Women Involved Series: Jacke Van Woerkom

Photo Credit: Called To Creation
Meet Jacke who started Changing Gears with a Purpose and the mountain bike group Trail Angels.
You can find Trail Angels on Facebook as well!

I love being able to use this blog as a platform for individuals to share more about what they are doing and other projects they are working on. Jacke had some updates coming up with her Life Coaching site that she wanted to share. Here is what Jacke had to say about upcoming changes to her Changing Gears with a Purpose site:

"Changing Gears with Purpose will soon become Courageous Woman's Club For the woman who's ready to kick off her slippers and step into a mental and physical adventure that mirrors her specific design!"

"Dream beyond the magnificent mountain tops and believe in the beauty of your heart's desire that all is achievable." - Sandy Westphal (One of our Courageous Woman's Club Coaches)

Jacke will continue her Life Coaching and coming soon will be workshops designed to climb metaphoric mountains of your life that block the flow of your beautiful spirit.
You will be coached to tell your life's story, learn to identify your gifts, write a Mission Statement, leave a legacy and launch that leader within. At the end of this workshop the woman will then have an opportunity to climb a real mountain of her choice based upon her mental and physical ability. 

Whether you're an athlete, a mom, a single woman, a married woman, a woman who needs direction, an empty-nester, a grandmother, we all carry a story and have a strong desire for adventure and to be heard. These workshops will give you the tools to turn your weaknesses into strengths and fill you with courage!

Now about the woman on the bike....

When did you first start riding a bike?
I was a late bloomer because I was a fearful little girl. However, when a little boy made fun of me at age 8, I grabbed his bike and just started to ride it! Who would’ve known that this was going to be the catalyst to change the lives of women? Biking was to me as it is to most, a childhood toy that allowed you to get places and experience adventure. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease in 1992, that biking became my reason to not accept the diagnosis. I would talk daily to our mail lady about my illness and that I didn’t want it to define me; she then asked me to get out my hybrid bicycle from the garage and ride with her. After a few years of participating in community road rides I was then asked to go for a mountain bike ride and was instantly attracted!
Within months I began racing cross-country, but then found my love to be downhill racing!

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
The movie City Slickers has a scene where Jack Palance (Curly) shares with Billy Crystal (Mitch) that life is about your “one thing”. I’m blessed to have discovered that “one thing” early on and found that inspiring others to ride and get out of their comfort zone was much more rewarding than any medal I won from racing. When I ride, I just feel good. I feel amazing being out in the wilderness and every ride gaining more confidence with my skills transfers to my confidence in life. I’m hit with numerous life metaphors I’m out there riding and currently creating workshops for women based upon these.

Photo Credit: Called To Creation
Have you competed in events? If so, what were your reasons for competing?
Yes, I’ve competed in cross-country, downhill, endurance rides and adventure races. I’ve competed to see what I’m really made of.

What would be your favorite competitive biking event?
12 Hour Races and Adventure Races

What kind of riding is your favorite? (paved, gravel, mountain, etc.)

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride? (If not a mountain biker, how about first commuter ride, paved trail ride, gravel, etc.)
I felt courageous, empowered and like this is where I need to be!

If you had nervousness at all, what do you do or think to overcome it?
Face it by breaking it down; what is it that I’m fearful of?  99% of what we worry about never happens!

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 do use clipless pedals and highly recommend them. Like all things new, you have to develop new muscle memory by doing it over and over again. Yes, you will probably fall, but you must fall in life in order to learn and get yourself back up and do it again. Ride around in a grassy area practicing taking each foot in and out of the pedal WITHOUT looking at your feet. 

Have you had a bike biff? If so, how did you recover on a physical/mental/emotional level?
Oh heck yeah! I reflect back and figure out what happened, so that I don’t just default to saying toxic things about myself. Was I being too complacent and not paying attention? Was my body position not right? Once I determine the cause of the accident, it helps remove the fear. As the saying goes, “Fear of the unknown” but the fear is not unknown when you face it.

What do you love about riding your bike?
I get to the trail head release the day’s worries, ride and be in touch with that little girl, but embrace myself as a woman who loves herself enough to take time to get filled back up, stop, take it all in and be thankful for the strength I have, embrace the uphill knowing the downhill is on its way…. smile and do it again tomorrow.