‘Cross Training in Iraq: A Chat With Beth Mason

Beth Mason 2
Beth Mason facing conditions she did not find in Iraq. Photo by Eloy Anzola.

A year ago we published an interview with licensed physical therapist, certified bike fitter, and Cat 1 road and cyclocross racer Beth Mason. If you haven’t read it, take a couple minutes and do that now. Although Beth currently lives in West Point, New York, she has strong ties to the Mid-Atlantic racing community. During the cyclocross season Beth will make it out to several MABRA and MAC races and periodically sets up shop in Northern Virginia for several days of bike fittings. 

In addition to being a top-notch physical therapist and bike fitter, Beth also holds another job: U.S. Army officer. Maj. Beth Mason has spent most of 2010 serving a tour in Iraq. Now safely back in the states, she is restarting her fitting business with a four day stint in the Mid-Atlantic. 

As of today, she still has a couple slots available for an in-depth session that, according to Beth’s website, includes the following: 

“A detailed history, flexibility assessment, and static and dynamic positioning. Dynamic positioning will include the integration of the state-of-the-art Retul motion capture system for bike fitting—you have to see it to believe it! At the end of the fitting session the client will be provided with documents detailing their position, and their optimal bike position. Special emphasis is always placed on the foot/pedal interface, with respect to cleat adjustment, and wedging and shimming when necessary.” 

If you suffer from aches and pains on the bike or want to make sure you’re riding efficiently, do yourself a favor and contact Beth for scheduling or questions. She can be reached at bethbikes1@gmail.com or 410-562-4776. 

I caught up with Beth recently to ask her about her tour of Iraq and what it was like to ride a cyclocross bike in the desert. 

Thanks for reading. 

Many readers know you as a bike fitter and Cat1 racer. They may not know that you are also an officer in the U.S. Army and recently returned home from a tour in Iraq. Welcome home and we are glad you made it back safely. I know that before you left one of your goals was to keep as much bike fitness as possible. This seemed like an ambitious challenge that I’d like to have you walk us through.  
What cycling gear did you have shipped to Iraq? 

I had my Blue CXC cyclocross bike with Ksyrium wheels and Hutchinson Bulldog tubeless tires, a Cyclops Fluid trainer, a trainer tire, a floor pump and an inadequate stockpile of inner tubes. I quickly went through all of my tubes and had to call in favors from across the globe. I was sent sealant, tubes, tire irons, CO2 cartridges … I felt the love! 

Describe your accommodations and if storing bikes, trainers, etc. was an issue. 

I had my own Containerized Housing Unit (CHU), which was about the size of a tractor trailer box. Initially I stored my equipment and bike inside and really had no issues. Eventually, however, I was able to move my things to a “bike CHU” that I shared with the senior enlisted soldier who had a mountain bike and some equipment.  Continue reading “‘Cross Training in Iraq: A Chat With Beth Mason”