Mountain bike skills clinics

Spring is here and it’s mountain bike time!

Coach Elaine Bothe demonstrates proper form on the trail.

Coach Elaine Bothe demonstrates proper form on the trail.

Sorella Forte president and Wenzel coach Elaine Bothe and associate coach Rhonda Morin team up to lead a series of mountain bike clinics starting in March.

March 19, 2016 – Advanced clinic, Sandy Ridge Trail System, Brightwood, Oregon

March 26, 2016 – Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced clinics, Cascade Locks EasyCLIMB Trail System, Cascade Locks, Oregon

April 2, 2016 –   Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced clinics, Sandy Ridge Trail System, Brightwood, Oregon

Click here for details

Club Meeting

Our annual meeting is on Jan 31, 2016, at The Lumberyard Bike Park.

Sorella ClubRiding and lessons hosted by Elaine in the afternoon starting around 3:00 p.m. with a total newbie orientation walking tour and riding skills at 4 p.m. Meeting starts at 6 p.m.

This will not be a full potluck this year. Depending on attendance, we will provide some pizza both regular and gluten-free and hummus and veggies. Feel free to bring a sweet snack to share. Additional pizza, salads, mac-n-cheese and other yumminess, as well as soft drinks, beer, cider and wine will be available for purchase.

Bike parking is allowed inside, if someone wants to lead a road ride prior. Feel free to park at The Lumberyard and ride from there.

Elections: We have a board of 8 members, each term is 2 years and we alternate years depending on the position so we are never turning over the entire board in the same year. Our current board includes:

Elaine Bothe, President
Susan Koonce, Treasurer
Linda Watts, Volunteer Coordinator
Aleson McFarlane, Secretary
Sarah Brown, Club Captain
Trish Jilot, Membership Coordinator
Elsa Bro, Member at Large
Heather Simmons, Member at Large

The positions of treasurer, volunteer coordinator, secretary and member at large are up for re-election this year. Each is a two-year term.

Susan, Linda and Aleson are excited about re-running for their positions. Also, Sheri “Cyclenoodle” and Patti are interested in running for Member at Large position. If you want to be involved, know that our board meets four times a year and all members are welcome. Plus, we can always use board helpers, so let us know your interest. Being a helper is a great way to get fulfill your member in good standing (MIG) requirement.

Got old gear? Want new old gear?

Bring yours to trade at the meeting. Leftovers will be donated to Community Cycling Center.

Pactimo Fit Kit will also be available for members to try on during the meeting.

Cyclocross Highlights from 2015

There was dust and hot temps in the early ‘cross season that changed to rain, then sticky mud, then everybody’s favorite: PIR’s peanut butter mud! 2015 was a fun season. Come on out and join us in 2016!

Bonnie pushing through the peanut butter at PIR, Nov. 2015.

Bonnie pushing through the peanut butter at PIR, Nov. 2015.

Bonnie, Kim and Susan enjoy mixing mud with afternoon sun for a beautiful complexion.

Bonnie, Kim and Susan enjoy mixing mud with afternoon sun for a beautiful complexion.

Bonnie's first podium!

Bonnie’s first podium!

Rhonda feeling the pain at a Grand Prix CX race in 2015.

Rhonda feeling the pain at a Grand Prix CX race in 2015.

Rhonda packs  like a Pro for cyclocross.

Rhonda packs like a Pro for cyclocross.


State Champs CX Race

Oregon State Champs! November 21, 2015, was a clear and cold day and ripe for winning. The Singlespeed contest was the last race of the day this time, which meant I had to live with butterflies in my belly all day. The race was in Boring – a mere 10 miles from my house, so I got to ride the Springwater Trail to the venue for once. The course had lots of fast flats with just enough up hill to make my legs scream. A wooden fly-over that was steeper than the photo makes it appear (looking far forward took away some of the fear) and a separate set of stairs on the other side of the course. And cornfields! Deep, but sticky mud the twisted along the corn rows. A hint: riding on the corn stalks helped with traction. I lined up with a modest field, none of whom I recall seeing in other races, so it was an unknown. The whistle blew and we were off. I tucked behind another to start at a moderate speed and on the first hill she had a pedal problem, so I came around her and took the lead from there on.

I kept the pace reasonable, enjoyed the couple of steep descents off the fly-over and another spot and wrapped up the race in 5 laps. State Champ baby! First SS championship for me. A fine end to a fun and satisfying season. This SS racing is a blast.

~ Coach Rhonda Morin

CX Clinic Highlights

Thanks to all the Sorellas who helped with this year’s CX clinic at Vancouver Lake Park and PIR. What fun we had in the mud, sand and grass! Photos by Colleen McClenahan.



Cyclocross Skills Clinic Series

WC Barrier & Coach RhondaCyclocross Skills Clinic Series 2015 coming  August 16 and 23. Time to sign up while there’s still room. New this year – two, 3-hour clinics packed with skills and drills.

Sign up today!

Racing Season = Cramping

What is a cramp?

Cramps are strong, involuntary muscle contractions. They can occur at any time but are most common during or shortly after hard exercise. They can occur in any muscle, though in cyclists they are most common in the quads, hamstrings and calves. They can be so strong that they cause you to launch out of a chair or actually pull a muscle.

Cramps have many causes, though fundamentally they are similar. When you move, your brain sends signals to your muscles requesting a contraction. The brain receives feedback on the strength of the contraction that has occurred, from which it can make adjustments to create a controlled movement. If the feedback says that the contraction is harder than expected, the brain can send instructions to contract less. If the feedback says the contraction is weak, the brain can send a signal to contract more. As a muscle fatigues, the brain sends more signals to tell the muscle to contract to get the same strength of contraction. When the muscle becomes too fatigued to do what is asked of it, the brain sends a continuous contraction signal, initiating a cramp.

Causes of cramps and how to correct them

Anything that fatigues a muscle can bring on a cramp, and anything that keeps a muscle fresh helps prevents cramps. Talk to your coach about which of these might be your particular problem.

Inadequate training: You may cramp late in a long or hard ride simply because you have not trained adequately for the distance or the intensity. Make gradual increases to volume and intensity.

Pushing big gears: One clue that you may be doing this is if you find yourself standing each time you need to accelerate. Another clue is measuring your cadence below 85 rpm for much of a hard ride. The cure? Switch to a lower gear. Spin to save your legs. Get a larger rear cog or a compact or triple crankset if necessary.

Dehydration: Muscles don’t contract well if they don’t contain their normal amount of water. Stay hydrated.

Fuel: Muscles can’t contract if they don’t have a good supply of glucose. Keep eating carbohydrate rich foods on longer rides. Eat something at the start of the ride, after about 30-40 minutes and every 15-20 minutes thereafter. Aim for about 250 calories per hour if you are under 150 pounds and 300 if you are over 150 pounds.

Electrolyte balance: Muscles will cramp if they don’t contain their normal amounts of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Those amounts change during exercise. Salt your food and eat plenty of bananas. If you don’t eat a lot of dairy, take a calcium supplement or eat plenty of brassica veggies (collards, kale, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower).

Calcium: Calcium-based antacids such as Tums have cured many cases of cramps. Take one before riding and one each hour of the ride if you’ve been cramping. Don’t wait for the cramp to take the calcium.

Raw Spinach: Some leafy green vegetables eaten raw, particularly spinach, will leach calcium from your system. Avoid large amounts of raw spinach. Cooked is okay.

Creatine Monohydrate supplementation: In some people creatine supplementation (especially loading) may cause cramps, especially if the athlete is dehydrated. If in doubt, avoid this supplement.

Tight muscles: Regular stretching of muscles that tend to cramp sometimes reduces cramping.

Impaired circulation: Muscles that are not receiving adequate blood supply are deprived of oxygen and fuel. They will not recover from one contraction to the next and so will fatigue quickly. Correct pressure points on the saddle, in your shoes, in your shorts and anywhere else they might interfere with circulation.

Heat or cold: On hot or cold days some people will cramp even if they do everything else right. On hot days, do what you can to keep cool. As well as staying hydrated, dribble water on your jersey and shorts and through your helmet every once in a while. Choose shadier and flatter routes on hot days, unless you are racing and don’t have a choice. On cold days, dress warmly.

Bike Fit: A poorly fit bike may cause some muscles to work harder than necessary, bringing on a cramp. If in doubt, have your coach check your fit.

Rhabdomyolysis: If cramps are followed by red or brown urine, you are experiencing a breakdown of muscle tissue and release of muscle contents into the blood. This is a medical problem needing immediate professional attention to prevent kidney damage. Treatment for acute rhabdomyolysis is high volume IV rehydration.

Article by Scott Saifer, M.S., Wenzel Coaching

womens cycling club in Portland Oregon - Sorella Forte - Rhonda Morin

Bear Springs Mtb Race

womens cycling club in Portland Oregon - Sorella Forte - Rhonda MorinRaced the Bear Springs XC race in Mt Hood on Sunday. Great weather this year (last year I heard it snowed). A bit cool to start, but it warmed up nicely.
I did the Cat 2 masters 40-49. A bit confusing at the start. The officials weren’t clear on when the women started, so some went off with a men’s group, but quickly realized their mistake and returned to the start. The officials could use a lesson in CX starts.

This being my first race of the year, first mtb race in a very long time and not having done the course, I was coolly optimistic and laid back about the whole affair. I just wanted to test my fitness and practice skills in a race.

Lots of fun stuff on this course. Some tech sections that I walked – like one long, loose dirt downhill – but overall a very sweet single track event. There were a few uphills that kicked my behind, but the flat sections that followed were worth the struggle.

There were babbling brooks, roots, shale covered areas, narrow single track nestled into ridges (don’t look down) and short gravel sections. A bit of everything.

A nutrition bottle I put on the truck for the feed zone was a welcomed friend with 45 mins to go. Perked me back up for a good finish. But I was pretty ready to be done by mile 18 and happy to see the finish line thereafter.

A small bag of chips, Recoverite and other snacks refueled me. Another fun thing is I got to drive the big rig to the race. We just bought a van (the size of which is like Elaine’s). Throwing dirty stuff in the back was very easy. Gonna like this during mud season.

Next up, Sister’s in May.