Teresa honing her hucking skills in Quiet Waters Park, Florida
This week we’re getting to know local rider, Teresa Garcia. I don’t know Teresa very well but every time I see her out riding or one of her Facebook posts, it seems like she’s up to something epic/zany. I enlisted the help of her friend Melinda Stefko to conduct a Q&A with her.  I have a feeling we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg here. 

Name: Teresa Garcia
Team: unaffiliated
Category: Dirt bag/Student
Occupation: Vet Student
Age: 31
Years in Ft Collins: 6
Hometown: Boynton Beach, FL
Disciplines: I have ridden mountain, road, and track at the competitive collegiate level, but prefer mountain biking now.
Strengths: Big-ring mountain bike climbs and climbing at altitude
Favorite type of biking: All day alpine mountain bike rides with a group of friends.

Race Results:

-Won Division 1 Women’s A Overall Mountain Bike in the South East Collegiate Cycling Conference in 2004 and 2005

-2nd girl to finish the Colorado Trail Race in 2013

-Won the “Fall” event of the 4 Seasons of Horsetooth in Sept 2015 (will compete in the other seasons to follow)

YGR: Wow!  2nd girl to finish the CTR, how did that make you feel?  

It was one of my greatest accomplishments on the bike, but to be honest, even though I was the 2nd girl to finish, I finished the race dead last.  There were 70-some people to start and only 40-some finished that year.  During the race, I got really sick and lost a lot of weight.  I finished, but didn’t feel great.  I still have unfinished business with that race and I want to try it again.  I think now that I have learned how and what I can eat on the bike, I could cut my time significantly.

YGR: What do you eat on the bike?

What I have found works the best for me is to bring turkey and cheese sandwiches, gummi bears, and use NUNN electrolyte tablets in my water bottles.

YGR: What was the craziest thing you experienced during the Colorado Trail Race?

The Indian Trail Ridge incident was by far the craziest and scariest. Indian Trail Ridge is an exposed ridge comprised of five or so little summits between Kennebec Pass and Hotel Draw. From what I remember, it’s one of the only places in the Colorado Trail guidebook where they explicitly warn you not to get caught in a lightning storm. So, of course, about 10 of us got caught along various points on the ridge hours after starting the race. It was one of those storms that seemingly built up in minutes. There were some small “builder” clouds over the ridge when we started, and some distant thunder, but it really looked like we had a clear window to make it over. I was stuck between summits two and three with Dax and Jeff when the hail started. We ducked under a stand of squat, sub-alpine fir trees we were lucky enough to be next to when the more intense, painful hail started, and this was followed by flash-bang (extremely close) lightning. I was so scared. I am grateful to have been with Dax and Jeff, though, because they are really goofy and their commentary made the incident somewhat bearable. A little later, it looked like we had a little window, so we continued, but, of course, it wasn’t a real window, there was another cell with more lightning, but at this point I was surging with adrenaline, so I high-tailed it down to the trees near hotel draw (I think if I had a little lightning cloud behind me during the entire race, I could’ve finished in 5 days with destroyed adrenals). There was so much hail that it looked like it had snowed about 3-6 inches in places, and it was hard to ride in a straight line. A fat bike would’ve been fitting here. I was lucky enough to have brought along my ski shell. It kept my torso pretty dry and warm, and I’m sure that I would not have been able to finish this race without it. I also think we were all incredibly lucky to not have been electrocuted!

After that, I was incredibly cautious with the weather. I spent lots of quality time eating cheese sandwiches under various shelters (barns, willows) while suspicious clouds passed by. But, the CTR doesn’t let one of the hook easily, and I got caught in a lightning storm on another exposed ridge in the Buffalo Creek burn area about four hours before the finish. This time I got lucky and flew down the ridge in time to miss the worst of the storm, but I definitely cried the entire way down that ridge, because I thought I was going to be barbequed 15 miles from the end. I get a great big F in meteorology.

YGR: What’s your favorite memory from the Colorado Trail Race?

This question is too hard to answer; there are so many. Cresting Blackhawk Pass under a full moon, riding over Georgia Pass at dawn, watching storms engulf distant peaks under the alpenglow from the overlooks in section 16, all of the awesome people I met along the way.

Here is a link to an article I wrote about my CTR experience:


YGR: What is your biking claim to fame?

I did a gap jump using a borrowed bike, during a down hill mountain bike race at the Eureka Springs Fat Bike Festival in 2004, and ended up winning!

YGR: Was it difficult to get into cycling as a female?

I’m a bro at heart, so there was never any issue with riding and keeping up with the guys.  I was never afraid to ride with people better or faster than me.  I always made sure to tell them to keep going if they dropped me.  If they didn’t have to wait, then they could ride their workout.  I would try to keep on their wheel as long as I could and that made me a faster and more confident rider.

Since I competed at the collegiate level, I was able to gain more experience with each race.

YGR: Strave Name:  TRexa Maria

YGR: How did you come up with that name?  

I rode part of the Kokepelli Trail as an out and back in a T-Rex leotard onesie without a chamois.

YGR: Since you are new to Strava, has using Strava changed how your ride?

Well, now that I am on Strava, I want to get all the climbing QOMs, but some lady named Georgia Gould has them all!!!  😉  But seriously, before Strava, I never knew how fast or hard I was going, or how I compared to other people outside of my friends.  Now I can see how I stack up.  I can also set small goals for myself since I don’t have a lot of time to ride with vet school.

YGR: Why do you ride with platform pedals?

I used to use clip-less pedals for about 10 years but injured my knee.  After I went through physical therapy to fix the knee pain, I didn’t want to chance having a problem again.  So I switched to platform pedals.  They seem to have a more natural feel and it doesn’t seem to hold me back too much.   I have been told I have a wider than normal stance on the pedal and move my feet around a lot.  That’s probably why the platform pedals feel better for me.

YGR: Who is a local role model to you?

-The best woman downhiller I know and ride with is Marie Walsh.  She has done some crazy descents that I would never think of trying!

YGR: What is your favorite ride in Ft Collins?

It’s a special ride that Marie and I made up called “All The Good Mountain Bike Trails in Ft Collins in One Day”.  It ended up being around 70 miles.

YGR: What’s up next?
I’m going to try to do the CTR again in the summer!

YGR: What’s your goal for the CTR this go around (besides not getting zapped)?

To finish in a healthy way (not losing too much weight), and I really think I can do it in 7 days or less if the stars align for me….we’ll see : )!
but I definitely cried the entire way down that ridge,
That made me laugh pretty hard by the way.

YGR: Do you ride all year long or do you have take a break from the bike in the winter?

I usually ride all year long, although in winter I sometimes do some backcountry skiing and running if the trail and road conditions are bad.

YGR: Any words of wisdom for other cyclists?

Treasure who can stand riding with you because they are precious, precious gems!