Monday, January 9, 2017

Women Involved Series: Uriell Proft-Carlson

I started biking in 2009 and bought my first bike that summer. It was the original Santa Cruz Juliana. The following year I started racing local xc races and found myself falling more and more in love with biking.

The day that I admitted out loud to myself that I was now "a biker" instead of the "snowboarder" that I had been as long as I can remember (I went to a mtn. school and competed in snowboarding all through highschool and into college) was a really big deal. Now I can't imagine it any other way.

Since those first couple years, I've transitioned to mostly enduro racing, but I got talked into doing the Breck Epic this year, so it's really just all over the place.

I got my IMBA level 1 coaching cert in 2014 and have really enjoyed coaching for VIDA since then. It's an amazing thing to be able to work a job that you love so much. I'm always thankful for that.

Beyond that, I'm a registered dietitian nutritionist and I own a nutrition counseling business called Whole Life Nutrition in Breckenridge.

I ride for Juliana Bicycles, Chris King and Skratch Labs. I also cook for Skratch at various sporting events throughout the country. Again, a "job" that's pretty lovable.
Instagram: uri_carlson
website: Whole Life Nutrition

Tell us about the moment that inspired your #bikelife-
I will always remember doing my first enduro race at Keystone for the Big Mountain Enduro. I had just won the Juliana Bicycles MyRoubion contest earlier in the season, so I had this incredible bike and I felt like I owed it to Juliana and the bike to try at least one enduro race. After some convincing from my friend, Ebeth, I signed up. I ended up winning my category, but that wasn’t even what I remember the most now. The biggest thing that I took away from that event was the fact that I suddenly knew more than 10 incredibly fun and rad female riders! Over a span of two days, I found I had this community of lady shredders. It was one of those times where I just felt whole and extra inspired! Not only that, but many of the ladies that original crew are a big part of the reason that I am where I am today in my #bikelife, so I have a lot of people to thank for that!

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
I enjoy competing because of the people that I get to ride with when I’m competing and because those people and the competition environment make me push myself in ways that I normally would not. I’ve found that my favorite biking events are the ones that last multiple days. The Crested Butte BME Enduro and the Breck Epic were both amazing because I get to spend 3+ days with nothing else on my mind except riding my bike. To me, that’s a pretty amazing luxury to be able to take the time for.

What helped you feel comfortable with the idea of participating in an event?
The best part about doing an event is getting to see your friends and making new friends! It's really fun to find yourself riding in a completely new state or area of your own state but see all the same people that you see at local events.

Do you have tips or suggestions for those who are looking to participate in their first event?
Find a friend to do it with you!

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
I specifically remember asking myself the entire time, "why did it take me so long to try this?!"

If you had nervousness at all, what did you do or think to overcome it?
Yes, I was nervous, but the fun factor of biking has always beat out the nerves.

Cllps or flats? What do you use and why?
Clips. Even though I have fallen plenty of times because of being clipped in, it's valuable for the push/pull power of climbing and it's what I'm comfortable with. I do need to practice with flats though!

Have you had any biffs that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
There will always be things that scares me on my bike, whether that’s a technical section or some unknown terrain or something else. A lot of the time, in order to overcome these fears, I just have to do whatever it is that is scaring me. It proves to me that I can do it, but that is certainly not an easy thing. Honestly, one of the best things to overcome those fears is to ride with buddies that share some of those fears and that are willing to try that same scary thing with you. That’s one of the best things about riding with my lady friends!

When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
There’s too many to remember. Everyone has their own challenges when it comes to handling skills. But, I will say that getting proper instruction on how to do things right (from the VIDA clinic I attended) has been imperative to helping me grasp new skills. In order to do something right, you need to figure out what you’re doing wrong, and coaching and being coached have helped me do that.

Are there still handling or technical riding aspects that you find tricky? How do you not let that drag you down when riding?
There's always something to work on. I am constantly working on getting better and faster at cornering. Another thing I worked on a lot this year was my overall form on my bike, while climbing and descending. Some rides are better than others. There's times when I feel really dialed and other times where I feel like I barely know how to ride my bike. The main thing I've learned is that I have to expect that's going to happen and be okay with it. There's no point in getting frustrated because that will make things even worse. Recognize that there will be bad days, but there will also be amazing, perfect days and both of those can inspire you to keep getting out and riding as much as possible.

What do you love about riding your bike?
I love everything about riding my bike. I love that I can get in a really good workout and get the payoff of an incredibly fun, adrenaline filled downhill. I love that I can represent women crushing it in a sport that has previously been male dominant and I love that I can represent brands like Juliana Bicycles, Skratch Labs and Chris King.

Tell us about your business- Whole Life Nutrition and what it entails:
I'm a registered dietitian nutritionist and my business is a private practice nutrition counseling business. It's an opportunity for me to get paid to do what I love and set my own schedule so I can do other things I love.

What is the best thing about owning your own business that can tie into a sport you love?
I can set my own schedule, which makes it possible for me to work early mornings and late afternoons so that I can usually get out on a ride during the prime time of the day.

Tell us about your bike(s), what they are like and why did you choose them?
I consider myself very lucky to be able to ride for Juliana Bicycles. With that, my current bike is the Juliana Roubion. It's a 27.5 with 6 inches of travel up front. One of the things I love about it is that it's a stonewashed purple color, but it's build and geometry make it look like a chiseled beast (which it is). Over this past summer I also got to adopt the newest Juliana Joplin, which I used for the Breck Epic. The Joplin is a 29er (or 27.5+) with 5 inches of travel up front. The only thing I'll say is that I've never been a believer in 29ers, but the Joplin made me a true advocate for 29ers. It was the perfect bike for a 6 day stage race across high alpine mountains. I honestly don't think I will ever need any other bike than a Juliana.

You are a coach for VIDA MTB- how did you become involved with VIDA?
It was a few years ago that my husband, then boyfriend, got me a VIDA clinic for my birthday. It was in Crested Butte and I was just in awe of all of the incredible coaches, especially mine, Wendy Palmer (former pro down hill racer). I knew after that clinic that I wanted to be a part of that crew of women.

What has been your most inspiring moment since working with VIDA MTB?
I feel like I have at least one inspiring moment every time I coach a VIDA event. To see someone have that “ah-ha” moment when a skill clicks always makes me really happy, especially if I helped them get there! Just to be a part of helping someone fall in love with biking is inspiring over and over again. It’s a part of what makes me love every aspect of my bike life so much.

Why would you encourage women to seek out a VIDA clinic?
I’m speaking from experience of being a participant (before I became a coach). I tell people that I went into my first clinic wondering, “how much is there to really learn about biking” and I left mind-blown! That one clinic made me a better biker in two days than I could have become over two plus years of trying to figure it out on my own. I encourage women to seek out a VIDA clinic to become better riders for sure, but also to become a part of the VIDA community and to find friends to ride with and even to maybe become a coach one day, like I did.

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling? Especially mountain biking?
It can be intimidating and scary. Sometimes people have a bad first experience because they go out on a ride with someone who just drags them along and makes them do everything out of their comfort zone.

What do you feel could change industry-wise or locally to encourage more women to be involved?
I think the fact that there’s more women’s group rides and skills clinics popping up all over the place is awesome. It allows women to start riding without some of the intimidation factors that come with riding alone or with others who are significantly better than them. Additionally, I think what Juliana Bicycles is doing by creating a brand around women is really helpful. It automatically creates a community that women can identify with, which is huge when starting something new.

What inspires you to encourage women to ride?
Seeing other ladies riding and inspiring the ladies that I coach makes me want to encourage more ladies to ride. If it makes you happy and gives you a community to identify with and lets you find new adventure buddies and makes you do things that scare you and excite you all at the same time, then I want to share this little world of women and mountain biking with as many ladies as possible.

Tell us a random fact about yourself!
I grew up on an organic farm with 4 brothers, one is my twin!

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