Finding Flow at Alsea Falls

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Our first No Apologies skills clinic of the season went off with a bang of laughter, slippery roots and a whole lot of learning. We had the pleasure of using the Alsea Falls trail system as our playground for the day. If you haven’t been there, it provides plenty of opportunities for beginner to advanced riders to find their flow. THAT is exactly what we set out to do with our day.

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We keep things VERY serious

Because the weather doesn’t apologize either, we were blessed with some nice muddy conditions for the clinic. No problem though, we made the best of things and used it as a chance to build confidence in a less than ideal situations. Sometimes life gives you rain, and as long as you don’t damage the trails, you’ve got to go out and splash mud all over your face.

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Coaches Rheannon and Kerstin demonstrate ELBOWS OUT!

We started out the day by fine tuning our riding position and bike-body separation skills. These skills lay the foundation for everything else we do on the bike. By focusing and playing with these skills, you set yourself up for success no matter where you want to go with your riding.

After a quick lunch (while the rain came down), we did a few more drills and then split up. Some of us headed to the top of the trail system and others stayed on the lower system. The beauty of having four awesome coaches is that it makes it easy to tailor to the experience to the group.

Group Photo
Our awesome crew for the day!

Kerstin and Rheannon took a group of ladies up the road to ride two awesome trails in the system-  Sexy Tree and Highballer. As these trails added some more roots and rocks to the experience, we focused on keeping good solid form and letting the bike dance under us. Dance it did! There was just enough rain to get the full experience of the bike slipping over roots. We broke down cornering techniques and sessioned a few drops. The ladies were ready to tackle Alsea Falls like never before.

Meanwhile, Sarah and Michelle opted to take a second gathering back up Dutchman to session the rollers and smooth corners on Lower Highballer and Springboard. While the climb felt slightly grueling after working on focusing ahead, shifting balance with proper body positioning and wheel lifts, our students were even more empowered to roll right over the top of root ladders and rocks, where they previously had walked their bikes during the first round up the trail. At the top of Springboard, every woman had a smile on her face – the effort to get the goods was paying off! There is nothing quite as exhilarating for a coach as connecting with a student to manifest physical improvement, and most importantly, confidence. As a result, these ladies were able to push through their fears calling on new skills to fully complete corners, pump through the rollers, commit to a line, and ride over or around obstacles without hesitation.

Alsea Trailhead Group Photo
A tired but happy and very excited crew – ready to PUMP!


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Finishing Springboard with new skills and renewed confidence! Time for refreshments!

As always, we were honored to work with a diverse and amazing group of ladies. Seriously, each and everyone of you is an inspiration to us. Keep shredding, keep laughing and keep learning. We can’t wait to see you out on the trails! Thanks to everyone who joined No Apologies for an awesome and adventurous day!



Life Cycle Ladies Night

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Just a quick post to say THANK YOU for all of those that helped support the Life Cycle Ladies Night last night in Eugene! THANK YOU to all those who came out to learn about bike maintenance, female specific nutrition, win some prizes and meet new riding partners.

Kate talking about bike love

The space was provided by Life Cycle. Amazing beer was provided by Oakshire. Wonderful food was provided by Tacovore. Not one, but TWO women owned nutrition companies (Do Bars and Zenergy) provided samples of their whole food based energy bars (and they were SO good). Raffle prizes were provided by two local IMBA clubs (Disciples of Dirt and Team Dirt) and No Apologies.

Misha talking about the importance of nutrition

So amazing to have such support. Hope to put together another social soon. In the meantime, get out there an ride!

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Skills, Mud and Mud Skills


When I have too much on my plate, I can move through tasks like crazy. As soon as that lets off, I go into slumber mode. Yes. I still have a lot to do, but it all seems less pressing. This in turn makes it less motivating to do ANYTHING. I don’t know why this happens. It is like I am addicted to having too much to do. I mention this problem, because it seems that happened to us. As soon as our season started to lift up we took a sigh of relief. Then we stopped writing posts about the fun stuff we have been doing such as Kerstin’s win at the NW Cup, Kid’s MBO, and birthday craziness. Fear not – we will continue.

Right now, I would like to recount one of my favorite recent adventures — our skills clinic in Newport, OR.

Thanks to the amazing support of Bike Newport, we put on our first skills clinic as a team. We had an unbelievable turnout of 18 women for a terrible stormy day! It was seriously POURING rain. If it wasn’t a beautiful sunny day in Corvallis when I rolled out of bed, I might not have made it out of my PJs. However, the rain didn’t stop these ladies!

The crew nice and cozy inside Bike Newport
Our crew nice and cozy INSIDE Bike Newport before braving the storm.

We huddled in the warmth of Bike Newport for some individual introductions and a quick bike maintenance tutorial from their staff. We chatted about the pre-ride bike checks, what to carry during a ride, and how to start personalizing suspension set up. Then we bravely loaded up into carpools and made our way to the trail system.

Drills during a break in the rain
Preparing for drills and skills demos.

We were lucky enough for a short break in the rain as we huddled together to demonstrate some basic bike handling skills. We practiced important bike/body separation skills and how to navigate small obstacles on the trail. As the rain continued, we hit the trail for a pump contest, but the wet and slippery trail upped my pedal to pump ratio and I am determined to head back to try to hit the entire trail without a pedal stroke. I was not alone. Skills demos started to unfold on how to survive in the mud…. let’s just say weight distribution becomes key in the mud!

Yep. Mud.
Yep. Mud.

We practiced cornering while trying our best not to turn it into a slip and slide! Even when ladies started to slide around, smiles were wide and progress was being made. Eventually we split up into two groups. Kerstin and I led the “A for Awesome” group in search of more challenging trails, while the “B for Badass” group took off with Michelle and Sarah to continue developing new skills learned during the morning session.

Due to some hectic life situations, neither Kerstin or I had been able to come out and pre-ride the trail system. This made us very nervous, but it turned out to be an advantage for our group. Since the group was mainly seasoned veterans of the trail, they were able to lead us to their trouble spots. We didn’t get very far, but we got to focus on a few chutes that the group wanted to try out. Some of them were riding it for the very first time in the worst of conditions! After a demo, Kerstin and I stood on the side of the trail and offered suggestions. It was amazing to watch the ladies transform. A quick “knees out” generated an automatic response and they sailed down the obstacle. The bravery was unbelieveable. It wasn’t until afterwards in the debrief that I realized many of them were riding these spots for the first time. They had total game face on and attacked it with ease.

Meanwhile, Michelle and Sarah led a large group down a fast and pumpy trail that included a couple of tabletops and small root drops. Students took turns sessioning the tabletops and corners, while onlookers cheered them down trail. More than half of team Badass were first-time riders and all of them were able to triumph basic body positioning while gaining confidence – even in the slick conditions!

Michelle coaching “mad skillz” over table tops and roots.

Eventually we met up with the rest of the group and finished out on a fun pumpy trail. I am at a loss for trail names as they were all thrown at me so quickly! I can’t wait to get to know the trail system in Newport on my next visit.

Participants said a sunny goodbye at the END of the day… of course!

As we wrapped up, the rain stopped and the sun came out. We shared our experiences and or challenges from the day, took some photos and ran back to Bike Newport. When we arrived it was amazingly warm and the drinks and snacks were ready and waiting. To top it all off, we even had an available shower! Seriously, I want to end all of my winter rides at Bike Newport! They went above and beyond!

Things got silly
Things got silly when Daniella (Bike Newport) and Sarah were told to “get down with the dirt”…

I want to thank each and everyone of you ladies who showed up. I hope that you got a lot of out the clinic and are putting these skills to work. You were all so amazing and fearless! I can’t believe you all came out in that rain. Please come ride with us again. A special thanks to the locals for sharing your trails with us. Thanks to Bike Newport and the Yaquina Wheels Bike Club for your support! In the meantime, stay warm and shred it up!  We will have a few more adventures to share with you (Kerstin has gone pro after taking 1st in the NW Cup, Sarah and Michelle rocked the fun ride at the Fat 55, we got to hang with some young shredders at Kid’s MBO, and more).
See you on the trail!


School Buses, Bikes and Beer

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There are two weekends in every year that are the first to be marked on the family calendar. These special weekends are occupied by the one and only Mountain Bike Oregon, aka MBO. MBO is like a summer camp for adults. It is a full 3 days of riding bikes in Oakridge, OR. All rides are shuttled and guided, coffee and breakfast are ready when you wake up and the endless beer garden opens at 4 pm. What could be better?

All signs point to fun in OROR!
All signs point to fun in OROR!

This year was my 4th year “working” as a guide and August was my 7th MBO. I am pretty sure that it gets better every year. As a guide, a simplified version breaks down something like this:

  1. You get the invite for the year
  2. You rate your love and knowledge for the trails
  3. You anxiously await for the guide master to assign your weekend rides
  4. You rock out another MBO

Guides don’t get paid. We come because we love it. We love the experience of guiding people from all walks of life on some of our favorite trails in the world. There is something special about sharing Oakridge with the world. There isn’t a bad trail on the list and 3 days isn’t even enough time to hit them all. Every MBO weekend is unique. Hell, every ride at MBO is unique. It is a special blend of trail conditions, weather and most importantly, people.

Shuttles for days!

As usual, home base took a little love and care to set up. My husband had already done the bulk of the unpacking when Skyler and I arrived. Home base is getting a little more elaborate each year. We love to set up by the river with plenty of space for our tent, a seating area with our camp kitchen and a riverside hammock space. This year I think that we perfected the triple hammock hangout- complete with a cooler for our LaCroix.

Hauling in all the gear
Hauling in all the gear
LaCroix Cooler
LaCroix Cooler

I had a great line up for the weekend (although I don’t think there is a bad one). I started Friday off with one of my favorite rides – Lost Creek. Lost Creek is what I call an adventure ride. You get a little bit of everything with some hike-a-bike thrown in to make it interesting. I played sweep for the first two-thirds of the ride and enjoyed the company. As I become a better rider, I frequently get pushed to the front of the pack. This weekend was full of fast guides who were willing to hammer, so I took a back seat and chatted it up with a few riders, other guides, and a random rider who stumbled upon us. And if that wasn’t enough, I hit up one of the “bonus” shuttles at the end of the day and went up to Dead Mountain/Flat Creek.

The view from Devil’s Backbone above Dead Mountain trail

On Saturday, I got to do the double – Lawler and Hardesty. This is a double shuttle ride that offers enough root and rock filled descending to make you forget any climbing. I followed it up with a special visit to vender row. Jim had taken out a Guerrilla Gravity the night before and I had to check them out. I was able to snag a demo Megatrail to hit up Dead Mountain for the second day in a row. Oh boy! It was AMAZING! I rocked out the new school flow sections in gravity mode and then switched over to trail mode for the second half. It was pretty unbelievable. It was like I was on a completely different bike. It is such a cool design. I can’t wait to check them out more.

It's not MBO without a hand-dipped bar from Dink's
It’s not MBO without a hand-dipped bar from Dink’s

We wrapped up Saturday by watching the mini-bike races in the beer garden over ice cream bars. The races are a guaranteed good time between the actual race and Randy’s nicknames for the riders.

Entertainment provided
The race track

I wrapped up my weekend with a little Moon Point. Getting to the trail head is a pretty good trek from Oakridge, so I am always happy to get this ride during MBO so I don’t have to worry about pedaling or driving up myself. Everyone is always so worn out and happy by the time Sunday rolls around. The climbs are always a little slower and the rests a little longer. Moon Point is a good way to end the weekend. It offers a screaming fast descent with wonderful views and then finishes on a river trail. Our ride had a few flats (Moon Point frequently does) and we opted to miss out on some river trail. I promise that I didn’t plan that.

Waiting at a road crossing
Waiting at a road crossing
Rope swing under the bridge

This year, like every year, was a blast. I spent the weekend with inspiring people that know how to prioritize the important stuff — enjoying life while it’s here. I hope to see you all next year!


IMBA Trail Crew in Corvallis!

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Good news! As part of the local trail building craze that is happening in the Corvallis area, Team Dirt will be hosting the IMBA trail care crew. It is a great opportunity for land managers and/or the general public to get out, learn how to build sustainable trails, and then get their hands dirty building new trail in the McDonald Dunn. It is free to participate. The training on Friday, May 1st is geared towards land managers and Saturday, May 2nd is geared towards the general public. Pick your poison or do both! If you want to dig you have to attend the Saturday morning class.

Here is the link to register:

IMBA trail care crew registration


Team Dirt: Build it. Ride it!

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One of our local IMBA clubs, Team Dirt, is currently running a fundraiser for fancy new trail building equipment. We need it! Please check it out. Your donation (along with volunteer time) will help build new amazing trails in the Corvallis area.

Notice that when you donate, you can choose to put your favorite trail builder to work!

Donate here:

Build it, Ride it!



Spring Fling Volunteer Day

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As part as our “will work to race” policy, Soso and I volunteered to help out at the Spring Fling trail run that is put on by our favorite Corvallis area race promoter. We woke up at 5 am, drank a lot of coffee and made our way to Alsea Falls. It was still VERY dark out as we prepared ourselves for the day. We helped with set up and spent the first few hours registering runners for either the half marathon, 10k or 5k distances that were available. I was very impressed with the brave runners who turned out for a very muddy, very wet run! We felt nice and snug hiding under the registration booth while the rain came down. Eventually though, we had to leave the comfort of fresh baked blueberry muffins and ventured out to sweep the half marathon course. We chased after them with the 10k hot on our heels. However, it didn’t take long for us to catch the tail end of our group. We then went into hiding mode. We didn’t want to put pressure on the amazing woman who was rocking out her first ever half marathon. She didn’t pick an easy one!

IMG_1342Our best attempts at hiding

IMG_1339 We did occasionally sneak out of hiding to share some food and encouragement. Nothing like gels, goos and water to keep a person going! We fueled ourselves with some avocado sandwiches and pushed ourselves up the nasty backside Alsea climb. We stopped to break down the top aid station and gave ourselves plenty of space to enjoy a very wet decent down a few of the mountain biker built trails that were on the course. After that we continued pulling down trail markings and practicing our track stands as we made the way back down to the finish. All and all it was a great experience and we were able help a few runners stay on course. We will certainly be back to help again!