Slogging, Jogging and Running its that time of year again…cross training

I am a self proclaimed Slogger. I once was a racer, then a runner, then a jogger and now…you got it. Slogging is almost a shuffle, barely moving but still faster than walking. Speed walking might be faster, but I just cant commit to that yet.

Every year as the summer starts to ween and the daylight hours begin to slowly disappear, many cyclist start to look for more timely efficient work outs. We all know running is the quickest and simplest way to fight back. Getting a running shoe that fits is very important, especially as we age. Best way to accomplish this transition is to find a local specialty run store and make sure you get the right type and fit for your shoe.

Today as I tied my HOKA running shoes (think SUVs for the feet) I wondered if my body would hold up for 20 mins of pounding in the heat. Not my lungs, as they have been honed into shape over the long cycling season. It was my knees, ankles and joints that worried me. This was my 3rd attempt in as many weeks at starting up my “Slogging” for the season.

My short of choice is to just go with 2 pair of underwear. Yikes yes, underwear! Why? Well its not just any underwear, but the ones that DeFeet makes called the UnDBrief and UnDBoxer. When worn together with the tighter ones under the baggy ones, it makes for a super comfortable ride for the boys.


So as I start down my neighborhood hill, I see two of my lady neighbors running up the hill towards me as they are heading home. Yup early birds, they get the cooler temps and quieter streets. I thought, yikes! I wonder if they know I am running in my UnDies. I assumed that they must not have noticed, as no whistles were heard.

As I continue to “slog” I suddenly could hear some foot steps behind me. Was it my two lady friends? Did they just hear my gasto backfire? I swear I did not mean to break that wind. I pick up the pace, this being day 3 I feel a bit more speed will be ok. I did not want these women to see what I was wearing. After a few yards, and the turn of speed that should have dropped the chasing neighbors, I could still hear them. I picked it up a bit more, even though I was now uncomfortable.

Ok, this is getting weird, I cant turn around and look that would just make it even more awkward.  Well lets turn it up a notch and drop the hammer down. After all it is run number 3 in 5 years.

Never turning to look, I can still hear them. My slog had turned into a jog and finally I was running. The turning point was a cul de sac. As I turned to face my chasers I was ready  to sheepishly own up for the runners gas…I was shocked!

Ah the phantom strikes again. My Hoka shoes had somehow been making a faint echo that sounded like someone was trailing me. I was elated! My tempo slummed back to slog as I made my way back to my humble abode.

With lots of travel in the late spring and fall, getting a quick work out is key to my sanity. Many hotels will have running routes listed, but now with Strava I dont even bother to ask. I did see that the Westin hotel chain now has room service with New Balance shoes as part of the delivery. Wow now that is so very cool.

Do you cross train? What is your favorite workout?



Week One: DeFeet Colors The Tour

Here at DeFeet we often mention the role the Tour de France has played in the creation of our product line. 24 years ago we began designing products that would make the hardest events – and the Tour de France in particular – more endurable. We improved socks, accessories and base layers that help riders be more comfortable and carry less in their suitcases en route. When you destroy fewer products over the course of a month, you tend to pack lighter. DeFeet has been part of so many huge successes in the Tour. It is thus an inextricable part of our heritage.

Week one of the 2016 Tour de France has been exciting as always. It has been a massive ‘Week of DeFeet’. Riders wearing DeFeet went on a rampage, winning several stages and the white (young rider), green (points leader) and yellow (race leader) jerseys.

Mark Cavendish winning stage 1 at Utah Beach.

Mark Cavendish winning stage 1 at Utah Beach.


The World War II memorial at Utah Beach in Normandie, France.

The World War II memorial at Utah Beach in Normandie, France.


Riders take part in a memorial ceremony at Utah Beach.

Riders take part in a memorial ceremony at Utah Beach.


Mark Cavendish in the Maillot Jaune on Stage 2.

Mark Cavendish in the Maillot Jaune on Stage 2.


Alaphilippe takes second to Sagan on stage 2. The final kilometers of this stage saw some short, hard climbs and very intense racing.

Alaphilippe takes second to Sagan on stage 2. The final kilometers of this stage saw some short, hard climbs and very intense racing.

Julian Alaphilippe is a name we will no doubt hear for years to come. We’ve seen him at the Tour of California, but we haven’t seen him take center stage at the biggie, the Tour de France, like he has this year. This is a rider who can climb, time trial, and even sprint. That’s a deadly combination that makes him a threat in a whole lot of events. Taking on Sagan – particularly in an uphill finish like stage 2 – is a task only a handful of riders in the pro field can muster. Alaphilippe is right there, and this effort earned him the white jersey.

Julian Alaphilippe looking tidy in the best young rider's jersey.

Julian Alaphilippe looking tidy in the best young rider’s jersey.


Cavendish dominated the finale in stage 3.

Cavendish dominated the finale in stage 3.


Seeing our socks on the top step is a view we never get tired of.

Seeing our socks on the top step is a view we never get tired of.

The performance of Mark Cavendish in this year’s Tour de France has silenced his critics. There was some consternation about his leaving Quickstep to go with Qhubeka and Data Dimension. He brought Eisel and Renshaw with him. These guys may not be the youngest out there anymore but their experience is still paving the way for Cavendish like the old days of HTC. Just like then, they’re still doing it in DeFeet, too.

Cavendish and Sagan having a start line chat.

Cavendish and Sagan having a start line chat.


Marcel Kittel DeFeet's the field in possibly the closest photo finish in Tour history.

Marcel Kittel DeFeet’s the field in possibly the closest photo finish in Tour history.

When Cavendish left Quickstep, Marcel Kittel stepped in to fill the gap. Filling the shoes of the best field sprinter of all time is a job no one would ask for. Check out Kittel, though, pounding his way to victory in stage 4. The definition of ‘stepping up’. Another stage win for DeFeet.

Stage 5 was a segway to the higher mountains coming soon.

Stage 5 was a segway to the higher mountains coming soon.

The route steepened in stage 5. Sagan was dropped, relinquishing the yellow jersey. Julian Alaphilippe was at the front of the lead group and remained in second overall behind new leader Greg van Avarmaet. Van Avarmaet has over five minutes lead. Only seconds behind Alaphilippe are the proven guns of the Tour. Froome. Quintana. Can he hold his spot long enough to take yellow? Does French cycling finally have what’s it’s been looking for so long?

Michael Mørkøv, the DeFeet distributor in Denmark, currently holds the distinguished "Lanterne Rouge" of last place at the Tour.

Michael Mørkøv, the DeFeet distributor in Denmark, currently holds the distinguished “Lanterne Rouge” of last place at the Tour.

Last but not least, we give a shout out to our Danish distributor, Michael Mørkøv. There has been a lot of talk about winning in this post, but that’s not what this is all about. Mørkøv is a rider respected by all of his piers. He’s been a World Champion, wore the polka dot jersey in the Tour for like five days and won Most Combative at the Tour on two occasions! Being in last place at the Tour de France, or any race for that matter, is nothing to scoff at. Right now, after stage 5, he’s an hour and 10 minutes behind. Is he not feeling well? We don’t know right now. Regardless, we tip our hat to him. Who knows. Maybe when the roads flatten again, and he’s feeling good, he makes an escape. With Mørkøv, you give him a little space and you may not see him again until the finish. Now wouldn’t that be a special day at this year’s Tour.

California Dreamin’

As far as bicycle races go, the Tour of California must be considered a raging success. The riders, staff and teams love it. American cycling brands revel in it. The people of the great, sunny State go outside to bask in it’s entourage. California wins again, right? For me, this race started 15 years too late. I grew up in California, racing and training on the same routes the ToC has covered since 2006. As special as it would have been to compete in the race, it’s been a pleasure representing DeFeet on so many occasions since 2006. With a sidekick like DeFeet Founder Shane Cooper, some things are certain: there’s gonna be a lot of laughs, a few arguments, and a bunch of product ideas and revisions.

DeFeet founder Shane Cooper (r) talking socks with Tom Boonen.

DeFeet founder Shane Cooper (r) talking socks with Tom Boonen.


For Shane and myself, California provides a chance to meet with our riders and teams from around the World. That’s really important to us. Face-to-face interactions with riders these past 11 years, some of whom will be written into history as the greatest of all time at their craft, have helped shape DeFeet product. I mean, how many times do you go “Yeah, sure” when a company says it’s products were made alongside certain athletes?  For me, this has been a revelation to witness and be part of because with DeFeet, it’s the no shit absolute truth. Some of the relationships took many years to build and so did the product development process, but it happened and continues to happen.

Mark Cavendish drives it home in the final stage into Sacramento. DeFeet scores a double win on the day with Julian Alaphilippe (visible in yellow) signaling overall GC victory in the background.

Mark Cavendish drives it home in the final stage into Sacramento. DeFeet scores a double win on the day with Julian Alaphilippe (visible in yellow) signaling overall GC victory in the background.


This year, Tom Boonen and his teammates tested and gave feedback on some new yarns and  models, including a top secret “stealth” design. If DeFeet were an automaker, that sock would have had duct tape strapped all over it. Mark Cavendish is another rider not afraid to flat out tell us what’s working for him and what’s “rubbish”. He knows we’re going to fix it. Make it better. Socks aren’t just socks at this level. The socks and accessories we make at DeFeet are tools that help these riders do their work with greater comfort, performance, and yes – eye appeal.

Boonen appears in yet another selfie. On his feet, prototype DeFeet's with new fibers for the testing.

Boonen appears in yet another selfie. On his feet, prototype DeFeet’s with new fibers for the testing.


Another rider we met with was Michæl Mørkøv from Team Katusha. Mørkøv is not only an extremely accomplished wheelman, the 31 year old is also the DeFeet distributor in his home country of Denmark.

DeFeet's Danish distributor - Team Katusha's Michael Mørkøv.

DeFeet’s Danish distributor – Team Katusha’s Michael Mørkøv.

Perhaps not a household name in the USA, he’s a rider with gobs of class. To be brief, Mørkøv has won a stage of the Vuelta, been World Champion in the Madison event, Olympic Silver Medalist in team pursuit, worn the polka dot jersey for mountains leader at the Tour de France and been awarded “Most Combative” at the Tour two times. Those are some seriously versatile results – not to mention more wins in 6 Day track events than I was able to count.

Mørkøv behind a derny at the Six Days of Gent. Mørkøv has honed himself into one of the world's best riders in the discipline.

Mørkøv behind a derny at the Six Days of Gent. Mørkøv has honed himself into one of the world’s best riders in the discipline.


As usual, Shane and I were on assignment in California for the next DeFeet Films project. DeFeet Films is the production arm of the company and an outlet for everyone at DeFeet to express their passion for what we do. We are really looking forward to launching our next set of short films. This year it was I who rode with Quickstep Director Sportif Brian Holm in the team car instead of Shane. We will have to see which of Holm’s perspectives on life, cycling and other topics make it into our next feature.

Tom Boonen and race winner Julian Alaphilippe celebrate in front of the California State Capital. It was evident that Alaphilippe was playful and happy before the Tour even started. He was in great spirits all week.

Tom Boonen and race winner Julian Alaphilippe celebrate in front of the California State Capital. It was evident that Alaphilippe was playful and happy before the Tour even started. He was in great spirits all week.


Why F.K.T. ?

I know we all do this, I find myself dwelling on the past sometimes.  But where does time go?  I mean, it’s true, we’ve advanced into our 24th year at DeFeet and it seems a surreal mix of fact and fantasy.  We’re not a Brady Bunch family, however, we have been through a lot together.  We’re a devoted bunch; love our brand and personal connections with athletes and consumers that like the unique products we make.  We’re kind of organic like that, which makes for a more comfortable, creative work vibe.  If you follow or know us, it’s not uncommon for DeFeet to launch fresh, new styles throughout the year.  So when reflecting about my time at DeFeet this week it reminded me, I should take a moment to write about our new running sock called, “Trail FKT”.

Scott is a product developer who doesn't take the easy routes.

Scott is a product developer who doesn’t take the easy routes. He chose calf sleeves above FKT’s on this day, adding “and Woolie Boolies on my hands!”

Trail FKT was just released a few weeks ago and since this time I’ve been asked, why FKT?  I shouldn’t go into all the technical sock jargon, trust me, this sort of talk would BORE you.  I will just say, it’s faster, stronger, lighter.  I’d rather expand on “why we named it FKT” – naturally, this led to interesting phrases tossed around the concept table, which reinforces, yeah, let’s write about the naming process.  Actually, it wasn’t a process for me; I’d already made up my mind why I wanted to name it FKT.  But afterwards, the questions came, what’s FKT?  Anyway, a couple of memorable, or not so memorable phrases that stuck in my memory – is it “flat knit technologies”, or is it  – “effin kids tagging”.  Nope, neither of those, but at least the letters match the words.  I love playing with words, but I will eschew the backwash of phrases here.  As a trail runner it seems I took it for granted, everyone knows about FKT.

How's this for a test lab?

How’s this for a test lab? Photo: Brandon Thrower

By definition, FKT (Fastest Known Time) is the fastest time anyone has completed a given task, i.e. running a trail, climbing a mountain, etc.  As you can imagine, for endurance and vertical runners this is personal calling to whet your competitive appetite.  The possibilities are endless and athletes conjure up an infinite number of personal challenges.  We think local or perhaps across the globe to destinations we’ve never traveled to.  It doesn’t matter, how far do you want to go?

For most of us I think a GOOD day can be just a few minutes running your local city or county trails; a GREAT day is just a handful of miles, and an INCREDIBLE day is pursuing a backcountry endeavor with a group of friends…share a plan, a remote destination, the meet-up, the journey, all in natural backcountry settings means the challenge of pushing into longer distances melts away some of the physical discomfort, well some it, let’s leave it at that.  But all in all, this is a fun, healthy way to spend a day and make new friends.

As an off and on trail runner, FKT’s never drew me in as a personal goal, an off-road marathon seems to fit, but I understand that trail runners embody a special spirit and sense for adventure.  The vibrancy is captivating, so much so, it’s easy for me to connect with the minimalist tranquility of running through the woods and mountains.  Removed from development and paved pathways and exploring new areas is refreshing.  It’s “good for DeSole”, as we say.

Man's best (running) friend.

Man’s best (running) friend. Photo: Brandon Thrower

To the early pioneers of the fastest-known-time movement and trail-running community, the F.K.T. acronym is nothing new.  I’m not sure exactly how far back in history FKT’s became recorded, but for the athlete who plans and attempts them, the challenges are very compelling.  The mindset is purely grassroots and raw.  It’s running in its truest state, no crowds, race fees, bib numbers, or finish line chutes.  Instead, runners do their own research, pick a route, slip on a pair of socks, lace up their shoes, strap on a stopwatch or navigational tool and test themselves, self contained or aided, the athlete makes all the choices.


Scott's sock/shoe combo let feet breath better while still enjoying a cushioned run: DeFeet FKT's and Hoka One One's.

Scott’s sock/shoe combo let feet breath better while still enjoying a cushioned run: DeFeet FKT’s and Hoka One One’s.

Another thing I won’t go into is FKT rules; there are websites with specifics, but here are a few basic guidelines…

Announce your intentions in advance. Pay your respects to those who came before you, and tell them what you intend to attempt and when.

Be an open book. Invite anyone to come and watch or, better yet, participate. This makes your effort more fun and any result more believable.

Record your event. Write down everything immediately upon completion. Memory doesn’t count.

As the off-road running segment has become increasingly visible in recent years, so has the equipment trail runners choose while pushing themselves further and faster on rugged terrain.  As the athlete evolves, so does the gear that brands hone-in to keep up with the demands.  So to honor the positive spirit, the inner fire and the passion for what trail runners do I thought it’s more than fitting (pun intended) that we name our new sock, ‘Trail FKT’.

I hope you will slip a pair on and pursue your trail.

North Carolina is a home we love to roam - and run - around.

North Carolina is a home we love to roam

Gearing up for World Championships

2016 has been off to a great start for me!  I won the 24 Hour World Championships just a few months ago October. In fact, check out the DeFeet WC socks to commemorate the occasion!  Champion of the World? Butterflies in my stomach! Get your pair HERE!!! (They come in black too!)

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It was my first World Championship win and it still doesn’t feel real!  Every year, WEMBO, the World Endurance Mountain Bike Organization moves the WC to a different country to ensure stout international competition all over the world!  Last year’s was in California.  The 2016 WEMBO World Championship is in New Zealand — in 16 days.  Yep, you read that right!  Usually, you get to hold your jersey for almost a full year but because it’s in New Zealand this year (and it’s their race season and summer now), I’ll be heading across the international date line to fight to keep my current world champion status!Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 6.58.43 AM


16 days.  16 days.  That makes the butterflies in my stomach turn into moths kamikaze diving into bright light.

How do you prepare for a 24 hour race in the dead of winter in Canada?  I had thoughts a few months ago that I wouldn’t go defend my title because there was no way I could be fit for a 24 hour race when you can’t even ride outside where I live.  Those thoughts didn’t last long and neither did my defeatist attitude.  I knew I’d be in Albuquerque(where I’m originally from) for a week over the holidays so I could train then.  I fully committed to riding the trainer indoors and riding outside when the opportunity presented itself.  Cross training could be an option, but to train for a 24 hour race, you really need time in the saddle.  Last year, I did a couple 100 mile mountain bike races (my favorite distance to race) to prepare.  So, I’d need to do an 8 hour ride somewhere, ride the trainer, and find a race.  My preparation wouldn’t be anywhere close to ideal, but I decided that I’ll go do my best and see where the cards fall.  If you only take on challenges when you are perfectly prepared, you miss out on a lot of opportunities and usually it goes way better than you thought! So here I go!

The only problem?  I have always hated the trainer.  When I lived in Colorado, you could find me outside on mountain roads bundled up when people wouldn’t dare ride outside.  The challenge with Kelowna, BC is they do not plow bike lanes or mountain roads so it’s dangerous to road ride here unlike Colorado where the bike lanes are wide open.

My friend Eric opened my eyes to the Wahoo KICKR trainer. It’s a power trainer that has a very smooth feel, great app compatibility, and bonus: I can ride my mountain bike on it! Coupled with some very tough workouts on Trainer Road (it forces you to ride at set wattages for set amounts of time); the most efficient way to train.  I was actually pounding out 2-3 hour trainer rides every day.  Once I stopped fighting the idea of riding the trainer like I had in the past, something interesting happened: I found it satisfying and relaxing.  My normally hectic pedal to the metal daily schedule doesn’t warrant much time movie watching or even leisurely scrolling through social media feeds.  So, for a 3 hour ride? I can watch a TV show, spend time on reading articles online or scrolling through Facebook feeds, AND do an interval workout (not all at the same time)


And then of course, was the race part of the preparation.  I just got back from Chile about 30 hours ago from a 6 day stage race called the TransAndes. It’s summer in Chile right now, although the weather in Patagonia can be quite dramatic. We had one stage get canceled due to extreme weather!  I was feeling pretty anxious before the race; I didn’t know exactly what fitness I had in the bank after not a lot of outdoor riding.  I also was on my brand new Scott Spark 900RC.  Day 1 of race was my second ride on it outside! The short story is I had total blast, made some new friends, and was surprised with my fitness!  I was crushing the climbs and won every stage! For more about TransAndes- read here. 


Supporting Women’s Racing: Big Ups To NICA and Women’s Cycling Association

Women’s cycling is a very hot topic these days. The reason why people are talking about it is b/c there is so much room for growth in the industry and in the sport. Whether we are referring to the growing number of women pinning on race numbers or just the increased participation in recreational cycling events, the numbers don’t lie and the numbers are up!

There are more opportunities for girls and women to become cyclists than ever before. The organizations that are doing great things to help increase participation and create a better experience are NICA and the Women’s Cycling Association.

Women’s Camp group in Arizona.

This past weekend I attended the annual NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) banquet at Clif Bar Headquarters in Emeryville, CA This banquet honored deserving high school mountain bike racers who are excelling in sport, academics and community. NICA is also celebrating the creation of 19 leagues around the United States. The league’s sole purpose is to increase participation of mountain biking to high school students through an all encompassing race league. The outcome has been significant with the number of female racers growing at a very fast rate. Check out NICA here and become involved.

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Femme Velo kickoff party gets underway in Whitefish, Montana.

The Women’s Cycling Association has been very busy over the last 2.5 years to ensure progress is made to elevate the sport of women’s cycling. We have seen many positive changes for women’s cycling. First off, the media has started to cover more female racers as interest stories and women’s races are now being highlighted in the media so you can actually be a fan of women’s cycling. Secondly, there are now more high profile races for professional women racers to compete in internationally. Race promoters are starting to understand that women deserve the right to race their bike as much as men do & that women’s cycling is a highly entertaining product. Finally, there has been a surge in the development of younger female racers. This is highly important piece of the pie for the overall growth and progress of women’s cycling. Young talent is being recognized and given opportunity to thrive by being added to national caliber teams. This is an ongoing project to protect the future of our sport. If you want to learn how you can help contribute to the positive growth of women’s cycling, visit and join as a member.

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Esmee DeBarssi accepts her award at the NICA Awards banquet.

As of veteran of the sport for the last 15 years, I feel more excited about the future of women’s cycling than I have in a long time. The potential for all women to be part of the cycling community has become a reality.  I hope you’ll take the first pedal stroke in an effort to join the fun and excitement the bike can bring you for a lifetime.

Dreams Born Of Winter

Nearly half a century of life experience has taught me some things. One of the more profound of these is how it seems we become our thoughts. You may have witnessed this along your own life path, so far.  The evidence in my life and those around me is irrefutable. I am utterly convinced. Thoughts become actions. Actions become habits. Habits form us. We take on the form that determines our ultimate trajectory. Thoughts are the genesis.

Cycling gives us a nearly perfect platform to prove this to ourselves. It is like life compressed. The change we demand of ourselves can happen quickly. We can’t know someones thoughts unless they are voiced or written down to share. Ideas too big or small to be of consequence to us, but meaning perhaps everything to the person who conceived them. Gave life to them. Of course, we do notice someone’s trajectory. The junior rider, dropped even on the flats, is now riding at a National caliber level? The grandma who finished that full length gran fondo last Fall. Didn’t she get her first bike a few years ago? We can’t know what a person thinks, but we do see where their thoughts eventually take them.

There’s snow in the yard and a thin layer of ice on the roads, today. I’ve made no cycling goals for 2016 and my imagination rarely drifts toward my own on-the-bike performance. My cycling may be lackluster this year, but my thoughts carry me elsewhere, now. It wasn’t always that way. My strongest cycling dreams were always born in Winter. Somehow those lonely rides racing darkness through bitter, windblown afternoons gave crystal clarity to the most powerful dreams. Dreams further refined in cross-training sessions only Winter can command.

This is the season to see yourself in your own mind. The rider that you will become, this year and beyond. The one that you alone have the power to build. Dreams born of Winter will soon come to life. You may want to write yours down, somewhere. Prove it to yourself. You go where you want.




#Bestof2015 : Alison Tetrick

It is that time of year where our calendars are filled with holiday parties and riding in inclement weather, which can take quite a bit more time than you initially plan.  If you are like me, you catch yourself reeling from the chaos and also finding a faint sense of nostalgia of the year rapidly closing.  No New Year’s party or endurance ride feels like it gives the appropriate goodbye to a passing year.  Just as you are knee deep in memories, your cycling shoes are dry and your rainy day laundry is clean, so you are back on the bike planning grand expectations of a year to come.  This year will be different.  This year will be better.  Before you ignore the lessons learned, acquired scars, fleeting glory, take a second to reflect on this year and tell me your “Top 8 #Bestof2015 Moments”.  This is the time to award those moments with the recognition they deserve, or at least acknowledge those now notorious incidences.

No matter how turbulent your year, you can still find those times that exceeded your expectations, touched your heart, and of course those you would like to forget, but you know you will not have that luxury.  Take notes, learn lessons, cherish each day.

This was hard for me to select only 8, but here are my #Bestof2015!

  1. Tour Femenino de San Luis: It is hard to believe one of my favorite moments happened so soon into 2015.  Winning a race in January is hard enough, but it also sets a high bar for the next 11 months. I will never forget racing on a small composite Argentinian team and all the warm that consumed my heart each day.  image001The hospitality and beauty of this country was only rivalled by their innate ability to dance, laugh, and sing in any occasion.  Every moment seemed to deserve its own form of celebration.  Of course winning is fun, but crossing that line there I felt like I was a part of something much bigger and more comprehensive.  It was family, culture, and purpose.  If only I can keep this vitality in my daily life, I will be a better person from these memories I shared with the Xirayas de San Luis.

2.     USA TTT National Championships and World Championships: It was a pleasure racing for Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies in 2015.  image003I loved being on an American team racing the World Championships as National Champions on our home soil.  After winning USA Cycling Pro TTT Nationals, we donned the best patriotic robes we could fine to make a bit of scene at the World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.  Laugh all you will, but the World Championships only happen once a year, and who knows how long we will have to wait for them to return to the USA! Go America!

3.     Champs-Elysees Romance: Some people go to Paris to fall in love, and some people go to Paris to shop while sightseeing.

image007I went to Paris to race my bike around the Champs-Elysees in a diesel soaked rain in the Tour de France.  Although I crashed multiple times and was not having a necessarily shining moment, I still get the chills remembering racing in Paris.  I guess you can say I completed the stages of grief, and now can file that memory into a deserving special place.  image005I am still hoping for a consolation handbag from the streets of Paris for my efforts, but for now, I will just take the bruises with pride. Ok, and maybe that hematoma that is still there too.  Darn.

4.     Always beat the boys:  No, I am not signing up to race the men’s Tour any time soon.  But these wise words were given to me by one of my favorite little superstars.  Chiara came out to watch me race in Lodi, and told me that her race strategy at school was to always beat the boys.  image009She has a point.  Never sell yourself short, dream to accomplish big things, and know no limits.  Sure, winning the race was fun, but the power this girl instilled in me was even better.  She doesn’t have to grow up to be a bike racer, but she can grow up to be a strong, successful, independent woman who pursues a healthy life with passion and grit.  This encompasses why I race bikes.

5.     Taking Yourself Out #soPro:  Crashing is one thing, crashing yourself on the live stream while off the front at USA Pro Nationals takes it to a whole new level.  Sorry, Mom and Dad!  Like a true professional, I crashed myself out and although the glory fades, the scars and YouTube live forever.

image011Although it does make a great .gif and has led to plenty of discussion of why I crashed, it still happened.  It was one of those Perfect Storm moments and before you know it you are down and bloody.  It is a moment that I would like to forget, but it is one I will always remember.  First of all, the scar will never leave me alone, and it is one of my better pictures of the 2015.  At least beauty is only skin deep?


6.     BeNe Tour Dream Team:  Belief in yourself is viable, but when your whole team believes in you, you can exceed all expectations.  Especially your own.  This doesn’t just apply to bike racing, but into work, family, and friends.  When you feel the true support of those around you, you can conquer all.  image013Remember to relish those moments where you are bolstered with the power of your support network, and also use this feeling as a reminder to support those around you.  Teamwork does go a long way, even into Belgium on cobbled streets.  Winning on classic Belgium turf makes me a bike racer, but I only could complete this feat because of the team and our goal.  Be inspired by those like-minded people you surround yourself with!

7.     Family First:  It isn’t all about racing, it is about so much more.  The best memories of 2015 were the times I could spend with people I care about and love.  It was amazing to have my 84 year old bike racing Grandpa in the follow car with me at the USA Pro Challenge.  Although he swore he has never cried before, he admits to having tears in his eyes watching me suffer up that steep time trial climb.  Sorry for blowing up so badly, Grampy!  It happens to the best of us.

image015It was so demoralizing, I think my team director, was just happy I didn’t get off my bike and walk, but that is another story.  My Grandpa, with his over 17 national USA Cycling titles, introduced me to bike racing 6 years ago, and it didn’t take me long to realize it was in my blood the whole time.  Thank you to Paul Tetrick for showing me that sport is a lifestyle and cycling can be life.  Thanks to the cheers and hugs from my Grandma after the race too.  Even when things don’t go that well, you don’t remember the failure, you remember the love.


8.     Not Racing:  Some of best memories of the year were found out of the races and out onto to the open roads of experiencing the world by bike.  Whether it was a trip to the old family cabin in Hume Lake with my Mom, riding down the Monterey beach with my Dad, or ascending to the top of Mt. Evans, it was these views, introspection, solid company, and deep breaths that never can be replaced.  image017There is something about just exploring and being completely present where you are that truly refills your batteries.  You find satisfaction, you make time for others, and you reacquaint with yourself.  These are the moments you grow, learn, and discover.

Adventure By Bike

One of my favorite things about my bike is the adventure.  Really you can take your bike wherever you want to do and do whatever your heart desires.  The bike is about the wherever and whatever.  Your bike becomes a vessel of transportation as well as the pivotal catalyst that sparks your wanderlust and challenges you to become better.  It doesn’t have to be about racing, or STRAVA segments, although those are noble pursuits in their own right.  I like to win just as much, if not more, than the next person.  However, the bike can become about something bigger.  Something so big you can’t quite comprehend, but you just enjoy the ride.  Quite literally.

As a professional cyclist, it can’t be about training and intervals all the time, if not even most of the time.  I need to get out there and clip in because I want to explore my boundaries and push past the norm and into a realm of adventure mixed with a bit of chaos.  Now that’s why I ride.  Freedom is found in the unknown where you have let go of expectations, fear, and insecurity.  It becomes much simpler in this space.  I have caught glimpses of this during racing, where I can use boldness to conquer a course and get the result.  Yet even if I don’t get the result, you still can find this freedom in knowing you pushed your limits and gave it your best effort.  However, when the stars align during a race, this is a feeling you never forget.  It rarely goes according to plan, but you can capitalize on opportunity and react, and follow your instinct.  This makes racing less tied up in structure and more about finding your adventure zone.

But let’s be honest, the best part of adventure by bike is those beautiful days where you explore new routes, bigger destinations, and local cuisine.  I am notorious for planning rides based on the food and wine specialties paired delightfully with historical markers and beautiful views.  Living in Northern California, I am blessed with the endless options of a crisp sauvignon blanc paired with oysters to a farm fresh meal with freshly roasted coffee.  Yes, you didn’t think oysters and wine could be consumed mid-ride, but I am here to say this can happen.  And I lived to tell about it.   I highly suggest destination rides with fun treats, good friends and expansive views.  For some reason food and friends can really motivate an incredible ride.

How do you find this adventure zone?  If I can find it in training and racing, so can you.  You have to be able to accept the security in the plan and also be ready let the instructions fly away.  You need to know what you are capable of, and keep challenging that limit.  It turns out, this pursuit of adventure and willingness to explore, can make you a fast bike racer, an honorable pioneer, and a better person.

Find your Adventure Zone:

  1. Get a destination. This destination can be a goal or a great bed and breakfast with cinnamon rolls.  If you have somewhere you want to go, go for it.  You will find adventure along the way, I promise.  Whether you have a race you want to win, a ride you want to complete, or a landmark that needs to be seen, you can do anything with an apple fritter in your pocket.
  2. Bring friends. I am all about solo adventures and winning bike races solo, where you can reconnect with yourself, but bringing along riding buddies can help cut the wind, increase the speed and therefore distance, and adds to the safety of it all!  You can be picky who you bring and more does not always equal merrier.  In racing, you don’t always get to pick your riding group, but thankfully in training you can!
  3. Plan for the unexpected. I know I have been discussing the freedom found in the adventure zone, but you should plan where you will stay, get water, food, etc.  But also be ready for the unexpected.  Even races don’t always go according to plan.
  4. Be in the moment. Even though you know your route and quest, be ready to let go of the reigns a little and just let the day come to you.  This applies to racing to!  Enjoy being present and existing.  Take pictures to document, but even if you don’t put them on Instagram at the moment, the adventure still happened.
  5. Seek and enjoy. You can seek out this adventure zone, but don’t look too hard.  Sometimes it will come to you when you least expect it.  You find it by challenging yourself and getting out on your bike.  You enjoy it because you never know when that moment will come.

Learn more about Alison Tetrick by visting and on twitter @AMTetrick

My Secret to Success

My legs were spinning along effortlessly and I was railing every corner through the snaking decomposed granite trail. The smell of fragrant sage filled the air and things were going well as the glare of the early morning sun greeted me with ease. People were cheering my name and I felt happy. I was at mile 10 of a 75 mile mountain bike race in Park City, Utah called the Park City Point 2 Point.   I wasn’t sure how I would feel this morning because I was racing at high altitude; no easy task now that I lived at sea level. I was thrilled that I felt good for the moment and was leading the race. Maybe I had a chance after all!  Unfortunately, my elation was short-lived. I didn’t see the course marker on the inner apex of the next hairpin turn and blew straight past the turn. It was miles before I realized my error and I was way off course. My insides sunk when I realized I was lost, but I quickly turned around and bolted back the way I came. By the time I was back on course, most of the women’s field was long gone and I was now at the back of the whole race. The race was far from over, but it was going to be a major challenge to regain all that lost time. I knew it was unlikely that I would be able to get back to the front of the race.


In moments of adversity, we always have a choice. I could get angry, make excuses, and give up OR I could accept responsibility for my mistake, do my best to make up for lost time, and choose to enjoy my experience even though things did not go to plan. Of course I was disappointed that my wrong turn potentially cost me the win and prize money, but did I let the emotions of anger and disappointment ruin my race? The answer is no. But that brings me to my point.

Happiness is not just a mood, it's a work ethic

I had to consciously decide how to process my situation. I had to intentionally address every negative feeling that cropped up over the course of the race and answer it with a positive one.

Think back to the last time things weren’t going well for you. Maybe you had an altercation with a colleague, made a mistake on a project, or something out of your control happened that changed your outcome to a less ideal one.  How did it go? What did you do to improve the situation? What was your choice?

For me, experiences are my teachers. They make me a better and happier person, especially then things don’t go right. With hobbies and sports, we are pushing our limits, learning how to pace ourselves, and learning the value of practice and hard work. Our activities teach us not only the type of person we want to be, but also put us in compromising situations where we feel vulnerable. It’s our setbacks in life that position us on an iterative path. We get to choose if this path is a positive spiral or a negative one. The setbacks and stress don’t always have to be negative; they are the real opportunity for growth. It’s the challenges and roadblocks that change our lives, change how we view the world, and it is in our control and power to decide what lens to use. That might sound cliché, but we have all lived it; and not just through sports and hobbies. It’s almost in every decision and situation of our daily life. Happiness and positivity is learned a habit… and so is negativity.


I’ve raced my mountain bike through some very challenging places; over the highest mountain pass in the world, across the hottest desert on Earth, through one of the most unpopulated countries, and even been extremely challenged on the very steep, technical terrain just a few miles from my house. Racing around the world has taught me to be flexible; things rarely go to plan. People ask me how I am always so happy and positive and I attribute it to being mentally flexible and choosing to look at the positive effects of a situation instead of the negative. I choose to focus on why I can do something, not why I can’t. It’s a learned and repeated habit. I’m not a superhero, I’m just a regular person. I feel disappointment, get stressed out, feel frustration, want people to like me, and sometimes I even trip on my own feet in public. But I love taking on challenges that place me far outside my comfort zone; it has become an obsession. It has set me on a positive trajectory that has lead to success and I believe everyone has the power to be successful if they are willing to try.



So what are the tools I use when things get hard? When someone is upset with me, when I fail on a work proposal, when I make a mistake, when I get lost or have a mechanical in a race, when my next flight gets canceled and I’m stranded, or when I can’t get console a crying niece or nephew? How do I define what I do every time so I can apply it to a diverse set of situations?

  • Recognize what is upsetting you
    • If you made a mistake, forgive yourself but don’t be lackadaisical. Accept responsibility for your actions then take the next step to correct it. If you were rejected, look forward to your next chance and try not to take it personally.
  • Focus on what is in your control and take appropriate action, not what is out of your control
    • Focus on the facts and look at the present and future; don’t dwell on what happened in the past and how unlucky you are. Focusing on negativity from you past will build a ceiling. Don’t build a ceiling, build a ladder!
  • As Shawn Achor says in his incredible book, The Happiness Advantage:
    • Change your Explanatory Style.
      • Look at the situation and choose how you tell your story to yourself. In Dr. Achor’s book, he uses the example of someone getting shot during a bank robbery. A person with a positive explanatory style would say “I was really lucky that I was just shot in the arm and didn’t die!” A person with a negative explanatory style would say, “I was so unlucky to be in the bank during the shooting and I can’t believe I was a victim. Why me?” Achor noted that a shocking 70% of people related to a negative explanatory style. Or in my case of the getting lost at the race in Park City race I could say, “I can’t believe I got lost! It’s the promoter’s fault that I missed the course marking. My race is ruined. This sucks and it’s so unfair. I am not having fun.” OR I could say, “That’s too bad I missed the course marking. It’s probably going to cost me the race, but these things do happen from time to time. I’m in Utah, it’s beautiful, I’m doing what I love and I even get to race around people I don’t normally get to see. And hey, maybe I can catch back up! If not, I’ll pay better attention next time.”
    • Be Flexible
      • Usually, things don’t go exactly to plan but if you’re open to taking things as they come and by choosing a positive explanatory style, the circumstances don’t seem so severe.
    • Stop comparing yourself to other people. This goes back to control (and I admit is hard to do!) You can only control what you are contributing and you can do your best. You can’t control what other people are doing or even how good or bad you are relative to them.

My secret to success in school, bike racing, relationships, and my business have been “choosing a positive explanatory style” and being flexible. On my own, I’ve pinpointed certain personal philosophies I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way…!) through the world’s hardest mountain bike races and entrepreneurship; lessons learned through setbacks and adversity, not from winning. There is a lot of empirical data showing how positivity leads to success. Thanks to Shawn Achor and his book The Happiness Advantage, I can be even more conscious about my decision making process and continue to grow both my positive work ethic and my success.   What about you?



To follow me, go to my website (social media links are on there too!)

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