21 posts from November 2009

November 30, 2009

Girly Girls

A couple of weekends ago, my daughter and I went outside to play around on our bikes.  Chris got some pictures.  And yes, that (7th one down) is a picture of me toppling the ramp and going over.  I saved it on the next one.  It was a great day!

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November 29, 2009

All Clear

We spent Thanksgiving up in Tahoe, just the four of us.  Got there Tuesday night, played in the snow on Wednesday, skied (yahoo!) and enjoyed a yummy dinner on Thursday, and by Friday had had enough solo family time.  Really.  Enough.  (I should mention here that having a child evading sleep and staying in your room for 3 nights doesn't exactly make you feel enamored of said child...or children in general.  Nerves were frayed.)  So even though we planned on staying until Saturday morning, and there was a bunch of fresh snow on the ground, we decided to exit Friday night.  We were having bike withdrawal in a very bad way.

 Both Chris and I realized long ago that we go a little crazy if we don't get enough exercise.  And even though we were "active" up in Tahoe (in addition to skiing, my daughter & I played a very fun game of chase/ball in the snow), we have gotten to the point where we need a serious butt-kicking to really qualify as exercise.  You could say that we're addicted to that endorphin buzz you get after a good workout.  If I get too far off my exercise routine, I don't always recognize this need, but those around me do.  Chris took his turn early Saturday morning, and then kicked me out the door.  Even though I was in a foul temper and really needed the ride, he still needed to prod me into going.  I contemplated taking it easy; after all, I was in a terrible mood!  But then I realized that that was exactly why I needed to go kill myself climbing a hill.

When I left for my ride, my head was full of noise.  I was having trouble concentrating.  I had been yelling at the kids to stop yelling.  My shoulders were clenched all the way up to my ears.  I started climbing.  I've been working on climbing faster, which is harder.  (I am very good at climbing slowly.  But my friend, Jen, does not climb slowly.  I feel lame slowing her down.  I'm sure my fellow VeloGirls aren't really going to feel good having a slow teammate.  So I'm working on climbing faster.)  I was nearly to the top of the first hill when my brain finally started to clear out.  Do you know this feeling?  It sounds awfully corny, but it's like every breath is taking a little piece of the stress and physically removing it from your head.  My eyebrows were no longer furrowed.  My head felt physically lighter.  It was surprisingly quiet in there.  I climbed three more hills and kicked my butt.  And I came home to hugs from my daughter, a sleeping son, and a fresh hot mocha made by Chris.  Oh yeah, and one huge endorphin buzz.

November 27, 2009

I'm learning, by trial and error!

Ok, I promised, many blogs ago, that I would ride in colder weather and let you know how I was doing.  Well, since then we have had a spectacular fall and I didn't have to deal with temperatures below 50 degrees.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my riding temperature limit before Trek and WWR! 

But this week, suddenly but not unexpectedly, we have had a temperature drop and I had to suit up for 40!  So I had to discover and practice how to "dress" for a 10 degree drop..

First lesson: Don't overdress, I found out that I could tolerate 40 with the same layers as 50.  I added a windbreaker to help out, along with a head band to cover my ears.  I like my feet warm so I made sure I wore my Bontrager wool riding socks and covered my shoes with their great booties.  My feet stayed toasty.

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November 26, 2009

I did it!

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 I live almost an hour's drive north of Seattle and work just east of it, which has made biking to work a bit more of a puzzle than when I lived in Walla Walla, a town about 5 miles in breadth-- and FLAT. I am so pleased to announce that I finally FIGURED IT OUT!

First, I had to figure out the transit system. All I had to do was pick up a few schedule books and draw myself a map of connecting routes. Route maps are available, but I found it easier to understand the schedule if I narrowed it down to only the routes I was interested in and included extra data like "runs weekdays only" all in one place. Using this map, I quickly discovered that an "express" bus traveled the majority of my route! Perfect!

Next, I had to figure out how to ride my bike to the transit center. Fortunately, the local bus system has published a terrific bike map of my area. I did a "reconnaissance" mission on the weekend and was very glad I did. There is a direct, beautiful and interesting bike trail that travels beneath a major highway-- but you have to look past the "WRONG WAY!" "ONE WAY ONLY!!" signs to see the "oh, except for bikes and pedestrians who can use this path over here" sign. Ah-ha. I've found it. 

So now my commute to work involves an hour bike ride and an hour bus ride. In rush hour traffic, I would be in the car for 90 minutes; but riding my bike and reading a book-- those are things I would do in my FREE TIME-- driving a car in rush hour traffic.. is not. :)

November 25, 2009

Ryan and I are commuting to Thanksgiving. Approximately 50 miles, one way. I'm so going for seconds.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.
November 20, 2009

Bike Shops

Many people, when they are new to biking, don't give a thought to the bike shop they use.  They figure, "I'll get the bike I want at the best price, so what does it matter where I buy it?  At most, I may need some help choosing the right bike, and after that I'll be done."  I think I can understand that.  Some do their own research, and buy bikes on-line or at a big box store, figuring that they'll get the best deal that way.  I can understand that too, especially if they're handy with bikes (or know someone that is).  Some others, like me, have a soft spot for small shops, and like the personal attention you get when you really know a shop (no matter what that shop sells).  I like it when salespeople know me by name (and I know their name), and we can have a friendly conversation.  Those are the people who will be able to get the right product for me, since they know who I am and what I'm about.  So I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive about a new bike shop where I would be starting from scratch.

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November 19, 2009

Riding for Charity

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"Trek 100", 2009 turned out to be a cold and windy day in Wisconsin (unusual in June) but it was the 20th Anniversary of riding for a very special charity, the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancers).  So inspite of the weather many smiling faces were "ready to ride".  The sunny side of the 2009 event was the venue:  it was hosted at Trek World Headquarters in Waterloo, WI.  How special was that?  VERY!   

HPIM3426 On the other hand, 2008 started out to be a perfectly sunny day and ended with a BANG - thunder, lightening and threats of tornados - riders had to be sagged off the course if they were at the tail end of their ride at the end of the day.  So what was special in '08?  Lance led the pack!  He's in yellow and black in this photo and cheerleading the MACC Fund, Trek and all the riders that were ready to roll! 

Trek 100 attracts around 2500 - 2800 riders from around the world, literally, 39 foreign countries were represented in 2009; along with riders from over 25 states.  Were you there, were you one of us?  If not, put it on your calendar for June 12, 2010!  It's a happening - bikes, brats and beer.  After all, it's Wisconsin.

Meals on Wheels

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Last weekend I participated in Cranksgiving. It's not a new concept but we've only been doing it for a few years. Basically, it's a scavenger hunt for food items, which are then donated to the local Food Bank. We're given the list 5 minutes before we start, with the restrictions that we have to get the 10 items from ten different stores.The categories are men geared/SS, women geared/SS, trailer. New this year was if we brought a turkey back, we were entered into a drawing to win a sweet Chrome messenger bag. My buddy won it. Like idiots, we bought our turkeys from the most farthest away point and had to haul them back. I had mine in my pack but Martin (that's him above and me next to him) had to carry his in a bag. To fit it all, we had to tape the family pack of TP to our packs. I was lugging at least 50#. I was really hoping my carbon stem wouldn't suddenly break. But it all worked out. I got 3rd in the WG category and received a super cool spray painted crank arm. It was so bling, yo. 

All in all it was a great event and we set a new record for food, $ and participants. I loves me bike peeps.

November 17, 2009

Wahoo! A new bike!

A new bike is always a fun post, and I am very excited about the newest addition to my garage!  My brand spanking new mountain bike arrived last week, and I did an inaugural ride this weekend.  Beware, there's some serious bike geekiness going on in this post, but pictures follow as an incentive to read (even just a tiny bit).  

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that my upcoming birthday would be a good excuse to get a mountain bike.  I wanted something that was going to grow with me; while I have recently been doing some mellow (but fun) riding, I had gotten to be a decent rider before I had kids and I've been feeling ready to up the ante a little bit.  So I headed down to my favorite Trek dealer, Trek of San Jose, to do some test rides.  I was trying to decide between the Fuel EX 9.8 and the Top Fuel WSD.  Tough choice, huh?

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November 15, 2009

A new generation of cyclists

3 pm, November 12.  Twenty third graders burst out of our concrete school building to find a fleet of TREK bikes and helmets awaiting them from Boston Bikes.Bostonbikesgroup

For the next hour and a half, they pedal around a baseball field.  Some don't even pedal - they scoot along with their feet and start to balance.  For these four kids, it's their first day on bikes.

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