Monday, July 27, 2009

MS150 Keystone Country Ride - Victory!!


Wow, what an amazing experience this was!

There were almost 500 cyclists pedaling over the ‘rolling hills’ of PA this past weekend, and over $470,000 was raised for Multiple Sclerosis research and assistance for MS patients. I’m sure that number will rise, because all of the fundraising has not been tallied yet.

This is the fourth year that Link Computer Corporation has sponsored a team, and this year ‘Team Link’ had 14 cyclists, including six Link employees …

Alex – our awesome team captain and 6th time MS150 rider
Art – 3rd time rider
Chris – 3rd time rider
Thomas – 1st time rider
Elizabeth – 1st time rider
Julie (that's Me!) – 1st time rider

We also had two family members … Elizabeth’s brother, John, and my sister, Christina, both first time riders. Other team members were John, Steve, Donna, Jack, Galen, and Barb. All but one of our team members finished the ride, some much faster than others.

The guy in the wheelchair? That's Cris, my brother-in-law, who was in an unfortunate motorcycle accident on Mother's Day. He was training to ride with us and really excited about the event. He is planning to be back on his feet soon and hopes to ride next year! My sister could have easily backed out of the event after his accident, but she stuck with it. Although she found it difficult to juggle work, care for Cris, handle all of her other responsibilities at home, and train for this ride, she did it! I'm very proud of her!

I’m sure I can speak for all of us … the 3 things we needed the most at the end of each day were a shower, a good meal, and a nap!

As a first-time participant in this event, and a brand-new cyclist (I took my first bike ride in early April), I can tell you that I could not have done this without the support of our team, especially Alex and Art. You guys deserve a round of applause! And I definitely could not have done this without my sister! She is my rock! I am so proud of our entire team and honored to have been a part of it. Thank you to everyone within the Link organization for supporting us and donating to our fundraising efforts. And thank you to my family and friends who supported my efforts with encouraging words and donations. I'm proud to say that I raised over $1200! And thank you, Elizabeth! This was your brainy idea, and I thought you were crazy. But if it wasn’t for you, I would have never done this.

I started off Saturday excited but nervous. I was apprehensive about having so many bikes around me, and I was concerned about some of the hills that were to come. I’m happy to say that I made it up every hill but one … when we turned off
of Rt. 22 onto Rt. 453 at Water Street on Saturday, and I looked up, I knew there was no way I would make it up that hill! I pushed my pedals about halfway until I was moving so slowly that I thought I would tip over. At that point, I had no choice but to get off the bike and walk. I looked ahead of me and behind me, and there were other people walking too, so I didn’t feel so bad. (That's me in the distance walking my bike up this kiss-ass hill!)

On Sunday, I was pretty worried about one descent that I had ridden a few weeks earlier with my sister and Alex, and it scared me to death … Eden Hill Road in Spruce Creek. It is long, steep, very windy, with no berm, and a guardrail with a very steep drop off on the other side. When we hit that road, I wasn’t paying attention to the signs and didn’t even realize what road we were on. Art said at the top that this road was a little hairy, so be careful, and I just remember thinking “wow, this road is really windy”. I kept pumping my brakes and looking in my rear view mirror hoping that no cars came up behind me, because I didn’t want to get too close to that guardrail. When we got to the bottom and I saw the Spruce Creek Tavern and realized what road we just came down, I thought, “Oh my gosh, we were on Eden Hill Road and I didn’t have a panic attack!” One of the road marshals and a Link employee, Dale (aka "Cork") was at the bottom directing us through the intersection and I yelled to him “That was scary!” At another point in the day, I yelled to Cork “I’m dying here!”

Speaking of Cork, he was a great road marshal. He and Connie, another Link employee who volunteered, both put in long days helping to make this event run smoothly. Cork would marshal an intersection until the last cyclist came through, then he would have to really hustle to get to his next station before the cyclists got there. Therefore, he would drive past us on his Harley multiple times throughout the day, and every time he would wave and yell “Go Julie!” “You Rock!” “You guys are amazing!” or some other words of encouragement. Not only did the road marshals allow us to keep rolling through the intersections without losing our momentum, they kept us safe. Connie was manning the registration tables all day both days and checking in cyclists as they came through to make sure everyone was accounted for, and she was so excited to see us roll into the final destination each day (maybe because she wasn’t sure some of us would make it?)!

The weekend consisted of so many emotions, some that I can’t even describe. There were moments of exhaustion and doubt that I would finish (usually when we would start to climb another steep hill), and there were moments of excitement and sheer joy (usually after I made it to the top of that steep hill, and when a rest stop was within sight).

I thank God for my good health and the ability to have taken on this challenge. There are so many people less fortunate than we are, and I was thrilled to be part of something that will help change peoples lives.

I also thank God for my awesome family. My husband, Wade, has been so supportive through all of this ... even when I was spending lots of money on gear, and spending lots of time away from home to ride. I love you, honbun!

I encourage anyone who has thought about cycling and participating in this event to give it a try. If I can do it, YOU can do it!! Yes, it was hard work preparing for the event and even harder to actually do it, but it was worth every minute. If you don’t want to ride 150 miles, just get on a bike and ride somewhere. It’s great exercise and it’s FUN.

To sum it up …

MS150 Registration fee – $25 …

New bicycles – More than my husband would have liked me to spend (the first bike just didn’t cut it, so I ended up buying two!) …

Helmet, cyclometer, mirror, under-the-saddle pouch, spare tubes, tire repair kit, padded shorts, jerseys, jacket, shoes, gloves, sunglasses, spinning classes, sunscreen, Gatorade, energy bars, etc., etc. – More than I want to know …

2 days, 150 miles, 12 hours in the saddle, crossing the finish line, and receiving a medal from a volunteer suffering from MS …

Friday, July 24, 2009

Last Ditch Training Effort

July 18 - 39.85 miles (gee, I should have ridden up and down the driveway to get to 40!) - Chrissy, Jody, and me. "Horse & Buggy Ride" according to Martinsburg to Williamsburg & back. First half was fun ... second half was really tough thanks to extreme head winds and lots of hills! Did not see ANY horse and buggy's. Horses ... but no buggy's.

July 21 - 20.48 miles - Chrissy, Jody, and me. East Freedom to Queen & back. Picnic Road was no picnic to climb and descend! Ominous skies, and we pedaled our asses off at the end to beat the storm. The moment we got off the bikes, we were hit with a pretty intense thunder storm.

July 22 - Spinning - Just me and the Nazi. Where the heck was everyone?

July 23 - Spinning again

July 24 - Rest day ... did some stretching ... got a pedicure ... got my bike ready ... packed. Now heading to bed. Morning will be here before I know it ... and I just know I'm not going to sleep worth a darn!

Two things that scare me ... 500 other bicycles within very close proximity of me ... steep curvy descents. Other than that, I'm looking forward to the challenge!

Night, night ...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ready or Not

Well, the MS Keystone Country Ride is less than two days away! I have ridden almost 700 miles on my bike, taken almost 50 spinning classes, and lost 30 pounds to prepare for this event. I have also raised over $1,000 for the MS Society, which I'm very happy about. I am so grateful to everyone who donated!

Am I ready? Hell, I don't know. I guess I'll find out soon enough. Tomorrow is a rest day ... and I love it that I can have spaghetti for dinner without feeling guilty!

What I've learned along this journey ...

* Becoming a new cyclist is very expensive!
* Cycling is fun!
* Cycling is sometimes scary (picture steep windy descents)!
* Cycling is not easy (picture all the rolling hills of PA)!
* Cycling is a time commitment.
* I don't like to ride alone (thank God for my sister).
* Spandex isn't that bad after all.
* Bruises and road rash are inevitable.
* I'm tougher than I thought I was.

I look forward to writing about my experience this weekend. I'm praying for no rain, no wind, and no mishaps. And I'm praying that I don't have to take a ride in the SAG wagon!

Peace ...


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Catching Up Again

June 27 - 41.2 miles w/Chrissy and Alex (our 'Team Link' Leader). Covered some of the MS route. Rode down the scariest hill ever ... Eden Hill Road in Spruce Creek. Very narrow and curvy. OMG!

June 28 - 30.1 miles solo (first time riding in the rain ... argh!)

July 3 - 40.4 miles w/Chrissy, Art (from work and part of 'Team Link'), and Mike, Nancy, and John from the Blair Bicycle Club (Nancy took the photo so she's not in it, but that's her bike)

July 4 - 19.2 miles w/Chrissy. Evening ride.

July 11 - 12.5 miles (Rails to Trails) - Took our trail bikes for the annual 'possum' ride, but we were the lone possums. Everyone bailed because of the unpredictable weather. We took our chances. Started in the daylight. Ended in the dark, which was a little spooky. We had some good laughs along the way!

July 12 - 51 miles - Rode with Blair Bicycle Club. Longest ride to date! Rode part of the MS route. Stopped in State College at the American Ale House & Grill for lunch (see photo). Fun time, but lunch killed us. Getting back on the bike was sooooo hard!! But we made it.

July 13 - Spinning

July 17 - 15.62 miles w/Chrissy. Nice evening ride to stretch our legs and loosen up. Good pace. My average mph was 14.0, which is really good for me!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"I am NOT buying you a bike"

This past December, I told my hubby, Wade, that I was thinking of riding in the MS150 charity bike ride. Of course, he gave me the grumpy "Yea, right" look. He also told me he was not buying me a bike ... in fact, he told me that more than once and everytime I brought up this topic ... in fact, he said it so many times that I was getting pretty annoyed at him. What do you mean, 'you' won't buy me a bike? I'm gainfully employed too. I'll buy it myself. But I can't say I blame him ... I was not a likely candidate to start doing something athletic. So I had to prove to him that I was serious. Well, after a few months of spinning and losing some weight, he started to believe that I wasn't joking around. So not only did he buy me one bike ... I now have TWO bikes!

Why two bikes? Well, the first bike was a 'budget' bike ... a practical purchase. It was inexpensive and was a recreational bike that I could ride on the roads or on the trails. It works great, is comfortable and a really nice bike. But when I started going on some group rides, I realized I needed a 'road' bike to keep up. I was always trailing behind everyone else. I guess the tires, the weight, and the aerodynamics of the bike really do make a difference. So I contemplated trading my Cannondale. However, I decided against trading. I wanted to keep it for the trails.

So a few weeks ago, after riding with the BBC and being the slow poke, I declared half way through the ride that I was ready to buy another bike. Immediately following the ride, I drug my sister with me to the bike shop. Our 'bike guy', Brian, fitted me for a new bike and had what I needed in stock ... a Specialized Dolce designed specially for women (Dolce means 'sweet' in Italian). I almost purchased it on the spot, but thought I better talk to Wade first. Three days later, I picked up the new bike. Not only did I get the bike, but I broke down and got the clip-in pedals and shoes that everyone kept telling me would make such a difference.

Well, the bike has made a difference ... although I'm still a slow poke, but not quite AS slow. I'm still getting used to the pedals and shoes (and, yes, I took a tumble thanks to them), but I'm convinced that they do make a difference.

Wade has been so supportive. This new venture has cost quite a bit of money to get started and alot of my time, and he has not complained once. I think he is proud of me.

And I think he likes my smaller gluteous maximus. :-)

More catching up

June 20 - Spinning w/Chrissy ... Had to put up with Nazi woman ... enough said (see a previous blog entry for an explanation).

June 21 - 27.5 miles ... w/Chrissy ... Started at my house through Sharpsburg, Weitzel Hill Rd (scary!), Rt. 36 to E.Freedom, old 220 to Claysburg & Klahr & back to Roaring Spring & home. Nice ride, a few good hills. Beautiful day but very windy!

June 23 - 19.4 miles ... solo ... Started at my house ... Cove Lane to Curryville to Woodbury ... back through Martinsburg & home. Was having some anxiety on this ride by myself. The hills (going down) still freak me out. Gotta get over that!

I noticed a nice side effect of riding ... I can actually feel the triceps in my arms. Wow!

One month to go before the big ride. I HAVE to start logging more miles!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Catching Up

Here I am again falling behind on my blogging. There's just not enough time in the day. Well, this past week has been a bust as far as riding goes thanks to the rain, work, and just life in general. I haven't ridden since Saturday the 13th. Here's my activity since my last blog entry ...

June 1 ... Spinning

June 3 ... Spinning

June 4 ... 19.4 miles - Lots of firsts ... first ride on my brand new wheels ... first time with clip-in pedals/shoes ... first flat tire. Rode with Chrissy, Jody, and Spokes & Skis group in Hollidaysburg - Canal Basin/Canoe Creek.

June 6 ... 20.02 miles - Rode with Chrissy - East Freedom to Queen & back.

June 7 ... 21.2 miles - Road rash and bruises!! Rode with Chrissy & Jody around the Cove - Frosty Hollow/Hickory Bottom Road. Learned a hard lesson ... I didn't eat enough that day and I bonked!

June 8 ... Spinning

June 11 ... Spinning

June 13 ... 40.2 miles - With Chrissy, Jody, and Blair Bicycle Club - Altoona/Tyrone route.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Climb

Just for the record, I'm not a Miley Cyrus fan; however, after last Saturday's ride (May 30), I can totally relate to her new song "The Climb". (Click my title "The Climb" above to see the music video). I logged 46.1 miles that day and honestly didn't know if I would make it ... but I did. These lyrics are so fitting ...

'There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be a uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb'

Chrissy and I rode with the Blair Bicycle Club. It was my first time to ride with the BBC ... what a great group of people! We also had a few people from "Team Link" join us - Alex, Art, and Thomas.

We rode the first two legs of the MS ride (Hollidaysburg Jr. High School to Ritchey's Dairy, then Ritchey's Dairy to Williamsburg), then we rode from Williamsburg back to H-burg Jr. High via Scotch Valley. Between the hills on Reservoir Road, the hills on Cove Lane & Cross Cove Road, and the hills on Scotch Valley Road, I could not have pedaled up one more hill if someone would have been pushing my bike! Here's a shot of our map and the elevations. Click on the image for a closer view.

I was ALWAYS the last one to get up the hill, and numerous times, the group was waiting for me at the top (again, great people!). They would not let me behind, even though I was slowing them down. I did lose the battle on one hill towards the end of the ride ... I ran out of power about halfway up, and had to get off the bike and walk. (It wasn't the hill in this photo though.)

About half way through the ride, I declared that I would be buying a new bike. Yes, I just bought a new bike (my Cannondale Quick comfort bike), but in hindsight I should have bought a road bike. More on that topic to come in a separate blog entry!I have seven more weeks to train for the MS150 ... it will be a challenge, but one I am looking forward to!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Time Flies!

Wow, where did the last few weeks go! I can't believe I haven't posted anything since May 12!

I really don't have much new to report. Here's my activity for the past few weeks.

May 12 - See previous entry to see what NOT to do on a bike. I still have bruises!

May 13 - 10.4 miles around Bellwood/Pinecroft area. Rode with Alex, Chris, and Thomas from work ... Here's a photo after our ride. It was cold and windy!

May 14 - Spinning

May 16 - 11.2 miles around the Cove. Solo.

May 18 - Spinning

May 23 - 23 miles around the Cove ... longest ride so far. Solo. Beautiful day!! Here's the view I had for most of my ride!

May 25 - 23.1 miles around the Cove. Solo. Another perfect day! But I was lonely. Miss my sister & brother-in-law riding with me. Bro-in-law won't be on his feet for a while due to a motorcycle accident on Mother's Day. We're all praying for a speedy recovery, but unfortunately, it's gonna be a long road for him. We love you, Cris! But Sis is still planning to ride the MS150 and will get back in the saddle soon.

May 27 - Spinning ... Chrissy came too! Yea!! Good workout ... lots of climbing.

I would have liked to have ridden more, but life gets in the way sometimes.

Later ...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Not My Day to Ride

Well, I took a solo ride tonight and here is how it went.

First, my route ... from my house to Brumbaugh Road ... turned left on Cove Lane ... turned right on Kensinger Rd ... turned left on Carper Rd ... turned right on Cove Lane Rd. ... left on Rt. 866 (Market Street) ... (this is where the 'incident' occurred - keep reading) right on Spring St ... left on State St to Cowan Rd to Frederick Rd ... left on Rt. 164 (Cove Mtn Rd) to home. Approximately 12 miles.

1 - I forgot my water bottle ... thankfully my daughter noticed and came running after me.

2 - My Cyclocomputer did NOT work! Grrrr! I had the bike shop reset it for me to add in the miles I lost when I dropped it last week. Everything worked AFTER I dropped it, except I lost my cumulative miles. Now after they 'fixed' it, I have my total miles, but nothing else works. I stopped and tinkered and smacked it a few times to no avail. No speed, distance, time, etc.

3 - I had my first mishap, and it was totally my fault. I'm coming up Market St. in Martinsburg to turn right onto Spring St. There were construction workers in that area, and a motorcycle sitting at the stop sign at Spring St. waiting to turn left. There were no other cars coming and he was waiting for me. So being the courteous cyclist that I am, I reach my right arm out to signal that I was turning right, but I realized I need to slow down. Right arm is out, left hand hits the brake a tad too hard (I forgot that was my FRONT brake) and I was so focused on the motorcycle that I didn't see the manhole cover and I hit it at the moment I hit the brake. OOPS!! I flew head first over the front of my bike. Now I know why we wear helmets. If you look closely at this picture, you will see a slight boo boo on my forehead (and that's my pissed off look!) Yes, I took this picture of myself which explains the double chin.

I never moved so fast in my life. The guy on the motorcycle stayed put for a minute to see if I was okay. I'm so glad for the helmet and sunglasses ... hopefully nobody recognized me. I jumped up, picked up my bike and moved to the sidewalk, all while uttering various four letter words. My headlight popped off and is scratched, my mirror got scuffed up and came loose, my brake handle is all scratched. My body? I have a few goose-eggs on my elbow and knee. No blood! The picture on the right is of the tread mark on my sleeve.

And the icing on the cake was ... A bug flew in my eye on Frederick Rd, and I had to pull over to get it out, take my contact lense out and rinse it off and put it back in. I'm so glad I remembered to throw my eye drops in my pocket!

All I wanted to do was try out my new saddle. Didn't expect all this drama.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Assometer

I thought the bike shop was joking when they told my sister they could get the assometer out to properly measure her for a saddle. I decided to google this just for fun and to my surprise there is actually such a thing out there. Specialized bikes have come up with this concept to measure your ischial tuberosities (otherwise known as your sit bones). Apparently no matter how much or how little padding you have it does not correlate to the width of your sit bones as most people would believe. Therefore you could have a really big assometer reading and actually have a very little behind and vice versa. Due to this anomaly Specialized developed this pad that you sit on and then they measure the indentations made by your sit bones to determine which width of saddle you need.
This makes me curious to find out who has the bigger assometer reading. Me or my sister. Who would have ever thought of such a thing? Specialized bikes, I guess.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


12.5 miles on Friday ... 18 miles on Saturday ... no miles on Sunday due to the rain. :-(

I'm happy about our rides, but I'm mad as hell. I accidentally dropped my bike computer when removing it from my bike before putting the bike on the car rack. Thank goodness I didn't break it, but when I went on our Saturday ride, I realized my cumulative miles were gone. I was starting at zero again. What the heck!! I had 104 miles on my bike before I rode on Saturday, and now it says I've only ridden 18 miles total. I'm so mad!!

I'm either going to sit in the garage and spin my front wheel like a mad woman or rig it up to the treadmill. I want my 104 miles back!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pins and Needles

What a great weekend we had for cycling!! I put 52 miles on my bike ... Woo Hoo!! 15.5 miles Friday, 16 miles Saturday, and 20.5 miles on Sunday. We climbed some pretty good hills and road into some pretty strong winds, but it was awesome!

I have a bit of a quandary, however. Certain body parts go numb while I'm riding. Going numb is okay after I've had a few drinks, but not while I'm on the bike! This causes discomfort and is a big distraction, and it's just plain annoying.

First, my feet. The tops of my feet and my toes go numb, I guess from the constant pressure on the ball of my foot when pedaling. It's like a thousand pins and needles! The cycling expert at the bicycle shop told me shoes and clip-in pedals would probably make a big difference. The clip-in pedals and shoes scare the heck out of me, though. I just know I will take a few tumbles. But I'm willing to take that chance to get the feeling back in my feet.

The other numb area is ... well ... ah hum ... in the saddle area, and not my tushy. Again, I asked the bike expert for advise. The first thing he asked me was if I was wearing padded shorts. YES, I did break down and buy the padded shorts, which made a difference for my gluteus maximus, but didn't help the 'other area'. He suggested that I tilt the saddle down slightly in the front to take some pressure off that area. If that doesn't work, I can try a new saddle. He said he will have to get the assometer out to measure my sit bones. Is he kidding? Do they make such a thing? And do they make the meter big enough to measure MY you know what? Good heavens ... Cycling is so humbling!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Men Sweat ... Women Glisten

When I walked into Spinning class last night and saw the Nazi was teaching, I thought 'Oh no, not again!' But I was pleasantly surprised to find that she was somewhat mellow. There were still a few nails on a chalkboard moments, but she actually gave us some recovery time between a few songs and enouraged us to drink our water. Either she had a really tiring day at work, an alien has overtaken her body, or she read my blog!

As we dripped with sweat, she actually said something that made me laugh ...
"Men sweat, women glisten."
It reminded me of the skin of the vampire characters in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. I don't remember the exact descriptive, but their skin glitters like diamonds in the sunlight. Maybe I need to throw on a little shimmery bronzer before my next workout!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just Rolling Along

We are so blessed to live in the Cove. It truly is God's country. I have a whole new appreciation for the rolling hills and back country roads after today. I did 16 miles with Cris & Chrissy, and I definitely got a workout. Thank you, Cris, for having mercy on me, because it could have been a lot tougher.

Friday night (April 16) was my first solo ride. I did 10 miles from East Freedom to Claysburg. I could have gone further, but it was getting close to dusk, and with no lights on my bike yet and no bright colored clothes, I thought I should get off the road. Riding alone was nerve racking but yet exhilarating at the same time. Kind of like riding a roller coaster!

Oh, and I went to Spinning class yesterday morning. I definitely burned some calories this weekend!

Mid-Life Crisis in Spandex

My sister thinks I'm losing my mind. Today I confirmed her suspicion.

Who would have ever thought I would be trying on Spandex shorts! I don't even wear shorts ... I hate shorts ... I was blessed with fat knees, tree stump calves, cankles, and flesh the color of egg shells. Shorts and me just don't get along. And SPANDEX? My first thought was that the stuff should be outlawed.

Not only was I trying the shorts on, but I walked around the store in them looking for other stuff to try on. Way out of character for me!

So I bought the shorts (and a jersey and a bunch of other 'stuff'). I decided black is a flattering color on me (at least on the bottom), and the Spandex is like wearing support hose. The lumps seemed to disappear when I put them on. I wonder if they use one of those carnival mirrors in the dressing room that makes you look thinner, because it wasn't as revolting of a picture as I thought it would be. Or maybe I just need to get to the eye doctor! Now I just need to work on that tan!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

She is Losing Her MIND!

My sister is losing her mind! This is all so out of character for her. First of all the cycling thing, WOW! Who would have ever thought that one. Now she wants to step out of her comfort zone so she started this blog. This was all her idea and she has convinced me to be a part of it. I am into the cycling part, the blogging part I am not sure of but am giving it a try. To top it off she now has me joining facebook which I never really thought I would do. I guess she doesn't want to be out of her zone alone. Like I need anything else to help take up more time on the computer.

In all seriousness, I just want to go on record to say how much I LOVE MY SISTER!!!!!! I am very proud of everything she is doing and way to go on the jumps in spinning class, they are a B---h!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jumping for Joy!

I actually did the JUMPS in spinning class tonight!!!! Hurray! This might not seem like a big deal to some, but for me, it's a huge accomplishment. I didn't make it through the entire 4 minute song ... but almost ... about 3 1/2 minutes. Man, they are hard! The class went a full hour, and it was one of the best workouts I've had to date. I'm feeling so good right now that I'm thinking I should have named this blog "Cycling Divas"!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

What a difference the instructor makes! I won't go into a long essay on last night's spinning class, but it was such a positive experience. No Nazi's in the room this time! The music was great, the workout was great, and I felt happy (and very sweaty) when I got off the bike.

I am able to do standing climbs, power walks, and runs through an entire song now! I've come a long way. Still not attempting the jumps, but that will come.

It looks like we might have promising weather for the weekend, so I plan to get outdoors and ride around the cove! :-)

Later ...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Nazi

This week was pretty much a bust for me as far as cycling. I made it to Spinning on Monday and Saturday, but was not able to get outdoors. My priority this weekend was the Easter Bunny, since my kids were home, including my little 19 month old granddaughter. Now that all the festivities are over, it's time to work hard this week.

With that said, let me just say that Saturday's spin class was not what I had hoped for. Two good things occurred ... I got a good workout and I liked most of the music (with the exception of some stupid rap song ... I don't even know how that stuff can be considered music). But the good was overshadowed by Nazi Woman!

The normal instructor for this particular class is a wonderful leader for the group. She incorporates mind, body, and soul into the workout. Her music is always inspiring, she coaches us through the class, and she is just an overall nice person.

Apparently, she had a conflict this Saturday and could not be there. Instead, we got Nazi Woman. The Nazi was the first spinning instructor I ever had, and I vowed to never go to another of her classes. She is a crazy woman. She never, I mean NEVER, shuts her mouth. Try to practice deep breathing and forget about all your daily stresses when she is screeching the lyrics of "Celebrate" at the top of her lungs (her all-time favorite song, by the way, which means she knows every freaking word!) And that was just the warm-up! If she had a pleasant voice, it might be tolerable. But her voice is like hearing someone scrape their fingernails across a chalkboard. Oooh, just typing those words makes me shudder.

If you are new to spinning, she would make you feel like you have to kill yourself even if you think your heart is going to explode. There is no time for checking your heart rate, no time for checking and controlling your breathing, no time for checking your cadence, no recovery period whatsoever between songs. It's extremely frustrating, which takes the joy out of the class.

The Nazi's favorite thing to say is "Add resistance". Let me rephrase that ... her favorite saying is "ADD RESISTANCE!!!!!" I mean, if I would have added any more resistance, the wheel would not be spinning anymore. At one point, I almost threw my water bottle at her! I was so frustrated that halfway through the class, I almost walked out. But I decided I was not going to let her loud mouth stop me from getting the workout I needed.

So from now on, I will keep ear plugs in my tote bag in the event the Nazi appears. I thought about listening to my Ipod, but she is obnoxious enough to ask me what the heck I'm doing and to make a big production about it.

Okay, I'm done venting. On to more positive things ...

Yesterday's Mishap

I told you we were going to ride and we did. We did a loop from Roaring Spring to Martinsburg and back through all the country roads and rolling hills (more hills than I thought) for a total of 19 miles.
Everything was going fine, the temperature actually climbed to 64 degrees and other than the wind it was a great day for a ride! Then we came up to the main intersection in Martinsburg about 14 miles into our ride. My husband and I both have shoes that clip into the pedals and I have been doing pretty well with them. You have to remember to clip out ahead of time when you are going to stop or you will have a problem. As we approach I get my left foot out of the pedal, the light is red and I am preparing to stop and thinking I am getting better at this. The light then changes to green, I am still moving and ready to continue thru but my husband doesn't see that it changed and has stopped in front of me. Suddenly I am at a standstill between a car and the curb and my right foot is still clipped in the pedal. That is when the mishap occurred. I start losing my balance and can't get my right foot out quick enough and down I go, in what seemed like slow motion, to the curb my bike coming down on top of me and my right knee catching the brunt of the fall.
My husband at this point has finally seen that the light has changed and is going thru the intersection only to turn around and see me lying on the curb. I look around and see cars at all four corners of the intersection and very quickly get my foot out of my pedal (why wouldn't it come out earlier) and continue in a speedy manner straight thru the intersection without looking at anyone in any of the cars. I was certainly afraid that someone was going to recognize me and couldn't stand to see the look on their faces. I started to laugh as I caught up with my husband. He stopped and waited for me. He was concerned that I was ok, which I was, but I felt as if I had scrapped open my knee. As soon as I told him this his immediate response was "you didn't rip open your pants, did you?". No, I did not and thank goodness since they where $65.
We continued another 5 miles to home and thankfully it was uneventful.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This is becoming an expensive hobby

My sister somehow convinced me to be a co-author of this blog. I am not sure how, because I don’t even like to write but here I am.
My husband (Cris) and I have agreed to ride on the MS150 ride with my sister Julie. Yes, I do think she fell and bumped her head and really thought she was joking when she called me up one day and suggested this. My husband even laughed when I suggested he might be interested and that Julie and I would do this also. I am really laughing now and feel like I am going to become one of those MasterCard commercials you see on television:
  • Two brand new road bikes $2000
  • Two pairs of cycling shoes $200
  • Two pairs of biking pants $130
  • Jacket and Jersey $120
  • Safety Lights and seat bags $100

Getting healthy, spending quality time with family and friends and helping thousands of people with MS….PRICELESS!!!

Of course this is just the beginning, but as my dear sister informs me, this will be the most expensive year for this new hobby because we have to buy everything. After this year it will be much less. She seems to forget that everything she needs I need two of. Also with most hobbies’ you are never happy to stay with the items you started with you always want to upgrade and will always need new clothing. Speaking of which, cycling clothing is outrageously priced. I mean really $65 for one pair of cycling pants and the same for the jerseys; I won’t even pay that much for a pair of jeans. I need to find time to start sewing more and that is another whole story.

My husband told the owner of the bike shop we patronize that I am not allowed to go in there without him anymore, because I spend too much money. Of course the owner said he likes to see me come in anytime. That is not surprising, is it? The funny thing about that is that my husband went with me today and I still spent $100 and most of it was for him. Among other things we purchased lights for the front and rear of our bikes so we would be very visible on the road. He now thinks he wants to ride after dark tonight just so he can see how bright they really are, I don’t think I will be joining him. We are however going to ride this afternoon, planning about 20 miles. The sun is out and the temp is up to 48 degrees. I think that should be warm enough since I have my special $65 pants to wear.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Maiden Voyage

When my coworker (known as "E" at work) came to me a few months back and asked me to ride in the MS150 bike ride, I told her she fell and bumped her head. My definition of exertion was loading the dishwasher.

How is a fat 40-something chick who gets winded walking to the mailbox supposed to ride 150 miles on a bike in one weekend? And not to mention that, other than a few very short (15 minutes or less) stints on a bike over the past few years, this fat chick hasn't seriously ridden a bike for 25 years. Oh, and just a tiny detail ... I do not own a bike.

The MS150? That is the definition of insanity!

So after contemplating this challenge, I approached my sister and asked her if she wanted to ride. She thought I fell and bumped my head. (by the way, my sister is the skinny chick)

Fast forward 3 months ... we have been taking "Spinning" classes (that has nothing to do with yarn), working out, eating healthier, and trying to condition outselves to ride in the great outdoors. As a bonus, my dear sister has stopped smoking, and I have lost 20 pounds (but still pleasantly plump). Oh, and another bonus, my sister's hubby is into this too!

So all three of us ... me, sis (Chrissy to me, but Chris to everyone else), and bro-in-law (Cris) (that's not a typo - it's Chris and Cris) ... have bought new bikes. They both have road bikes, I have a 'recreational' bike that can be used on the road or on the trails (see the photo above). I know I won't be a speed demon on this bike, but I figured if I'm going to fork out money for a new hobby that I don't even know if I will like, I want to get a multi-purpose machine. Sis and bro-in-law took their maiden voyage a few weeks back. This Sunday (April 5) was my maiden voyage.

"I have to pull over", I yelled to Chrissy about a quarter mile into the ride. "WHY?" she said with a chuckle. "I have to adjust my mirror". I could not bring myself to take my left hand off the handlebar for only a second to adjust the mirror. After Chrissy said "YOU DON'T HAVE TO PULL OVER TO ADJUST YOUR MIRROR", and with great hesitation, I forced myself to just do it.

Even though I managed to adjust my mirror while in motion ... I DID have to pull over several times to drink my water. The coordination just isn't there yet to try to pull my water bottle out of the rack while pedaling. Maybe I need one of those drinking helmets that you see crazy sports fans wearing. But, of course, I would only put water in mine!

"Try to ride the white line", Cris said to me more than once. "I'm trying!", I yelled as I wobbled back and forth.

"I'm not going up that hill", I said as we approached a hill (okay, maybe it was just a slight grade). I hear "YES YOU ARE!" from my sister. As far as I was concerned, I was ready to turn around. But I pedaled through it, was breathing heavily at the top, but was feeling pretty proud of myself.

14.06 miles round trip from East Freedom to Claysburg. Flat, straight ride. Probably a sissy ride for the experienced cyclists, but for me it was a challenge. But a challenge that I look forward to doing again, even though my butt felt like I had been sitting on a 2x4.

Oh, and I didn't realize a helmet would do that to my hair! Bad, Bad hair! I am going to have to start wearing a do-rag or skullcap, or whatever the heck those things are called. I promise to also purchase proper attire, and ditch the rubber bands around the bottoms of my pant legs!

Only 16 weeks to go for the big ride!