Thursday, September 24, 2015

5-Star Review for Girls Succeed!, 5 Girls Book Reviews, Giveaway

Painting by Julie Ann McKevitt

I am thrilled to report that Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women received a five star review from 12-year-old Arianna!  Arianna and her three sisters  review books in their age range on the 5 Girls Book Reviews site.  I’ve had so much fun meeting and working with them. The fifth girl is their mom who is the overseer of the site and active in helping the girls with their writing and posting. 

Here's an excerpt from Arianna's book review.

The Book Review by Arianna at 5 Girls Book Reviews

I really loved this book because it proves that if girls put their mind to it, we can accomplish anything! Each inspiring story provides an amazing quote...
My favorite inspirational story is Mackenzie Woodring, because even after sustaining her injuries and losing her sister she still managed to come back and achieve her dream. 

 You can find the entire book review at the 5 Girls Book Reviews here.

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You can win this e-book! I’m giving away the book to a lucky winner. Click the linkto the page at 5 Girls Book Reviews to enter. 

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Excerpt from Girls Succeed!

Because Arianna was inspired by bike racer Mackenzie Woodring’s story in the book, I thought I’d share an excerpt from the chapter on Mackenzie.

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
Helen Keller, writer, lecturer


Bike racer Mackenzie Woodring
Speeding Around the Track
Can you drink a bottle of water or eat a nutrition bar as you are zooming along on your bicycle at twenty-five miles per hour?  You have to eat something if you, like Mackenzie Woodring, are in a road race on your bike. The water and snacks keep your strength up and your mind alert during the three to four hour race.  Oh yes, and don’t forget that you are traveling at high speeds in a pack of forty to sixty racers only inches away from each other. One wrong move will bring down the entire group of riders resulting in serious injuries.
As a member of the Einstein racing team, elite cyclist Mackenzie Woodring is well aware of the danger and challenge when she competes in races all over the country.  Racing at forty miles per hour in a road race in Arkansas in 2006, she realized the front wheel of her bike began to wobble due to loose bearings.  Instead of letting the bike’s wheel snap off in the middle of the pack, she whipped off the side of the road to prevent an accident with the other riders.  Mackenzie hurtled into the ditch where she wrecked her bike and broke her left hand and wrist.  Her quick thinking avoided injuries to the other racers, but she ended up with six screws in her hand and wrist, sore muscles, and a painful back.
Mackenzie’s road to becoming a champion racer was difficult as she struggled to recover from her injuries. Another blow to her fragile health was the loss of her sister that same year. Growing up together in Western Michigan with their brother, Mackenzie and sister Sunny were close but each one excelled at different interests. Mackenzie loved solving technical and mechanical problems and could change a spark plug on the mower. Her younger sister Sunshine’s talent was in music and art. Sadly Mackenzie’s twenty-three year old sister passed away in 2006 after a fatal accident in her home.
Mackenzie fought back from the loss of her sister and from the injuries she sustained in the racing accident.  She was determined to continue to train and race with her team. It paid off for her when she won the Tour de Leelanau in Michigan in September 2006.  She continues to race knowing that her sister’s spirit is with her all the way.
Racing is her passion.
“It’s exciting, exhilarating, and fun!” the 2012 Michigan Women’s Champion said. “I love working with my team, the technical aspects of my bike, and being with a great group of people.”
The team sponsors finance the team of men and women racers who compete at professional and amateur levels of bicycle racing.  Their support allows the racers to have the finest equipment and to enter the many races held all over the nation.
The shiny racing bikes with their skinny tires cost $4000-$6000 each. These aluminum or carbon fiber frame bicycles are light, but very strong. The special equipment, such as helmets, glasses, padded gloves, and padded shorts, are essential for protecting the riders at high speeds.  The flat, hard plastic-soled shoes made for clipping into the pedals will not bend.  All of the rider’s power is put into pedaling and not overcoming the bending in the sole.  Even the tight fitting racing uniforms are designed to help the riders go fast.
Working in a team of four to six racers, the members practice tactics that will help them win.  The racers take turns leading the pack of riders, known as the peloton.  They block riders on the opposing teams so that their teammates can pedal on past to get ahead of the opponents. 
Another strategy for winning is drafting.  Team members closely follow the fast rider ahead of them. The rider in front breaks the wind ahead to make it easier for the back rider to race.  Team members take turns because it takes a lot of strength and energy to be the rider in front.
At this level of competition, Mackenzie has to keep training year round.  It is difficult for her to put in the ten to twenty hours of training each week because she also has a full time job as an engineer.  Ninety percent of the women who race need to work at another job.  The prize money for winning is not enough to depend on for a living.
Mackenzie is an athlete and was on the award winning softball, volleyball, and track teams in high school. While at Ferris State College in Michigan, she was voted the Most Valuable Player and named All Conference in cross country. Mackenzie realizes the work and discipline needed to excel in sports.  She applies these same work ethics to cycling competitions.
So how did Mackenzie go from running track to racing bikes? After Mackenzie graduated from college she began mountain biking. The bike helped her stay fit. She enjoyed the challenge and excitement in racing and decided to compete in a mountain bike race. When Mackenzie competed in Vermont at the Green Mountain Stage Race, a four day event, she came out as one of the top ten finishers in the mountain riding event. This was the race that convinced her to be a competitive cyclist.
In 2008 Mackenzie won a place on the Team USA Paralympics Cycling Team.  She was the pilot for blind rider, Karissa Whitsell.  Mackenzie and Karissa rode their tandem bike, a bike built for two riders, in this world class contest and won gold, silver, and bronze medals for the United States at the Beijing games in 2008.
Mackenzie and Karissa crashed their tandem bike in a race in Denmark in 2009 and suffered injuries, but they are healed and both are back on the 2014 Paracycling National Team.
Mackenzie and team mate Kara Vatthauer won two gold medals at the 2012 National Paralympics games. Mackenzie continues to train hard to achieve the goals of winning international races and to bring home gold medals in the 2016 Paralympics games.
While Mackenzie trains with Team USA in paracycling, she still competes in road races with her Michigan-based team. There are many different types of bike races, track racing, loop racing, mountain biking free style, and downhill races.  Cyclo-cross is like a road race, but it’s held in a park on a grassy course with lots of water crossings, mud, hills, and rugged terrain. 
Mackenzie laughs when she says, “I love cyclo-cross.  It’s a different kind of race.  You get muddy and it’s so much fun.”
Practice and determination to be the best she can be are all pieces that fit together to make up Mackenzie’s busy life of work as a quality engineering manager and racing as a cyclist at the elite level of competition.
“You are capable of doing anything you set your mind to,” she says. “Never doubt yourself in anything. And, always have fun!”
---Excerpt from Girls Succeed! Stories Behind the Careers of Successful Women by J.Q. Rose.
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The role models for girls featured in Girls Succeed!

After sharing this excerpt from the book, I hope you’ll see why Arianna chose to feature Mackenzie Woodring in her review. Fourteen more women are in Girls Succeed. Maybe one of their careers is the one you are learning about.

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