Turn the Page to 2021

bike trip odometer reset to zero

The first day of the year …. a day that no matter what we did activity-wise in the last 365 days, the slate is wiped clean. Back to zero. The grind starts again.

I’ll be starting my year with doctor-advised rest to let my body heal. I’ve managed to create an overuse injury that needs time and variety to heal and allow for future bike adventures.

But I can’t help but start imagining what I’m hoping this year will bring.

photo by Dave Kraus, Kraus Grafik

Personal

This year will be transformative. My youngest child is expected to graduate from high school and head off to college, meaning it will just be my husband and I and the dogs in a few short months. Younger Me, sitting in the hospital after birthing her first child, could only dream of the day when her house and time would be her own again. I blinked, time happened, and the house doesn’t need to be this big anymore. We’re looking forward to helping our youngest get settled into the start of their adult life.

I start a new job on Monday, one that I am very excited for and see myself growing with over the next few years or so. Professional growth is vital to my mental well-being.

Continue with therapy to build and maintain healthy boundaries and explore areas that need some work.

more time with other bad ass women doing bad ass things

Active Plans

WALKING & HIKING – I plan to continue with daily walks as long as I am able to work from home. My senior dogs definitely appreciate that as well. Fresh air and all the smells. I picked up some trekking poles so I can get out and hike more without destroying my hips and knees.

YOGA – I started this year with a 10 minute meditation on Om and rededicating myself to a regular yoga practice. I’m not as disciplined when it’s home-based practice and I certainly look forward to when my studio can open back up. But I realize yoga is a huge part of my life that I miss. As I get older, my body also needs gentle stretching to stay limber and flexible.

BIKEPACKING – My arsenal of bikepacking gear is in good shape, so I’m planning to do more overnights/weekends and two longer trips:

* local overnights to various parks and forests in the Hudson Valley
* Brace Mountain & Beartown (3 days) in the tri-state area
* Roundabout Brattleboro (3 days) with some girlfriends, targeting June (pending vaccinations being readily available)
* Taste the Catskills (3 days) triple century is a strong Maybe
* Green Mountain Gravel Growler or VTXL (5 days) with my adventure partner (pending vaccinations being readily available)

2018 Farmer’s Daughter Gravel Grinder ft. 26mm gravel tires in 65 miles of sloppy mud

GRAVEL EVENTS – I’m also keeping an eye on gravel events. Given covid’s unchecked community spread, I won’t be able to run the Frozen Apple again this year unless we do it late in the season. I signed up for Farmer’s Daughter Gravel Grinder in May to have something to look forward to. But I’m also trying to keep it flexible because if 2020 taught us anything, it’s be ready to change plans.


I’m not sure yet if I want to target a bike goal this year other than having as much fun as possible. I love mountain biking and have been getting better in the last couple years, tackling terrain I previously was scared to think about. I enjoy riding on new roads and meeting up with friends to explore. I barely touch my road bike, but it’s super fun to ride because it’s titanium with carbon wheels so it flies.

Maybe it’s OK to just say I’m going to ride when I want and do other stuff when I want and find balance.

We have the whole year ahead of us … let’s make it a good one. See you out there.

New Year, New Me

and a new brand ambassadorship as well

Picking back up a good six months after my last adventure, you may be wondering if I fell off the Earth or what. Maybe not – but let’s pretend for a moment.

The first half of 2019 was a targeted effort to do gnarly gravel rides and build up to the Farmer’s Daughter Gravel Grinder in May. I was out almost every weekend either riding or doing trail maintenance on my local trails … and sometimes, both. I spent not one but TWO amazing weekend with my girlfriends camping and biking and having a blast just relaxing. I decided to go on the Taste the Catskills ride, a definite stretch but well within my capacity.

Then there’s the let-down period after a series of epic adventures.

I switched back over to mountain biking and spent a few months doing low miles/high smiles rides. I raced my mountain bike for the first time ever and placed first in the Cat 3 Beginner Women (19+) category. I went back to organizing my fall gravel event, which always takes more time and effort than one might think. I was doing trail maintenance.

I was stressed out, constantly running from one thing to the next … it just wasn’t fun anymore and I couldn’t remember the last time I had a day to just wake up and sit on the couch with a mug of coffee and my dogs.

I hit a wall of just being Too Busy. So I wrote all my volunteer obligations that I was taking a break.

Of course, in that break I came up with other things I wanted to do, like host a spring classic gravel grinder. And just ride my bike because I want to. And sleep in because I love it when I can do that.

So here we are, in January 2020, and I’m slowing working volunteer obligations back into my life and figuring out – what do I want to DO this year??

About a week ago I learned I’ve been selected as a 2020 Nuun Hydration brand ambassador and I am super stoked about this! I’ve been a big fan of Nuun since my brush with heat exhaustion on Day 3 of a 4-day bike tour and adding that little electrolyte tablet to my water profoundly revived me. Nuun has been my go-to hydration product for years and I’m proud to be able to represent the brand!

I recently picked up a 2020 Salsa Cutthroat GRX600 (a bike I’ve been eyeing for years but they didn’t make my size until this year) and am in the process of dialing in a gravel/adventure set up as well as a bikepacking set up. I love my other Salsa “groad” (gravel-road) bike but the Cutthroat has taken my gravel game to the next level. I’ve named her Monster Truck for the incredible traction, stability, and confidence the bike inspires.

For 2020, I’m starting to stack my spring gravel calendar with an eye towards pivoting to bikepacking for the the summer and fall.

Here’s my current roster of events:

Other great events I can’t attend or have my eye on/no 2020 date posted yet:

  • April – Muddy Onion Spring Classic Gravel Grinder, Montpelier, VT
  • June – Poison Ivy Mousetrap MTB race, Rock Tavern, NY
  • July – Chainstretcher MTB race, Peekskill, NY
  • September – Ashford Adventure Ride, Ashford, CT
  • October – F2G2, Tyringham, MA
  • October – Dirty Apple Ride, Goldens Bridge, NY <- that’s my other ride!
  • November – Gravel Gobbler, Nassau, NY
  • December – Ice Weasels Cometh, Medfield, MA

Bikepacking Trips (some on the To Do Eventually list):

That’s a lot, now that I look at it.

ANYWAY, I’m looking forward to reclaiming some balance this year. My New Year’s Resolution is to Be Less Busy so we’ll see good I am at keeping myself uncommitted.

See you out there!

New Year, New Possibilities!

Happy New Year, friends!

I am so thankful to see 2015 out the door and welcome a fresh start, one that will include more miles, more smiles, more family and more fun!

2015 ended with my lowest annual miles since I bought a comfort hybrid and started tracking my miles with my favorite fitness tracking app, MapMyRide back in 2011, a slight 1,031.5 miles. Sure, I have lots of excuses like moving twice, a long snowy winter, cancer surgery, radiation, and organizational changes at my employer … and I’m proud that I made it to 1,000 miles. But I’m not satisfied with the downward trend of my annual mileage.

2016 also marks my decision to sell my most favorite road bike, my Felt ZW5, and buy a new bike. This is not a decision that I am taking lightly (I’m selling her to a friend who wants to get into recreational road biking) but is a necessary step to streamline the stable from 5 bikes to 3. I live in a very hilly area now and the reality is my vintage 10-speed cruiser, which beautiful, isn’t going to cut it. And I’ve been trying to unload my mountain-style hybrid for years – might be time to consider donating it.

Laura, what are you replacing your road bike with? 

So glad you asked. I love talking bikes.

I thought really hard about what I love about cycling and what my goals are. A few years ago I might have answered “something light and fast!” because I was used to the plush but heavy ride of a comfort hybrid. And having a carbon recreational road bike has been amazing. I’ve taken that bike on so many adventures, across town and across the region. I’ve gone off-road and on, pedaling away the miles with laughter and friendship.

But the one thing this bike couldn’t be is my Swiss Army Knife of a bike. I have two multi-day bike tours planned and a bikepacking weekend with a friend. I want to be comfortable all day long, stop at mile 75 for ice cream, and keep on truckin’. And my thoughts are along these lines:

  • I love the road-absorbing qualities of my steel Peugeot, so a steel frame is critical.
  • I want lower gears to conquer steeper hills without brutalizing my legs. I live in a hilly area – biking home from the train station is roughly 100 ft/mile in elevation gain. I’m a big fan of spinning but have found my limits on a couple double-digit climbs.
  • And the reality is, I rarely use my very top gears because speed is not a huge factor in my rides. I love long, steady all-day epics with friends or 50-60 mile rides with stops for lunch. (note to self, find some new bikey friends so you can get back on the lunch ride train).
  • I like disc brakes. I also plan to bike to the train station a few times a week now that the bike lockers are available to rent (sent in my check!), and I need stopping power on the epic downhills.
  • I want to run bigger tires. I’ve been taking my carbon roadie on gravel grinders and let’s be real: 25s have no business on gravel. I’d like to run 28s or 32s for commuting and weekend jaunts; 35s or bigger on gravel or predominately off-road adventuring.
  • Fenders and a rack mandatory. Can be aftermarket accessories.
  • I need the complete bike to be about 25 pounds or less. A tall order for a steel bike, but possible. This is significantly heavier than my current road bike – but I’ll take the trade for a buttery-smooth ride and all-day comfort.

And the most important part, all this for $2k or less.

I’ve narrowed my choices down to a few bikes, looking to start test riding soon, in no particular order:

  1. Salsa Vaya X9
  2. All City Space Horse
  3. Surly Straggler or Cross Check
  4. Raleigh Clubman Disc

Feel free to weigh in on your favorite steel adventure bike!

Hoping you have some epic adventures planned for 2016!

20151226_123516
that time I rode my bike to the park below the dam and then rode back up to ride across it. 

Other goals for 2016 (besides a new bike):

  • Ride 3,000+ miles
  • more mountain biking (it makes me so happy)
  • try bikepacking!
  • more multi-day bike tours!
  • find a new biking bestie for epic adventures, one weekend at a time

 

See you on the road!