Friends, I don’t like to toot my own horn too much but I’ve had some good press lately that I felt I should share:
I went for a ride with my friend Ken and our new friend Rachel from Missouri last weekend. It wasn’t particularly long and while we stopped for a healthy snack, we probably could have done with out the stop. It was ridiculously fun though and I admired Rachel’s awesome Yakkay helmet and her super-cute haircut.
Rachel was going to the National Bike Summit the next day. She reported back that my awesome friend Katie, who was presenting on her Women Bike PHL movement, mentioned me by name as part of the Girl Scouts on Wheels program. So humbled to be mentioned at a national summit about cycling. Katie rode her bike from NYC to DC to attend the summit. She’s amazing.
Then one of my favorite cycling apparel companies, Road Holland, put a photo I sent them in their Year End blog post. They make great wool-blend cycling jerseys and I love them for spring and fall rides.
Today my friends at 30 Days of Biking featured me on their Facebook page. I don’t even know why but I am tremendously thrilled to be chosen for a random shout-out. And hey – if you haven’t taken the pledge yet, why not now? Pledge to ride your bike every day in April – any distance, any speed, any weather, every day. Share those experiences online in a joyful cyclist community!
Today I was out for a 30-miler with Ken that featured snow-clogged trails, a wonderful sit-down snack at Outbound Station, and then me suggesting we tackle some hills on the way home. Because you know, not riding regularly is really conducive to attacking big hills. We biked up this monster on Hagys Mill Road in Philadelphia – it’s a little over a quarter-mile and averages 12%. There is one pitch in particular where I was genuinely concerned I might fall off my bike and why the hell would I ever want to be clipped into my bike? I think that section is around 17-20%.
Anyway, it was all hills and busy roads home from there. Beautiful day to ride. We haven’t had many of these lately this winter so you have to grab the days you can.
See you on the road!
Posted in Cycling | Tagged beginning cycling, Cycling, cycling skills, Fairmount Park, gears, Health, healthy-living, Hill, hill climbing, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Physical fitness, Road bicycle, Sports, Strava, training, Winter biking, women cycling | Leave a Comment »
Saw this on the internet recently and am keeping it in mind when I get down on myself for not looking Photoshop-perfect:
Not sure who to credit for this but it’s an excellent graphic reminder. Love the body you have – make it strong!
Posted in Cycling, Running | Tagged women cycling | Leave a Comment »
It’s been a brutal winter for outside bike riding. Between back-to-back snow, ice storms, power outages, and a vicious melt-freeze cycle there just hasn’t been an opportunity to safely ride outside. Many of the cyclists I know hang up the bike in late fall and don’t start again until spring is fully underway. Some cyclists I know suck it up and put their bikes on a trainer or pull out the rollers and spend their time pedaling quickly to nowhere to retain some semblance of fitness. I’ve avoided the trainer as long as possible, finally breaking down only last week.
After a spotty record of physical activity in January, I decided to start training for my 5-mile run coming up in April. Get some base miles at my work’s gym on the treadmill until it’s light enough after work to be outside. If there’s anything more boring than being on a trainer, it’s a treadmill. The first run was brutal. It hurt. I was lethargic and I went too fast too soon and while I don’t do “serious” distance I stay focused on just being active. Sure enough the next few runs felt better. I’ve been able to stick to running about 6-7 miles per week this month.
Certainly I am eager to get back into regular riding to shed a few winter pounds that somehow magically find their way to my pear-shaped body when the riding decreases and the eating stays the same. I’d like to tell you, friends, that cycling has given me perspective. That I have found the holy grail of self-acceptance and am completely comfortable in my skin every single day. The truth is I have and I haven’t.
When I bought the Beast and was first beginning to ride, I wore a skort and famously told my more serious cycling friends that I didn’t need anyone looking at my ass-ets. That I wasn’t going to be a “serious” rider anyway. Ten mile rides with stops to drink became fifteen mile rides and being able to reach for my water bottle and drink comfortably. Thirty-five milers became my long rides and with it a new pair or shorts (still rockin’ the unders though). First event, a 50-miler with my best friend – rockin’ the shorts. Somewhere around this time I stopped caring what my hips looked like in Spandex. I bought new jerseys that looked awesome. I started to love riding and took any excuse to hop on my bike and pedal off for a few hours. It took much longer to lose the unders and I’m so thankful I did.
The best thing about riding is definitely the company kept but also often times the food. Fuel the ride well – no need to go crazy overboard. I’ve learned how to use real food (trail mix, dried fruit and nuts) in addition to my favorite energy bars, beans, and goos. But come the end of the season or a long drought of good weather and one can find themselves staring down a few pounds that happened “even though you are eating the same!” Yeah – I’m right there with you. Getting back on track with healthy eating and adequate exercise. (Although the time off was very nice for getting house work done and spending time with the family)
This past weekend was so gorgeous – I got a 4 mile run outside on Saturday (snow-melt puddle stomping and the scent of fallen pine branches thawing in the sun) and a 45 mile bike ride on Sunday with friends to find lunch. The sun was shining, the temps were mid-forties to low-fifties. It felt scandalous to be out riding and running with mounds of snow still blocking traffic corners. It felt so good to be outside! This week is a big dive in temperatures and a few snow showers expected. Looking forward to another week of the treadmill and trainer so when spring fully arrives, I can hit the road running. (haha)
Making plans for all the rides we want to do this summer: restarting mountain bike rides with the club, Quad County, Ride for Homes, heading down the Shore, The Lemon Ride, Philly to Brooklyn, lunch in St Peter’s Village … it’s going to be a great summer!
See you on the road!
Posted in Cycling, Running | Tagged balance, beginning cycling, Bicycle, cycling skills, Health, healthy-living, Mountain bike, Mountain biking, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Physical fitness, Road bicycle, Sports, Winter biking, women cycling | 2 Comments »
This past week our family, as well as over half-a-million other families, were without power due to an overnight ice storm that left a quarter- to a half-inch of ice on every surface already covered by about 6-8″ of heavy, wet snow. School was closed and many trains were suspended for a day. The house got progressively colder as the power outage wore on and the outside temps didn’t get above freezing – starting at a manageable-with-layers low-60s and slowly creeping down every day to a bone-chilling 41* on Day Four. We bailed on staying in the house the night of Day Three when it was about 45* in the house and moved into a hotel. Our dogs went to a boarding facility that still had power.
Driving through our neighborhood after dark was eerie and felt abandoned. Apocalyptic – like people once lived and played here. Now it’s just dark and empty. Every night we were told our power should be back up by very late that night, but sadly that wasn’t the case. And I believe it’s not the energy company’s fault – the sheer number of streets closed due to massive downed trees and wires was incredible. Each day a few more streets would open up, a few more houses getting power again. And we waited. Finally the power came back on very last night. The house was at 41* and falling.
Friends, I share this with you not for sympathy but because spending several days at home in a cold, dark house has been enlightening. For us, this was a mere inconvenience – we had the means to afford a warm place to go and keep our pets warm and fed. And already I am evaluating options for being able to stay in the house longer and keep it warmer.
We all know there are people in our communities that lack basic services because they can’t afford it. For many, our short-term inconvenience is their everyday reality. Our family has personally been between homes before and the lack of a place to call home is very disconcerting. Unmooring. This needs to be remedied in our community.
That’s why I am proud to be raising funds for Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia’s Ride for Homes. I share their belief that everybody needs a safe and affordable place to call home. Every family contributes to their build and the build of others’ homes. The Ride for Homes is a four-day, 250 mile bike ride from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and back to advocate for more affordable housing and raise much needed funds to assist in building 10 new homes in our community and make repairs to 75 other homes.
My goal is to raise $1,000 to help fund this mission. Will you stand with me to help others have a safe, warm home to come home to?
Click here to give a few dollars to my campaign – no donation is too small. Together we can help those in our community have a safe and affordable place to call home: https://share.habitat.org/laura-kelly-rideforhomes
Thank you for your support! See you on the road (if it ever stops snowing and raining!) …
Posted in Cycling, Family | 2 Comments »
On Jan 5, Singletracks posted this video on their Twitter feed:
… and I got homesick.
You see, Dakota Ridge was my backyard and while I didn’t mountain bike when I lived in Colorado, I know that area well.
And for a few hours, my heart ached to be back in Colorado riding my bike.
Ached I tell you.
Then I fed the fire by looking up the Strava segments for Lookout Mountain and realizing that getting to the top of that mountain was not just achievable for everyone else in the world, but it would be achievable for me. Looked at Google Maps to see the trails crisscrossing Green Mountain.
Friends, I’m telling you. Physically ached.
Last night as I was waiting to pick up my oldest child from an evening school activity, my youngest child and I were talking about how sometimes we miss Colorado. She misses her friends and is sad that one particular friend hasn’t written back in almost a year. One of her new friends reminds her of her best friend in Colorado. We talked about how people move on, make new friends, stop writing letters and leave the old friends in the past. I shared with her about when I moved from Massachusetts to Colorado – I was about her age and was sad when the letters started to trickle off. But I focused on my new friends and eventually, I was able to move on too.
And as we were talking I realized many of my friends are leaving Colorado too now – for Portland, Seattle, Nashville. We’re all scattering across the country. So even if we did go back to Colorado, it wouldn’t be the same.
(well, the mountains would be. And the trails. And the friends I have who are staying.)
The answer isn’t to keep looking back at the past but to look forward and enjoy the times that we have with our new friends … and savor the times with our old friends whenever we can get together again.
See you on the road.
Posted in Cycling, Family | Tagged beginning cycling, Colorado, Mountain biking, Pennsylvania, road cycling, Strava, women cycling | 3 Comments »
Remember when I said my winter cycling shoes were so heavy? So heavy that I could feel my upstroke and my quads were terribly unhappy very early in the bike ride?
Maybe not but I do.
Anyway several rides ago I had an post-ride-shower epiphany. It’s the cleats.
I had installed my SPD cleats in my usual position – which would be fine … if the shoes weren’t two sizes larger than my usual cycling shoes. Checked where the widest part of my foot was hitting inside the shoe and moved the cleat back significantly.
Sure enough, my winter shoes are no longer a terrible burden and when coupled with toe warmers, I’m a much happier cyclist out on the road and in the woods. Praise Science!
Pro Tip #1: if it doesn’t feel quite right, tweak it until it does.
See you on the road or in the woods!
Posted in Cycling | Tagged beginning cycling, Bicycle, cycling skills, Winter biking | 2 Comments »
I had plans to go riding today but woke up with significant congestion and a sinus headache so I opted to stay home and rest today in hopes that tomorrow’s ride plans will still be on. I’ve spent the morning sipping warm beverages and reading many recaps of this year’s achievements. Truly I am blessed to be surrounded by so many awesome people, even if it is “just” on the internet.
(Although to be totally honest, my brain keeps thinking of ways I can still get out on my bike today. But I’m forcing myself to stay home. Better to rest today and ride tomorrow than suffer today and be worse tomorrow.)
A Look Back at the goals I set for this year - here’s how I fared:
- 3,004.4 miles achieved!
- Bike commuting gained traction this year.
- Metric century in Colorado achieved with my marathon-running sister!
- Completed four centuries (February, August, two in September-SSC and MS150)
- Completed 150mi ride in one day (June)
- Acquired a mountain bike and have been out several times – love it
- Ran 58.1 miles (!!)
- Walked 225 miles
Some goals just didn’t make the final tally, like biking to Brooklyn for dinner or both days of the MS 150, due to Life. Schedules changed, my dog died – it just didn’t work out. I feel like my GI issues took center stage from May through September, which inhibited some of my intended riding for sure. Of course, all but one test came back totally normal so who knows what’s going on there.
Recently I was at a 10,000 mile celebration for a friend and everyone around the room said where their total mileage was expected to end up. Everyone but myself and one other woman was 5,000 miles or more, with many hovering around 9,000 miles. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m not doing too bad for a recreational cyclist with three kids still at home, a full-time job, a Girl Scout troop to lead, and serving on the board for the local bike club. My 3,000 miles seems paltry and there’s always something more I wish I could be doing.
Or as my friend says about my thoughts: “How can I be more awesome than I already am.”
(which is a really good point)
So for 2014, I’m setting no mileage goal. No event schedule. The only thing I’d like to do more of is ride my bike for fun. As if I ever ride my bike for any other reason.
- Start bike commuting again once Daylight Savings Time comes back. Twice a week minimum.
- Try bike touring. Maybe pack up for an overnight camping somewhere, just to get a taste. Plan a bike trip with my mom. Currently looking at Erie Canal or GAP/C&O.
- Try some new cycling events or revisit the ones I skipped this year.
- Ride with my kids more. Teach my middle child how to mountain bike. Take my oldest child on longer road rides. Find ways to make riding more enjoyable for my youngest child.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2014! See you on the road!
Posted in Cycling, Running | Tagged balance, beginning cycling, Bicycle commuting, BikeMS, Century ride, City to Shore, Commuting, Cycling, cycling skills, family, Health, healthy-living, Mountain biking, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Physical fitness, Schuylkill River Trail, Strava, women cycling | 1 Comment »