Friday, June 30, 2017

The Galentine's Ride

Here Utah Tri Buzz contributor Christopher White interviews Natalie Thorpe to learn more about the unique women's weekend getaway that is the Galentines Ride. The "launch barbecue" will be taking place July 5th, so go grab a burger and a spot in this fun event.

So what is Galentine’s ride?

Galentines is a non-competitive women’s weekend retreat. Our main focus is cycling but we are aiming towards triathletes and women that are new to that fitness world of cycling and triathlon. That’s really what it is. A women’s weekend getaway where women are supporting women through triathlon and cycling.

How did it start, what was the Genesis?

So I hate listening to people’s dreams, and my best friend knows this, and she came to me one day and said, “So, I had this dream about you, and us.” And I just started laughing and she said, “I know, but hear me out. You put together this girl’s weekend and we went riding.” And I said, “Oh I like that dream, I can do that.” And I like to plan things, I’m a bit of a planner, and she asked, “Why haven’t you done that?” and I agreed, I don’t know why I haven’t done that. So I decided I would put together a girl’s weekend, it was November at the time, and we wanted to get out of the “yuck” that is Salt Lake so we decided we would do it in St George. I presented it to women that I didn’t know, but I knew they were in the fitness world of some kind. It didn’t matter if they were in a triathlon club. If I knew that if they got on a bike or worked out at all, I invited them so that we would have enough people to cover a condo. I had a huge response from the women and I realized that I was going to need more space and if I was going to have that many women coming that I would potentially want some support. I reached out to my friend, Kirk, from Jerk’s Bike Shop. He offered to be our SAG and do a little clinic on bike safety and tire changes and stuff like that. Once I had him on board, I decided I should reach out to sponsors and see if we could make this more of an event and not just this little girl’s weekend.

When will Galentine’s be next year?

Feb 23rd-Feb 25th.

You mentioned that Galentine’s takes place in St. George, where specifically will everything take place?

There is a course that we have designed that starts at Canyon View Park in Santa Clara and it goes up Snow Canyon through Ivins. There are two courses, a 36 mile course and a 56 mile course.The 36 mile course will go to Veyo pies, then turn around and come back. The 56 mile course is a loop. It goes out to Central, then it goes back to Veyo and does the Veyo Loop back into Santa Clara.

Running distances?

I don’t have any running involved at this point. I’m not a runner, so this is really more of a cycling focused weekend. I say it’s aimed more towards triathletes because we want to have an open water clinic and we will have lap lanes arranged for women so that they can get their swim time in. It’s not overly structured so that women can get time to do whatever training they’re looking to do in better weather. This last time we had women that went and did runs and they got together with a group of women that wanted to run. They all had different things they wanted to accomplish that weekend and while we had a main cycling event in the middle, they could create their weekend to what they wanted.

Won’t it be too cold for an open water swim?

So there is this really cool little lagoon in St. Goerge and it’s going to be perfect. It’s open year round. You WILL want to have a wetsuit, that’s not a question. Any level could swim in that open water. If it’s your very first time to practice, this will be a great time to do it. The way the beach is set up, you could do a very short, maybe 50 yards of open water swimming, and not be very far from the ground to touch, or if you want a longer distance, you just go the opposite direction. Then you’ve got more like a hundred yards or so. It should be warmish in February. I would say that it will be important to plan for cool weather, on the ride, any running you’re doing and any swimming. It will be warmer than Salt Lake. It’ll be the end of February and typically it’ll be in the low seventies and Galentine’s will always be the last weekend in February. This year it was 58 so a little below average so the ride was a little cool. I definitely want people to prep for cold weather riding.

What kind of support can the women expect?

It will be a fully supported ride. There will be aid stations along the course roughly every 12 miles, that’s the plan. We will have a SAG vehicle so that if there are any problems, they will be totally supported. I do want to do an open water clinic. I’m working on that right now, and there will be a coach on that and there will be people on stand up paddle boards and kayaks for safety. The reservoir, or it’s really actually a lagoon, is pretty small and easily controlled, the environment is really controlled so it’s safe for a very new beginner.

My wife/girlfriend is pretty slow/fast. Will she be all alone? Will she be by herself? Will there be multiple women there?

Absolutely not alone. That is actually a big deal to me. While I love this sport of cycling and triathlon, I am usually a back of the pack athlete and I’m okay with that. I’m actually very comfortable that that is where my body is and that is where I can safely keep my body because of injuries I’ve had in the past. So I want that very last rider to know that they will have someone that is more experienced than them that will be with them the entire way so they don’t have to stress about finishing and not having that support.

What if I were to go down too, will I be alone at the hotel all weekend?

HA! That’s a great question! While we DO NOT encourage guys to come on the ride at this point, no, you would not be alone. The weekend is pretty fluid. There are structured events that will occur and people can choose to be a part of different aspects of it, I have activities on Friday scheduled out, I have activities on Saturday scheduled out and I have activities on Sunday scheduled out. The women can, to a degree, pick what they want to be a part of and if they want to get away because they know they have friends of family that they want to see during that time, they have that freedom so you could totally come down, but it’s a women’s get away. We don’t want our husbands there or boyfriends… You can come.

What kind of sponsors do you have at this point? Any hotel discounts that women can use?

So here is the layout of Galentines, the structure of it. What makes it a little different than any other Women’s non-competitive ride is that we really want it to be women supporting women and having the opportunity to meet people and become friends in a community. So with that, this last time we stayed at a townhouse together and it was amazing! If you ask any of the women, they just couldn’t stop talking about it, they were sad when it was over, so I’m working with property rental companies and I have a location that will have multiple townhouses that will be within walking distance of each other so that the women are all staying roughly eight to ten women in a house. That is the housing that I am arranging at this point. If they don’t want to be a part of that portion of Galentine’s, they don’t have to. So there will options when they register. There are two levels. There’s a “friend” level and a “BFF” level. This really is not just about your one friend you’re coming down with. You’re coming here and meeting new people and becoming a part of a community. If you have a house, you own a house down there and you want to stay at a particular place, you are totally welcome to and you are choosing that “friend” level. If you want to be a part of the Galentine’s BFF level, you’re staying in one of the townhouses with us.


And that BFF level is included in the price of registration?

Yeah, you’ll choose one or the other. The basic friend level will contain on Friday: dinner and the bike safety clinic and your swag bag and that basic stuff. Saturday, you get to be a part of the cycling event, and yoga and lunch afterwards. The BFF level you get all that and the housing option. On Friday anybody can add on a bike handling clinic. Not just “how do I change a tire” but how do I become a more proficient ride so I can handle those corners better, I can take a better speed downhill. We will have that clinic Friday. Sunday we will have brunch and Yoga in the morning. Those that are staying can do that on Sunday, some will be leaving Sunday morning, and some can leave Saturday night so they can create their weekend how they want it. We will have two different start times for the bike depending on speed level and or distance that people are choosing so that people are finishing roughly at the same time. So that they can come in, be a part of the yoga afterwards, have lunch and, if they choose the “BFF” level, we are going to have massage therapists available at the townhouses at a discounted rate. We will have 3-4 houses and each house will have a massage therapist Saturday that they can access.

Where can people find out more about Galentine’s?

We have a website: We also have our Facebook page which is Galentine’s Ride, and an instagram account. That is where I post most things. In this next month, we will really be ramping up the content of all that because we are going to have our registration open up at the beginning of July.

Anything else you want to say about Galentine’s?

Yeah, absolutely! We have ambassadors for Galentine’s. The idea is that we want women to feel like they have someone in this community that they can reach out to from the very beginning of registration. I won’t be able to reach out to everyone on a personal level if they are stressed out about something. At the launch barbecue we will announce who the ambassadors are, so it is important that people attend or follow to some degree. Each ambassador will have a certain amount of invitation codes. We are putting a cap on it for this year. You want to meet those ambassadors, you want to start a relationship with those ambassadors, because they are the ones that will have the codes. We want it to be exclusive, we want it to be a particular community that you want to be a part of. That ambassador will be a person that embodies what Galentine’s is which is women supporting women through cycling and triathlon. They are your point person when you have questions about what to expect about Galentine’s or how to get ready for stuff. They might not always have the answer to the question, and that’s okay, but they will be a good resource. Most of the original crew, those women that came the first time are those ambassadors, but we will open it up to other people also if they want to be an ambassador. I feel like that is one of the important parts that people should know about. You can’t just go on our website and register.

So you can’t just go online and register?

No, you have to have an invitation code.

So you have to reach out to these ambassadors?

Yes, they will each have 10-15 codes and each ambassador has a different code. Once those spots have filled up, they will refer you to another ambassador. We want you to feel like there is someone you have made a connection with. You don’t have to go to Galentine’s knowing a soul. Most of the women that attended the first year, did not know a person there and it was fantastic. Now we are all friends. I want everyone to have that experience to a certain degree. That is why they want to attend the launch barbecue. At the launch barbecue, the ambassadors will be announced, their codes will be given to them and they will start giving them out. They can give it out to 200 people but the first 10-15 people that use the code get to come.

How many spots are going to be available?

We’re shooting for 150 for next year, 40 BFF level and 110 Friend level.

When is the launch Barbecue?

July 5th. 6:30 to 8. You must RSVP to attend. We have more information on our Facebook page.

When will registration open?

Also July 5th, the launch barbecue and registration will be open the same day so if you go to the launch party you are much more likely to get a spot.

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