Monday, July 21, 2014

Rapha Women's 100 2014: The Ride, The Kit and Staying Visible

At the last minute I asked my mechanic to install my DayTime Red
This year's Rapha Women's 100 came on the heels of lots of rain and high humidity. In fact I started a bit later than last year due to a few early morning rain storms moving through. Due to some tire and bicycle computer issues on the Terry, I road the heavier Nishiki first until repairs could be done. Being about 15 lbs heavier than the Terry, I definitely felt the difference especially on steep hills. My average speed was about 14.5 mph.

Donkeys grazing in a hillside corral on my ride route.
Once the Terry was ready, I switched off and rode that. Last year I had the Terry for the whole route so after lunch, I enjoyed a much lighter ride! However by then the winds had picked up so headwinds all the way out. The humidity had dropped but the temperature was up into the 80's.

Maximum wind speed was 5.7 mph
The Kit  The Giro Amare Road Helmet weighs only about 280 grams and was so cool with the 26 active turbo vents. I could really hear the wind in my ears especially on the descents. Likewise the Giro Riela Trail Shoes are much more aerodynamic than the Pearl Izumis. The foot bed is also much stiffer which gave me a lot more power in the pedals. Read more about my ride kit HERE.

Giro Amare Women's Road Helmet

During the morning ride, I put on my Safety Smart Wear short sleeved Jersey over my Castelli 2.0 Body Paint Cropped Tri Top and Bibshorts as it was still pretty cool. The Castelli Kit is the lightest, most comfortable cycle wear I've worn to date. It performed so well keeping me cool and dry. The chamois was not too bulky and stayed cool in the saddle. After lunch, I simply wore my Verspertine Vesp over the cropped Tri Top & Bibshort. What I really needed was visibility as I am riding in 50 mph traffic.

Vespertine Vesp taking a break on the Terry in the shade.
Visibility Factors
If you look close in the photo above and in the lead photo, you'll see my DiNotte Daytime Red under the Butterfly saddle of my Terry. At the last minute, I asked my mechanic to install it. A ride this long and with traffic whizzing by can be very stressful. I wanted to make sure that I was seen and from quite a distance. It was sunnier in the afternoon so the Daytime Red did it's thing. Cars saw me and stayed away. I call that winning!
Likewise the Vespertine Vesp offers lightness but high visibility. It is not as aerodynamic as the Castelli Body Paint pieces but I felt safer since I am riding alone and people may not be expecting me on the road. Still I did see quite a few other cyclists out there but just not involved in this Sportive.

Washed and drying after the Rapha Women's 100!
The Ride Wrap This was a great ride this year! Despite having a late rain start, equipment substitutes and repairs, I did a respectable 22.5 miles for the day. My ride route has hills and I'm out there alone so I don't have a group to draft with. Still I would rather challenge myself with a certain degree of difficulty than take an easier route of flat, boring roads. Besides, I would miss all of the horses, turtles, donkeys, sheep and goats I get to see on my route! No, this is way more interesting. The main thing is for us women to get out there and make it happen. Special thanks to this year's ride support team: Giro Sport Design, Castelli Cycling, Safety Smartwear, Vespertine, CatEye Bicycle Electronics and my Number One Bicycle Mechanic, my husband Joe!

CatEye Strada Digital Wireless

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Training Table Favorites - New Garden of Life Organic Vitamins

Something new on the training table!
The Rapha Women's 100 is this weekend and I have to admit that I have been traveling a LOT this spring and summer. I would usually have more road bike miles in by now but with the rain and local flooding, the last few weeks have been a wash (literally)! All the same I have been cross training with my weight machine, by taking walks/runs and laps in the pool.

Fuel for the Rapha Women's 100
Still, that doesn't stop me as I feel that I am in the best shape ever and have added a few new things to my summer training table. I was sent these supplements from Garden of Life to try, I'd say about 6 weeks ago.
They all blend quickly and easily without having to break out the VitaMix. I just add a scoop to water and a little milk in my shaker cup and BOOM, breakfast! 

My favorite is the Raw Protein Chocolate Cacao. It's absolutely delicious with no grainy texture. What makes this line different is the use of raw, sprouted grains like brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and an assortment of bean sprouts. Added to this is high protein chlorella and mixed tocopherols (vitamin E). If I want an extra boost, I'll add fruits and garden vegetables to the Garden of Life Raw Fit which has Green Coffee Bean Extract and more of a neutral flavor. I'll also mix Rainbow Light's Acai Berry Blast and NeoCell's Collagen based powders in my smoothies. The combinations are nearly endless so I've not been bored.

I always add a scoop of protein powder to my smoothies.

Garden of Life KIND Organics Multivitamins
I've just started taking these so the jury is still out on if they are making a difference performance wise. One thing I like is that you can take them on an empty stomach without much worry of stomach upset. Sometimes even before I can down my smoothie, I want to take something when I get up. So far these have been good but most vitamins are better absorbed with a little food so I will take them with a handful of nuts in the AM.

Now these are hard pressed tablets BUT they do not contain the usual shellac, hard waxes and fillers found in cheaper supplements. These vitamins are made with organic whole foods and herbs. I especially like the women specific formulations. My preference is to take a liquid vitamin first, then a gelatin capsule and then last a hard tablet. So I will see how well these pills are breaking down and being assimilated.

Pain in NO picnic. My Turmeric Supreme formulations.
Turmeric Supreme
Something else new that I recently wrote about is the addition of Turmeric Supreme to my training table. I have much less back pain and even when I over-do it, recovery is very fast and complete. If I have any extra issues, I've used their Turmeric Pain formula for added relief. Being in the saddle for 5-6 hours to complete the Women's 100 can be a problem for your back and legs. I'm taking this ahead of time to ward off serious soreness afterward.

So that's the nutritional game plan. I've been eating lots of salmon and mackerel while taking extra Omega 3 supplements as well. The garden is coming in so lots of cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash and cherry tomatoes so far! My knees feel great and I'm looking forward to this and many more challenges this summer. See you out there!

Remember Mr. Snappy from last year's Women's 100?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Rapha Women's 100 - My Castelli & Giro Cycling Kit

Cool Move - Castelli's Body Paint Women's Tri Top
The Rapha Women's 100 Cycling Sportive is quickly approaching so I've had to make final choices on my kit for the day. Last year I wore a very light FRC Carbon Fibered Kit by Giodana which was great in the intense summer heat. This year I'm wearing something even lighter. Castelli's Body Paint 2.0 Series.

Castelli's Body Paint 2.0 Series
"Castelli - An unfair advantage." Well, I'll take every advantage I can get, unfair or otherwise! 
The Body Paint W Tri Short Top is ultralight and specifically made for warm summer riding. The velocity fabric is extremely aerodynamic and comfortable at the same time. The white T-Back reflects heat and the top has an internal bra so you can save weight that way as well. More suited for the Ironman, I plan to wear this bad boy for the Rapha Women's 100 for what I hope will be a much cooler ride.

Castelli's Body Paint 2.0 Women's Bibshort
Castelli's Body Paint 2.0 Women's Bibshort
I can not believe how light these are! These have straight, non binding legs yet there are light grippers on the inside to keep them in place. Just like the Body Paint Tri Top, these women's Bibshorts are made for warm summer weather. The genius is how this garment is knitted into a single piece of seamless fabric. Nothing to bind or dig into your skin. Has a Progetto x2 Air Seat pad for extra ventilation and the suspender straps are very comfortable for us ladies with ample assets. See more pieces and kits from the Body Paint Collection at

Giro Amare Women's Amare Road Helmet & Riela Trail Shoes
Giro has been perhaps my favorite helmet for years ever since I got that crazy pink leopard print lid! It still stops traffic and I get tons of compliments after nearly 10 years! It's still perhaps the lightest helmet I own. Here it is below, refusing to be retired.

Giro Riela Trail Shoes & vintage Giro Women's Helmet.
Giro's Amare Women's Road Helmet
What I like about Giro is the fact that they have made a women's specific helmet for an number of years. This is important because our noggins are a lot different from the guy's. Take into account we also have more hair, getting a smaller man's helmet just doesn't cut it. What also sets Giro apart is their attention to styling. The Amare comes in a Matte Black, but take a look at the rear and you'll see it's anything BUT boring. The polka dots are on trend and adds visibility. Featherweight lining with slimline buckle, it has an In-mold - EPS liner, polycarbonate shell. Equipped with 26 Wind Tunnel vents with internal channeling, it has the Roc Loc 5 fit adjustment system that can be dialed in while the helmet is being worn.

Giro Amare Women's Road Helmet
Giro Riela Trail Shoes
My ride route takes place among the rural horse farms and roads of central New Jersey. So I have worn mountain bike shoes as they grip better on uneven surfaces. I have been wearing Pearl Izumi MB shoes which I like except for the laces. Just my preference but just the thought of laces getting caught in the crank causes concern.
The Giro Riela Trail Shoes are closer in design to my dedicated racing / road shoes. They are much more sleek and lightweight (weighing 290 gms) than my PI MB shoes. Also like my Sidi Road Shoes, they have velcro straps and NO laces. Perfect! While I have only begun wearing the Rielas, I'm excited about using them for the upcoming sportive. See these and more road helmet and shoe styles from

Giro Riela Trail Cycling Shoes in Black/Rhodamine Red
So that's my kit for the Rapha Women's 100 this year. Next up I'll show you some of my favorite training table foods and supplements as well as some special power goodies I plan to take along for the ride. Some tips I'm using to prepare is to:

*Train in the heat and avoid air conditioning. You'll do better to rough it in the heat and humidity to acclimatise yourself to riding in those conditions.

*Train with a heavier bicycle than the one you plan to use for the ride. I am using my sport-touring bicycle fully loaded with a rear trunk. It is at least 15 pounds heavier than my Terry Symmetry.

My Nishiki Sport Touring "trainer".