Running through pregnancy

November 27th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

By Erin Young

 

The day before the big Rim to Rim to Rim run and totally oblivious that I was already a few weeks along.

I found myself relentlessly tired from weeks of epic running. I had flown out to Yosemite that spring break, to poke around and then over to Lake Sonoma only to be humbled by 50 miles of relentless “hills”. Two weeks later I ran (my face off!) at the Ice Age 50 miler in Wisconsin, gunning for top 10 in hopes of a ticket to the “big dance”. Just two weeks after that, my girlfriends and I took off for our dream adventure trip to the Grand Canyon for the 53 mile rim to rim to rim adventure to be covered in just one day. I played hard. I was living with no regrets, saying yes to everything. That all came to an abrupt end when I just couldn’t kick the fatigue. I was just SO tired. After weeks of rest and still whining, “I am SO tired”, my best work buddy slapped me with the ridiculous suggestion that I try a pregnancy test. I laughed in a way that now just seems so cocky. When she found me crying behind my desk, she knew she was right. And just for the record, those were tears of fear, not regret. Never regret. Fear because I knew that life as I knew it, was over. But life wasn’t over. This was great. I was going to have a little buddy to be part of all of these adventures! But running through a pregnancy isn’t easy. I found ways to make it tolerable, and even enjoyable. These are my suggestions for keeping it going and even making the actual birth far easier!

 

  • Don’t stop running! As soon as you find out you are expecting, make your plan to keep it going. Once you are out of shape, getting back is far more difficult during pregnancy. Be reasonable and make your goal to maintain fitness rather than gain. There has never been a better time to focus on building your aerobic base.

 

  • Remember that heart Rate will be elevated and you will breath heavier, even if you haven’t gained a pound yet. Blood volume doubles before the end of the 1st trimester, causing your heart to work harder

 

  • Don’t worry about going above a certain heart rate. It is a myth. You can run hard and race as long as you feel up to it. You will cut off your own oxygen supply before you ever take away from the baby. Trust me, I had an OB researcher to back me up on that one and I raced all the way through pregnancy!

 

  • Running in the heat is going to feel way more difficult. You will get hotter faster. I suggest early morning or treadmill runs in the air conditioning. Always carry ice cold water, or ground up ice with water. It will help you feel cooler.
  • Invest in a “belly belt”. They will help you run longer into pregnancy and give your belly and lower back support. I also continued to use it for several months after I had my son. This is a must!! Belly Belt This is similar to the one I got, there are many choices on Amazon. Don’t bother with the cheap ones as there is little support.

 

  • The Hoka’s sure are ugly, but they are the greatest pregnancy run shoe ever! Just look at all that cushion!

 

  • Running dirt trails felt so good compared to the road. Plus it is usually shaded and not as many people around to witness your walk breaks!

 

  • Have a running buddy! It helps so much to have a friend to motivate you. Some days were so difficult to roll out of bed. Having my friends waiting for me (sometimes in my driveway!) got me moving every morning before work. I was lucky enough to have a few who could tolerate my dropping pace. And when I was too slow, we ran on treadmills next to each other!

 

  • Strength train! You don’t have to do box squats, but 2-3 times a week in the weight room will maintain your some of your strength and make recovery easier. Plus, you won’t feel so terrible with the added baby fat that you WILL have during pregnancy.

 

Run as much as you want as long as you are comfortable. You know you better than anyone. The day my back and pelvis started hurting I halted to a walk and my son came that evening. I have no regrets about running during pregnancy. It was difficult, but making it social made it enjoyable and helped me feel more like myself. I realized that I wasn’t giving up my identity, but it was enhanced.

 

Now, running after the baby comes is a whole other story! The good news is that pushing the baby jogger really IS easier than having one in your belly!

My little buddy building his 1st two wheel bike

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What is the deal with “Cross”?

November 13th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

What’s the deal with “Cross”?

If you haven’t experienced cyclocross firsthand, you may be wondering why anyone would want to participate in such an event. If you aren’t familiar with cyclocross, imagine riding your bike as fast as you can, but throwing in every type of element that would make it more difficult to do so – grass, sand, mud, stairs, even barriers (think short hurdles). OK, this may sound a little crazy, but it’s also one of the fastest growing crazes in cycling.

 

 

 

 

So what is cyclocross (a.k.a. CX)?

Cyclocross was created Belgium as a fun way to keep cyclists riding in the winter months. Today’s cyclocross events are timed events, typically between 30-60 minutes that take place on relatively short (1-2 mile) circuits, most often in parks. The circuits typically contain a mix of grass, gravel, mud, sand, and pavement with some features that require riders to dismount and run with their bikes for a short period of time. Those who are serious CXers are riding cyclocross specific bikes, spending time dialing in their tire pressure for the conditions and look smooth and efficient getting on and off their bikes. For most of us, however, CX offers one of the easiest and most laid-back environments to try a bike race. In most CX races, competitors can (and do) use either a cyclocross specific bike or a mountain bike. Races are categorized (USAC Cat 1-5 or Beginner/Sport/Expert). Beginner races last only 30-minutes and tend to be much more laid back than their road race cousins. Because of their history as a fun way to spend the winter, cyclocross races often include competitors wearing costumes and a fair share of heckling on the course.

In other bike racing events, riders have to fight hard to “stay with the group” to take advantage of the drafting advantages. In Cyclocross, racers are riding against the course almost as much as they are against their competitors. Most races are spread out within the first lap with riders going their own pace as they take on the challenge of riding the features on the course. Also, because of the nature of the courses, CX races involved multiple laps and are well-suited to spectators as racers can be viewed multiple times throughout the race (and since they are often in parks, often have playgrounds for really young spectators to enjoy).

If you’ve wondered what this cyclocross this is all about, find a local race and come check it out. They’re fun to watch, but even more fun to ride. Whether you want to heckle or pedal, it’s hard to beat cyclocross for some fun this fall. Here are some links to the local Cyclocross series in Michigan:

 

 

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Goals: Ore to Shore

November 5th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

By Sawyer Shafer

Every season it is important to set goals for yourself with your coach to help set expectations, and have certain races that you will peak for over the season. In addition to that, these goals and “A” races serve as a carrot in front of me during excruciatingly hard training rides, and long stretchers of no racing.

Going into the race that I had chosen as my “A” event for the year, Ore To Shore Soft Rock, I was feeling good mentally and physically. In addition to that, I had recently gotten a bike fit from that had me feeling better than ever on the bike. Going into the race, I knew it was going to be very hard, but I was up for the challenge. As advised by Terry Ritter, I applied for preferred start and got it. This eliminated the stress of getting to the front of the race. I drove up to Marquette the day before the race with my dad, and had a chance to do openers on the last few miles of the course. My legs were feeling great. That night I had a quality dinner, and didn’t have any trouble falling asleep. The morning of the race I woke up three hours before I was due to start, and had breakfast and had no trouble eating it which, along with falling asleep easily, is rare on race day. We got to the start venue an hour and a half before the start time, and I began my ritual of putting my tires at the appropriate pressure and mixing my race bottles. I then started my warmup and, just like the day before, felt I had the legs to win the Tour! I got my spot on the front row with about ten minutes to start. The next thing I knew, I was racing in my most important race of the year.

I positioned myself well in the first few miles, never leaving the top five wheels, and as soon as we hit the two track, I put in a little dig and was able to roll off the front with a group of about six. This group would produce the top six placed finishers. Roughly six miles into the race is a section of road that really scared me. It was miles of rolling hills and I knew if I was going to get dropped, this was where it would happen. Thankfully, I made it through unscaved and still feeling super strong. About ten miles into the race, it hit me that I can really win this. Then a few minutes later we came around a tight corner and I stood to sprint out of it and felt the chain slip like it had just fallen off of the front chain ring! I stopped to put it on and realized I had broken my rear derailleur. At this point, I hadn’t yet realized that this meant my goal was no longer attainable, and that all my hard work and countless hours on the bike were all in vain. The realization that I wouldn’t be able to finish the race hit hard. Very hard.

Looking back on this a few days later, I realized what happened wasn’t too terribly bad considering I didn’t get hurt and the derailleur failure was a warranty problem and no fault of mine. And in the grand scheme of things, one dnf isn’t the worst thing that could happen. It also helped me realize that, aside from this failure, I had reached the bulk of my seasonal goals: I am now a Cat three road racer, won my first criterium, and have posted solid results all summer. This was due to awesome Team support and hard training. In addition, this failure itself can be used to add fuel to the fire, allowing me to chase down my remaining goals and push through the rest of the long season.

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Part 3: Coming Back

October 30th, 2018 by Kaitlyn Patterson

By Collin Snyder, Team Athletic Mentors cyclist

Continued from Part 1: A Dark Road and Part 2: Hope on the Horizon

A little after 3 weeks after surgery and 7 weeks since I first came in, things were finally heading in the right direction. I was putting on weight, eating real food, and ready to go home. Upon release, I set a goal for myself that I would finish Iceman this year. Some of my teammates looked at me skeptical but said they’d cheer me on.

First outdoor ride!

Five weeks post-op, I got on my bike for the first time. I rode for just over 20 minutes and I was exhausted. My power output was less than a third what it once was, yet my heart rate neared race efforts. It was great and demoralizing at the same time. The next day, I rode up to my local bike shop to say hello. I managed around a 15 mph pace (with a tailwind) at a hard effort and had to hang out for the next hour to prepare for the half hour return trip.

Each day, I was able to go a little harder, a little longer.  Three weeks after getting on the bike, I rejoined my Monday Night Crew. That night we rode for nearly 30 miles, and I even found myself pulling at the front. Each time I logged into Zwift, I would have to slide my FTP bar slightly higher to ensure I was working out in the proper zones. After each ride, I look at my power curve and see a new personal best. On one Monday night group ride, my buddy titled his ride on Strava as “Last ride ever where I’ll be faster than Collin.”

On top of a climb on the Harlow Lake trails in Marquette during my first MTB trip post-op with the guys

I feel great now. I am now back up to my old weight, I can eat just about anything I want without fear of it causing me pain and symptoms. My fears of never being able to race again have passed. My power levels are now to the point where I have to adjust my overall Iceman goal. No longer is the goal just to finish, but to place in my age group. I’ll be doing it with gears for the first time in 9 years, but I think I have a slight excuse.   

Once again, I want to thank all the wonderful people in my life who helped out while I was out of commission. My wife, for being there at my side through the darkest hours. My parents for daily visits and helping out my wife with child care each night. Friends pitched in to set up a meal service for my wife and toddler. People teamed up to mow my yard and weed my garden. Heck, one of my riding buddies did a full tuneup and detailing of my mountain bike. The outpouring of love and support was overwhelming. I feel blessed to have the friends and family I do.

Living with an ostomy is not the scarlet letter I had envisioned. Off the bike, I feel completely normal. No longer am I eyeing where the bathroom is at every new place I visit. I can sit at work and actually work straight without having to get up every 20 minutes. I can dress in the same clothes I’ve always worn.  On the bike, its not the death sentence I thought it was going to be. With support groups online such as the Facebook group “Ostomy Lifestyle Athletes,” I’ve learned ways to adapt to my new body. My fears of constant dehydration have not materialized. Most importantly, I’m back home with my wife and children enjoying life. Comparing the alternative, I am completely happy with my decision to go ahead with surgery.

I have gone back and forth whether or not I wanted to share my story, but if this can give just one person hope, then this amount of sharing is worth it. While I sat in that hospital bed, I scoured the internet looking for any high level athlete who managed to compete with an ostomy. I really didn’t find much which only added to my fears and anxiety. If you are reading this and in the same uncomfortable hospital bed as I was, let this give you hope. Life will get better, and you will once again do what you love.

Selfie, home with my Daughter

If you have persistent GI issues, see a doctor right away. Early treatment can spare you from what I had to go through. If are interested in learning more about Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis visit these sites for information:

U-M Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program 

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

“Ostomy Lifestyle Athletes” Facebook page

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Part 2: Hope on the Horizon

October 29th, 2018 by Kaitlyn Patterson

By Collin Snyder, Team Athletic Mentors cyclist

Continued from Part 1: A Dark Road

That night, after running to the bathroom for the upteenth time, I looked in the mirror and could barely recognize the frail body in front of me. I could see every rib, my eyes were sunken in, and I felt as bad as I looked. At this point, I could barely lift my girls, hadn’t been on the bike in over a month, and could barely muster a few laps down the hall without feeling exhausted. I was so weak, and nearing a month since my first day in the hospital with no improvement, I knew what I had to do. I had to accept my fate. Although it was less than an ideal outcome, it would lead to a path of healthiness and out of this hospital.

Surgery went well. My surgeon said that my colon was one of the worst he’d ever saw that didn’t rupture. He said that if I wouldn’t have had the surgery, it probably would have ruptured within a week and sepsis could have set in. The next day when I woke up, I felt as if a cancer had been removed from my body. Everyone who saw me that day said I looked a million times better. I started to have hope.  

A couple days later, the first complication arrived. I started to get extremely nauseous and then started vomiting everything that I had ate or drank since surgery. That is when they found out I had an ileus. At the basic level, its a side effect from surgery where the guts just go into this dormant state and there is nothing they can do about it except to wait it out. While you wait for your guts to wake up, they put a tube down your nose, into your stomach to suck out any stomach acid and bile that gets produced which would lead to further vomiting. This meant no fluids or food until it was removed. They placed me on IV nutrition to slow my starvation process down. I kept losing weight along with my spirit. I was down to 116 lbs, about 50 lbs less than my race weight. At one point, both my parents and wife were scared I may not make it.   

One thin face

This continued for weeks. There would be signs that my guts were ready to wake up, only to go back to a dormant state. Online, everything says an ileus should last for 2-14 days. Mine lasted for 3 weeks. Going that long without food makes you feel less and less human. Nurses who were on vacation would come into my room and be surprised to see me saying “you’re still here?”

During this time, there were so many dark and depressing days. You become bitter at those who eat and drink garbage, while I lived a clean life, yet I’m the one sitting in the hospital. It’s hard when you go from a top local cyclist to someone who can barely get out of bed. Luckily I have an amazing wife, parents and friends who would visit me daily to keep me going. My “Monday Night Crew” who I’ve ridden with nearly every Monday for the past decade decided to surprise me and ride to the hospital one night for a visit. So many people from the cycling world would text or call me asking if there was anything they could do to help. Any visit would momentarily take my mind off the reality I was living. My number one dose of hope was the visits from my two year old daughter who was always happy to see me. Without the amazing people in my life, I’m not sure how I would have gotten through this dark time.

A happy moment in the hospital

Check back tomorrow for the last chapter in my road to recovery.

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Part 1: A Dark Road

October 27th, 2018 by Kaitlyn Patterson

By Collin Snyder, Team Athletic Mentors cyclist

On the first Saturday in November, I will line up for the most important race of my life. I’ve raced Iceman every year for about a decade but this year will be different. I know for a fact, I will not even be close to my results of last year, however this will be my biggest victory ever.

Alice and I on the top step for Single Speed at Iceman in 2017 after finishing 2nd in wave 1

One thing most people don’t know about me is back in 2012, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. It’s an autoimmune disease that attacks the digestive tract, and can ravage an otherwise healthy body. That year, I had a bad attack, known as a flare, lost a ton of weight and strength which forced me into the hospital for a few weeks. When I eventually got back on the bike, I had to step back from 100 miler MTB races and temporarily move down a category on the road. However, I got on the right medications, and eventually returned to a normal life. I was symptom free for six years, however good things sometimes must come to an end. This April, I started to have GI issues after taking an antibiotic for a chest infection. After I finished the prescription, I figured the issues would go away. They didn’t.

For the next three months, my symptoms kept getting worse. My GI doctor started giving me stronger and stronger meds, but nothing seemed to help. By late June, it was hard to be focused at work as I would have to stop what I was doing nearly every 20 minutes to run to the bathroom. On 6/22, my anniversary, I had had enough. I called my GI doc and he said to come into my local hospital to receive IV steroids. Steroids are used as a strong immunosuppressant to keep my body from attacking itself. During my last flare, these were the magic bullet and stopped my symptoms nearly instantly. This time around, I wasn’t so fortunate. For the next two weeks they kept loading me up with steroids with little success. I was eventually discharged on July 3rd with nearly the same symptoms that I came in. Five days later, I woke up with a fever of 103.8F and told my wife it was time to go to University of Michigan to see their GI specialist.

After some imaging and analysis of my past medical history, the team at U of M re-diagnosed me with Ulcerative Colitis or UC. In the grand scheme of things, this is a slightly better diagnosis because UC can essentially be cured by surgery while with Crohn’s, a diseased organ can be removed only to have the disease pop up somewhere else in the digestive tract.  

For the next two weeks, they did everything they could. At first, things were looking promising.  I was given a super powerful drug (at nearly $20,000 a dose) and some of my blood tests started to improve. There was talk of discharging me the following week and they decided to give me one more dose of this drug for good measure. However, the day before my second dose, my blood markers started to go south again. The second dose did nothing. The team repeated some imaging and came to me with some devastating news. The medical and surgical team sat down with somber faces and said I had exhausted all medicine options. They had given me two doses of their biggest guns and imaging showed zero improvement. There was nothing left except for surgery. They would remove my entire large intestines and give me a temporary end ileostomy which means an external bag. I held it together for 2/3rds of the consultation, then I broke down in tears.

I knew that this would result in a cure, however, I was terrified of all the limitations this would lead to.

The day before surgery

For the past 12 years, my life has revolved around cycling and I couldn’t comprehend how those could coexist. The number one reason why people with this surgery end up back in the hospital is due to dehydration. With a healthy body, dehydration is already a constant concern when racing. On the family front, I have two toddlers and I worried how this would affect play time, and even how they saw me. Would I still be their superhero?

 

Check back tomorrow for the next chapter of my story.

The post Part 1: A Dark Road appeared first on Team Athletic Mentors.


From runner to triathlete; from injury to strength

October 26th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

By Chelsey Jones

“You will never run again”. “You should probably find a different sport”. “Have you thought about swimming?” Were the words I heard from numerous doctors 4 years ago. I had suffered from chronic tendonitis for 2 years up to that point and although I had been able to train through it my body had officially hit it’s breaking point. I had come to a place where I thought I was no longer going to be able to run.

Up to this point I had had many great moments as a runner. Races won, P.R.’s, pacing people to Boston qualifiers, qualifying for Boston myself, having great conversations with my friends on long runs, but oddly enough my most memorable moment as a runner was not when I was running.

It was in 2015, the day before the Grand Rapids Marathon. It was a perfect fall day. The temperature was in the 50’s, leaves at their peak color, sun shining, and I was injured -not able to run at all. Feeling extremely sorry for myself, I took off on a long bike ride. I was angry, discouraged, feeling defeated, and just very bitter. I didn’t understand why this was happening to me. At this point I had been dealing with chronic tendonis in my Achilles for 2+ years and no one could seem to find an answer. I had seen multiple doctors, tried all the new and upcoming remedies/procedures, and still it wasn’t better. It just wasn’t fair.

As I was riding all I could of think of was poor me, why me, how is this fair? Heading down Kal-Haven I saw a man biking, and as I took a second look I realized that he only had one leg. Hmm. Suddenly I didn’t feel quite as sorry for myself. I still was a very healthy person, and was even able to be out biking. I kept riding and pondering things, until I came across a sign in front of a church that read “How much do you trust me?”. I’m not sure if it was fate, just good timing, or a greater power, but all of these events happening made me have an “a-ha” moment. I suddenly realized that although what I was going through was frustrating, and I didn’t understand it, everything happens for a reason. Even though I couldn’t see the big picture, everything was going to work out the way it was meant to be. I realized challenges are opportunities to build strength and character, if I choose to face them head on. In the midst of my struggles, I was learning some very important lessons. A few weeks later, I met with a surgeon in Chicago who promised me I would run again, healthy, strong, and pain free.

  After a somewhat invasive surgery where they removed 3cm of bone from the back of my heel I began the long journey to recovery. Determined and motivated to gain back all of my fitness and become a stronger athlete than what I was prior to my injury, I began cross-training. Biking, swimming, strength, and core were my main focuses. Slowly, I began getting better at each one and before I knew it I was back running again, and pain free.The day before my first triathlon, I decided to give triathlon a try. Never having swam in open water before and riding a bike that I found in my friends garage, I went off-excited and eager to just be participating in some type of event. With zero expectations I began my journey into triathlons. Each distance and discipline a new hurdle to overcome. I have been very fortunate to not only grow stronger as an athlete, but also as an individual. Setting new goals, reaching these, sharing my knowledge with others, and building amazing relationships along the way. Sometimes the things we most fear in life lead us to the greatest blessings.

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Pensacola Cycling Classic

October 16th, 2018 by tcoffey

Team Athletic Mentors Tim Coffey goes on a road trip from Brevard, NC to Pensacola, FL

 

With Hurricane Florence ripping through North Carolina I decided I wanted to skip town and go race my bike somewhere sunny and warm.  A week before the race I watched this massive storm gain strength in the ocean off the coast and decided it wasn’t a good idea to spend the weekend in Brevard while the storm rolled in.  I was looking on USA Cycling and I found a stage race in Pensacola Florida. There was a solid payout and with forty people pre-registered for the race I decided to sign up.

 

I was able to get one of my collegiate team mates to come and race with me.  Shortly after we both signed up we realized me needed to find a place to stay. We looked at staying at a campground on the ocean but after looking at the weather and the heat advisories I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea.  I emailed the race director and he was able to find a place for us to stay. Now with a place to stay and money on the table the race was a go.

 

We loaded up the car on thursday after class and headed south.  The drive ended up being about eight and a half hours counting time for stopping.  After a long drive we rolled into Pensacola. Our host family greeted us and we went to sleep right away.

 

Saturday morning came very early.  Our alarms went off at 5:30 am and it was time to get ready for stage one of the race.  Stage one was a three mile time trial. After a thirty minute warm-up I was ready to go.  I felt super strong during the time trial with my Giant TCR kicking a lot of TTl bikes butt and ended up in 4th place,  12.38 seconds back from first. I knew going into stage two that I would need to win to make up lost time.

 

Stage two was a 50 mile road race through the rolling hills of northern Florida.  There were a lot of attempts of a break away trying to go but nothing stuck. I burnt a lot of matches trying to break away from the field but nothing stuck.  After about two hours of racing the whole field was still together and we were flying down the 1k long finishing straight with a group of about 30 guys. In the massive group sprint finish I ended up finishing fourth, topping my sprint off at forty miles an hour with my TCR pulling off another top 5!  My result in the road race was enough to stay in fourth overall and I did not lose time. After the road race I was down 16 seconds from first place but I still was in the running for the overall.  

 

The final stage was a forty minute crit.  I did a little warm up before the race but it didn’t take too much riding to get warmed up because the heat index was over 100 degrees.  During the race before mine a guy crashed in the last corner and was hurt pretty bad so my race was delayed because of it. When my race finally started it was full gas from the gun.  

 

The race leader attacked about four laps in and another guy went with him.  Everyone in the peloton looked around at each other and no one chased. I moved to the front and pulled for two laps trying to bring back the breakaway.  After pulling for two laps I pulled off the front and everyone sat up and looked around at each other again. This kind of racing is called negative racing.  It’s not fun when this happens.

 

After being frustrated with the negative racing, halfway through the race I got a flat tire and almost fell in a corner.  I rolled to the start and grabbed my backup wheel and I was back into the race. After doing one lap with the new wheel the peloton came upon one of the guys that were in the break and he was on the ground all bloody.  Turns out while he was sitting on the other guy’s wheel he had his head down and went straight into a barrier. After seeing the guy on the ground the field lit up and the speed got ramped up since the second place was open.  

 

We ripped around the course for another ten minutes there was one lap to go.  The field slowed down in the first two turns and then the next three were super fast.  We went into the last corner and everyone was fighting for position. I ended up finishing around twenty-fifth in the field sprint which was good enough to keep in fourth overall and I went home with some cash.  Talk about an awesome weekend, I had a blast.

 


2019 Liv Langma Advanced Pro 1 Disc review

October 13th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

By Elaine Sheikh
As I entered my first full year of competitive cycling, one thing was certain: I was due for a bicycle upgrade. This became very evident in April at the Tour of the Gila when there were no neutral wheels available to me as I was the only woman in the peloton with a 10-speed cassette! Since Liv, a sister company of Giant featuring women-specific bicycles, is a sponsor of our team, I knew I wanted to start there with my bicycle search. Fortunately, Liv offers a comprehensive line-up of race bicycles, so I knew I would find a bike that would meet my needs. After much research and vascillation, I chose the 2019 Langma Advanced Pro 1 Disc. With an advanced-grade composite frame, Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset, and Giant SLR-1 Disc 30 WheelSystem, I knew I would be getting quite an upgrade from my previous race machine.

The first thing I did was upgrade the crankset from a compact to a mid-compact with a Pioneer powermeter. I knew that with the 11×30 cassette, I would have no trouble with the larger chain-rings. Otherwise, the only other change to the original product was the saddle. The wheelset comes tubeless ready, which is how I ran it.
First impressions: The bike is gorgeous, with a sleek black finish and small dark purple and gold accents. I expected the bike to be light, but I was still surprised with the lightness of the bike when I picked it up. Riding over chip seal, I found that my wrists, arms and shoulders felt remarkably less fatigue than n my previous bike. The shock absorption of the composite frame lends itself to a smooth, comfortable ride. The bike accelerates quickly, with enough stiffness to be responsive. Additionally, it is also stiff enough in the lateral planes to corner confidently. Overall, I have loved my first week with the new bicycle and can’t wait to represent Team Athletic Mentors and Liv bicyles for the rest of the road season!

 

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(Re)Focus – Part I

October 9th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

By Todd Anthes
(Multisport Team)

2018 was to be the year of the bike for me.  Late last year I stopped regular running for the first time in my life. It had been a couple years since I really focused on triathlon; and I was just kind of going through the motions.

I had never biked more than three of four times a week before and was enjoying more and more the time on my mountain bike. So, after a short break at the end of 2017, it was all bike.

I changed coaches, was properly fitted on my mountain bikes and started a base training program.  By the middle of February, I was having some serious sciatica pain. I figured it was just adaptation as I was biking every day.

I saw my physical therapist, massage therapist, and eventually my doctor.  The pain I was experiencing when I would get out of bed in the morning and touch the floor was extricating and getting worse day by day.

I backed off the bike for awhile, and the symptoms got worse. Back to the doctor I went.  After much persuasion, I agreed to an MRI.  I’m glad I did, it showed a L5/S1 disc herniation/bulge. I was crushed. The year of the bike might be over before it even began.

I don’t really know what will happen at this point.  A significant portion of the population has a disc protrusion, but it really isn’t an issue until it hits a nerve. And while there are a many proven non-surgical methods in which you can heal from a disc injury like mine, everybody is different.

I plan to try to rehabilitate this injury for some fall mountain bike racing, so stay tuned.

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