Team Camp 2019!

For us, part of the lure of being a team is actually being a team. There are few team options so most professional women mountain bikers are privateers which means they represent themselves and seek individual sponsorship. This is a solo path and can be lonely as well as daunting to progress in the sport without mentorship and comradery. Before we founded KS Kenda Women’s Elite team, each of us looked longingly at social media posts of teams at training camps and pushed back pangs of jealousy when we heard tales of team riders working technical terrain together and getting to test new product. Envy no more. In our second year as a team we had a training camp!

We met in SoCal for a week of riding together and doing all things bike for a week. We did many of the things we dreamed of at training camp: rode challenging trails, got in some serious saddle time, dined with sponsors, experimented with new equipment, laughed so hard addressing a trail mechanical you would have thought it was intentional, had photo shoots, video, drank lots of coffee, ate super healthy (and gigantic) meals, got a bloody knee, cleaned the series of impossible switchbacks, napped, and just savored being immersed in bike time with like-minded women. Here are some of our favorite moments:


We are so stoked we met Auntie Candy!!

With the dates chosen back in early fall, I have been looking forward to this Bikecation for a long time! My task was to have an idea of where we would be staying throughout the week. With Emma and Jen coming in on seperate days and the roads to my home in Idyllwild closed due to flooding, Emma and I decided to get a cheap hotel on Friday night. We went to Eureka! in Redlands where we ordered a meal and tasty beverage. The woman next to us gave us a hard time about being asked for our id. We ended up chatting with her for a while and found out that she also was a cyclist! While looking at a Motel 6 nearby, we asked her if it would be an okay place to crash. “No, you can’t stay there! Stay with me. I have plenty of room!” Emma and I looked at each other and simultaneously answered, “okay!”. Auntie Candy is now a dear friend. We ended up staying with her for a total of 4 nights and talked about so many parts of life. One of the neatest things that happened? We got to join her for a bike ride AND gift her a KS Kenda jersey to rep in Redlands! It was a hilarious beginning to camp and a fortunate happenstance that we were ID’d at Eureka! on that fateful Friday evening.


Team camp has officially begun!!

The Arrival! I was so excited for camp that I forgot to take my wallet out when I used Curbside Check-in for my bag before boarding my first flight.  This error left me sans a solid meal for 10 hours which, for an athlete, is the equivalent of 10 years. Nikki picked me up at the airport late in the evening and I was desperate for fooddddd. The best quick, late night vegetarian option was Del Taco. I asked if they had a rice and bean burrito with avocado. The speaker box guy responded that they had a “Chicken Avocado burrito that has rice and beans.” I asked if it could be made without chicken and then there was a long pause. When we said, “Hello, are you there?” the speaker box guy then asked if I had decided on my order. Too hungry to clarify the vegetarian-ness of the burrito, I just ordered it and hoped the chicken was omitted. Ze burrito was delivered and all was right with the world! I faintly remember Nikki asking me if I wanted to check for chicken but there was no time; hunger! I just took a big bite hoping for the best. My meatless choices were respected. Brain reengaged, it’s off to Candy’s (Nikki’s story) to reunite with the whole team.  All the excites!


Silliness in the heart of Citrus Country!

SoCal in winter means things in bloom, birds chirping, and citrus heavy on trees. Quite the sensory overload from the white of winter I live in. On day one of camp we were pedaling back to Candy’s on backroads after riding the flow trails at Grafton Hills in Yucaipa, and I simply could not resist stopping and picking up grapefruits that were all over the road.  I started to peel one and looked up to see Nikki, who had just stuffed two grapefruits under her jersey. Bike Barbie! I fell over laughing so hard.


Getting a group of our sponsors together at Pizza Port was a definite highlight of the camp!

Part of our decision to have the team camp in SoCal was because a good majority of our sponsors are located there. We enjoy the relationship aspect of running a team so for us it is very valuable to spend time with the people who give us tools to chase our dreams. On Tuesday we were fortunate enough to hang out with our KS Suspension family. We even got to eat dinner at the Trabuco Steakhouse, which cooks their meals using hardwood smokers! The night consisted of funny stories and even funnier pictures before leaving the restaurant. The next day, on Wednesday, we moved towards San Diego. After a slightly rainy but very fun technical ride at Elfin Forest Preservative, we drove to Carlsbad to join our friends at Pizza Port for pizza and beer! TASCO (and Top Rope Media), Wend Wax, Gup, and VeloFix-San Diego North were all there to join the fun. It was awesome to see people who have joined our squad chat with each other and exchange stories. I specifically remember looking around and seeing every person at our table talking with a grin on their face. Moments like these are ones I cherish and hold close to my heart. Our team has created a family and we are so stoked to have so many rad people in our corner!


Hike-a-bike is a part of adventure riding in Mecca Hills. This is one part where our non e-bikes ruled.

One day we were taken to Mecca Hills, by David Wood, our host in Palm Springs. This area features sand canyons, steep rock strewn hills, plenty of cactus, and choose your own adventure routes. Primitive riding is a rarity and there are few riders who would think several hours of this would be a good time. It was so cool that David wanted to show us around this gem of a riding area. Straight from the truck we ascended a slope with big step-ups and hairpin switchbacks. I am fit and pride myself on my technical trail skills, but David was gracefully linking the obstacles and pulling away from me while I was breathless and put a foot down on several features. I was beyond impressed with David’s riding and knew if I could just get on his wheel I would learn a lot, but that was a huge ask. He would patiently wait for us at the top of hills and I would catch his wheel for a bit but get blown off. We stopped for a snack and I really took a hard look at David’s long travel bike to try and figure out how it was an efficient climbing machine. Only then did I notice it was a machine! David was on an e-bike. I did learn a thing or two about technical climbing that day!  


Emma explaining the importance of keeping your elbows out and proper “windshield wiper” motion.

We didn’t let a rainy (aka torrential downpour) day ruin our chance to spend time on the bike and hang out! With trails too muddy to ride, we decided on a “Skills and Drills” day. We each coach mtb through NICA, regional teams, and private clients and thus each have different strengths as riders: Nikki is a master of riding technique, Emma sees lines where none should be found, and I excel at power and balance moves. We shared our drills and helped each other make changes or try something new. Yes, even professional cyclists need to strengthen the fundamentals. Sometimes I get self-conscious or frustrated with myself for not being able to do a “basic” skill and tend to shut down. This was not the case at all when riding with Emma and Nikki. When cornering on steep or technical terrain I am not as confident as I would like to be and tend to death grip the top tube with my knees. They were so supportive and helpful breaking down how to turn my bike before progressing the fundamentals to apply to challenging terrain. I walked away from the ride with the steps to turn my bike correctly and drills to practice, but most importantly all the “happy feels” and self confidence gained from being a part of a truly supportive and amazing team. Also, practicing controlled endos and bunny hopping was pretty freaking fun.

It was a wonderful week to spend as a team riding bikes in different areas of SoCal!

We had such an amazing time. It was hard to part at the airport. Instead of saying goodbye, we reminded each other we will be reunited at Sea Otter in just a few weeks!  See you there.

More Fun and Comfort Fat Biking? Here’s How…

Here I am all smiles coming into the finish line for Frosty’s 50K last year in. Not only was the course superb, but I nailed all the details to ensure a great ride.

I’m headed to Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada in a few weeks for Frosty’s Fat Bike Festival again, and I couldn’t be more stoked! The event features two races: a crit style XC and a 50K, fat bike demos, skills clinics (with fat bike instructors, including me), a “Ride with the Pros” event in Maligne Canyon, dinners, beer tasting at Jasper Brewing Company, discussions on fat bike-related topics, and mostly a whole lot of fun. PS, it’s not too late to sign up! The snow is stacking up in the Canadian Rockies and temperatures are tracking in the 20’s Fahrenheit so conditions will be perfect. Last year an Arctic flow consumed the region during the event and I fine-tuned my fat biking essentials to ensure I had fun no matter the weather. The lessons I learned have made fat biking even more fun and taken away my anxieties about getting cold.  They can help you too!

Making sure your tires are dialed can be the difference between shredding and suffering.

It’s All About the Tires

You hear this all the time from fat bikers, but how your bike engages with the snow is the difference between floating across terrain or sinking so deep your axles are at snow level. My “must have” tires for any snow condition are Kenda Juggernaut 4.8’s. They always find traction, roll fast on hard pack, and have a sidewall that allows for even spreading of the tread across the snow. I spend the first few minutes of any ride adjusting my tire pressure. My start-point is generally 3PSI in the front and 3.5PSI in the rear.

  • If you adjust your PSI in a warm place, like in your house, when you go outside in cold temps the pressure will lower. It’s easier to reduce pressure after you have been out for 20 minutes than to add it back, so head out with more pressure than you think you will want.
  • In hardpack conditions I run more air pressure, between 5-8 PSI.  If it is extremely cold, the moisture will be sucked out of hardpack snow and it starts to behave like sugar. As more people spin through the sugar bowl it starts to become bottomless. Run a low PSI as if you were in a little fresh powder
  • In fresh, fluffy snow you will want to spread out your time footprint as much as possible to stay on top.  I run as little as 2.5 PSI.
  • In soft, moist snow or deep fresh snow it is just about impossible not to bury your tires.  If you are leaving a tire impression that is more than 1” deep and your PSI is as low as you can make it, this is not the day to ride.  The trough you leave and the subsequent post holes from hiking out will destroy the trails for others until a groomer is able to repair the damage or a big snowfall covers it up.  
  • If it’s going to be really cold, top off your sealant and carry a tube. Tubeless tires may fail in extreme cold.  Alloy rims conduct heat well, meaning they quickly give any heat they have in them to the snow. Rubber contracts a little when it contacts cold conditions too. Sealant is water based which may freeze and expand. The increased space between your rim and tire may be too big a feat for your sealant to hold together and sealant that is normally sloshing around to fill the gap may be an icy mass. I’ve only had this happen to me when the temperature is below -15 Fahrenheit, but it was a long and cold hike home.  Always carry a tube and tools to fix a flat.

Frostbite is not a love-bite

When riding the groomed fat bike trails in Jasper National Park, make sure you are prepared for the elements so you can pedal to, “just one more viewpoint”.

Frostbite can happen in just a few minutes if the wind is blowing, you are wet from sweat or snow, or if skin is exposed even briefly to extreme cold as when taking a glove off to open a snack. A solid layering solution that prevents wind from getting in but allows moisture to escape is a must.

  • See my article on layering to ride in the cold for elaboration.
  • Hands need to be bundled up, but not so much that you can’t maneuver your levers to shift or brake. BarMitts are basically mandatory. I put heat packs in the BarMitts and turn them into an oven.
  • Your face, especially around your nose and mouth, are hard to keep covered when breathing hard.  I use Aeemelia Every Day Skin and Lip Oil my face to make a waterproof barrier between my skin and the elements.  The oil has a natural SPF, but I will apply a higher power sunscreen over the oil if the sun is out in full force.  
  • Feet are notoriously hard to keep warm while cycling. I have had several pairs of winter riding boots, and I believe Lake Cycling MXZ303 is the best out there. They are warm, waterproof and windproof while being just breathable enough to prevent your feet from wading in a sweat bog. They adjust by a Boa system, so the fit will never put circulation reducing pressure on any part of your foot and all sizes are available wide. Most of the Canadians were wearing these too!
  • It is easy to think you will keep your feet warm with more socks. However, pressure on your feet from being squished under several socks will reduce circulation and cause them to cool down. I experimented one day in Jasper and wore a thin wool sock on one foot and two on the other and went for a ride. The double sock foot chilled a bit while the single one was comfortable.
  • For crazy cold rides, I back-up my warm feet strategy by rigging my ski boot heaters to my cycling boots.
Supplies for BarMitt Ovens and my hydration strategy under my jacket

Comfort Food

When it’s cold, your desire to eat and drink is “Meh” at best.  However, just keeping warm consumes a lot of calories. Not to mention, you are exercising! Liquids freeze. Hydration and nutrition is a bit of a conundrum.

  • Put edibles in your BarMitt ovens. The heat packs will keep them from becoming solid, so you won’t break a tooth trying to gnaw on your GU Energy Stroopwafel.
  • If using a water bottle, put it upside down in the bottle cage to keep the nozzle from freezing up.  If it much below freezing, this will only work for the beginning of your outing.
  • I found an Osprey hydration vest works best for me. I put it over my first base layer and under all others. The nozzle I run under my neck gaiter. My body heat keeps the liquids from freezing.
  • When I’m done drinking, I make sure to blow some air into the tube so the bit that is exposed does not have liquid in it to freeze.
  • If the nozzle does freeze, putting it in your mouth (like biting a stick) will melt it in a minute or two.
  • This trick came from my coach Mike Durner at Mind Right Endurance: put 1 oz of liquor in 1.5L hydration bladder. This lowers the freezing point but is not enough to make me impaired.
  • I found putting my nutrition in my water was the best strategy to keep me fueled AND hydrated. My favorite blend is Blueberry Pomegranate GU Roctane Hydration Mix, a dash of cinnamon, and whiskey mixed into hot water. It tastes like mulled cider.
  • I increase my hourly calorie replacement by 100 Kcal or more. I weigh 125 lbs and consume 300 Kcal/hr during hard rides lasting more than 1.5 hours and am still ravenous for lunch.
Don’t forget to document the ride! Amy Stewart is loving the trails and views in Malign Canyon during last years Ride with the Pros event in Jasper.

Odds and Ends

  • Your iPhone is good for 1-2 pictures before the battery is drained in the cold. I put heat packs in my internal pocket to hold my phone and it will warm up enough to take another 1-2 pictures 30 minutes later. Better yet, ride with lots of friends and have one person take a picture at any stop and share your images and/or only take the amazing shots.
  • I get asked over and over if hydraulic brakes work in cold temperatures.  My Shimano brakes have not let me down. To keep the brake fluid viscous, I pump my brakes a few times every 20 minutes. When riding in fresh snow, I scrub speed most of the time by nudging my tires into the soft edges of the groomed trails, avoiding touching my brakes all together.
  • Seat posts become brittle in the cold and can lower in the downtube as I ride. I prevent this by refreshing the carbon fiber paste on my KS Lev Carbon Dropper Post at the beginning of the season.
  • Access to a hot tub or bath is essential. As soon as I get back from a chilly ride, I take a hot soak to restore my core temperature. I gobble up all my energy reserves trying to rewarm otherwise; leaving me a zombie at post ride festivities. This also lets my body recover to head out the next day.
Now that you have all the tricks for fun and comfort for fat biking, you too will be extending the ride too.

See you at Frosty’s in Jasper January 10-12th!

KS-Kenda Women’s Holiday Shopping Guide: Get the Inside Scoop on the Most Rad Gifts for the Cyclists on your List (and maybe for yourself too…)

Nikki confidently playing on the rocks with her KS dropper post!

KS LEV Ci Carbon dropper post. Seriously, a dropper post is a game changer! No Matter the dirt discipline your cyclist enjoys, a reliable dropper post will make descending faster, obstacles easier, and smiles larger. The LEV Ci Carbon is so light we have it on our featherweight hardtail Pivot LES XC race bikes, so reliable we use it on our ultra-distance and stage racing bikes, and Emma even put one on her Pivot Vault CX bike to really whip around the off-camber hair-pin corners with confidence. Of course a dropper is right at home on our Enduro bikes too!

KS Lev Ci Dropper Post Retail $460. KS does not sell Direct-to-Consumer so you can go visit your local bike shop to get your hands on one (they can also install it for you). Better yet, win one!  Submit a reason the person you would gift this to really needs one by Sunday, December 2nd HERE. Include Good to the Last Drop on the first line of the comments section. The winner will be notified by December 7th and the story will be shared on our social media after the holidays.

Hyperthread kits are stylish and sturdy enough to handle Jen’s monkeying around.

We all have that riding partner who we try not to ride behind because their shorts are see-through thin and has so many holes in their kit that it’s embarrassing to be seen with them at a post ride pizza stop. Or how about when you go to get dressed and realize that all of your kits are in the dirty laundry pile? Solution, a kit from Hyperthreads!

Hyperthreads Hyper Pro Jersey and Bib Retail $270, use our discount code HYPERKSKENDA for 50% off of a shopping cart with $250 or more! ** This discount is good for the first 15 shoppers** Even better, you can submit a pic of the person you want to gift a kit to (or self-gift) in their ridiculous “dirty laundry” riding outfit on on Instagram or Facebook by December 2nd to win one. Please tag @ks_kenda_women (IG) or @kskendawomenmtb (FB). We will sort through the submissions and post the finalists on our IG for public voting.  Winner will be notified by December 7th!

Emma is setting up her wheels with Happy Mediums for some gravel adventures.

Kenda Tires has recently come out with a new tire called the Alluvium Pro. It is capable on pavement as it is on hard packed single track and gravel. Use these tires if you are a fan of chasing sunsets on all-day gravel adventures (that may include a touch of single track) with a group of friends that include stops to eat pie!

Kenda Tires Happy Medium retail $49.95 and use our discount code KS-HOLIDAY25 for 25% off of your order.

Nikki’s bike sporting some gold bling.

Some people just love something sparkly under the tree. How about a gold chain, for the bike! Not only do these chains prolong the life of your drivechain, but they will shave some grams from your bike too.

KMC X11SL Ti Nitride Chain Retail $75 and use our discount code KSKENDA30 for 30% off your order.

Emma’s all smiles with toasty toes.

Lake Winter Riding Boots are a game changer if you plan to ride in the cold. Commuting,fat biking, road miles, you name it – these boots will get you playing bikes year-round. Warning: your trainer may collect dust.

Lake Cycling MXZ 303 Winter Riding Boots Retail $ 300

Mix and match colors or go for just one. Either way let your personality shine through!

ESI makes grips in every color of the rainbow! Grips that match the frame or a rider’s favorite color is an eye catching statement and can freshen up the look of any pedaling machine.

ESI Chunky MTB Grips retail $15 and use our discount code FREESHIPPING for free shipping on orders of $45 or more.  Code is good through Cyber Monday.

Jen’s flashy bike tricks need flashy socks.

You can never have enough cycling socks and HB Stache has some of the coolest and brightest designs we know of. They also have great non-wool winter sock options and for every two pairs of socks they sell, a pair is donated to the homeless! You could put coal in them for that cycling partner who is naughty (pirate trails, down on the uphill only, borrows your bike and returns it filthy…).

Handlebar Mustache Socks Retail $16 and use our discount code THANKS25 for 25% off your order.

Some of the spots of the QSE course call for mid-ride celebration.

We are going to race Quebec Single-track Experience in August. This is a must do for anyone who wants to ride incredible terrain fully supported for a week and enjoys riding with really cool people.

Quebec Single Track MTB Stage Race All Inclusive Package Retail $1500 and use our discount code EMMA150 for $150 off your entry.

Tasco kit, Lazer helmet, Lake shoes, ESI grips, and Pivot bike all in eye-catching blue.

Tasco glove and sock kits, Double Digits, come in all sorts of hip designs and colors to spice up a neutral-looking kit, add some personality to your team kit, or be completely matchy-matchy!

Tasco MTB Glove and Sock Kit Retail $45 and use our discount code
KSKendaHoliday good for 20% off all items, even sale items.

Nikki is post ride ready.

Heading to post ride beers and want to get to know the rider who just moved to town? Run into the restroom to rinse the sweat and dust off your face then apply Aeemelia face oil to your skin to put a glow on your cheeks. Plus, it will fight the damage done from the sun!

Aeemelia Everyday Face Oil Retail $65 and use our discount code KSKENDA for 20% off of your order.

Emma out for a night ride with the local posse.

Extend their ride time window (and safety) with a serious night riding light kit. We’re talking 8000 Lumens blasting out from the Magicshine MJ-908 Bicycle Light to fly the descent way after the sun has set or to be seen by traffic on the way to the trailhead. We’ve used this budget friendly light in 24 hour races and post work bike park sessions. Pair it with the MJ-886B headlamp that easily attaches to your helmet and darkness will not be a deterrent for getting out there.

Magicshine Bike Lights Retail $240

Jen getting a chance to do some reading for fun while on the road.

Time on planes ofers a rare opportunity for many of us to read. Traveling to Bentonville, AR for Epic Rides OZ Trails, Emma read the story of Gino Bartali who not only was a Tour de France winner, but smuggled identity papers to help Jews escape documents in his bikes down tube. Who says riding a bike can’t save the world?

Road to Valor: a True Story of WWII Italy, the Nazis, and the Cyclist Who Inspired a Nation, by Aili and Andres McConnon Retail $10

Injury Recovery is Serious Business

This is not how I envisioned finishing SSWC

My 2018 race season ended with an exclamation point.  Not the tattoo I hoped to sport from a victory at Single Speed World Championships (SSWC), but with a broken clavicle in pursuit of said tattoo. After a few days of tears, moping around, and various medical appointments it was time to focus on my training.  “What, back to a regimented training plan?” Well no… and yes. This block of work is filled with things to heal my injury. Here is what I am doing:

Coffee in the hot tub is the more enjoyable part of contrast bathing

Medicine: My Orthopedist immobilized my clavicle and is monitoring it to make sure the bone is aligned and healing. He also has me doing some home-care to speed up my recovery.

  • I am contrast bathing to pump circulation through my healing site and flush out inflammation by going back and forth between hot and cold.  I do this 2-3 times a day: first thing in the morning (with coffee in hand), after work, and before bed. To contrast bath I am soaking in my hot tub for 2-5 minutes, then jumping into a cold shower (or roll around in the snow) for 1-2 minutes for 3 cycles a session.
  • For pain relief I am not taking NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, etc.).  These COX-1 and 2 inhibitors dull pain, but they also delay bone healing. For the first few days I took Tylenol instead.
  • Naps. I am taking plenty of naps! The hormones that drive healing are released during sleep. Getting 8 hours of good nighttime sleep is important, but hard to do when I wake up every time I move. Naps can fill in the gaps and reduce stress hormones which also slow healing.
  • I am asking for help. I hate this. Yes, I can figure out how to wield a vacuum, but it will likely tweak my clavicle. It’s not worth it, so I am asking for help. And surprise-surprise, the people in my life are happy to be able to do something for me.
  • I believe complementary medicine assists my healing. It could be placebo, but even that is very powerful. I am getting acupuncture and massage (circulatory around my clavicle and deep tissue to the rest of my upper body) weekly to increase my healing potential and manage pain.
Elder the Cat really likes that I’m embracing cat naps

Rest: My injury is well timed. SSWC was my last race of the season to be followed by a light month before I start my build for the 2019 season. My off month (or two) is way more off than I expected, but this is a blessing in disguise.

  • I’ve not been off my bike for more than 3-4 days in over 5 years. Not pedaling for a few weeks will let my body repair the repetitive stress from all the biking, reducing my risk of injury down the road.
  • In this off phase I will lose my top end speed, power, and strength.  However, gains in these need cyclical builds to make big gains over time.
  • My base endurance will not disappear! If I keep active, even in an easy aerobic state for 1-2 hours a day I will not lose much aerobic fitness and rebuilding will be a quick and easy process.
Hiking up to the South Sister

Exercise: Yes, exercise! Not only does getting my heart rate up increase the circulation to my healing clavicle, but gentle jostling of my clavicle stimulates the repair process. Exercise is a huge part of my life (20 hrs/week) and filling this void is good for my mental health too. My CTS coach has come up with training that compliments my big picture cycling goals and will keep my head in the game. Here is what Coach is having me do:

  • I am walking. I usually bike everywhere, even two blocks to the grocery store…and now I walk; briskly. If I walk all my commuting routes daily it is translating into two hours a day of walking. Bonus: there are a lot of apple and pear trees in my neighborhood and I have sampled them all to find the best ones!
  • On weekends I am hiking but making sure I am on terrain that I am highly unlikely to take a fall on. I’ve done several local hikes to places I had no idea were in my backyard.
  • I am doing breathwork. Some of it is meditation-based and some of it is while I’m walking. The walking breathwork is designed to increase my CO2 tolerance. I’m excited to see the benefits of this as soon as I’m given the green light to ski tour at altitude.
  • I cross-train by skiing (Alpine, ski touring, and Nordic) in the winter.  Lower body strength is important for these. I am doing all sorts of walking strength training drills Coach Durner fondly calls “Lunge-Fest.”
  • My Pilates practice is still in full force, but obviously has to be modified for no upper body motion. This work is making sure I continue to train my dynamic stability, range of motion, and small muscle strength.

Diet: This is NOT the time to try and lose a few pounds. It takes a lot of energy (calories) to heal bone and being depleted will slow my bone repair. I have made a few tweaks to my diet to ensure I have all the nutrients to repair the damage and don’t gain weight.

  • Bone is a protein matrix that hardens with mineral crystals. I am increasing my protein by 10g/day. I am focusing on lean and “good fat” proteins such as chicken and salmon and a plant-based protein shake. I am also using a collagen powder.
  • My need for carbohydrates is not as great as when I am training, but they are still important. I am reducing/eliminating all simple carbohydrates (sugars, processed grains such as flour and white rice) and replacing them with whole grains (rolled oats and barley ,for example) and carbohydrate dense vegetables (sweet potatoes and rutabagas).
  • I am making sure I have ample minerals available for bone growth. I increase foods rich in these minerals and take a supplement as well.
Calcium and Phosphorus are the primary elements of bone mineral crystals. Eat dairy, soy, Omega-3 rich fish (sardines, salmon, etc.), dark leafy greens, and almonds.
Copper is a key component in the protein bone matrix.Eat oysters, sesame seeds, cashews and shiitake mushrooms.
Silicon is a catalyst for making bone protein matrix.Eat onions, whole wheat berries/ winter wheat, and cucumbers.
Zinc is needed to harden healing bone.Eat lentils, garbanzos and turkey/ wild game.
  • Several vitamins are also needed to build bone.
Vitamin B6 is needed for vitamin K to do its job.Eat avocados, bananas and potatoes
Vitamin C is essential in making the protein matrix of bone and reduces inflammation.Eat bell peppers, Brussel sprouts, and kiwi.
Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium and stimulated bone stem cells to make bone.Eat red fleshed fish (trout, salmon, etc.) and brown mushrooms.
Vitamin K binds calcium to the protein matrix in the mineral crystallization process.Eat fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi), leafy greens, and asparagus.
Weekend get-away at the Oregon Coast with Joe

Mental Superpower: My attitude toward injury and recovery may be the most important factor to my healing. This doesn’t mean that everything is all rainbows and sunshine, but taking the time to find the benefits of injury recovery and taking an active role in my healing process will set me up for a strong base building phase for the 2019 season. I do get bummed that I am missing out on some biking plans I had made but am instead taking weekend trips to the coast or desert and dedicating more time to local cycling advocacy projects like the Big Sky Bike Park expansion. Just like in bike racing, a disadvantage can be made into an advantage with strategy and smart execution. Look out 2019 MTB racers, I am going to be a force to be reckoned with!

Creatively Cleaning Your Bike!

Getting trail time before mountain bike season starts can be tricky in the Ohio, especially with the freeze- thaw and rainy days making trails too wet to ride. Luckily there are some amazingly technical and challenging trails just 3 hours away in West Virginia that are pretty much rideable year round! My favorite part of my most recent ride was conquering wet-mossy rock garden descents. Oh and realizing my bike needed a bath (ha kidding).


Oh cleaning the mountain bike… did I mention that my apartment is downtown and I have no hose?

After 3 years of living in a Columbus apartment I can safely say that I have “mastered” the art of creatively cleaning my bikes in 20 minutes.



** Not Pictured: Creativity for fitting your bike into the shower! (Note: taking the wheels off helps with this.)



Turn on ze shower! It’s so simple it just might work… kinda. Since my showerhead is attached to the wall I fill up the bucket in the sink and throw water on spots the shower can’t get.

After getting a majority of the chunky dirt bits off, I turn the water off, grab the bottle of Joe’s Eco Bike Wash and spray down the bike and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing the bike down. I prefer to use Eco friendly products especially since everything is being washed down my drain so it is lucky for me that the team is sponsored by Joe’s Eco Friendly products this season!


Turn the shower back on and use the bucket to clear remaining soap and dirt. Wooo 1/3 of the way there!!



Spray down the cassette and chainring with some Bio-Degreaser and grab a firm bristle brush. I like to focus on making sure that my derailleur pulleys are clean and free of sticks and other trail presents. Rinse with water – again, nice to just dump the bucket and clear everything in one swoop.



This step happens after the chain is mostly dry (usually wait an hour or so or if you are in a rush towel dry it). Grab the lube towel/rag (it is best to use a microfiber) and your chain lube of choice!


I prefer the Eco-Nano Lube because 1) it works and 2) I like to bring it with me when I ride and nature loves Eco Friendly ha!

Apply the chain lube where the chain meets the cassette and turn the pedals backwards for a couple of rotations until the chain is coated with lube. Then grab your chain lube rag and make a chain-rag taco. Rotate the pedals backwards for a few more rotations until your chain is well lubed and clean of grit.



With a clean (bike) towel, wipe dry off your frame and if you are feeling extra ambitious your wheels. Admire your clean bike and start planning its next trail session!

pretty bike

And Then There Were Four

When I first decided that I wanted to try out UCI XCO racing I was essentially clueless about the scene but hey, I had done a full UCI cyclocross season so how much different could it really be? SPOILER ALERT: it was pretty different!

For my first year, it was just Chris (boyfriend/mechanic/support/the list goes on), me, a rocking FS bike and a lot of camping. We put together a modest schedule and I got my first taste of what it is like to race “with” Olympic level athletes. It was quite the learning experience. The following year (also known as last year), I really felt that I could benefit from some team support; not so much gear-wise (although that would be nice) but from the standpoint of having ladies to ride with and stare at lines together without feeling slightly awkward when you cannot find THE LINE. I learned very quickly that team spots are few and far between, especially if you are not an aspiring U23 rider or don’t have a national championship (or 3) under your belt. So it was back to privateering and taking what we had learned from the previous year and improving upon it!

I made sure to update my race resume and compile a tentative schedule early so that I could reach out to sponsors and begin to build my program. With the help of BikeFettish I went into the 2017 season with a sick setup that was ready to tear it up! By the way, I am really excited that we get to rep them as a team! Even though my results were good and I had earned some UCI points I couldn’t help but look at the other teams and wonder what it must be like and whether or not I could add another rider to “my program.” Andddd cue Fairlee!

Chris and I were walking around Boston Rebellion when Fairlee came up to me and said that she and two other ladies (Nikki and Emma) were thinking about putting together an elite women’s mountain bike team and asked if I was interested (heck freaking yeah I was!!). And so it began: the planning, the hundreds of emails, and tons of learning.

I would have to say that the hardest part of creating the team was (shocker) sponsors. Since we had all been successful privateers we were lucky to have so many relationships with sponsors but that also meant losing some because now there were four riders. I would get back from a ride or take a break from lab work and have emails for daysss. Part of me really enjoyed this because I felt like we were really being productive but the other part of me was like “ahhhh we still have so much to do”!!! I found that making excel sheets helped alleviate some of the stress and behold, our master Google Drive sheet was born.

It has been an amazing experience to have three other incredibly driven and organized ladies to plan the team with. I am pretty sure that I have talked with at least one of my teammates every day since we decided to embark on this mission and I am so freaking excited to get the season rolling!!!

This year we will be repping KS Suspension, Kenda Tires, BikeFettish, Hyperthreads, GQ-6, KMC Chain, Novatec Wheels, Lazer Sport, Lake Cycling, ESI Grips, HT Pedals, Joe’s No Flats, Gu, Smanie Saddles, Tasco, Handlebar Mustache Apparel, and Pedal Power Chamois Cream, with more sponsors in the works. (Pretty baller lineup if I do say so myself).

– Jen Malik