Betty Designs Team: Coastal Ride

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Triathlon and endurance sports have brought a lot of inspiring people to my life and many epic adventures. Over the years I have belong to different endurance clubs and training groups. One of those groups is the Betty Squad. This is my second year in the Betty squad sponsored by Betty Designs, by far the most fashionable, comfortable, and badass endurance apparel for women in the industry.  There are about 300 women worldwide in the squad. It is a great community where women support women. A few months back a few of them sent an invite for an organized self-supported bike ride in California along the Pacific Coast Highway. I was immediately intrigued and willing to participate. I believe opportunities like this are always exciting and a great way to make friends, train, build stamina, character, and challenge yourself.

The coastal ride is an epic cycling adventure along the west coast dating back to 1990’s. People ride in the spirit of “The Ride” meaning riding down the coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara (approximately 370 miles) over three to four days with one small pack containing all your gear, fueling and hydrating essentials. This is a self-supported ride along a challenging but breathtaking route along the California coast with about 23,100 ft of elevation. This is a bucket list ride for many avid cyclists like me.

We had 15 women committed to do the ride, most of them from California and Utah. We had one rider from Canada and me from Chicago (the flatlander). We were fortunate to have the best organizers and support crew. Thank you to TRIFINITI and Betty Designs for all the support. We all agreed to ride in the spirit of “The ride” down the coast in four days and with an amazing support group, which included five volunteer sag vehicles and the best Sherpas. Thank you so much to Beth, Chris, Duane, Jay, Chris 2, Doretta, and Luciana.

So last week I flew to California with my bike and a small suitcase for our 4-day Coastal Ride from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. The route was carefully prepared with details about mileage, road conditions, pit stops, and fun landmarks. We were able to download each day course map with map my ride and send it directly to our Garmin devices. My goal for this ride was simply to ride each day at my own pace and enjoy the journey. I made it a point to find time for gratitude and reflection each day,

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Erika has been an endurance athlete for over 20 years. She fell in love with running in her 20’s in graduate school, working full time and being a single mother. Running became time for reflection. She has run over 30 marathons and countless triathlons; qualified for 70.3 World championships. To qualify for Kona is her next goal! She loves being a mom to a wonderful young lady and a fur puppy (cocker spaniel). Travel and exploring new places to train around the world is a passion. She is a licensed clinical counselor who specializes in the treatment of anxiety, depression and trauma. She spent 15 years in academia and has recently taken a role as a clinical director to focus on her clinical work. Erika believes in the therapeutic benefits of endurance training for people who struggle with mental health illness and stress. She is patiently waiting until we can all travel and race safely again, until then she recommends staying active, healthy. and consistent.

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