Getting out on training and fitness rides can be tough this time of year. Not only does the weather often not cooperate, but the racing calendar is sparse so there isn’t much in the way of motivation. This is where group rides come in!
“Many of us find that what keeps us coming back to racing year after year isn’t so much the racing itself, but it’s the friends that we’ve gained from cycling.”
— Jenn Levo, Let’s Race Bikes
Team and shop rides are pretty common (just ask your local shop for info); but for women — especially those who just starting to get serious — there are far fewer choices. That why when I happened upon a photo of 12 smiling women suited up for a night ride earlier this week, I had to find out what was up.
Turns out the ride was organized by Let’s Race Bikes, a coalition of local teams and veteran racers working to get more women interested in competitive cycling. I tracked down one of the group’s members and organizers, Jenn Levo, to find out more about their Monday Night Rides.
Levo said the main goal is to build community with women racers regardless of skill level or experience. Recounting her own experiences, Levo said, “Many of us find that what keeps us coming back to racing year after year isn’t so much the racing itself, but it’s the friends that we’ve gained from cycling.” On Monday nights it’s all about getting some winter “base miles” in the legs, brushing up on group riding skills, and just hanging out with friends old and new.
Beyond organizing rides and get togethers, Let’s Race Bikes tries to provide women with proper gear and race entry fees. “We find when you have no monetary commitment to a race, it makes it a lot easier to give it a try,” she said in a recent email. Participants can get free race entries donated by bike shops, promoters and other bike-friendly businesses. With their monday night ride in its third season, Levo and her friends have done something new this year: They’ve gotten sponsorship from two local companies, component and accessory maker Portland Design Works and Endurance PDX, a physical therapy studio.
Portland Design Works is known for their lights and fenders, making them a natural sponsor for a weekday winter ride series. The company’s marketing manager Jocelyn Gaudi, is active in the community. She’s a board member of the Northwest Trail Alliance and a member of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee. Gaudi also founded the adventure-minded Komorebi Cycling Team, which competes solely against nature.
The ride’s other sponsor, Endurance PDX, supplies riders with cycling-specific physical therapy, stationary cycling sessions (using the CompuTrainer tool), bike fits, and coaching. Endurance PDX owner Dr. Annalisa Fish hosts the women of Let’s Race Bikes at her studio in Sellwood — a location that doubles as a pre-ride pit stop.
Let’s Race Bikes’ monday night rides draw anywhere from five to fifteen riders. Levo says this season’s weather has made things interesting. “The weather hasn’t been so cooperative. For example, the first Monday of December saw ‘that big flood’, the following Monday had ‘that big windstorm’, and there was Monday where ‘that little snow that turned into a big ice storm.'” Women who showed up this past Monday (in lead photo) were treated to clear skies and mild temps. “It was great!” Levo said.
Here are the details if you want to give this ride a try:
- Ride happens every Monday until April.
Start locations: 6:00 pm at the start of the Springwater Corridor (SE 4th and Ivon) or 6:15 at Endurance PDX in Sellwood (2015 SE Ochoco St)
Route: Over the Sellwood Bridge through the cemetery onto Terwilliger, past OHSU and into downtown (where the ride ends).
Notes: Front and rear lights and fenders are strongly encouraged. Show up to at least three rides for a big discount on Portland Design Works product.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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