Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dirt Series in Santa Cruz: Mountain Bike Skills Clinic for Women

Candace Shadley, left, founded the Dirt Series clinics. In 9 years, 5,000 students have taken the clinics! Jill Kintner, Olympic bronze medalist in BMX in Beijing at 2008, helped teach the series in Santa Cruz.

Today I was one of 53 women participating in the Dirt Series by Rocky Mountain Bikes, a clinic put on by women for women to improve mountain bike skills! The two-day workshop is hosted locally by The Bicycle Trip and is taught by an amazing team of talented coaches, most of whom are based in British Columbia, Canada. The series is now in its 9th year!! and travels to different locations in the U.S. and Canada through early September.

NOTE: Special thanks to Richard Masoner of Santa Cruz, for taking these 2 great photos in this blog entry of me (and others) at the clinic today. Check out his website: Cyclicious - Bicycle News and Views at

This is the second year I have done the camp. I had such a fantastic experience in 2008 at the Santa Cruz, that I signed up online right when registration opened - and good thing, because it sold out in 3 days flat. The waiting list was so long that another day was added - on Tuesday (space still available).

There is still space left in the one-day version of the clinic Tuesday, April 28, in Santa Cruz: I blogged out this too at:

Today's Dirt Series clinic highlights:

- Meeting at the Bicycle Trip in the morning to register, eat yummy breakfast treats and learn Who's Who of our amazing coaches!

- Practicing how to lift my front tire over logs on the trail! "Front Wheel Lift" skills clinic rocked!

- After morning skills clinics - also including cornering, straight line riding (rode a small teeter-totter!) and descending/braking, we ate lunch at Harbor High - yum! Special thanks to Happy Valley Conference Center in Santa Cruz for providing our lunches!

- In the afternoon, a group of 6 of us plus 2 coaches hit the trails at DeLaveaga Park to put some of our new skills to the test!

- The evening wrapped up back at The Bicycle Trip where we could attend different clinics. I went to Bike Maintenance Clinic taught by Nate and vow to do a better job lubing and cleaning my bike chain!

Tomorrow is the second and final day of the clinic - same structure - skills clinics in the morning, followed by a group ride in the afternoon. Tomorrow, headed to Soquel Demonstration Forest!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

7 Tips on how to face challenges from Adventure racer, author & triathlon coach Terri Schneider

Triathlon Revolution: Training, Technique and Inspiration is Terri's latest book. Forward by Scott Tinley. For novice, experienced or aspiring triathletes, this is the definitive manual for a multi-sport lifestyle. Get inspired!

How to do Amazing Things!
Tips from Terri Schneider

Excerpted from her talk at Fleet Feet Sports in Aptos, California on Tuesday, April 21, 2009.

From 1997 to 2003, I raced triathlons - swim-bike-run events. I mostly competed in Olympic distance and some sprints, about 4 to 5 a year for 7 seasons. For my first triathlon and many years after that, I trained in group clinics with Terri Schneider. She has been and continues to be a big inspiration for me as a coach, athlete, author and friend!

1. Realize that being an amazing human is not a glamorous endeavor!
Toil, logistics and sweat are required to get to the top. Yes, the path is rewarding!

2. Choose something you are really intrigued with or have a passion towards.
The fuel for your endeavor is a gut feeling of excitement to get to the starting line to take on the endeavor. Many days your passion will be challenged: Sometimes, you won't want to get up at 5 a.m. to train!

3. Choose something because it calls YOU - not your friends, your training partners, etc.

4. Your plan will change! Create a plan and know it will change in all regards: gear, logistics, and time lines. Your goals will change for the event.

5. Get assistance to execute your plan! Enlist mentors, coaches and read books — knowledge is power.

6. Check in weekly with your plan. It's a dynamic plan. Resolve to revisit your goals by planning time do that on your calendar.

7. Realize you can never know the outcome of what you are taking on. I watch many people spend enormous time and energy trying to figure out what will happen try to spend your energy on your endeavors instead of predictions!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fueling the fire for adventure travel with relaxing yoga retreat at Mount Madonna

Just when you thought that I'm a non-stop, globe-trotting adventure travel journalist, you get to glimpse this other side of me, pictured below — Extreme Rest and Relaxation!

Karen blissed out on a chilly spring afternoon at Mount Madonna Center in Watsonville, California. I took the opportunity to do some serious Rest and Relaxation - in the photo, I am positioned in a "restorative reading" pose!
Photo credit: Karen Cooper, new friend from the weekend and fellow cyclist!

I returned for a second year to an annual yoga retreat for women that is hosted by two of my favorite yoga teachers: Laurie Broderick Burr (based in Santa Cruz) and Kelly Blaser (Bay Area). I have known each of them for 10+ plus years and they have been very influential in the yoga practice which I started in 1995. I try to practice daily asanas by attending classes at several local studios - Pacific Cultural Center's Ashtanga Yoga Institute and Yoga Center Santa Cruz.

The women's yoga retreat April 10-12, 2009, started Friday afternoon and stretched into Sunday (Easter Sunday). Our group of 23 women and 2 instructors bonded over several yoga classes a day (full disclosure: I slept through early morning sessions!) a fabulous hot tub, delicious vegetarian meals and planning for our next getaways.

Laurie and Kelly will host a co-ed retreat at Mount Madonna in the fall! Check out their websites for details or to join their mailing lists.

The yoga retreat helped me gear up for the following 3 weekends:

April 16-19
Sea Otter Classic, including mt. bike race on Saturday, April 19. - NEXT BLOG ON THIS!

April 25-26
Women's mountain bike clinic all day Saturday and Sunday with the Dirt Series.

May 1-3
Coolest 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race - I am on a women's relay with the Go Go Go Girls Team!
Race happens in Cool, California (east of Sacramento!)

Happy Trails!

Henri (left) greets Karen after her race finish Saturday at Sea Otter Classic. Karen and Henri will be on the same women's relay team at Coolest 24 Hours Race coming up first weekend of May. Photo Credit: Winona Hubbard