Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Training 365: Guest Article by the Mountain Athlete

Preparing to ride is a year-round effort.

Even though the snow seems so far away during most of the year, the reward of being able to charge out of the gate on opening weekend (or whenever you have the chance to ride during the year) makes it all worthwhile.

Winters are short in Western PA, and the temperature keeps jumping around freezing (will it be rain? will it be snow?). Being ready to ride whenever the snow is available is one of the most amazing things, ever, and it felt SO GOOD to ride fast at 7 Springs last Sunday.

I asked Jb to write a guest blog article about how someone could prepare their strength and conditioning for the season. Apparently, a few others asked him the same thing. As in research, sometimes the correct answer is for a different question than the one being asked, which is what Jb discovered as he thought about "pre-season training tips." You can check out Jb's guest article here, and can learn about his other snowboard antics and coaching through and

Ready to ride. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Blog Site:

Team Haleakala is going to ramp up philanthropic efforts this year, and we're blogging about them on our new site, Check it out!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Spreading the Love

I'm fortunate to have amazing friends. Two of these amazing friends are showcasing their art in upcoming events. 

They, and others, are representing Team Haleakala-style awesome from coast to coast. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Villarrica Volcano CHILE

Even though it's been 16 years since I left Chile, I've been thinking about that gorgeous country often lately, especially with all of the posts from people who are traveling down there now to ride. Going through a box of old photos a few weeks ago I found this one of me at the crater of the Villarrica Volcano during high school. It's an active volcano (one of Chile's most active) and we couldn't even see the lava during that trek because, earlier that week, part of the crater had collapsed into the cone. It was windy, too. And we had to carry gas masks in our packs in case the volcanic gases were too strong.

At the top of Villarrica

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Think I Have a Problem

My brother and his friends journeyed from Georgia to Pennsylvania during the 4th of July weekend to spend some time at the Seven Springs Bike Park. The following is a guest article about the trip written by Michael "Hak" Hakala, with photography by TJ Kearns (Timothy James Photography). 

Hak's version of riding 7 Springs

Those of you that know me would most likely agree that there are very few things that I love more than mountain biking and everything riding a mountain bike entails. It’s taken me to some of the coolest places I’ve seen in the United States, introduced me to some of the best people I know, and basically allows me to enjoy each and every day I travel around our sun. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

It's gettin' hot in here.

"Climate is what you expect...and weather is what you get." -NASA

A proper winter scene.
Over the past few months the issue of climate change has become an exciting discussion point between family members. During one (intense) discussion, focused on the evidence for/against human-induced climate change, I calmed all parties with the point that isotopes can be used to identify sources of carbon in the atmosphere. It's hard for an argument to continue when the fundamental properties of atoms are used to explain sources of greenhouse gases. 

These mini family feuds have made me want to write more about atmospheric things, especially as related to the changing climate in some of the regions I like to ride.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Flash Mob

Meg and Bri (BaM Choreography, and HipHopDance by STM) put together some superfun choreography that we performed at couple of spots in downtown Pittsburgh two weeks ago (Roberto Clemente Bridge, and EQT Plaza). It was pretty awesome. I'm hoping for more of these in the future.

In the meantime, I'm working on a series about weather, climate, PA and the mountains. The first installment is coming soon, and I'm accepting guest articles, so contact me if you're interested in contributing.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Greater Tuberosity Blues (that have since turned to sunshine)

Shoulder pads are a good thing.
Especially when you need them during a crash.

Unfortunately, that's the one piece of equipment I left at home during the second set of races at Holiday Valley last season, when I learned one of my toughest lessons on the course (yep, that's my x-ray to the right).

An experienced (medical) doctor may notice something that's not supposed to be there. I'm used to looking at data from x-rays zapping rocks and dirt to determine elemental speciation, and so had no idea what I was looking at until the (medical) doctor explained that I was stuck with the Greater Tuberosity Blues.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Season Recap #6: Snow fun photos and thanks

Happy to ride
My success both during the season and year-round is due to some of the amazing people in my life. This post is full of the shout-outs, and some photos and video of post-race day fun at Copper.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

2013 Season Recap #5: The Finals.

Ale riding through the USASA Nationals start section.
Photo credit
Monday, April 1.
Race day arrived.
I woke up early to warm up and stretch at the condo before leaving for the course.
As the sun started to rise, husband-Nick drove Jb, racer-Nick and me to the lift servicing the race course so we could prep and course inspect for the day's racing activities.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

2013 Season Recap #4: COLORADO

As the PA snow started to melt during March, I directed my focus towards preparing for Nationals. This meant wrapping things up at work, making time for gym conditioning and proper nutrition, and nursing the shoulder.

Gearing up for a ride at Breckenridge. (Thanks to Dave Calfo for
adding the Daybreak Carve logo to my Legacy!)

In planning for my third time at Nationals, I decided to arrive a week before race day in order to have time for some on-snow training, and to acclimate to the high altitude. The journey started with a cross-country road trip that included visiting friends, battling a snowstorm, and setting sights on the Rockies.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

2013 Season Recap #3: Amazing fantastic surprises, and races!

February was a very exciting month, full of racing and riding and training and snow. A couple of very exciting things happened:

1) Qualified for Nationals through the Appalachian Series.
2) Trained with SBX pro Nick Langkamp at Seven Springs.

Ale riding through the Alley with racer Nick. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

2013 Season Recap #2: Gimme gimme snow (and data)!

View of snow from hotel room in Denver
April 2013
I developed temporary amnesia about the early-season east coast winter conditions, as all of the snow that hit Colorado during April and the amazing season-end riding conditions at Copper provided strong distractions. The limited early-season snow and mild temperatures delayed the first Appalachian Series races, which originally were scheduled for the weekend of January 12-13 at Wisp. Since the races were canceled, and the weekend weather turned into springtime-shred warm, I ended up taking laps through the Alley jump line at Springs and in the process made some new friends from the Pittsburgh Intercollegiate Snowboard Team.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 Season Recap #1: The magic 8-ball predictions were pretty close...

Unfortunately, at times we are our worst critics.

The magic 8 ball did a fairly good job with 2012-2013 winter weather predictions, even though it seems to be a bit critical of itself (see photo at right). The temperature flip flops became somewhat less extreme towards the end of the season, and late in December the snow finally started falling (and is still coming down in Colorado!). Although I don’t recommend the magic 8 ball as a rigorous scientific model, it did make me smile when my friend admitted to checking the app on her phone to find out if her recent journal manuscript submission would be accepted with minor corrections.

The weather situation in early December prevented any snowboarding at Seven Springs prior to the Great Southern Holiday Road Trip, so I worked with Jb in the gym to keep conditioned and ready for the upcoming race season.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2013 Nationals Part 2: Won the silver!

Today was a success with consistent runs through the USASA 2013 Nationals boardercross course. I placed first in time trials, and second in the best-of-three finals heats!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013 Nationals Part 1: Drivin' and Ridin'

After an evening of amazing food and conversation (and a special guitar demo session), Yo and Kate sent me off with a full tummy and to-go bag full of Northstar deliciousness for consumption during the second leg of my trek to Colorado. 

Northstar Cowboy Breakfast

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Time to pack.

After spending the day riding on some nice sticky velcro snow (and somehow managing to get enough speed to play on the Alley jump line earlier in the day), I was bummed about the looming end of the season in PA.

Then I saw that the USASA will be sending the official Nationals invitations this week and was all smiles.

So, for some shameless self-promotion, please buy a t-shirt to help support my travel and training costs at Nationals...half of the proceeds will be donated to Strong Women, Strong Girls Pittsburgh!

Sizes are available from children's small to adult XL, and can be purchased through PayPal (or contact me at if you'd prefer to pay by cash or check).



Monday, February 4, 2013

It's the winter. I'm out riding.

There are plenty of updates from the past couple of months that need to be compiled and shared. For now, the snow is falling and I'm spending all of my time working, training, racing, and riding.

The next couple of months are going to continue to be intense...won the qualification spot for Masters Women in the USASA Appalachian Series last weekend! USASA Nationals will be at Copper Mountain, Colorado, during the first week of April.

USASA Appalachian Series SBX at Wisp, 2013. (Photo Credit: App Series Volunteer)