Pro XCT #2 Fontana

I’m often asked how it is possible to be away from home for nearly three weeks of racing in California, as it could seem impossible to do with a family. My particular situation is unique! It really is that my husband supports me in this endeavor, and I have help. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law flew to Montana from Maine to stay at our house during the duration of this block.

Layla having fun with her Auntie

Preparing to be gone for this race block also backed up almost simultaneously to moving into our new house. I was cleaning a newly constructed home 2 days prior to leaving, and frantically making beds and unpacking essentials the afternoon before. I’m really happy that my home is getting broken in for me by those I dearly love, but it was a little stressful for a few weeks.

Cleaning our new house… my husband has worked so hard on this for almost a year.

After moving and traveling to California, I was running on empty. Although, I thought I had bounced back sufficiently, and my pre-rides seemed to have put me into a good place, my body struggled during Saturday’s cross country race. Instead of racing other ladies wheel to wheel, the battle was within mentally and physically as the field spread out.

Pulled off a smile at the finish, must have been that relieved to be done

Good things can come from not having an ideal race, for it’s in the valleys that we learn and grow the most. Still pulled through in 6th on my Pivot Mach 429 with my Valor wheels. I don’t typically choose to race my dually for XC, but it was definitely my ideal ride of choice for the rough and rocky terrain.

After 10 hours of sleep, I woke up Sunday with renewed energy. The support and love from so many who truly believe in me went a long way, and I could feel God’s presence in my heart and my body. From the gun, short track was exciting. I led a few laps, then tried to race smart; staying within the top four with Larissa Connors, Kate Courtney, and Lea Davison; while not allowing any gaps to open up. I was able to save just enough on the last lap to get around Kate on the flat straight-away and Larissa on the last climb just before descending and crossing the line taking the Win.

Thanks PB Creative for the photo

Sunday was a good day for Chloe as well. Although I missed her this weekend, she came home with a Bronze Medal from the Pan American Championships in Argentina!

Kenny had a running joke all weekend, calling me “the princess”, which in short means he made sure that my equipment and I were both ready to roll perfectly… Thank you to Kenny and Stan’s NoTubes, and Pivot Cycles, and to those who love and support me in this journey, for He goes before me.

Left to right: Leah, Kate, Rose, Larissa, Cindy
Getting to wear this hat on the podium was my carrot from Fox and Kenny to win.
Thank you for the new shades Steve

I’m staying this week with my host family in San Dimas (Thank you Thrashers) to recover and get excited for the first US Cup at Bonelli Park this weekend.


2015 World Championships

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My Shiny Cannondale FSi before heading out to battle. Photo Credit: Blog Cannondale

One month plus 3 days ago today, I was racing my first Mountain Bike World Championships in Andorra; still an experience that feels surreal. My first experience being outside of North America, in conjunction with racing outside of North America was incredible; but what seems equally as incredible is the events leading up to the World Champs.

My race season really came together this year, after 4 years filled with tons of work and perseverance, I started to really reap the benefits. It was amazing, being able to put races together with strategy and tactics; I’d replay my coaches words in my head as I played out races the way that we had together visualized.

Once the Worlds Team selection had been announced, which I had been waiting for with anticipation, I knew this opportunity was one that I could not possibly turn down due to monetary costs. It had been a goal that I had set for myself back in February, and I had to see it through. My coach assisted me in setting up a couple fundraising campaigns, and the support that I received through those efforts has humbled me, has challenged me to be more generous, and completely brings tears to my eyes! I am incredibly blessed and so grateful!

I spent the week in Andorra soaking in the experience, I was the obvious rookie. I was racing with the best in the world, in Europe, representing my country, my team, and my home state of Montana! It was an honor being part of Team USA, and I value the relationships that I garnered with my fellow teammates. As the week unfolded, the rain continued to change the track. Within a few days the course changed from dry and fast, to wet and muddy, to sticky, thick muck. Race day came and the sun shined amidst cool temps. I was number plate 55 out of about 60 racers. I lined up on the back row out of six rows. My plan was to be patient and move forward consistently and tactfully. As the race began, the damage the rain had done to the course quickly became obvious. It was a complete mess. Slower became faster; cornering was slow, climbs became impossible to maintain traction, and the tiniest mistake in bike handling was completely unforgiving. Everyone was off their bikes a lot, running, scrambling, slipping, sliding…. I just kept moving. I’d gain a spot, make a mistake and loose two. Then someone in front of me would make a mistake, and I would gain a spot or two. I continued to slowly move forward. The lap times slowed down so much, that winner Pauline Fernando-Prevot’s finishing time was 1 hr 53 min. By the time I finished in 31st, I had been racing for 2 hr 8 min, about 30 minutes longer than most cross country races.

Blog Cannondale pic
The very start of the race, almost in dead last. Photo Credit: Blog Cannondale

What an incredible race though! My equipment worked flawlessly. In the muddy conditions my Cannondale FSi was the ticket, with my Crankbrothers Eggbeater pedals, and Kenda Karma tires. The support from USA Cycling allowed me to really focus on my race.

Blog Cannondale Pic 2
Greasy Climb almost impossible to ride. Photo Credit: Blog Cannondale

I left everything on the course that day, as I try my best to do on every race day. I had a solid race, 31st for my first world champs is nothing to be disappointed about, and I’m pleased with that result. Deep inside I know I have the ability to do better, and so I continue to stay challenged and hungry, to continue improving and learning and garnering the experience that I need to bridge my way farther up the field. Time and patience is required, but as I approach new bends in the trail, it is my job to explore where they will take me, and continue to trust that God will bless my efforts.

I am so thankful to the village who has continued to make racing my bike possible. My husband, Nelson, is so supportive and proud of me. He, grandparents, and a handful of friends have helped with our daughter Layla for my training and racing. My coach, Dustin; my team, the Stans NoTubes Elite Women; countless local businesses in my community, such as the Sportsmen Ski Haus, Able Body Shop, Access Fitness, the Great Northern Brewing Co., Whitefish Mountain Resort, and so many friends and family have all contributed in so many ways. I am eternally grateful!



2013 season overview

Raw and Real …..

Mountain bike race season is over for another season! I feel mixed emotions, but I believe that like every sport, it is the off season that gives me the fire and the drive to be better than the year before. I’m taking this time to rest, meditate on last season, set goals for next season, and enjoy my family, and unstructured riding (much of which I am hauling Layla behind me in her Chariot); as well as runs, and even a little cross skills training.  In my three short years of racing mountain bikes, this was the hardest of them, for obvious reasons.

Looking back, I’m not sure how it was made possible; pregnancy, child birth, breast-feeding, training, working, and racing. I found out that it was possible to work out and ride my bike through an entire pregnancy..

February, 38 weeks pregnant

Although it was not comfortable or easy it kept me sane, knowing that the pro XC national tour had already started and here I was about to give birth. I had so much fitness to make up, I didn’t know if I would ever be able to catch up. Once Layla was born on March 8, 2013, I spent the next couple weeks recouping. I had definitely underestimated the healing process! Two and a half weeks postpartum, I managed to sit on a bike seat (which was way earlier than is recommended), and I started to ride outside.

3 weeks postpartum, with 12 lbs to lose

I increased my ride’s time and intensity slowly, testing out how my body would handle the physical stress. I started my structured training 3 weeks after childbirth. It consisted of long rides for base building, core strengthening, and plyos. My coach Dustin Phillips and I had put together a tentative race schedule during the winter, but we both felt like this season was more of a “let’s try and see what happens” season.  I didn’t know if my body would be able to support breast feeding, which was important to me to do for my baby; and training and racing. I had had multiple people tell me that they would recommend taking the 2013 race season off, but I wanted to at least try. I decided that if it wasn’t working then I wasn’t going to force it, and I would have to reevaluate at that time.  As I continued training 12-16 hrs a week , my body continued adapting to the stress and take form again as the pregnancy weight disappeared. With the added stress due to breastfeeding, I had to be ultra aware of the extra needs of my body. Eating well, sleeping enough, and staying hydrated all became ingrained in my program. I am fortunate that Layla has always been a great sleeper, and I never had a sleepless night. I thanked the Lord daily for giving me a strong body, because I know that what I was doing was not normal! I also stayed injury free this season, which eliminated any additional set-backs.


April 27 ; Layla 7 weeks old and first race of the season.

How I was able to get away every single day to train is beyond me, except that the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” became very real. My well planned schedule dictated when I would get my workout in each day. It depended on who was watching Layla and what time they were available, as well as working around my work schedule (Although I should mention that I took off a full 3 months off from work) .  I was up before the sun on many occasions to train while my baby and my husband enjoyed sleeping in. In addition to my very supportive husband and Layla’s grandmothers, I also had a handful of good friends who helped me out so I could ride. Somehow, I didn’t miss a single workout. I wanted badly to be faster than the previous year, so my own motivation and guidance from Dustin kept me on track. He is dedicated to me and my success, so following through with my workouts was not an option, I just did them….rain or shine, and with all my heart! I also know that having mountain biking was a healthy outlet to get away by myself, which I do believe helped in avoiding any room for any sort of post-partum blues, which is so common.

I learned in a very personal way this season that anything is possible with hard work, determination, and the Lord’s grace and blessings!! A few season highlights include my first two national podiums; 3rd at Marathon Mountain Bike Championships, and a 3rd place finish at XC Nationals in Super D; as well as a 7th place finish at Missoula Pro XCT and 8th place at XC nationals in Cross Country. Going forward, my blog is going to key in on how I make life happen as a mom and elite athlete. I will share in detail, how I feel breastfeeding affected my performance, how I stay fit in the off season, favorite fit recipes, how I incorporate Layla as a part of many of my workouts, and much more!

Thanks for reading!


July 6, Marathon National podium with Serena Gordon and Pua Mata
July 21, Super D National Podium
April 29 with hubby Nelson and Layla

Amidst the Extra Bulk

36 weeks pregoPhoto: Feb. 3, 2013, 36 weeks prego

We were blessed with sunshine and warmer temperatures this last weekend! It made me miss riding outdoors so much that I decided to try riding my mountain bike in hopes that it would be tolerable.  I lucked out, and managed a lovely ride, although not very  comfortable. Stuck to mostly flat dirt and paved roads, and just road super easy, but was able to last over 3 hours. I am really appreciating that I have managed to stay somewhat fit!

Although I still have great energy, it is tougher than I’ve ever experienced at this point to have the same quality workouts, so I am just trying to maintain keeping some fitness base, knowing that every workout that I do now will only help me to bounce back faster after delivery. My lungs feel constricted, and the weight gain makes me feel heavy and often makes me stiff regardless of the type of workout I am attempting. I feel that it is ok to share that I have gained 30 lbs. As an athlete, this could be mentally challenging, but thankfully, I have been fine with it for the most part, and I’m confident that my baby and I are both super healthy. I am, however, more excited than ever to start working to get back to the normal me in just another few weeks. For now, I’ll continue to eat nutritious meals, and exercise on almost a daily basis.

Last week, I did a leg workout out of Muscle and Fitness Hers that made me sore for 3 days. I love this workout so much that I feel like I should post it for all of you also:

1. Single-leg Squat ~ works glutes, hamstrings : Stand in a Smith Machine, grip the barbell with your right hand, and hold a dumbell in your left hand. Raise your left leg off the floor straight out in front of you, foot flexed, and sink down into a squat until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Drive through your heel to push up to the start position. Complete desired number of reps and switch legs, before starting next set.

2. Single-Leg Step-up with Knee Drive ~ works Glutes, Hamstrings, and Quads: Holding dumbbells in each hand, stand with your left side next to a flat bench and place your left foot (your driving leg) on top of it. Push through the center of your driving foot, pressing your body straight up onto the bench while lifting your right leg to a 90 degree angle. Reverse the motion to step back down, repeat desired number of reps and switch legs before starting next set.

3. Alternating Jump Lunges ~ works core, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves: Starting in a lung position with your left leg forward, jump straight up and switch legs midair, landing softly in lung position with your right leg forward. Immediately push off after landing to start your next jump, continue to alternate legs for desired number of reps and sets.

4. Bulgarian Lunge ~ works shoulders, core, glutes, hamstrings, and quads: holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand lunge-distance from a box or flat bench, facing away from it. Place the top of your foot on the box. Keeping your chest up and your front foot flat, slowly lower straight down into a lunge position until your front thigh is at least parallel to the floor. Drive through your front heel to return to standing. Complete desired number of reps before switching legs and beginning next set.

5. Box Squat: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, with the tops resting on your shoulders and your upper arms parallel to the floor, sit on the edge of a box or a flat bench. Keeping your chest up and your midsection tight, drive through your heels to come to standing. return to sitting and then repeat for desired number of reps and sets.



A Glimps into 2013


Photo: 01/21/2013. 34 weeks pregnant. Enjoying a skate ski at Grouse Mountain Golf Course.

2013 will without a doubt be a year to stretch me physically and mentally. I am looking forward to the challenge with open arms. With the due date of my first baby just 5 weeks away, I feel excited, anxious, and nervous; but definitely ready to meet this little girl, and develop a new normal of life with her.

Staying active helps me to focus on the mountain bike season ahead of me. Although I have been enjoying the cross training and lighter workouts, I am excited for structured training and my race schedule. I crave the excitement that comes with racing and the many friends that I only see during the race season. Having my tentative racing schedule written out, adds to my hunger.

However, I know above all else, that despite my drive and ambition, my family will be coming first. My husband Nelson is the most supportive and loving husband and best friend that I can ask for, and without his support I would not be able to be a pro mountain biker. There are many sacrifices that he makes during my race season, and those demands will only grow with a newborn. In return, it is important that I am sensitive to the days when I might need to skip a training ride when it just can not be done, and I am preparing myself to be ok with that. I am simply going to plan the best that I can in order to train appropriately, work part-time, and maintain a balanced family life. I have high hopes that the juggle will be very possible.

With the cross country season not only starting when I’m supposed to be having a baby, but also most races being held so far from my home in NW Montana (with the exception of Missoula XC of course), I want to put my focus more on endurance races in 2013.  This is the part of my 2012 season that I didn’t get to complete due to my pregnancy, and I think it will be a nice change of pace, literally. When planning my race schedule, I also had to consider the fact that I will be breast-feeding. There are no races on my schedule over 60 miles until Sept. I will be posting my schedule in the near future.

I am very excited to share this amazing journey with you. Each day brings new surprises, and I am continually reminded that God’s plan for my life is better than I could have ever imagined.


Philippians 4:13