What this blog is about

Bicycle commuting, bicycle touring, bicycle racing; bicycle ADVENTURING.
To the grocery store, up a mountain, across the country or to the finish line--
it's all an adventure.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Consistent Race Report -- Piece of Cake Road Race

Here is my personal race report of the Piece of Cake Road Race that I included in a post on my junior team blog:

Coach RJ (myself), raced in Women's 1/2/3 (as a 3) and hung on with her teeth through attack after attack after attack after attack as the day got windier and windier and windier. It was finally the penultimate attack at 3 kilometers that overcooked RJ and she finally, reluctantly, got dropped. But she finished!

Here is another race report from a Group Health rider (CAPITALS are my own addition):

Team Group Health’s Jen Akeroyd said the field caught the two leaders after a series of attacks and counters. YEP! DEFINITELY A LOOONG SERIES OF ATTACKS AND COUNTERS!
“The last little bit of trying to catch them required jumps,” Akeroyd said. “Me jumping and then the Veloforma riders would jump around me, and I’d get on their wheel and jump again.” YEP! DEFINITELY JUMPS AND COUNTER JUMPS! LOTS AND LOOOTS OF JUMPING!

With the group back together nearing the finish. Veloforma had the numbers to launch Miranda Moon past the competition, but not before Fox had another chance to test her legs. The Team Oregon rider attacked with a 5K to go and began the wind up to the finish, but the seasoned Veloforma squad took over from there. OH, YEAH-- THE PACE SURE DID GET HOT!

“Elice (Huggins) from Veloforma picked it up from about 3K out,” Akeroyd said of the lead out. ”Then Susan (Peithman) came in around 2K and kept pulling through. Then Miranda took over from about 200 meters, and she just had better legs than me today." YEP, THEY PICKED IT UP FROM 3K OUT AND THAT'S WHERE RJ GOT DROPPED!!!
It feels nice to hear someone else confirm what I perceived!

Now here's the CCY Junior Team video of the race:

Full CCY Junior Cycling Team post can be found HERE.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Meet the Women!

Meet the new 5 Trek Women Who Ride!

Amy King
Amy is a former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom who wants her kids to know the thrill of cycling. When she's not visiting the zoo, cleaning up toys, or hosting a playgroup, she can usually be found out on a ride. Amy commutes to work by bike, rides centuries, competes in triathlons, and adores singletrack. Amy also enjoys snowboarding and hiking (with and without children). She also likes to pretend she's a domestic goddess by attempting to bake, try various crafts, and not kill the plants in her garden.

Caitlin Hollister
A Boston native, Caitlin teaches third grade in the city, enjoying early morning bike rides to school. Her summers are spent mostly touring on her bike, including trips through the Canadian Rockies and along the West Coast. Newly married, Caitlin and her husband David were engaged on a bike ride to their favorite swimming hole. When she's not cycling, Caitlin loves to run and ski with David and their chocolate lab, Mocha. She's always eager to bring friends along for new adventures both in the city and the backcountry. Caitlin volunteers with the Appalachian Mountain Club's Youth Opportunities Program, training youth workers to lead outdoors trips with kids.

Mary Strupp
Mary got her first new bike at age 44, completed her first triathlon at age 54, and started a new business opportunity at 64. A Milwaukee native, Mary has lived in eight states, is a mother of two, and a grandmother of four. She has been a medical researcher, a teacher, marketing director for shopping centers, sales and marketing director for a plastics company, and owner of a different plastics company. In addition to outdoor sports she enjoys reading and crafts like knitting, sewing, and quilting. Her motto for tackling just about anything is be there; be involved; be positive; be happy.

Rebecca Jensen (that's me!)
Rebecca is a self-proclaimed anti-snob, pro-fun cyclist. Rebecca’s love for cycling began after knee injuries side-lined her from soccer and running. Riding for her college cycling team at Whitman College, as her fitness increased, so did her cycling prowess, winning five Collegiate National Champion jerseys. After graduating she began working for the Walla Walla Community Center for Youth, coaching a junior cycling team and teaching bike repair. She believes the best way to help people, which she finds immensely rewarding, is through contagious enthusiasm.

Roxzanne Abbott
At almost 40 years young, Roxy tries to make the most of each day; every day is a gift and do I love opening presents! Roxy has ridden and raced mountain bikes for ten years when not busy with her fourteen-year career at an advertising firm. She plans to marry her soul-mate this year, but only after a full bike season of riding, racing, traveling and trail building is over. They direct their local mountain bike racing series in and around Omaha, Nebraska, volunteering extensively with the local trail care organization. Work hard, play hard. It's all about finding balance and living life to its fullest.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday "Hailstoner" Ride

Possibly the oldest ride in town is the 'Saturday Rose Garden' or 'Hailstoner' Ride. The names are  coined by the meeting location and one fateful ride in a hail storm that continues to define the group. The ride meets at 7:30, 8 or 8:30 in the morning, depending on the time of year and always ends, without fail, at the local Merchants Delicatessen. While the ride can be unpredictable-- the pace usually dictated by who shows up that day-- you can usually count on several grouping-up points to bring everyone back together. I usually opt for a late morning or mid-day ride when Walla Walla is cold, but when the temperatures aren't offensive at 8:00am, I try to show up. The company is good, and so are the muffins.

A few moments from the ride:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Yep, goin' to Wisconsin!

You may have noticed that posts I had written about the Trek Women Who Ride contest mysteriously disappeared. Well, I sorta jumped the gun in my excitement. However, NOW I may OFFICIALLY announce: I'm going to Wisconsin!!

Here is my original post..

I am very excited to announce that I have been selected as one of the 

and THIS is how I feel about it.

From a new blog at trekbikes.com, I will be sharing my stories and encouraging women to get out there and RIDE in whatever form tickles them. I will also be flying to Waterloo, WI to visit the Trek Headquarters, get outfitted in Trek Women's Specific Design (WSD) gear and a WSD BIKE! No, I don't know which bike yet. I will let you know.

And now, in celebration, I am going to eat ice cream..

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How much fits into an Xtracycle?

Four full 'n heavy bags of groceries..

..no problem.
My friend carried some in her panniers, but only because she insisted on sharing the load. There was definitely room for some more!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Out for Air

Sometimes going for a bike ride is less about the amount of time you're riding..

..and more about the amount of time you're just outside--

--seeing, smelling, 
..trying to leave it all behind,
if just for a moment.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The junior team kits are here!!

For more on the Community Center for Youth Junior Cycling Team, visit our TEAM BLOG!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gorgeous Gray Day

I realized that a lot of the landscape photos that I take from my bike don't necessarily include my bike-- but it's the very fact that I took them while on my bike that makes them special to me. To let the viewer in on my intent, I am trying to incorporate my bicycle into my landscape shots more often-- or at least present them as a set.

I'm getting into the habit of doubling up on rides to get the length I need or want. So I went for an easy spin before taking my junior cycling team out for practice. This is Walla Walla, on what I call a 'gorgeous gray day.' Gray clouds have a lot of attitudes-- ranging from menacing to depressing. Today the clouds were like a warm blanket, nursing the adolescent green shoots.

Here's the route:
View Interactive Map on MapMyFitness.com

Monday, March 16, 2009

A nice lazy ride.

Monday's ride was one of those, Stop at Your Leisure and Take a Photo kind of rides. I like a good tough ride, but I also like to follow them up with a nice lazy one.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Great Divide Bike Race

The Great Divide Bike Race intrigues me. I might prefer to tour it rather than race it, but nevertheless, this race has a hook that draws you in.

The starting line. When the clock strikes noon,
the race director says, "Okay, beat it," and you're off.
*Photo from the GDR race blog.

The Great Divide is a self-supported, solo competition following the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Traversing, parts of Canada, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, the route demands over 200,000 feet of climbing along it's length. Competitors carry all equipment necessary to negotiate the backcountry, restocking on food and other supplies from the small towns along the route.

The intent of the GD is to establish a common date and set of rules so that those wishing to challenge the route or record may compete directly with other athletes under equal circumstances.

The GD follows Adventure Cycling Association's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. The GD provides a common set of rules, daily updates, and a call in number. That is all.

Your travel arrangements and most importantly your safety is up to you. Approach the GD as if you are doing an independent adventure and have your own emergency plan in place.
The Great Divide Mountain Bike Race is an intriguing beast. Outside magazine's article on the event is titled, "The World's Toughest Bike Race is Not in France." Sure, I could be convinced that racing 16 hours a day to cover 2,700 miles up over 200,000 feet of elevation gain, pedaling against a clock that doesn't stop when you go to bed on the cold, rocky ground while your stomach battles greasy diner food and you wonder if that's a grizzly in the bushes is the "world's toughest bike race." However, it is not just the toughness of this race that I find so intriguing. At the end of the race rules you will find this notice:

The original intent of this race was to ride the GDMBR as fast as possible in the simplest/purest style possible. As time has gone on people have begun looking for loopholes within the rules that'll save them time on the course. This is human nature and all of us do it in different ways in our everyday lives. With respect to the GDR, we ask that you please consider the long term ramifications of finding and using loopholes--the race will only get 'easier' and (conversely) require more rules/regulations as time goes on. This goes against all of the principles that the race was founded on. People: please don't bring The Race down to your level--elevate yourself to the level of The Race. If you find yourself looking for loopholes, consider taking another year to prepare before racing. Most likely you'll go faster and enjoy it more as a result.

"Elevate yourself to the level of The Race." Capital T, Capital R: The Race. Respect The Race. While the race (lower case) may have been invented by mere humans, The Race (capitalized) has taken on a life of its own, and demands respect of its own volition. It seems that The Race demands it not be disrespected by petty rule-stretchers, rather than the race director asking. One would rather get a wag of a finger from a race director (Is there technically a "race director"? There is no entry fee.), than to be the one that spits in the face of the "simplest/purest" Race.

Racers fuel the fire with their tales of struggle and success. Virtual spectators fan the flame by gobbling up each story morsel that drops onto the racing blog. Once only kindling, the fire now burns brightly, eating up new tales each year until they are cinders of legend.

Of course, I am not actually intimately involved in this race. What do I know? I haven't been close enough to feel the rhythm of The Race's heart. All I know is what I've read online and seen in photos and skimmed in comments on posts. What's interesting though, is that even from my computer screen-- I can feel the heat.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Calling All Local Mountain Bikers: LET'S ORGANIZE!

There's a rumor going 'round that there's a "group of mountain bikers" that would like to organize to maintain and create local trails and perhaps start some group rides and the like.

Well, let's move from the "would like to" phase and get on to the "let's meet and do this!" phase!

To start, all ya'll local mountain bikers can join the BikeWallaWalla "Mountain Bikers Group", a convenient place to share ideas and information.

BikeWallaWalla -- a new networking site for Walla Walla area cyclists!

Clark, a local Xtracycler (we like those), just created a networking site for Walla Walla area cyclists: BikeWallaWalla. Now, I know that my blog is just AMAZING, but I'll tell you why this new site is even cooler.

  1. It's interactive! Sure, you can post comments on a blog-- but at BikeWallaWalla you can post comments, photos, video, start groups and more! Really, it's like Facebook-- except only with useful basic features and none of the crap.
  2. It's local. Connect with people you can actually potluck with. 
  3. It's a tool for action. I've been hearing rumors about some mountain bikers in town wanting to organize to build and maintain trails. How can we connect? BikeWallaWalla!
  4. It's efficient. If we get a lot of local cyclists on BikeWallaWalla, it's a quick way to announce bicycle-related events to everyone who'd want to know.
  5. It's a resource. Curious about those "Xtracycles"? Ask the 'Xtracycle Group'! Have another question? Post it in a forum! Need commuting tips? Check out the video section for help!
  6. It's for ALL kinds of cyclists! Commuter, roadie, mountain and more!
So what are you waiting for? Join BikeWallaWalla!

Not from the Walla Walla area? Start a networking site for YOUR hometown!

Thanks, Clark!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mountain Bike Orienteering

Okay, imagine this:

..ON A BIKE!! Wouldn't that be SICK??! (a.k.a. "awesome")

Oh wait.. it's been done!!

In Europe, of course. 

As cyclocross continues to gain popularity in the U.S., it seems a sport like this MIGHT have a chance!

International Orienteering Federation

Trail Cyclist Association

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This is Mat-- and his "rush hour."

Mat's Commute from Mat Barlow on Vimeo.

The folks at Bikes Belong are AWESOME. Check out their website for some helpful resources to spread the bike love!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

Getting Xtracycle at the Local Bike Shop

I've asked the guys at a local bike shop a few times why they don't have any Xtracycles on the sales floor. "Oh, we can get them," is always the response. Yeah, SO CAN I, but people are less likely to consider it an option when browsing at the bike shop if they don't SEE it as an option at the bike shop. Another excuse was, "oh, it just doesn't make sense to people when it's not on a bike." THEN PUT IT ON A BIKE, or even better, a Big Dummy or a Radish

I want very much for an Xtracycle to become a common option for those looking for a commuter bike. It is very frustrating to hear these excuses, because what I'm hearing through the words and gla
nces away are, "I don't think your Xtracycle is practical or that anyone would want to buy one." And that-- that really irritates me. A serious peeve of mine is being considered "cute" or a "novelty" for getting around by bike. It perpetuates the attitude that bicycles are only recreational vehicles not real commuting vehicles. 

Why would this be SO frustrating to me? I don't work for Xtracycle. No, but having an Xtracycle has made bicycle commuting not only possible for me, but convenient and fun. I believe that it is a highly practical solution to many bicycle commuting 'problems' and if treated as such on the sales floor of a bike shop, more people would consider bicycle commuting who may not have before. 
Also, I am often asked, "where did you get it?" and I say, "online." Purchasing an unknown product that costs several hundred dollars that is not readily available to te
st ride can be a big leap for people to take. Being able to see and interact with a product on a sales floor of a familiar shop and take it for a test ride down the street-- that's more convincing. Thus, I periodically pester the bike shop to carry the Xtracycle on the sales floor. Meanwhile, I will continue to make videos of my Xtracycle because I remember what it was like when I was scratching my head and rubbing my chin over whether or not to buy an Xtracycle, and I want to make that process easier. I am also further inspired to make more videos due to the positive feedback I've received on this blog and also from the very folks at Xtracycle headquarters!! (Just wait for my upcoming video of my new KickBack kickstand!)

Also, I could go on a rave just on why Xtracycle is an awesome company! Though I'll save that for later. :) I have exhausted my soap box for this post.

If you would like to see Xtracycles at your local bicycle shop: TELL THEM!

It's usually better to act on what you want, instead of just complaining about it. ;) 

Friday, March 6, 2009

Xtracycle, pannier-compatible

Okay, so Xtracycle IS now making videos!

This one shows off their new rack system that allows you to use traditional panniers (although I find the long-bag style much more convenient!).

To see other videos by Xtracycle, click HERE!

My bicycle trailer towing bicycles!

This is my "Bikes at Work" trailer hauling FOUR bicycles (okay, two are frames), and no, they are not all mine!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

This is me, and this is my bike.

Here is the text to this short video:

Hi, I'm RJ and this is my bike.

It has flat pedals so that I can wear sneakers, and fenders to keep them dry.

On my handlebars, I keep a little bag for small things, a white bike light to use at night, and an air horn, in case I need to be heard by inattentive drivers. It's REALLY LOUD.

On the back of my bike are two red bike lights and a reflective triangle that help me be seen from behind.

I also have an orange light tube that helps me be seen from the side at night.

On the back I have an Xtracycle that can hold a LOT of stuff!


There are some things that I always keep with me in my Xtracycle.


Sometimes I wear spandex when I ride my bicycle.. and, sometimes I don't.

These are bike shoes, and so are these.

These are bike gloves, and so are these.

This is a cycling jacket, and so is this.

It doesn't matter what you wear, as long as you're safe and warm.



If I can't carry something on my Xtracycle, I use my bike trailer.


I even ride my bike when it snows.

I just put on some studded tires.. and make sure to dress real' warm.

Now why would I do that?

Well, because all I know, is that when I ride my bicycle, I'm in a much better mood than most people in those stinky ol' cars.

Some of the products seen in this video:

And don't forget, when possible, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BICYCLE SHOP! ;)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ann Weatherill Cycling Classic 2009

While I do not have time to be a Ride Director this year and won't be around for the event itself (I'll be touring!), I was able to contribute to the effort by designing a logo and flyer.

The Ann Weatherill Cycling Classic (also known as "the Ann Ride") remembers a local cyclist that was hit and killed while out on her bicycle. Thanks to her best friend, Debi Toews, a new law is in place in Washington state that prohibits cars from passing while there are oncoming cyclists.

The ride offers several beautiful routes through the Walla Walla valley, all ending at the historic L'Ecole No 41 school house that houses the winery of the same name. At $45, this ride is a bargain for the hospitality and amount of food (and wine!) you'll consume. Also, all funds raised go towards cycling safety in our own valley. 


There is a lot of incredible cycling technology these days that is designed to make you go faster. While these new developments are impressive, I think the biggest benefit to any piece of "speed equipment" is that it makes you FEEL faster. Later today I am teaching my junior boys and some of the Whitman women how to ride in a team time trial (my favorite event!!). Well, the day is beautiful and my bike was looking at me longingly, outfitted with some old friends that are my time trial bars.

So I got into my skinsuit (which I won as a gift for being the "most improved" rider on the Whitman team), buckled on my time trial helmet, and went for a spin.

WOW. I felt like I meant business.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The taste of the race.

Today, I went for a great 3 1/2 hour ride with my best friend. There were three climbs on our ride and we attacked* each other on each one, showing little mercy. I "lost" every time, by the way. I would arrive at the hill top, just recently popped**, and my friend would turn to me and beam, "that was fun!" Pant, pant, pant-- yeah. That was.

I feel like I have just licked the sharp, familiar and addicting taste of racing:

And I want more.

I initially wasn't planning on racing this spring, but I just renewed my USACycling Road license.

*An attack is a sudden acceleration to force your competitor(s) to chase you down.
**If you're "popped" you have fallen behind.

When to replace your bike shorts.

You should replace your bike shorts

BEFORE you can read the cover of a book through the spand--AHEM, I mean LYCRA, BECAUSE I'M A CYCLIST AND I KNOW WHAT TO CALL MY SHORTS :) (Thanks, bro)..

and BEFORE you can stick all 5 fingers through different holes.

The spaLYCRA! is starting to die in a lot of my shorts and cycling accessories. I can see little white elastic hairs peeking through and the elasticity is just not what it once was. On one hand, I feel proud for wearing these pieces of clothing so much that I actually wore through them. On the other hand, MAN I need to get some new spLYCRA!! Ha ha!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Superman - Off!

I told Roxy that Mia beat her Superman the other day after she left.

Of course, there had to be a SUPERMAN-OFF!

Riding (and carrying) Rollers

This morning I rode over to Whitman campus to teach Rachel, a freshman on the Whitman Cycling team, how to ride rollers. Rollers are a, uh, 'device'.. that lets you ride inside, but unlike a trainer, you aren't being held up and you have to balance on your own. They are fantastic for improving bike handling skills.

Rachel rides fairly comfortably on her bike, but she seemed ready for that "next step." 

Enter: rollers.

I did mention, though, that one of my junior riders, Phillip, managed to ride without hands on rollers during his first time on rollers. Of course, Rachel decided she had to do this too. :)

And she did great!

I love mentoring women cyclists, because there's just so much laughing involved!
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