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Why Choose Chicks?

On the fence about attending a clinic this winter? We sat down with Chicks Co-Owner and Guide to get her insight on what makes Chicks unique.

The Ouray Ice Park. Photo by: Bill Grasse.

The Ouray Ice Park. Photo by: Bill Grasse.

Chicks started in 1999 with a vision to help women experience ice climbing, and like a fine wine we have aged and matured over time. Our vision is unchanged: We want to empower women through mountain sports. On rock, ice and snow, we are committed to teaching women to take the lead in the outdoors and in life.

Chicks offers a very unique experience that is often imitated but never duplicated. We provide a supportive atmosphere which creates a positive learning environment. We feel strongly that through education and skill development, we can create a community of confident women who are independent leaders in climbing and skiing.

Why choose Chicks?

  1. All Levels are welcome. We operate in the Ouray Ice Park, home to 200 ice climbing routes of varying grades. It’s the perfect venue to learn how to ice climb for the first time or advance your skills. We offer 4 levels of instruction offer a progression of skills, so you will be paired up with others of your same experience and goals. Choose from The Jiffy (2 day), The Sampler (3 day) or The Complete (4 day) day programs.
  2. We will dress you warmly from head to toe. Patagonia and Outdoor Research provide clothing for you to demo at no extra cost. You can show up in your street clothes, and we can outfit you for climbing.
  3. We provide all of the technical ice gear. Petzl, Black Diamond and Camp all supply tools, crampons, helmets and harnesses for you to use at no extra cost. La Sportiva, Asolo and Scarpa provide boots for you to demo too. This is your opportunity to try the sport and all the newest gear on the market and you don’t have to buy a ton of new gear to sign up.
  4. Ouray, Colorado is a picture perfect town located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains.

    Ouray, Colorado is a picture perfect town located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains.

    Delicious meals and cozy lodging. Our evening meals are catered at the Secret Garden B&B. You will be taken on a world culinary tour each evening, starting out with soup to warm your bones, a main course and dessert. At night, you’ll rest your head at the Victorian Inn, located walking distance to the Ouray Ice Park.

  5. Experienced Guides. The Chicks guides are the best women ice climbing guides in the field. Each guide is educated, experienced and reputable. You’ll enjoy getting to know each of them and they are sure to inspire you.
  6. Community of women. The all female environment is supportive and encouraging. Allowing each woman to excel and break through barriers. You’ll be sure to make new friends and connect with other Chicks Alumni. Many women walk away with new climbing partners for future adventures.


Our Goal at Chicks Climbing and Skiing is to help you become confident, competent and independent on the ice (rock and snow). So what are you waiting for? No more excuses. Sign up for a Chicks program today and join us in Ouray.

Chicks On Steep Standstone – Red River Gorge Trip

Written by: Laura Sabourin

Chicks Rock Red River Gorge. Photo by: Brendan Leader.

Chicks Rock Red River Gorge. Photo by: Brendan Leader.

Fifteen ladies joined Chicks Guides Dawn Glanc, Elaina Arenz, Rachel Avallone, and Laura Sabourin for a beautiful Labor Day weekend in the Red River Gorge. The three day clinic was jam-packed with climbing, skill development, and laughter. The participants ranged widely in experience, from beginning climbers tying in and belaying for the first time to chicks alumni honing their trad skills and learning to give the perfect lead belay. It was so inspiring to see the women support each other over the three days to push their limits and achieve their goals.Our days were spent enjoying the steep sandstone of Muir Valley Nature Preserve, a privately owned climbing area in the southern region of The Gorge. Muir Valley is the perfect learning environment for climbers of all levels. The crags host a high concentration of moderate routes to work on new techniques, and the practice anchor stations at the base of each crag are perfect for practicing technical skills.

While the women came from diverse backgrounds, climbing together helped them bond and form life-long friendships. One woman came to the clinic on her own with no climbing experience. As a single mom of two teenage daughters-working full time and going to school- it was difficult to get time off for herself. She had been interested in attending a clinic for a long time, and finally made it work over the holiday. She had many personal breakthroughs over the weekend, from learning to belay to getting to the top of her first route. On the last day, two groups joined together to encourage her to climb a 5.8, her hardest route of the trip. This is the magic of Chicks events; the community comes together to support each other and discover abilities that they never knew existed within them.

Chicks Refueling. Photo by: Brendan Leader.

Chicks Refueling. Photo by: Brendan Leader.

After a full day of climbing, the Chicks returned to their luxury accommodations at the Cliffview Resort. The spacious kitchen offered Dawn space to prepare delicious meals for the crew, including her famous, made-from-scratch salsa and guacamole. After dinner, we bonded over games of pool, relaxed our muscles in the hot tubs on the back porch, and shared stories and pictures in the common area. This beautiful, comfortable staging area was the perfect setting for our clinic. We cannot thank Cliffview Resort enough for sponsoring this program!

Our participants left the weekend with smiles on their faces and a new community of friends and climbing partners. It is always hard to leave after so much fun, but the women have plenty of skills to practice before their next clinic. We are so proud of all of the ladies’ achievements this weekend. Another great clinic at the Red River Gorge is in the books.

Save the date for 2017 when we return on Sept 1-4, 2017.

We Are Officially City Chicks

Written by: Chicks co-owner and guide, Karen Bockel

Cityclimb2webWe are back from the City of Rocks!  The Chicks clinic was a smashing success with lots of good climbing, beautiful camping in the aspen groves, good food made on the camp stoves, and most importantly a great group of women.  From 14 to 60 years young, coming from far away places like Florida and Minnesota, this flock of Chicks climbed together, pushed each other, and made the program so special with all they brought to this clinic.  The guides for this program, Angela Hawse and Aimee Barnes, had nothing but progress, smiles and stoke to report.  Everyone got to practice a number of climbing techniques, work on climbing skills, and perform a rappel using an auto-block back-up.  The guides’ extensive guiding experience and knowledge of the City of Rocks climbing area and history added much depth to the bigger picture of climbing in this world-class destination.

Over the three days of climbing, the group visited a number of different climbing areas, sampling some of the City’s finest pitches.  One day was spent at the neighboring Castle Rocks State Park where ground-up climbing technique was practiced under the supervision of Angela and Aimee, and all the climbers completed a lead climb. Three Chicks stayed for the multi-pitch climb on day 4, and together they summited the Lost Arrow Spire with guide Aimee.

After all this fun we had, we can’t wait to go back to the City!  With its endless climbing potential of routes at every grade, there is so much to do for any Chick. Stay tuned for the next opportunity to climb with us at the City.

Go to City of Rocks – Rock Climbing Idaho for information on our next City of Rocks clinic.

CityGroupWeb

Chicks Alumna Interview: Dawn Rathburn

We recently had the chance to catch up with a Chicks alumna who many of you have met over the many years she has been involved with Chicks, Dawn Rathburn.

Chicks ClimbingWhich Chicks clinics have you taken? 
My first was the Betty Ice Ball years ago.  The weekend was amazing.  I took the Complete Ice clinic, which was a lot of days of climbing.  Mattie Scheafor was my guide and the last day we climbed the Popsicle.  You go..”one more move, I can make it”.  It was exhausting.  I have never felt like that before.  It felt good.

I have done a few more Complete Ice clinics, a Red Rocks, Indian Creek and Rifle clinic.  Now I am going to do a Cody Ice clinic.    I actually did two Red Rocks clinics and the first time I had a problem with this one climb that had an off-width and a crack through a bulge.  The second time I took the clinic, we did the same climb and it wasn’t a problem at all.

There is a lot to be said for Indian Creek.  It is hard, painful, yet the most rewarding thing that I have ever done.  I didn’t know I could shove my body pin a crack and push off of it.  I appreciate the guides helping us learn and pushing us.  I have photos of my bloody fingers.  Now I know what its like to be called a dirt bag (laughs).  I have developed a love for it since I know how to do it right.  Now I use cracks on face climbs with confidence.

Rifle gave me a whole new level of confidence with sport climbing.  I can use a stick clip on the first bolt so I don’t hit the ground if I fall leading.  I learned to put my brain in a different space so I can do the harder moves.  It was like a reunion with climbers from other Chicks clincis.  I want to go to Greece on my fortieth birthday in two years (stay tuned on future Chicks offerings).  I had never led before.  It felt good to learn tips ant to be trusted enough, to be allowed to lead.

DawnRathburn2What are your goals?
My goals in ice climbing are to learn transitions in multi-pitch climbing so I can climb in more areas, have more opportunities, and travel to other places to climb such as Iceland.

My goals in rock climbing – I may not ever do a big wall but I want to go to the Flat Irons and spend the night on a wall or do a short, easy wall in Zion.  So I need to get more skill sets.  If you have diverse abilities, then you become a better climbing partner outside of a guided situation.

My ski goals – I grew up skiing and switched to snowboarding.  I got bored.  I would like to go into the backcountry because lift skiing is not getting any cheaper.  I would like to get back into skiing.  I need avalanche training.  I would also like to be able to ski to get out to ice climbs.  I used to aspire to alpine climbing but don’t know why I stopped.  I just don’t have time to dedicate to it I guess.  I need to make priorities between work and what I am doing in the next year.  I want more time off.

What do you do for work? 
I am a subject matter expert for a medical equipment company.

Tell me about partnering/networking through Chicks.
For ten years I have climbed with Chicks Alumni, Monica Esposito, who also lives in the Front Range.  There are others too – Sarah, Angela, Kerri.  Kerri went through a rough patch recently and everyone was very supportive of her.  Chicks is a good place to help you out if you need.  We build relationships on Facebook.  We talk outside of Chicks.  Seeing Chicks Alumni get married, have kids and go on adventures – we are super supportive of all.

Any parting words?
My knowledge (of climbing) didn’t just appear.  I learned at Chicks.  It is empowering.  It is a wholly different world now.

Chicks Alumna Interview: Piper Musmanno

We recently had the chance to catch up with an Alumna who many of you have met over the many years she has been involved with Chicks, Piper Musmanno.
PiperWhat was your first clinic with Chicks?
My first year with Chicks was the 2008/2009 ice season in Ouray. First event was the Inaugural (I believe) “Betty Ice Ball”. My first clinic was with guide, Sarah Hueniken, it was a footwork clinic. The remaining clinics I attended that weekend were with Dawn Glanc – it was her first season as a Chicks instructor.
Why Chicks?
I had ice climbed once the winter before and was instantly hooked.  I bought tools before the next winter, so when winter did come around the following year, I was ready and excited to go.  I don’t actually remember how I found out about Chicks, but I do remember being interested in it and mentioning it to some girl friends at the Boulder Rock Club.  At which point, one of them said, “I have another friend who is going for her first time. I will introduce you.”  And this is how I met Jenn Fields who became my roomie for the trip and would become my partner in crime and climbing while I chased bolts up walls for the next few summers to come.  I was also introduced to Erika Napoletano to carpool down and she became a good friend as well.
How many clinics have you attended?
I attended Chicks clinics for my first two years of ice climbing and have been volunteering ever since.
Not sure how many actual clinics I took within those events, but know they ranged from “Footwork” (my first), to “Speed and Efficiency” to “Mixed Climbing” (any chance that there was a mixed clinic, I took it.  Thanks Dawn for the introduction!!!) , “Anchors” (Angela Hawse) and more  I’m forgetting.
And then ever since I have tried to volunteer to help with clinics whenever I have been in town at the same time.
What kept you coming back?
The Chicks. 🙂  Both the participants and the instructors. The opportunity to learn from some of the best female climbers in the world is not to be passed up, but also, they were always a lot of fun.  That the Chicks’ instructors and amazingly talented, is a given, but they are also incredibly relatable and are great at understanding how to communicate their knowledge so the ladies in their clinic come away feeling empowered and inspired.  They take time to understand the ladies’ fears or limitations, and look for attainable goals so everyone feels like they progressed during the course.
And the chicks in the clinics are a blast.  No matter what their level.  Their excitement is contagious and rekindles my own excitement for my sport.
What have you been doing since last Chicks clinic?
Hiking, climbing rock and ice and unfortunately recovering from a few surgeries.  My last surgery to finally fix my hip with a total replacement was in spring of 2014 and I’ve been enjoying my sports fairly pain free since then.  Also, I’ve been spending time fixing my new old house in Ouray and hope to be able to spend more time there all year around each year.
What was your most memorable moment at Chicks?
Does it have to be climbing?  Because I think it was probably the dance party at the first Betty Ball, where I met a lot of the ladies who have since been my climbing partners and friends in the years since.  I believe there is still a video out there of some of us dancing on tables…that night was so much fun and sparked some great friendships. Some of us have gone different directions in the years following, some are still very close friends, but they were there at the beginning of my love of the sport and were a part of the memories that keep me coming back.

How to Stay Warm on a Cold Winter Adventure

Written by: Karen Bockel

Staying warm on Ham and Eggs

Cold day on Ham and Eggs.

Brrr! Over the New Year, we had many cold, cold days in Colorado and Wyoming.  A strong inversion kept the valley in cold fog with temperatures below -10F.  Even with the sun on your face, the bitter cold air had a bite on any skin exposed, and it was hard to stay warm when you were out all day in subzero temps.   It made me think of how important to was to be prepared when I went to work teaching skiing on the Jackson Hole Mountain resort during those days.  Here are a few tips to keep warm in the mountains in winter:

Layer up.  I know our Captain Kitty Calhoun taught you that you need only four layers:  baselayer, insulating layer, shell to keep wind, snow and ice out, and lastly a warm puffy coat that fits over everything.  Well, you should have seen our Mixtress Climber Dawn Glanc walk to the gym one of those cold mornings, I think she probably had seven layers on!  An extra layer or two of the insulating variety can go a long way, but make sure that they fit with your other layers (no, I don’t mean they all have to be purple), rather they need to work within your layering system.  These days, I often wear a baselayer, a fleece hoody, and then a light puffy jacket underneath my shell.

Dawn layered up!

Dawn layered up!

Don’t Sweat.  If you are performing a strenuous activity such as hiking uphill to your ice climbing destination or carrying your skis up a long boot pack, it is important to regulate your body temperature before you start to sweat.  If your skin and therefore your underlayers get wet, you can loose heat a lot more quickly because water is a good conductor and leads heat away from your body.  Do your best to take of some of those warm layers before you get too hot.

Break time means puffy coat on.  As soon as you lower down from a climb or take a snack and water break during your ski tour, put a warm layer on.  This will keep your body heat insulated before your furnace slows down and you cool off too much.  Missing this window takes a lot of energy and jumping jacks to reverse.

A warm core keeps your feet and hands warm.  Especially for women, it can be hard to keep hands and toes warm in the winter.  Start with keeping for core warm.  Also, have an extra pair of gloves to change into for skiing downhill of for belaying your partner.  My friend Carol Baker (she coming to Japan for her first Chicks trip) uses this trick:  In the morning, she cracks open a pair of Grabber Handwarmers and pre-loads them into her extra gloves in her backpack.  When she pulls them out to wear, they are toasty warm already.   When I go skiing on a cold day, I stick some Grabber toewarmers on the outside of my ski socks, right over of my toes.  That way, they don’t bunch up underfoot when I ski, and they get more air flow to stay warmer.  These little patches are a lifesaver on cold days!

Chicks Training Tips: Creating Regular Workouts

Written by: Carolyn Parker
GSquatIt’s incredibly beneficial for all adventurers to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, and initially implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first six installments to get a look at all these great movements (with detailed videos):
  • Shoulder Openers – Shoulder flexibility and ROM
  • Modified Cuban Press – Rotator Cuff strengthening and posture correction, with scapular area strengthening, and overhead ROM
  • Wall Squat

Installment #2:

  • Goblet squat
  •  Push ups

Installment #3 (part 1):

  • Leg lower and raise
  • KTE
  • L seats
  • Knee raise
  • Static holds
  • FLR
  • Ring support

Installment #3 (part 2):

  • Push ups
  • Walking push ups
  • Ring push ups
  • Archers
Installment #3 (part 3):
  • Pull up
  • Body row
  • Bent over row
  • High pull
  • Pull over
  • Walking lunge
  • OH walking lunge
  • BSSU
  • SLSLDL

Installment #4:

  • Front raise
  • Lateral raise
  • Reverse fly
  • Y’s with bands
  •  Low trap flys with bands
  • Deadlift
  • Front squat
  • DB push press
  • Plate OH hold
  • Handstand hold
  • Bench dip / ring dip
Eventually the athlete will have built a good, broad foundation from which to launch their fitness to the next level. But how exactly is this done? Imagine being in an oar boat paddling to a destination, your goal.  If you just barely dig the paddle in a gently pull you may eventually get there but the current may pull you off course long before you arrive at your goal. Instead now it’s time to dig the paddle in deep, pull hard and set a course to confidently arrive at your destination and achieve your goals.
For our next installment I’ll begin the discussion of what a workout might look like when you start putting the movements together and structuring the sets and reps and load for strength gains. Remember we participate in a strength to weight ratio sport, all mountain sports are. We want to remain light and get strong! So here we go!
Without getting deep in the weeds we have a simple structure to workouts:
Part I) warm up – 10:00 of activity or movement to actually “warm” the body. Light jog, rowing machine, stationary bike, jumping rope all are great.
1a)Then a specific warm up is needed to not only for alignment but physical preparation for what is to come in the workout. If you spend 10 extra minutes warming up properly the return you get from your workout will be ten fold.
Part II) The core of the workout, this is the focus of the workout. Is it strength based, strength endurance, power endurance.
Part III) Usually we want to add a “supplemental” piece to the end of a training session. Often this targets either an area of identified weakness in the athlete or some part of the machine that has yet to be trained that day.
The following four workouts are examples of this idea of constructing a training session comprised of three parts. Remember we are just scratching the surface of strength training. If you have any questions, seek an education and coaching from a professional who can work with you directly.
Workout 1
Strength
Warm up 10:00 bike
Then:
Shoulder openers 2 x 8
Cuban Press 2 x 5
Y’s with Band 2 x 8
Wall squats  3 x 5
OH Walking Lunge 30m
Then:
Work up to heavy BSSU
Then:
5 x 3 (per leg) BSSU@_____
Then:
On rings
10x Archers + 10x Feet to Hands 5
rest 3:00
FLR 3 x 60 sec work/ 60 sec rest
Workout 2
Strength
Shoulder openers 2 x 8
Cuban Press 2 x 5
DB PP 2 x 8
Wall squats  3 x 5
Walking Lunge 30m
Then:
Work up to heavy SLSLDL
Then:
5 x 2 SLSLDL@ _____
In between sets:
Work up to heavy weighted pull up, 2 RM (Rep Max) hang weight from a harness at waist. If you are still working on pull ups this is the time to walk away from assistance and try jumping into a locked off pull up and slowly lower controlling the movement as a negative, these should feel hard! (5 x 2)
Then:
10x weighted leg lowers + 5x KB Bosu chest press
Rest as necessary
5 rounds
Workout 3

Warm up 10:00 Row, 5:00 minutes of the 10:00 sound be 30 secs hard, 30 sec easy to open up the pipes a bit.

Then:

wall squats 3 x5

goblet squats 2 x 10

shoulder openers 2 x 10

warm up to your deadlift weight

Then:

IWT

5x Deadlift+ 90 Sec Row, 2:00min rest

Three Rounds.

5 min rest

Then:

5x Front Squat + 90sec Airdyne 2:00min rest

Three Rounds

5:00min rest

Then:

7 x 15m KB Bear Crawl 2 @ 30 –  55# DBs or KBs

Workout 4
Warm up: 10 min row
Wall squats 3×5
Goblet squats 2x 10
Shoulder openers 2x 10
SLSLDL 3×5
Then:
Work up to heavy DL
Then 5 x 3 DL @ ______
rest 2-3 min between sets
(If the athlete is well conditioned a round of 5x Push up + 5x Pull up can be done between sets of Deadlifts.)
Then:
Finish with
1:00 Sit Ups
1:00 Mtn Climbers
1:00 Ring Support
1:00 rest
x 3
There are many, many elements to cover: frequency of workouts, what type of workout to do when, strength vs. power, what is power endurance. I will continue to cover these topics in the Chicks training newsletters and for more detailed information regarding programming of this nature you can contact me at www.rippleffectraining.com or info@rippleffectraining.com

Sugar, Digestion, Liver – Build a Nutrition Foundation

Contributed by: Shannon Lee

Do you still struggle with allergies, constipation, hormonal hell, shedding the muffin top, daily fatigue, depression, and/or wake up like clock work every night?

As I rolled into my 30’s and now my 40’s, I have learned three things that are imperative for the health of my body and the health of my clients. You have to have a strong nutrition foundation. This includes:

  • balanced sugar levels
  • healthy digestion system
  • a healthy functioning liver

vegetables-So let’s talk about this strong nutrition foundation, which is the relationship between your brain and gut.

As a climber, it is more important to have a strong foundation because of the demand that we put on the body. We can create ten times more oxidative stress in the body just by going climbing. Therefore, we need to eat ten times the amount of fruits, vegetables, and clean protein than the average sedentary person. And what cleans up oxidative stress in the body? Antioxidants found in clean fruits and vegetables. Make sense? Okay, let’s look at the top 5 tips for getting our foundation in place so you can climbing stronger for longer. On belay? Read on sister…

  1. Eat Breakfast: This is so important whether climbing or not ladies. You need three things: protein, fat, and fiber. Eating within an hour of waking up will supercharge your BRAIN (yes girlfriend no more brain fog!). This addresses balancing your blood sugar right when you wake up. Focus on whole foods (not cereal, baked goods, bagels, burritos etc as these all cause a spike in sugar levels). My favorite is an egg over easy with bacon crumbles, avocado, 1 tbsp fermented veggies, and sesame oil drizzled on top of a beautiful bed of greens. Delicious! Toss it in a mason jar, cut it up with your kitchen scissors and take it to go!
  2. Manage Stress with Downtime: 90% of all dis-ease started with chronic stress! Do something that does not get your hormones cranking. Take a bath, write in your gratitude journal, walk with a friend, meditate, and learn some great breathing technique for “off the rock” that have been proven to reduce stress levels.
  3. Eat Clean Protein: Hormone free & antibiotic free meat is a GOOD FAT. It builds muscles, is loaded with amino acids, and helps you to climb stronger and longer. This addresses our blood sugar level and digestive health, and reduces the toxic load on the liver. Conventional meat raised with growth hormones and anti-biotics gives you twice the toxic load. Know your meat and where it’s coming from. Especially eggs. Get organic whenever possible. Learn more by watching Food, INC.
  4. Bone broth for joint health: This addresses your digestive health. Bone broth is packed with amino acids. The greatest gift of this delicious and simple to make broth is that it reduces inflammation in the joints and heals a permeated gut lining. It is loaded with glycine which is the glue that helps joints feel better and heal the gut from any inflammation. This is the number one thing we can do as climbers to encourage our joints, tendons, and cartilage to maintain strength and good health. One cup a day keeps overuse issues away.
  5. TRY the elimination diet: There is a reason every health coach, functional medicine doctor, and integrated medicine practitioner has been using this concept for years. It is an incredibly valuable tool for measuring what foods fuel your body, brain, and performance, and what foods do not. Everyone has a different blueprint therefore everyone has his or her own list of foods. It is temporary and can last for up to 4 weeks. The blood sugar, digestion, and liver will all benefit profoundly from reducing inflammatory foods. Learn more about how to eliminate the big dogs and increase your personal nutrition on my recent blog.

Go here for my lil’ freebie ebook, 9 smoothie recipes to change your game!

I hope you will be brave and bold, and step into what is possible for you with your health, purpose, passion, and possibilities!

Shannon Lee
Certified Health Coach
www.shannonnickerson.com

More than climbing? Chicks alumna takes on Ironman

Persistence, determination, dedication, drive, commitment, adventurous….it takes a unique person to be a climber, right?  It’s no secret that we’re more than climbers, and these characteristics blend into our professions, personal lives, and other activities.   Chicks co-owner and guide, Dawn Glanc, catches up with one of Chicks most popular alumna, Anne Hughes to learn more about her recent Ironman adventure.

Anne stoked at the finish line!

Anne stoked at the finish line!

First year with Chicks?
1st year at Chicks with Picks: 2002

How many clinics have you participated in as a client? As a volunteer?
16 Chicks clinics as a client, 8 sessions volunteering

Why did you choose to compete in the Ironman?
I wanted to see what it would be like to take up a brand new sport, apply total dedication and see what would result. I love cycling, but didn’t know how to swim and didn’t care for running. I liked the challenge of seeing what I was made of on the long haul. It would be cool to qualify for worlds and I thought I had a good chance at that.

What was the thing that helped you get through the training process?
To be first at my first Ironman wasn’t going to be easy; I would have to work hard every day. Races are won on the days others skip a training, shorten a set, cheat a little, let themselves off the hook, hold back when it gets painful, settle for good enough. My first place goal kept me out of that camp. When I really felt burdened and down, my long time trainer, Pat Gilles, was there for me. A qualified, compassionate coach with very high standards is invaluable. My triathlon plan was written by pro triathlete and coach Patrick Brady who also talked me through the lows from his perspective with years of experience in the sport.

Was there a time during the race where where you felt the euphoria of the moment?
I felt euphoric in the last minute of the 14 1/2 hour race. I felt a rare kind of joy that only delayed gratification from dedication to a really long, hard challenge can deliver. The best high ever!

Anne enjoying the Wisconsin hills during her 100 miles on the bike.

Anne enjoying the Wisconsin hills during her 100 miles on the bike.

Did you ever want to quit?
Long endurance races are about keeping to your plan for many hours. Quitting never crossed my mind, but during the marathon it was painful enough to want really badly to just be done. The more it hurt, the more I was not going to quit, not after 50 weeks of training! This was what it was all for so quitting wasn’t an option. Patrick Brady was there for me, supporting and keeping track of the women I was still chasing. I wanted to catch them. At about mile fifteen of the marathon Pat Gilles, an Ironman finisher himself, assured me it would not hurt any more to run faster, it would just hurt for less time…. hmmm…could this be true? I sped up from an 11 min/mile pace to a 9 min./mile pace and he was right! Not long after I moved into second place. I’m so glad my coaches and friends were there as I ran, keeping me focused.

What was the finish line like?
You turn a corner and enter a block long chute with the finish arch big and bright just ahead. The backdrop is the gleaming white Wisconsin capitol building. In the chute I realized, “I did it! I did all that work! I gave everything I’ve got! I did it!” I slapped the outstretched hands of my screaming, smiling son and husband and a posse of friends (half of whom were Chicks, by the way). I heard the announcer bellow — “Anne! — Hughes! — YOU! — ARE! — an IROOOONmaaaan!!! I was thrilled beyond words! To have been moving nonstop for fourteen and a half hours and finally stop amidst the finish line bedlam of loud music, bright lights, big screens, friends waving and cheering! Chicks with Picks alumna Amy Hite appeared as soon as I came to a stop, held me up when my legs wanted to buckle and brought me food. She was so kind and excited for me even though she had just finished her own Ironman race hours before me. Amy is my role model for completing two or three Ironmans a year for years! After Amy’s care those first few minutes, I was able to leave the athlete area into the hugs of my friends and family!

Anne's support group.

Anne’s support group.

Did you reach your goals/expectations?
My finish time was an hour longer than planned. My slower than expected swim and bike legs allowed me energy for a strong run. The marathon turned out to be my proudest part of the day! I had to gear up for pain and tiredness for the entire 26 miles, and yet still speed up during the last six miles to be sure I’d given my all. Never settle, that was my plan. Don’t walk. I didn’t. Reflecting since the race I know I will never forget the thrill of completing fifty weeks of daily training, racing well, and finishing strong in a long, hard, beautiful race! I reached this goal:

I took a risk to devote a whole year to something I didn’t even know if I’d like, something totally new, I remained dedicated like a professional, and I discovered strength, toughness and perseverance I didn’t know I had.

Surely these qualities will be useful in areas of life more important than racing.

Now to Kona? When is that event? How will you race differently this time around?
I will race at the Ironman World Championships, Kona Hawaii on October 8, 2016, along side 2300 Ironman qualifiers from around the globe. This will be my final Ironman. I expect a slower time due to swimming in ocean swells without the flotation of a wet suit, bracing myself on my bike against the cross and head winds of 30 to 60 MPH, and racing all day in 90-100 degree sunny humid weather. There will be at least twenty five females age 60-64 instead of the usual six or so, and all of them will be fast, tough, and fit. Each will have more experience as triathletes than me — this was only my first season as a triathlete. So, how will I race differently? With nothing further to qualify for, I plan to be the one having the most fun!

Kona = Focus + (FUN x infinity)

Chicks Take On ‘Yosemite of the Northeast’ – Keene Valley

Keene Valley Group

Keene Valley Group – 2015

Keene Valley Recap
By Chicks Co-Owner and Guide Karen Bockel

We just wrapped up the Chicks Rock! Clinic in Keene Valley, NY.  The event ran in the famed and remote Adirondack Park, home to the beautiful High Peaks and an amazing array of rock walls, which felt like a “Yosemite of the Northeast”.  Cloudsplitter Mountain Guide Emilie Drinkwater put together this clinic for the sixth year running, and once again, it was a huge success.  We had a really great group of six women, several of which were Chicks Alumnae, quite an international crowd, and a range from seasoned sport climber to brand-new beginner.  We were able to enjoy great weather (lucky for us, as the forecast had been less promising) and visited a number of excellent cliffs within a short drive of Keene.

Rapping in on Day 1!

Rapping in on Day 1!

 

Day 1 found us at the King Phillip Cliff.  The fall foliage was in full swing, making for stunning scenery while we got busy working on rock movement skills, slab climbing, belay technique, and anchor building.  It was a fun day at the crag, and we spent the evening enjoying a delicious catered dinner, rehashing the day, getting to each other better, and telling lots of stories.  On day 2, which was Sunday, we headed to the Beer Walls, a long rock cliff with many high quality routes.  The clinic participants set up the ropes this time under our supervision, and then we rappelled to the bottom with all our gear.  We climbed lots, laughed, learned and sent some really good climbs, including a nice technical crack climb called “Rockoholic”.

Chicks enjoying several high-quality routes in Keene Valley.

Chicks enjoying several high-quality routes in Keene Valley.

A good part of the day was spent learning about traditional gear like wired stoppers and cams.  We practiced placing and cleaning gear.  After another excellent dinner, we got to hear about Emilie’s recent trip to Afghanistan with Ascend Athletics.  She showed a slide show with beautiful photos of which many she had secretly shot from the hip, and told the story of taking a big group of Afghani women into the mountains to climb for the first time, an immensely inspiring story.  Our final day 3 was the highlight of the climbing with one group working on mock leading, multi-pitch transition and difficult climbing, and the other group heading out on a classic multi-pitch adventure, the 775’ high Chapel Pond Slabs.  It was a great way to put all the skills and practice together. When we finished, no one wanted the day to end…the sign of a true Chicks clinic!

Taking in the great weather in the Dacks.

Taking in the great weather in the Dacks.

 

The camaraderie and positive group energy really stood out to me.   And, Emilie and I had sore cheeks from laughing so much.   We all had tons of fun, learned some solid skills, crushed on some beautiful climbing, found new friends, and gotten a great taste of Adirondack Park.

Thanks to Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides who we partnered with for this event.