Tips for winter training

OUTSIDE IS FREE(zing) 

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Being a track rider from California it was safe to say I was a bit of a fair weather rider. Having moved to Belgium, the days of letting rain delay my rides are long gone. It’s not a matter of if it will rain here but when. But my new location has given me a newfound appreciation for fall and winter. Embrace the change in season and get out there and ride!

They say there’s no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing.

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Dressing for the cold:

Layering is like the three bears- you can’t wear to little or too much. It has to be just right. Ideally you’ll be cold for the first few minutes but after your heart rate kicks up and the blood is pumping you’ll be warm. If you start out too warm you’ll quickly overheat and end up with your layers in your pockets for the remainder of the ride. Save that room for snacks 🙂

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Choose items that are easy to add on or remove. Don’t overdo it!

Extremities 

Winter Layers

Your head, hands and feet are where your body retains and looses most of its body heat. It is also near impossible to warm up again just with physical activity. Keeping them warm is your key to success. This is especially important during rainy months.

Head- I’m a big fan of headbands and buffs. Buffs are great because you can wear them as both a head cap or neck warmer. Keep your head and ears warm.

Hands- The colder it gets the more important your gloves are. Look at the labels! Most gloves give breakdowns of the temperatures they’re best designed for.

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Feet-Warm socks paired with the right booties will keep your feet warm and dry. Keeping  you pedalling through those long winter base miles.

Hydrate

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Athletes often overlook the importance of hydrating during the cold winter months. During summer when you begin to feel thirsty this indicates that you’re not drinking enough. However, in winter you can dehydrate yourself long before you begin to feel thirsty so it’s important to remember to drink up. This is because all your warm layers that are keeping you insulated are also trapping in your body’s heat and causing you to sweat more. Aim to take a few good sized sips from your bottle every 10-15 minutes from the moment you start your ride. For eating I recommend eating a little, often. Nutrition on the bike isn’t for that moment, but for 10-20 miles down the road.

Hit the indoor trainer! 

You have to train fast to be fast

Rollers vs trainer- Each bring their own set of advantages and disadvantages. They’re different but not necessarily better than one another. That being said, I prefer the rolllers. I just got a set of the Cycleops resistance rollers- what a difference! All the benefits of the rollers with the added resistance of a trainer.

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Photo by Joel Sunderland

Why rollers?

Rollers help with balance and reactions on the bike.

Rollers also help with leg speed and pedal efficiency.

Rollers keep you engaged and make you work for it. There’s no slacking off while on the rollers-there is zero downtime with the rollers so every pedal stroke counts.

Korina Rollers

Photo by: Kerstin Wintercamp

Souplesse – French for suppleness – has been appropriated into the cycling lexicon to describe the perfect pedal stroke; that fluid cadence we all strive for, but rarely achieve. To pedal avec souplesse is to spin without thrashing, dance without stumbling; it is to look entirely natural on a bicycle. -Rapha

Sufferfest

Sometimes the hardest part about winter training is finding motivation. Finding the energy to go do intervals and push yourself. Sufferfest takes all the guesswork out of training and pushes you. I’m the type of athlete that likes to be told what to do- when to go hard, when to go all out which allows me to focus on riding. The Suffrefest videos are great workouts combined with various cycling footage to keep you engaged and suffering while on the trainer.

Hit the gym/ Cross train

What to do:

Planks

Burpees

Squats

Hill Sprints- yes I mean running

Hill sprints will raise your heart rate, work your upper body and core, develop proprioception and general motor skills, provide some impact for improved bone density, help assist a more upright posture, and develop explosive power in your legs to help with cycling. –Breakingmuscle.com

Leg Extensions (One legged to work out muscle imbalances)

Keep it dynamic- dynamic training for strength and explosiveness

Core Strength Training with Tinkoff-Saxo

Yoga- regular yoga practice as part of your training can have many benefits for cyclists, including improved strength, flexibility, balance, and focus. On top of that, it may play a key role in injury prevention.

Cyclist doing yoga

Wash your bike

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Winter is filled with rain, mud and grime. Winter is harsh on your bike so it’s important to keep your bike parts clean to add life and efficiency to them. A clean bike is a fast bike.

Dan Horndasch, mechanic extraordinaire, recommends taking a dry paintbrush to your bike after dry rides to remove dirt in those fine nooks and crannies of your bike.

Another mechanic says,

I always advise not to use a waterhose. Rain doesn’t get into your bearings and chain, while water from a waterhose sometimes does get in nasty places. I sometimes see chains or even a bearing which is rusted because the oil/grease is ‘hosed away’.You can safely use water out of a bucket, with a sponge. But do not use a hose. Especially not a high-presure hose!

The best thing to do is clean the bicycle entirely with some cleaner without grease. Based on silicon for instance. Spray it on the bicycle, and clean the bicycle with an old cloth.

Add in your tips and recommendations for fellow athletes as well.

Now get out there and ride your bike! #JammiesToChamois 

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Jammies to Chamois

Tips for travel that all athletes should know

Packing up and headed off to the next destination is something that I’ve become accustomed to. The next race, town and adventure await. Being on the road more often than not you tend to pick up a few tips, making travel easier! Hope this helps and please add any good tips of your own!

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“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life” -Jack Kerouac

Top 5 tips for athletes that travel:

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1. Keep your important items in your carry on: I always pack my pedals, shoes and saddle (helmet and one kit- is a bonus). This way if anything happens to your bike you can easily borrow someone else’s or rent a bike at your destination.

2.Taking the fork off your bike makes it smaller and more compact to travel with but there are a lot of small parts you can accidentally lose. Zip tie them together and keep in a zip lock bag. (keep them in the correct order)

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3. Adjust your sleeping patterns before you travel. Especially if it is an important race or if your agenda calls for early mornings.

4. BikeFlights.Com – Game changer! No more dealing with outrageous bike bag fees and having to awkwardly lug it around the airport. You can ship your bike nationally and internationally and they even offer door to door service!

5. Pack it all properly:

  • I use pipe insulation foam sleeves and cut them open and in different sizes to cover my bike, I’ve seen people use bubble wrap as well.
  • Put your gear in your big ring to protect the teeth on your chain ring.
  • I built my own skewers for when I travel that way the fork or seat stay won’t get crushed from side force.
  • If traveling with a disc pack the sides with bubble wrap and cardboard to help protect it.

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My top 10 travel items for athletes:

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  1. Water bottle + Nuun: Hydration is crucial during travel. Bring an empty water bottle to fill up after the security point and drop a tab of Nuun in to keep you hydrated with electrolytes and magnesium!
  2. Snacks! If you’re flight gets delayed it’s always great to have fresh and healthy snacks on hand. Plus it saves you from buying the $12 airport sandwich which you could have made at home.
  3. Marc Pro: Keeping blood flowing is essential for having your legs feel fresh. It increases circulation and helps aid recovery.  I never leave home without mine!
  4. Compression Socks! A lot of people have issues with swelling during travel, compression socks help increase circulation and reduce swelling.
  5. Personal USB Charger. After so many canceled and delayed flights the last thing you want is to find out your flight is delayed and work out new travel arrangements with 10% left on your battery. Trust me it happened in Italy and it wasn’t fun.
  6. Eye Mask- If the person next to you wants to read Harry Potter for the 20th time it doesn’t matter, you can stay in the dark and get some shut eye. Bring ear plus too! Getting good sleep helps avoid jet lag.
  7. COFFEE!! Almost all good bike rides start with good coffee! I’ve been to some pretty small towns and stayed with host families that only drink Folgers. Not only does bringing good coffee keep you happy, you’re able to enlighten you host family to the great world of dark roasts. My favorite: http://www.grimpeurbros.com/
  8. Luggage Packing Cubes- Having cubes makes it easy to pack your necessary items in specific cubes i.e. ‘Cycling clothing cube’, ‘normal people clothes cubes’, ‘spare bike parts cube’ , ‘toiletries cube’image1
  9. Vinyasa Scarf! This is the best scarf ever and it doubles as a small blanket  or pillow.
  10. Collapsible Tupperware: What else are you going to pack your snacks in?? Plus it’s collapsible so it doesn’t take up much space. This one is so good that my fiance stole mine!
  11. Bonus: (International Travel) Don’t forget your outlet adapter and bring Tums. Trying new and local cuisine if fun but not always friendly to your body.

KorinaCycling

(What my race bag looks like)

Team kits now available!

When I started my new track racing team I had the freedom to design my own kits, and skinsuits. I had a lot of fun getting creative and working with Castelli to bring my design to life. Now we are bringing this kit to you! (Available to men and women ) All profit from the kits will go towards my 2015 track racing schedule.  Thanks for sharing and for your support! image3Jersey: $90

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Bibs: $135

image2Kit: $225

image1Arm warmers: $40

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The arm warmers are the print shown here on the skinsuit. You can view all pieces under the ‘graphics’ tab on the web page.

Purchase your kit today! Simply follow this link http://bit.ly/1xfue6i enter ‘new user’ info and order your favorites!

European Racing and Training: Freeplay Magazine

I’ve been training and racing in Europe and am writing about my adventures through Freeplay Magazine. Follow them to keep up to date with my posts. Here are my archived posts:

Korina Six Day BerlinVictory Lap at Berlin

Berlin Six Day (Part 1)

Bremen Six Day

Training (Fiets)

In Belgium!

Berlin Six Day!

10906168_767032866719066_5008340105268361713_nThanks to: FFWD, Marc Pro, Nuun, Castelli, SRAM, Specialized, Zealios, Clif Bar and The Sufferfest for all of your support!

New Track Team Announcement

In the ‘off-season’ the first thing you tend to do is think about next season. I thought about my goals as a cyclist, what it was that I want to accomplish in the next few months and years, as well as create a plan of how to get there. Like most athletes, I tend to dream big! I started thinking about what races I wanted to be part of, how I’ll split my season between road and track racing and how each disciple makes me stronger in the other. I thought about what team was out there that aligned with my goals, and visions both on and off the track. So… I decided to create my own team!! I’ll be a one woman show.

I’m beyond excited to announce that for Track Cycling

I’ll be racing for: Fast Forward Racing

FFWD

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I’ve been using and loving Fast Forward wheels since I started track racing in 2012 and am thrilled that they are my title sponsor for 2015!!

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There are recovery tools, recovery drinks, and then there’s a Marc Pro- the one that gets the job done.

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Nuun-  Is my ‘go-to’ for all my hydration needs.

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Castelli makes some of the best looking and feeling kits out there. We’ve created a custom kit and pieces for next season and I can’t wait to race and train in them!

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I’m really excited to be partnering with Specialized for shoes, helmets and saddles!

SRAM-Logo1I’m happy that SRAM and it’s subsidiaries are on board as my sponsor for bike related parts for 2015. My bike is dialed thanks to them!

Clif

Clif kids Z bars are my favorite! Then add in fruit twists, blocks, Clif bars, gels and I’m in cycling food heaven.

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Zealios Skin Care offers a line of sport related skin care from Shampoo and Conditioner, Sunscreen to Chamois Cream.

I’m beyond grateful to be partnering with such amazing companies for 2015! Follow my athlete page: Korina Huizar for more updates regarding my racing and soon to be announced Road Team as well as race schedules! Thanks for reading and for your support!

K

If you or your company are interested in partnering please email: k.r.huizar@gmail.com

Dealing with injuries in 10 simple steps (with pictures!)

Injuries are inevitable in sports. Some are easier to bounce back from than others. Not even two weeks after being on could nine from winning Nationals did I face my first big injury of the season. I was racing in a co-ed madison out in Rochester Hills, Michigan when several riders in front of me collided. I was sitting 3rd wheel and T’d into the rider in front of me which sent me flying off the bike. When I was younger I took tumbling classes and I think they’ve paid off. I somersaulted and then flipped onto my back which caused the side tabs of my vertebrae to fracture.

Hospital Bill

(Here’s what paying my hospital bill is going to look like)

Having a broken back sounds much more dramatic than it is (or at least in my case) but trying to convince my mom of this over the phone was not so easy. I bruised my kidney’s and had punctured the lower sacks of my lungs as well. My treatment options were as followed: take time off and take it easy, that’s it. There were no other options. As most endurance athletes know, being told to not do anything is almost as harsh as having to work for the first summer post college graduation.

So here are my guidelines for dealing with an injury:

Step 1: Grieving

Cycling Injuries

Coping with your injury: your friends will tell you to stay strong and to stay positive, but they will also take cruel photos of you while you’re in the hospital so what do they know…

Step 2: Deal with your FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

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That’s right, your friends are going to keep training and racing without you. Those bas#%^$%& . All of a sudden that lame race ride you’ve avoided now seems like the coolest event that you desperately wish you could attend….You’ll be fine

Step 3: Catching up on calories

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While your friends are out getting fast you’re in fear of getting fat….You’ll be fine.

Step 4: You’re never going to be fast again!

Slow Mo

(Slowmo is cool with it, you should be too)

No, that’s not true but that thought will cross your mind an awful lot…. You’ll be fine.

Step 5: Trying to workout despite your injury

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Don’t- I know you’re thinking about trying to anyway but it usually leads to muscle compensation and more severe injuries down the road. Ya, you probably won’t be fine if you do this.

Step 6: Coming to terms and then going over board.

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Binge watching on Netflix! This is honestly the best part of any injury and in true American fashion I say, ‘go big or go home’. I highly recommend House of Cards and Scandal.You’re welcome.

Step 7: Re-Set Goals

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It’s hard to admit that you may lose some of your fitness during your injury but resetting goals is a good way to keep your motivation while still being realistic with your injury…You’ll be fine.

Step 8: De-active your Strava Notifications

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Unless you want to get a bunch of emails about how everyone is out stealing your KOMs and how you’ll be getting a bunch of PWs (Personal Worsts). This also takes us back to Step 2, your friends are jerks.

Step 9: Be grateful for technology!

Marc Pro machine

For me the biggest issue with my back was all the muscle spasms. The Marc Pro machine was a great tool for rehabbing my injury. It allowed the muscles to contract and loosen up without putting any strain on the injury.

Rocktape

Rocktape was also a contributor in my road to recovery. It helped expedite the bruising and stabilize the area when I resumed training.

Set 10: The Silver Lining: Trying new things.

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Since we know you don’t have any hobbies outside of cycling.

*Huge thank you to Erika Fulk who took such good care of me during my injury and Brian Adams, an amazing PT out in Michigan that helped me create a rehab plan to get me back on the bike. Thank you Adams Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy!

Fiorenzuola and Elite Track Nationals

Track Nationals have been on my mind all year. I had been living in Holland for the summer, racing on the road for Vanderkitten as part of the USA Cycling Development program. This was my first full time season on the road and it sure had its highs and lows. I got my butt kicked in ‘block 1’ of racing, kermesse racing proved to be a little more my style since I was able to crack my first European top ten. Road racing was paying off in terms of fitness gains but still I thought of the track. Track racing to me is the most beautiful form of cycling there is. Nothing compares to the all out efforts on the track and nothing is as fun as flying down the banking of the turns. I was itching to get back on the track.

I quickly scoured the UCI website and found the Fiorenzuola Selle de Rosa race on the calendar.  It was perfect, a six day race offering an Omnium, Scratch and Points race in beautiful Italy.  I had only been on the track twice all year so adding in this race before nationals was just what I needed.

Korina HuizarPhoto by: Michael C. Hernandez

Fiorenzuola:

Selle de Rosa was the first six day race I had ever attended and it did not disappoint. The race was well run, big crowds came out each day, the men’s racing was exciting to watch, and the women’s field was one of the more competitive fields I had ever raced in. Huge thank you to Claudio Santi, Jan Kopac, Amedeo and Luigi Sabino for making this race possible. The week was filled with tough races, great food, and awesome people. While in Belgium I made friends with Elizabeth Steel, who is from New Zealand, and she accompanied me to Fiorenzuloa to race on the track. I’ve yet to meet a Kiwi I didn’t love and who isn’t a blast to be with. Her and I even entered the Keirin races together where I managed to get 6th place! Between great racing and a fun group of riders, Fiorenzuola was the highlight of my racing experience in Europe.

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I thought racing kermesses would have better prepared me for track but boy was I wrong. The top end speed you get at the track is a new level of pain and fitness that you can only obtain from track racing itself. It was a great experience getting to race with Giorgia Bronzini, Kristen Wild, and the other tough and storied competitors who came out and made the racing challenging and fun!

After Fiorenzuola my coach had me doing rollers every single day for 20 minutes to work on leg speed to help prepare me for nationals. I trust my coach and his workouts, we can’t always get fun routines but I knew that the effort would be worthwhile.

We raced our last kermesse Saturday night and six hours later we were on a flight back to America. Twenty four aganozing hours of travel later I landed in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Monday was a blur between trying to readjust to time zones, lack of sleep, and rain storms. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get any openers on the track and would have to make do. I had ridden on the track before and so much of getting openers on the track is about getting a feel for it. I was confident that my previous experience on it would get me through the next day’s race.

Racing started with the Omnium on Tuesday: I love the new format for the Omnium and think it makes for more animated racing. Day 1: Scratch, IP, Elimination

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Omnium Scratch, Photo credit: Weldon Weaver

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Individual Pursuit: Photo Credit: Erika Fulk, Detroit Spoke

The scratch race was fun and it was good to have some intensity in to help flush out the legs from all the travel. The Individual Pursuit was not as fun. Our race had been pushed back due to a rain storm making it a late night. I came unclipped at the start of my IP and had to restart. Evidently my cleats had gotten completely worn down in Europe and I should have changed them before the race. For the second start, I once again came unclipped and hesitated being unsure of what to do. I could hear Zak yell ‘GO!!!’ from the infield and became determined to make up all the lost time in one lap. My next split was 17 seconds- not smart. I settled in, caught my rider, and held even splits for the remaining of the race. Lesson learned: always check your gear to make sure it’s race ready. The pressure you apply to your pedals in a standing start effort is so much greater than the force and torque you apply in training.

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Flying Lap: Photo Credit: Erika Fulk, Detroit Spoke

Day 2: 500 meter, Flying lap, Points race

I really enjoy the sprint events of the Omnium but need to spend more time focusing on them. So much of sprinting is about technique and specialization. Having the Omnium conclude with the points race is such a great way to finish because anything can happen with that many points on the line. I wasn’t expecting to do well in the Omnium since I hadn’t been able to dedicated the time time necessary for the track this season, and my body was a little toasted from jet lag but I think every race is a good learning opportunity. Beth Newell and I were cubby mates for nationals, she’s a great friend but also someone I owe a lot to as a rider. Her fiance, Michael Hernandez, and her are the two biggest reasons why I got involved in the track. People often ask if it’s hard having Beth and I be friends and also competitors. If anything it makes us better, she always challenges me which makes me work harder. We talk openly about races, and our gear choices going into events; because at the end of the day there shouldn’t be any big secrets in the sport, there should just be a lot of hard work.

photo 1 (1)Pre-Race with Beth Photo credit: Weldon Weaver

Points race:

This race was my goal race. After my first points race back in 2012 I knew that this event would be my favorite! It’s the best of everything to me: endurance, sprinting, tactics, math (?) there’s no hiding in this race. Based upon my performance in the Omnium I knew I had the endurance but not the top end speed necessary to win all the sprints. My plan was to be active and make this race as hard as possible. With the race being 100 laps I knew I should follow the right wheels in the early laps, go for the points where I could but focus on making the second half hard. I went into the race with good legs but more importantly I went into the race with confidence; I believed I could win. I wasn’t a ‘favorite’ by any means but I truly felt that I could win.

photo 4Photo credit: Weldon Weaver

I found myself with very few points early in the race, only picking up 1 or 2 in the first few sprints: Kim Geist and Beth Newell were picking up the bigger values. I constantly attacked throughout the race. I went off the front with another rider to pick up 3 sprint points halfway through and then immediately got back in the pack. I knew I need to do something if I wanted to win. With 32 laps to go I attacked and found myself off the front with two other riders. I picked up 5 sprint points and realized that we still had a fair gap- this was it. I needed to go all in. We needed to get a lap in order to make a difference in the race. We all drove that break with as much as we could. The pace shelled one of our riders and it was just down to Emily Thurston and I. At one point we got about ¾ of the way to getting the lap on the field. Unfortunately the riders in the pack realized this as well so Beth and Kim attacked and srtung the field out. We caught dropped riders but not enough to count as the field so we had to keep fighting. With 8 laps to go the other break rider dropped off pace and I was left all alone, fighting to get the lap or collect enough points on my own. It was an amazing feeling having my friends cheer me on from the infield, the announcers stating that if I got the last sprint that it could be enough for the win. I kept fighting in my legs and in my head, saying over and over that I could do this; that I could win. Emily rejoined me in the last two laps and I was then fearful that she would collect the valuable points that I needed in order to edge out Beth and Kim. With one lap to go I went all out, I wanted so badly to win; I wanted to win more than anybody else that day.

10584094_10152306493951334_1537326297420561103_nFinal Sprint in the points race: Photo credit: Weldon Weaver

I crossed the line and couldn’t believe it! It’s funny how cycling works sometimes. You work so hard all season long, and for the most part few hardly ever win races. But the day that you do, the day that it all comes together, it makes it all seem so worthwhile. It makes all the bad luck, and injuries and days where you didn’t want to train mean that much more. They say a short term memory is the best trait you can have as a cyclist but I think a selective memory is more appropriate. Move past the bad days and hold onto the good ones- let them be your motivator for success.

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Points race podium: Photo Credit: Erika Fulk, Detroit Spoke

USA Cycling Post Race Interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoaaCZWNOQQ
I want to extend a huge thank you to my family, and friends for all your support. My coach for always guiding me in the right direction. Thanks to Erika Fulk and Weldon Weaver for all the great photos! Kim Deacon for being an amazing host! To Vanderkitten and Usa Cycling for providing me with so many opportunities that genuinely helped me develop as a rider. Also to my sponsors that help get me from race to race and equip me with the best: Vanderkitten, FFWD, Marc Pro, Enduro Bearings,  Clement, OSMO, and Rocktape

10561653_10152306494651334_7815448502273868592_nPodium Jump: Photo credit: Weldon Weaver