If you could have a cycling superpower, what would it be?
by Alison Powers ALP Cycles Coaching
We Alp Cycles Women's Racing Team headed to Leadville, Colorado for #alpfatcamp - three days of fat biking, Nordic skiing, yoga, and team bonding. Some teammates were meeting for the first time, and others were completely new to fat biking and Nordic skiing. At 10,000ft with cold temps and new equipment, we were all in for a great adventure. Our group included an array of talented women, including: a Doctor, pharmacist, veterinarian, students, mothers, coaches, and many more that took time out of their busy schedules to enjoy being active outdoors with friends.
Day 1: Colorado Mountain College Trails
Seven miles of singletrack trails are accessible from campus at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville with an additional seven to ten miles of wider groomed Nordic trails. The mellow terrain is good for all ages and abilities - rolling, easy and enjoyable. This was a good spot for our first ride as we had just rolled into town. We were a small group as the others hadn't arrived yet, so our goal for the ride was to stay together and just enjoy. We had a few tumbles as riders were just getting used to the feel of riding a fat bike in the snow, but towards the end of the ride, everyone improved greatly! It always helps to have a little encouragement from your teammate when you've sunk into the snow.
Day 2: Yoga & Mineral Belt Trail
The group headed to Ray of Light Yoga in the morning to get loose for the day ahead. It was a good experience to share together as some riders were less accustomed to yoga and others were clearly regulars. It was inspiring to see teammates with such flexibility and core strength. Our instructor Erin was kind and encouraged us to set an intention and connect with how our bodies were feeling and responding to different movements. After feeling rejuvenated and limber, we headed back for a quick snack before hitting Mineral Belt Trail.
The Mineral Belt Trail has been listed as one of Colorado's top 10 mountain trails. The 11.6 mile loop travels through the historic mining district, and follows along old mining-camp railbeds. The riders were cruising through the loop with ease, and stopping to take a few photos of the spectacular views. After one loop we wanted a little more, so we went on a few other trails. Solid day on the bike with far less tumbles, many great learning opportunities, mentoring from coaches, and team bonding.
Homemade burrito bowls for dinner were accompanied by a great group discussion with the leading question - If you could have a cycling superpower, what would it be? A few good answers included:
- Having endless energy and not needing to take nutrition or water while riding
- Being able to hear the thoughts of your competitors
- Ability to control the race
Day 3: Tennessee Pass Nordic Center
Before heading out for the day, the team gathered around the TV at 7am to watch the Cyclocross World Championships. It was a great opportunity to talk about bike racing and cheer on our favorites. After the race concluded, we started to suit up and get ready for the day. It's important, especially when exercising at altitude to stay well hydrated and nourished. The team uses NBS Nutrition for hydration and recovery. After bottles were filled and bags packed, we jumped in the cars and headed to the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center.
Today, riders had the option to nordic ski or fat bike. With a combination of both, it made for a really fun day. Of course we need to make most things a competition, so the fat bikers and skiers would try to race. A great moment in the day came when a rider was told to go outside of her comfort zone and try a very challenging black diamond trail on the fat bike. The climb was long and very steep but she did it and felt much better afterwards. Sometimes you need a friend and coach nearby to give you a little extra push. ;)
Later in the evening we returned to the CMC trails for another ride as the sun went down! By this time, all the riders were much more confident and really crushed the trails.
We were all grateful to have experienced such a beautiful, challenging, and rewarding camp. We tried new things, bonded together as a team, and in the end we have become better bike riders and teammates.
Big thanks to KÜHL cyclist Jill Cederholm for opening her beautiful Leadville home to us!