Catch Up

When we last left off, dear reader, I had just put my dog down and was helping my kids work through their grief. Since then much has happened, which is what happens when autumn rolls around. The cycling is exquisite, everyone is back to school routines, and life starts to slow down for winter.

 

  • I took the week of Sept 2 ff work. Between Labor Day and the High Holidays and my in-laws coming to visit, it didn’t make sense to shoehorn work in as well. Add in our dog dying and it was a much needed week off of responsibility.
  • I rode my bike a lot that week. It’s really cathartic. Long rides with the bike club; short rides for lunch with my son; medium rides with my step-father-in-law. It was so nice to simply wake up, throw my leg over the top tube and pedal out of town without any worry.
  • I ran a five-miler back in August and promptly hurt my foot. My chiropractor has been adjusting it and I thought I was in a good place, but a 5k proved me otherwise. Back off running for another two weeks … then I can try again. Lots of rolling with a tennis ball to keep things loose and not “crunchy.” PS – having your foot adjusted feels WEIRD.
  • I completed the Scenic Schuylkill Century for the second consecutive year. 103 miles with over 6800′ of climbing. I felt like a mountain goat charging up those final hills. This ride deserves a recap post.
  • I took Electric Dream Machine to the shop for a tune-up (chunky shifting) and ended up getting her new bar tape and a new chain as well. 2500 miles and only 50% worn on of the original chain feels pretty awesome. I feel like a Spin Master.
  • I also found a saddle that doesn’t hurt my butt after 100 miles. It’s an old school Terry Butterfly Ti I found on eBay for $36. You have no idea how relieving this is.
  • I made a lot of cookies. Chocolate crinklesMolasses. They are all gone now.
  • I bought the last few items I need to make my first attempt at blueberry jam.
  • We selected a hand-made custom urn for Nixon, painted to match her exact coloring. We’re expecting it sometime next week. Until then her ashes are just hanging out in the kitchen and it feels kinda weird. Last night I missed her snuggling up to my feet when I went to bed. Not cry-my-eyes-out missed her … just missed the reassuring weight on her curled up at the bottom of the bed.

 

That week reminded me how much I love unrestricted time. Time to explore, time to play, time to simply be. Far too often I get wrapped up in my everyday life of work, the kids’ school stuff, and housework. Never mind the annual house maintenance that needs to happen like yard work, cleaning out the garage, fixing the downspout that disconnected last October during Hurricane Sandy (*cough cough*).

If I could find a way to still get a paycheck and ride my bike for fun all day, I’d be all over that.

Anyway – I’m still around. I haven’t been riding as much as I want these past two weeks. I haven’t even been bike commuting! And I kinda miss running (but that’s between you and me). I have my BikeMS: City to Shore ride coming up next weekend so I need to get out an ride at least a little bit to keep the legs fresh. Then I’m looking to October to squeeze in some fun weekend rides … maybe do the Central Bucks Covered Bridge Tour again.

 

See you on the road!

 

 

The Lemon Ride 2013 Recap

Last year was the inaugural Lemon Ride and it was very fun. I rode with my friends Ultra P and G-Dawg on the 50 mile route – Ultra P smoked G-Dawg and I within the first five miles and had waited about 45min by the time I rolled into the finish. Ultra P is an ultra runner and a very fast one at that. I decided then to do the Lemon Ride again.

This year I’d signed up for the new metric route but soon realized my daughter needed to be at camp that same day – no time to drive an hour, ride for 4 or so, drive an hour home, shower and get her to camp in time. So I did what any other cyclist in this situation did – I registered my daughter and switched to the 4 mile Family Ride.

I’m so glad I did.

In going on the Family Ride, we had the privilege of riding with the families of little Heroes. Each little Hero had a yellow flag attached to their ride – siblings had blue flags proudly displaying their Super Sibling status. Two of the largest “teams” were on the family route – the Fightin’ Fitzgeralds and Team Declan.

little heroes and their super siblings
little heroes and their super siblings

Riding with these families, friends, and supporters of little ones and their families as they fight pediatric cancer (and honor the memory of little ones who fought valiantly but lost the battle) was beyond humbling. I am so thankful that my family has been thus far untouched by the ravages of cancer – but I am proud to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and their continued and tireless efforts to uplift and support these little heroes and their families. It was so inspiring to ride with these heroes and their families.

families pedal to help fight pediatric cancer
families pedal to help fight pediatric cancer

Four miles went very quickly – so quickly my daughter thought we’d only gone a single mile. Next year we’ll ride the 12 mile route. We opted to skip the catered lunch (almost an hour wait from the finish of our ride to when lunch was being served) in favor of grabbing a few snacks and heading back home. We still had camp to get to.

Today was proof that the most awesome rides are not always the farthest or the fastest – they are the ones that touch our soul and inspire us to help others in our community.

See you on the road.

2013 Goals

Friends, as we start to wind down the year I am increasingly more aware that I want to set some goals for next year. I am currently about 175 miles short of 2000 miles this year, which is over triple my total mileage last year. Today’s brunch ride was cancelled due to rain, wet roads and patchy fog … so now I have to find new and innovative ways to complete my goal!

 

I’ve also started looking at events for next year. Here’s my preliminary goals for 2013, in no particular order:

 

Other events I’m planning to register for – many repeats of this year:

  • Bike NYC – Five Borough Tour (lottery system) – May 5
  • Elephant Rock Ride – June 2
  • Cycle Bucks County – late June
  • The Lemon Ride – late July
  • Scenic Schuylkill Century – early September
  • BikeMS: City to Shore Two Day experience w/century option – late September
  • Covered Bridge Tour of Bucks County – early October

 

Still looking for an event/ride in August. This is all in addition to of the BCP club rides and weekend brunch rides that I’m hoping to work in as well.

I’d love to hear your goals for 2013!

 

See you on the road!

 

Reflection

Friends, it’s been a bit since I last posted because well, I haven’t been riding my bike lately.

I went on a wonderful Earn Your Breakfast ride a few weeks ago to Aunt Judy’s in Doylestown with four guys from Philly Bike Club under cloudy skies and 40 degree temps. I questioned my layering at first because it didn’t seem like enough – long sleeve base, wooly, windbreaker, thin cap under my helmet, full-finger gloves, padded wool socks but no toe covers – but it ended up being perfect. Except for the lack of toe covers – my toes were chilled!

Then I made a total rookie mistake and ate my protein (pepper-onion-tomato-cheese omelette) at breakfast but neglected my starches (potatoes) and carbs (whole wheat toast). A few miles into the return trip my quads were screaming at me. I downed a goo and my legs were happy again. Note to self: fuel the ride!

I also completed my first 5k under sunny skies and upper-40s temps. My time ended up being 33:20 – not too bad for a first-timer. And don’t tell anyone but I actually enjoyed it. My friend used this as a taper event for his entry in the Philly Marathon and he finished in 25something minutes. My other friend, who used this as motivation to work out and get in shape, ran an awesome 40-something time. So many other runners – and free soft pretzels at the finish! I would do another 5k, maybe a 10k if I had make the time to train.

I also signed up for my first ever mountain biking clinic. They have demo bikes that can be used and because I don’t have a mountain bike, I requested one. The flyer said the clinic is open to all levels so I mentioned in my registration this is my first mountain biking experience. So far no one I know has also signed up. I think it would be more fun to fall and laugh WITH someone – but if I have to head out on a solo experience, so be it.

So here we are at Thanksgiving time and I have so much to be thankful for. My family, my friends, my continued employment, a roof over my head, and the ability to meet our basic needs. I’m particularly thankful my parents’ recent health issues have abated and they are here visiting me in Philadelphia today. I’m thankful I have a couple bikes that I can ride in safe neighborhoods with my friends. I’m thankful for you, my faithful readers, because it means I’m not talking into nothing.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving! I hope you earned your dinner.

See you on the road!

The Lemon Run Prologue

 

Friends, this blog is a testament to my love of riding my bike for fun and transportation. Earlier this year I participated in the inaugural Lemon Ride, a 50 mile route in scenic Bucks County Pennsylvania benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. I raised $500 to help fund research grants and help families of affected children afford travel and lodging expenses related to their child’s care. I met two guys on the ride – Glenn and Paul – who share a desire to help fight pediatric cancer and assist the families who have been affected.

 

Both Glenn and Paul are runners, not cyclists, so they challenged me to come run with them. So I have signed up for my first ever 5k – The Lemon Run. This event is in mid-November so I have time to convert my cycling skills into running skills. I will most certainly be blogging about the training process for this, as I have never been a fan of running.

 

I hope the T shirt has this adorable running lemon on it!

 

Please consider checking out our team page and donating an amount that fits into your budget. We are hoping to raise at least $300 for this four-star rated charity. Just click the link Below!

Team Perfect Strangers

 

Thanks and see you on the road!

 

The Lemon Ride Recap

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of participating in The Lemon Ride in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in the fight against childhood cancer.

From their website: An uncharacteristically cool and temperate July day greeted nearly 300 cyclists who tackled one of three scenic courses throughout Bucks County in the first annual Lemon Ride Philadelphia presented by Volvo and benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Thanks to the support of riders, sponsors and supporters – the inaugural Lemon Ride held on July 22, 2012 raised more than $50,000 in the fight against childhood cancer.

I rode with a coworker’s husband and his friend, hence our team name “Perfect Strangers” since we’d never met before that day. The weather was perfect – partly cloudy and low-80s. Two rest stops over the 50 miles – at 17 and 38 miles – helped the miles go quickly. Lots of hills – RideWithGPS pegged it at 3100+’ with MapMyRide pegging it at 1690′, not sure why the discrep – that my calves and quads are feeling today. I rocked the hills pretty well – I’m getting better at my climbing skills. I would love to have been able to attend the Climbing Clinic my local bike club hosted this month … hoping they will hold another this fall.

My favorite part of the ride was when I inadvertently dropped Glenn, my coworker’s husband, and Dan, an older guy on the ride, on a hill. I kept pedaling and came to a long, gentle, rolling descent. About half-way down, Glenn and Dan go whizzing by me with a “Well, hello there!” So I gave chase, getting low in my drops and pedaling furiously, maintaining 25-30mph for about 2 miles (with the help of gravity, for sure). So much fun to ride so hard after the guys.

I felt bad about dropping Glenn and Dan but let another rider draft off me for the last 10 miles … so we’re even?

I finished with a new personal best over 50 miles: 3h 44m 38s. I was hoping to get down to 3h 30m, but that will have to be next time.

* * * * *

This is also my first ride using bike shorts the way G-d intended: sans (under)pants. Blame it on my conservative upbringing or just a hesitation to be out in public without “unders” (as my niece calls them). I also used booty cream (Chamois Butt’r) for the first time. Very interesting experience but very positive. I had to Google how to use the cream – where does it go? how much? on the shammy or on me? or BOTH?? – but now I’m not sure I can go back to riding WITH unders!

Very much looking forward to tomorrow’s recovery ride … see you on the road!

Cycle Bucks County Recap

When is a 25 mile ride an absolute joy?

When you ride at an average of 10 mph on your hybrid with your kid.

 

Yesterday my oldest son and I drove an hour northeast to participate in Cycle Bucks County, a non competitive, organized fund raising bike ride presented for the benefit of Doylestown Hospital and Girls On The Run. Because my oldest rides a mountain bike, I chose to ride my hybrid to better match his speed and exertion level. I pre-mapped the 25 mile route (based on the previous year) and noticed the first 15 miles looked like rolling hills with a nasty hill right before the rest stop. The last 10 miles were flat along the Delaware River as it divides Pennsylvania from New Jersey.

Turns out I was slightly off. Check out the final route over at MapMyRide. There were four big hills that many participants were walking. Some were lamenting their compact cranks and other extolling the virtues of their triples. This hill in particular just kept going UP … but this was the one that had a few people just turn in their numbers and head home.

My son and I were the only ones we saw on non-road bikes, which really makes me that much prouder that we finished with a ride time of 2 hours and 40 minutes (about 3 hours total time including rest breaks). He’s becoming a solid cyclist (didn’t train for this ride – just did it and ended up tired but happy with the ride overall) and I think it’s time to change out his equipment for a road bike now that his mountain bike doesn’t fit him anymore (he’s now 5’10” and growing). I have been training and the ride was an enjoyable saunter through the countryside with my kid.

We also saw a tiny fox towards the end of the ride – he was so timid and apprehensive. We stopped and allowed him to run by us at a wide berth.

Overall, a great ride with great company.

See you on the road!