02 Feb
2015

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January: Where I've Come From and Where I'm Going

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on February 2, 2015   comments 1

In honor of the first month of the new year, I volunteered to write about what I did this year and what I’m looking forward to over the upcoming year. As is my style, I’m a little late, but this year is still newish, right? So here it goes:

Last year was an incredible year of firsts for me. I dove in headfirst and tried pretty much every kind of riding I could get my hands on. I learned how to ride a track bike and then I raced that bike at the velodrome and sometimes I even managed to finish with the field. I bought a mountain bike and tried, with limited success, not to fall too much at Theo Wirth. I raced a criterium race and learned the true meaning of pain. I took my first solo bike camping trip, complete with insane B roads and emergency thrift store purchases, and slept on the shore of Lake Superior and in the deep woods of Wisconsin. I biked 100 miles. Then I biked more than 200 miles and stood on the podium at Riverwest24 with two other incredible women. I helped to organize and lead the best social ride of the year, The Pre-Babes Wanderabout, and then I got to race alongside the raddest babes I’ve ever met.


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At the heart of all this, I learned just how just how much I love to ride, how much I live to ride.  Whether it’s my daily commute or a long training ride or a race or a casual social ride, I want to be there. I learned the deep satisfaction of  ride can be, whether the miles are ticking serenely away beneath me or my legs are begging me to stop.


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Most importantly, though, I learned that my powerful, amazing, and diverse the community of women, trans*, and femme riders here in Minneapolis has got my back, always. Most of what I learned this year I learned from WTFs and every member of our community has, in some way, been a source of encouragement or wisdom for me. WTF riders taught me how to wrench and how to race. They showed me how to compete hard and fast but also how to laugh at myself. They helped me to figure out how to keep my body in shape and my makeup on my face. They lifted me up but kept me humble. I feel deeply grateful for the vibrant community around me; I know that whether I’m at the track or on a full moon ride, someone’s there to meet me where I’m at. My community is strong, so my heart is full. Because of you all, I learned, I am learning, how to be brave. 


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This year, I’m looking forward to a lot, too. I’ve started training, for the first time in my life, and I’m feeling eager to see the results of my hard work when I start the race season. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do, to pushing my body harder than I’ve ever pushed before, to racing more often and with more discipline. But besides my own individual athletic pursuits, which I think contributes to and participates in one contingency of the ‘rad babes on bikes’ culture here in Minneapolis,  I’m looking forward to doing more for the GR community. I’d like help lead and organize more rides, and I’ve committed to posting once a month (or more!) here on the blog. I’ve made a commitment this year to support and nurture WTF culture at large, and in this instance, that means blogging more, discussing more, racing more, wrenching more, training more, showing up more.

 

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Writing this post and adding all these ridiculous pictures of myself has been a great start to my year and helped me get my head straight in the worst part of the winter. It's helped me to remember that I really have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. Most of all, I'm looking forward to taking a spin with you. 


26 Sep
2014

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Fall GR Organizers' Meeting

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on September 26, 2014   comments 0

Hello darlings!

This coming Monday, September 29 2014 at 6 p.m. we will be holding a facilitators' meeting in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood. All of the babes who make GR possible are welcome to attend! That means: facilitators, group ride leaders, shop mechanics, or other folks who just wanna be more involved!

Here is what we discussed at the last meeting.

This meeting we'll be touching on some of the things from last meetings' notes, but the focus will primarily be on preparing for our upcoming winter skillshare. This means that if you want to help organize the skill share, we'd LOVE to see you at this meeting!

I'm not comfortable posting my home address here, so if need to know where to find us, please email us at greaseragmpls@gmail.com

See you soon!

j

14 Apr
2014

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30 DOB: How time flies!

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on April 14, 2014   comments 1

Wah! Where has all the time gone?! Where once I felt like I was just sitting on my hands, wondering where all my friends were hiding, I now feel on the verge of overwhelmed. It's a good - and sometimes bad - feeling. 

 

BUT FIRST AND FOREMOST!

 

A most wonderful ride is coming up TOMORROW NIGHT 4/15 - the PINK FULL MOON RIDE! If you've never been on a full moon ride with the wonderful folks at Grease Rag, come and play! A super friendly, no-drop, beginner and VERY social ride, you're pretty much guarunteed to have a good time. We're meeting up at 7:30pm at Gold Medal Park, rolling out at 8pm. Brings snacks to share if you dare! More info on Facebook here. 

 

My bike and I have been so many places these past few days. It's spring now, and everything is happening really quickly. I've had a lot on my mind, so I'll do my best to be poetic, or at least coherent. 

Last week, my bike took me to the garden my sister and I keep in her yard in Northeast. I''ve been away for a couple of years, and so there was some work to be done in terms of pulling weeds and tilling the soil. But I've always loved to feel the dirt under my toes, and with my little two-year old nephew at my side, I found a lot of joy in waking up the worms and planting the first crops of the year. I think a lot of that joy, relief even, came upon me because lately I've so felt like a seed: sometimes buried in darkness and dirt, but compelled to grow nonetheless. The seed must feel discomfort and confusion at its new roots and stems, like I feel dizzied at what seems like my sudden and intense involvement in the bike world here in Minneapolis. I don't always recognize myself, the things I wear, the conversations I have. I find myself querying my friends all the time now: "Am I a bike guy now? Am I that guy? When did I become that guy?" Luckily, my friends are a bit less...panic-prone than I am, and gently remind me that it's a good thing to branch out (ha!), to get deeper into a community. Consider the seed: the outside changes, but it's the same plant all along.

Speaking of which, just yesterday I went to my first gravel event, the Miesville Grinder, a loosely organized 56-mile ride in southern MN.  I was fine in the days leading up, and unafraid (if a little sleepy) in the car on the way down to Miesville. But by the time we were lining up, I froze. Big time. Eyes were saucer-sized and tear filled, smile totally absent, which if you know me is pretty weird.  As we rolled up to the starting point I felt choked with anxiety, curling up in myself in the face of a world I've never been in and didn't know how to deal with. There were so many jerseys! And beards! And expensive bikes! OH, THE BROADIES! How could I handle it? But then I noticed another person, on the same make and model of bike as me, wearing a skirt - just like me! Taking a breath, I complimented them on it. We rode together for a moment, chatting about our respective chronic cold butt conditions, and I felt relieved! There were other people at this event just like me, just practicing, just playing. I smiled at a stranger and my whole day changed. And for that, I consider it a success.

 

Who have you met on your bike recently? Are you growing right now, too? How do you feel half-way into 30 DOB? And will you be at our group ride tomorrow?! I sure hope so! 

07 Apr
2014

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30 Days of Biking: Day 5-7

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on April 7, 2014   comments 1

Well, it seems that rather than a daily blog this has become an "every couple of days" blog. And you know what? That's ok! Part of making a conscious choice to ride every day is also to make the conscious choice to listen to our bodies. Recently, my body has said "GO PLAY IN THE SUN!" (Also, it's told me "GO TO BED EARLIER!" but that's another story.)

 

 

Can you believe this weather?! What a pleasure it is to ride my bike for fun, to see my friends out on their bikes, to smile at strangers. Winter riding has its own quiet joy, but riding with the sun on my skin...nothing can beat that. I think I might burst for all the excitement inside me. And that's what 30 Days of Biking is all about: JOY! Hooray!!

 

 

Over the past few days, my bike has taken me to a couple of different meetings, where I'm working hard with some really amazing and experienced folks to organize a couple of couple of very different rides here in the Cities. I'm proud and excited, and a little nervous, too, to be helping them out! Recently, my bike is showing me the wisdom, energy, and enthusiasm of the community that I'm finally really beginning to feel at home in. The simple act of riding my bike has taken me so much deeper into a community that I once felt a little alienated from, and shown me how diverse and vibrant it truly is. It's also helping me to really push myself: normally I consider myself to be a fairly spotlight shy person, but here I am, writing for an audience! I am so honored and lucky to be in a safe place where I can take risks and feel supported.

 

Where did your bike take you today? Did you get a chance to enjoy the sun? How has your bike challeneged you, physically and mentally? 

04 Apr
2014

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30DOB: Day 2-4

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on April 4, 2014   comments 0

 

Before I get started on my personal post: there are a couple of group rides that you NEED to know about!

1. Every Thursday for the month of April, there's a social ride that starts are Freewheel Midtown Bike Center. Meets at 6pm, rides at 6:30pm. Expecting 15-20 miles of medium paced riding. 

2. Every Saturday this month there's a family/young kid-friendly ride being led by our very own Kat! Meet at Calhoun Cycle at 9 a.m., leave at 9:30. The aim: EAT PASTRIES! I honestly can't imagine a better way to spend my Saturday. 

Do you have any other events to tell us about? Let's hear about them! 

Now for the personal stuff: I know that I made a promise to do my best to blog every day, but I've just been so tired the past couple of days! The reason: on Wednesday, day 2 of 30 days of biking, my bike took me 100+ miles from Minneapolis to Eau Claire, WI.

 

 

The first time I tried this ride, I had just come back from being abroad for nearly two years. Facing the death of a family member and a changing social circle, I felt disconnected from the place that was once my home, disoriented in a place that didn't inspire me like it once did. I felt disappointed and deeply lonely. So, like a lot of people, I hopped on my bike to see if a long ride could give me some fresh perspective. It did, but now how I expected. After 70 grueling miles, I was in a ton of pain and had to throw in the towel. It was a tough decision, but I did learn a lot about expectations and respecting my limitations - as well as the benefits of a good fit!  

 

 

This time, though, I felt supported by my friends. This time, the sun was shining. This time, music and podcasts got me through. And this time, my fit was right! If it weren't for the wellspring of love and wisdom that has become my community in Minneapolis, it would have been much harder - if not impossible. And it was truly wonderful to feel at home once again. For those of you who have never been, Wisconsin is a very rural state, very beautiful. When you think of a classic, "heartland America," this is it, this is where I grew up: rolling farmland, idly grazing cows, red barns, the works. As I rode I felt as though I was waking up with the plants, shaking off the cold of a long winter and letting my roots spread into the rich earth. On this ride, I felt alive and inspired.

 

 

The next night could not have been more different! I felt frustrated and scared as I white knuckled a short commute home through inches of snow. It's melting now, but oh man, what a ride. I cannot wait for all this lovely white stuff to be gone. How I long for a warm beach and an ice cold beer!

 

 

How have the past couple of days been for you? How have you been dealing with the return of the snow? What has your bike taught you recently?

 

 

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