26 posts from September 2009

September 30, 2009

Pros and the rest of us

I was in awe this weekend, watching a stream of pro cyclists race around City Hall Plaza, pedaling in a tight pack and leaning in at perilous angles around the turns.  For 60 minutes (women) and 90 minutes (men), they whipped around the course as the rest of us stared and squinted, trying to track a few of the leaders in the blur of cyclists.  

Womenprorace09

The women's field.  Love the socks.

Tdbankrace

David gets photo credits here.  TDBank Mayor's Cup - Boston's First Annual Crit

While I consider myself a competitive person, especially when it comes to sport, I've never had any desire to race bikes.  I don't want anyone riding that close to me and I'm horribly afraid of crashing - not only because of the potential injuries, but the embarrassment that would haunt me if I caused the crash.  As a spectator event, however, cycling is remarkably riveting.  I'm captivated by the wave of intense energy, precariously balanced yet synchronized with this herd of pedalists.  I hope RJ will post about the thrills of competitive road cycling - I can see the allure, but I haven't caught the racing bug. 

After watching the pros maintain incredible speed lap after lap, I was pumped up for my own ride - the annual Hub On Wheels tour of Boston.  Waking up on Sunday to rain dampened my drive and I was tempted to skip what's been one of my favorite cycling events.  But by 8:30, under dry skies, I was on my bike, joining the riders mid-route (so convenient that the ride comes within blocks of my house), content to be among "the rest" - no racers or hipsters, just cheery cyclists ignoring the clouds.  I had plenty of room to spread out from the crowd and still enjoy the camaraderie of the event.  

Adding to my bike bliss around town, I discovered a new bike lane right on my commute.  All the way through Franklin Park, we have a glorious new lane for cyclists.  Today I spotted another new bike lane - a pleasant surprise after my trip to the dentist.  Boston has been working hard to improve its 2-wheeled image and the efforts are paying off...Here's to the racers and the rest of us who relish life on the bike.  

September 29, 2009

Phew!

Yes, I made it!!  Thanks to my friend, Jen, pulling me up the hills, I made it through the Tahoe Sierra Century.  I think the food and drinks along the way helped too, but I'll credit mostly Jen.  And now I'll roll Caitlin-style in this post:

Continue reading "Phew!" »

September 25, 2009

Luck, please?

Lest anyone think from my last posts that I have "it" all together, let me assure you that I do not!  I am signed up to do the Tahoe Sierra Century on Saturday with my friend, Jen.  I am not ready.  It's not the 100 miles I'm worried about, it's the 6,800' of climbing.  My ride on Sunday was 62 miles and only 2 of the 4 climbs that I will be doing on Saturday.  I came home completely wasted.  Wednesday, I got my butt kicked by Diane and Yari, two cool but fast ladies, on the Midweek Madness ride (fun ride, but ouch!).   

I will take all the luck I can get.  If you feel like sending some my way, I'd appreciate it!  And I'll let you know how it goes.

September 24, 2009

AWOL

YES, I have been absent from this site but my heart has been with the Trek Women Who Ride while I was in Europe.  But NO it wasn't a bike tour with Trek Travel or even a single bike ride this time.  I had to satisfy my bike-ride yearning with a daily hike in the Black Forest and a backpacking weekend in the Austrian Alps.  I will post pictures since we hiked to an overnight hut (hutte, in Deutsch) surrounded by magnificent scenery.  I did see some very fit mountain bikers trying desperately to tackle the Alps!

If it wasn't for my regular triathlon training - biking, swimming and running (make that "walking") I would never have been able to trek up that mountain with the other hikers.  Yes, I was the oldest, probably the slowest, but I did it and no one had to carry my load! 

The actual reason for me to be in Europe was for the Celebration of my grandson's 1st day of 1st grade.  In Germany it is a rite of passage and an event to be savored by the children and their parents.  It's like Christmas, with gifts and banquets and performances and processions - a "must-do" for grandparents!

So, I understand that I missed some great Wisconsin bike riding weather; but I will be back in the saddle this weekend.  My one goal as we approach the colder weather is to ride longer into the fall, buck the cold weather by dressing appropriately and stop being a wuss when the temperature reaches 50 degrees.  I'll keep you posted.  In the meantime, enjoy the ride!

A New Challenge

Since I graduated from Whitman College in 2007, I have been living, working and riding in Walla Walla, WA. Walla Walla is a DREAM to ride in, both in and out of town. I think it is only a matter of time and publicity that will put Walla on par with other cycling paradises such as Davis, CA or Boulder, CO.

IN TOWN Walla Walla is flat, low-traffic, small, dry and has a few good bike lanes.

OUT OF TOWN Walla Walla gives you rolling hills and a few good climbs, low farm-road traffic, and an infinite web of ride options. I could go on a different 2-hr ride for at least 2 weeks straight. 5-hr ride options are endless.

Sharrow

Now, I am in SEATTLE. It is huge. It is hilly. It is wet. The traffic is thick. And there is a pretty decent bike route system. 

I am rather excited for this new challenge. Bike commuting in Walla Walla is almost too easy. To bike commute in Seattle, I need to be a bit more prepared. My bike commute to work (once I find a place to live..) will likely be at least an hour on the bike. That's long enough to want to shower once I get to work. That's also long enough to get drenched if I don't wear appropriate rain gear. And the traffic is thick enough, that I'll need a more robust front light than I've been using. The list goes on.

Essentially, I need to confront more of the challenges that most Americans face when thinking about riding to work.

And I will solve these challenges!

So stay tuned, for my city-commuting solutions.

September 22, 2009

Fixing flats

Highs and lows from this weekend on the bike...

Highlight: Re-assembling my TREK 520 solo - hurrah!  Our bikes returned from Colorado on Friday, still in the boxes.  Adjusted the handlebars, re-attached the pedals and seat, pumped up the tires and tested it out.  Perfect.

Bummer: Discovering a very soft rear tire the next morning - but then a TRIUMPH when I changed it myself (I always have a hard time getting the tire back on, but somehow managed ok this time).  

Here's a photo from our flat-filled Colorado trip (taken after David changed flat tire #10)

Caitlin and wheel

Highlight: A beautiful century ride with friends through the hills west of the city and up into New Hampshire.

Bummer:  Losing the very well-arrowed route as I chatted away with a friend and kept my trusty cue sheet in my pocket.   All before mile 10.  Rode back past my husband who generously bit his tongue.  So frustrating to live up to the stereotype about women and directions...

Highlight: Watching lots of folks much older than me ride this century on heavier bikes, having fun and cruising up the hills.  

Highlight: The sore muscles post-ride, just a little reminder of the intense exertion of the day.  

Bummer:  Trying to fix a wobbly wheel to keep it from rubbing the brakes.  Only made it worse, so I'm letting the bike shop take care of it.  

Highlight:  Knowing that my bike repairs will cost less than $30 and be ready tomorrow night.

Highlight:  Looking ahead to Sunday's Hub on Wheels, Boston's best ride with 10, 30 and 50 mile loops showcasing the city's neighborhoods.  Curious to see Saturday's pro race - lots of inspiring women will be racing around City Hall Plaza and I'll be cheering them on.

September 21, 2009

Moms Riding, Part Deux

Stuffedtrailer

Most of my riding centers around utility and riding with kids.  I'm the one you see at the store cramming groceries around her kid in the trailer.  I've gotten pretty good at eyeballing the cart to make sure I can get it all home.   And my daughter has been riding some sort of vehicle with pedals since she was two, first on her trike with me chasing on foot and yelling at her to stop at at parking lot driveways, now riding duckling-style behind me on the street.  We've learned quite a bit over the years.

Continue reading "Moms Riding, Part Deux " »

September 20, 2009

Forty is fun!

So, this is the end of our birthday week. (I say our, b/c Ryan's is a day before mine). It was great! Had a girls' night last Saturday to celebrate. Then last Sunday we had dinner with our folks. Then on Tuesday, my actual bday, I got hit twice w/ bday fun. First, some of my co-workers wore black (not much of a stretch at an ad agency) and hung an RIP sign on my cube. But the best part, they came in with bandages wrapped around their heads, or arms or knees. And then when it was time to have cake for the whole office, the rest of the troops joined in and everyone had on some sort of bandage. Some even had fake blood. So, what's so funny about this? It all started with my big crash in the Laramie Enduro where I tore my knee open (I still finished) and had many other scrapes. It's not totally healed yet, but the good thing is, I have a very long dress! So back to my bday...so Ryan planned a nice, light dinner out and when I got to the restaurant, several friends were there to surprise me. I was so happy. I didn't expect it at all because I knew we'd be hanging with everyone at a party my boss was throwing for us and because I'd hung out with my g-friends a few days before. It was great. Ryan said I couldn't let a big bday go by without some kind of party. After everyone left, Ryan and I went to a bar where a friend worked and we had a couple bday shots. For some reason, after that, I was craving cheese cake so we zipped to the store on the way home and completely destroyed a quarter of a cake. I love post season! Then I don't know what happened... if it was the alcohol me crashing from the sugar spike, but I passed out completely. 

All in all, it was a great ending to one decade and a helluva beginning of the next! 

Bike Gear Wedding Gifts

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This weekend was awesome. We had a huge party at my boss's house and sort of a pre-wedding party and our gift was a pair of keen riding sandals for each of us. How kick ass is that? I'm tellin' ya, we are spoiled. With friends and co-workers like these, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. 

Woo-hoo!

Making a list, checking it twice...

To do list

Okay, folks. I have about 10 days to finish everything for the wedding.

These next few days will be filled with making table signs so guests know where to sit. Someone else is making the place cards (yay Etsy.com), but I still will have to write names on them and figure out how to display them. Does anyone care to comment on an idea? They are paper leaves and I have to display them in a hallway. I saw an idea using dried sticks in a flower pot full of beans but they can't be randomly placed. They'd have to be alphabetized. Oh, yeah. There are 220 names! 

One thing I did check off - the ever important liquor purchase. Literally, we're going to need my brother's truck to get it all up there. Sweet.

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