FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers.
AF: Howdy y’all! I’m Aixa (pronounced Ah-eek-sah). My name is a head nod to my Panamanian roots. Very happy to share with you at the Femme Fatale Fit Club.
FFFC: How and why did you get started riding?
AF: I started cycling last year to prepare for my first triathlon, Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon. I enjoyed riding my bike as a kid, but hadn’t been on a bike since I was a teenager. I loved it then and thought I’d love it again. I was happy to learn that I enjoy it just as much, and have a greater appreciation for it now.
FFFC: Which type of bike(s) do you prefer to ride?
AF: I have a hybrid bike now, commonly referred to as a “fitness bike”, which I’ve used for sprint and Olympic distance triathlon. It’s been great from a beginner triathlete stand point. Now that I’m looking to do longer rides in triathlon, I’m planning to upgrade to a road bike, which I think is better for longer rides since they weigh less, and provide an aerodynamic position for better efficiency and less “drag”.
FFFC: What do you like most about riding?
AF: When I ride, I feel FREE! And having another tool in my fitness regime is a great plus. I can ride for fun and leisure with friends, or do a solo workout as part of triathlon training. So many ways to mix it up.
FFFC: What is the furthest distance or longest time you have ridden?
AF: My longest training rides have averaged 30 miles on hilly, rolling terrain. My longest ride in triathlon was 26 miles.
FFFC: Do you belong to a riding group? Shout’em out right here.
AF: I’ve had the most FUN ! on my training rides with my fellow triathletes in the LiveNow TriNow group. I learn better technique, training methods, measure my progress against benchmarks set by more experienced riders, get pushed, encouraged and get to pass it forward. And I mentioned it’s fun, right? I gotta have fun! 🙂
FFFC: What do you do to stay in riding shape (exercise, nutrition, etc.)?
AF: The nutrition equation is something I’m still trying to figure out. I know eating clean is a boon to my training. Timing nutrition on my rides with gel, hydration, and just overall for better health and fitness is an ongoing process. I achieve on some days and others days I stumble. Overall, I work out at LiveNow Fitness boot camp to become stronger, achieve better conditioning and help build endurance for all three sports in triathlon: swim, bike and run. It’s my fitness solution as well as following a triathlon training plan that allows me to build, recover and peak according to my race calendar. Fitness, Nutrition, Training, Rest and Recovery: the four pillars of triathlon. I strive to achieve at all four of these, so that I can become a better cyclist, triathlete, and just attain a higher level of health, fitness and happiness. 🙂
FFFC: What was the biggest challenge when you started riding or still is even now?
AF: While riding has been liberating and fun, where I live in Howard County, MD, Columbia, the triathlon courses we train on are hilly and rolling terrain. Just trying to get up those hills without having to get off my bike on my first few rides… whew! That was the first challenge. Even if I’m strong, I know that that is only part of the equation. Bike handling skills, learning when to shift gears, hill climbing, cadence, and more … All of these things require improvement and just learning how to ride smart as opposed to just grinding it out is an ongoing challenge. I look forward to it though! It’s the kind of hard workout I enjoy.
FFFC: Do you have any upcoming races or rides planned? Share the event details here.
AF: I have my eye on at least one more triathlon before the season is over. A sprint distance of 16 miles on hilly terrain. But I’m also trying to accomplish my goal of a first marathon, so I’d have to sneak it in. We shall see.
FFFC: Who helped you as you learned the ropes of riding?
AF: One of the great things about belonging to the fitness family at LiveNow Fitness is that we take our fitness outside, we utilize our bodies and our fitness to energize our work, do sports, test our physical and mental endurance, so I’ve been fortunate to find role models who are achieving in running, cycling, triathlon. LiveNow TriNow, the multisport group on Facebook, is an outgrowth of that. I can always find great training partners who I can learn from and do all this stuff with. It’s so good!
FFFC: Any advice for someone interested in starting to ride?
AF: To get started, visit your local bike shop to discuss your goals. How often you think you’ll ride, under what conditions, for leisure or for sport, stuff like that. Talk to riders about their bikes and preferences to help you in your research. You can also borrow a bike from a friend, get fitted at a bike shop for proper seat height, position, etc. and after you’ve ridden for a while, you can decide what kind of investment you’d like to make on a bike purchase. The best advice I was given: Determine your budget and stick to it. There will always be a “better” bike. Get the bike that you can afford. You can always upgrade as you gain experience, develop preferences, for better enjoyment.
FFFC: Who are some of your riding idols (Male or female we don’t discriminate)?
AF: I named my bike “Ernestine” after local fitness inspiration, Ernestine Shepherd. My bike frame is silver, and it reminds me of the long silver braid Mrs. Shepherd wears when she’s working out and running. I feel kinda empowered every time I get clipped in and take myself places, climb a hill under my own power. And it is a difference perspective than being in a car a lot of the time. Riding has reconnected me to my youth. When I ride, I’m still that 12 year old girl on my pink bike with the flower basket and my pigtails blowing in the breeze! It’s been a revelation. I’m so full of JOY!
The women I look up to are the women who are older than me, who I see gettin’ it on their bikes. I’ve seen it a lot as a participant or spectator at duathlon and triathlon events. Some of these women are cancer survivors, or just survivors period, who smash expectations, limitations and societal norms. They just don’t buy into any of it. They continue to explore the possibilities and EVOLVE. It’s through them I know THE BEST IS YET TO COME. 😉
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