The Bike Park(s)

Holyyyyyy sheeet. The Whistler Bike Park opens tomorrow. So excited for hot laps and mega trains…been giddy all day like the day before Christmas. Whistler is where I fell in love with bikes and each year I just love it more and more. :)

If you are not headed to Whistler this weekend, do yourself a favor and head out to the Coast Gravity Park. I did a couple of runs in there yesterday and had my mind blown, so will you. The thing that really stood out to me about the park is how snappy and playful it is. You actually feel like you’ve got a turbo boost or something. The are little jumps, rollers, things to double everywhere without even trying…you just fly. The guys have put so much love into this place and it truly is a piece of art. Head over to www.coastgravitypark.ca to reserve your spot.

 

My Favorite Riding Tips

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I wrote up a list of tips for a group of women that I coached in Taiwan a couple of weeks ago but I think that it would be helpful for many so I am reposting it on here. Feel free to share it with whoever you think might benefit. As always, I am here as a resource so ask questions…if I don’t have an answer I can probably point you in the right direction! :)

A few of my favorite tips…

1. Remember your riding foundation…if you have a solid body position, you are balanced and you are braking with control, the sky is the limit. Level pedals, athletic position (soft knees, soft elbows, head up, elbows out) and one finger braking.

2. When things get steep, dropping your heels can help you to maintain proper body position.

3. Keep those wheels spinning. If your wheels are spinning, you have traction. The best riders have the ability to go the slowest in the most difficult of circumstances. Practice on slopes or embankments near your home…try and go as slow as you can possibly go without locking the brakes. Alternatively, set up a cone/stick/rock and go at it with speed…when you reach the cone, start to brake. How quickly can you come to a stop without skidding? Make a game out of it.

4. Remember to be selective with your braking. Pick spots that are generally flatter and less bumpy to get your speed under control. You can brake in technical terrain and corners but it is very light braking…maintenance braking…you are braking very lightly to maintain your speed not making sudden changes in speed.

5. Rotate your hands outward on your handlebars…you can feel the small changes in your brakes much better when you are touching them at the correct contact point which is really, really important to braking properly. If your hands are sitting on your bars properly, it can also improve your body positioning.

6. Your bike will move up/down, side/side, forward/back as it rides over different terrain using your full range of motion. Your job as the driver is to keep yourself balanced and your center of mass balanced and centered over the bike. You want to keep equal weight/pressure between the front and back of your bike. If you are nervous and you shift your weight back because it feels more comfortable in a scary situation you can potentially loose traction on your front end which means you cannot steer and brake properly. Stay centered and balanced.

7. Look ahead…constantly scan between the furthest point you can see and what you are about to ride.

8. Look where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go.

9. Check your bolts before you ride…they come loose.

10. Ask questions…I am here as a resource!

The Women: Wednesday Roundup

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1. I am pretty sure Darcy Turenne is amazing at everything she sets out to do, now she can add award winning film maker to that list. In true Darcy fashion, she created a beautiful and clever film which took top honors at the 72hr Filmmaker Showdown at the Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival. You can watch her film, The Trip, here.

2. Calling all athletes, the Women’s Sport Foundation has a Travel and Training Fund available to help female athletes reach their athletic goals. This is an incredible opportunity from an incredible organization. Apply here. The deadline is MAY 2nd, so jump on it. Not looking for a grant but love what they do, donate here. :) Also, join the @womensportsfdn on Twitter Friday May 2nd from 1-2pm EST to celebrate the best moments in women’s sports and the future of women’s sports. #wsfcelebrates

3. The Whistler Bike Park is opening soon, very soon. I don’t know about you but I am pumped. To get you even more excited, watch Whistler Bike Park athlete Lula Darquier rip it up.

4. I have the hardest time getting my riding layers right in the Spring. It’s hot. It’s cold. Windy. Rainy. Hailing. Storming. Regardless of what it’s doing outside, I don’t leave home without my Skida bandana as it always seems to keep me comfortable and happy. Having something around your neck keeps you that much warmer when it get’s chilly. And when it’s hot, it just looks cute. :) My friend Corinne started this company while going to college at Middlebury and was featured in Forbes as an All Star Student Entrepreneur and I think she is the coolest! Yeahhh.

5. To me, this is what competition is all about…when we raise each other, we all win. 

6. Check out the XC girls SHREDDING the World Cup course in Cairns!

7. Barbell Denim has been going crazy on social media this week. It’s got stretch and made for athletes with bums and legs! I’ll be buying some.

8. Looking for an epic adventure this summer? Join two of my favorite girls, Katrina Strand and Emily Slaco on a women’s only backcountry trip to the South Chilcotins in BC. Dates are July 3rd-7th.

9. Who made the cut in ESPN’s Top 50 Female Athletes in Action Sports?

Photos: Dave Buzzard | John Wellburn | Flow Magazine | David Stockman | Ryan Miller/Red Bull

Got something cool to share? Send me an email.

Tunes // 4.29.14

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  1. Higher Ground | Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  2. Run To The Hills | Iron Maiden
  3. Ace of Spades | Motorhead
  4. Cum On Feel The Noize | Quiet Riot
  5. Breaking the Law | Judas Priest
  6. Swerve City | Deftones
  7. Slow Ride | Foghat
  8. Sweet Home Alabama | Lynyrd Skynyrd
  9. Born To Be My Baby | Bon Jovi
  10. Snow | Red Hot Chili Peppers

♫ Listen

This past week truly felt like the start of summer. I have been up in BC and the energy is electric. There are bikes everywhere, it’s warm, the trails are in great shape…people are just fired up. All I want to do is drive with my windows wide open, listen to this playlist and ride fun trails with my friends.

Taking Chances

2014.ICS12014.ICS12014.ICS22014.ICSlookback1 1When I look back to the people, places and events that have shaped who I am today, my middle/high school experience is always one of the first things that comes to mind. Towards the end of elementary school, there was talk a of a new school in my area which was being started by a group of passionate teachers and parents. It was a public school, but a choice school. It was something different and so I went.

The school was built upon a core curriculum and a brilliant group of teachers rather than necessity or location. The early years were interesting to say the least. My first day of middle school was the first day the school existed. The school district didn’t have a real place to put us so our ‘school’ was a collection of portables on the campus of a nearby high school (a few years later we got a real building much closer to home). We did not have school buses so we bused in on the public bus for nearly 45 minutes each day. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t comfortable and it was somewhat chaotic. Many people left.

In many ways the International Community School was a bit of a gamble in the early years, we made it up as we went along. We defined our identity, who we wanted to be. We picked our motto, our mascot, our colors. We made the groups, the clubs, the student body. I vividly remember sitting in an ASB meeting with a group of students trying to decide on the finalists for our mascot. The Firebird (black, red, gold) or the Cheshire Cat (purple and white). We were 12. Thank god we went with the Firebird, “Forever we rise”.

As we grew, the school grew. We started as 7th and 8th graders mixed together in six classes which made up the core curriculum for the six years: humanities, math, spanish, art, international studies and science. Each year, one more grade was added until the first class graduated in 2002. My class graduated in 2003.

Although all of us have gone our separate ways in the world I love this group like they are family, because they are. When you go through an experience like this, you are family at the end of it whether you want to be or not. To this day, I consider this group some of the smartest, most clever, forward thinking and without a doubt stubborn people I have ever had the privilege of meeting.

This year, ICS got a brand new state-of-the-art building which I visited for the first time yesterday. To say I was full of pride would be an understatement.

This week ICS was ranked the #13 High School in the country by the US News & World Report.

Forever we rise.

The Women: Wednesday Roundup

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1. The World Cup season has finally begun! I have been counting down the days until Vital slideshows, watch parties and friendly bets commence and the first round of the year did not disappoint. Riders found themselves all the way in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, where there were a few stand out performances in the women’s downhill race. Manon Carpenter has been nipping at the heels of Rachel Atherton for quite some time, in South Africa she finally came out on top with her first ever World Cup win.  Rach may not have won but she did fight some serious adversity to a 2nd place finish. After spending the week on IV drip with a bacterial infection, Rach dug deep and pulled out a remarkable finish on one of the most physical tracks of the year. I think that there is going to be a good battle between Manon and Rachel this year. After dominating everything else she has set her mind to, Jill Kintner got her best downhill World Cup result to date with a 3rd place (YESSSSS Jill!). She is fit, skilled and has some serious motivation, watch out for this one.

2. Gold Rusch Tour: I go on and on about the Gold Rusch Tour but I think that it is such a cool program and I am so honored to be a part of it. Rebecca is one bad a#$ athlete but she is also incredibly smart, motivating and approachable and she has put so much time and effort into making this an exceptional program. Check out the schedule for Rebecca Rusch’s Gold Rusch tour and see if you might be able to #jointherusch.

3. Jolanda Neff & Maja Wloszczowska: I have yet to meet these two Liv teammates but they sure started the season with a bang. 1st and 3rd at the first World Cup of the year…and with some serious style at that. These girls can ride!

4. Clinics: Clinics are an amazing way to improve your bike skills quickly and safely. In my personal opinion one of the biggest things that holds people back from progression is a lack of a solid foundation. By foundation I mean body position, balance and braking (building on other elements from there). If you have problems here (which I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t) it will hinder your performance down the line and you are more susceptible to crashing and frustration. There are so many great coaches out there who offer clinics, camps and private lessons which are well worth your money. Here are a few that I recommend: Lindsey Voreis at Ladies AllRide, Kat Sweet at Sweetlines, Katrina Strand, Claire Buchar & Chris Kovarik, & Simon Lawton at Fluidride.

5. Biking in Afghanistan with Mountain 2 Mountain: Following her idea that “women and girls are change makers and catalysts for peace and global prosperity,” Shannon Galpin started a campaign to get women on bikes in Afghanistan. As one can imagine, this has been no easy feat. Shannon is currently in Afghanistan training with the Afghan Cycling team on the 53 bikes she just imported into the country. You can also check out the Bicycling Magazine Instagram feed where she is currently sharing her incredible story. 

6. Trish Bromley: Trish has been absolutely killing it this year. After a season-ending injury early in 2013, she made it her mission to do 2014 right. She learned to flip this winter at Joyride 150 in Toronto and has since taken it to the famous Post Office dirt jumps in Aptos, CA where she landed it on the mulch jump at the post-Sea Otter Jump Jam. When girls are out there pushing it, it motivates other girls to step it up which leads to some incredible progression. I think Trish is going to be one to watch this year and I am so excited to push each other this summer.

7. Rachel Atherton: This video has some great insight into what keeps her pushing the limits year after year.

8. Giant #DreamUpgrade: In 140 characters, explain what you would do with your dream bike!

9. Sturdy Dirty: You live in the NW? You a woman who loves riding with your friends? Want to race but have dance parties, bacon shots and mini massages along the way? This race might just be the race for you.

Photos: Dave Trumpore | Marius Maasewerd | Kris Hanning | Unknown: please contact for proper credit.

I read stuff that I am inspired by and totally motivated by all the time. Rather than keeping it to myself, I thought I might as well share it in hopes that it motivates you too. :) Check back next Wednesday for another dose. 

The Sea Otter Reunion

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The yearly family reunion has come and gone once again. There were more than a few family members missing this year with the overlap of the first World Cup of the year. Can’t say it was the best scheduling on behalf of either but I suppose that’s how it goes sometimes. Despite the absence of many riders, the crowds were as big as ever and the weather was perfect to top it off. I spent a lot of time over at SRAM helping out Rebecca Rusch with the Gold Rusch Tour. Over the years, it has become my favorite thing about Sea Otter. I absolutely love meeting all of the lovely ladies that make the journey out to Sea Otter to be a part of this cool program, both riders and attendees alike. I saw so many improvements in a short period of time at the clinics. It is amazing what cleaning up your foundation will do for your riding (more on that soon!), seeing those dramatic changes from so many women totally made my week. The panel discussions are so fun and informative too! Even though I am sitting on the panel for the discussions, I learn so much from all of the other athletes and have put to use so many tips I have picked up.

Aside from the Gold Rusch Tour, spending time with my Giant family was a real highlight. There was quite a strong presence from Giant this year, we pretty much had an island. Ha. Really though, I couldn’t be happier with the great team that makes up Giant, I love working and hanging out with this crew so much. Awwww.

ps- Thank you all for giving me a good a#% kicking regarding this thing…I am really, really going to try to keep the regular content coming, so if I start to slack…let me hear it! :)

Tunes // 4.22.14

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  1.  Adios General | Sol y Lluvia
  2.  El Diablo | Company Quinto
  3. Vivir Mi Vida (remix) | Tono Rosario
  4. Summer | Calvin Harris
  5. Do You Only Wanna Dance | Julio Daviel
  6. Cuba Libre | Zucchero
  7. Mal Bicho | Los Fabulosas Cadillacs
  8. Can’t Remember to Forget You | Shakira & Rihanna
  9. 212 | Azealia Banks
  10. Matador | La Fuente
  11. Timber | Pitbull

♫ Listen

I have been going crazy over all the photos from the EWS in Chillan de Nevados, Chile this past week. I have fallen in love with Chile over the last two years and it makes so happy that the rest of the world got a glimpse as to how cool it is, I hope that more people choose to ride, travel and race in here in years to come.  It is a stunningly beautiful country with the most warm and welcoming people. Enjoy some of my favorite tunes from my trip down south…

What’s in my Camelbak

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One thing that I have gotten good at over the years is packing…well kinda. I still think I bring way too many clothes, but that aside, I usually have exactly what I need and a well packed back makes anywhere feel like home. Since it is really starting to feel like Spring and Spring usually means the start of bike adventures, I decided to start with my Camelbak. These core items go with me wherever I go…

  • Camelbak Spark: This is my favorite pack for long rides. The weight sits really low and I think that it actually improves my posture on my bike. The pack as a whole really hugs your body and you hardly feel like you are wearing anything which I love.
  • Smith Buff: This goes everywhere with me…I usually use it as a neck warmer but you can use it for so many things.
  • Lezyne Pressure Drive
  • Jacket: I always pack a jacket of some kind, a small little windbreaker goes a long way when it gets chilly. In the winter it is not uncommon for me to pack my small down jacket as well.
  • Snacks
  • Elixir: I feel so much better after my rides if I drink this during my ride rather than straight water.
  • Little bag with derailer hangers, bolts, power links, zip ties etc.
  • Chapstick with a bunch of extra hair bands around it
  • Tire levers
  • Hand warmers: I get cold easily and they can make a long, wet ride much more comfortable.
  • Tube
  • Extra pair of gloves
  • Duck tape: Fixes everything.
  • Tiny Lezyne multitool which I keep in my pocket
  • Lezyne multitool with all the essentials
  • Identification: I always keep a copy of my license, passport, emergency contact info and insurance info in my pack. When I travel I also have a paper with local contacts, information as to where I am staying, flight info and travel insurance (I use the same paper when I enter a country as customs/immigration like it…I have multiple copies and always keep these together)
  • Emergency pack: first aid gloves, emergency blanket, headlamp, knife, whistle, fire starter and compass
  • SPF (not pictured because I need to buy more!)
  • I keep all the random bits in a little bag so I don’t have a bunch of loose items in my pack. Makes transferring items from one pack to another a breeze.

Is there anything that I am missing? What do you carry in your pack?

My 2013 Gift Guide

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I put together a gift guide with some of my favorite things for this holiday season. Enjoy!

1. Lezyne Port-a-shop // This kit has almost everything you need and is something I use nearly every day.

2. Voluspa mini candle // I bring a candle with me almost everywhere I go. It is just one of those things that makes a place feel a little more like home and that is important to me since I am on the road so much. These are my favorite.

3. Right to Play 20 for 20 for 20 // My favorite organization Right to Play has launched a campaign to give 20,000 kids the gift of play. Through play, kids are both educated and empowered which helps them to overcome adversities and become the leaders of tomorrow. I have made a personal donation and it would mean a lot to me if you did to.

4. Vio Life Sonic Toothbush // I love this thing. I keep one is my purse when I am home and I always use it when I travel in lieu of my larger electronic toothbrush. It operates on a AAA battery, is small and very travel friendly.

5. North Face Thunder Jacket // It doesn’t matter where I go, this jacket comes with me. It is my favorite jacket I have ever owned. Perfect when you are a little chilly after a ride. Layer it under a waterproof shell when things get bad and you will be happy and comfortable.

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Photo of the Day

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I’ve gotten quite a few POD’s recently. The red wave was shot near Mendoza, Argentina by John Wellburn and appeared on Pinkbike. The others were shot by Scott Markewitz in Whistler and appeared on Bike Mag. Stoked!