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Category Archives: Women’s Rides
So the biggest reason for my hiatus is the work I’ve been doing with the Portland Velo Club (PVC) women.
This group started out last fall and was the idea of David Brink and Eddie Quinn, owners of Cyclemania in Portland. After a couple years trying to develop a women’s team, unsuccessfully, they wanted to try again.
About 35 women showed up for the initial meeting in October. However, there was a different spin on it this time around. They encouraged women who wanted to ride triathlons and charity rides to be members as much as people that wanted to race. It morphed into more of a club than a team.
Over the past several months we have grown to 50 female members. Now, that might not seem a lot to you but every other club I’m aware of in the state can’t come close to those numbers for women.
We have two group rides during the week – one on Monday nights at 5:45 and the other on Saturday mornings at 7:30. There has been as few as 4 or 5 and as many as 20 on these rides.
We have become a sight to behold in the Greater Portland area. I recently bumped into a women who is new to cycling and she saw us on a ride, all in our baby blue kit, and said, “I want to ride with them.”
The most important thing we focus on in this group is having fun. And we have a ton of that, anywhere from hanging out and enjoying coffee or beers after a ride to brunches and private yoga sessions.
Before you think this group is a bunch of 20-something hard core cyclists, think again. The median age of the group is probably in the mid-40’s. There are some triathletes, one racer, and mostly ordinary cyclists. The group has also been a catalyst for some to try training crits and some time trials.
Our group received a little press in the local paper recently, in addition to a mention in the August issue of Bicycling Magazine featuring Portland, Maine (pages 22 & 23). (There was actually a photographer that took photos on one of our rides but none of the photos of us were used in the article.)
Below are some of my favorite photos taken thus far this season.
Trek training ride.
Saturday morning ride.
You know when you’ve been away from something for a while it’s hard to get back to it?
Like exercise. Or smoking. Or chocolate. Okay, not chocolate, but you get the point.
That’s where I am with the blog.
Gosh, I’ve just been so busy that I just haven’t had the time to post anything, especially anything of real value.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ve been on my bike much lately either. Up until last weekend when we received a bit of snow Saturday night, I was still out riding on the roads on the weekends. I’d ride a couple hours Saturday and a couple hours Sunday, followed by 90 minutes of yoga after the Sunday morning ride. But my efforts during the week haven’t amounted to much with other obligations during the week. Though I have managed to get into a routine of yoga on Thursday evenings.
Sometimes I feel like Twitter is my blog these days. It’s a quick easy way I can update “everyone” without having to put much time and energy into a meaningful blog posting.
I suppose the biggest thing that has been consuming my time has been my involvement with the newly formed Portland Velo Club (PVC) Women’s Club.
This is very exciting news. It’s been a passion of mine for a while now to get more women involved. Luckily, I think David and Eddie of Cyclemania also recognized a need for this in the Greater Portland area. I think this group is going to have tremendous success for the simple reason that it is advertised to all women from all different backgrounds who participate in triathlons, road races, and charity events.
The goal is to have women participate in 6 events throughout the season and can be a mixture of the disciplines listed. We will also be a organizing women’s ride in the Greater Portland are, open to all women, that will be a moderately paced 30-mile ride on Monday evenings in the summer months. There is also interest of forming a morning ride for women only.
At the initial meeting in October we had 30+ women show up all excited about the prospect of a women’s team/club. It was proposed that the women, working with the current PVC kit template, be allowed to redesign the kit with colors of their choice. So a couple were created and voted on and the winner was:
There have been a few meetings to try to keep organized with the orders for the new kit and the memberships, as well as coming up with ideas to keep the members informed and keep the momentum going even though the season has pretty much come to a close. Among communication methods such as a Google Group and Facebook Group, I”ve started a new blog for the PVC Women. However, I have solicited some help in the form of multiple authors to keep it fresh and updated. We are also working on some training events after the first of the year.
Now the holidays are here and I’m feeling totally unprepared. I haven’t had time to even think about it, to the point where this is nothing in my home to even give you the impression that it’s Christmas.
With a new year almost upon us, it’s time to refocus, start training again for the upcoming season, and try to keep my blog up to date with interesting content. Some of it might involve my endeavors with the PVC women’s group as this will become a significant focus for me. I also hope that, if you are a woman, you’ll want to check out the new PVC women’s blog once in a while.
My friend, Stephanie Chase, sent me the following information to post for your information:
I know CCCP has a fair amount of gals in the club as well as a fairly large following in general so I wanted to pass this along to you.
Katherine (NEBC), Karen (CVC), and Janet Ramos, have asked Julie and I (IBC) to help out in making efforts to try and get the Northeast Women’s 3/4 Series going in 2009. I’m basically working Maine and NH while the other gals are working the larger demographic of Mass and Connecticut. The IBC women’s team ran a couple of cx clincs for Cat 3/4 women this past fall, that were a huge success so we’d like to work with Katherine, Karen and Janet to get the road/crit scene going as well. In order to build women’s racing, we have to ‘encourage’ girls to get on the line and we can only do that by reaching out to all involved in competitive cycling on any level, beginner, intermediate, mens, womens and masters. A couple of us are cat2 and three gals are cat3 that are attempting to get this going but basically we need everyone’s input no matter what level they are racing at. (read: don’t feel like you have to be new to the sport to participate and have input)
For those of you who are not familiar with the Series (which last ran in 2006), it is a points competition to encourage participation in Women’s beginner (cat4) and intermediate races (cat3). The first 15 finishers in a race will be ranked according to finish position with the rest of the field awarded points for participating. There will be a leader’s jersey and prizes at the end of the year. With the points system it is possible to still be a leader even without podium spots as long as you participate. We’ll also be awarding merchandise at races as prizes and primes to make things a little more interesting.
Right now we’re still establishing a schedule for the year but could use your input in deciding which races should be part of the series. Karen has created a brief survey. (Email me for the survey and info.) The survey results will be used to help determine what races fit everyone’s needs and also to guide promoters in offering more women’s fields.
In addition, I’m psyched to say that Portland will have a cat4 women’s development team that will be on the line in several of these races and am very excited to see how these girls do. We’re hoping it’s only the beginning. It does nothing but good for the sport and the sport in Maine, specifically.
I’m happy to report that I am one of the gals she mentions that will be on the line for CCCP and quite excited about it!
I planned a casual ride with a couple friends for later in the day Saturday so I could go to the Farmer’s Market with my husband first thing in the morning. We’ve been away a fair bit on the weekends, not to mention my husband’s work has their own farmer’s market every week and the prices are much better than any other around, so we haven’t attended the Saturday one in Deering Oaks Park since late spring.
We were in search of non-paturized apple cider. Most places will only sell the paturized type and we know we can buy this item at the market. We were successful in our quest and bought 3 gallons!
I always love going to the market in the park on Saturdays. It’s great to walk around to see all the wonderful products grown and sold locally.
Then it was home in time to head out for the ride. It was overcast but surprisingly warm. I am so used to 50-degrees being somewhat chilly but that was not the case Saturday. It was actually mild and I found myself very over dressed.
It must have been Homecoming Weekend for Portland High, with the Battle of the Bridge football game taking place Saturday because the Casco Bay Bridge was decorated with signs by the cheerleaders. (I know a little about this because my daughter cheered for a few years for PHS and they were in charge of the decorating.)
The ladies and I took our time on the ride and made sure we stopped to chat at Prout’s Neck:
From here it was off to Scratch Baking Company for coffee and a little snack. I always buy a coffee for me and a lemon pound cake for my husband. I can manage to fit it into my jersey pocket without crushing it.
After some pretty heavy rain and wind Saturday night the sun poked through late morning Sunday. I was rather surprised. I thought it was going to rain most of the day and had prepared myself for some much needed cleaning and cooking.
I wanted to take advantage of such a spectacular day with a bike ride. I know we wouldn’t see many more days like this until spring. In fact the day reminded me a bit of spring and I was feeling a renewed sense of life, something I haven’t felt much of lately.
As it turns out there were a few people that were getting together for a ride. It was noon when I found out about it and they weren’t leaving until 2pm. That was enough notice to get a little cleaning done before heading out so I wouldn’t feel so guilty.
8 is not a bad turnout for an impromptu Sunday afternoon ride! With temperatures in the mid-60’s it was nice to be in shorts and short sleeves.
It’s now late enough in the season that the mid-week group rides have come to an end. It’s just too dark too early. So there will be more weekend rides throughout the fall. I’m looking forward to them. They typically consist of a good group of cyclists and involve a stop someplace for coffee. It’s a great social event.
Friday night my women’s ride group combined with the SMCC women’s ride group for a nice dinner at Rivalries.
The evening started with a drink, or two, while Stephanie Chase talked about how women can improve their cycling.
Unfortunately Stephanie’s time was limited as we needed to move from the cozy little spot in the corner to a table in the noisy part of the upstairs area. With almost 20 women at the table there was no way Stephanie could continue giving advice to the ladies.
It was still a great evening and fun to get together. A great way to end a terrific season.
I’m rather excited about tomorrow night.
Earlier in the year the woman who leads the women’s ride out of Saco and I teamed up for a combined women’s ride. We tried to make it happen again but it rained that day and we haven’t been able to find the time to reschedule.
However, the other woman came up with the idea to have a combined group gathering with a guest speaker, a local racer by the name of Stephanie Chase. She thought it would be nice to have Stephanie talk about cycling, training, nutrition, etc. It seems Stephanie started racing mid-life, which is rather fitting since most of our riders are mid-life women.
Stephanie a really nice lady, proving once again that cyclists are really nice people.
She asked that everyone come up with their own person answers to the following questions:
- What are your individual cycling goals for next year?
- What do you find are your difficulties in cycling?
I have my answers:
- Break 20mph on group rides. Keep up longer on group rides. Build more strength.
- Cornering and descending.
This should be a great time. It will be several of us gals sitting around and talking about cycling. What could be more fun that that??
Last night we had a good crowd for the last women’s ride of the season.
It was pretty dark when we returned approximately 90 minutes later. We really couldn’t have extended the ride any further into the season without starting earlier. 5:30 is the earliest we can safely start with most people’s work schedules.
It has been a great first season for this women’s ride. We had a great group of core riders that showed week after week. And each week brought at least one newcomer.
I think everyone is looking forward to repeating this group ride next season and we are going to do what we can to make that happen!
This weekend has been a great weekend for rides.
First I went on the Saturday Morning Ride (a designated route that takes riders to Prout’s Neck through South Portland, Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth) with Shannon, the leader of the women’s ride out of Saco, along with other women who joined us. It was tons of fun, especially since I was feeling pretty strong and able to ride up front with a pretty strong rider who I recently met on the CCCP Monday Night Ride and the Tuesday Women’s Ride.
Then, I went on a nice ride with my husband and Tracey. It was a casual ride going over the same route as the previous day’s ride.
The weather was perfect and we saw oodles of other cyclists out also enjoying the day. However, the wind picked up a lot on our way back, or perhaps we were just riding more into it, which made for some difficult riding.
Don and Tracey decided to head back to her house and she gave him a ride home. Don still ended up with 30+ miles today – his longest ride to date. (I think he likes his new bike, making riding more enjoyable.) When we parted ways I rode down my favorite stretch, Shore Road, to enjoy the rollers and to be a bit sheltered from the wind. Then it was into an intense headwind riding across the Casco Bay Bridge from South Portland to Portland.
I swung by the shop on my way home to have them look at my bike since I kept hearing a rattling in the back and the gears seemed to be grumbling, like that cross-chaining sound. As it turnes out my cassette was a little loose, which was fixed easily, but my chain has stretched and no only do I need to replace it, but I need to replace the cassette. I suppose it’s to be expected – I’ve put almost 3000 miles on that chain and cassette in the last year since it was built up. It’s time to be replaced.