Cycling is just about everything in my life. I have dedicated so much into my career as a professional cyclist that to think of doing anything else is unimaginable. The good definitely outweigh the bad, but some of the bad can cut so deep into an athlete’s soul. There are those training days when the wind is at your back, you’re questioning the cycling computer because the wattage seems abnormally high for the effort that you are putting out and the weather is perfect. You’re reaching and exceeding your goals, your thoughts are solely on the ride and no other stressors can possibly ruin this time. The trail is tacky, the berms are primed to flow, you can see a few deer running away as you fly through the forest and the air is fresh. There is nothing better than this. Until, the bad comes around and makes you question all the time and energy you have placed into the life as a professional cyclist. You’re lined up at the start line, a few rows back hoping that there isn’t a crash in front of you allowing others to gain time as you’re trying to detangle your bike from the other bikes. You’re hands are shaking, your heart rate is in zone 2 already and your just standing there. You see others laughing and smiling while you’re wondering how can they be so relaxed? Your warm-up felt difficult, your legs felt like lead and you went to the bathroom 20 times. Finally the race starts, everyone takes off so fast that the first 5 seconds feels doable but after that, your lungs are burning, you’re hitting every rock the trail has to offer and you’re wondering where you lost your skills at. Racers are passing you effortlessly and your confidence has definitely gone out the window. There you are, alone. There are a few people behind you, but there are a ton of people ahead of you. This was definitely not the plan of attack on race day. But, from here it can go either way. You can fight your mind, spirit and body into being positive or you can just give up. Giving up sounds really easy and at the time, feels like the right thing to do until you actually do it and about 1000 pounds of guilt fall on top of you and your soul feels like it has been torn out. Fighting your mind is hard. But when you continue the race and think of as many positive thoughts as you can possibly pull out, things start to change. On lap two you notice your closing the gap on some of the riders in front of you. This sparks a smile on your face and a surge of energy. All of the sudden more and more riders are in sight ahead of you and you are gaining positions. On the third lap there is one rider to catch and you have her in your sight. You pass, win and can’t believe the last ½ a day you have been through, the turmoil, the pain, the excitement…. the feeling of being a professional cyclist. This is how I have lived a lot of my cycling career, battling my inner self. My mind can be so strong, but it takes an amazing effort to get it that way, an effort that I have realized this past year, once I can master my mind, a lot of great things will come. My name is Zephanie Blasi, for the 2011 season I will be racing the Pro Tour Cross Country series, 24 hours of Old Pueblo, Whiskey 50 and other events throughout the season. I am training my body and my mind this year.
Jean Biermans -
Jean Biermans (aka Jeankie Powerr) was a normal, active kid until a horrible accident in 1991. At the age of 17, Jean was hit by a bus and was dragged for more than 15 meters. The lower part of his leg was destroyed. Every muscle and tendon around his knee was completely ripped apart. Doctors had considered amputating his leg, but decided to attempt to fix it with little hope of recovery. After several surgeries, doctors managed to repair Jean’s leg but he would have to learn to walk again. Then after two years of physical therapy and determination, Jean would finally walk again without the help of crutches. Continuing his rehabilitation, Jean spent a lot of time in the gym but wanted something more. He began mountain biking and soon started riding with groups on a regular basis. His friends saw that he was a pretty fast rider and encouraged him to try competitive racing.
With Jeankie’s competitive spirit, perseverance and determination, he began racing and showed continuous improvement with each race. He has started his own team and has come a long way since his accident. His accomplishments include: Finished 1st place 24 Hour World Champ 2 Man Team in Sulzbach Rosenberg Germany, Finishing 2nd in the Dutch Bike Marathon Champs 2007, 16th in the European Master Champs, 23rd at the World Championships, 31st at the Bike Trans Alp, 3rd at the Bart Brentjens Bike Marathon and 1st place wins at the Univega 24hours, the Willingen Bike Marathon, the 24Hours Rad am Ring MTB, the Taunustrails Marathon and the Sixxxxx Race 6 Hours at Langdrop. Jean Biermans has an intense passion for Cycling and wants the world to know that “Anything is possible, despite having a disability”.
Jordan Thomas -
I remember the day when I thought that I would never race a triathlon again. Almost two years ago, I signed up to do a local kids triathlon in the town of Chino Valley, Arizona. It included a 150 yd. swim, a 4 mile bike, and a 1/2 mile run. Sounds simple right? Well, not when you are out of shape and have never done a triathlon before. I finished the race feeling like I was going to puke, or die, or both! I felt like I never wanted to race in a triathlon ever again. I think I was fifth out of six people in my age group. But at the same time that I was in all that pain, I felt the need to get in shape and try it again. That was my spark!
I started swimming before school at 6:00 am. I rode mountain bike with my Dad and Coach and started training on a road bike. I joined the cross country and track teams at my school. After about a year, I won first place overall in a youth triathlon (ages 0-14). That's when I decided to start racing with the adults which was a big difference. I started with a mini adult triathlon and got second in the 15-19 year old age group. At the end of the season, I held Second place in 15-19 year olds AND first place in 12-14 youth age group. This meant several times I would do two races in one day, a youth race then an adult mini race. Now I have graduated to adult maxi races and Xterra triathlons. In the last few races I have placed first in the 15-19 age group and I am now working toward an overall first place. In my last two races I got 9th and 5th overall out of over 120 adults per race. I am always working for the overall win. That would be just the icing on the cake right there. Currently I am training for the USAT Junior Nationals in San Diego, California. I am also training for a Road Bike race in Skull Valley, Arizona where I hope to be recognized by a developmental racing team. I may only be thirteen but, like I tell my Dad when I'm blowin' by him, "I'll wait for you at the top!"
Adam Morka -
Most of the time, when I am not traveling to races, I am from Niagara Canada where the wine flows and the fruit orchards fuel your 5 hour rides. There is a short period of the year where I live in Tucson for 3-4 months, so If you see me and think his tan is ridiculous, well that’s the reason why. Racing the US stuff is a blast. Every new year, I look forward to the chances I get to put my tires in the dirt at a US event. So far it’s been good, I opened the season with the US Cup Triple Crown, followed by a Genuine Innovations party, which on the same day note, I won the infamous Tucson Shoot Out bike ride haha...It took me 4 years to win that baby!! Highlight of the year thus far, for sure!
About half way into the season and I am looking at some big races coming up. There is a US cup in Wisconsin, a Canada Cup in Edmonton Alberta, our Canadian Nationals in Canmore which are actually gonna be streamed live, then 2 Euro World Cups. If I’m not chicken fried rice by then, look for me at Wyndham World Cup New York. And hey, if you ever see me, or any of my Trek Canada team mates, come say hi. We are all social biker flies, and can appreciate some good company.
Chris McDonald - Professional Triathlete
Favorite GI Product - Secondwind Mini Pump.
Career Highlights 3 x Ironman Champion
15 x 5 Ironman finishes
22 x Ironman top 10 finishes
Nickname - "Big Sexy" / Macca"
First Triathlon - sprint triathlon in 2002
Hometown - Albury NSW Australia
Favorite Music - I am a big fan of country music but I listen to everything.
Favorite Food - just about anything but I love ice cream.
Before triathlon - I played feild hockey in both Australia and New Zealand Favorite race leg - the bike and transition Do you follow any other sports - I follow just about all sports, but love to follow cycling.
Do you have any siblings - I have three siblings . two older brothers that both compete in triathlon and an older sister who is my number 1 fan.
What do you do to relax - I like to cook / go for coffee with friends and just relax and watch TV Your favorite place to train - Boulder, CO Any pet peeves - when people leave early on the pace time when swimming
Do you like to train with others - I love to train with a group, it keeps you motivated and creates great friendships Who do you look up to in sport - George Hincape and Scott Molina
Funny how life changes it's course, and with every turn you find something unexpected. Growing up in Great Falls, MT, I used to golf almost every day during school, ski in the winter, and backpack in the mountains of Montana in the summer. I remember my brother buying one of the first Trek full suspension mountain bikes, probably back in about mid-1990s. I thought he was nuts for spending that much money on a bike (ironic now), and thought my fully ridged Trek 850 (which was sadly stolen in 1999) worked just fine on our epic (later to find out only 16 mile) mountain bike trail along the Missouri River. Somehow, one of us always seemed to flat somewhere near the farthest point from the car - this was back in the day that traveling five miles to the trailhead necessitated driving. We got so sick of pumping up mountain bike tires with crappy little hand pumps, half the time having to run our bikes all the way back, but didn't know any better. When I was seventeen, I finally and thankfully realized I did not fit in with the golfing crowd, and a friend talked me into running high school cross-country. It was one of the best decisions I've made so far in life, even though to this day I have still never run with that friend, as he hurt himself right before our first practice and hasn't run since. Initially, I was pathetically slow; I could barely keep up with the girls, which turned out to be a good thing, since I got to know all the girls on the team pretty quickly. Then eventually got fast enough to keep up with the guys, and in the mean time discovered a new group of dynamic people - endurance athletes.
Ever since I was a kid, I would always watch the Hawaii Ironman on TV and had some faint, deep desire to be like those people. I never got that with football, basketball, hockey, etc. - which was probably a good thing, as I somehow have negative talent when it comes to traditional sports. For years, I wanted to finish a triathlon, but never quite figured out how to start. While in college #1, my dad got this wild idea that my brother and I should participate in the Montana AIDS Vaccine ride/fundraiser, riding 575 miles in 7 days across some of the most epic parts of Montana. We had never ridden a road bike, nor had ever ridden further than 16 miles, but decided it was a good idea anyway. My brother and I eventually raised enough money to participate, and to buy road bikes. Even though we went on a few 20-40 mile rides, nothing could have prepared us for how much riding over 80 miles a day would hurt. In retrospect, it is amusing how foolish we were, but we made it. Riding, and helping others set up their tents, my brother and I met a diverse smattering of people that apparently we had been pretty sheltered from growing up in MT, some fascinating, some…well, depends on your view of things I guess. Got to ride with an ironman triathlete one day, and camped next to two doctors most nights. My brother found the only young girl our age before me, punk. In the end, finishing that ride was the catalyst that started the downward spiral that sucked me into traithlon/road/mountain and cross racing. After graduating from college #1, working for a while, having an early life crisis, quitting and being totally lost in life, I moved to Missoula to live with my brother, knowing I would somehow find happiness back in Montana. Walking home from a Griz game with my dad, talking about interests in life, he suggested I go to med school. The thought never occurred to me before that. I had just assumed I was not nearly smart enough, but after talking to one of the doctors from the ride, I figured why not. While skiing at Snowbowl, a friend convinced me dentistry would be a better fit. We are now both getting ready to graduate from UW and move back to Montana in June, him from his Periodontics residency, me from dental school (college #3). While starting college #2, taking pre-reqs for dental school, I discovered triathlon, finally. Even though I was born and raised in Montana, I knew almost no one in Missoula due to a four year absence for college #1. Having such a positive experience running cross-country my last year in high school, I went to the UM triathlon meeting, primarily to meet people, secondarily to accomplish a life goal, and it just seemed to fit. I did not know how to swim, nor did I know the first thing about racing, but that didn't matter. From the friends I met, I fell in love with the sport, with the town, and with pushing myself. I could not have picked a better time to join the UM Triathlon Team. Kids like Linsey “Pickles” Corbin and Brendog Halpin were just starting out as well. They, along with numerous others, under the shadow of Matt Seeley, helped feed off of each other to bring us, and a few more later, like little Matty Shryock and Jen Luebke, to the level we are privileged to race at today. Our crew earned three Collegiate Team Championships at Wildflower, and one National Team Championship. I am grateful for all the various sponsors throughout the years, mainly Zoot for the bikes, wheels, wetsuits and clothes, and of course Genuine Innovations to keep the wheels rolling. Quite a jump from hand pumps with fully ridged mountain bikes in the 90s. I thought those days were behind me, but last year I was convinced to race Single Speed Mountain Bike World Champs on a fully ridged 29er- painfully. Not sure if any of us will ever be at the level of Linsey, but I never would have thought I would be racing Ironmans, let alone racing as a pro, while becoming a dentist. I could have never predicted racing 100 mile mountain bike races, nor completing the Giro D'iscovery, a 2000 miles-in-20-days UM Physiology cycling study, with 10 of my best friends, including Matty and Halp (two other Genuine Innovations athletes). Can't wait to see what's around the next turn.
Cycling has been a big part of my life for the last few years. In 2006 I quit my job as an Electrical Engineer with Motorola to travel and race mountain bikes. My husband Todd and I sold our home, bought a 40’ Itasca Horizon motorhome and have been traveling and racing without a home base ever since. The best part of this lifestyle is constantly meeting new friends, holding clinics and getting to ride in so many places. Visit my blog to say “Hi” or to see where we are. Some of my best experiences have been meeting riders with mechanicals on the trail, especially new riders. I remember what it was like trying to learn everything at once. Now, thanks to Genuine Innovations, I have a great supply of flat-repair items and have been able to show riders how to change a tube and give them their first tire lever or CO2 product. I have also plugged a lot of tires for seasoned riders with tubeless setups. Showing off cool products is always a great way to meet people. On the mountain bike I carry the Genuine Innovations Big Air with Microflate Nano, Tire Plugs, Tire Levers and Flat Stack Mini Tool. For really long rides I also bring the Second Wind inflator. At “home” or in the car I use the Top Dog Legend floor pump and 16 gram CO2 cartridges with Ultraflate Plus
My Background: I was born and raised in Los Alamos, NM and Todd in Santa Fe; we met at UNM in Engineering school. I spent my free time skiing in the winter and backpacking in the summers. Todd was kept entertained with many "almost died" stories, lighting at 14,000 ft, sliding uncontrollably down ice fields at 12,000 ft, getting myself stuck, alone, on cliffs while skiing out of bounds... I received a ticket for illegal backpacking in Oklahoma (of all places) and was threatened with a trip to jail for skiing out of bounds in Crested Butte, Colorado. My friends and I camped in ski hill parking lots during horrible snow storms because we didn't have hotel money and wanted first tracks. Todd played guitar and sang at a local press club, took karate and mountain biked occasionally. For a couple of years we got into waterfowl hunting, training our Labradors and competing in hunt tests (similar to field trials). We moved to Georgia in 2000 for my job with Motorola. I tried backpacking but it wasn't the same, I tried skiing in North Carolina but they don't have black runs, much less double blacks or extreme areas. We ended up playing indoor soccer on a co-ed team. We were married in 2001, started riding mountain bikes once a week in 2002 and raced our first race in 2003. I pedaled like crazy; when I crossed the finish line (in first place, covered in mud and about to die). I kept saying: "this is not fun, who said this was fun?” But, I was hooked; I loved going fast and hated climbing. I did one more beginner race then moved up to the sport class. That year I severed my ACL, gave up soccer, stuck with cycling, won my sport class and moved up to expert for the following year. I still love going fast and thanks to my coach I am getting stronger and faster. Although I primarily race cross-country, I am planning to race the Marathon Worlds in Germany in August 2010. Only the top three at Nationals will qualify this year, I already booked a hotel, so keep your fingers crossed! 2009 Highlights 1st - US West Cup Series 1st - US Cup Unification Title 4th - USA Marathon National Championship 4th - USA Super D National Championship 10th - USA XC National Championship 10th - ST Windham, NY UCI Class 1 Qualified for USA Marathon Worlds Team
Endless Summer. An old surfing movie, yes, but also an accurate description of my life for the past few years. But it hasn’t always been like that. I grew up in Missoula, MT. I went on my first backpacking trip into the wilderness with my dad when I was four years old. From that point on I spent my time skiing in the winter and fishing and hiking in the summers. I rode bikes as a kid but it was mainly a mode of transportation to get me to practice for more traditional sports like hockey, basketball, and baseball. I discovered mountain biking through my uncle when I was fourteen. As soon as I realized that it was the fastest and funniest way to travel through the woods I was hooked. I was fortunate because it turned out that Missoula was surrounded by amazing mountain bike trails that I could get to with just a five minute ride. The thought to race my bike never occurred to me until I saw my brother do his first one late in the summer of ’99. It looked like a blast and as soon as the snow thawed in 2000 I did my first race. I was hooked.
In 2003 I moved from Missoula to Bozeman, MT to attend college. It was that winter that I decided that I should get serious about bike racing. I bought the “Mountain Bikers Training Bible”, borrowed a trainer and set out to get fast. That winter it wasn’t uncommon for me to long four hour rides on the trainer. I just didn’t know any better. That mind-numbing work paid off though and I got the results that year to move from expert to semi-pro and then from semi-pro to professional. That trend of long trainer rides and bundling up with every article of clothing I owned to ride outside in the Bozeman winter continued until I graduated in December of 2006 and promptly moved to Tucson, Arizona. Ever since then I have split my time between Tucson in the winter and Durango, CO in the summer. I get the 70 degree temperatures of Tucson in the winter and the 80 degree temperatures of Durango in the summer and get to work on my tan year-round. Not a bad life. It was my second season of mountain bike racing. I didn’t know much more than what the older guys I traveled to the races told me. I knew that I should carry a tube, pump, and multi-tool with me when I raced so I had my tube and tool in a seatbag and a big pump clipped onto my bike. That is until I got a package in the mail from my uncle with a Genuine Innovations CO2 inflator. (You might be able to help me out with the name of the product. It was probably around 2001, the air chuck was plactic with a trigger to release the CO2, the nozzle was anodized blue, and it had a neon yellow container that the CO2 sat in). It was awesome. Having the ability to inflate a tire in a matter of seconds instead of all that tedious pumping with a hand pump was going to revolutionize the way I raced. And what was extra cool about it was that it had a yellow base that screwed onto the air chuck so you could buy those cheap threadless cartridges at Kmart that were made for BB guns. So being a young kid who survived on a meager allowance that’s exactly what I did. I was so enamored with the thought of inflating a tire in a matter of seconds that it never occurred to me that there might be a limit to the amount of air in those small CO2 cartridges. So, things being the way they are, after having never flatted in a race, the first race after I got my new CO2 inflator I flatted. “Not a problem,” I said to myself. “I’ll have this tire changed and inflated in a minute with my new CO2.” I got the wheel off the bike, pulled out the old tube, shoved in the new one, and with my hands shaking in anticipation of the power of my new inflator, pressed the air chuck onto my valve stem and pulled the trigger. After a brief but awesome rush of freezing cold air there was silence and my tire sat there, half inflated. I had emptied my cartridge and all it got me was a lousy few P.S.I. into my tire and I had no other options. I sat on the side of the trail, my ego deflated just like my tire. Finally, a good samaritan tossed me a hand pump and I got my tire up and running and finished the race. I learned some valuable lessons that day. Some may have walked away from CO2’s forever, favoring the good-old-fashioned hand pump. Me, I went the other way. I marched into the bike shop and bought the biggest canister of CO2 that I could find, which happened to be a “Big Air,” and haven’t done a race without one since. In fact, when I’m packing up to head to a race, I always run through a mental checklist of the four most important items to bring: Helmet, shoes, tube, and Big Air.
MA Student-University of Arizona
Bicycles and bike racing have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My older brother raced mountain bikes all throughout my childhood, but to be honest, I was usually more interested in horses. However, by the time I was a junior in high school I tried my first mountain bike race and was hooked. Literally, my brother made me use clipless pedals for the first time. I did grow accustomed to the clipless pedals and to racing, and I upgraded to the professional ranks at the age of 20. I rode for the Ford Cycling women's professional team in 2006 and the Kenda/Titus/X-Fusion team in 2007. I also graduated with my BA in geography in the spring of 2007 from the University of Arizona and was also accepted into the graduate program in geography at the UA for the fall of 2007. I decided to take a break from full-time mountain biking during grad school, so for 2008, I joined the Specialized Designs for Women Elite Road Team based out of AZ and have ridden with the team since that time. I still love mountain bike racing, but I also love the suffer-fest of a long road stage race! For 2010, I look forward to starting my PhD in geography, also at the UA, and continuing to race mountain and road bikes for the Specialized Designs for Women team, which is an incredible team that I love being a part of. I look forward to doing NRC stage races, a few endurance MTB races, as many cross county MTB races as I can manage, and hopefully some cyclocross in the fall. Check out my team at www.womensbiketalk.com.
Why Genuine? I have been using Genuine Innovation products since I started riding and racing my bike. I have relied on the Big Air for mountain bike racing and training for years, and I never leave home without a CO2 cartridge (or 3) for any kind of training ride. Although I have been known to forget a tire lever... I will also admit to making a bit of a "mountain biker" move when I first started road racing by carrying C02 cartridges and a tube with me during road races! Wheel truck? What's that? Career Highlights: 1st AZ State Team Time Trial (2009) 4th Collegiate National Road Race (2009) 5th Collegiate National Road Omnium (2009) 4th Collegiate National Team Time Trial (2009) 4th Collegiate National Road Race (2008) 3rd Collegiate National Team Time Trial (2008) 1st AZ State Pro MTB Champ (2008) 3rd U23 Pan American Championships, Argentina (2007) 2nd Collegiate MTB Nats XC (2006) 3rd Collegiate MTB Nats STXC (2006) AZ State Hill Climb Champ Overall (2006) 3rd U23 MTB Nats (2006) Expert US National Champion (2005)
Professional Mountain Bike Racer
It seems like I was born into the perfect family at the perfect time to become a mountain bike racer. Since I can remember, I was always pushing things to the edge. My uncle likes to tell a story about how when I was learning to walk, I repeatedly fell down entire flights of stairs, only to get up and do it over and over again. I have been getting up after falling down, in life and mountain biking, ever since. I used to love jumping off things and have my Dad catch me. So trusting was I, that at five years old, twenty feet up in the air I yelled “Dad catch me!” It didn’t matter to me that he was not near the tree. He jokingly shouted, “go ahead!” I did, and realized that with no one to catch me, the fall can hurt. So began life’s lessons. I have never been far from a challenge, and even though they are usually painful, they have shaped and molded me into who I am today. My Dad would always have some new concoction to try on our training rides and races. For example, cayenne pepper water for hot days, bee pollen for energy, and magic tricks like “dread-locking” His theory was that if you took all the “dread” out the race and “locked” it up, you could turn it into energy on race day.
When I was 11, I created the OTP; Olympic Training Program. I made all my brothers and sisters compete in various events and train for the “Olympics”. I even created files for imaginary people who of course, were my easiest clients. When I was 13, and my brother Sam was 10, we did a metric century. We thought my Dad would ride with us, but at the start he wrapped a PowerBar around our top-tube and said “see you guys at the finish!” My family is my best team. They are the sickest riders and toughest critics. They also DO catch me when I fall, even if it doesn’t sound like it so far! I moved from sport to sport before discovering mountain biking. Gymnastics was my first love, but not my only! I played Little League with the boys, co-ed soccor and vollyball, basketball and even the high jump! I ran lots of running races and competed in a few triathalons and traveled with a circus- like gymnastic team. I was the “top” which meant I was tossed over three-highs, and placed precariously on top of human pyramids. I have been lucky enough to travel the world during my mountain bike career. My favorite race-course of all time is in St. Felician, Quebec Canada. So far, the most spectacular scenery has been in the Patagonia region of Argentina. My favorite vacation destination is Tulum, Mexico. The stars have never seemed brighter, or closer. I love to experience life. There are many things I am passionate about, and I am finally getting the hang of focusing all that passion in one (or three) directions. When I am not riding my mountain bike, I like to discover alternative healing therapies, cook healthy food, read books and magazines and window shop online. I like sweeping my floor and I love “upgrading” my life. I am always excited to find new ways to be better physically, mentally spiritually and emotionally. I am always chasing the rainbow. I have entered the phase of my life where I am realizing that the chase is the best part.
One of the most important things that I have learned in my first 5 years of competing in triathlons is to listen to my body. This has really helped me become a much more successful triathlete. Even though I have raced in the Professional ranks for the past 3 years I have a full time job and a wife (Megan) with two young boys (Jack almost 3 and Hunter 1 1/2), so like many age group athletes I have many stressors outside of triathlon training. When I first started training and racing triathlons I would have my workouts planned far in advance and would be determined to complete each planned workout regardless how I felt. There would be times when I would have to drag myself out of bed or be up late at night trying to get in the days workout. Other times I would feel tired during the whole workout but would push through. After a few weeks of doing this I would be totally exhausted and would notice a sharp decrease in my performance. By the middle of the season I was completely fried and didn’t enjoy racing or training. After a few seasons of doing this I looked back and realized that it was the outside stressors that were wearing me down not necessarily the triathlon training. Now I pay close attention to my body. If I am tired and worn out I take an easy day or even a day off, even if I had a key workout planned. By doing this I have not only become more successful, but enjoy training and racing much more.
My favorite Genuine Innovations product is the classic Air Chuck SL. It is easy to use, lightweight and effective. I carry it along with two C02 cartridges on every training ride. During races it easily fits underneath my seat along with a C02 cartridge, two tire levers and my spare tube. Simple yet effective, I couldn’t image a better product.
XTERRA USA National Champion 15-19
For me biking was sort of an accident.
As the youngest of three girls, I always ended up being dragged along to my sisters’ sporting events. One day, at a cross country race, I got sick of watching and somehow my mom was able to convince the race director to allow me to run as a third grader in the youngest race with the fourth grader girls. That day was my very first race and I placed 13th out of over 70 fourth graders. Since preschool I had been a sport girl, but I had always preferred soccer. Sure, I had tried pretty much every other sport out there, but soccer was my favorite and I thought it would always stay that way. Then one day some soccer friends convinced me to join a track club with them. At that time the track club needed one more female runner in my age group to make a cross country team to compete for the Junior Olympics. I decided to give it a try and, even though the team didn’t qualify, I was one of only three people from the whole team to qualify for the Junior Olympics National Championships.
The other two who qualified were mountain bike racers and triathletes. Their family invited me to go for a mountain bike ride with them, and boy did it suck! I fell more times than I ever thought possible, the hills were so steep I did not think I could ride up them; for about half of them that was true, but for some reason all I wanted to do was go out and do it again.
So I did, and now four years later here I am, a very happy triathlete and bike racer. I am now obsessed with the suffering, the burning legs, and searing lungs. To me, that is what makes me keep doing this, knowing that I love this sport so much that I am willing to put up with such pain.
I am a fifteen year-old racing bikes: mountain, road, cyclocross, time trial; you name it, I do it. Half the time it truly stinks being a young girl. I get thrown into races with 18 year-old boys who are already racing pro and I have to be able to suck their wheel and react to their attacks.
This year at the California Road Race State Championships, the boys and girls started as one group. Halfway through the race there was an uphill; at the top of the uphill, it was time to turn around. Knowing my competition, I knew that I could win the uphill and from there I would just have to keep my lead. So I did. By the time I got to the up hill, only three boys were ahead of me, and the other boys and girls were behind. After the downhill and being passed by many fearless boys, I began the slight up hill back to the finish. From there I started picking off boy after boy. Every time I picked off a new boy, it would add one more to the train sucking my wheel. By the time we finished, there were seven boys behind me, relishing in the 24 mile an hour pull I was giving them. It is fun keeping up with the boys, but nothing is better than pulling them along.
Why Genuine Innovations
Last year I was able to qualify for the XTERRA World Championships. Everything I had heard from people was that the course was just gnarly and would destroy your tires. Apparently there were inch-long thorns that would puncture your tires along with the lava rocks which would just slice them up. After hearing all the inside knowledge about what to do with your tubes and wheels for the race, my father and I thought we were set. A few days before I was set to leave for Maui, however, my dad realized that I had never used a CO2 cartridge. I assumed that using the cartridge would be very simple, since everyone always has them. However, my dad wanted to make sure I knew how to use one. Six cartridges later, we figured out not that I had no idea how to use them, but that I did not have the strength to use them. After wasting a lot, my dad found one last nozzle. He was not sure if this one would even work; it was all banged up because he had just picked it up off a trail during a race. Guess what? It was Genuine Innovations and it worked. I still can not use the other brands’ nozzle, but thankfully that does not matter since I am plenty good with Genuine.
OK, my ‘how I got on a bike’ story::: I have always been an active person. When I was 3, I started dancing and trained with a pre-professional dance studio/company 6 days a week throughout my adolescence/teens. After high school, I continued to dance, do yoga and rock climb into my early twenties. That’s when I was shown the bike. My girlfriend introduced me to a bike courier in town who was looking for afternoon help. I started riding for him 5 days a week, and shortly fell in love with my bike. This part-time job quickly evolved as I was invited on mountain bike rides on the weekends and encouraged to participate in local short-track races. 3 months later, I entered the 24 Hours of Booty, a charity road event that raises money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The most I’d ridden my bike at that point was 30 miles in a straight shot. The night of the Booty, I rode my single speed for 275 miles and discovered that I was capable of much more than I previously thought possible. A couple of years later, I decided to take my bike training seriously, and was asked to join the Wake Racing Team (2008) and Niner/Ergon (2009). I’ve spent the last 2 years training hard, racing harder and learning a ton.
Photo copyright ©2009 Michael Darter.
And my ‘why I’ll never ride without my Innovations CO2’ story goes like this: Last year I entered an impromptu XC race in the countryside of NC. In my haste to pack, I neglected to bring my typical supply of CO2 cartridges and found myself at the race with one Big Air canister, and……in rookie style I decided to save that last Big Air for my 100 mile race the following weekend. My rationale was that I hadn’t flatted once so far that season and “I probably won’t need it.” On the first lap, I was riding comfortably on the wheel of the first place girl, with a several minute gap on the rest of the field. I was feeling strong and biding my time to make a pass. About halfway through the lap, I started feeling a bit squishy on my rear end, which quickly progressed to a complete flat with me running next to my bike. I ran for a quarter mile before the pack caught me and someone let me use their Innovations stuff. Wow, that was nice. I never got back all the time I lost, but I think I came in 2nd or 3rd and learned a good lesson- CO2 can make the difference between winning a race and walking your bike out of the woods.
Monique "Pua" Sawicki
Professional Mountain Bike Racer
I have been using Innovations products for as long as I have been on the bike! My first victory at a Nationals was in Sandpoint, Idaho, and without the help of a Big Air I would not have been able to come back from a flat that put me in dead last, to win the race! I always use Innovations products on all my rides, training or racing. Using their products can be the difference between a great day in the saddle or a long walk with the bike!
2008 AMC Stage Race Champion
2008 National 24 Hour Solo Champion
2008 5th NMBS XC series
2007 National 24 Hour Solo Champion
2007 Everest Award Female Mountain Biker of the Year
2005 National Mountain Bike Marathon Series Champion
2005 National 24 Hour Solo Champio
2004 National Mountain Bike Marathon Series Champion (won the Pro series as an amateur)
How did I find out that Biking was my sport?
From the moment I got off the bike in my first triathlon, the bike leg was what I remembered most. I could not wait to get my own bike and be at the starting line of my next race. I have always loved competition and any sport that I tried, but at this moment of my life it is biking and I love it.
The one reason that we even decided to go after this life was after entering in local events (in California) we could see that I was getting faster quickly and I was beating my competition and even the boys. When my husband Ron recognized this, he decided that we try and take it to the next level, and we did.
Have there been any disappointments?
Absolutely. It is a really hard life. You always have expectations and when you don't meet them, there is disappointment. When there is a race that you have been focusing on and know you are ready for, but you show up and as soon as the gun goes off you realize your body has different plans. I have been in this situation and although my mind is saying yes, I know I am sick and my body refuses to let me push on. You can give the excuse or try to explain yourself, but the truth is that nobody cares about that.
Another disappointment, I guess you could call it that, came in 2006. I was in Quebec, Canada for a World Cup Marathon and within 40 minutes of the start, I was on the ground with blood everywhere. I had a freak accident. I managed to find a hole in the trail and before I could do anything, I was face first into a rock and my race was over. I was super lucky, but I had fractured ribs, surgery on my face and inside of my mouth. The rest of my season didn't pan out the way that I was hoping, but I did end up on the cover of Mountain Bike with a full story on my crash. At least something good came out of it.
And further out I want to?
My eye is definitely on the 2012 Summer Olympics and when I am ready to get away from the dirt, I really want to come back and tackle the Ironman in Kona. And who knows what else!
John "Fuzzy" Myine - 2008 Highlights
NUE Singlespeed National Champion
1st place singlespeed Tahoe Sierra 100
1st place singlespeed Wilderness 101
1st place singlespeed Vision Quest marathon 2nd place singlespeed Dirt, Sweat & Gears 12 hour Multiple top 10 finishes with in the Pro geared field on a singlespeed.
Quote: "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells
Winning on a Single Speed.
John "Fuzzy" Mylne, the current 100 mile single speed National Champion, has never felt limited that he only races a bike with one gear. In fact, he thinks it is easier that riding a mountain bike that you can shift. It's simple John says "During long races you have to stay focused from start to finish if you want to win, why distract yourself thinking about what gear you should be in". In part, this thinking has made it possible for John to dominate the National Ultra Endurance racing scene and compete with the top pros in the country. "It's simple, if you want to go faster, you have to pedal harder!"
Racing a single speed forces you to be prepared for each race. "I have to choose the perfect gear to be competitive, too big or too small of a gear can mean a lot of time lost." Being ready means more than just knowing the course, you have to be in great shape as well. Though he races on a single speed his training program is not that different from other top professional mountain bikers. Thousands of miles on the road, charging long climbs, doing intervals and practicing on technical terrain. To win a 12 hour or 100 mile race everything has to come together. Including; Your training, knowing what and who you are up against and having the equipment that will get the job done. When talking about his bike John says "There is just less going on there, less that can break or perform poorly in bad conditions. Sometimes just finishing the race is enough to get the win". Though he says it's not the bike that makes someone fast, the equipment they choose does affect their performance. According to John, the biggest advancements with mountain bikes and single speeds since suspension, are 29" wheels and tubeless tires systems, "using big (29") wheels is like cheating and being able to run lower air pressure is key when riding a single speed. His favorite piece of gear that he "hopes to never have to use" is his Genuine Innovations Air Chuck SL. "I do these long races because I want to be on my bike all the time, I don't want to be on the side of the trail with some mini pump for 15 minutes".
Katie Ellis - Triathlete
January 1, New Year's Resolution: Become faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Sounds good, right? This is my rookie year as a licensed elite, and I want to turn some heads. What could possibly be a better reason to put off graduate school and growing up for a year?
Well, January has come and gone… so how's the New Year's Resolution? Let's just say that it was the perfect time of year to find some kryptonite, or as the medical field likes to call it, tendonitis. Yes, I developed patellar tendonitis, a rookie mistake without a doubt. I have foolishly neglected strength training, leaving my poor IT bands, glutes, and patellar tendon abused. If you are looking for a good butt-kicking workout, ask you favorite physical therapist or personal trainer for some good frontal plane strengthening exercises. My favorite, and most punishing, exercise so far in physical therapy is lateral lungs… sounds easy right? If you haven't done them in a while, give them a try and see how you feel the next day.
The moral of the story: you can run, bike, and swim like a crazy person, but unless you incorporate strength training into your regimen, your superhero New Year's Resolution is in danger of derailment. Thanks to prompt recognition and physical therapy, I am rapidly on the mend, ready to take on my resolution again
Brian Forbes - Carrying the Torch
I came from a sports background -- football to be specific. I started in 5th grade and played up until my freshman year in college. At that point I figured I needed to get involved in some other sport to stay in shape and that's when I found cycling. I went to El Tour De Tucson in 1993 and was hooked. I didn't even finish my first El Tour but it was enough to motivate me and put that drive in me to compete at this sport. From there I started competing as a Citizen racer, which is even lower than the cat 5 level. I rapidly progressed through the ranks going from a Cat 5 to a Cat 3 in a years time -- and trust me -- back then it took a little more to upgrade than it does now. After that first year of racing I fell into a trap of having fun and pretty much stopped training and competing.
Then something happened that really changed my focus; I found out the Olympics were taking place in Atlanta in '96 and they were having torch bearers carry the Olympic torch across the country. I sent in an application to be one of those torch bearers and as it turns out I was one of the lucky ones and was selected to carry the Olympic torch. I used a specially equipped bike that held the torch and rode with it from Kingman, Arizona all the way to Henderson, Nevada. This was just about the greatest honor ever -- I will never forget the people following us as we rode through the 30+mph wind. When we stopped it was like an autograph session -- we were swarmed with kids wanting our autographs, pictures and even this one lady crying as we signed her shirt. Talk about motivation! From then on I was determined to make it as a Pro bike racer. By 2001, after long years of work, I made it to the Pro ranks and joined the Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team and competed around the country and Europe for 3 years. Now I enjoy spending time with my 9 year old daughter and competing as an amateur cyclist here in Arizona with the RideClean Team. Occasionally I go hunt down some NRC action and mix it up with the Big Boys... just to keep things interesting!
Thanks for reading...
Brian "Hamfist" Forbes
TJ Tollakson - Triathlete
Training on Mt. Lemmon.
The long journey to the top of Mt Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona is part of my regular training regimen. I love doing my Wednesday morning ride with some of the best cyclists in town up Lemmon and we usually do some interval work. I hate turning around before I reach the summit of Mt. Lemmon. Every time I turn around early I feel like the Mountain got the best of me for the day. While I can't always find the time to make the 84 mile round trip ride (from where I live in Tucson), this past winter I never once started a climb I didn't finish. The actual climb of the mountain is about 25-27 miles depending if you go to Summer Haven or Ski Resort. It takes about 2 hours to make it to the top at a good pace depending on the wind. There is often snow at the top during the winter and spring. I prefer to do my intervals at the bottom of the mountain because the top is close to 8300 feet elevation so it gets tough to breathe up there. On the way up, I think about a variety of things, but one of the things I always think about is the food at the top of the mountain in Summerhaven. There are three food places in Summerhave: a General Store with Homemade Fudge, Mt. Lemmon Cafe with great pie, and the Cookie Cabin with huge cookies and homemade pizza. This year, I was stuck on the Cookie Cabin and fell in love with the Pumpkin Spice and Rachel (Oatmeal, Coconut, Macademia) Cookies washed down with some Sioux City Sarsaparilla. The thought of the scrumptious food at the top of the mountain is what fuels my desire to keep pedalling to the top. The journey is never the same unless you have some plan for something great along the way. These goals (like cookies) are what keeps me on track during my training. I allow myself to eat pretty much anything I want while I am training, so Mt. Lemmon is a great excuse for me to get in some great snacks. It is all about the journey and if you have ever climbed Mt. Lemmon you know what I am talking about. The views are amazing and you experience such vast and different climates and scenery as you climb. But what is a rainbow without the thought of the pot of gold at the end? So if you climb Mt. Lemmon you get to experience the rainbow and get the pot of gold at the top of the mountain. This actual fuel (cookies and root beer) is how I make it back down the mountain and if I am I feeling extra lucky on the rainbow ride back into town, I may even stop at the Gelato shoppe, Frost, for a peanut butter banana Gelato. Yes it is all about the journey, and make sure your journey is as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. There is always great fulfillment when you set out to accomplish something and actually finish it, but there is even more fulfillment if you can stop at the top of the mountain and get a cookie on the way. And who knows, maybe you can even get some Gelato at the bottom.