Women’s Wednesday: Pros v. Amos, Tri-Style – featuring Gwen Jorgensen, Alicia Kaye, aaaaaaaand Katie Macarelli!

Photo: Pro Velo Passion

By Dana Willett

A little back-history of Pro’s vs Amo’s:

These events go back to the summer of 2014 when we had the 1st “Pro’s vs “Amos” contest (“amos” is just a rhyming abbreviation for “amateurs”). There was a chocolate chip cookie bake-off followed by a dodge ball tournament. There was laughter and tears. *It was mostly the laughing and the cookies that inspired us to keep this “challenge” going.

Since then we’ve invited many strong, fun women to join in on the shenanigans. While the cast of women is ever changing (life happens), the spirit of this event never will. This will always be a somewhat silly celebration of the pure joy we all have for our sport.

————————————————-

Pros & Amos: Tri-Style

In a digital-cyber-y version of 303’s famous Pros v. Amos challenges, we pit famous local “Amo” Katie Macarelli opposite a couple “Pro” athletes you may have heard of… Olympic World Champion Gwen Jorgensen & Professional Triathlete Alicia Kaye! And we’re talking about how Pros live their athletic lives and learn their lessons, compared to Amos… What it’s like as a female role model, mistakes they’ve made, and how they’ve overcome obstacles along the path to stardom… Read on to find out who’s a brainiac with multiple degrees… who hurdles barbed wire fences with ease… and who’s favorite prize ever was 20 pounds of steak.

Here’s some background:

GWEN JORGENSEN
Gwen Jorgensen is a professional triathlete from St Paul, MN. Gwen is a 2x Olympian, 2x World Champion (2014, 2015), and 17x ITU World Triathlon Series race winner. She also likes to read, try new foods, and hang out with friends and family.

Career Highlights:

    • 2016 Olympic Champion
      2015 World Champion
      2014 World Champion
      2012 U.S. Olympic Team Member
      2013 USA Triathlon’s Triathlete of the Year
      2014 USA Triathlon’s Triathlete of the Year
      2015 USA Elite National Champion
      2014 USA Elite National Champion
      2013 USAT Elite National Champion (Sprint and Olympic Distance)
      First USA Woman to win a World Triathlon Series race
      15-time ITU World Triathlon Series Winner
      2010 USAT Rookie of the Year
      2010 USAT Elite Duathlete of the Year

ALICIA KAYE
Alicia grew up in Canada and began participating in triathlon when she was 11 years old; she became a professional triathlete at the age of 14. Alicia spent her teen years racing triathlon while juggling her academic studies. While completing her undergraduate degree in Sport Psychology she met fellow triathlete and now husband, Jarrod Shoemaker. Since meeting Jarrod she has began racing for the United States and also completed her masters degree in Athletic Counseling. Some of Alicia’s proudest moments include winning Canadian Junior National Championships in 2001, and winning the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in 2013. In her spare time Alicia works as a mental trainer and runs a skincare company with her husband Jarrod, called Endurance Shield.

 

And our “Amo,” KATIE MACARELLI
Katie is a Colorado native who grew up on a dairy farm on the Eastern Plains. She got her start in the Colorado cycling scene competing in triathlons for about five years until she realized that running is the worst. She’s a mom of two teenage girls, a year-round bike commuter who hates driving but loves cyclocross. She is currently the marketing manager for Feedback Sports.

 

 

Here we go!
1. Have you ever googled yourself? Any oft-repeated MISconceptions out there that you’d like to clear up? Any rumor or tall tale that just keeps popping up on Wikipedia? Here’s your chance to set the record straight. And if not, give us your best pretend fake fact.

GJ:  I’ve googled my husband, Patrick Lemieux, but don’t google myself. I think one thing people may assume is that I come from a running background, however I actually come from a swimming background and didn’t start running until I was a junior in college.

AK: Yes, I’ve googled myself. It almost always just to find an image or to find articles written about a recent race. Maybe once every few years I’ll look to see if anyone is saying something mean or false, but I’ve never found anything truly negative.

KM: ​I work in the digital marketing realm, so of COURSE I have. The only misconception I’ve ever found was an article that listed me as living in Portland. I’ve never actually been to Portland, but it sounds lovely. *I generally disregard everything past page 5 on google, because it’s like reading the comments on Pinkbike. It will just make you mad and/or confused.

2. How has your rise to fame affected your performances? Has there ever been a time when the spotlight really helped you? Or worked against you?

GJ: I am an introvert, so it took some time to get used to the media attention and fans walking up to me. I now enjoy being able to share my experiences, but still need my alone time to recharge.
In 2012, after I qualified for the Olympics I had a bunch of media engagements lined up for the week of a WTS race in San Diego. I did an all day photo shoot along with other media the week leading into the race and I believe this contributed to my poor performance. I think I almost finished dead last.

Photo: Finisher Pix

AK: I had my breakout year in 2013 winning the Lifetime Series and Toyota Triple Crown. I thought it would be this ultra grand moment where everything would change. But life went on as normal, the money and/ or result didn’t change any of my relationships- we were just able to make a big fat mortgage payment instead;) What was interesting was in 2014 I really struggled to find purpose and meaning after achieving all my goals in 2013, trying to replicate them again in 2014 was an entirely different experience.

KM: I’m not famous, but I do find it hard to get to the start line to any race because I often stop to hug, heckle and/or say hello to friends. As it turns out, missing the start of a race directly impacts your performance.

 

3. Please provide five single-word adjectives that best describe you and what makes you tick.

GJ: Stubborn. Disciplined. Focused. Driven. Foodie.

AK: Even-tempered. Leader. Brave. Disciplined. Joyful.

KM: Enthusiastic. Loud. Empathetic. Droll. Indefatigable. (You said single-word, so I didn’t think I could use “over-caffeinated”)

4. Have you experienced being asked media questions different from your male counterparts that you attribute to gender? What’s your best example?

GJ: Can’t think of one off the top of my head, but I also try not to read into questions too much. I also have a poor memory so may have been asked something but have forgotten. I do believe there should be equal prize money for men and women (which there is in ITU which I love).

AK: This is a great question, I think our sport is pretty good about equality but the biggest gender difference I notice is that it’s ALWAYS the male winners picture in a newspaper article. Media outlets within our sport tend to include pictures of the women’s winner and why is the men’s race always written about first?

KM: No, because the media isn’t interested in me. However, I’ve been in many eye-rolling situations as a female working in a male dominated industry. I feel our industry (and society in general)​ is getting better about this but I still got called “Hon” only a few months ago by a guy my age who was visiting our office. I can assure you that I’m not his “Hon.”

5. What is the best PRIZE you’ve ever won, in your entire life of racing (maybe it was that 2nd grade field day ribbon…)?

GJ: Any prize that involves food! In 2015 I won a gravel road race and won 20lbs of steak.

AK: I won a race down in Tobago a LONG time ago, back in 2005 I think. The trophy was a beautiful wooden carved sea turtle, it’s still hanging on my wall at home.

KM: I won a pair of Tough Girl socks and a pint glass for 3rd place in my first ever Cx race (I raced it on my full suspension Yeti 575). I was instantly in love with cyclocross and bought a Cx bike about 4 months later

6. Race Day prep – name three best practices you always adhere to the night before a race… and three things you always avoid. What is your best example of a time you didn’t follow your own rules, and things fell apart?

GJ: Don’t try anything new (once I ate out in Japan and tried a dish I’d never had before and got food poisoning)
-Relax/put my feet up
-Do openers
-Avoid: unnecessary stress, being on your feet all day, and new foods.

AK: I don’t go to bed until I feel sleepy, I eat the same thing (chicken and rice) and I prepare everything the night before leaving race morning to be fairly stress free. Three things I always avoid the night before a race are any foods that contain caffeine, any foods high in fiber, anything my body isn’t used to.

KM: Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Race prep. That’s funny. Here are my “3 best practices”:

-Start looking for my wetsuit​ at about 10 pm​. and run a load of laundry.
-Eat a bowl of Peanut Butter Panda Puffs and pack my bag in the dark so I don’t wake my family.
-Get a good, solid 4 hours of sleep.

Three things I avoid ​(d​ue to life in general plus an incessant desire to self-sabotage):
-Dialed logistics. ​
-Consistent, focused athletic ​training.
-Having enough ______________ to make success an option (fill in the blank with any of the following: sleep, water, food, peace of mind, clean clothes, gas in the car etc)

Best example of things falling apart:
An example where things went wrong: Pretty much every race I’ve done since I turned 35. ​Recently, I had to hop a barbed-wire fence and run through a ditch to find the start-line. Good thing I grew up on a farm.

7. If you’re a Pro, do you ever find yourself wishing you were an Amateur? And if you’re an Amateur, every wish you were a Pro? Why?

GJ: I love what I do and am thrilled to be able to also make it my living. I do hate training when the body is tired and it is pouring rain outside.

AK: I went pro at such an early age that I almost can’t remember what it’s like to race as an amateur. Triathlon has been my life since I was 14 years old, and I began participating in them at 11. I think what I’ll miss when I don’t race as a pro someday is a clear course!

KM: Nope. Waaaaay too much pressure. I race because it helps me conquer my fears, which is a good example for my daughters and other women. Oh, and also: its good preparation should things go south and we find ourselves in a post-Apocalyptic scenario.  If I had to do that as a job, I’d undoubtedly get fired.

Want to know more about Alicia, Gwen and Katie?

Follow their careers:

Alicia Kaye

Gwen Jorgensen

Katie Macarelli – Feedback Sports

Becky Piper: Xterra Nats qualifier, savagely attacked, comatose & paralyzed, and back to Xterra again – at local Lory race

By Sasha Underwood

Several years ago Becky Piper was attacked while living in Guam by would be armed robbers, severely beaten with a gun and left to die. Local naval doctors immediately evacuated her to San Diego for treatment. She is now partially paralyzed. Yesterday she completed Xterra Lory. What happened in between is remarkable and brought tears to my eyes watching her finish knowing all that she went through to even compete.  You can read about her account HERE.

Prior to the attack, Becky was an ultra-marathon runner. A friend of hers had mentioned the Xterra in Guam and essentially challenged her by saying because he was a guy he would be faster than her and would beat her time – which ignited a small fire in her. She trained and completed the 2013 Xterra Guam, finishing 2nd in her age group and qualified for the Xterra National Championships.  Oh, and her friend, did not even start because he didn’t train.

Shortly after that she was attacked.  When she finally emerged from her coma weeks later and barely started talking, she asked the doctors if she could resume racing. They explained that her paralysis may be permanent – to which she replied, “Ok, well that’s why there’s a Para Athlete division!” After spending some time with her I can only imagine her saying that in a matter-of-fact, upbeat, genuine way with that huge Becky smile of hers!

She is now paralyzed on her right side and uses a brace to walk. Within the past three years, she has become a USAT Coach with Team MPI, and she completed two sprint triathlons last year. Check out her accomplishments on her Facebook page!

When we met last year, I asked if she would be doing Xterra’s again. She explained that she would like to but wasn’t sure of which one would be suitable for her. I immediately thought of Xterra Lory – it’s such a great course for beginners and experts alike. A flowy bike course with a great climb of a run.

She signed up for Xterra Lory at the beginning of this year. I mentioned how I love that race but I can’t run anymore since my hip surgery in November, to which she replied, “then walk! I’m doing it!” Of course I signed up after that. Originally I was going to race the swim and bike portion and have my mom do the run.

Becky was nervous about the bike portion. She pre-rode the course a couple times and a few days before the race I asked her if she would feel more confident if I rode behind her on the bike course. She loved that idea so I planned to stay with her the entire race.

The Swim:

We put on our wetsuits to go do a quick practice swim. It was the first open water swim of the year for both of us – nothing like waiting until race day! Anna, Becky’s transition handler, and Sam, Becky’s husband, helped Becky into her wetsuit. The best part was watching them lift Becky up by either side and try to shake her into her wetsuit! I REALLY wish I had taken a picture of that!

The entrance to the lake was slick and muddy and several athletes slipped while entering. It was a good time to discuss a strategy for Anna to help Becky out of the water when she finished. The water was chilly and both Becky and I had a little cold water shock panic when we put our face in the water.  We were in wave seven so we had plenty of time to practice. By the second wave we were comfortable and I tried to stay slightly to her right and in front of her so she could follow me.

We finished faster than her projected time in under 30minutes!

The Bike:

Sam modified Becky’s bike so all of the shifters and brakes are on the left side. In addition, her bike is a full suspension, more of a down-hill, slack geometry and has a 27.5 wheel on the front with a 26 wheel on the back. Becky can’t stand up to get over obstacles or downhill sections so the wheels and geometry of the bike help put her in a better position to ride that type of terrain.

I had so much fun riding with her! Becky had named many sections of the bike course from pre-riding it. The first section she named ‘Bridges Galore’ (but later renamed it to ‘Why Will Becky’s Foot Not Stay On the Pedal’). Next came ‘Where Becky Endo’d’. Then ‘Holy Crap! Look At All the Uphill!’ And last but not least, ‘The Part I Only Saw Once Because the Other Time I got a Flat Tire.’

This girl would fall over, get back up, and do it again. Over, and over, and over again. I was so impressed with her tenacity and perseverance – all the while with a ginormous smile on her face. At one point she fell over, threw her arm up and with a grin from ear to ear said, “ta-dah!” I’m so glad I was there to help out when I could and put her foot back into her unruly pedal. By the end of the bike we pretty much had that down to a science.

Her family and friends were waiting for her at the bike finish cheering with excitement. Anna and Sam helped her transition, changing her biking brace to her running brace made with carbon fiber which is more comfortable and allows better mobility for hiking.

The Run:

I originally was going to do the run with Becky but I forgot my running shoes. Fortunately my mom, who was already planning to run, ran with her instead.  Becky described her run as an attempt to get over rocks. She fell a few times, ended up with a mysterious scrape down her entire length of her arm, and has a bruised and skinned knee… but she did it. She explained that my mom gasped the first time she fell but by the 5th time she was unphased. That’s just what happens. You fall, and then you just get back up.

Becky’s friends and family ran with her through the last 200 yards leading up to the finisher’s chute. I personally could not hold back the tears of joy, knowing what I know about Becky, knowing how meaningful it is to train and overcome obstacles and push through no matter the odds or what life throws at you… knowing what it feels like to cross the finish line of my first 5k, 10k, Marathon and Ironman… the feeling is the same and I couldn’t help the tears from flowing. Looking around there was not a dry eye among us.

Becky is incredibly motivating, inspiring and her up-beat, nothing-can-get-me-down attitude is infectious. I am honored to have raced with her and call her my friend. I look forward to watching her race the Boulder Half Ironman in August!

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Divas Sprint Tri

Longmont

 

The 10th annual Outdoor Divas on July 30th, awarded best women’s event in Colorado by Competitor Magazine, is the all women’s triathlon you’ve been waiting for!  We intentionally keep the race cap low at 600 women to create a fun, festive, yet intimate racing environment.  Great goodie bags, one of our biggest expos of the year, a ton of raffles, and a completely closed race course are just some of the highlights.  Due to the low cap we’ve sold out the past 9 years.  In 2016 we reached capacity on June 20th so please take advantage of the early registration.

“This was my first triathlon in five years since my professional racing career ended. I had no idea what to expect and the last thing I wanted to experience was insecurity in terms of the course and safety. Thanks to Without Limits and Outdoor DIVAS, I was able to put my best foot forward on race day, with incredible support along the way. It was a blast to mix it up with a great group of inspired women  I’m so happy that Skirt Sports chose the Outdoor DIVAS Triathlon as our first-ever Team Triathlon. We’ll definitely be back next year!”   Nicole DeBoom

 

Event details and registration here

Alison Dunlap MTB Level II Skils Clinic

Colorado Springs

 

Women’s Clinic

The Level II clinics are for riders that are comfortable on singletrack and regularly ride mountain bikes off-road. A Level II rider likes technical trails but may not have the skills to feel comfortable and safe. A Level II rider should be comfortable with the following skills:

  • If using clipless pedals (although not required) being able to get in and out of the pedals quickly and safely on both sides
  • Riding single track with moderate technical sections
  • Riding for 2-3 hrs at a time

 

A Level II rider will learn the following skills at the clinic:

  • Basic bike set-up
  • Positioning, balance, maneuvering, braking, and shifting
  • Cornering
  • Line selection
  • Enduro techniques
  • Riding up and down ledges
  • Riding off 2-3 foot drops
  • Tight exposed switchbacks with obstacles
  • Loose rocky climbs and descents
  • Cornering on loose tight singletrack
  • Off-camber cornering
  • High speed descending
  • Whoop-de-doos
  • Wheelies

 

Event details and registration here

Alison Dunlap MTB Beginner Skills Clinic

Colorado Springs

 

Women’s Clinic

Our Level I clinics are designed for the person that rode a mountain bike years ago or rides on a regular basis, but lacks the confidence and technique to feel comfortable on single track. If you’re completely new to the sport and don’t know the first thing about mountain biking, then this clinic is also for you. In the Level I clinic, riders learn the basic fundamentals of riding a mountain bike:

  • Basic bike set-up
  • Positioning, balance, maneuvering, braking and shifting
  • Mounting/dismounting your bike on steep terrain
  • Cornering
  • Riding up and down curbs
  • Climbing and descending
  • Switchbacks
  • Riding varied trail conditions

 

You’ll also learn about vision; how to read a trail and make quick, split-second decisions on what you can and cannot ride. We’ll also spend time on trail etiquette, safety, and basic on-trail bike repairs. You’ll leave your clinic with an arsenal of new skills, a razor sharp eye for technique, and confidence that will stay with you for years to come!

Day 1 – Monument Valley Park

Day 2 – Ute Valley Park

 

Event details and registration here

Vixxen Find Your Feisty Kick Off Event

Boulder

 

Event open to all of the Boulder community at Outdoor Divas highlighting the Without Limits Outdoor Divas Triathlon and encouraging women of the community to set a goal to race that race and to let us help them along the way.

This will be our introduction night of why we believe the Find your Feisty movement is so important and what we will teach throughout the season

 

Event details here

Vixxen Racing offers ‘Find Your Feisty’ Series

Vixxen Racing is the premier name of Colorado women’s amateur triathlon racing.  They are a community of “elite development” women working together to push limits beyond what is achievable as individuals. They strive to serve as role models in the sport by bringing women together through training, athlete development programs and access to peer-to peer mentoring and support.

The Vixxens aim to create and foster an environment where women are not afraid of competition, but embrace and grow from it.

On Thursday June 22, Vixxen Racing will be offering a beginning OWS clinic.  This clinic is open to any novice or inexperienced open water swimmer.

 

Liz West will lead this clinic that will cover:

  • Approaching your first wave start-where do you seed yourself, setting yourself up for success
  • Equipment-different wetsuits and goggles-pros and cons
  • Beach Starts versus Deep Water Starts
  • Sighting
  • What to do when things don’t go as planned

This clinic will happen in conjunction with the June 22nd Stroke n’ Stride race at the Boulder Reservoir.

Check out all the event details and registration here 

Additional Find Your Feisty series events, look here