Brianna
Walle
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  • usa 
  • Portland, OR 
  • Portland, OR 
  • 4.25.84 
  • TT, Climber 
  • 2013 
  • 5' 4" 
  • 137 lbs. 

The road to La Course – A week of training and racing in Western Europe

Follow along as the team trains and races in Western Europe in the build up to their biggest race ever, La Course by Le Tour de France.

Interview

What event or person inspired you to take up cycling and why?

As a kid…I rode around the cul-de-sac until dusk as a kid in Florida and started riding bikes as a means of transportation while living in Germany in 2004-2005, but it wasn’t until much later that I bit the racing bug. I discovered my passion for bike racing much later in life… after years of recreational riding (commuting to work and riding on weekends). It wasn’t until 2010 that my friend, Courtney Gould, and a bunch of co-workers at Yakima Racks encouraged me to get out there and start racing. It was at a 101 novice clinic and race at PIR (Portland International Raceway) that I bit the race bug. I attacked about ¼ mile in the 15 mile circuit race and Time-Trialed solo away for the win. I think my co-workers could tell that I would love racing and had it in my blood, plus I schooled a bunch of my male co-workers on lunch rides, ha! It was just 2 months later when I started racing with local, elite team (Ironclad Cycling) where I really fell in love with the team-dynamics involved with the sport. So much happen in such little time! Why? I love working hard as a team, as a family. My former director would say “the more we ride cohesively together, the better we become- we’re like tooth picks. It’s easy to break a single toothpick, right? Put us all together and try to break us- it’s hard right?” I LOVE the dynamics and strategies involved to make a WIN happen….and if it doesn’t at least we tried, right?

What was your first memorable and meaningful experience on a bike?

Riding around the cul-de-sac until dusk as early as a kid in Florida until my parents had to drag me in for dinner. We had a dinner bell and I’d often ignore that thing until it was too late. I remember early on the sense of freedom that comes along with riding a bike.

Who were your hero\'s growing up and why?

Picabo street because I wanted to be a pro ski racer back in high school and Amelie mauresmo because she’s just a bad-ass.

If you weren’t riding for the team, what would you be doing?

Continuing to work at Yakima Racks full time climbing the International sales ladder- still racing my bike.

Do you have any unusual rituals, superstitions or things you do before a big race?

On the trainer- I have to JAM to some good tunes while warming up- usually heavy bass electronic or some good beats (hiphop)- I like to get a little amped up and psyched while I visualize our team plan. Usually this accompanies fist pumps with teammates….followed by explosions. Sometimes- I like to slap my quads to get the blood flowing before TT’s- something we used to do pre-run during the ski racing days.

What kind of health problems, injuries or other adversities have you encountered in you racing career?

Luckily, I haven’t had anything too serious happen (knock on wood). I did crash pretty bad this past August in a criterium- went into the corner really hot at about 22 MPH and hit a pothole the 3rd to last corner to the finish with 3 to go. I was trying to bridge up to my teammate in a break that was about 10 seconds ahead and did it solo. My rear wheel skid right out from under me and I went down hard. I slid across the road from one side of the road to the other and rolled with my bike to the curb. In the tumble, the big ring punctured my left kneecap and left 3rd degree road rash on both sides of my body, including my punctured kneecap. It looked pretty awful. Luckily, I didn’t fracture my patella, or hit my head hard which was the biggest worry. As a result, I had to miss the Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge (Crit) – I was pretty bummed as I was set to ride composite for FCS|ROUSE. The crash left very limited motion in my knee and I was hobbling around for a few weeks while I went to Physical Therapy, the Chiropractor and had deep tissue massage around the knee and shoulder. Thanks to HOSMER Chiropractic care, I was back on the bike after I reached a certain mobility/range in bending. That was on of my happiest moments, because at the time I was worried it would be a long time before I got back on the bike. My knee was really swollen and the chiropractor was afraid that I might have injured my ACL. I was out of commission for a month and recovery-mode for another. Bike racing is inherently dangerous, but I always say “it could have been worse”. Whenever a crash occurs, I think it’s a great period to learn about what could have been avoided or learned. Sometimes crashes are avoidable, sometimes not. At the end of the day, we get back up on the bike and go.

What are some simple ways to eat healthy before, during, or after exercise?

I’ve been eating a Palelo-based plan lately- no dairy or gluten- high protein, high carbs, lean meats and reduced sugar (if any). I really like the plan- I find that I have increased energy and just overall feel great. I find it really hard to cram in all the calories required for the day and keeping it lean. What I find helpful is to plan out my meals in 200-300 calorie settings- so graze throughout the day. I plan my meals to make sure I’m eating enough- that includes Breakfast, lunch, dinner and 3 snacks through the day. More protein in the AM and weight it through the evening. RECOVERY post-workout is critical- I like to make a fruit protein shake (made with pumpkin seeds!) post workout and eat a piece of fruit, bar or sandwich. Pre-workout I like to eat a PB and J wrap with some nuts for energy. I’m using an online tracker called “Loose It”- it’s a great way to track your calorie consumption based on your current routine. As we’re busy athletes, it can be hard to find enough calories for the day! I like to have “easy to grab/make” foods with me at all times just in case I get hungry- that includes: Packet tuna, apples, bananas, wraps, Sunflower butter, jerky and coconut water.

Do you have an unique or unusual hobbies, qualifications or interests outside of cycling?

· I LOVE dancing! My favorite discipline is salsa- I’m still a beginner but just love to quick step. · When I have free time (not training or racing the bike!), I love to go kayaking- mostly touring around but dig class 2 or greater waves as wellJ When I lived in Florida, I was out a few times a week paddling around, catching some waves and spear fishing off the kayak. I’d also go free diving for kicks. Here in the Pacific NW, touring all I do. · I speak German fluently – lived there 2004-2005- worked in a marketing internship at adidas in Herzogenaurach and studied sports marketing at Tuebingen University · I used to be a certified ski tech in Florida at Peter Glenn Ski and Sports! Yes, a ski shop in Florida!