Friday, March 27, 2015

Women on Bikes Series: Christina Probert-Turner

Photo Credit: Phil Beckman- PB Creative
I am a Registered Nurse by profession, an avid cyclist by addiction and most recently, a contributor to social media for Turner Suspension Bikes. My husband, David Turner, is the owner and designer of this company.

We met over ten years ago on a bike ride in Lake Tahoe and have been riding together ever since. Our shared passion for riding has had a significant impact on our lifestyle in that our free time is spent either training locally or traveling for races and riding adventures.

The beautiful places, varied terrain, and increasing competition, provide much of the inspiration for our products! The location of our first date also became one of our favorites riding spots, Downieville (Norcal). The 5000 vertical feet descent incited my husband to design the highly revered 5 Spot. After racing cyclecross for the last five years, we developed a cx bike. Our years of racing mountain bikes helped us design our first carbon bike, appropriately named the Czar. 

We keep apprised of the trends in the industry and were one of the first to offer the now popular 650 wheel. Upon the fat tire explosion we released our latest development at Outer Bike, King Khan. This bike features more suspension than any bike out there- check it out!

Keep up with Turner Suspension Bikes and Christina on the following sites:

When did you first start riding a bike?
My training wheels came off at age 5.
   
What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
As long as I can remember, I have always had a bike and there have always been good reasons to ride it:  transportation, exploration, exercise, or competition.  
When I was in elementary school I would miss the bus, so I would have to time-trial my 5 speed 3 miles to school. 

In high school I decided that I preferred to ride my 10 speed to school. When I was 16 yrs old I competed in my first triathlon and really got a thrill from competing. A few years later I discovered mountain biking and used it as a means of getting into shape for ski season.  Eventually, riding became my first love, and I haven't stopped riding since.    

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
Downhill probably used to be my favorite when I lived in South Lake Tahoe, but as I have gotten older I tend to enjoy cross-country and cyclocross more since I don't live in the mountains anymore. I like the short bursts of energy and dynamic courses offered by both.   
I think sports and competing are great for girls and women, and I just love riding my bike.  
  
Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
Wow, that seems like a million years ago, 1985.  Before discovering mountain biking, I would hike to get ready for ski season. But once I got on a bike, I was amazed at how much ground you could cover and how descending was so similar to skiing. I fell in love instantly.   

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
I am older (wussy), so I have become safer and wiser. I Wear pads when I go on a technical course, and I have found wearing the correct shoes and gear helps prepare for what you opt in for.
If there is something particular I want to improve on, I spend time practicing, like riding a section over and over until I feel confident that I can do it.  

Are there other styles of cycling that you enjoy?
I started out racing crossing county in the late 80's to mid 90's, than I raced downhill bikes from 1999 -2002, it was a lot of fun and the challenge of racing over technical courses was good skill building for riding cross country. Then in 2009 I got addicted to cyclocross. I have dabbled in road racing, but I don't enjoy it; road racing is scary!    

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?
Yes. I use clip-less pedals. 
I remember the first time I tried clip-less, and I fell many times; in a stream, in sticker bushes and onto the road, I still fall over occasionally.   
I have learned to test the clip-less pedals in a parking lot to see how tight they are and how easy it feels to get out of them. Afterwards, I adjust them until I have the right tension so they aren’t too tight or too loose. I have found that when you replace your cleats to make sure you test release a few times and if you have a different 'feel', re- adjust the tension. Sometimes it is best to put some oil on the new cleat and pedal until it gets worked in. It may feel a little tight at first, and sometimes I may go a little looser in the beginning. On pedals you can see the springs on, I put a drop of oil on the coils and it seems to help them open and close more smoothly.  

Have you had any biffs that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
I crashed pretty good when I was in my 20's, and I landed on my face. I was just going to the lake for a swim, so I wasn't wearing a helmet. I crashed straight into the ground, and my face was so disfigured that for a short time I became unrecognizable.  
After that day, I vowed always to wear a helmet, no matter how small the ride is. 
More recently I fell hard on my elbow in a XC mountain bike race and it has cause me to think more about wearing light elbow pads on rough terrain. The cuts were quite deep and took a long time to heal!    

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 started out mountain biking with a rigid fork and cantilevers, so my skills have progressed as technology has progressed.   
I had a skiing background, and mountain biking seemed a lot like skiing to me. Skiing taught me to always look ahead, and it’s the same on a mountain bike: scan where you are quickly than scan down the trail (don't stare directly at the ground below or you could end-up there!) 

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
Sure! Mountain biking is technical, and my bike handling skills aren't as sharp as when I lived in Tahoe, because I primarily train on a road bike. 
Just getting out and riding a mountain bike will help your skills, riding with-in your limits until you feel comfortable to progress. I enjoy learning and improving my skills, so throughout my journey riding bikes, I continue to participate in various clinics to pick up new ways to ride. 
When I was racing downhill I did a clinic with Shaums March, I meet up with Kat Sweet, which helped me with jumping. In October, I did a ride clinic with Krista Park and Anthony Diaz. It was great, and I think taking a clinic is a great idea for any level of rider. 

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I am lucky in that my husband is in the bike business (Turner Suspension Bikes), and, consequently, I have quite a few bikes! 
Czar, Cross country-FS race bike with 4" of travel 
Burner, AM trail bike with 5.5" of travel  
Cyclosys Cyclocross bike that weighs under 15lbs.  
Ridley road bike for local training rides as we have no decent dirt access close to home.  

What clothing/bike accessories do you love? What would you recommend to your friends?
I wear a combo of clothing companies, Royal and Fox shorts, Royal and 661 gloves, Kali helmets, Oakley glasses, Sidi and Pearl Izumi  mtb shoe, GForm pads and of course Petal Power chamois cream.  

Photo Credit: Phil Beckman- PB Creative
What do you love about riding your bike?
Riding bikes is like being a kid, in that it brings you new adventures. It has served as a vehicle of travel to new and exciting places, whether down-hilling in Whistler, BC or exploring the Alps in Switzerland, mountain biking in Northern California and Utah, or racing cyclocross in Bend Oregon and Boulder Co. I love riding bikes and experiencing new places!  

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