Sunday, May 29, 2011


Editor's Note: My first Little Red experience was in 2005. I had been riding just a few months, training on an old, heavy mountain bike. I saw an advertisement for the Little Red Riding Hood - a women's only ride in the beautiful Cache Valley area and decided to try it with a friend. That first year I rode 68 miles (it nearly killed me!) and had such a fantastic experience that I was hooked. As time went on, I loved the ride so much that I wanted to become a part of the Little Red team. And so, over the years, I've volunteered in various ways to support this ride. During that time, I've had the great priveledge to meet the many outstanding and committed individuals who work so hard to pull off this event. From the Event's Director, Curt Griffin, to all the committee members who handle scheduling, permits, registration, transportaion, emergency services, radio operators, SAG support, food and berverages, volunteer coordinators, facilities, and on and on. Little Red Riding Hood is created, producted, and managed through an amazing team, all of them volunteers, who spend thousands of hours each year to bring this event to the community. And now I'd like to introduce you to the two lovely ladies who are at the very heart and soul of Little Red -

Penny Perkins and Lynda Forbush.

Lynda (left) & Penny (right) at LRRH 2009

Penny and Lynda are well known faces at Little Red. They've been riding the event for 16 years and have had a huge role in the growth,shape and tone of this event for the past 7 years. When they first started riding LRRH, about 80 women were involved. The ride grew slowly over the early years, with about 400 women riding in 2004, but really started taking off after 2005. That's the year Penny and Lynda became seriously involved. These two creative women had been planning and pulling off events for years. Whether in their bike club, community, family gatherings, or church functions - Penny and Lynda know how to plan and execute a party! Their professional backgrounds range from design (Penny designs and sews custom wedding gowns) to catering (Lynda's resume includes years spent as the Catering Director for the Marriott and has managed many large events), which blend beautifully together in envisioning and implementing Little Red Riding Hood. Having a friendship which spans back many years (they met in college and were roomates for a time), they find working together easy since they are 'in sync' in so many areas.
Hard at work in 2005. Southern Utah Tour for the Bonneville Cycling Club

Little Red has evolved over the years under the vision of these two ladies. Beginning in 2005, Penny designed the first Little Red jerseys while Lynda spruced up the event staging/finish line celebration. By 2007 full blown themes were really coming into creation, dressing the Wolf and Little Red up in costumes, a special drink for the ladies at the finish line and, as always, a gorgeous new jersey for each new Little Red year. 2007 was also the year they decided to include fundraising as a larger part of the Little Red event. 'The ride has so much potential to raise funds for cancer research; let it be a positive force for change'. That year was the first to include a silent auction, bike raffle, and the first Friday night celebration dinner/party. A trip down memory lane with Penny & Lynda includes:

Lynda and a LRRH fan admiring one of the many decorations in 2007

"2007.......In this version the wolf was in a tux on the front of the tandem serving our Little Red. We dressed the wolf up in a tux and served sparkling cider in champagne glasses at the finish line. This was really the first year for a true themed ride. We held our first Friday night dinner and expo before the ride. We had 1,700 riders for 2007! This was the first year we started the silent auction and raffled off bikes to make more money for cancer research."
"2008....Howdy there little ladies! LRRH went with a Wild West theme in 2008.....We wanted to expand our ride and welcome women from other parts of the country to the WILD 'RED' WEST. Little Red was all dressed up in country attire with the wolf tied up on the back of the bike. Entertainment included a western band at the Friday night Round Up and BBQ and we grew yet again to 2,400 riders."

Penny and her beloved dog Ralph, also a familiar sight at Little Red

"2009 - ALOHA! Our Hawaiian/luau themed ride. We capped the ride at 2,600 riders in this year and we filled up by April. The Friday night dinner was a Hawaiian Luau. We had a Hawaiian show including male fire dancers. The food tables were adorned with grass skirts and big bad wolves lounging in the sand drinking pina coladas. All the volunteers wore Hawaiian shirts and the finish line included tropical drinks with decorative straws and hot pink leis."
"2010 - Our Super Red/Super Hero theme. We capped the ride at a whopping 3,000 and filled up in just 29 days. We moved the entire Event to Lewiston and enjoyed the new,expanded location. The Saliva Sisters were on hand for the Friday night entertainment. We put the big bad wolf in a super wolf costume and Little Red (in drag) was in a Super girl costume. The volunteers were our SuperHeros.We saw plenty of 'Wonder Women' in costume up on stage and raised nearly $60,000 to donate towards cancer research."

Great fun with the SuperHero theme in 2010

"2011-  A 1950's Theme complete with:
The Big and Bad Wolf himself dressed in a black leather jacket and other bad boy 1950’s attire.
A 1950’s pink Cadillac to drive our wolf around the course during the ride.
A 1950’s style ice cream parlor for the finish line party
A live band with great Rock and Roll music!"

Penny with our amazing Event Director, Curt Griffin

What's next for Little Red? What are the challenges and plans for the future? Penny and Lynda both agree - the challenge is not to become complacent or take anything for granted. "We want to continue to stay the most desirable women's ride in the country and to continue to raise funds for cancer research. This event has tremendous potential to raise funds and we want to continue to be a positive, inspirational ride that women really love."

Be sure to look for Penny and Lynda at this year's Little Red - they are sure to be everywhere. They have spent literally thousands of hours over the years, all volunteer, in support of this ride. Please remember to say THANK YOU to them and to ALL the fantastic volunteers who work so tirelessly to make Little Red Riding Hood the event that we love and look forward to each year!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Healthy Snack Checklist

By Tara DelloIacono Thies, RD, Clif Bar & Company

The key to maintaining your productive power each day is to eat regularly. Providing yourself with a little nutrient boost every couple hours will also keep you from entering hunger panic, which often leads us to reach for the chips rather than the apple! Head off snack attacks by having a healthy stash of go-tos at your desk, in your bag, and in your glove box. 
Obviously, cheese sticks, yogurt, and fresh fruit don’t do well hanging out in a bag meant for a rainy day. You need something in a sealed package that doesn’t require refrigeration to serve as part of your grab bag of emergency snacks. This means you’ll need to find natural and nutritious snacks that come in a package.
Packaged foods are convenient to stash in the glove box, a diaper bag, or a desk drawer. Foods in a package can be as healthy, natural, and nutritious as fresh foods. Let me help you spot the best choices by showing you what to look out for on a food label.

As you are reading this article, pull a snack food package from your pantry. Flip the package over and look at the ingredient list. Does it have ingredients that you recognize as healthy or that you may even have on your shelf for cooking? If you see Blue 1, Red 40, or artificial flavorings, back away now.

Artificial colors, flavors, and non-natural preservatives are not ingredients you need in your food or your body, nor do they have any nutritional value. Foods made with natural flavors and colors that come from the ingredients themselves are your best choice.

Partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup are also total turn-offs. Partially hydrogenated oils come with trans fat as a by-product and have no nutritional place in a recipe.  When it comes to sugar, skip the artificial stuff—a little of the real thing will go a long way. Snacks that contain more natural sweeteners will provide better taste with less sugar per gram, making it easy to enjoy the sweet benefits without overdoing it.

Does the package claim the food inside is natural? When it comes to labeling, you will find that the term “natural” is quite subjective. The best way to verify a natural claim is to see if it is closely followed by the word organic. Finding organic ingredients on a package is the fastest way to identify a food that is made with ingredients that have not been grown through genetic engineering or with dangerous pesticides or fertilizers.

Here’s a line-by-line guide to understanding some important details in the nutrition label on your snack package:

Serving Size:  Check the serving size, so you know what portion is being referred to. It may say one serving, but perhaps there are two in the package and you are certain they will both be munched down together.

Calories:  Snacks should be moderate in calories, providing 150-200 calories per snack.

Calories from Fat:  Generally, you want no more than 30% of calories to come from fat.  Plug this simple equation into your mobile phone calculator to determine fat percentages:  Calories from Fat ÷ Total Calories = % Calories from Fat.

Fiber:  As much as we all love fiber, we still don’t eat enough of it. Look for snack foods with three grams of fiber or more per serving, which can be found in whole grains like oats and whole wheat flour.

Sugar:  On a food label, this refers to both added sugars (like organic cane juice) and naturally occurring sugars (like lactose in milk). Be sure to weigh the balance of sugar to the other nutrients provided in the food.  Ideally, less than 35% of a snack’s weight should come from sugar.

% Daily Values (DV): The %DV makes it easy to see which foods are higher or lower in nutrients. When you are comparing similar foods, be sure you are comparing similar serving sizes too. 

Sodium:  Limit sodium to1,500 milligrams of per day. On average, we consume more than twice that—2,800 milligrams each day—according to the Institute of MedicinceHere is what a healthy snack stash for you desk drawer or glove box could look like
  • 1Toasted Nutz N’Cranberry LUNA Bar
  • 1 package of dried mango
  • 8 oz. shelf-stable 1% fat milk box
  • 1 oz. bag of mini organic cheddar cheese crackers

These foods all have “best by” expiration dates, so be sure you eat them on a first-in, first-out basis. Next time you feel hunger and low energy sneak up on you, you will be pleased to have snacks like these on hand.

Thursday, May 19, 2011





As the old song goes “There’s a dark and a troubled side of life, but there’s a bright and a sunny side too”…
Cycling has kept me on the sunny side.
My first hand me down red tricycle was the best to weave up and down the
driveway on. That is when I learned to smile with the wind in my hair. 
I was the little girl with training wheels until I was 9 years old.  When the
training wheels completely wore out someone finally removed them and surprise… I could ride.  Self esteem boost and instant freedom.
In junior high I rode a used stingray bike with a sparkling blue banana seat
and a 3 foot tall metal sissy bar.  Ugly, but it got me where I needed to go and it was a bargain.
In high school I would ride to school on an old 10 speed when riding to school was not cool.  I learned that boys who like outdoorsy but girly girls were the kind of boys I liked.
I married my best friend and had 2 beautiful daughters. We purchased our first bike trailer and I would pull the little ones.  Pulling the youngest with an 85 pound family dog by her side or her favorite doll while she napped built my fitness level.  People would smile as they passed which kept me on the sunny side.
Other things I learned from cycling…
When your thyroid is irradiated cycling will help you lose the 50 pounds you need to lose.
When diagnosed with heart problems climb those hills and make that muscle even stronger.
When diagnosed with skin cancer cycling is good for the mind and sunscreen is an awesome product. 
When you are a patient at Huntsman Cancer Clinic for possible lymphoma don’t give up hope.  After several months of all results leaning towards lymphoma I recovered.  When you have energy get on that bike and ride because you can.
My first century was LRRH in my mid 40’s.  At the finish I called to tell my
husband I finished and burst into tears.  Just one year after being a patient
at Huntsman Cancer Clinic I rode 100 miles for their charity.  Immense

Now in my 50’s …
I ride my used bicycle to work each day I can.  Last year from March to
November I only drove my car to work twice.
I use that old bike trailer that toted kids and dogs to tote groceries now.
I cycle 11 miles to spin class, spin, then hitch a ride home with my hubby.
I ride centuries with those 2 little girls I toted in the trailer.
Whenever I am able to cycle I do. 
Whether we ride a short or long distance or our life has been troubled or
sunny, cycling can help keep us on the sunny side.
Best wishes to all riders and let’s be grateful we are able to ride!
Keep on the sunny side.


This story is not easy for me to tell. Even these few words have caused tears to stream down my face.  Two years, 3 months and 5 days ago (January 18th, 09) my only daughter died at age 9 in a sledding accident. Patia (Pay-sha) was my baby girl. She was and still is so precious to me. I would love to just go on and on about her but since there is a 500 word limit I had better tell how cycling and physical activity in general have been the one thing that allowed me to survive this. 

Just 5 months after her death my best friend invited me to ride the LLRH (09). She had been biking for about a year but I had never been on a road bike and I had not ridden any other bike for several years. At that time I was agreeing to anything just to get through my day. It was a struggle just to get out of bed every morning. I felt like everything about me and everyone around me had changed. I was in a downhill spiral and had no idea how to stop. I knew one of the owners of Racer Cycle in Provo; I asked her if I could rent a bike from them. She was so gracious and offered to let me borrow a bike of hers. A few weeks before LLRH I took it for the first ride, I was hooked. I got on that bike and there was no one but me and my thoughts. I peddled with all my might and worked out so much frustration. I let go of anger and hurt I had been bottling up inside. It was a truly amazing, life changing or should I say life saving experience. I rode over 17 miles that first ride I could not believe I was able to ride that distance. When I completed my ride I felt renewed. A few weeks later I rode the 38 mile leg of LLRH and loved it. I had to give the bike back of course, but from that point on I stayed active, walking nightly, attending yoga and kick boxing classes. I just craved the peace and uplifted feeling I got from that first ride. It made me feel alive and in control of emotion again, if only for little while. I had to wait an entire year before I purchased a bike of my own. Since that time I have ridden as much as I can, l love to ride more than anything else. 

Since Patia death I have been actively involved in starting The Compassionate Friends Chapter in Utah County. The Compassionate Friends assist families to find a positive resolution to grief following the death of a child of any age.  We held the first annual Patia Lynn Christensen 5K last August. There is still a huge void in my life but through cycling I have found happiness again.


The accident, April 2006: It happened so suddenly that I wasn’t even sure what had happened, other than I was thrown backward some 6 feet, striking the back of my head on the ground. I knew something was wrong. What felt like being thrown from a car, was actually a collision between my Seagway (motorized scooter), and another rider who’d lost control of his machine.  It was the moment that changed everything. I sustained a concussion and serious neck injury, which affected my balance. 
Recovery from a head injury is always complicated, with no defined answers as to when you might get back to normal, which is never what you were before such an injury. Yet, if you have desire and want something bad enough, you can find the drive within you to succeed.  Question is, how bad do you want it, and are you willing to do the work to make your dreams come true.
My first ride back on a bike came a year later. I rode only 20 feet before I felt tippy and had to stop.  My heart sank as I realized I still couldn’t ride. Discouraged because progress was slow, and longing for the days when I used to ride whenever I wanted, made me realize how much I loved biking. That feeling of freedom, the wind in your face, and the sun on your back, suddenly wasn’t a part of my life anymore, and I missed it. I wanted it back. 

I decided to dedicate myself to a long-term rehabilitation to get back the mechanics I was missing. Though it wasn’t easy, I committed myself to at least try. When I began to notice changes, even as small as they were, I gained courage to work harder.  

Over time, I learned that sometimes what we want doesn’t always happen within our timeframe, rather some undefined timeline driven by a power greater than our own. I learned to have patience in myself, and trust that the work I was going would pay off. It did.

Two years later, after that dreadful 20 footer ride, I was able to ride for a mile. You’d think I’d just learned to ride a bike again. Just like when I tried those first wobbly strokes while my Dad pushed me along, I began shouting that I did it. I was back.

Last year, I rode my first Century ride. I think I said “hello, how ya’ doing” to almost every rider I came across. I was so happy to riding that I wanted to share it with everyone. Gratitude reached deep into my soul that day as I thought “what if” I’d given in to injury. “What if”, I’d given up hope? It’s the journey of our lives that drives us to pedal to destinations unknown, to experience the open road, and know that you can get there one pedal stroke at a time. Bikers have passion for riding, and I’m proud to be one of them.


I weigh 400 lbs which deters me from riding a standard bike because of the excessive weight on top of little wedgie of a seat. Running – ya, right. Walking – not fun enough. Swimming – my skin hates chlorine.
Last year I went to the LRRH, but as moral support for a friend. I sat in the car and watched others push themselves and having fun being part of something great. Sitting there it didn’t take long for me to decide I had to do something and I couldn’t use my weight as an excuse.

This began my research where I found my perfect solution, the TerraTrike Rover. I did everything I could to buy that trike and get riding. A couple of months later I rode the Idaho Falls (Quarter) Century. By mile 18 I thought I couldn’t go further, but I finished and I never felt better about myself.  It is now easy for me to pretend I’m not exercising because riding is FUN !
You will see me at the LRRH Ride, not just this year, but from here on out. I’ll be the one laying back in my recumbent trike, pedaling hard and having fun. I won’t be the first to finish, but I will finish.
If I didn’t ride my trike, what else could I do?


“Cancer made me stronger and more determined than ever not to merely survive, but to flourish and thrive and to truly live life.”

In my life, it actually IS about the bike… When I first battled ovarian cancer in 1999, cycling was the driving force behind my return to a stronger, healthy body and a positive outlook on the future. By 2004, I had trained exhaustively and won a place on the USAF Cycling Team and the chance to ride across the state of Iowa in the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). I completed the nearly 500 mile journey with the team in 7 days. RAGBRAI tests a cyclist’s endurance and spirit; the rider faces the elements, thousands of other cyclists, and ice cold showers at the end of the day. I loved the ride so much that I signed up again the next year to do it all over again! In 2006, following a recurrence of cancer and the nightmare of surgery and chemotherapy, my passion for cycling motivated me to get back on the bike. During the months of chemo, while I was weak and listless, my bike waited patiently in the corner. No conditions, no ultimatums, just quietly waiting for the day when the sun would shine and we would test my strength and gradually build my endurance. The first five-mile ride was exhausting, but I gradually regained my strength and enjoyed regular training rides of up to 65 miles. Six weeks after completing chemo, I was on the road in Cache Valley riding Little Red Riding Hood. Another six weeks later, I found myself back in Iowa, riding alongside Lance Armstrong as he enjoyed RAGBRAI one year after winning his last Tour de France. I even beat Lance on the road to some of the pass-through and overnight towns! I completed every inch of the 444 mile, Missouri to Mississippi River ride, less than 4 months after finishing chemotherapy. At the end of RAGBRAI 2006, I received an Inspiration Award from the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for my determination to complete the ride and inspire others to do the same. In 2009, cancer struck for a third time. The battled raged on, and again, my beautiful blue Trek faithfully watched and waited for the day that we’d enjoy the road.  Looking back, not even 6 surgeries and 9 rounds of chemo could stop my bike and me from participating in our favorites rides. We have ridden nearly every Little Red Riding Hood ride since 1997. Family, friends, and co-workers have been inspired to take up cycling, proving that a commitment to positive thinking and a passion for cycling enabled me to rewrite the challenges of life and turn them into steppingstones for beautiful adventures.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Carbohydrates: Cut Back Not Out!

By Tara DelloIacono Thies, RD, Clif Bar & Company

In the quest for the optimal weight loss plan, it’s likely you are one of the many women who has tried swearing off carbohydrates forever. If you are,  then you’ve probably discovered that you miss do end up missing the tastes and textures offered in carbohydrate foods (the crunch of pretzels, the bite of al dente pasta). Maybe you’ve even experienced a “bread breakdown,” the uncontrollable urge to sink your teeth into a satisfying freshly-baked slice!
If you’ve experienced these urges, lose all guilt. The fact is your body needs healthy carbohydrates, and your physiological need is stronger than your will to deprive yourself of necessary nutrients. The trick to weight management is not to eliminate whole food groups but to choose wisely, not overdo it, and indulge only on occasion.
Cut Back; Don’t Cut Out
Trendy diets love extremes. So, instead of cutting back, they cut out. Cutting out whole food groups is not the healthiest way to lose and no way to maintain weight loss.
Carbohydrates fuel our brains for clear thinking and our muscles for energized movement. The body breaks down carbohydrates to the simplest form of usable energy, a sugar molecule known as glucose. Glucose is the primary fuel for both your brain and muscles. Fat can also be used for energy but not be without enough carbohydrates to “light the fuse.” Some carbohydrates must be present to kick-start the use of fat.
Even the most popular low-carbohydrate weight loss plans acknowledge that the body needs a portion of its calories from carbohydrates. After a period of ill-advised carbohydrate deprivation, most low-carb plans reintroduce carbohydrates back into the diet in modest amounts. The truth is, in moderation, all foods can fit into a healthy diet.
That said, some foods are better than others.
Are There Really “Good” and “Bad” Foods?
When it comes to diet, we like clear, simple messages with no gray area, so we know exactly what we should and shouldn’t eat. Instead of labeling foods as better or worse, we label them as good or bad. Good and bad food labeling can set you up to feel guilty when eating even a small portion of the “bad” food, but, in fact, a small portion of anything is just fine.
While extreme, good and bad lists may help you in early attempts at better food choices. As you become more comfortable with new dietary habits such as portion control, you can redefine the terms as follows:
  • Good Carbs = foods you eat more of and more often which are less refined foods: whole grains, fruit, vegetables.

  • Bad Carbs = foods you eat less of and less often which are more refined: baked goods, pasta, white bread, candy.
Freedom of Choice
Carbohydrates come in many forms, some being better for you than others. It pays to be choosy. Many people are unaware that carbohydrates bring more to your table than an insult of blood-sugar-spiking sugars.
“Good” carbohydrates provide energy and nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients that help to keep us healthy), and fiber. These “good” carbs give you more bang for your buck: whole wheat, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, not only keep you energized and alert, but also provide valuable antioxidants that build defenses against illness and disease so you can stay well. “Good” carbohydrates that are high in fiber are also more slowly digested, which helps control weight by keeping you feeling full longer and having a more moderate effect on your blood sugar.
Unfortunately, “bad” carbohydrates are the ones most often over-consumed: soda, potato chips, white bread, white rice, and white flour noodles. Bad carbohydrates offer little more than empty calories. Low-carbohydrate diets exclude these foods because they hardly contain any fiber, and when consumed alone, they digest quickly leaving you hungrier than before you ate them.
Keeping Rice and Pasta in Your Life
You don’t need to say good-bye to rice and pasta forever. Smaller portions, small snacks throughout the day, and combining various foods (not eating carbohydrate-rich foods by themselves) can allow you to enjoy their taste and texture and still lose weight. Eating rice and pasta as a small side dish with protein and fiber-containing foods, such as lean steak with a 1/2 cup of rice and a large spinach salad, can make bad carbohydrates better by adding to the total nutrient value of the meal and slowing digestion, avoiding any post-meal hunger pangs. You could improve the meal further by choosing whole grain rice such as wild, brown, or long grain rice. These rice selections are less refined and contain more fiber than white rice.
Small snacks should be made up of two items: one containing a protein such as almonds and one containing good carbohydrate such as a piece of fruit. Not combining foods can make up for excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks. So if you can’t keep your portions small, avoid these foods all together.
So if that nasty guilt sets in remember carbohydrates are important to your body for momentum, clear thinking, and strong immunity.
Following our tips, along with exploring new and healthier options, will help you enjoy the wellness “good” carbohydrates can offer

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

You can win a new Electra Cruiser!

You can win a new Electra Cruiser!

One of our sponsors for the Little Red Riding Hood Bicycle Ride  is Utah Bicycle Lawyers aka The Christensen Law Firm.  First the bad news… Every year 52,000 bicyclists are injured in traffic accidents and on average 716 of that number are killed.  Many bicyclists have no idea what their rights or options are after they’ve been involved in an accident. The Christensen Law Firm specializes in protecting the rights of cyclists.  Their clients have peace of mind because they know they will be treated with compassion and respect while delivering excellent results.

The good news… The Christensen Law Firm is giving away their free book, The Utah Bicycle Accident Handbook to everyone who asks for it.  The best news… when you ask for your copy of their free book,
you will be entered to win this  Electra Cruiser!  

So follow the link, request a book (that hopefully you will never EVER need), and in the section where it says, “How did you hear about us", write LRRH.  That’s it, you are entered into the raffle!  The winner will be announced two weeks after the bike ride and they will contact you via the information you fill out to receive your free book.