The Best Rides Aren’t for Training

Mosier Trail, Columbia River Gorge

I decided to take a chance tonight. I asked my 12 year old daughter to turn off Stranger Things and come for a road ride with me. Mind you, she has made it very clear on several occasions that she does not like any sport that is non-dance related.

After some initial resistance, she relented. I optimistically pumped up some tires and set off for the Mosier trail, a beautiful car free segment of the historic Columbia River Highway.

As we pulled in to the parking lot, she complained about the small hill at the beginning of the trail. She stared at her phone and let me know that she did not want to change into a cooler shirt or help move the bikes off of the rack. We awkwardly took off from the parking lot and I held my breath as I watched her swerve on the skinny tires and almost ride off of the road. After a quick lesson on brakes and shifting, the girl took off like a little rocket (still complaining…).

When I looked at my bike computer, I let her know that she was climbing a hill at my race pace. She smiled despite herself and started to lighten up. After about 3 miles we stopped at a lookout. She was ready to go back, and we made it a 6 mile round trip.

When we returned she told me that she “actually felt good” on the bike. I could see her shift in mood and confidence. It hit me that she has been telling herself a story about the type of athlete that she will be, which affected her willingness to try.

I started to ponder about messages that we get, rather overt or passive, about who we are and what we are capable of achieving. My hope for her is that she won’t limit herself due to insecurities or self-consciousness. I hope to show her that it doesn’t matter how fast or how far you can go, as long as you try.


  1. Persistence (and turning off electronics) with tweens can make them spend time with us.
  2. We all have stories that we tell ourselves, but we can change the chapters.
  3. Magical perspective shifts can happen on a bike.

Coeur d’Alene 70.3 Ironman Lessons Relearned

An update on the Coeur d’Alene 70.3 half-Ironman.

The day started early. Everyone had to be out of the transition area by 6 am. I heard a lot of talk about how cold the water would be and how intense the elevation is for the bike ride. I decided to purchase a new full Roka wetsuit that I had been eyeing for a while and happened to be on sale (killer deal…50% off!) at the Ironman Village. At the last minute, I decided to use the full wetsuit instead of my tried and true sleeveless.

The morning was beautiful and Lake Coeur d’Alene calm. Having just purchased my wetsuit, I had never used it prior to this 1.2 mile swim. The water was a balmy 64 degrees and felt warm enough for my sleeveless wetsuit. I was committed to the new Roka due to a hasty decision.

The event organizers did a fantastic job, beginning to end. The water start was self-seeded and rolling, paced at about every 5 seconds per small group. As mellow as mellow can be when you get in the water with about 2600 other people. Unfortunately, when I got into the water I quickly realized that my new wetsuit provided a lot of compression and I wasn’t accustomed. I began to panic and worry that I couldn’t breathe. Also, I had a zig-zagging dude backstroking across the lake from the buoys back to the support staff right in front of me every couple of minutes. I swam backstroke, treaded water, looked up at the sky, and tried to float on my back. It took me half of the swim to calm down and relax into my normal cadence.

The bike portion went off without a hitch and I had one of my better times. I met some fantastic people on the ride and affirmed that living at the base of a mountain has its advantages for training on hills. My only difficulty was eating. I found that the stress of the swim sent my stomach into knots and I was only able to eat one bite of a nutrition bar and none of my sandwich. I put the nutrition bar into the back pocket of my shorts for a later time. Fortunately, my Infinit nutrition drink seemed to do the trick for the 56 mile trek.

My plan was to swim and bike, then bail for the run due to a recovering knee injury. I felt so good after the bike that I decided to try one loop of the 2 loop route. Not so great for me, all of the nutrition that I had carefully put into my body for the few days before the race left my body in the transition area porta potty prior to the run. To make matters worse, I happened to choose a porta potty with no toilet paper. Not much to do at that point other than suck it up, pull up my big girl tri-shorts and attempt to locate a porta potty with some toilet paper. As I stood to do this, my protein bar hit the floor of the porta potty. I did not put it back in my pocket.

Leaving that transition area as my nastiest athlete self, I set out to run. The support on the run was phenomenal. Every mile an aid station appeared, bands played, neighbors came out to cheer and cool down athletes with sprinkler hoses. I decided to do the next loop to make the 13.1 miles and finish the race. Around 7 miles my patellofemoral issue reminded me that it was alive and kicking. I chose to partake in an endurance sport sin by consuming 400 mg of ibuprofen. Hopefully, I won’t be reporting any kidney problems on my next blog. I took extra precautions to stay cool (ice down the bra, water over the head, hit every sprinkler), hydrate, consumed BASE electrolyte salts, walked and chatted with lovely volunteers and other athletes.

Such a fun day!


  1. Don’t wear anything new the day of a race (relearned. Hopefully I will get this one someday).
  2. Move away quickly from people who swim in strange ways.
  3. Consider putting a few tissues in your hydration belt. Check the porta potties for toilet paper.
  4. Expect to get gross.
  5. Find a good hydration drink. It got me through this race!
  6. Swim in the lake the day before the event so that you can figure out for yourself what temperature the water will be. Don’t believe the hype.
  7. Talk to volunteers and other athletes. It makes the day even more memorable.
Coeur d’Alene half Ironman finisher

Coeur d’Alene

Getting ready for the Coeur d’Alene 70.3 tomorrow. I’m freakishly nonchalant about this one…probably because I decided to make it into a duathlon. I’ve been coming back from a knee injury this year and have decided to let go of the pressure, enjoy the ride, seize the day, be a part of the excitement and listen to my body. Not sure if this will be the actual outcome since we are picking up packets and going to the athlete briefing today. My plan is to do the swim and the bike, pull out of transition at the run and go to the beer tent. I’ll keep you posted. I’m trying on this mindset to see how it works.

Allow me to introduce myself since I am new to blogging.

I began participating in triathlons in 2015, with an initial goal of completing a “Try a Tri” Sprint and then Olympic distance triathlon the same summer.  As my enthusiasm for the sport grew, I began training for longer distances, culminating in completion of the Arizona Ironman in 2018. I hope that we, as women, can embrace our potential for connection and confidence through sport regardless of athletic prowess.  

I am a licensed psychologist and registered dietitian and specialize in the treatment of people with health–related problems. I am currently studying for Certification as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). 

I live in Hood River, Oregon with my husband and 2 teenaged children.  I can often be found on my bike, at the pool, or meandering in the forest with my future trail-running buddy, Dash

Thanks for reading!

Kellie Oosterbaan Wolff