband] Dave and I were planning to go watch a few stages of the race if [my son Steve Fisher] got selected to race for Team Jelly Belly. When I started researching about pre-riding some stages, I found the bucket list application. I applied figuring they would just laugh but they called me to set up my interview and before I really thought about how hard it would be, they had offered me a spot.
- What are your goals?
My main goal is to finish every stage and not have to get put into the sag vehicle for being too slow. Second goal is to get stronger on my climbing ability. Third goal is to keep up with some of the men. I am the second oldest rider however so that is a challenge. So far do good though as I finished with six of them.
- Is it more exciting for you to be able to ride ATOC or to watch your son compete in it?
So far it has been really exciting to watch Steve as he is racing with some amazing pros like Wiggins, Sagen, Cavendish, Phinny, etc
- Hows it going to so far?
The first day was the longest day with 127 miles in heat and wind. Today was somewhat a rest day as we just rode 25 miles to the 12 mile TT. Stage 3 is probably the hardest day as it is the KOM day with two mountains for almost 11,000 feet of climbing with the forecast of 98 degrees. Stage six is another mountain top finish after 11,700 ft of climbing.
“View looking down from top of Mount Diablo waiting for the pros to come up. I made it up both climb for 108 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing. They announced I was the only woman to ride the stage up and the noise of the thousands of people banging on the fencing and cheering was unreal. It took every last ounce of me to stay upright and not fall off my bike for the last 200 meters that was at a 19 percent grade!”
Karen, we are so proud of you! Go get ‘em, girl!
Good news today from our title sponsor! Group Health today announced that they’ll sponsor 15 bike share stations in the Capitol Hill and South lake Union neighborhoods of Seattle. Puget Sound Bike Share is hoping to roll out Seattle’s first bike share system later this year and Group Health jumped aboard to help make it happen.
Group Health has thousands of employees spread across four facilities between the Capitol Hill and South Lake Union neighborhoods, who will surely benefit from having a bike share docking station nearby.
“Lending our support for these bike stations makes sense for numerous reasons,” stated Matt Handley, MD, medical director of Quality for Group Health and an avid cyclist.
“Not only does Group Health have a long history of supporting health and wellness – including through community programs and sponsorships – but as a large health provider that draws thousands of people to Capitol Hill, downtown Seattle and South Lake Union, our support of the Puget Sound Bike Share stations is one way Group Health can help put fewer cars on the road at any given time. This has health, environmental and economic benefits for the entire community and contributes to our Commute Trip Reduction efforts.”
The first phase of Seattle’s bike share network will include 50 docking stations and 500 bikes spread across South Lake Union, Downtown, Capitol Hill and the University District.
Additional local companies, including Vulcan, REI, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Spectrum Development Solutions have also signed up to sponsor bike share stations.
Learn more about Seattle bike share program at pugetsoundbikeshare.org.
This weekend we were shocked by the news that former teammate Ellie Booher passed away on Friday after being injured in an avalanche while backcountry skiing in British Columbia.
Every memory we have of Ellie involves her smiling and trying something new. And usually winning at it.
When she joined Team Group Health in the fall of 2012, she jumped right into cyclocross and even ended up winning the State Champion title in her category that year.
When we talked her into doing the 24 hour mountain bike race in Spokane, we put her on the “A” team. Despite her vintage mountain bike, she helped the team finish on the podium. After (and sometimes during) each of her laps, her support crew of husband Chris and sons Jackson and Conrad were there cheering for Mommy. The hugs and laughter flowed freely.
Ellie had an inspiring way of balancing family and life. Instead of taking time away from her family to pursue her athletic goals, she brought them along and made it a family outing. It was so fun watching her lead her kids around a cyclocross course, carrying both their bikes and her own over the barriers. And, of course, always smiling.
Thanks to everyone who came out to race or support Independence Valley Road Race in March. Our 9th annual event was yet another success.
Despite the torrential rain that moved through the area all day, there was great competition, a wonderful crew of volunteers and very few crashes. And TGH riders managed to snag a podium spot in every women’s category, too!
We’d like to take this opportunity to give a big shout out to all the wonderful sponsors, volunteers and race organizers who help make this race one of the best ones in the region.
Thank you 2014 TGH Independence Valley Road Race sponsors: AAA, Wrench Bicycle Workshop, Beljum Brands – Beljum Budder, Cascade Bike Trainers, Center Cycle, Clif Bar, Dreamclinic, Group Health, KEEN Footwear, nuun, Tutta Bella, Arbonne – Mindy Ziffren-Hall, 1031 Services, Inc, Reflect Sports, Recycled Cycles, Udderly Smooth, Speedy Reedy, Rainy Day Biking, Sigma Sport, Smith Optics, Womo Designs and more!
Thank you all for playing. We hope to see you again next year!
Our wonderful sponsor, Real Rehab Physical Therapy, has announced they’ll be moving into a new space on Monday, April 21.
The new space, located at 9725 3rd Avenue Northeast, boasts over three times the current square footage, including a larger gym space, more treatment rooms and restrooms.
With this move, Real Rehab will continue to provide the highest quality in physical therapy, while expanding their specialty services including group classes, sports performance assessments and training, metabolic testing, bike services and more.
We’re super excited for Real Rehab and look forward to seeing the new space!
Conveniently located along Seattle’s top bike-commute route, Dexter Avenue, Wrench is a small, independent repair-focused bike shop that will go the extra mile to meet your needs. Got a busy schedule and no time to wait? They will hand you a loaner bike to make sure you get to work in time!
Tags: bike shop
We’d like to give a BIG thank you to our title sponsor, Group Health, for the continuous support of our team and mission as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our partnership in 2014.
The Group Health Cooperative is a Seattle-based nonprofit health care organization that provides coverage and care for over 700,000 people in Washington and Idaho.
With a mission to improve the health and well-being of the members and the communities they serve, Group Health is an active sponsor of many health and fitness events and created the Group Health Fitness Network to encourage their members, employees and the community to get active and stay active as part of their personal health journey. Over the years, Group Health has diversified its sponsorship to include running, swimming, walking and triathlon but cycling has been a constant focus.
We’d like to thank Group Health for their sponsorship and for sharing our mission to promote women’s health, fitness and competitive spirit through bicycle racing.
USA Cycling today announced that Team Group Health has been named the USA Cycling Women’s Team of the Year!
Praising us for being “instrumental in developing women’s cycling” in the Puget Sound region, USA Cycling was especially impressed by our clinics and work to bring new women into the sport.
Here’s what they had to say:
“Congratulations on your successful application to be the 2013 USA Cycling Women’s Club of the Year! We were overwhelmed by the number of strong applicants this year, but your application stood atop the rest. We place a lot of value on our member clubs and all you do: you’re the incubators for future generations of cyclists, you create the social environment that draws new cyclists in and keeps them involved, you give back to the community at large and expose cycling to the masses on a local level, and you organize the events and races that make it all possible. The list goes on, but your efforts as one of the nation’s top cycling clubs are not unnoticed.”
Thanks, USA Cycling! And thank you to all our wonderful sponsors for helping us get more women on bikes!
We are thrilled to introduce the newest TGHers, those intrepid souls who have taken the next step into racing and will carry the teal and chartreuse to the start line in 2013-14. Please help us welcome:
This is going to be a great year!