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Celebrating our accomplished ladies

It’s been a summer of accomplishments for ladies on the Velorosa Cycling Team! We’ve donned our pink kits, entered challenging races and pushed ourselves to go out see what we’re capable of accomplishing.

June was a particularly eventful month with some big highlights from our ladies who pushed themselves out of their comfort zones.

Here’s a few of their stories! And if you know of more stories from fellow team members or if you have your own accomplishments you’d like to share, let us know!

Karen Chicken

When Karen started training for the Des Moines Ironman 70.3 in January 2020 — little did she know she’d have to wait more than a year before the actual race day.

Gyms closed. Pools closed. With barriers and unknowns in the way, she deferred to 2021.

“It was mentally challenging,” Karen said.

When it came time to jump back into training in 2021 — like everyone else, COVID had her bent out of shape.

So beginning 2021, she slipped on her Yaktrax and ran outside in the snow and rain — steadily building up her running, biking and swimming endurance until she really ramped up for it in May.

On the actual race day on June 20, the whole experience was “way fun," Karen said.

With everyone else also going through cramps, stomach pains and aches — she couldn't help but smile through it.

“We pushed each other, we would limp next to each other, we would encourage each other,” Karen said.

When she finished, it was an emotional moment for her.

Her advice for people who want to try Ironman — have fun with it, but also try to follow your training plan.

“No matter what race I do, even if I'm unprepared, just do it and have fun with it,” Karen said. “Enjoy every minute of it.”

Kristin Reese

At the beginning of the year, Kristin and her family participated in a six-week health challenge held by her workplace.

But, in an effort to keep the healthy habits going after the challenge, Kristin’s sister sent her an event: TRI Clear Lake, an Olympic distance triathlon with a .9 mile swim, 24.9 miles of biking and a 6.2 mile run.

The nervousness of running 6 miles motivated her to hit the pavement and she found success using the Couch to 10k plan.

By the actual race day, “I felt really good,” Kristin said.

During the swim portion, the frigid water temperatures took her breath away and caused a moment of fear. But she flipped over, caught her breath during some backstroke and continued on — finishing the triathlon.

For other people who want to try a triathlon, Kristin recommends they find groups to join, like the triathlon class at the Wellmark YMCA or local running groups like Capital City Striders.

Through this journey, she’s lost 44 pounds.

“I feel so much better this year than I have in years and that's what keeps me motivated,” Kristin said. “It's just how I feel and how healthy I feel — I want to keep it up.”

Jen Herrera

It’s been a busy spring and summer full of races for Jen. She competed in Loess Hills Enduro 50k, Gents Race and the Southwest Iowa Gravel Grinder just last month.

And in the spring, she competed in two Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series races: ScoCoPa Frenzy where she placed 2nd for Cat 2 women and the Sugar Cubed Marathon where she placed 5th for women.

This was her first year riding Loess Hills and Gents and her third time doing SWIGG.

“I never would have said this when I started riding gravel, but I had a great time pushing up the hills and flying back down them,” Jen said.

Her advice if you’re considering entering an event: Just do it!

She started racing in IMBCS because her husband raced in them and decided it would be “more fun” to ride her bike than sitting around for him to finish.

One of the things she’s working on is being honest with herself and the amount of training it takes to compete in some of the events. While she’s felt bad in the past because she couldn’t keep up with competitive cyclists in longer races, she knows she’s able to tackle MTB or shorter gravel races.

But at the core of how she approaches races, it’s about having fun. And even with her packed schedule, she’s recorded cycling podcasts with her husband that you can check out here!

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Stephanie Cornish
Stephanie Cornish
20 juil. 2021

I’m always inspired by the determination of our teammates. We have so many amazing ladies on our team and I’m grateful to be a part of such a wonderful group of women. Way to go ladies.

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