Suns Out, Guns Out

Summer time fitness check in:

It’s been a couple months since the spring semester has let out and since I’ve been back state side (more on my Taiwan trip to come, my bad for the delay!).

Here’s what I’ve been up to in my fitness game.

First up – Measurements:

  • Neck: 13″
  • Shoulders: 41″
  • Chest: 36″
  • Biceps: 11.5″
  • Waist: 32″
  • Hips: 39″
  • Thigh: 22″
  • Calf: 14.5″

Weight: 142.8# BF: 21%

Next up – 1RMs:


  • Bench Press: 100#
  • Bent Over Rows: 90#
  • Dead lift: 205# (new PR!)
  • Squat: 125#


  • Arm Curls: 25#
  • Arm Extension: 40#
  • Shoulder Press: 30#
  • Shoulder Shrug: 60#
  • Lateral/Frontal Shoulder Raise: 15#

Stacked Machines:

  • Leg Press: 315# (222.705# at a 40° angle)
  • Calf Press: 585# (413.595# at a 40° angle – another new PR!)
  • Leg Extension: 175#
  • Seated Leg Curls: 145#
  • Hip Abduction: maxed out
  • Hip Adduction: maxed out
  • Chest Press: 100#
  • Lateral Pull Down: 100#
  • Seated Rows: 100#

Haven’t done much running at all this year; missed the PGH Marathon (ran every year since 2010) due to being out of the country (which is a pretty cool reason) but I’ve been biking everywhere and doing my best to keep up with the National Bike Challenge (May – Sept). I’ve also been hitting the gym for some lifting time about 2-3x a week, keeping it casual with alternating upper/lower body focus days plus some abdominal work.

Upper body focus days:

  • Bench press
  • Lat pull downs
  • Bent rows
  • Biceps curls
  • Triceps extensions
  • Overhead press


  • Incline crunches
  • Incline Russian twists with medicine ball
  • Oblique bends with plate

Lower body focus days:

  • Squats – barbell, on bosu ball, free weights
  • Deadlifts – barbell
  • Leg / Calf press – hip sled
  • Lunges – weighted with plates or dumbbells, walking

Abdominals: variations of above list


  • 969.2 miles in 46 days
Year to date:
  • 1,359.7 miles in 82 days

January – 13 out of 31 days, 106.1 miles total

February – 7 out of 29 days, 62.5 miles total

March – 3 out of 31 days, 29.2 miles total

April – 13 out of 30 days, 192.8 miles total

May – 20 out of 31 days, 440.6 miles total

June – 25 out of 30 days, 509.6 miles total

July – just started

Aside from commuting I’ve been hitting up some trails and going on group rides at least once a week. Including: Steel City Roll (first Mon of each month – next ride 07.04.16), 412 Flock (third Fri of each month – next ride 07.15.16), PGH undies ride (last Thur of each month – just went on one last night 06.30.16, next ride 07.28.16) and random rides with friends around Pittsburgh, the #LunchLoop (new) with HealthyRidePGH and BikePGH (06.17.16, 07.14.16, and 08.23.16) as well as OpenStreetsPGH (last Sun of May, June, July – new route this month) again with with HealthyRidePGH and BikePGH. For those in the Pittsburgh area feel free to come out and join me for these monthly group rides!

Frigid Bitch 2016

Finally here’s the recap on the Third Annual Frigid Bitch! This is my second alleycat race and this year ended up being even colder than last. The week leading up got up into the 70’s and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be frigid at all. Alas mother nature had other plans and good thing too. We had wind speeds up to 25mph and the roads were covered in snow and ice. This year was so good! We ended up with over 40 riders this year!

frozen bikes 2

Race Day:

  • Check In 1-2pm
  • Race 2-4pm
  • Be back by 5pm
  • Prizes and After 6pm-???

Everyone rolls up to the House of Ragging Women, grabbed spoke cards, maps and manifestos, then began strategizing routes for completing the most checkpoints in the shortest amount of time. Winners are determined by who gets the most checkpoints followed by fastest time. Meaning if someone has a later check in time (and is in by 5pm) but more checkpoints they place above the person with a faster check in time and less checkpoints. You can ride solo or in teams (but who ever gets through the door and checks in first places higher).

There were 9 total checkpoints to try and get to.

Manned Checkpoints: (close at 4pm)

  1. The Abandon Barge (N Shore trail)
  2. Joncaire (Boundary in Panther Hallow)
  3. The Dead End of Romeo (S Oakland)
  4. The Intersections (Stanton @ McCandles)
  5. Commonplace Coffee (Buena Vista @ Jacksonia)
  6. Negley (@ Fifth)

Bonus Checkpoints: (snap pic of bike before 5pm)

  1. The Submarine (Carnegie Science Center)
  2. The Ruble of the Greenfield Bridge

Secret Checkpoint:

  1. whereabouts known only by the “Ricketts Boys” stationed at the Stanton & McCandles checkpoint

We toss on our gear and rolled out to the start line at Bruce St. On the mark, the whistle was blown and we were off!


At the end of Bruce, riders begin splitting off with some turning right and continuing down to Butler St. and others turning left then right.

1st checkpoint: Negley Ave at Fifth Ave

  • found our way from Bruce to Main st and crossed Penn. Continued on Main till became Liberty and continued on that till became S Aiken. Cut over to Negley and crossed Fifth to our first check in point
  • continued climbing Negley to finish the checkpoint, no one was happy about this! I ended up having to delayer at this point – I was so prepared!

middle finger to negley stop

2nd checkpoint: Bonus – The Ruble of the Greenfield Bridge 

  • rode through squirrel hill and over to greenfield/ schenley park to get to this checkpoint
  • I hit some black ice and slid a couple feet – luckily my layers were enough padding to escape any major injury and my panniers caught the fall allowing my bike to escape any major damage (slight readjustments to my saddle and my light holder were broken but that’s all)
  • I missed the first group pic and am not sure where the other pics are but here’s part of my crew (we also had a whiskey // vodka break)

bridge close bonus checkpoint

3rd checkpoint: Joncaire at Boundary St in Panther Hallow

  • we rode around Schenley and made our way past the Phipps Conservatory, through Oakland and down to panther hallow
  • this checkpoint required us to ride up hill on a cobblestone street, covered in snow and ice, sidewalks were not in much better conditions either then check into Iron City Bikes
  • I was able to bike up about half way before I had to dismount and walk up the rest of the way
  • good time for us to rehydrate


walking up to iron city bikes 2

Iron city 2

4th checkpoint: The Dead End of Romeo in South Oakland

  • we got a little lost trying to find this one, we ended up passing the street it was off of and had to circle back
  • enjoyed a nice fire and rehydration via water and booze plus fueling up on grilled faux hot dogs
  • very necessary as we then had to walk//carry our bikes down a long staircase to Bates St – we merged with some other riders

We rode down Bates and hopped on a bike trail (passing hot metal bridge) to downtown popping us out onto Grant St.

I started falling behind on the trail; my smaller//thin road tires were not up for the fresh snow and I could not power through as fast as the others. By the time I got to the corner of Grant where the GLCC is, I had lost sight of my group. Looking at the time I saw I 20-30 min left to get to any more check points. Meaning I could EITHER hustle over to the N Shore // N Side to get 1 maybe 2 more checkpoints but risk being late (and thus rendering that hustle wasted) OR head back with less checkpoints but guarantee I’d be on time. Ultimately, I made the decision to ride back to the HoRW.

This was doubly rewarding because not only did I check in on time but I also had time to ride over to my house, shower and change then come back for prizes and after party refreshed!

Checkpoints I missed:

  • The Abandoned Barge
  • The Intersections of Stanton & McCandless
  • Commonplace Coffee
  • The 2nd unmanned bonus checkpoint – The Submarine
  • and The secret checkpoint =>Espresso A Mano

The Swag: 

Needless to say, regardless of where you placed, everyone went home with swag!

swag and prize table

My Swag:

Podium Winners:

2016 FB winners

Veteran Bitches:

Podium of FB vets 1

This year was an absolute blast and I was so thrilled to see so many ladies that came out to race. Mad thanks to the volunteers who came out to support us with love, hand warmers, food and booze!

Fitness trackers: 16.28 miles

FB 2016 map

Screenshot 2016-06-19 18.52.42

FB elevation chart w grades

Additional footage:

Frigid Bitch 2015

I completed my first ever alley cat bike race. Welcome to the Second Annual Frigid Bitch, Pittsburgh’s ladies only alley cat bike race put together via our very own Pittsburgh Babes on Bikes leader, Anna Lena! I checked out the weather for that day and it was a high of 31°F with a low of 13°F and -17°F with wind chill aka the coldest day of the year! By the end of it, I was so focused on hustling back so I could warm up! This race was so much fun!! So pumped for next year’s! Naturally, I was more concerned with getting to each of the checkpoints in time that I didn’t take any pictures and those below are from the photographers//volunteers of the race.

History (courtesy of wikipedia): 

An alley cat race is an unsanctioned bicycle race. They almost always take place in cities, and are often organized by bicycle messengers. The first race to be called an ‘alley cat’ was held in Toronto on 30 Oct 1989 and continued, in its original form, around Halloween and Valentine’s Day (just like this one!) for the following five years.

Race Types:

Alley cats reflect the personality, contemporary environment and competitive interest of their organizer(s). Races may be extremely grueling and designed to eliminate all but the fastest and best overall messenger, or less competitive and designed to be enjoyed by the local messenger community around set holidays.

Rules vary, but include:

  • Checkpoints – the first checkpoint is given at the start of the race, and on arrival the next checkpoint is revealed to the racer. The route to a checkpoint is left up to the rider and showcases the knowledge of the area.
  • Task checkpoints – some races upon arriving at a checkpoint the rider may have to perform a task or trick before being given the next location. They can involve physical tasks, performing a skillful trick, or can test the racer’s mind.
  • **Checkpoints up front – A common format is for organizers to give the checkpoints/manifest 5–30 minutes before the start of the race. This allows the rider to choose the best route between stops… **that is this race’s style 😀
  • Point collection – Some races use a scavenger hunt style race where each stop is worth a certain number of points. These are often races of the Checkpoints Up Front variety and a rider may decide to not stop at some checkpoints valuing an earlier completion time over the points a particular stop may earn them.

Also: riders receive spoke cards, originally Tarot cards but are now often specially printed for the event; they have the rider’s race number and are then wedged between the spokes of the wheel (hence the name).

I am Number 3

16-18 mile course, break down of the route I did:

HoRW to Checkpoint #1 Banker Supply (Baum Blvd in E Liberty) = ~1.7 miles… rode uphill toward Penn to Friendship then left onto Baum

Banker to Checkpoint #2 Phantom of the Attic (Craig St in Oakland) = ~2.3 miles… continued down Baum, cut over to Centre into Oakland, down Craig

Phantom to Checkpoint #3 Over the Bar Cafe (E Carson St in the S Side) = ~2.6 miles… rode down to Boundary St and hopped onto the Panther Hallow trail, which lead into Greenfield, turned onto 2nd then cut across to Hot Metal into the South Side then down East Carson (was really nice to warm up here and catch my breath)

OTB checkpoint

OTB to Checkpoint #4 The Point Fountain (at the point downtown, where our 3 rivers meet) = ~3 miles… rode the whole way down East Carson into Station Square, crossed over the Smithfield Bridge into downtown (had some vodka and whiskey to warm up here)

Fountain toCheckpoint #5 The Mattress Factory (N Side) = ~2 miles… quick lap around the fountain then crossed the Fort Duquesne Bridge into the North Shore, rode up through the North Side circling the commons (the children’s museum, CCAC, the Aviary, the park etc.) then biked up Federal to get to over to the MF (more tasty whiskey//sours to warm up with plus heated place to go into) 

MF back to HoRW = ~4.3 miles… home stretch to get back before time runs out! rode back downhill and past the Commons, hopped on the 3 rivers heritage trail to 31st St Bridge, crossed over back into Larryville, got onto Penn and continued up the long hill (*Mistake!*) once got to 45th it was downhill but I lost time having to walk up hill. 

*I should have taken Butler because it’s flat and I would’ve been able to bike instead of walking; made it to 45th faster and even though I would’ve walked up 45th vs. of riding down from Penn, I think it would have been faster but I was new to the area and realized this after looking at my fitness map. 

There were so many prizes to be had since it was so cold not many people turned out! I was rider number 3 out of 5 total competitors. I was also 1 of 2 people to complete ALL 5 check points! Ultimately I came in second due to that last hill, walking back. I needed to walk to regain feeling in my hands and toes! I still came out on top with loads of prizes (as did everyone so cheers to that!)

My loot included:

  • 3 t-shirts (1 was the race shirt),
  • a pair of bike shorts,
  • a comic book,
  • a pair of sweet looking socks,
  • a water bottle (with a patch kit, some stickers and a beer coupon inside),
  • a bike button,
  • a bike key chain,
  • and some reflector stickers

Here’s a super cool article about the race with further links and information on other races: Pittsburgh Babes on Bikes

Fitness Tracker: about 19-20 miles (extra mileage from biking from my place to the start and back afterward)

2015 FB fitness map