Featured for #womenwhobike Biketown PDX

#WOMENWHOBIKE PROFILE: ANNALISA FISH OF THE WE GOT TO HANG OUT PODCAST 

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See link! https://www.biketownpdx.com/blog/womenwhobike-profile-annalisa-fish-of-the-we-got-to-hang-out-podcast

All month long we'll be meeting #WomenWhoBike in Portland as part of our Women's Bike Month campaign. Our goal for the month is to get more women biking by providing the resources and support they need to get started. 

***Check out the We Got To Hang Out podcast with Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney/Filthy Friends hosted by Annalisa (center) and friend Abby, who we'll meet later in the month.*** 

Name: Annalisa Fish

Occupation: Physical Therapist, owner Endurance PDX

Years in Portland: 3 years (But I’m from the PNW!)

Type of riding you do most frequently: Commuter, weekend adventures

1. Tell us about your first bike and/or a memorable ride.

My first bike was a used Cannondale road frame that I decided to build up from scratch one summer in college. It shifted terribly and the fit was all wrong, but I rode the STP on it and was stoked. 

2. What are the opportunities you see for getting more women on bikes in Portland?

From my perspective, getting women confident on bikes is key. Feeling stable, in control of the bike and comfortable is important. There are many bike related resources in Portland, but not all feel approachable. Taking the intimidation out of bikes can encourage more women to ask questions and get comfortable on and around bikes. 

3. How are you currently using bikes in Portland? Commutes and rides for fitness/social time. Most days I’m on a bike in some form. 

4. What, in your opinion, has BIKETOWN brought to Portland?

An alternative mode of transportation for both visitors and residents. I love exploring the city by bike and it's rad that others have the same opportunity in Portland. I also think it brings more awareness and tolerance to bikes in general in the city.

5. Who is/was a woman that inspired you (to ride)? 

When I lived in Austin, my friend Shontell had just stopped racing professionally and took me under her wing. I was super lucky to have her influence as she taught me how to ride safely and be a smarter rider. Some of my best days on a bicycle have been trying to stay on her wheel. 

6. What have you done or what are you doing to get more women on bikes?

It's part of my job! I own Endurance PDX, which is a physical therapy clinic that specializes in working with cyclists. I work with women (and men!) daily through physical therapy and bike fits, helping them find more comfort and efficiency on the bike. I also lead a weekly ride in the summer with an emphasis on inclusivity and fun.

The Most Important Muscle You Don't Use

THE GLUTE!  If you have been in to see me, you know this is what I preach.  "Use your glutes!"  I now get heckled at cyclocross races by my patients and clients who say, "How are your GLUTES!".  I can't help but laugh, but am also pretty stoked the message is getting through.  I work with patients and clients every day who don't use their glutes on the bike and they suffer as a result. Do you?  

Haha! That's actually not how you use your glutes...

"My hip flexors feel soooo tight!"

"I've got this sciatic thing going..."

"My knee hurts here and here."

"My hamstring cramps..."

"My quads feel like they are on fire!"

"My low back kills me when I climb."

 

Sound familiar? How can the glute possibly be related to all these injuries, you ask?  Oh, its possible and here's why.  The gluteus maximus acts as a knee straightener when your foot is fixed (as it is when your foot is on the pedal).  Most people use the quads and hamstrings in the pedal stroke, thus denying themselves of many precious watts that are dormant in the glute.  Over time these pedaling mechanics become troublesome for many reasons such as quad overuse, knee cap tracking problems, the thigh diving inwards toward the top tube, etc etc.  

I'll continue to write more as we progress towards the season, but in the meantime if you want to learn how to use your glutes and stay injury free on the bike, come see us :) 

 

The Endurance Chronicles: Trek CXC!

My buddy Abby and I went to Waterloo, WI this last week/end to meet up with friends, colleagues (and race bikes!) at Trek Headquarters.  I started the week a tad reluctant to go for a variety of reasons but mostly had something to do with the guilt of being a small business owner and taking off work in the traditional sense...

After a bit of a flight delay, we made it to Madison and were welcomed by our lovely friends, Emily and Andrew.  And at that moment, I knew it was going to be a fantastic weekend.  

Thursday we started the party with a ride to Trek and an employee only cyclocross clinic with Sven Nys and Ellen Van Loy.  I walked around Trek and was amazed at the campus, the bikes and got to see some pretty cool stuff in the works.  They make some rad stuff in Waterloo. 

Friday, we went for an easy spin and did some openers to prepare for the races ahead.  Highlight of the day for me was checking out the Trek Fit Studio and learning more about their process and pressure mapping.  

The bike racing started Saturday.  I had a great start and then faded hard about half way through. I can laugh about it now as I don't quite have the fitness I did after a road season last year, but at the time I was hurting pretty bad.  I got to cheer on the Elite race and watch my friends meet personal goals and witness some amazing athletes own the course that just owned me. 

Sunday, I was pretty relaxed as I knew I could do better than the painful race that was Saturday.  I didn't have any USAC points so I started in the back and slowly made my way forward.  I was able to finish midpack and really, about the same placing as Saturday.  It's funny how much your experience can change day to day depending on your approach and attitude.  It was a great lesson for me to race my own race especially when lacking fitness.  Fun was had. 

The elite race was a battle and with Katie Compton breaking her chain with a couple laps to go, Kaitie Antonneau was able to come away with the win.  Ellen Noble once again came in second, which was great to see.  

Huge thank you to Emily Bremer for her hospitality and letting us interrupt her work day as the head of Women's Marketing at Trek Bikes.  Trek you pulled off a stellar event this year.  I shall be back for the next! 

 

-Annalisa Fish, DPT

Wout kind of tire pressure you got there?

Wout kind of tire pressure you got there?

The Endurance Chronicles: KVRR

"Hey Alex, you're Canadian...  What would be a good place for a bike tour in Canada?"

It was with this question that the seeds of our adventure in the Okanagan Plateau in British Colombia were sown.

It was Alex Jackson, of AJC Media and husband to the talented Alison Jackson (Twenty16), who turned us on to cycling along the Kettle Valley Railway.

Briefly, the Kettle Valley Railway is a rails to trails project located between the Kootenay Mountains and the Cascades in Central BC.  The original railway was completed in 1915 at the hands of chief engineer Andrew McCulloch and was considered quite the engineering marvel in its day.

Our 200 mile, 3 day route only traversed a small portion of the railway, but if you include the main Kettle Valley Line and all the adjacent and connecting rails to trails routes, one could easily put together a several week trip.  The now out of print, "Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway," by Dan and Sandra Langford, is your guide to this great system of trails.

After arriving in Oroville, WA we spent the night in the minivan/camping rig and woke up to bright, sunny skies on the shores of Osoyoos lake.

After breakfast fuel at Eva's Diner and Bakery (great if you like awesome blueberry pancakes, hanging with old men in overalls, and Fox News) we saddled up the steeds and made for the hills.

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From the first pedal stroke, the scenery did not disappoint.  We meandered from Oroville, across the border to Osoyoos and from there through Inkaneep, Oliver, and on to Okanagan Falls.  Part of the route took us on some amazingly beautiful, paved, very small roads through land belonging to the Osyoos Indian Band.

Once we hit Okanagan Falls (or OK falls if you're local) things got interesting.  On paper, the gravel road that was to take us from Okanagan falls up to Idleback Lake (70 miles in and our camping spot for the night) looked doable enough.  However, in actual fact it turned out to be pretty damn challenging.  Put it this way... In a 70 mile route, with the first 40 on relatively flat pavement, and the last 10 down hill on buff gravel, we averaged under 10 MPH on the day.  Yeah.  

Thankfully, when we arrived at the lake, the scenery did not dissapoint.  We slept well.

After a hearty camp breakfast of coffee out of our Ride Nomi mugs and bacon and eggs, we set off to continue.  Day 2 started by meeting up with the railway proper about 20 miles in.  We intersected the railway just south of McCulloch Station and Hydraulic Lake Reservoir.  This part of the trail must be at a bit of a low point because we almost immediately encountered several, very large, very wide, and very deep puddles spanning the entire width of the trail.  I think we kept the axles above the water.  However, our feet got wet and I spent the next few hours worrying about trench foot.

The highlight of the day, though, was the section of trail through Myra Canyon.  This section includes amazing scenery of Kelowna and the valley bottom and involves cycling across no less than 18 historic wooden trestles, and three tunnels carved out of solid rock.

Shortly after this beautiful bit of scenery, we descended into East Kelowna.  The descent was mostly paved and incredibly fun, though both of us couldn't help but think that we had to climb back up again to make our camp spot for the evening.

After a resupply in Kelowna and a brief stop for a sink bath at a public park, we began our ascent out of the vally bottom.  Incidentally, a sink and some Dr. Bronners is pretty unbelievable when you are as sweaty and smelly as we were.

The first 1000 feet of the 3000 foot climb started easily enough, steep but paved.  We mighta paperboy'd a little but whatever.  Then we hit the dirt.  Then things got hard.  Again.  I think the last 2000 feet took us about 3 hours.  We hiked our bikes more than we actually rode them.  Not only was the road steep, it was rocky, rutted, loose, and gnarly.  Anna kept muttering something about cyclocross while I just muttered expletives.

Uhhhh, I thought we were done climbing...

Uhhhh, I thought we were done climbing...

Finally, after what seemed like hours (oh wait, it was hours), we met back up with the railway and crusied into Chute Lake.  This was after the second flat in two days within 3 miles of our campsite.  

Despite the mosquitos, it felt so good to arrive, get camp set up, and have a whiskey ginger.  Or two.  Woulda been three except the third got spilled.  In the tent.  We won't say how.

We woke up on the morning of day three to steely skies.  It was the first time the weather evenlooked remotely questionable.  We started with an easy jaunt down a -2.2%, 25 mile stretchof the buffest gravel you've ever seen.  Much easier than yesterday.  Right?

After lunch in Penticton, the rain started.  And didn't let up.  All day.  We had already made the decision that day to just knuckle up and ride that last 70 miles back to the car and get home a little early.  The rain definitely sealed that deal.  No way we were going to set up muddy rain camp.

Even though the riding was much easier the last day, the rain definitely made things challenging.  It was just cold and wet enough to be uncomfortable.  Oh, and did we mention the third flat within 3 miles of home?  However, we perservered and finally arrived back at the car. After a quick shower and some dry clothes and snacks, we were on our way back home.

All in all a great trip.  Challenging, but great.  Attitudes and morale stayed up, and when they started to fall a bit, one of us would inevitably help buoy the other we back up.  

New pieces of kit we tried out on this trip did not disappoint.  The Rapha + Apidura seat pack and handlebar pack were functional, stylish, and worked great.  One could get out for a fast and light easily with just those two packs.  We decided that high volume, low pressure, supple slick tires would be the way to go for the varied terrain of the trip.  Each of our bikes were shoed in Soma Supple Vitesse EX tires by Panaracer for Soma.  I rode the 700 x 42mm tires which John, at Rivelo PDX was able to order for me.  Anna had the 38mm version.  Wow.  Let us just again confirm the virtues of a high volume, low pressure, high thread count tire for this type of riding.

At the end of the day, this route was 50% gravel, not all of it easy, and passed about 1000 wineries and orchards.  So if that's your thing, you can't really go wrong riding around this area.  Another good one in the books.  Until next time.