Shifting Gears. Or Not:-)

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt

Simple quote from Teddy.  But how this summed up my comical bike ride Saturday.

Saturday I gave myself a chance to see, for real, how hard I’m willing mentally to work for Ironman #6.

Essentially, I spent most of the ride without my big front chain ring, no problem I right? Just some high cadence times and no pushing downhills at all. Still kinda mentally draining but whatevs. Then it happened.  No shifting in the back.  It was stuck on my 11(smallest and hardest).  Eff! I may have said out loud, yeah I swear in times such as these:-)    I was still 25 miles from home. Uphill miles.  Many long climbs, general ups and stupid steep stuff that are always hard even with all systems go.

What to do?  I had the thought that was planted into my brain by the TedXBend talk last week… Ask, what is funny about this?! Everything!

So I now had a fixed gear bike.  As I said on Fb a very fancy fixed gear bike.  Hmm never really imagined riding this route under such a situation.  But I thought it IS funny, it has to be.  Certainly isn’t a REAL problem!

So here it is, I’m going to work hard on the way home, maybe I will even have to get off I don’t know, the other few hundred cyclists on the road on a bluebird Saturday may wonder why I am either spinning, not pedaling or grinding up a hill at 23cad, in sloooow motion…

Every hill I crested I felt both exhilarated and exhausted.  I focused on one at a time. One standing push at a time. Watched my power numbers for fun, watching the fatigue creep in and Max numbers drop lower.  But mile by mile I made it home.  Even after a family of 25, I mean 10, crossed the road at the bottom of the hill I was flying down to get free speed for a good start up the 2nd steepest climb of the day. They saw me, they crossed.  I had to almost stop. Ugh.  Felt a surge of wth at the clueless people who didn’t know or care about my one gear wonderful ride. Then I forgave em.  I pedaled up. It hurt, was slow and I felt victorious.  I was going to make it! Just a few more mildish miles.  I think I used all my happy brain power and way more of my body than normal for a bike ride.

I never called for help, wondered if I should for sure,  but just stayed focused on small tasks to see what I could do.  I did post a statement about my plight on Fb, a moment to vent while I prepared to just keep going lol.

I wonder if I will need to call on this experience again, this proof that I can manage surprise not ideal circumstances. I know I will. Actually thrilled it happened. It’s like a boost to what level I want to train at now.  And yes I learned to keep my shifters charged esp before long rides!

Pharoah the Phancy Phixie at my pondering point


Kinda behind on my days, so this is 16 of 50.  Maybe I can catch up with some short n sweet posts.  This week.

Song for ya,  Thistle and Weeds by Mumford, “…plant your hope with good seeds don’t cover yourself with thistle and weeds….I will hold on I will hold on hope”

There’s always hope-If you have taken care of that part of your soul everyday. It will take care of you when stuff gets tough!

Volcano and Bike love.


“When life brings you mountains, you don’t waste your time asking why; you spend your time climbing over them.”

AJ Darkholme

img_8599I tend to write more often about running.  Maybe because it is easier to take a photo during a run, and photos are often a moment I can turn into a feeling about running.  Not as easy with a bike though not impossible.  When you are really having a great ride and rolling along, kinda don’t want to lose momentum to stop for a photo or take one while riding.

I’ve been finally training consistently since I took a lot of time off swimming and was inconsistent for a year on the bike.  This spring the body finally feels mostly really good and my mind is recovered from doing 5 ironman races in 3 years.

I have a new bike, after retiring the Biscuit (cervelo p1) who was with me for every race I ever did.  It was bittersweet for sure, but I was ready for an upgrade.  Maybe I just needed an excuse to get excited about pushing the pedals and setting new goals, and a sleek black machine seeemed like just the thing.  Now I 110% know,  any lacking on the bike is 110% the pilot.  With that comes pressure.  I cannot be a slow person on a fast bike.  Nope.  Incentive.

Almost every ride now I feel the subtle weight of that pressure, to come back after a year of piddling, gaining weight, being injured,  to get faster and stronger and healthier than I was before.  But it’s ok, it’s a good feeling.  Early this year as the miles started creeping up on long rides, I was starting to have some worries, wow am I really THAT out of bike shape? ruh roh, my power was decent, but the speed numbers we blah and I could not for the life of me stay in aero without falling off the front of my seat.  Thought I was wimpy and I needed to get better.  Then it kept happening and my fitness was going up but the rides were still slow.  hmmmm.

Time for a bike fit, again…

TIP:  Don’t be a cheapskate and skimp on bike fitting.  I had mine fit when I first got it (affectionately my Pharoah, a Dimond)  Thought it was good really, it matched my other bike fit so… surely it was fine.

We knew I’d maybe need an adjustment as I got in shape, so it quickly became a no brainer to get it fixed if possible, not being able to be aero is kinda bad on a pricey tt bike.  Not sure why I waited 4 months after noticing problems, procrastination is often disguised as “making sure”.

Anywhoo. They (Bowen Sports Performance) overhauled my fit based on a guru fit machine and my recommendations on what felt better at same power output and some wise eyeballing.  Presto, new fit, BIG changes, and miracle of miracles.  I am aero stable again.  I can endure aero again.  I am so freaking happy about this!  because I love aero.  Aero equals feeling fast.  going fast. feeling anchored and focused.  Aero is good.  very good.  My perceived effort now matches my results, and my mental state has skyrocketed.

Thus, when I had to postpone my long bike to today, to let the body absorb extra soreness from the week,  I quickly had a clear plan.  Today I was ready to Climb Mt Bachelor, all the way to the parking lot yes.

I needed to have at least a decent base built over these first few months so I knew I could just ride up steady and happy and come down as fast as possible.  Today was the day.  I left at 6:30 am and had the road to myself mostly, quiet and cold, frost all the way up.  I have to say I love having a power meter.  I didn’t want to do a race effort at all so I kept it around 5-10% under my threshold,  I wanted to feel a hard effort that was sustainable and more than what I typically manage on rollers in the country.

I had such a good ride.  I have to admit it felt really good knowing I was the first up for the day.  The first little cyclist to have Mt Bachelor appear like a friendly giant, the first to pedal until South, Middle and North Sister were revealed over the summit with Broken Top in the morning light.  Every time I go up, it is for THIS.  That view, that coming into view.  Every single time it takes my breath away-  I simply cannot soak it up into my being enough.


From my house to the head of the parking lot at the ski area is about 25 miles.  3050 climbing.  On the way down there is about 600 more climbing and some nice flat to hold onto tempo as long as possible.  Oh Oh, and in the early morning, no one is coming down the highway in a car with you… only going up to ski!  It is a beautiful time of day to enjoy the Cascade Lakes Hwy.  It’s always great with big wide smooth shoulders, but still, no one is better than some or many.   So get up and get out the door when you go!  Who needs warmth of midday sun? bundle and go and you won’t regret it.  Too many times we wait for perfect conditions.  I say MAKE them perfect.  Be cold, wet, hot, whatever, there is a way to prepare for most of it.   Once you are out there,  when others are not, that little extra something does something for your inner badassery belief level.  So I Highly recommend not only dealing with what ya got, but don’t even whine a lick about it.  Revel in it.

That’s my message for the day I reckon:)

So here we are Day 3 of my 50 day challenge.   And I have another song for ya inspired by the beloved volcanos we are drawn to daily.   Young Volcanoes by Fall Out Boy.  Get it, YOUNG (my last name) and volcanoes.. heehee.  ahh I’m a dork.

…it’s all over now before it has begun, we’ve already won, we are wild, we are like Young Volcanoes… 

The Spandex Crowd

I originally wrote this for Facebook, but wanted to keep it easier to find here in my blog.  I am truly blessed to now live in a town that has patience and understanding for those who pedal, but I know this attitude doesn’t exist everywhere, and I know even in my cycling utopia, there are people who feel more anger and annoyance sadly.

(inspired by a comment made on an article about a cyclist (one of the spandex crowd) hit by a drunk driver- yes I did reply in a sane rational way but did not address the title he gave “us”)


1. a mom who just needs some fresh air so she can be a little peppier for dinner time
2. A Grandpa who found out if he doesn’t get moving he won’t live to see his grandkids graduate
3. An ER doctor who just tried to save a child in a car accident, but failed, today this bike ride is about more than the bike.
4. A guy who is as “gay” as you think he “looks” in that spandex. But is more of a man/human than any self righteous judgemental fool ever could be.
5. A wife who for the first time feels power in her life filled with abuse.
6. A daughter who misses the dad she never really knew, but knows he is proud of every moment she pedals and tries at life.
7. A superhero by day, a daddy by night, doing his best to be a provider and healthy and live by example.
8. A previously unfit, unhealthy alcoholic who lost a leg in a drunk driving accident, has found redemption and healing on his bike with his new leg.
9. Someone you once adored in a different sport who now finds value in the effort even solitude on the roads.
10. A person who has absolutely zero redeeming qualities aside from the fact that they were inspiring to watch race and have still managed to change the world for the better.
11. A friend in between cancer treatments, just looking for any sense of control and freedom.
12. A regular joe who just discovered the thrill of wind on his face and covering ground under his own power, no smell of gasoline anywhere.
13. A girl who always felt left out in team sports, finding a skill and power she never knew she had.
14. A kid who just wants to see who is the fastest, who could be doing drugs and partying, but this bike thing seems to work better
15. An egomaniac who likes being superfit, why not? don’t we need superfit people to look at? hehee
16. A grandma who has no family nearby and husband gone years before her… instead of staying in, she rides.
17. The barista who you enjoy chatting with every morning before work, she doesn’t need much in life but good people and some time with the bike.
18. A too young to die 25 yr old who weighed 400lbs and has already lost 100# on his way to his first triathlon.
19. A hopeful college kid inspired to raise serious money for cancer in a cross country cycling adventure.
20. A widow whose young husband was killed riding his bike, and to keep cycling is just one thing that keeps the connection, through fear and uncertainty, she rides.

A few of these are me. one of these might be you. If you aren’t one or don’t know one… maybe it’s time you put on some spandex and join us, don’t judge us and for God’s Sake be a decent human on the road and to each other in general.
Corie Young

Card Carrying Spandex Crowd member

3 (Not Scientifically) Proven Ways to Get Faster

…”no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . .” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Will keep this brief, since my goal is to offer you brief nuggets you can take and use to improve speed of the most important kind.  Running and Cycling.

1. The Time Crunch:  DO NOT leave enough time to do your session, run or bike.  Schedule some appointment daily, can even be the daily pickup/kid drop off kind of schedule.  Get yourself ready, bike, shoes, whatever it is you may require, be ready to go.  Now, do not go yet.  Still not yet.  How long do you think it will take?  2 hours?  Need to be somewhere by 10am? Okie dok, do not leave until 8:15 or 8:20, run or ride the same exact distance you were planning.  At the halfway point you may realize you are going to be late. No worries, just go HARD all the way home. You can do it!  Boom, you have just set a PR from point a to b and are now faster.

2. The Weather Threat:  very similar to #1.   First, do not look at weather forecast.  This one works best by looking outside.  When you see dark clouds you can get ready to go.  When you smell rain and hear thunder go ahead and start. Now ride or run TOWARDS or minimum along the edge of the darkest part.  Have an hour run? You guessed it, run your 30 min towards the storm. DO NOT CHICKEN OUT!  for this to work you need to commit.  Successfully making it towards halfway point while other wimpies are high tailing it home makes you some sort of something special, sure some may say stupid? maybe, but on your way home, at full speed not knowing where or when the sky is about to open, you WILL BE FASTER.  one seriously good interval of intense focus. Repeat as often as mother nature allows.

3.  The Chase and Tag:  This works great when you spy a draft group on a bike, but can be equally useful on the run.  Chase them down, simple, take your aim, and go.  You can get creative and give yourself points for passes, based on type of participant you just passed.  Pass the kid on the single speed, ok you can have a point… but Pass a Pro? hmm that is a lot of points.  No one needs to know that they were at the end of a 4 hr mountain day and you were just starting, you passed em, points for you! DISCLAIMER: I am not admitting to anything.  Oh yes, an important tip for this one is to be especially cordial and calm when passing.  a simple Howdy, how are you, have a great run, etc.. are a nice way to distract them from your true intentions;-)

Hope this helps your training when intervals by the clock aren’t enough.  Any other fun ways you have”proven” work to make you faster?

No Matter What it Takes- A Very Long Tahoe Ironman Recap

“You may not remember the time you let me go first.
Or the time you dropped back to tell me it wasn’t that far to go.
Or the time you waited at the crossroads for me to catch up.
You may not remember any of those, but I do and this is what I have to say to you:
Today, no matter what it takes,
we ride home together.”
― Brian Andreas

Ironman Lake Tahoe recap begins 15 months ago, mid July 2012.  Patrick and I had become Ironmen at Wisconsin and Arizona in 2011 &  I was signed up and training for 2 more, in Oklahoma and Arizona that fall.  The day the announcement was made that Lake Tahoe was to be the location for an Ironman, an immediate text and phone flurry commenced among our IronFamily triathlete friends.  Raynee Toles also became an Ironman that year in Texas, and would be supporting her husband Chance in his first full at Redman that fall.  Shelley Coleman was going to finish her first Full at Redman that fall and her husband Tommy was about to sign up for his first full with the rest of us, supported by Shelley, in the already iconic just in pictures alone, Lake Tahoe Ironman.  3 Families, 5 adults racing, 6 kids who are all triathletes on the same youth tri team ages 7-11, an Iron Nana sherpa, an IronMom sherpa, and the Toles’ sis and bro in law.   One giant dream house booked in Squaw valley, a mile from the finish line would hold all 15 of us for the dream vacation and supreme athletic event.   We commenced calling ourselves the Tahoe Dream Team, and kept each other inspired and laughing on our FB group page.


Tahoe Dream Team, May 2013
Patrick, Chance, Raynee, Corie, Shelley, Tommy

I won’t go into details of the training, but pretty much 6 days a week at the start of the year, we were doing something to get us closer to the finish line.  A little racing, some casual bricks, and bike rides together, lots of swimming together at the Y, and monthly family bbq to discuss “the plans”… the altitude, the mountains, etc etc.

Spring Break in Bend, OR, I ruptured a ligament in my thumb doing something I am not good at, skiing.  Surgery and cast pretty much derailed much of the swimming progress I had made, and took me out of some spring races, though I did manage one sprint in a cast, a great weekend the Tahoe Dream team traveled to together, so our kids could race one day and us the next.

Summer was spent training in Oklahoma heat, though it was a welcome break from past years, more rain and cooler.  Patrick and I had our only test late June at a 72.3 in Bend, the climbs at some altitude foreshadowed how hard Tahoe was going to be for sure!   My family also traveled to Colorado and got to ride at altitude and some climbing, not enough to call it training, but good for the experience and to know it could be done.  During this time, our dear yellow lab Donut was hit by a car, and our family devastated, with a huge hole of sadness and loss, miss her sweet face.

The days move on and Everyone of us was ready for the peak of our long training, ready for August, biggie month.  Ready for the challenge of it but also to be on the other side of it.  I remember doing a LONG swim next to Chance August 9, comforted to be swimming and swimming for an hour plus beside a friend who was facing the exact same training and race I was.


The Team at Spin Your Wheels, August 2013
Chance, Raynee, Corie, Patrick, (friend Janna), Shelley and Tommy

August 10, changed the plan.  We all entered a charity 100 mile bike ride, Spin Your Wheels, it was great timing to have a supported training day with the Team together.  During the first 50 miles we were together in pieces on and off, Chance and Raynee ahead of us at the turn around, but they waited.  There we all managed to hook up – facing a strong headwind home, we took turns pulling the line.  We all most benefited when Chance, as strong cyclist was in front, letting us grab his wheel, As we approached the final 10 miles, the group splintered and Raynee and I got ahead a few miles, assuming all would be ok behind us (but always in the back of your mind it may not be)  We finished at noon, heard the noon sirens and got a call from Shelley, to please call back NOW.  Instantly you know it is not good, they were all still riding behind us and should not be calling.  The next 2 hours, were the hours we lost Chance.  He had been hit by a truck and boat trailer in the final 2 miles of the ride, just ahead of Tommy and Shelley, and then Patrick.  They and first responders tried to save him, and he made it to the hospital with Raynee by his side.  Truly no words can express what had just happened, what we saw and felt and heard.  He was without pain and free of this world within the hour.   Our strong 36 yr old friend and partner was gone in an instant, and we had our other friend left with her world upside down.

No bike ride was the same, in fact, worry and fear that it could happen to us is probably forever in our minds.  Another good friend was also hit in a training ride with us the year before, and was beyond lucky to survive a 65mph impact from behind. So we all have had it in our minds, a reason to be cautious and aware, and start more actively promoting awareness to drivers and cyclists alike.

No run was the same.  It is easy for me to cry on a run.  I cry for Raynee, her pain is something we cannot fix, and there is never going to be the right thing to say.  Her strength is beyond comprehension, as through her grief, she encouraged and cheered us on – wanting us to continue our Tahoe training.  We all muddled through, at times felt great, we are doing the right thing, Chance would want us to, and at times just wanting to not try, to feel the overwhelming loss completely.

We launched a fundraiser to fund Pasley’s education, and were just amazed at the generosity of the community and strangers.  The messages were so heartfelt and really helpful to all of us.  We started a foundation in memory of Chance, based on Chance’s easy willing way to help anyone he knew without question or thanks needed. It is called The Grab My Wheel Foundation.  We want to promote awareness, safety, help families affected by accidents on the road, and share the mantra of Grab My Wheel, help those who need it to get through a rough patch, as he did for us.

Focusing on this new mission gave us some excitement and eagerness to get to Tahoe, and share the story, but also to go ahead and finish the job we started.  We knew we would need Chance along the 140.6 miles, and we also had Raynee in our corner every second from afar, our champion, our pillar of beauty and Ironmom, a friend for all time.


Chance makes every bike with us.


The Colemans finished most of their training rides on trainers inside their house, we continued on our relatively safe roads, but tried to stick together, not venturing out alone.  Every time saying goodbye to the kids wondered, did I say it enough?  My running was sidelined, perhaps to give me time to focus on the Grab My Wheel foundation more in the final weeks.  I had 18 days of no running in September, some strange tendonitis type injury outside calf.  Focus was on getting my entire right side healthy, and a week before the race, I could run again, no pain.  With the way this summer had gone, while I always want to have a good enough race to qualify for the elusive Kona slot, I could honestly say, the chances of it this race, this time were dropping, not impossible, but not the primary purpose at all anymore.

We rallied and friends new and old were wearing Chance’s bib number that Ironman assigned, in tattoos on our faces arms and hands.  We shared tears with strangers we told the story to in Ironman village and cried with Ironman Athlete services as we collected the gear for Chance and Raynee.  But it was not like we were all sad, the sad deep emotion part will always be part of us, but the happy living part was just made so much more important.  We wanted to live and experience and love and try, and hurt and suffer and enjoy and celebrate.  That realization we have all started to come to the week of Tahoe. Surrounded by perfect air, perfect mountains and enormous trees and a lake that defies description, Chance wasn’t missing anything, he was THERE. everywhere.

So I know you are wanting some race info soon, I just felt I had to give some back story.  I know everyone has one, that’s what is so great about coming together at a pinnacle event Iike Ironman, every face you see has a story, some that will break your heart, some that are hysterical, some that are awe inspiring but all unique and the same, no journey was simple or easy.  It seems cliche to say the victory in Ironman is getting to the start, but it really is true.  Finishing an Ironman is icing.


Twas the day before Ironman….


Martis Camp, gorgeous, before we REALLY climbed.


Waves, huge rolling swells day before race


Cold little race bags tucked in for the night

The day before the race was cold.  Like really cold. and Rainy, and really rainy.  and WINDY. Big waves on the water. We stalled taking the bikes and bags to the Swim start, knowing it would all be in the rain for awhile.  Still, as we dropped everything with the crowds, there was an amazing energy.  So much unknown to come, More

It’s All Perspective

“two men looked through prison bars; one saw mud, the other saw stars.”

It’s been a week since we were having our second dinner at South Lake Tahoe.  I want to be short(er) this post because if I go too much into the awe inspiring experience that was the America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride… ya’ll might go to sleep on me:-)

I have been lucky enough to see a lot of our country and some other countries, but was not fully prepared for the grandeur of the “Lake” or it’s mountains and natural decorations.  If you have ever been curious. Just go please.  I will be back, you will too.

Preparing to ride 100 miles in the mountains is a fun proposition and months of training. More

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