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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Amanda Miller’s Ryan Collegiate All-Star Experience

April 29, 2010

Amanda Miller raced for the 2008 Ryan Collegiate All-Star team in the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Since then, she has procured a professional contract on a top-flight cycling team and has even raced across the pond, strengthening her legs and learning the ways of true professional cycling. She reflects back on what the Ryan Collegiate and Nature Valley Grand Prix experiences meant to her and her career:

In 2008, I was given the opportunity to race with the Ryan Collegiate All-Star team at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The 2008 season was my first year racing collegiate. I heard about this composite team coming into nationals and made it one of my season goals to make it on the squad. My collegiate racing experience in 2008 taught me the basics of racing with a team. At Colorado State University, we had great mentors and teammates to support us.

Nature Valley Grand Prix was my first “pro” level stage race of my career. Was I nervous? Of course! Our team director, John Barron, was amazing though. The team was run as a professional squad on a very low stress basis. All we had to do as riders was race our bicycles. The team even had their own mechanic and soigneur. Prior to the start of each stage we had a team meeting. This is where John gave us the team plan for the day. It was really exciting to have a game plan and specific jobs for the day.

The Ryan Collegiate All Star team was a great stepping stone for me to take in my cycling career. Prior to the experience, I was just a local collegiate racer. In 2009, I was presented with a contract by the LipSmacker Professional women’s cycling team. I also spent a month in France racing for the U.S. National Development team. Now I am racing for the only women’s UCI team in the United States, Team TIBCO/To the Top. I don’t think I would have been able to progress as quickly as I did without the help of the Ryan Collegiate All-Star team. Not only did it provide me with experience, but it also gave me a level of confidence and motivation. After the experience, I felt that I actually did belong in the women’s professional peloton and that it was something I wanted to pursue as a career.

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Total Cycling Performance: Spring Training

April 28, 2010

Spring Training – What to do NOW

Spring has finally arrived, which means it’s time to GET OUT AND RIDE! The key to early season riding is to get as much time in the saddle as possible without getting overly fatigued, which can lead to illness and injury.

Whether you’ve done much training over the winter or not, whether you’re an experienced cyclist or not, I suggest your structure your training week around these 3 key workouts:

1. Ride hills at least one day per week. This is a very efficient workout in that it not only builds leg strength, but fighting gravity as you push yourself up the hill will increase your breathing rate at the same time. So you’ll get a double benefit of strength and cardio at the same time.

2. Ride longer “intervals” at least one day per week. These intervals can be anywhere from 8-20 minutes long, and should be at a level which forces you to breathe hard. You should be at the edge of your comfort level and should feel like you’re going to have to struggle to keep up the effort. You should also be forced to really focus to maintain your effort, where riding just a little harder will push you over the edge and you’ll “blow up,” or backing off even a little will put you back into an easy, conversational level. So this is a hard, determined effort. These long intervals can be either structured or unstructured.

3. One ride of the week should be a long ride at a fairly easy aerobic, endurance level. This long ride should be at a “conversational” effort level. In other words, you’re able to carry on a conversation with others if you’re riding with a group or with friends.

Each of these rides is important to helping you shake off any sluggishness you may have picked up over the winter and will quickly allow you to gain your cycling fitness. In addition, having 3 key rides on your schedule each week gives you structure to your riding plan.

If you ride more than 3 times per week, other rides can be either easy “recovery” rides or aerobic, endurance rides similar to #3, but shorter. Be conservative and do less rather than more as your body acclimates to time in the saddle.

As you feel yourself getting stronger, your first priority should be to increase the length of your long rides. Following this, then slowly increase the number of hills you ride, the number of long intervals and the length.

Be safe, keep healthy and injury free, but mainly, have fun as you ride. Enjoy this beautiful time of year, and GET OUT AND RIDE!

Bob McEnaney has over 33 years experience coaching performance athletes of all ages, genders and ability levels. He has trained and competed in triathlon, cycling, and running races of all distances. His personal experience is backed by years of formal training which has aided in formulating effective performance training plans used by hundreds of athletes across the country.

Bob is a certified coach through both USA Triathlon and USA Cycling. He also is a member of Joe Friel’s exclusive “Ultrafit” Association of Coaches. Additionally, he is a Certified Personal Trainer and holds a Sports Fitness Specialist advanced certification through NASM. This combination of long-time coaching experience and personal race experience puts Bob in a unique position to create time efficient and effective cycling training plans to help athletes train properly.

Visit Bob’s website at Total Cycling Performance.

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Second Women’s Prestige Cycling Series Race Begins Wednesday

April 27, 2010

Minneapolis – The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series resumes this week when the 24th annual SRAM Tour of the Gila begins Wednesday in Silver City, N.M.

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) leads the individual and sprint competition but is not among the 75 women registered for the five-day National Racing Calendar event.

However, second-placed individual Katharine Carroll and her Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 teammate, Mara Abbott – who leads the best young rider competition – are part of the field. Abbott won the Tour of the Gila in 2007 and Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 currently leads the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series team competition.

”The SRAM Tour of the Gila is a great addition to the Series,” Women’s Prestige Cycling Series co-founder David LaPorte said. “Kristin Armstrong’s team, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12, is fielding a very impressive squad, but they’ll face tough competition. The event will also get a lot of attention because Lance Armstrong (no relation), known to women’s racing fans as ‘the other Armstrong’, is participating again this year.”

Four events in four different states comprise the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series. It began at the Redlands Bicycle Classic in March. Still to come are the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 16-20 (Minnesota) and the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic, July 20-25 (Oregon).

The Series awards the top overall individual, best young rider, best sprinter and top team. Clothing manufacturer Champion System provides special jerseys to identify the leaders in the individual classifications.

For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com, or send an e-mail to: wpcs2010@womencyclists.com.

About the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series was created following input at the 2003 Women’s Cycling Summit Conference, hosted at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The inaugural edition of the Series was held the following year. The goal of the Series is to promote women’s racing by giving them a spotlight that they do not have to share with men. The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is considered the heir apparent to the HP International Women’s Challenge, a fabled women’s stage race that ended its 19-year run in 2003.

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Nature Valley Grand Prix Announces Changes For Time Trial

April 26, 2010

Minneapolis – This year’s edition of the Nature Valley Grand Prix will go “old school,” with a return to Eddy Merckx-style racing for the individual time trial that opens this year’s USA Cycling National Racing Calendar event.

Executive Director David LaPorte said the Nature Valley Grand Prix has opted to invoke a new USA Cycling rule that allows race organizers to specify that “massed-start legal” bicycles are required for time trials. The rule will be enforced for the six-mile (9.6 km) St. Paul Riverfront time trial on June 16.

“The decision was made partly to simplify logistics for the teams and partly out of fairness,” LaPorte said. “We have a time cut in the time trial to ensure that no one loafs to stay fresh for the criterium that night. But in the past, we have had some strong riders cut primarily because they did not have time trial bikes. We have also had some riders in the past who haven’t competed because of the expense of bringing two bikes, particularly with the outrageous charges the airlines are imposing.”

LaPorte said he doesn’t expect the change to significantly affect the overall results of the five-day, six-stage race.

“The time trial is only six miles and the last mile is an eight-percent climb,” he said. “Also, with the new road race in Menomonie, Wisconsin, the seconds gained or lost in the time trial are likely to be insignificant. Unlike the old Mankato road race, this course will be very hilly, with lots of opportunities for aggressive teams to shatter the pack. If big time gaps don’t form, it will likely be because the teams haven’t taken advantage of the terrain.”

The Nature Valley Grand Prix will work with USA Cycling officials to spell out the specific restrictions regarding aero equipment (wheels, helmets, etc.), which will ultimately appear in the race bible.

The decision to prohibit time trial bikes is certainly not unique, as several international races (Tour of Qatar, Tour of Langkawi, etc.) have banned time trial bikes and aero equipment for years. In the U.S., the team time trial stage of the 2008 Tour de Georgia featured the same restrictions.

Danny Van Haute, director of the Jelly Belly Cycling presented by Kenda professional men’s team, said the decision to prohibit time trial bikes will level the playing field. “Not everyone can buy time trial equipment and if the pro teams have this equipment, it’s not fair to the riders who don’t,” he said. “I’ll bet the results will be the same with time trial bikes as they would be without.”

Team Vera Bradley Foundation Director Lisa Hunt said it is disappointing for her team’s bicycle sponsor not to be able to showcase its time trial bikes. “However, in the interest of being fair and equitable for all parties involved, I support the decision,” she said. “Clearly, our strongest time trial riders will be strong on a road bike or a time trial bike. So it’s not like we are at a disadvantage.”

LaPorte said he will poll all women’s and men’s teams after the race – as he has done in previous years – to get an idea of whether the new rule should be retained for 2011.

About the Nature Valley Grand Prix

The Nature Valley Grand Prix, which takes place in Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, is the premier stage race on the 2010 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 race will include stops in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, and Stillwater. The Nature Valley Grand Prix is a part of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, a volunteer-run event, with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. More information can be found at: www.NatureValleyBicycleFestival.com

About Nature Valley

Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. For more information, visit www.NatureValley.com.

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Nature Valley Bicycle Festival to Include Fixed Gear Classic June 11-13; Nature Valley Grand Prix Pro Race June 16-20 Expands to Wisconsin

April 22, 2010

Minneapolis-Saint Paul (April 20, 2010) - The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, the premier event on the USA Cycling calendar, will include the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic to be held at the National Sports Center (NCS) Velodrome in Blaine June 11-13 and the prestigious Nature Valley Grand Prix pro stage bike race to be held in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, Wisconsin and Stillwater June 16-20.

The Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic brings world-class track cycling to the NSC Velodrome. This thrilling event pits professional and elite amateur track cyclists in fast-paced sprint and grueling endurance events. Men and women compete in a series of fast and furious races using fixed gear bikes, which have only one gear and no brakes. Riders only make left turns and control their speed solely by pedaling faster or slower. Achieving speeds up to 40 mph, riders race on a wooden track with 43 degree angles making the races incredibly exciting for both racers and spectators. The Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic is FREE and open to the public. Races take place from June 11-13 beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday.

Nature Valley Grand Prix Announces New Rice Park and Menomonie Stages

The Nature Valley Grand Prix professional stage race opens June 16 in Saint Paul with a morning time trial and evening criterium held around Rice Park. The new Rice Park location promises to deliver better vantage points for spectators and a more exciting experience for the racers who will loop around the bricked streets in front of the Ordway Center some 40 times. The race will be reminiscent of the famed pave – ancient cobblestone paths – in Europe, creating unique challenges for the racers. Though Saint Paul’s bricked streets may not be as treacherous as the pavé in the famed Paris-Roubaix race, the turrets of the Landmark Center, classic architecture of the 100-year-old Saint Paul Hotel and the elegance of the Ordway Center will create a charming European ambiance for both riders and spectators.

Day 2 of the Nature Valley Grand Prix continues with a road race in Cannon Falls on June 17, while Day 3 takes place in Minneapolis on Friday evening, June 18. For the second consecutive year, the Minneapolis stage will be in the city’s dynamic Uptown neighborhood, where large crowds gathered in 2009, contributing to a 50% increase in overall attendance.

On Saturday, June 19, the racers travel east to Menomonie, Wisc., for the Menomonie Road Race, marking the first time that the Nature Valley Grand Prix includes a stage outside of Minnesota. The hills and valleys of Wisconsin’s dairy land promise to make this stage not only the most beautiful, but also one of the most challenging in the race’s history.

Racers will contest the final stage, the Stillwater Criterium, on Sunday, June 20, with both men and women cyclists completing the short circuit race, which includes a grueling 24 percent grade hill climb up Chilkoot Hill, considered the most difficult in North American cycling.

In addition to professional racing, other activities, including the Wheaties Fan Zone, Fruit by the Foot Stunt Rider shows, musical entertainment and bike and fitness expos will be offered at all stages of the five-day race with the exception of the time trial. The Tour de Kids fun races at each site are free and are open to children age 12 and under.

Now in its 12th year, the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a 10-day celebration of cycling that includes amateur and professional racing and community events. The Nature Valley Grand Prix has become the premier professional bike race in the U.S., attracting top American racing teams and riders from around the world. Proceeds from the Nature Valley Grand Prix are donated to Children’s Hospital and its Pediatric Hospice program.

The Nature Valley Grand Prix is free and open to the public. It is the only professional sporting event in Minnesota for which no admission ticket is required. The festival is a natural fit for Minnesota and Wisconsin as both states are populated with cycling enthusiasts. Several urban bike trails have opened in the past few years and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area has been named the most bike-friendly in the country by Bicycling Magazine. For more information and a detailed schedule of events visit www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.

About the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival

The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is one of the nation’s top celebrations for the bicycle culture, with tens of thousands of cycling enthusiasts, pro athletes and avid recreational riders converging on Minnesota each June. Its professional racing event, the Nature Valley Grand Prix, began as a one-day criterium in Saint Paul in 1999. Its schedule and prestige have grown steadily until now, in its 12th year, it is ranked at the top of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix schedule includes a unique mix of three criteriums (short circuit races), two road races and a time trial as the stages of the race move from downtown Saint Paul, to Cannon Falls, to Minneapolis, to Menomonie, Wisconsin and finally culminates in Stillwater. The Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is a volunteer run event, with all profits donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. For more information visit www.NatureValleyBicycleFestival.com

About Nature Valley

Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. For more information, visit www.naturevalley.com.

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First Four Qualifiers Announced for Nature Valley Pro Ride

April 19, 2010

The first four of the 12 riders on the Nature Valley Pro Ride men’s and women’s teams have been selected, with the next two to be determined in Oregon this weekend.


Women’s qualifiers are Kristen Meshberg of Lyons, Ill., from the Hillsboro-Roubaix Road Race near St. Louis and Monroe, Ga., resident Nancy Jones, from the Rock Hill Spring Bicycle Classic in South Carolina.

Jones, riding for Subaru Gary Fisher Road Cycling Team, is a past Georgia state time trial champion who finished third in that discipline at last year’s USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships. Meshberg rides for the Flatlandia Cycling Team and said she is “super excited” to be part of the Nature Valley Pro Ride.

“What a cool race and what a cool program” Meshberg said. “I also am very appreciative for the opportunities that the Nature Valley Grand Prix provides for women’s cycling. Having a filled women’s field is fantastic.”

Men’s qualifiers are Zach Garrett of Sumter, S.C. and Lawrence, Kan., resident Joseph Schmalz of the Mercy Cycling Team. Garrett races for U.S. Military Cycling. To accept the Nature Valley Pro Ride invitation, he first had to receive permission for time off from his commanders at Shaw Air Force Base.

“Once I told them how prestigious the Nature Valley Grand Prix is, they were all ears and really happy for me,” Garrett said. “I’m really excited about the opportunity. It’s just incredible to allow a composite team to be formed and give amateurs the opportunity to race against the pros.”


Nature Valley Pro Riders who are invited to compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix earn free entry to the race, generous travel stipends, team clothing, housing, ground transportation, and staff support for their composite teams. They also receive pro-level recognition before, during and after the events, including pre-race call-ups and participation in promotional and media appearances.

This weekend marks the next stop on the Nature Valley Pro Ride national tour. The Cherry Blossom Classic presented by Waters Edge Health and Wellness Center takes place Friday through Sunday in the Portland, Ore., area. Qualifiers will be based on the final overall standings in the three-day event that includes a road race, circuit race, time trial and criterium.

The other remaining Nature Valley Pro Ride events are: Barrio Logan Grand Prix/Mark Reynolds San Luis Rey Cycling Classic (May 1-2) in California, Bear Mountain Spring Classic (May 16) in New York and Mt. Hamilton Classic Road Race/Memorial Day Criterium (May 30-31) in California.

For more information, visit www.NatureValleyProRide.com.

About the Nature Valley Grand Prix

The Nature Valley Grand Prix, which takes place in Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, is the premier stage race on the 2010 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 race will include stops in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, and Stillwater. The Nature Valley Grand Prix is a volunteer-run event, with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. More information can be found at: www.NatureValleyGrandPrix.com.

About Nature Valley

Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. For more information, visit www.NatureValley.com.

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Nature Valley Grand Prix Rolls Into Menonomie

April 14, 2010

On Saturday, June 19st, 2010, the Nature Valley Grand Prix rolls into Menomonie, WI. Professional and amateur men and women will be vying for a Stage 5 race victory in rural Dunn County, marking the first time the NVGP has left the lines of the North Star State.

The men’s road race consists of 95 miles, marked by rolling hills and long climbs that will impact the standings for the entire Nature Valley Grand Prix. The women will cover a 76-mile course that follows the same beginning and ending roadways. The racers start and end in historic downtown Menomonie. The excitement will be heightened as the pros battle through four finishing laps of a 3-mile in-town circuit.

When the racing leaves town, there will be plenty to do in Menomonie until the men and women return. The professional men depart at noon, and the women take off at 1:30 pm. With an estimated return time slotted at 4:00 pm for the first group of professional men, you’ll have many opportunities to enjoy a wide variety of activities.

The Menomonie Chamber of Commerce has provided race attendees with a list of exciting activities for June 20th:

Community Bike Ride (11:00 am) – Your choice of either a 15 or 30 mile ride. Maps and cue sheets provided. The rides bring you to viewing points along the pro road course. Arrive ahead of the pros, watch them fly by and proceed to the next stop before returning to Menomonie in time for the finishing circuits. All rides depart from the UW Stout parking lot #4 at 13th Ave and S. Broadway. Showers are available upon your return to Menomonie.

Expo (11:00 am – 5:00 pm) – The Expo features bike and fitness displays. You’ll find all the latest and greatest gear and gadgets, info on clubs, programs and events, and much more. The Expo is located in downtown Menomonie at the UW Stout Clock Tower Courtyard.

CHALK Full of Fun (12:30 pm – 3:00 pm) – Join us for some great chalk fun as children are encouraged to let their creative sides shine. Work with local artists on designing a chalk masterpiece on the sidewalks located adjacent to the UW Stout Clock Tower Courtyard. View the magical pieces of art and watch as imaginations run wild. Adult participation is welcomed. Meet at the UW Stout Clock Tower Courtyard.

Children’s Games (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm) – Age-appropriate games for children ages 3-11. Face painting will be available, too. Meet at the Mabel Tainter Theatre, lower level.

Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, Historic Theatre Tours (1:00 – 4:00 pm) – The Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater is a fully functional Victorian era theater. It was constructed in 1889 as a tribute to young Mabel Tainter, a lover of music and the arts. The Memorial was commissioned by Mrs. and Captain Andrew Tainter, lumber baron for Knapp, Stout & Co. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Theatre is open for self-guided tours. A 15 minute movie on the history of the Knapp, Stout & Co Lumber Company, the largest lumber company in the world between 1850 and 1900, will be showing continuously.

Louis Smith Tainter House, Historic Mansion Tours (1:00 – 3:00 pm) – The house was originally build by lumber baron, Andrew Tainter. It is now home to UW Stout University Foundation Inc. and the UW Stout Alumni Association. The mansion is open for self-guided tours.

University of Wisconsin – Stout Campus Tours (1:00 pm and 2:00 pm) – Take a one-hour walking guided tour and see UW Stout, recognized as a comprehensive, career-focused polytechnic university where students, faculty and staff use applied learning, scientific theory and research to solve real-world problems. Meet in the UW-Stout Clock Tower Courtyard for the start of the tours.

Fruit by the Foot Stunt Rider Demonstration (12:00 noon – 3:30 pm) – Spectators of all ages enjoy the Bicycle Stunt Shows. The Fruit by the Foot Stunt Riders use amazing bicycle stunts, a high energy announcer, and upbeat music to ensure a fun fast paced and unforgettable addition to our event! You won’t believe your eyes when you see what these riders can do! Main St and 3rd St.

Haunted Menomonie Presentation (2:15 pm) – Ghosts and goblins have visited Menomonie…and they may still be here. Come and hear the stories of Menomonie’s chilling past. Meet at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts.

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Teutenberg Leads Two Categories Of Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

April 9, 2010

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) receives the Women's Prestige Cycling Series individual leader's jersey at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. (Photo courtesty of Redlands Bicycle Classic)

Minneapolis – Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Individual and Sprinter), Mara Abbott (Best Young Rider) and Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 (Team) lead the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series following the first of four events on the 2010 schedule.

Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) has a 220-165 point advantage over Katharine Carroll (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) in the individual standings after winning the four-day stage race March 25-28 in Southern California. In the Sprint competition, Teutenberg leads Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12) and Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light).

“It’s really nice to hold the lead in the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series,” Teutenberg said. “The series has really taken off over the last few years. It is exactly what women’s cycling needs and it’s evident in the number of starters who line up in Redlands and continue on to the Nature Valley Grand Prix and the Cascade Classic. This year, the Tour of the Gila is in the series, which is another of my favorite races.”

INDIVIDUAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia – 220.
2. Katharine Carroll, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 165.
3. Alexis Rhodes, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 132.
4. Amber Neben, Dare to Be-BMW-Bianchi – 121.
5. Evelyn Stevens, HTC-Columbia – 110.

SPRINT CLASSICATION

1. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia – 220.
2. Coryn Rivera, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 165.
3. Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 132.
4. Brooke Miller, Team TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 121.
5. Kristen LaSasso, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 110.

In the Best Young Rider (Under 26) competition, Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) has the same point margin over Rebecca Much (Team TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team). Abbott, 25, finished sixth overall at Redlands. “I think it is wonderful that these events choose to highlight the women’s competitions,” she said. “All of them are well run, enjoyable races and I am proud to be able to be a representative of their efforts to support my sport.”

BEST YOUNG RIDER (UNDER 26) CLASSIFICATION

1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 220.
2. Rebecca Much, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 165.
3. Joelle Numainville, Webcor Builders – 132.
4. Amanda Miller, Team TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 121.
5. Denise Ramsden, Specialized Mazda Samson – 110.

In the team standings, Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12 has a slim, 14-point lead over HTC-Columbia on the strength of Abbott and Rivera, whose point totals are doubled by being in the Best Young Rider category. Team Vera Bradley Foundation, winner of the team classification at Redlands, is third.

TEAM CLASSIFICATION

1. Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 383.
2. HTC-Columbia – 369.
3. Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 296.
4. Team TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 224.
5. Webcor Builders – 125.

The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is the only national bicycle racing series solely showcasing the country’s top female cycling talent in four events across the country. The second event is the SRAM Tour of the Gila in New Mexico (April 28-May 2) followed by the Nature Valley Grand Prix (June 16-20), then wrapping up at the Cascade Classic (July 20-25).

For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com.

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An Unfamilar Place for a Weeklong Race

April 8, 2010

The life of aspiring professional bike riders seems glamorous on the surface: nice bikes, cool wheels, and all the energy bars and gels you can eat. Getting from race to race is one thing, but sleeping in a bed for much-needed rest is another. Hotel costs add up, and for smaller teams, it’s simply not in the budget. For teams like Treads.com/DFT, host housing has been a blessing in disguise. Megan Hottman, director of the Treads.com/DFT women’s cycling team (and 2005 Nature Valley Grand Prix top amateur), explains how crucial host housing is to a team of cyclists:

Staying with a host family is one of the things I love most about bike racing. We racers will arrive at an event, get our packets and then make our way to a total stranger’s house, where invariably they open their homes and hearts to us during the duration of the event. The incredible part is the immediate level of comfort racers feel with their host families, despite the fact that everyone involved are total strangers! In my experience, my host families have made me feel comfortable and welcomed. Most often, when the event has concluded, relationships with those host families are formed and those bonds last for years and years, often resulting in our stays on an annual basis with the same family!

Some outside the sport might say “staying with a total stranger in a strange house at a major event? That’s crazy! What if the house is dirty? What if the hosts are unfriendly?” I can honestly say these concerns have never been a reality with the hosts we have stayed with. Instead, we’ve been greeted in clean homes, with race-appropriate meals and wonderful accommodations. Often an entire team will stay in one home and to say that we “Take the place over” is an understatement. Yet the host families make us feel as though they can’t wait to see us again next year.

The monetary value of having host housing available to racers cannot be overstated. The money that a racer or team can save by staying in a host home versus paying for a hotel room is significant. Host housing can make or break a team’s budgetary analysis of a particular event. To house a team of 5-8 racers plus staff at a hotel during a stage race would likely cost a team several thousand dollars. They don’t allow the entire team to interact in one area. The benefit of host housing, beyond the cost savings and relationships that are formed, is that the racers can enjoy some of the comforts of their own home (Hotel rooms don’t have kitchens or washers and dryers!) and those comforts are really important to racers in the midst of a grueling event!

There’s really nothing like host housing. It takes strangers who have nothing in common except for love of the sport, and combines them in a very intimate environment over a period of days. At the conclusion of the event, the racers and the host family have bonded. The racers feel a deeper connection to the community where the event is hosted. The hosts feel a deeper connection to the sport and can say they invested in the growth of their home town cycling event. I highly recommend host housing over a hotel to any racer and I am so grateful to all of the homes that have housed me in years past!

The 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix is still actively looking for host housing. If you want more information about host housing, check out the information form and FAQ section at http://www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com/Volunteer/HostHousing/tabid/139/Default.aspx

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Sinead Miller: Ryan Alumae and USA Cyclist

April 6, 2010

Our first guest blogger is Sinead Miller, a 2009 Ryan Collegiate All-Star and Marian University collegiate cyclist. Enjoy!

Hello everyone! I am currently racing in Europe with the USA National Development Program and this racing season is already proving to be a great one. Many things have changed for me this year, from joining a new team to taking my fitness to a whole new level. Now I am proudly a member of Peanut Butter and Co./Team Twenty12. I have been training very hard throughout the past months, so that I can do my best to contribute to the team and accomplish my cycling goals. I am also still a full time student at Marian University and I race for the Marian cycling team during the spring as well.

Last year I was a freshman at Marian University and I was able to win the Collegiate Criterium National Championships. This earned me a spot on Ryan’s Collegiate All-Star team for the Nature Valley Grand Prix race. Last year I was not on a team outside of collegiate racing, so this opportunity presented to me was a great one. I am so thankful that I was given the chance to race Nature Valley with the Ryan’s All-Star team last year. This was this first NRC stage race that I ever competed in, so it was a great learning experience for me.

Everyone on the Ryan’s Collegiate team was treated like a professional and it showed me what it takes to compete with the highest-level women racers in the U.S. I gained so much knowledge about racing during Nature Valley. Each day I was able to improve and the team manager, John Barron, also played a vital role in helping me and my other teammates throughout the race. He knew all of the courses in-and-out and John was always able to provide us with helpful tips before and after each day of racing. Now I am a much more experienced rider compared to last year and I can not wait to race Nature Valley again in the future.

Next time I race Nature Valley I will know the courses much better since I was able to race with the Ryan’s Team and I will be much more comfortable there. Any collegiate rider who is presented with the chance to race with the All-Star team should take it. The experience played a very important role in my racing career. It was the first time I ever had the chance to race a stage race as a true team member. Also, my teammates and I had a great time together, from racing to just having fun at our host house, the whole trip was awesome.

Now I am preparing for my next race, which is a World Cup in Holland next weekend. It is crazy to reflect back and analyze what big improvements I have made since racing Nature Valley last year. Being able to race Nature Valley with the All-Star team really helped me to wake up and realize what type of training I needed to do to compete with the best women racers in the world. After racing Nature Valley I was so motivated to improve and now I am able to compete with the highest-level women racers in the world. I am also now a part of a fabulous team and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I could never have dreamed of all of these things happening to me so quickly.

Ryan’s Collegiate All-Star Team is such a great program. Anyone who is presented with the chance to race for the team should really consider it. The amount of information and racing experience one can gain is priceless. Also, Nature Valley is such a fun race and very exciting. I can’t wait to race there again soon.

For more information about the Ryan Collegiate All-Star team, check out http://www.ryancollegiateallstars.com/.

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