Monday, March 9, 2015

Women on Bikes Series: Adrienne Bee Lane

I am part of Sturdy Bitch Racing, a small, grassroots, all-women mountain bike race team based out of Seattle, WA. I’ve been riding for about 10 years now (!) and love being out in the mountains on my bike. I’ve competed in all kinds of races, including the BC Bike Race in 2013. In 2014 I had a baby, which has definitely impacted my saddle time. As a part of Study Bitch Racing I love getting more women involved in riding and racing. To further this goal in 2014 we put on the Sturdy Dirty Enduro, a women’s only enduro race that sold out with 125 riders – it was awesome! When I’m not riding my bike, trail running, or skiing, I can usually be found hanging out with my baby and husband or drinking a beer… or both.

When did you first start riding a bike?
I first started riding around 2003 after going to Whistler with my husband. He was riding in the park and I was planning on hiking, however the biking looked like so much fun that the next week I talked Jeff into helping me build up a bike… and I haven’t looked back!

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
The community of women in Cascadia is amazing and inspires me every day to ride more and push my boundaries further. It also is something that my husband and I do together, and I feel so lucky that we share this passion.

How has it been for you to juggle riding, being a mother, and having a full-time job? Any tips or suggestions for people who may be in the same boat?
Honestly, it’s hard. Olive is only 6 months old, so we are still trying to figure everything out. There’s not a lot of sleep in our lives, but I am willing to sacrifice sleep for getting outside. Luckily we have family close by who are willing to watch Olive so that Jeff and I can ride together every once in a while. Also I Jeff is an incredible partner who supports all of my outdoor goals, including my latest to run a 25k trail race.

The biggest piece of advice I have is to try to shut down the guilt monster and take some time for yourself. Motherhood is an emotional roller coaster and it’s easy to get wrapped up in being “mom”. Take time to reconnect with yourself and who you were before baby (which is much easier said than done).

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
Well, my personal favorite competitive biking event has been the Sturdy Dirty, because I loved watching the incredible amount of stoke that came from the racers. Seeing all the smiles on race day still gives me chills. As far as events that I’ve competed in, there are so many that I love that it’s hard to pick a favorite. The Capitol Forest Classic is a must-do every year… I love the NW Cup DH races at Dry Hill. The CDC puts on a fantastic and challenging local enduro series. But there is nothing that can compare with the experience of the BC Bike race. That was amazing. 

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
Terrified, sweaty, and in love.

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
I am nervous all the time. But I think that facing nerves is one of the things that I love about biking – it is always a challenge. I’ve used different techniques to overcome the nerves. Kat Sweet always reminded us to smile, which totally helps. If I’m facing a big jump or drop I will tell myself “relax, you’ve got this”. For racing, I like to make the situation as social and fun as possible, so at the start line we joke, have group photo time and dance parties. For me this helps turn the nerves down a notch until it’s go time.

Do you use clipless pedals? If yes, what are some tips/suggestions for beginners that you would share? If no, are you thinking of trying it out at all?
I use both. I learned how to ride clipless for the BCBR, but I still prefer flats for descending or technical riding.

Have you had any biffs that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
Lots, it comes with the territory! Luckily none of them have been too terrible so far. I grew up with the family motto of “walk it off” so that’s generally what I do.

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
I think the biggest thing that helps my skills improve was riding with other women. I’m a sucker for the “if she can do it, I can do it” mentality, so finding other women to challenge me has pushed me to climb faster, jump higher, and descend faster. Socially I love riding with a mixed group, but skills-wise, it’s ladies all the way.

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
I was out for a ride and the trails had a lot of steep switchbacks that I was struggling with mentally. I ended up walking more than I’d like, which initially really got me down. But then I reminded myself that I was the only one who gave a shit if I walked a section or not, and that I was the only one who could control if I was having fun or not – so from then on I decided to focus on the fun.  

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I have a Diamondback Sortie, which is the bike that I used in the BCBR and for an xc bike it can handle a lot of abuse on the downs! I also have a Diamondback Mission that is awesome for gnarlier descending. I love to take that bike out to the local downhill tracks and pretend like it’s a DH rig. My most recent bike is the Evil Undead, which is a DH bike. I love this bike, I immediately felt comfortable and confident on it. I’m looking forward to spending more time on it.

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
I love the Race Face products, both their components and their women’s line of clothing. Their Khyber jerseys and shorts are super comfortable. They also support women bikers, which is awesome! Dumonde Tech makes great bike lube. I love my POC helmet which fits my tiny pea-head. For riding flats 510’s are unbeatable. And don’t forget chamois butter!

What do you love about riding your bike?
Everything.

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