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!