Tips and Advice

This grid shows all of the posts I’ve written that are tagged as cycling tips or advice. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact me and let me know what information you’d like added to the site!

Grit and Gravel: Two Years After Spinal Fusion
I’ve been quiet since May, quietly working back towards health and smarter cycling, and I have news. I started radio
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Almanzo DNS
I didn’t go to the start line of the Almanzo yesterday. I’m ok with my decision if I think about
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Almanzo Looming
The last week or two have been a whirlwind, but in a GOOD way. I’m piling on the training hours
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Acceleration
I tend to oscillate between extremes, either living with the accelerator slammed down or jamming on the brake. If you’ve
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Compromise
I’ve been quiet lately. Quiet enough that my dad messaged me and asked what was up, quiet enough that a
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Boiling Over: a story about high blood pressure
I was motoring along steadily on the trainer like the diesel I am, and suddenly my power output dropped to
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Spinal Fusion: 18 months Later
18 months after lumbar spinal fusion, I finally feel like I'm on a steady upward trend. More miles, weight loss,
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Happy Hundred: A Day at the Jesse James Bike Ride
I went into this week not knowing how the Jesse James 100 miler would go. I was out of town
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Getting Over My Fears
Last weekend I decided that I should go on my former normal Saturday morning group ride and try to get
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Too Afraid to Ride
I'm scared of riding right now. If I'm too busy to ride, I don't have to test my body. If
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Elimination
I'm in the middle of an elimination diet. Even though it's thoroughly irritating to execute properly, I'm learning great things.
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Flow
Somehow I managed to have one of my worst rides, and one of my best rides, all within a span
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Ride Across Iowa in a Day, Part 2
A group of 9 intrepid cyclists headed out in the extreme heat to tackle riding 300 miles across Northern Iowa
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“Don’t do anything stupid”
I have an upcoming crazy / stupid / bad idea ride coming up. It's one of those rides that makes
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Ludicrous but Reasonable
Time flies when you're busy. On some level I knew that the spring was quickly evaporating, and work travel combined
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Let’s Talk about Depression
I have been hiding for a few weeks, and it’s time to talk.  One of my goals of this blog
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Make America Flat Again
Unbeknownst to me, I had chosen to ride a route that contained a Strava segment called "meth teeth" in southern
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Comeback Ride
I had been itching for a long ride for months, maybe even a year, and I decided it was time
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Disaster Zone
I bet a lot of you don’t know that 5 years ago I had back to back right foot surgeries
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Onward and Upward
I’m a little scared to say it out loud, but my first attempts at actual training are going really dang
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gravel smile race
What to Wear Whatever the Weather
Deciding what to wear while cycling in inclement weather is tricky. It can take a lot of trial and error
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gravel smile race
A Year Later
What a difference a year can make. It was this time last year when I started falling down the stairs,
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Worth It
I pedaled ahead, and Little Man kept dinging his bike bell 3 times, what he had declared as his "I
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“How Much Biking is Too Much Biking?”
At the end of my post-op appointment, I tentatively asked the surgeon "How much biking is too much biking?" He
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Bike Fit Basics: Fine Tuning Fit
What can you do to modify the fit of a bicycle you already own? What can you change for comfort?
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Vulnerability Sucks
I know exactly why I told pretty much no one that I was having surgery until a few days prior.
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Deals Please
Amazon deals abound, and you can get in on it too.
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Surgery in Progress!
The odd “numb and painful leg” mystery has been solved! I'm having surgery today to fix the issue with my
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Bike Fit Basics: Stack and Reach
Here are two other bike measurements that can dramatically affect how far away the bars feel when you're sitting on
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Bike Fit Basics: Frame Size
Frame size unfortunately means almost NOTHING when selecting a bike. Read more to find out what numbers are a little
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Welcome!
Welcome! Click here to read more about me, my background, and my purpose for blogging.
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Progress is Perfection
Bike riding hasn't been good to me lately, so my fitness in that area is sliding. The lack of riding
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F is for Fenders, F is for Fight
I don't know how NOT to fight and push for answers, so the search continues
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A Couple of Beers and a Banana Nut Muffin
"You cannot selectively numb emotion. You can't say I don't want to feel , I'm going to have a couple
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Just Don’t Ride Hard
I never even saw the breakdown coming. I had a number of beautiful weeks in November and December of what
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2017, in pictures and fragments
...I can look back on the year and know that I constantly pushed to my limits almost every single damn
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Twitch
Back, after a 2 month writing hiatus. I try not to force myself to write if I have nothing to
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Conspiracy aka Spinal Fusion: Month 4 Update
I announced to my boyfriend that I had a new set of restrictions, or rather, a rewinding or revoking of
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Getting Dropped is Good for You.
When I was a brand new cyclist, I didn't dare show up to a ride if I thought there was
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The Little Filthy: Little Man’s First Race
The Filthy 50 events did NOT disappoint. I got to race with my 8yo for the first time, and we
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Motivation
I'm determined to keep pushing myself forward and not letting suggested limitations or timelines hold me back. I will listen
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Setbacks
"Interesting," I thought, "my left big toe feels a little tingly. Hmmmm. Well, it's cold outside, maybe I'm just cold?
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Spinal Fusion: Month 3 Update
I wanted to know what I could do to lower the load on my spine going forward. The surgeon looked
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Falling into Place
I'm at that place in recovery where I don't hit "major milestones" every three days like I did closer to
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If I’m Being Honest
Man, where do I even start with this story (bike thieves, loss, and karma)? Or the other important thing I
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Tips for Trainer Rides
A few people asked how I survive long trainer rides, so I wrote about the general things I think about
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Spinal Fusion: Month 2 Update
I'm exactly two months out from spinal fusion, and already I can ride more than I could before surgery. Check
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Building a PVC Bike Rack
How to build your own PVC bike rack: a blog including plans, specs, and final results
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Training for Long Distance Rides
This post covers how I train for "long distance" or multi-day rides, covering training plans, nutrition, gear, and recovery!
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Can’t Ride? Buy a Bike.
When you can't do much actual riding, you have too much time on your hands to sit around and dream
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spine titanium hardware lumbar fusion
Spinal Fusion: 1 Month Update
I'm 5 weeks post spinal fusion - it's been a bumpy road but in general my trajectory is up!
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The War in my Head
I've been in my head a lot lately during my recovery process, and one of the things that struck me
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Failure, and a DAMn Secret
I have a DAMn secret to share (the DAMn race is just over 2 weeks away!!) but first let's go
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A History of Injuries, Stupidity, and Bad Luck
I'm one of the people who have high pain tolerance, who run snow marathons on shattered heels and just deal
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Me and the Moon
... I have seen over and over again that sometimes, stepping out into the unknown with purpose brings you the
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Spine Surgery Prep
A write-up of how I prepared for spinal fusion surgery
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medications for spine surgery
Calling my Bluff – The Emotional Side of Spine Surgery
I had an intuitive friend basically call my bluff the other day. She asked via email, "Your posts sound pretty
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spine surgery recovery bike trainer
Competitive Recovery
"Competitive Recovery" should be a sport! I'm ready and raring to go when it comes to beating my surgeon's estimates
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Spine Surgery Preparation aka Priorities and Panic
Surgery preparation is in full swing!! Restaurants, drinking with friends, house reorganization -- the list is long!
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This is not a drill.
I awoke this morning in a haze. I hadn’t slept well, again, due to pain and general non-exertion.  I tell
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The Anti-Fitness Tracker
I've dubbed my Garmin Vivosmart HR my "anti-fitness" tracker. I use the step count as kind of a quota or
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No news is … no news
I don't have news. I naively was hoping for news today, but nope. Instead I'll ramble about my fragile emotional
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spine titanium hardware lumbar fusion
A Plan is Forming: The Recovery
Apparently I'll be in a world of hurt after spine surgery. I can expect a multi-day hospital stay, AND my
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A Plan is Forming: The Surgery
I've decided to proceed with surgery to fix the isthmic spondylolisthesis. This post better explains what in the heck is
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Priorities
I'm still supposed to try and spend 20 hours a day on my back, so I've had to do a
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The Fragile
The words come at night, when I can't sleep. I can't sleep mostly because I can't exercise, and I haven't
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Just Don’t Ride
"Maybe you should just stop riding your bike offroad from now on." I'm sitting across from Spine Surgeon #2, and
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Share the Love: Biking with your Kids
"Mountain biking is all about getting dirty, having fun, falling down and getting hurt. Actually no, not getting hurt. Just
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ragnarok bikes bike rack
Ragnarok Hypochondria
I’m a known hypochondriac. It’s funny because I can ignore aches and low level pains for ever, but once I
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Alexander 380 rematch
Alexander Cue Sheets
Annotated Alexander cue sheets with resupply points marked!
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gravel smile race
Lakeville-Milltown-Lakeville 2017
This year the short course was just what I needed - I did well, tested my ailing lungs, and we
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Long Distance Rides: Planning and Preparation
Want to go on a long cycling journey of your own creation but don't know where to start? This post
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sedona mtb
Cocoon
It's 7:30 on a Friday night and I'm wearing a fuzzy adult onesie, eating cheese, and drinking wine. However, as
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a church at dusk on a beautiful gravel road
2016 Totals, and My New Obsession – ZWIFT!
Confession: I haven’t ridden outdoors since I crashed my bike on Black Friday. This is odd for me because I’m
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mtb mountain bike dock singlespeed
Kindness
Kindness. A concept that I can easily extend to others when they are hurting, but I have so much trouble
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Alexander 380 fall gravel
Alexander 380 Rematch – Fallexander Day 3 – Salvation
My tired legs were fading fast and I found myself counting 5 pedal strokes at a time, then 4, then
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Alexander 380 bridge gravel
Alexander 380 Rematch – Fallexander Day 2 – The Dark Day
I trudged up Oriole, hating the course, hating its maker, and hating the stupid idea of biking 380 miles of
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Alexander 380 rematch
Alexander 380 Rematch – Fallexander Day 1
I had a gnawing deep down after not finishing the Alexander 380 this spring due to an ill-timed mechanical, and
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A Score to Settle
I have a score to settle. You know those races, rides, or routes that haunt you because you KNOW you
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Ride Across Iowa in a Day (RAID, or RAIIAD)
Every so often, I get restless. Ok, well, I get restless a lot. I am goal oriented to a fault
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Lutsen 99er
Oh, Lutsen… My Lutsen 99er Race Report
Lutsen. The muddy, spectacular beast. 99 miles of XC MTB racing.  This year the mud, muck, and stream crossings were
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Lutsen 99er
Fear and Anticipation and Glee
I’ve gone missing for the last month, but it was on purpose.  I participated in a few AMAZING bike rides
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The Alexander 380: Part 2
(This is the second half of my Alexander 380 story, the 380 mile gravel race that is the “big brother”
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Alexander gear pile
The Alexander 380: Part 1
The Alexander 380.  The little known big brother of its famous baby sibling Almanzo and the middle child, the still
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Lakeville-Milltown-Lakeville: Just what I Needed
After last week's mental implosion, I was afraid to toe the line again this weekend at another local gravel event.
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Ragnarok 105: The Race Report
When I scoped out my spring race schedule, I was quite surprised to see that the Ragnarok 105 fit perfectly
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ultracycling road bikes
When a Good Plan Comes Together
Planning something is one of my favorite things to do regardless of WHAT I'm planning.  I especially like planning new cycling
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s-works MTB shoes
Tenacious … or stubborn?
I haven't decided if I'm tenacious or stubborn. To me, it appears the delineating characteristic of "stubborn" is the part
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Flee – Therapy by Bike
I felt more hyper at work (full caffeine coffee will do that to a girl..) and I felt slightly angry
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The Slow Down
I had it coming to me.  I wrote a blog post extolling the benefits of rest and recovery, listening to
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sunset gravel
Headwinds and Crosswinds: Alexander Training
I’ve spent the last few months brainstorming all the various things that could go wrong and how I should prepare
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CIRREM 2016
CIRREM is a legendary 100K gravel race in central Iowa, always held in the end of February. I was back
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Gravel Grinding: Will Bike for Donuts
I was itching for a long ride outdoors. I woke up feeling more introverted than usual and also a tad
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Fatbike Frozen Forty
The Fatbike Frozen Forty is a 40 mile winter adventure in Minnesota on snowy singletrack. I decided that my goal
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My First Bike, A Love Story
Finding your first bike, the first one you truly love, is a monumental decision but one that will change your
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