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!!

MarcPro-logo-Stacked

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

nuun-logo

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.

zealois

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

Fixed Gear Classic

Second on the list for the National Track Calendar events was the Fixed Gear Classic taking place at the National Sports Center Velodrome (NSC) in Blaine, Minnesota. The NSC is an outdoor 250m wooden track, but much faster than the outdoor velodrome out in Frisco, TX.

Jennifer Zierke, is my partner in crime; she’s the Luigi of the Mario and Luigi Dream Team (Read last blog for details), she’s Tebow and I’m Brady, basically she’s my other half during track season.
tom and tebowWe’re both fortunate enough to be supported by our local velodrome, Hellyer.

970549_669660473049852_176927878_nHowever, we’re both working professionals and when it comes to taking time off to race our bikes- well, we have to pick and choose. Jen and I work Monday through Wednesday during the week of our bigger track races, fly out late Wednesday night after work and typically arrive early Thursday morning in (insert this weeks race location). It’s not ideal, but it’s the only way to balance work and racing.

We arrived in Minneapolis at 6 am, were picked up by a generous volunteer, Adam Weitzner, and dropped off at the track dorms which would be our home from Thursday through Sunday. We power napped like champs and awoke to our alarms set for us to have enough time to pre-ride the track before racing later that evening.
two tiredMy bike and I were on the same page
IMG_1242Pre-riding the track in every article of clothing I brought.

Thursday Night Racing:

Originally the only event on the schedule for endurance riders was a Points race which wouldn’t take place until later in the evening. Luckily they added a ‘warm up’ scratch race: winner gets a sweatshirt, no other placings matter. The ‘warm-up’ race was a great chance to open up the legs and helped me decide to jump up to a bigger gear for the points race since I would have otherwise been under-geared. During the warm-up scratch race I attacked with 7 to go and was able to get a solid gap. Though I kept thinking, If I burn my matches and win the warm up race my coach is going to be pissed!  I was caught with two to go and literally began my cool down for the last two laps. Jen attacked once I was caught, which was perfectly timed, and won the race.  So please congratulate her on becoming the official ‘Warm-up Champion’! 🙂

The Points race…my favorite!

We rode hard, sprinted, rode harder, and did math. I was 2nd to Cari Higgins. (This will be the theme for the Fixed Gear Classic)

One thing I really liked that the Fixed Gear Classic offered was gaming tickets for the fans to bet on a rider during each event. The person(s) who correctly guessed the winner won a gift certificate to a local restaurant and/or box of Nature Valley Bars. What a great way to get the fans more involved! I’m sure they could have taken it to the next level and got a spread for the omnium but that’s just my Charles Barkley gambling side talking.

Friday:

The hard part of racing at night is having all day to wait around before racing.  We’re both ‘busy bodies’ so having to sit still is quite the challenge.

IMG_1266Bunk Beds: There’s so much room for activities!

Win n Out:
The win n out is a fun but tactically challenging race. You really have to play your cards right. For those not familiar with the win n out, according to ATRA: “First  rider across the finish line on the designated bell lap wins and retires from the race. First person across the finish line on the second lap is second and retires from the race, and so on. (On some shorter tracks, the sprint is every other lap).

Our group kept together and on the bell lap Cari attacked with a big enough jump to solidify her as 1st. Kate followed Cari’s attack and I sat on her wheel thinking about when to make my move to take second. We rolled through the start/finish, getting the bell, and with half a lap to go I attacked and was able to come around taking second and ‘retiring from the race’. Jen hung in a few more laps and was able to take 6th.

Scratch Race-
The most confusing race I’ve ever entered. Scratch races are the most straightforward mass start races there are. However, in this specific case the race turned out to be complete chaos. We had about 14 girls enter our race but about half of them got lapped by the main group at one point or another. After several attacks it was pretty apparent that I would not be able to get away. We rode as a group with several dropped riders re-entering our pack. This is when things got confusing, people would attack and the dropped riders would join the attack so we no longer had any idea of who was still in the race and who was down a lap. One rider broke away without most of the field noticing. So when we had a sprint finish, we were really racing for second since the ‘dropped rider’ was the winner of the event. I was third in the field sprint to Cari Higgins and Tela Crane, with Jen two riders behind me. Take away: always pay attention to what’s going on in the race and try to keep track of all riders.

993514_10100742459382498_2019566660_nSkinsuit: Jakroo   Wheels: Fast Forward Wheels   Photo: Erika Fulk- Detroit Spoke
Exergy had a great showing at the Fixed Gear Classic. It was great to see that Exergy supports track racing and their juniors. They raced smart and rode as a team using their numbers to their advantage. It made for great competition and fun racing!

Track stand competition:
Ughhh, why can’t I be cool enough to enter this event? Dear bike handling fairy, I know I asked for help with my no handed roller tricks but can you please teach me how to track stand?

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Zak Kovalcik and Missy Erickson take the win in the Track Stand Competition.

Saturday:

Elimination-

Get to the front, stay near the front, don’t play the devil, ‘nough said.

999262_10100742457571128_773304653_nLove this photo from Erika Fulk taken during the Elimination race.

Team Sprint-

Jen and I are teammates for the Team Pursuit, the program that got us into track racing, so we used the team sprint as an opportunity to work on our standing starts.
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Image: Erika Fulk Detroit Spoke

Madison- Our Madison got turned into a scratch race since there weren’t enough teams to hold the event. Jen and I had actually practiced how to madison the day before we left just in case we wanted to enter the Madison. We learned how to throw and practiced madison tosses while teams were practicing the team pursuit to simulate the chaotic atmosphere of the Madison. That Michael Hernandez is an evil genius!
Strava Madison
It was great to get to watch a Madison race for the first time and who better to learn from than the killer combo of Zak and Franco Marvuli
IMG_1319I finished the weekend taking 2nd in the Fixed Gear Classic Omnium, and my results bumped me up to 1st in the National Track Calendar for the Endurance events. I had such a great time racing at the Fixed Gear Classic. I loved being able to race with my Trinidad partner in crime- Shelby Reynolds. She’s always a smart racer who makes for great competition on the track and fun entertainment on the in-field.

996716_10100742462007238_716993939_nhttps://www.usacycling.org/ntc-three-new-standings-leaders-after-fixed-gear-classic.htm

Sunday Funday:

Minneapolis is called the ‘fun twin’ of the twin cities. We booked an evening flight giving us most of the day to explore the city. We walked through parks, checked out a waterfall, ate great food, and played tourists all day!!
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Never forget that riding your bike is suppose to be fun!

IMG_1370Jen and I practicing our Madison throws aka holding hands.

8480_10100742462401448_65113154_nHuge thanks to Andrew Kruse, Linsey Hamilton, Adam Weitzner, Bob Williams, and all the volunteers that made the Fixed Gear Classic such a great event! It was a well organized event that brought out great competition and made the weekend a blast!

Track Racing in Texas

The National Track Calendar (NTC) kicked off this last weekend starting in Frisco, Texas. Frisco to Frisco-  give or take 30 degrees. Jennifer Zierke and I decided to commit ourselves to racing the NTC this season and are representing our local Velodrome, Hellyer.This was the first of six races that are part of the NTC spanning from California to Indiana.

-TEXAS-

117197504_64db97b9ebWe headed out Wednesday night after work and tried to pass time as our flight was delayed by a storm. We later learned that there were huge tornadoes that hit an hour south from where we were staying.

IMG_1006Jen watching YouTube videos of cats…what did I get myself into??

Evidently the saying, “go big or go home” doesn’t apply to rental cars here in Texas:

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IMG_1008Our host provided us with Metromint! She has such good taste!

The next morning we assembled our bikes before heading out to ride on the velodrome.

IMG_1016Jen’s pretty helpless when her boyfriend Keith, or a master’s racer isn’t around…

10015300311-Myanmar-workerWhat Jen and I look life after wrenching on our bikes.

IMG_1028Checking out the Frisco Superdrome.

My dad always calls Velodromes, Thunderdromes so I think he’d be pretty to happy to hear there’s one called the Superdrome. I don’t know if he fully understands that I just race my bike and don’t go around jousting people on it.
IMG_1040I loved that we were immediately greeted by one of the officials polishing his gun at race day check-in… welcome to Texas!

Friday:
Though we flew out to contest the endurance cup we figured we might as well take part in the match sprints on Friday. Our racing started with a flying 200 meter- not exactly an endurance riders strongest suit. Racers participate in a flying 200meter to get times, they then match up the times in order to seed the sprints. I placed 4th in the 200m and was able to win my first match. I lost my second match and went into the repechage round which selects positions 5th-8th. Another racer and I went toe to toe at the line that had to be decided by the finish line video. I came in second by less than a 1/10 of a second!

Match sprints: “It’s like water buffalo, as soon as one of them farts the rest of them go!”

970701_10152831108170427_1484505241_nWe helped keep the ‘summer camp’ tradition alive by painting our nails in between heats.

After having our fun pretending to be sprinters we got our bikes ready for the next morning’s Individual Pursuit, the first race part of the NTC. As I was switching out my handle bars I over tightened the headset and snapped it right off! I don’t even know how this is possible, I’m a cyclists- you know we don’t have upper bodies!

tx3Yes, that’s a saw and a hammer in the picture. Things got pretty desperate at 2 am.
Our amazing host family helping me try to fix my bike.

IMG_1090Around 2am we finally were able to wrap things up and go to bed,  but not before Jen yelled out from the other bed, “ Korina….we’re sprinters!” I think Missy and Dana might still have a thing or two to teach us 🙂

Saturday: 

3k:  We went into the Individual Pursuit pretty blind- I’ve only ever done one IP and being on a different track I didn’t have a goal time or pace. My goal was to go into the IP steady and slowly pick up the pace throughout the laps. Jen and I both cheered and yelled out all of Michael and Beth’s go-to comments. “Breath, steady” and other encouragements throughout each others race. We placed 2nd and 3rd, loosing only to stud Catherine Moore who will be a force to be reckoned with Master’s Nats- don’t say I didn’t warn you. Texas is a lot hotter and more humid than what we are use to back at home so we made sure to stay hydrated. Thank you Fluid and Nuun for keeping us hydrated and going throughout the weekend!

IMG_1084Flying 250: I wish I started racing as a junior. Not to have all of that extra experience under my belt or anything, but because I love junior gearing and racing in a baby gear would have been my jam. So when I pretend to be a sprinter and put on the big girl gears, well, the planets simply aren’t aligned. Since track racers are sometimes super secretive about what gears they’re racing in I’m just going to say that I was basically in a 112. Give or take. Aka way too big of a gear to turn over in that short of time. I love how much there is to learn in track racing and how much you can learn from trial and error. I’ve had a lot of errors in the trip so it’s safe to say I’m learning a lot!

IMG_1055I have family who lives out in San Antonio and they were sweet enough to drive up and come watch me race. My aunt Lisa and cousin Jeslyn were such a blast and great distraction from the races. My aunt loved the aero helmets:

IMG_1097Thanks Limar for the helmet!

Our Hellyer Jakroo Skinsuits were a great talking piece. People would always come up and ask about our skinsuits, ask if it’s our local track, share stories about their Hellyer adventures or had heard about our Team Pursuit program!

IMG_1065Points:  I was tested for ADHD as a kid and learned that I have it. I’ve never taken any medication or anything but having ADHD as a bike racer means you get bored just sitting in a pack. I hate negative racing and will probably never be a ‘pure sprinter’ because I don’t think I’d ever want to conserve THAT MUCH energy. But I will say that the points race is my Ritalin, it’s my peace. I love that there’s always something going on, I love having to mark riders and keep track of who has how many points. I love that there are sprints every few laps and that the race just keeps getting harder and harder. I was off the front with another rider through the first sprint and I out sprinted her to pick up top points. We regrouped with the field shortly after and keeping the pace high shelled riders. As we entered our second sprint we ended up catching two riders who sat in-between the pull and the stayers so I had to drop down behind the rider in front of me to avoid crashing into the lapped riders. I still managed to take 3rd in the sprint. With a few laps to go I started thinking about how I wanted to final sprint to play out. I attacked with a few laps to go and was able to get a 1/2 lap on the field and take the sprint and the overall win!

IMG_1080Elimination: Jen took Larry Nolan’s advice to heart about getting to the front. You’ve never seen a cyclists get to the rail as fast. I had noticed that I had become a marked rider so to prove this I sat 7-8 bike lengths behind Jen at the start. Sure enough, everyone lined up behind me leaving that gap between the two of us. I stayed up front throughout the race and attacked at the final bell to take the win!

I was happy to have won two races in front of my family. I always think of those stupid bike racer memes when I talk to non cyclists friends and family so I’m happy that they have a better idea of what I do.

IMG_1092Sunday:

Scratch: Hot off her TT at the Amgen tour of California I knew Lauren Stephens would be the one to watch. The scratch race was 40 laps, which in my mind was a perfect opportunity to be aggressive and try to initiate moves. I kept attacking to initiate a break, Lauren followed and we were quickly riding away from the group. Jen bridged bringing two others with her, one immediately fell off pace. The four of us worked together to take a lap on the field. Lauren kept things active even after we re joined the group. The field was more worried about their omnium standings so didn’t seem to be concerned about Lauren riding away. Jen and I were marked on the other hand, every attack there was at least two riders quick to follow. We both kept being aggressive knowing that the length of the race would play to our strengths. Jen attacked and the sprinters just looked around like, “so which one if you is going to chase that because I’m not”. After a few laps with the field or ‘sprinters lounge’ I realized that unless I made a move those two were going to ride away to the finish line. I attacked and separated from the group with four laps to go. I caught Jen on the bell, Lauren having caught the field, therefore placing Lauren first, Jen second and myself third. This was the final event for the NTC so Jen and I were able to go 1-2 in the NTC endurance omnium with her leading just 1 point ahead of me. It’s going to be a good season of racing!

IMG_1020I’m not going to say that this is “Bike porn” because that’s a really creepy thought when you think about it. Honestly, who is pulling up pics of bikes when doing the “business” ?
But I think we can all admit that this is one good looking bike with some pretty sweet Fast Forward Wheels

500m: As if the Texas heat and humidity wasn’t enough they had wind! Worse than Davis wind! These were nasty 25+ mph gusts that make you wish you brought more than a disk. I had to start in the headwind section, as if a standing start isn’t hard enough but was able to get into my bars through the tailwind section, hooray for circles! I ended up placing 5th which solidified my Matrix track omnium standing in 2nd.

Overall I had a great experience and fun time racing. I learned not to stress over the variables you can’t control. Always bring spare parts, you just never know.Traveling can be more stressful than the racing itself. There’s always something you can improve on, and recovery is key.

Thanks to the Hellyer Velodrome Community for supporting us through this adventure and all of our amazing sponsors:

Jakroo          Fast Forward Wheels          Rocktape        Enduro Bearings     SportVelo Hughes Allmart  Insurance        Limar Helmets        Selle SMP Saddles      Betwixt Chamois Cream   Clif Bar           Clean Bottle        Rose Garden Health       Zealios Sun Barrier       Albabici 

Next up we’ll be heading to  Blaine, Minnesota for Nature Valley Fixed Gear Classic June 6th-8th!

45177_163570333801437_527402801_nThank you Betwixt and Zealios for providing me with the best chamois cream and sun barrier there is!

Track Cycling in Trinidad and Tobago

The island and the people of Trinidad are amazing. What a fun culture and great place to visit! It was one of the best trips and I hope to be back next year. Shelby Reynolds and I were invited to race in the Easter International Grand Prix out in Trinidad and Tobago, and would be the only two U.S. competitors. The day before the race started all of the International riders were taken to Amira Velodrome, a 450m outdoor concrete track. After a few hours at the track we were shuttled to a press conference held by the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation.

539930_631782576837642_315984109_nWrenching on our bikes in our room sp515At the Press Conference:
Some of us are more excited than others…

Friday Night:
Racing started at 5pm with 41 different races on the schedule for that night. The International Women had six races: Flying 200, Keirin (two rounds) and three scratch races.

IMG_0287How else would you get your bike to the track?

The Amira Velodrome is like a larger version of Hellyer, but the Easter winds were roaring, so I went to a smaller gear than I would have normally ran. This ended up being a huge mistake. The great thing about track racing is that there are so many races in a night; you can constantly learn from your mistakes and try again in the next race.
IMG_0323There are a few differences between racing at home and internationally:

Starting the race at the rail: At home, everyone lines up at the rail, the whistle blows, and the officials wait until the group is together, usually around turn four. Internationally, you better get your bike in a good spot at the rail because when you hear that whistle, the race is on!

Distances: At home, especially Hellyer, scratch races are roughly 8-12 laps. Internationally, the women’s races were 2-6 laps.

As much as I love sprinting a two-lap scratch race, starting at the rail is just plain madness- it’s like a mass start 500m! We had 13 women in the races representing: Antigua, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica, USA, and Trinidad & Tobago. We had tough competition that made for great racing. We even had spectators, and not just the token significant other who was dragged out. The velodrome was completely surrounded with spectators, people tailgating in the parking lot, and crowd primes bigger than the prize purse because these people came out to see a show! Every night more and more people would come out to watch the races, have fun and truly love the sport of cycling. America- step your game up!
Hellyer

Podium: (Left): Shelby Reynolds, (Middle): Lisandra Guerra, (Right):Me

Saturday:

We had four races on the agenda, three scratch races, and an unknown. That’s right, we  rode our bikes in circles with the distance remaining a mystery, ever awaiting the sound of a cowbell.

I also learned a lot of Spanglish while in Trinidad. I highly recommend learning Spanish instead. My ebay watchlist has been filled with Rosetta Stone ever since.

IMG_0300Fast Forward Wheels and Enduro Bearings= Killer Combo

Sunday:

The first two nights of racing were held at the Amira Velodrome, but Sunday saw a change of venue, and racing was held at Skinner Park. As one person described it, “Skinner park is a 400m track, with very shallow banking and just one short straightaway. It looks like a wheel with a flat tire.”
Korina

We had four races that night: and you guessed it, three of them were scratch races. All I wanted was one 40 lap points race, is that so much to ask? All the races were fun to watch, and I was really impressed with the amount of juniors riding with us in the international races. Trinidad and Tobago is doing a great job of promoting the sport and developing the youth out there. We had so much fun hanging out with the young girls, “tinymites,” braiding our hair and talking about bikes.
IMG_0334Shelby and friends

We even had a one lap BMX race with all of the International riders racing for a local kid for a chance to win a new bike!
IMG_0413Everything about racing in Trinidad & Tobago was fun. The venue, the people, the competition. Even the announcer was having the time of his life:
IMG_0460As you can see from the picture he was jumping up and down, even running alongside the race while announcing. I’m pretty convinced he is Michael Hernandez’s long lost brother.

Despite language barriers, I met some great people I now call friends. Thank you to the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation for the invite to race, and the opportunity to experience your island and culture!
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Diets…WTF: Where’s the food?

As they say in racing and Darwinism:
“the plump and the slow are the first to go”

Weight is a common topic amongst cyclists. We worry about the weight of our wheels, the weight of our bikes, and most of all the weight of ourselves. Rarely can you go to a race and not hear someone complain about their diet or lack there of. But Coachella and Crit season are upon us people! Time for swimsuits and skinsuits! There’s no hiding in my 2009 hand me down skinsuit I inherited from Yukie, total badass and alumni Metromint rider who’s have of anyone’s size. I thought it would be interesting to seek out advice from from friends, professional athletes, and whatever popped up via my google search on diets. The results are mixed but here is the best and worst advice that I came across:

Tip: Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry:
groceryshoppinghungryDonʼt judge me, weʼve all done it, and for the swimmers out there you know this better than anyone: post swim workout watch out, itʼs like Godzilla is coming to the cupboards!

Bad Tip: Eat Ice
Stage races are a great opportunity to get to know your teammates. Theyʼre also an opportunity to realize that you’re more normal than you think, and some cyclists are just plain weird. At Redlands there was talk of a pro who wakes up every morning and eats a big bowl of ice. Thatʼs right, as his teammates are eating oats and coco pebbles heʼs chowing down on ice cold…ice.

Tip: Think about what you can add to your diet, not take away. Putting it in a positive perspective makes it easier to maintain. Ex: add more leafy greens vs. never eat chocolate again.

Tip: Spice it up: “Adding spices to your diet can curb hunger, strengthen muscles, boost your brainpower and improve mood” (NBCNews)

Tip: Weight loss is 70% Diet, 30% exercise: I wish these numbers were reversed, it’d be so much easier, but they’re not. “Abs are made in the kitchen”

Looking for more motivation I decided to seek out Pinterest, Iʼve never been more confused: cakes or crunches, cakes or crunches…which am I suppose to do??

pinterestpinterest workoutsI’ve never wanted to bake and workout at the same time!

Bad diet plan I found online:
1 day dietWho on earth created this diet, Kate moss? And four cups of coffee?? You’d be too busy shaking from all the caffeine to eat, maybe that’s the theory behind this..This plan sucks!

Diet plans that you can actually follow: The Feed Zone Cookbookfzc-p232-salmonDespite what Ron Swanson thinks:

BlNkVw9

But we’re not talking normal people dieting, we’re talking cyclists dieting, which means that they have to make it as nerdy and scientific as possible. I stole this graph off of Chris Phipps’ Twitter (warning: anything you post online can and will be used against you). In all seriousness he’s an amazing racer, in not so seriousness he does a whole lot of tweeting about food- somebody please buy this guy a sandwich.

He and his friends decided to chart grams, bmi, raceweight, and how heavy a Gu packet is and if it’s worth carrying, into a chart:

riderbodymassraceweightI decided to could make an equally informative chart:

nutella chartHow to lose weight without dieting: Cut your hair. We all know ponytails are not aero!
hairdietHow to decide if a diet is right for you:
Do you want to climb faster? —> you need to diet
Do you want to descend faster? —> Eat more, brake less

How to know if your diet is working?

lomdy08-skinnyWhen you look like this guy. Move over Channing Tatum, there’s new eye candy coming through…

In conclusion:
aintnobody