Women on Bikes Series: Jeana Miller

I’ve always enjoyed competing and being outdoors and after a successful collegiate soccer career, I quenched my desire for competition through triathlons. 

After completing my master’s degree in Kinesiology I coordinated two wellness programs at a local university for ten years. This experience gave me the opportunity to share my passion for health and well-being with people from the age of 20 to 100 years old. I believe that exercise and movement is the key to a happy and healthy life! 

While competing in every distance of triathlon including the Ironman and Xterra I was constantly approached by friends seeking my help with the various aspects of training and racing. My interest in working with friends and family continued to grow until I decided to join Carmichael Training Systems and transition my passion with sports and wellness into a coaching career.

When did you first start riding a bike?
I first started riding bikes as a young child, and rekindled the passion while in college.

What motivated you to ride as much as you have over the years?
Staying healthy through physical activity motivates me to ride, but I love the feeling of jumping on my bike and being able to go anywhere that I set my mind to.

What would be your favorite competitive biking event and why do you enjoy competing?
I love racing Xterra (off-road) triathlons and the beautiful scenery that I’ve been able to pedal through. A memorable race was the Xterra USA Championships in Ogden, Utah in September as the fall leaves were changing colors. It was gorgeous!

What advice would you give to someone who is new to racing?
Enjoy yourself! Don’t get caught up in self-doubt or negativity, just go out and enjoy yourself!

Do you remember how you felt on your first mountain bike ride?
I had an amazing sense of accomplishment that I was able to self-propel over 12 miles of challenging terrain.

If you had nervousness at all, what did you do or think to overcome it?
I’m always nervous before competing but I just tell myself to look around at my competition and see how nervous they all are as well. We are in this together and should enjoy the ability to we’ve been given to be healthy enough to push our bodies to the limit.

What do you enjoy about XC?
I love the beautiful scenery that XC riding provides. Whether it’s the mossy, wet trails of British Columbia or the dusty, hard packed trails of Southern California.

Have you had any accidents that were challenging for you on a physical/mental/emotional level? What did you do to heal and overcome?
 Yes, on a fast single track descent a rider clipped his handlebars on a chain link fence in front of me and he ended up crashing. In the blink of an eye, his bike whipped out and clipped my handlebars and I ended up crashing and landing on my shoulder. As a result, I shattered my collar bone and required surgery. A titanium plate, 9 screws, and 16 weeks later my shoulder was all back together but it took a while to regain the confidence and bike handling skills. It actually took crashing on my shoulder again to know that I was 100% healed.
at finish line at Silverman 2014 (12 weeks post pregnancy)
When you started out riding, what were some handling skills that challenged you? Do you have any suggestions for what helped you grasp them?
Balance is always the factor that limits riders. I recommend that new riders practice track stands (balancing on your bike by keeping it in one place without putting your feet down).

You work for Chris Carmichael Training Systems- what inspired you to become a coach?
I have a passion for health and fitness, and I love helping other people achieve their dreams and goals.

What do you love about being able to help people pursue their riding goals?
I love when people have a dream such as riding 100 miles for the first time. They think that it’s such a tough thing to do and can’t imagine being able to do it. I put together a training program and step by step they work towards their goal, and soon they want to be able to ride 150 miles or 200 miles.

What steps should one take if they have the desire to become a coach?
Having an education in Kinesiology or Exercise Physiology is crucial for a coach as they need to be able to understand the underworking’s of the human body and how to best manipulate training programs to help a person’s body adapt to a specific demand.

What has been one of the most inspiring moments you've had since coaching?
Being at the finish line at Ironman Louisville 2014 – it was an EXTREMELY hot and humid day with the heat index being 114 degrees, and yet my athlete was able to finish her first Ironman!

Why is coaching so beneficial for those who cycle (be competitively or not)-
Coaching is a lot like personal training for a person that doesn’t want to be confined to a gym. I create training programs for clients of every age and socioeconomic status – the important things that many of my clients are looking for are someone to help keep them accountable; keep them from injuring themselves from overtraining, and someone to create a program that works for their busy lifestyle.

Tell us about the cycling team (Women on Wheels) you will be racing with and coaching-
Women On Wheels is an international team of four women that will compete in 2015 Race Across the West from Oceanside, California to Durango, Colorado (860 miles and 40,000 feet of climbing) in under 66 hours. Race Across the West is the first leg of the iconic Race Across America (RAAM) and starts at the same time as RAAM. Our goal is to inspire other women to reach for the stars! We are also raising support and awareness for two non-profit organizations: The Astro Brain Tumour Fund (http://www.astrofund.org.uk/) and the Scleroderma Foundation (http://www.scleroderma.org/). 

How will you and Women on Wheels help promote/support female cycling?
 The goal of Women On Wheels is to raise awareness that women everywhere can do anything that they put their mind to. The females on this team are all working professionals that love to ride their bikes as a way to stay healthy, reduce stress, and challenge themselves to be the best they can be. Team Women On Wheels is planning to compete in Race Across America in 2016!

What do you feel deters women from getting involved with cycling?
 I think that many women are intimidated to ride because they know a lot of guys that ride but very few (if any) women. Boyfriends and husbands try and take them on a ride and it’s too challenging because the guys don’t realize how to properly introduce someone to riding.

What do you feel could happen to make changes and/or encourage more women to ride?
More women’s groups and bike shops promoting women’s only rides will create a non-threatening environment for women to try out something new.
CTS Giro Women's camp 2014

What inspires you to encourage women to ride? 
The fun and friendships that I’ve experienced from being on two wheels inspires me to encourage women to get on a bike and meet new friends and go somewhere beautiful!
Tell us a random fact about yourself!
Random fact - 12 weeks after my 2nd pregnancy I raced a half Ironman (Silverman outside of Vegas this past Oct). Our bodies are amazing that we can create/grow a human inside of us and yet push ourselves to the limits in terms of training and racing. Women can do anything that we set our minds to!