cycling while pregnant: christie of santa rosa, ca

Today’s profile comes from Christie Randolph, former motorcycle racing champion and competitive mountain bike racer. Christie has continued to ride throughout her pregnancy, logging impressive miles on her mountain bike even in the third trimester! Way to go, Christie! You can keep up with her adventures on her blog, and on Twitter @MellivoraMom

christie tahoe trail 27 weeks {Christie at 27 weeks pregnant riding South Lake Tahoe’s Connector Trail}

Name: Christie Randolph (nee Cooley)

Age: 38

Location: Santa Rosa, California

Cycling for how many years: 3 seriously, all my life casually

Favorite part about cycling: Being faster than other people. Yes, I’m competitive! There are a LOT of people who are faster than I am, so I still have a long way to go.
Honestly, I can’t say I have one favorite part about cycling. Being outside, being able to eat like a starved pig, and feeling strong are all tied for first. I love the outdoors, and I love moving around and seeing things. I especially love mountain biking, which, when you’re in the forest near your home, feels like being in the secret garden. I also love racing bicycles, feeling strong and seeing my fitness levels improve. Climbing a hill faster than I ever have, that’s an incredible, empowering feeling.

Bike(s) you ride: Santa Cruz Blur TRc full suspension mountain bike, Scott Scale 29er hard tail mountain bike, Cannondale SuperSix Evo road bike

What three words sum up your cycling experience while being pregnant:

Make it happen.

Many, many days I had to force my hands to pull open the drawers and yank out the cycling clothes, laying them on my bed with me wondering what to do next. Then, I forced myself to put them on. And then get on my bike. Once I was on my bike, I felt pretty normal in terms of tiredness, at least until the third trimester. It was motivating to get to that point that was a lot more difficult; some days the couch just looked so very glorious.

How did being pregnant affect your approach to cycling or your daily commute:

I stopped racing. Even in my first trimester, when I was concerned about the intense efforts and high heart rates that I typically see even in downhill mountain bike races.
I gradually lowered my intensity while on training rides. I was told to keep your effort levels low enough such that you can still carry on a conversation. Sometimes I exceeded that, but only briefly, and mostly only in the first half of my pregnancy.

I wear a heart rate monitor when I ride and run and for me, a talking pace usually equates to a HR below 155; my max is 190. It’s a little ambiguous though because your cardiovascular system goes so haywire when you’re pregnant. It’s up and down, some days 130 bpm feels horrible, other days I can jog along with my sister at 160 and chat up a storm.

christie mountainbiking

I continued to ride “gnarly” (intense, tricky, difficult, technically advanced) mountain bike trails throughout my first trimester, and then very carefully during my second trimester. I fell over a few times in my first trimester; I even crashed hard and landed on my head the day I conceived! That’s a broken helmet I’m keeping for the scrapbook. I would sometimes tip over while climbing technical trails, but this felt very inconsequential, like tripping when walking up the stairs.

In my second trimester I only rode sections that I felt I could get through with 99% certainty that I wouldn’t have any tipovers or crashes. Rather than try to “clean” (ride through a section without putting a foot down) a difficult section, I would happily swallow my pride and dab my foot out or even dismount and walk my bike.

In my third trimester, I’ve mostly avoided the gnarly trails altogether. I was still riding my mountain bike up and down a big fire road near our house until my husband said he was uncomfortable with me exceeding certain speeds on any kind of descents. So now I avoid the big hills and ride the “bunny hill” trails at the base of Annadel State Park, our favorite mountain biking place.

I still ride my road bike, but I added a rear blinky light to help traffic see me better. I ride alone, and with friends, but only on roads and paths I feel safe and comfortable on. I’m especially vigilant about watching for cars popping out of driveways and doing unexpected things, even more so than before I got pregnant. I also avoid climbs on the road bike, so I don’t tempt myself with fun, speedy descents, but also because it’s harder to haul me and the baby up big hills without working too hard.

What (if anything) surprised you about cycling while pregnant?

I’m surprised that my bump hasn’t gotten in the way while on my road bike. It’s a racing bike, with an aggressive position, and I can still reach the drops comfortably without pummeling the baby on board with my quads as I pedal. My hands get sore from holding the weight of my upper body up though!

How did your family and friends react to you cycling while pregnant?
I’m not sure exactly how my husband feels about it, to be honest. He’s so excited about our baby, and therefore probably a bit anxious and nervous about doing everything right. It’s also probably difficult for him not being in control of the situation, so he’s had moments where he’s flat out told me he’s uncomfortable with me riding in certain places, situations, trails, and so on. He freaked out one day on our honeymoon; we were both on treadmills and he saw my heart rate of 147 and was sure this was way too high!

My parents are extremely supportive, trusting that I’ll do what’s right for our baby, but they do remind me gently to be careful. They almost seem proud of me.
Most friends are supportive as well, and mostly surprised that at 35 weeks I’m still pedaling.

Christie with friend in Vanderkitten kits

What (if any) special accommodations did you require to continue cycling throughout your pregnancy?

Around 33 weeks I had a special stem put on my bike that raised up the handlebars. Also, sometime in the second trimester the dorky (but effective) blinky light went on the back.

What would you say to another woman interested in cycling while pregnant? What have you taken away from the experience?

Well…you can read my story and know that there are some women who definitely do still stay very fit and active during pregnancy. I’d say do what feels right, because I don’t want anyone to be harming themselves or their babies, but honestly, there were so many days when I could have coddled myself like that but didn’t; like, the couch really felt right some days, but I rode anyway, and it was fine and I’m glad I did.

I think many pregnant women baby themselves way too much, almost as if being pregnant is a vacation from eating right and exercising. Gear up, get ready, train for labor like you’d train for a century ride!

In addition to cycling, what other activities helped you stay fit and active during your pregnancy?

I’ve also jogged and hiked, preparing myself for late pregnancy days when I might not be able to ride. Also, I’m guessing I’ll be shorter on time when the baby comes, and jogging/running presents a much more compact, convenient workout. I might even (gasp) get a treadmill, as I really can’t fathom being on the trainer for more than an hour. Even an hour is brutal!


Thanks so much, Christie! At the time of this post being published, Christie is 37 weeks pregnant and expecting the arrival of her first child soon! We wish you and your growing family all the best at this exciting time!

For more profiles of women who biked through their pregnancy, check out the rest of this series on cycling while pregnant here!

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About simplybike

{Bikes, a new baby, and the story of us.}
This entry was posted in Advocacy, Biking while Pregnant, Guest Posts, Mountain Bikin' It. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to cycling while pregnant: christie of santa rosa, ca

  1. Kim says:

    What an awesome lady. Thanks for the interview!

  2. Wow. She sounds so hardcore–in a good way.
    Thank you! This was a great read.

  3. I appreciate your hobby. Though cycling while pregnant damages to your unborn child but nonetheless you could manage to get this done kind of exercise. However, it has a benefit for you personally as well for it might extend to more serious health matters. Cycling could be a beneficial and enjoyable type of exercise as you undergo your pregnancy, proceed along with caution.

  4. Jen says:

    Thanks for profiling a mountain biking mama! Very inspiring.

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