The End of Summer

by: Kristine Svehla-Brown, Senior Designer

Ah, the end of summer has arrived. Here in Seattle we are enjoying a late, but wonderful burst of great weather, no matter if the calendar says summer or fall. Everyone is squeezing in outdoor activities before we are forced inside with our books and lattes.

Each September, my co-workers at e! generously contribute to my fundraising for the Bike MS Washington Ride. The Bike MS event is a two-day cycling event through Skagit, Whatcom and Island Counties. The routes range from 22 to 92 miles on the first day, and 52 and 72 miles on the second day. There are scenic views along the routes, stocked rest-stops, and a festive finish line party. It’s a great event for a great cause and this year’s event didn’t disappoint with such amazing weather.

To ride a bike more than 100 miles over 2 days might seem a bit crazy, but it has become a great love of mine. 6 years ago I did my first long-distance bike ride. It was a 50 mile route on a Cascade Bicycle Club event called “Flying Wheels”, and it was the longest I had ever ridden a bike. I was riding an old mountain bike that my husband reconditioned for me with slick tires and a new seat. I know he was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make the whole 50 miles, but I proudly called him from a rest stop with just 10 miles to go before I finished the ride. Back then, I was in awe of fit bikers in black spandex that seemed to pedal so effortlessly up our Pacific Northwest hills. I loved to joke that I was just riding from rest-stop to rest-stop for the snacks! (Delicious snacks!)

The following spring, I invested in a road bike. I was hooked on cycling and surprised by my own ability to ride far distances. I took on the challenge to get faster and better at riding the hills. I trained and rode in my first RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver, BC), a 186 mile, 2-day ride. And then at the suggestion of a friend, triathlons came into the picture! I realized the time I spent swimming, biking and running was countering the time I spent sitting at a computer all day. In my profession and our society filled with gadgets, I enjoyed the time to detach from computers, tv and electronics and enjoy the world around me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but at a certain age it becomes apparent that sitting sedentary all day is not the best thing for a person physically or mentally. I’ve been a graphic designer for more than 20 years. That’s well over 40,000 hours of sitting!

Over the past 6 years I have a good collection of event t-shirts, finisher medals and MEMORIES. This summer alone I’ve done: Ironman Texas 70.3, Seattle Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon, Chelan Man Olympic Triathlon, RSVP (Ride from Seattle to Vancouver, BC) and the Bike MS Washington Ride. I’m also ramping back up for another 70.3 Triathlon in November in Texas. I’m not fast, nor do I break any records, but I’ve taken on the motto to “keep moving forward”. I’ve found that endurance is my thing and I love the challenge. I also love to encourage others to participate in cycling and triathlon. You are stronger than you think!

SO HOW CAN YOU GET STARTED?

We are fortunate that Cascade Bicycle Club, the largest bicycling club in the US, is based right here in Seattle. In addition to their organized events, they offer free daily rides to everyone and they also advocate for better, safer cycling for all. I also have joined in on free workouts with the Luna Chix Triathlon team. Luna has local teams all around the country in running, cycling, and triathlon. Their mission is to support women of all ages and abilities who want to be active and inspire others to do the same. Not surprisingly, triathlon is one of the fastest growing sport in the U.S.

So, whatever your motivation for getting out there…. fun, adventure, fitness, or just snacks…. go for it! Below are a list of resources, and if you have any questions or need some advice on how to get started, please don’t hesitate to contact me at kristine@effectivedesign.com.

And always, KEEP MOVING FORWARD!

Cascade Bicycle Club
Amazing cycling club. Website includes forums and links to their famous organized rides like STP, RSVP, Chilly Hilly, and more.
http://www.cascade.org

Luna Chix
Great advice and free workouts for women. (And always free Luna bars!)
http://teamlunachix.com/

Active.com
Great resource, links, and registration for hundreds of events. Find an event, sign up, and go for it!
http://www.active.com/

Hal Higdon
As a non-runner, I love Hal’s approach! His website offers free training plans for whatever race distance you’re going for and whatever level you’re starting at. He’s also very realistic and forgiving for people with busy schedules!
http://halhigdon.com/