08 June 2010

Saying goodbye to the bike until Thursday

Here's me with Antonio just before he was about to be loaded on the truck for the trip home.  Won't have it back until Thursday.  I suppose it's a deserved break, but it sure is a nice day for a bike ride.

06 June 2010

Finished!!!!!!

Sorry for the delayed post. Upon finishing we had to take our bikes directly to the truck for loading. But hey, I'M DONE! 7:07 ride time. So right about 14mph average. I am sooo okay with that.
Back at my room and getting in the shower!
Sorry for the blah pic, we thought it was taken and it took it a few seconds later. :(

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LUNCH!!!

70 miles down and 30 to go! Eating some grub and then head off to face Spooner.
Changed contacts due to the wind drying out my eyes and making them goopy (it's a word). There was one accident so far. Guy on a cycling team (not Team In Training), the report is he's out, but will be okay. I am being very careful. :)

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Truckee

Well, we're in Truckee. Gotta eat and get back on the road. Still feel good.
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26miles

So, the start was crowded and slow. It wasn't until the top of Emerald Bay that it started breaking up. Feeling good so far. Robyn, my butt message from your sponsorship fell off early, but I got lots of comments on it first!
This pic is Jen. She's sporting our Oregon microbrew helmet topper. Back to it.
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Top of Emerald Bay

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11mi in

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Today, I Ride

There are many reasons I'm out there today. I ride for some who have lost the battle, like Hunter, and for those still fighting it, like my teammate Jen's daughter, Erin. I also ride for those who aren't affected, but may be someday. And finally, I ride for those that we've lost to other causes, such as my grandpa. I love you all and will think of you each 100 miles. Thanks for your support.
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05 June 2010

Inspiration Dinner...the start

This is the place mat for our dinner. As we entered, we walked through rows of people cheering for us. It was so surprising and overwhelming. Can't even begin to explain it. This is truly awesome.
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The Team!!!!

This is everyone from the OSWIM team (Oregon, Southwest Washington, Idaho, Montana) before we head out for a morning 20mile ride. There was one climb 10 miles into the ride and well, let's just say I got my first taste of how difficult it can be to breathe at this altitude. Upside is that the other side of that climb held a lovely downhill ride for us. Yay for speed!
I have slept and feel so much better today. Kinda hungry, but we are waiting for food now, so that will be short lived.
More to come.
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04 June 2010

Antonio & I have been reunited!

I don't know if it's because I have had any sleep or what, but I feel like I am being picked on already! We got checked in and had about 10min to get changed for a ride and meet down in the lobby. I survived that step. Yay! Then we walk over to get our bikes, slap on our pedals and head out for a short ride just to make sure that everything was working. Within 1/4mi, I dropped my chain. Wait, scratch that, I should say, I dropped my freshly lubed chain! Others from the group asked if I needed help getting it back on and I said I was fine. However, it had dropped to the inside and lubed up as it was, didn't want to cooperate. I had grease all over my hands, I was tired, and I could no longer see anyone from my team. I got the chain on, wiped my hands on my shorts and continued on with my blackened hands. I wasn't sure where my team went, but just rode around shifting and noticing there was still an issue with my front chainring, so I circled around to the Team In Training maintenance stop. A small derailleur adjustment and I was on my way. It felt good to do the short ride. Gave me a very short lived adrenaline rush.
I have now washed my hands, changed, eaten, and am about to finally go to sleep. We've an 8am ride and I want my rest. This no sleep thing is for the young ones.

Long first day. Tomorrow will be great - I just know it!

Goodnight.

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The Lake...we see it!

So, there it is. The clouds are deceiving, coming from Portland, it's super warm. Riding day conditions: 73 and sunny.

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We've arrived!

So, we had a bit of a delay getting out of Portland, but we've now landed in brown warmth and are on the charter to Tahoe...
I am sooooo tired!!!!

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Neck gets tattooed for the weekend!

Neck sponsored by Frank Maynard, McKensie's coach from Excel NW!
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More sponsored parts...

Sponsored by Brian Fornelius and Garit Reuble.
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In Memory...

My stomach area is sponsored by Pat DuPen.
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Sunny, happy toes!

Sponsored by Sunny Park!
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Prom shoes trump ride!

08 May 2010
Our ride on the lovely Saturday that was the 8th of May was supposed to be a fairly straightforward 65-mile ride from Lake Oswego to Newberg and back...loop-style.  I really should know better by now, right?  I mean, you are all shaking your heads thinking I'm nuts to think it.  Yes, Billy Crystal is in my head yelling at me, "Piece of cake!!! Piece of cake!!! You jinxed it."  (If I must explain yet another reference, such as this bit from the hilarious movie Forget Paris, I will need to beg of you, dear readers, to please, give up this active lifestyle to watch more movies!)  Anyway, what I am getting at is that this day was anything but straightforward. 
Getting to the meeting spot.  Yes, we'll begin this story with just trying to get to the meeting spot.  It is a fairly straight shot from my house to Lake Oswego, which kept in line with my straight forward day, until of course, the forward part is removed.  Coming into LO, I came to a complete standstill.  Mind you, this is 745 on a Saturday morning.  I was behind one of those huge trucks that I still fail to see the point of (I mean, really, are those extra tires necessary back there or are they just there to flick the pesky cyclists off the road?) and could, therefore, not see anything beyond said truck.  Finally, as he moved into the right lane and I got my hopes up that I would move again, I saw the sign.  Literally.  LAKE RUN - SAT. MAY 8.  Ahhhh.  And then, I saw the barricades.  State Street was closed off for the hundreds that came out to run around the lake.  Maybe not the best day for us to do this route?  Could have swapped it with the following week?  Yeah...hindsight.  I drove into the neighborhood and searched for a place to park my car.  A nice mile ride later, I pulled into the lot to meet the rest of the team.  In waiting for others that had been delayed due to traffic and then waiting for runners to clear, we pulled out for this ride quite a bit later than anticipated.  Bummer. 
Up McVey (because who doesn't like to start out going uphill?) and onto Stafford to head out past I-205.  I am not entirely clear on where we were after that.  We did some funky rural route that was heading southwest to wind out toward Newberg.  Maybe it was the stars I was seeing that disoriented me. I was rather lightheaded from all the mother-flippin' climbing we were doing!!! That was not part of the deal.  I thought we had one climb on this ride and that was right after we left Newberg.  To top it off, the sun was out.  For those of you that live here, that is the bright orb in the sky that seems to have gone missing lately.  Normally, I would not complain about the sun being out, but as I was wearing bike pants, not shorts, and many layers that I hadn't shed, I was roasting.  Super hot and climbing do not mix.  By the time we reached the top of a terrible hill somewhere out in lala land, I was ready to pass out.  I shed layers and threw them into the SAG car and ate some food and drank a ton of water.  I really wasn't liking the direction this day was going. 
We finally got into Newberg and I dreaded the climb I knew about.  Best to get it done, though, so off I went.  We were going over Chehalem Mtn, which is about a 3-mile climb up 1000' elevation gain.  Honestly, this climb was not bad at all.  I won't say it was a piece of cake, but it wasn't at all what I expected.  I kept my cadence up and before I knew it, I was 2-miles into it.  Over the next half mile, I started feeling a bit of lag, though.  It wasn't my energy, it was my tire...flat.  But of course!
So, there I am, about 4/10 from the top of this hill and I have to pull off for a flat. Sally, our coach, came up the hill just minutes behind me and pulled off to help.  My tires are newer and have a very thick bead.  These factors equate to making it a bit more difficult to change the tube.  Suffice it to say, we were getting a bit irritated with the tire.  Alas, we finally got it taken care of and I tackled the rest of the hill.
At the top, I noticed the time and started to get very worried.  This was prom day.  My daughter's first prom, at that.  We needed to get shoes to go with her dress still and she was due at a friend's house to get ready in just a few hours.  As we enjoyed flying down the other side of Chehalem Mtn, I began calculating how much further we had to go, how long it would take us, how long it would take to get home and showered, and so on.  Result: It wasn't going to work. 
Another ten miles and I knew I needed to go.  We were just over 50 miles through the ride and I knew if I did the last 15, I would be extremely late getting back, so when I saw the SAG pulled off up ahead, I finally called it quits.  53-miles. Sorry ride, but prom shoes have to come first.
By the time we wound through the suburbs and found our way back to Lake Oswego, another 30 minutes had passed.  I was super late.  To top it off, as I looked around the lot after unloading my bike from SAG, I didn't see my car...oh, that's right - LAKE RUN...my car was a mile or so away.  Back on the bike and off I went.  Thank you, SAG, my daughter's prom just wouldn't have been the same if she had to wear sneakers.

Testing mobile blogging

So, I've decided I would try to update the blog during this exciting weekend using my phone. As a test, you get to see (if it works) my first bit of sponsorship garb! My head was purchased by Zach & Dawn Liljenquist, aka Build Creative Group. As they did pay double, I'll be sporting this cap all weekend. As shown in the picture, the left brain was sponsored in memory and with great love of Dawn's dad.
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02 June 2010

RACC = Felida & Trail Putty

Apologies for neglecting the blog lately.  It's been a very busy time. 
01 May 2010 - RACC
After the Salem Monster Cookie, we did another organized ride.  The Ride Around Clark County (RACC) is put on by the Vancouver Bicycle Club (Washington, not BC) each year and the one thing I heard about it from the start was how much everyone hates Felida.  This is a hill that comes about 60 miles into the 65 mile ride in the Felida suburb.  Joy.  We actually started this ride on time at 8am.  A first for our group.  There wasn't a specific starting time, all riders just had to be started by 9am.  We always plan to start at 8am, but this was the first time it actually happened.  It was a wet day, sprinkling on us off and on throughout the ride.  The first part of the ride covered familiar territory as it took us out and around Lacamas Lake where we had ridden before.  From there, we headed north up through Hockinson.  This is more rural area on the outskirts of Vancouver's suburbia had a few climbs.  Not terrible, but enough to make me think, "If nobody mentioned these, just how bad is Felida?" 
We came into Battle Ground from the southeast and found ourselves at the 65-mile/100-mile split at Battle Ground Lake.  They offer a century route for this ride, but no, I certainly wasn't ready for that.  I went left and headed through the town of Battle Ground.  We wound through and headed to Daybreak Park.  When we lived in Battle Ground, we came to find that Daybreak was a popular swimming hole spot in the river and where a LOT of people hung out.  With the rainy weather, though, it didn't seem so popular that day.  This was a food stop and about 40 miles into the ride.  I was feeling okay and really just wanted to get going and get the ride over with.  I was familiar with the road out of this park and I knew we had a climb ahead of us.  I ate a few quarters of a PB&J sandwich, some boiled potatoes because someone was telling me how they are great for quick energy, and the trail putty.  This ride is apparently known for two things: Felida and trail putty.  Trail putty is a mixture of peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk.  Everyone loves it.  Me...not so much.  I found it too sweet, but hey - to each his own.
I climbed out of the Daybreak Park area, heading west for quite a while.  A few rollers after the initial climb kept me working and I became increasingly worried about Felida.  As we turned south, I kept watching my bike computer, looking at how much further until we hit it.  I was feeling very tired around 55 miles...not a good thing.  I starting thinking there must be a way around this hill.  Can I just take a side street and avoid Felida?  I'm sure I can.  Yes, that's what I'll do.  Screw it.  I don't have to do that hill.  And then it was there.  All these other cyclists out there...I couldn't possibly turn off, no, no, I was going to climb.  Halfway up, as my heart was coming out of my chest, there was a side street that I noticed a lot of people just turning onto for a flat break.  So, of course, I should check it out.  It helped.  I turned onto it and let my heart rate come down and then I got a bit more speed and higher cadence going coming off of it to help me up the rest of the hill.  I asked another cyclist, "so this is Felida?" "Yep, this is it."  I got to the top and was so relieve that it was done.  I pulled off to let the heart rate come down just a bit again.  I had met up with Jen and Stella from my group and we talked about what a relief it was that it was done.  Then some cyclist passing by said, "Oh no, the climb isn't done - this was the ridge, you still have the hill."  Liar.  I just knew he must be a liar.  What a cruel thing to lie about, too.  We asked another cyclist and they said that was it.  We continued on, but we were all wondering - who should we believe?  About a mile and a half down the road, we didn't need to wonder any more.  A left turn onto a nice steep hill left no time to wonder and had us all out of the saddle and changing gears about as fast as we could.  There were some people walking up it on the other side of the road.  The left turn didn't allow much prep for the hill and if you had to wait for traffic before turning, it was even harder.  What's worse is that the road curves, so you can't even see where the top of the hill is.  I hate that.  At least let me see where it ends.  Mind you, this wasn't a very long climb, just steep.  I made little goals - make it to that tree, then that post, then...oh, oh...I see the top...I yelled at Stella, "the top is right there!" because, somehow, announcing it makes it even better (Jen was already ahead of us - Go Jen!).  We were there.  Done.  No more climbing.  And I hadn't cheated the hills.  The last few miles of the ride were flat, just winding back around through Vancouver proper to make our way back to Clark College where we started.  At the intersections we faced coming out of the neighborhoods, there were a few elderly couples that sat at the corners and as they saw cyclists coming, they pushed the crosswalk button.  They were so adorable and we were very grateful.  As we pulled back into the parking lot, I headed straight for my car to get off the bike.  I was spent.  Every bit of me was out there on those Clark County roads.  I wanted to go home.  And that's just what I did.

16 May 2010

Ride = Reward

25 April 2010 - Salem Bicycle Club's Monster Cookie Ride is a metric century that rewards you with, you guessed it, a monster cookie at the end.  Gone are the days of the dangling carrot, give us our sugar, and monster size it.  Did it really help me dig deep to get through the last miles? Not really.  Did I pass the cookie up at the end?  Are you crazy?  I haven't had a snickerdoodle in ages! Ah, but I'm supposed to record a post about the ride not just the cookie I ate afterwards.  Fine, fine.  Let's get on with it.
NO CLIMBING!  That's what I should have started this post with - a big huge Hallelujah, there was no climbing on this ride.  A metric century, for those that don't know, is 100km, or approximately 62 miles.  Was I worried? No, not really.  In fact, although I had not ridden in two weeks, I figured that since there wasn't any climbing, it shouldn't be too difficult to go seven more miles than our Estacada ride.  Alas, it had been two weeks and one day since I had been on my bike at all.  Various bits of life cropped up and I missed our group ride on 17 April.  I was extremely happy to know that this was a flat ride. 
So, I was riding through a pool of marshmallows...no, I wasn't, but I just realized that a long flat ride makes for a rather boring post.  I could tell you that only about ten miles in, we saw the flashing lights and crowd of cyclists all watching as a rider was loaded into an ambulance, seemingly okay, but wearing a neck brace.  And two lines later, we are back to the boring post about the flat ride because we simply rode by this scene and I did not stop to get some cutting edge story out of it.  This IS kind of like riding through a pool of marshmallows: slow.  Daniel Tosh and his dreams. (Go to 3:57 of that video and you can stop wondering why I am talking about pools of marshmallows.)
So, we rode amongst about 3,000 other cyclists that wanted a cookie from the capitol building to Champoeg - the lunch stop and turnaround point.  For those that opted to have lunch provided as part of their registration, they got to go stand in line and collect a sandwich.  I had not, so I ate my delicious Power Bar and yummy gel blasts.  Mmmm.  I'm not sure why, but the group was rather content staying at this stop for a very long time.  I think we were stopped for a good 45 minutes.  They agreed we would not stop this long ever again, though.  I think it was partially visiting fun as the Eugene team was able to join up with us on this ride.
We hit the road again in smaller groups - a faster paceline and a more moderate paceline.  Of course, I joined the fast group because, well, I'm me.  The pace we were keeping is a pace I have kept on many rides: 18-20mph.  About mile 40, though, my hips starting burning like never before.  Really, I have never had hip problems.  I don't know if it was that I hadn't ridden in two weeks or what, but I was in pain.  I dropped our line down to 15-16mph.  It was a horrible moment.  Flat ride, only 40 miles in, and I was spent.  My group was very good about it, though.
We finished up our 62 and I couldn't have been happier to be done.  For being so flat and easy, it really wore me down.  I collected my reward - a monster snickerdoodle cookie - and vowed to get my rides in during the week.  Next Saturday's ride was another organized ride of 65 miles.  It was not going to be flat, so I would need to be in better shape.  (Note, this was several weeks ago and I've yet to get a ride in during the week. So much for my vows.)
While the cookie was a great reward, the best was an understanding team.  Go Team!

07 May 2010

Random shout out...

Good food, good wine.  No, no, strike that.  Great food, great wine.  Nope, still not there.  Maybe it's just beyond a simple four word opener.  So, I'll do what I do best - I'll be wordy about it.  I call this a "random" shout out, by the way, because I'm about to touch on current stuff, whilst still very aware that I have yet to post about the last two rides.  You see, because it is random you can't get mad at me for this chaos.  Yes, it's a rule.  It's my blog, so I make the rules.  Don't try to argue. 
Back to the topic - a [random] shout out about food and wine.  We'll start with the wine (don't we always?).  I may make my brother blush, I may make him argue, and I may not care because I speak the truth.  I don't think anyone would ever describe me as the most trusting of people.  I don't delegate much because most of the time, I just feel I'm better off doing it myself.  When it comes to knowing wine, I trust my brother implicitly, as do many others.  He understands wine - not in a pompous "I'm now going to go on for the next 20 minutes about just one aspect of this wine you could never hope to understand" kind of way - but really understands it.  When you understand something through and through versus memorizing some facts about it, you can talk to someone about it from any aspect and they start to understand too - they get wrapped up in the story you are telling them.  Yes, the story.  Wines have stories.  He knows them.  People like to hear them.  This is why when I thought of doing some sort of wine fundraiser, I went to him.  Delegation - you betcha!  He has put in quite a bit of work to develop a theme, consider various wines carefully, and discuss things with my next shout out to make sure the evening will be truly enjoyed by those that attend.  So, for his work, unbelievable knowledge, and agreeing to accept delegation and talk about wines at my event, this wine shout out goes to my brother, Zach.
The second half of this shout out is the food.  Incredible wine is only made better by incredible food and vice versa.  I mean, really, eat, drink, be merry - right?  Hmm...maybe it CAN be summed up in four words.  Oh well, already on a roll with my wordiness.  The best pasta around can be found at Justa Pasta.  Whether eating there or taking some homemade pasta home to make (our household favorite is the caramelized onion ravioli and we aren't even vegetarians anymore! yum!), Justa Pasta is awesome. (Wow, that really sounded like a canned plug! It's the truth, though.) So, of course, they were the perfect choice for a place to host a wine dinner and trust with the food.  Yes, just as I trust Zach with wine, I trust Justa Pasta with food.  Since I really did kind of drop the whole thing in Zach's lap and then kind of in Justa Pasta's, too, I really haven't done a bit of work!  Zach has worked with Roland, JP's owner, to put together a menu and I haven't done a thing!  It's really, truly awesome.  So, food shout out goes to Justa Pasta.  Thanks for all your work and for helping to make this super easy on me, while providing fantastic food for me to dine on!
Eat, Drink, Be Merry.  Easily done if Zach picks your wine and Justa Pasta makes your food.

Oh, if you are wondering about the wine dinner, I must remind you that there is an order to this here blog.  Be patient - I haven't even posted about my last two rides, so I can't very well start telling you about something coming up!  Go drink a glass of wine and relax a bit - jeesh.

03 May 2010

pEstacada

I'm not entirely sure at what point the "P" was dropped from the name of this town, but I assure you, it was originally named Pestacada. A Portland cyclist could hope that when one drives such a distance from the windy Gorge, one is rewarded with a beautiful ride, protected from such nasty elements that the Gorge is known for. Not true.
10 April 2010, I set out at 7am, the horrid hour that it is on a Saturday, headed for this small town where we would begin our ride. This was the first ride that I did not look up the elevation, so I wouldn't psyche myself out dreading hills. I am not sure why, but I thought that this was supposed to be a pretty flat out and back ride. Fantasy, maybe? As I am sure you have guessed, I was wrong. One mile into the ride, we began our 2.5mi trek up a hill - that's right, muscles cold and all. Now, the average grade was 7-percent, which to those hill lovers and avid cyclists might be shrugged off. For me, however, it tore open a whole new creative side of me whereby I was able to make up expletives that might even make Denis Leary blush. I have waited over three weeks to make this entry so that I could calm myself enough to be sure none of those slipped into this post. After all, I am still the angelic daughter my parents believe me to be. 0:-) (I think that is a smiley with a halo on it...I'll consult a teen.)
So, the summit finally arrives and then it's my favorite part: the descent! This was awesome. Yes, we were on a highway, but it was four lanes and not many cars, so if you needed to pass, there was plenty of room. Halfway down it struck me - this is an out and back ride. Pestacada!!! Oh well, enjoy the few miles of speed. Shortly thereafter, we were met with the wind that assures me that this place was called Pestacada at one time. The wind is more of a pest than rain. Truly. There were moments when we were going downhill, yet we had to pedal - hard - to continue moving against the wind. What??? That's not how it's supposed to work. Yet more strings of expletives.
Linda, Mari, and I were riding together. We were pace lining as best you can with only three people, as we fought against the wind and worked out way to the turn around point. I arrived feeling rather famished, dry, and really happy to think about how that wind would be hitting us as we headed back. Our SAG was there at the Ripplebrook Ranger Station...hmmm, three weeks ago, don't hold me to the name of that. He had PB&Js, PowerBar Gel Blasts (my fave!), and other yummy stuff. We had a quick bite, filled our water and decided to get moving as others started arriving. Not that we didn't want to be social, we just didn't want to get cold.
As we set off, I noticed that I'd only logged 25 miles. This was supposed to be a 55-mile ride. Being the math genius that I am, I was quickly able to compute that this was only going to be 50-miles. Upsetting. I was set on my 55! So, as we rode, wind at our backs, I was thinking. There was a road that went around that nasty climb we had done at the beginning of the ride. It went down to the Faraday Dam and then on to North Fork Dam and their respective reservoirs. About halfway back, I asked Mari and Linda what they thought about doing a 2.5mi out and back on that road to get us to our 55-miles. After looking at me like I was nuts and a bit too anal about the ride distance, I got a maybe from Mari, but Linda was going to be out of time. Mari had carpooled with another rider and so long as we could make good enough time to not keep the other rider waiting, she would be up for it. Yes! Motive to keep the speed up the rest of the way back.
Now, I need to interject just here to point something out. I COULD have suggested we take that road around that climb...you know, so we had plenty of time to get our extra five miles in, but I did not. Nope, I knew we had the climb coming and just like I always do when I know about a climb, I started psyching myself out about it. As we rode, I began wondering if I really had the amount of fuel left within me to do it. Am I going to have to walk? Dear god, no, I won't walk. I just won't. It's not Laurelwood for crying out loud. No, walking isn't an option. Take a break halfway up? Maybe. Only as a last resort...wham! The wind suddenly changed direction and hit me from the side, nearly blowing me over. More expletives. Yeah, it's one of those unexpected things mother nature likes to do when you find yourself a little too deep in thought on a ride. A little jolt back to reality. As it happens, this little jolt came as we were going down a bit of a hill and somewhere between 35 and 40mph. "Wham" is really not a great word to describe wind hitting you from the side, but as it had about the same effect that I feel a bat or a robin flying at me would, I will let it stand.
The hill was before me. Oh how I remember just hours ago when I enjoyed flying down it. As much as I psyche myself out approaching hills, I also play little psychological games to get myself up the things. It's only a mile, Heather. I stare at the computer, ticking off each tenth of that mile. Do I know that this hill is more than a mile long: abso-friggen-lutely. Will I convince myself otherwise? Let's just say, I can be very convincing to myself. So, that mile runs out and I switch to the little white reflector poles lining the highway. There are only ten to the top...tick them away. Dam. No, literally, I should have gone around the way of the dams. Back to mileage. Okay, so there can't be more than half a mile left at this point. Do I have a half mile of air left to breathe? Do I have any gears left? Dams. Only a tenth left of that little half mile game and still...oh wait, I see the summit. Puuuuuuussshhhhh. Yes, it is like labor. Breathe. Push. Breathe. Swear. See? Just like labor...only without the pain down there because on a ride we're well equipped with Chamois Butt'r (yep, another product plug) to keep us from such added issues. Hmm..So, yeah, sorry guys, it's not really like labor. And with that little side thought, I found myself at the top. Psychological games and odd conversations with myself win out again!
Down the hill we go, treating our legs to a well-earned respite and cool ourselves down. Near the bottom, Mari and I turn left and ride out on Faraday Road our 2.5 miles. This was actually quite lovely and I'm glad we did it. As we rode, we encountered one of our team riding in the opposite direction - they had opted to take this road back instead of doing the climb. If only I could package my head games for them to use to get up those hills.
I was tired and really quite moseying along these extra miles, but I was content - I got my 55. Longest ride to date. I hated the hills, I hated the wind, but it was over and I loved it. Expletives withdrawn.

13 April 2010

Chain Reaction...

03 April was a cold, rainy, very "Portland" day.  I was up at the crack of dawn and, of course, not happily so.  I dreaded the day before I even looked outside to see our dreary riding conditions.  Hellacious climbing was on the docket for the day.  I hate climbing.  Not necessarily because it's hard, which is an understatement for me, but because it is my weakness.  I can fool people into thinking I am a fairly strong rider until we hit the slightest hill and my true, newbie colors shine through.  And yes, before you comment and say something so wonderfully insightful like "well, Heather, that's why you need to do more climbing - the more you do it, the easier it will get," you should know that I am already aware of such things.  I will do it more, but in the meantime, I will continue to HATE it.  So, where were we?  Oh yes, I'm awake and it's early!  And I know today's ride has a lot of climbing!  And, I look outside and it's raining!  And it's cold! 
So, we began at NW 25th and NW Raleigh, heading south towards Washington Park - home of the Rose and Japanese Gardens - but don't think about those right now because those are serene and lovely and we are in a gray and miserable story right now.  We made our way up through the park and then up Fairview to Skyline.  After crossing Burnside or Barnes - whichever it is at that point - and continuing up Skyline, still climbing, we had a visitor on the road.  It's this white, horrid stuff and there it was...all over the road. The four letter S-word.  Yep.  Snow.  And you guessed it - I hate snow.  Are you miserable with me yet?
I did have a brief moment of happiness in my climb as I passed Brynwood and thought, my climb wasn't so bad.  If that doesn't make sense to you, go drive, ride, run, walk, crawl up Brynwood from Miller to Skyline - then you'll understand...or I could just tell you that it's a 24% grade climb, but it is only 1/3mi long.  I could also smile because I knew that I'd done the initial climb of today's 50-mile ride.  Small hills here and there and then a couple miles up Springville lay ahead.  All of that in the first 20 miles of our ride.  After that, it was a fairly flat ride.  Just get through that first 20.  So, I trudged along Skyline to Thompson, took a left and had a lovely descent that worked wonders at taking my well-heated body and turning it into an icicle by the time I reached the bottom.  We stayed on Thompson as it turned into West Union and followed it out to 185th.  We made a restroom stop at a Subway here, which since I did not purchase anything from them and they specifically state that their restroom is not for public use, I feel it necessary to give them a plug.  So, thank you, Subway, for allowing us the use of your facilities.  Five dollar footlongs, people, five-dollar-footlongs. 
We headed north up some rolling hills on 185th to Germantown.  We didn't stay on Germantown long before hanging a right onto Kaiser for a few more rollers back to Springville.  Kaiser.  To some, this says, "healthcare" or "HMO," but to me it says, "you were right when you thought that you shouldn't have bothered getting up today."  We started climbing a hill, I shifted gears, my chain came off, but I managed to unclip and avoid falling over despite coming to a immediate stop. yay.  I told the others to continue on, I was just going to put my chain back on and be on my way.  But no.  As I put it on, I saw this mangled excuse for a link.
While I gave it a shot anyway, I knew this was the end of my ride for the day.  Sure enough, there was a kerchunk sound each time that link came round and then the chain would just drop to the next cog all upon direction of that link.  17.6 miles.  That was the intersection of Kaiser and Springville, where I awaited the SAG vehicle to come and pick me up.  A spare chain is just not something I keep on me.  17.6 miles.  Let me back up and reiterate that most of the ride's climbing was in the first 20 miles of the ride.  Springville Road was the last of it for the most part.  After that, we were just going to descend Newberry to Hwy 30, head north to Sauvie Island, do a loop there and head back down Hwy 30 to our start location.  I was so close to having the part of the ride I dreaded most done and out of the way. Irritating.  Very irritating. 
So, back at my car, I packed my bike into the back, took this picture, ran home and changed into dry clothes, and headed to Lakeside Bikes.  They were busy, but Gordon took the time to check my bike out anyway.  They put another chain on, adjusted my derailleurs, kept the chain to show the Campy rep, and off I went - no charge.  So, here comes my second plug of this post: Lakeside Bikes.  I have always received friendly and prompt service there.  They are awesome.  I highly recommend them should you need to purchase a bike, get information on bikes, or for maintenance.  Oh, and I used their restroom, too, but they do not offer five-dollar-footlongs. 
So that's it.  I headed off to watch my daughter play volleyball for the rest of the day.  I was done trying to defeat all the elements that were screaming at me from the moment I got up that morning.  Some days are just a chain reaction of bad moments - pun intended.

30 March 2010

Centennial Trail of Beauty

This past weekend was another volleyball tournament weekend that took us to Spokane, Washington.  We hit the road just after 6am (all of you shaking your head thinking that isn't possible for me, quit now - it's true!) with my bike packed in the back of the car.  Thanks to the convenience of my daughter's team playing in the afternoons, I figured I'd still be able to ride Saturday morning even though I wasn't with my team.
I set out from River Front Park in downtown Spokane on the Centennial Trail.  This is a paved trail for pedestrians and cyclists that follows along the river out to the Idaho border.  (The trail actually continues in Idaho under a different name that currently escapes me and because it's early morning, I am too lazy to Google it for you.  Sorry.)
It was a fairly flat ride the entire way.  For a section of the trail that runs along Upriver Road (they are so darn creative with their naming system there), cyclists are directed to use the bike lanes on the road.  I apparently missed the signage that directed me to turn back onto the path, though and wound up in a soccer/baseball field sports park.  I figured the trail must continue at the other end or something, but after circling the park and finally looking at the park map, there was no Centennial Trail to be found.  So, I backtracked a bit and found the trail.  This little side trip added a bit of mileage and a short hill.  Gotta love that! 
Back on the trail.  After you get about ten miles out of the downtown area, there aren't many on the trail and with the incredible weather that day, the scenery was amazing.  If I had a bottle of wine with me at the time, I very well could have pulled off and sat by the river enjoying a glass - to get my antioxidants, of course...they were feeling a bit low at the time.  I really did think about this as I was riding, but alas, did not have a bottle of wine with me - maybe next time.  What I did have was a speed limit.  This cracked me up.  On our trip to Spokane for last year's tournament, I got a speeding ticket.  Everyone seemed to remember, as before the trip this year, I received many comments about driving safe and avoiding any tickets.  So, as I passed the 15mph speed limit sign on this path that doesn't allow motor vehicles, I looked down to see that I was currently just over 20mph.  I wondered, "Do they actually patrol this?  Could I seriously get a speeding ticket on my bike?"  Well, I did not, but I am still curious - how do they enforce that speed limit? 
When I got to the Washington/Idaho state line, I had logged 25 miles.  I wasn't sure how much my "detour" had added, but almost hoped I was looking at my first 50 mile ride.  I crossed the bridge into Idaho just to say that I had been to Idaho and back, got a few pictures and headed back.  (The blue sign in the picture on the left is the Welcome to Idaho sign - my proof.)
Even without the added miles of losing the trail, I knew I was about to log my longest ride.  I had no idea how the trip back would be.  Would I run out of water?  Would I run out of energy?  Would my seat be way too sore to handle?  I was taking it easy most of the time, not really pushing speed, but just trying to keep a decent cadence.  Apparently, that was the way to go about it because I was back downtown before I knew it.  No issues.  I ate a PowerBar on the way back and made sure to keep drinking water, but never ran out of anything. 
Total trip came in at 48.25 miles.  It took me 3 hours, so I was averaging 16mph - a bit low for my goal, especially considering this was a flat course.  However, I was fine with it because I haven't gotten a lot of riding in lately and wasn't even sure how I would do completing it.  So, I was happy with the result and it felt great to be out riding on such a lovely, sunny day.  I have never really enjoyed Spokane in the past few years we have gone to volleyball tournaments there. This time, I enjoyed it and even saw why people choose to live there.  No, I won't be moving there, but visiting will be nice.
The next day, I expected to be sore, but was pleasantly surprised.  The girls played in the morning and then we were to head home.  While they were doing some ref'ing duties, I headed out for a quick ride before we hit the road.  It wasn't quite 15 miles and felt EXTREMELY short after Saturday's ride, but it was great.  Rolling hills, nothing terribly steep, but more than I'd had on the Centennial Trail.  I was back after 50 minutes.  The girls had just finished up, so I ran into the bathroom to change and we headed back to Portland.  Home again, home again, jiggity jig.  Great weekend, beautiful rides.  63 miles total and considering we were busy out of town this weekend, I'll consider that good mileage. 
Have you seen my fundraising thermometer?  It's totally up there!  So, I dedicate the beauty of this weekend's ride to all of you that have supported me.  I'll even throw in dedication of the glass of wine I got to have when we finally got home Sunday night.  Mas des Chimeres 2007.  Yum, yum, super yum.  Haven't had it?  You probably should.  Cheers.

19 March 2010

The untold total...

I know I've been a bit whiny about my sickness lately (well, okay, the last month, at least!), but it's not to be mistaken for not wanting to do this or that I really feel sorry for myself.  On the contrary, it's quite lovely to have something like this going on during a sickness to keep me from just staying in my cozy bed and sleeping until I am better...can you imagine the hibernation period?  Anyway, I am incredibly grateful for the support I have received from everyone.  Through words of encouragement (even those that tell me to quit sniveling and get my whiny butt out there), the donations to support such a great cause, and those that head out on rides with me - both my Team In Training group and others outside my group.  Thank you.  Not all of that is reflected in my status bar  - but those intangibles are incredibly valuable and appreciated. 
Speaking of my fundraising status bar, there are several mail donations I have mailed in that are not reflected yet - so it's not always showing the tangibles, either.  When everything is finally in, my total as of today is actually $3970.  Only $1030 to go until I meet that goal!  Incredible.  Thanks so much everyone - for all you do!  I will use the positive thoughts of each of you to complete that ride tomorrow.  Hard to complain about 70-degree weather here in March.  Spring is here and I am starting to think my cold may really be newly developed allergies.  Bring it, pollen, I won't quit!

17 March 2010

End of the Oregon Trail lollipop ride

This past weekend's ride began out in Oregon City at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center...otherwise known as the place with the big covered wagons off I-205.  The ride was to begin at 8am, but I started mine around 9:30. 

My mom had been in town for a very short two day visit, whereby our family once again proved how well we can consume wine.  Family gatherings for us always mean good food (thank you, Zach & Pizza Fino) and good wine (this time we stuck with several wines from Podere Ruggeri Corsini: Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Barbera "Armujan", and Barolo...ah yes...the Barolo).  Anyway, it was a wonderful two days and mom had to be at the airport around 830/9 on Saturday morning.  The plan was that I would head to my ride and my daughter would take my mom to the airport.  However, as I went out to the garage to get the bike in the car, I discovered my back tire was flat.  I sent a message to the team letting them know I'd be late and not to wait for me.  Once I did that, I apparently felt that meant I could chill and visit a bit more with mom before she left.  Fixed the tire, visited, said goodbyes and finally left the house around 845.  All the while, hacking up a lung because, yes, I STILL seem to have this sickness. 
When I pulled into the parking lot at our meeting site, there were a few cyclists in matching kits.  After a bit of discussion about my being late to meet up with my group and such, I was invited to ride with this team on their ride.  I explained I felt I should do the same route my group was doing and they said that was fine - they may branch off a different direction at some point, but we'd start out the same direction.  So, off we went around 930.  I was only with them for about 3.5mi when my battery in my GPS died.  I hate not having all my stats and such after a ride, so I stopped to change the battery and they continued on.  


As I started back up, I was coughing quite a bit.  I kept drinking water hoping it would make the dry scratchiness in my throat go away.  As a result, I drank my first bottle of water in about twenty minutes.  Then I started getting nauseous.  I don't know if it was the constant coughing, the fullness from water, the may vitamins I took in the morning, or what, but I knew things were about to get really bad, as I rotated between being really hot and then really cold.  I finally pulled off and stopped about 45min in - just before the climb I couldn't see waiting around the corner for me.  When I thought I felt better, or rather convinced myself of such, I continued.  When I saw the climb, I just about turned around and said screw it.  But I did not.  I made it up the hill, closed the loop and considered heading back instead of doing the next loop the route was dictating.  It wasn't the same loop I'd just done, but I knew it must climb over the same hill.  I told myself I would just go to the turning point and then head back, knowing full well this was just how I talk myself into doing the whole thing.  So, around that second loop and stupid, crappy, hill climb I went...coughing all the while; getting pissed off at how weak and slow I was feeling and, of course, at how long this sickness has held on to me.  I stopped halfway up the hill to clear my lungs and let my heart rate drop a bit.  As I glanced up to the summit, a runner came over it and headed down toward me and my immediate jealousy that he was going DOWN the hill.  As he got closer, I noticed he had a big grin and then said, "You're almost there, you can do it."  My replacement team, I guess - thank you, Mr. Anonymous Runner.  Yes, I could do it, so long as I could successfully get started considering I was on a nice slope.  This didn't seem to be the problem I thought it would, though.  I got going, clipped in, and climbed the rest out of the saddle.  As I nice reward, I got a lovely descent shortly thereafter, providing enough wind whipping at my face to cool me down (a bit too much, even). 

Back the Interpretive Center where we began, I literally thought I might never stop coughing - at least for the day.  I'd been out of water from the two bottles I carried (a first for that) for quite some time, so after stowing my bike in the car, I went to locate a fountain, only to find one still turned off for the winter...that or the center relies on your thirst to sell their bottled water.  I bought two and had the first gone before I was back to my car. 
A 35-mile ride doesn't normally kick my butt the way it did Saturday.  Cycling has definitely made me value my health even more.  I take my vitamins daily, I get my sleep, and I keep a healthy, balanced diet (don't even start about the wine...it provides antioxidants and iron).  This next Saturday's ride will be out to Multnomah Falls...plenty of climbing there, so keep fingers crossed that my head and lungs have cleared out.

16 March 2010

Terwilleger loops and all-team potluck

Long, long ago when I kept up my blog, you'd know of all the rides and events we were doing and the struggles and triumphs that came with them.  Then, real life took the reigns and I became its slave for a few weeks.  However, I am going to try to catch up by bombarding whatever readers I may have with several posts that cover the past weeks.

06-Mar-2010 Group Ride
This was our first ride of meeting an hour earlier than usual.  Thankfully, we only met downtown so I didn't have to plan for much travel time.  I am not a morning person.  Don't get me wrong, I think mornings are beautiful.  There is a certain calm about those early hours when people are still sleeping and the air outside is crisp...or even better, the fog hasn't yet burned off.  As much as I like all that, I REALLY love my bed and would be quite content to be one of those that is still sleeping.  In any case, I was up at 6:00 that lovely Saturday morning.  Made sure I had time to have a good breakfast and drink plenty of coffee, so that I didn't bite any of my teammates' heads off.  Another wonderful thing about the morning - I pulled right up in front of our meeting spot at PSU on Broadway and parked.  No circling the blocks looking for a spot.  Granted, it was Saturday.
When everyone finally got there (apparently, I am not the only one on the team that isn't a morning person), we got started on our first loop.  We headed up Broadway, then up and around to the base of Terwilleger.  The first time I had ever ridden Terwilleger, I hated the climb.  I've since done it several times and appreciate the climb as a good workout.  Each time, I can actually tell how much better I have gotten with my shifting.  Now that my cadence sensor is working, I was able to improve upon that even more - shifting at more strategic times as I focused more upon my cadence than on my speed.  Yay...improvement. 
Familiarity with a route goes a LONG way.  Terwilleger climbs, but it does so in a rolling fashion, so you climb, but then you descend just a bit to give you both a reprieve and a bit of speed for the next climb.  Coming up on the Capitol Hwy intersection, though, you are descending and shifting to higher gears.  If you get stuck at that light, you should remember to shift to a lower gear, as you start climbing right out of the intersection and the oncoming traffic waiting to turn left always looks a bit impatient (hard to imagine, I know) as you struggle to climb and change gears then.  This particular factor caused a few members of the group to have to walk their bikes across the intersection and remount.  Not fun - and it also makes me a bit of an ass for not warning anyone.  Second route familiarity note (and one that I did point out), is after you turn onto Barbur to complete the loop.  Again, Capitol Hwy comes into play (problem child?) as it also intersects with Barbur.  Poor signage and paint can lead you to miss the bike lane turn off that routes you around the overpass lane of Capitol Hwy that joins Barbur on the right.  You miss that turn off, you find yourself between two merging lanes, and the merging cars don't care to stop for you. 
We looped back around to the base of Terwilleger after following Barbur into the south end of downtown and did the loop again. 
Super short ride, but some good hill work. 
We had to end early to go grab our potluck contributions and head into PSU to meet up with the TNT marathon and triathlon teams for the 10am All-Team Meeting.

At the meeting they recapped where our chapter was at with fundraising - I believe at that point, we had raised $240,000!  Woohoo - that's all thanks to all of you that are donating.  Honored teammates that are fighting battles with blood cancers were at the event and we got to hear from some great people and what they have endured and overcome.  It was a great reminder as to why we are doing this.  They are people you know, friends of yours, friends of your kids, relatives.  One mother that spoke had shaved her mom's head and pulled out all her son's hair within a four month period, as her mom went through treatment for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and her son fought Leukemia.  All I have to do is ride a bike...and that's something that I actually enjoy doing. 

28 February 2010

Sponsors and sensors, oh my!

While not reflected in my fundraising thermometer at this time, I gained a lot of sponsors this past week.  More incredibly generous people that have given to a great cause.  I have added them to my shout out list on the right.  Thanks to all of you, our local chapter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has already served 780 patients since their fiscal year began and they have given out $112,000 to benefit patients in Oregon, SW Washington, Idaho and Montana.  Freaking incredible! 
In my previous post, I mentioned my cadence.  After having my bike computer for about 8-months, I finally have a working cadence sensor.  I've had a sensor the entire time and have tried to figure out why it wasn't working.  Took it to the bike shop and asked if they could tell and, finally, bought a new one.  After installing the new one, taking it for a quick spin up and down the street and still the cadence read zero, I knew something was up.  So, after playing with the settings on the watch once again, I found that I had to select that I was about to do a bike ride before hitting the start button (I have a multisport computer).  Does it tell you this in the instructions?  No.  I had read them a billion times the first go round of trying to make it work.  Now, it is working and I have a spare sensor.  Lovely.  I think I need to go email Polar now. 

Back on the bike after almost 3 WEEKS!

I went from someone that ALWAYS has something to say to someone without a voice for two weeks.  It was hell.  Torture.  In Vegas two weeks ago, I watched my daughter's volleyball team, but couldn't yell.  Insane, to say the least.  Last Monday, I finally thought I was erring more toward the healthy side of life and then Tuesday slapped me back to congestion.  Wednesday I decided that I needed to do something if I was to have any hope of completing Saturday's group training ride.  So, I went to my first spin class.  For those that don't know me well, let me tell you that I don't like exercising in one place - at all.  However, I was getting desperate. 
I was prepared with water, positioned right under a large fan, and ready to go.  Ten minutes in, I felt like someone very heavy was sitting on my chest and pretty sure my throat was sandpaper.  Fifteen minutes in, my water was almost gone and not only was the congestion in my chest, but my head was getting heavier, too. However, I was pedaling.  My legs were spinning and that was good.  Before the class was half through, though, my water was gone, I felt like it was 120 degrees in the room, every breath made me want to cough, and I was pretty sure the room was getting smaller.  (Did I mention I'm claustrophobic?)  I did make it through the class and have vowed that I won't judge spinning by that experience.  My voice was cracking again by the end and I certainly didn't even push myself to the extent I normally would on a bike, but it was something.

Saturday's group ride was a 35 miler around Vancouver and out to Camas to circle Lacamas Lake.  I recalled driving east on Lake Road and was pretty sure it was quite the downhill route - but we would be biking west on Lake Road, which seriously worried me.  The ride to that point took us around the north/east side of the lake.  It was beautiful and for the most part, very flat.  So, my muscles were warmed by the time we took the corner to head up Lake Road.  I was with two others leading the group.  The ride had a stop at the park at the base of the road for restroom breaks and refueling the bodies.  The two I was with turned in and I kept going.  I didn't want to lose any warmth in my muscles and, quite honestly, doing the hill alone sounding like a good plan to me since I had no idea if I would even make it.  As it turned out though, it's really not that much of a hill after all.  Don't get me wrong, my cadence went down a bit and my heart rate went up a lot, but I definitely had myself worked up for no reason.  I made it up with a couple gears still left to play with.  Consequently, that was the last time I saw my group until after the ride.  I've determined, though, that I am quite content to ride with others or on my own.  Each brings its own benefits.  I have met some great people in this group, so that always makes riding with others a pleasant experience.
Around mile 30 of the ride, I came around a bend and saw what appeared to be a climb from hell.  Like Lake Road, though, it ended up not being too bad.  However, the chest/head sensations that I felt in the spin class were back by the top of the hill.  Luckily, the remaining 5 miles of the ride was very easy and I kept a more moderate 16-17mph pace and kept my cadence between 70-75.  I kept thinking that at the next red light, I would blow my nose as much as possible to hopefully clear out my head, but as it turned out, I kept getting green lights. 
I turned into the lot we started from and checked at 2 hrs 12 min and 35.5mi total.  Not my best pace, considering the amount of flat roads we had on the route, but I didn't care.  I went into the ride not sure if I was going to finish it and I did.  After I blew my nose (a lovely visual, I know) and cleared out my head, I actually felt really good and like I could go a bit more, but I didn't.  Others started pulling in and we wrapped things up.  Overall, it was a great ride - one I probably wouldn't have done if I didn't have the responsibility of showing up as part of a team.  So, to my team, I say thanks.  Thanks for getting me out despite my doubts after being sick.  See you on the road.

12 February 2010

Training Week 3

Thankfully, this is only week three and I already did this Saturday's ride.  I have been sick since Monday.  Horrible sore throat, a voice that comes in and out at its leisure, congestion, and now, a very full and heavy head.  Yes, the dreaded head/chest cold.  I have not been on my bike since Sunday.  In fact, I've barely been off the couch.  Today, I decided it was time to mentally kick this.  I got up, blew my nose, showered, blew my nose, and dressed.  THAT was exhausting.  I was light-headed and had to lay down for a few minutes and hope the room would stop spinning.  When it did, I headed downstairs intent on gathering my things and heading to the office.  By the time I reached the bottom of the stairs, I knew it wasn't going to happen.  If I can't even walk down some stairs without being exhausted, I am certainly not going to get a bike ride or run in. 
To make matters worse, tomorrow morning I will board a flight for Las Vegas.  Oh how I so look forward to the pressure that a flight will add to my already pressurized head.  I'm also sure that others on the flight will truly enjoy having me fly with them.  Yes, let's all share in the germ fest.  I have my sanitizer and my tissues and my apologies to anyone that gets this sickness.
The reason I am sharing this is because this is the second winter that I have been out sick like this.  I generally avoid the colds and flus.  I have come to find that it is a side effect of training outdoors in this season, though.  Last year it was running and this year cycling.  Have I learned my lesson?  Absolutely - more vitamins, more warm clothes, and more tissues.  I am not a fan of treadmills or indoor bike trainers and reserve their use for bad snow storms.  The rain, well, I live in Portland...I'll deal with it.
If anyone has any tips (aside from "stay inside") for avoiding the sickness when training outdoors in cooler weather, I would love to hear them.
Back from Vegas on Tuesday and hopefully, I'll have a lovely ride Tuesday evening (at which time it will have been 9 days since my last ride!).

07 February 2010

Weekend Rides

Friday, 05 February, was such a beautiful day in Portland.  Blue skies, sixty-degrees, and there I sat in my office.  A text from a friend came in wondering if I could sneak away for an afternoon ride.  Hmmm.... Well, I am not too great at "sneaky," so I just went around and told everyone I was leaving because I couldn't pass up a ride on this lovely day.  And then, I left.  CRAZY. So, I started my weekend out enjoying the beautiful weather and a few hills up Terwilleger. 
Saturday was our group ride.  It was a flat 20-mile, out-and-back ride on the Springwater Corridor bike path. (See my pics in the right right column for one of the group getting ready to head out.) We kept it pretty slow on the way out.  I was with the group leader and we missed the turnaround point and ended up making our route a wee bit longer.  After their stop at the restrooms on the way back, it was time to challenge the group to keep up their cadence.  So we hit the trail and kept more of a 16-18 mph pace.  I liked that a bit better.  One person got a flat and learned to fix a flat on this ride...lesson learned.  Got back and departed from the group pretty quickly to drive down to Salem where McKensie and team were playing volleyball.
Sunday, Mari - a fellow TNT teammate - and I met up to do next Saturday's ride early.  Both of us will miss the group ride due to being out of town.  A nice 40 minute drive south of my house, we met in Donald, Oregon.  The ride was mostly flat with a few rolling hills and one surprise hill, but still not too bad. 
We kept a decent pace and, due to a wrong turn, made this 23-mile route a 27-miler.  I thought we might get rained on, but it was the perfect riding conditions.  A slight breeze to keep us cool.  Fog...I love fog. 
All in all, a great weekend.  About 70 miles.  Some hills on Friday, totally flat on Saturday, and slight bumps on Sunday...fan-freaking-tastic.  Oh, and at the time that I am finishing this, the Saints just ran a touchdown to make it 31-17 .  This is just crazy....totally unexpected, but this blog isn't about the Super Bowl... wow.

06 February 2010

New Format

I've changed up the format of my blog!  Yeah, I like to mix things up a bit.  I now have pages and will be adding more.  At this point, I have added a page for tracking sponsorship of miles and buying my body parts.  I will be adding a memory/honor page, so if anyone that has sponsored me would like to share anything (even a name) about someone they would like me to ride in memory or honor of, just email that to me and I will also put it on that page.  I have heard some amazing stories since starting this endeavor.  If you have a picture of the person that you would like me to put with it, by all means, send that too!

Getting ready to head out for our second group ride.  This one is a 20-miler and since I ended up getting in a ride yesterday afternoon (Portland had some beautiful weather yesterday), I am probably not going to add any miles to the ride.  Plus, I have to run (not in the literal sense) on down to Salem and watch McKensie play volleyball.  I am missing the morning games due to the ride.  :( 

Thanks again to all of you that are helping me along in this.  I really have hope that with the amount of technology and knowledge we have today, we are very close to finding a cure. 

-heather

03 February 2010

Wow!

So, if you are just checking in here about buying a body part, scroll on down to the previous post.  As of the time of this posting, there are still some available.  When those are gone or if it just suits you better, I am also selling sponsorship of each individual mile that I will be biking - all 100 of them (listed below the parts).
This has been such a crazy day.  Beginning with selling my first body part early this morning and the late afternoon traffic on my parts.  I knew this could be fun, but seriously, I urge each of you to do this someday - for a cause such as raising money for cancer, of course.  Keep it legal, people.  Honestly though, for those that shared their story of loss and are buying space in memory of someone, gives me all the more purpose to complete those miles.  Truly.  For those that are putting a humorous message on your purchased part, you will bring a smile to my face during the ride...and likely those around me.  Thank you.  All of you.  For whatever your reason, YOU are playing a role in my completion of this ride and, most importantly, in finding a cure for blood cancers. 

02 February 2010

I'm Selling My Body!!!

Yes, many of you probably figured it would happen eventually.  I say this in my defense: it's for a good cause!  And guess what?  It's 100% tax deductible for the buyers!

When I ride 100-miles around Lake Tahoe on June 6, I will be advertising your message...wherever you buy the space.  Now, I cannot do this ride in the nude...it's against the rules (thankfully).  However, I will advertise your message however you wish - marker on skin, banner pinned to jersey or shorts, tape across shoes, labels on my helmet...or a temporary tattoo.  That's right, you go to StrayTats and order up a tattoo (upload your own design, customize one of theirs, whatever), send it to me and I'll wear it on your purchased body part.

And yes, you will receive a photo of your ad on me during race day.  (By the way, that alone is worth something as I despise photos of myself and do whatever to avoid them.)

Body parts are sold first come, first serve.  Decide what part you want, click on the Donate Now button in the right column of this blog and donate the purchase price of the part selected and then email me what part you bought (some parts cost the same amount, if you don't tell me what you want, I won't know).  Then prior to June 6, you tell me what you want on your ad or send me your tattoo.  Your message can be in memory or honor of a cancer survivor, it can be for your business, it can be "I own Heather's left cheek!," or just a simple message of encouragement - whatever...so long as it is not in poor taste to others.  Donate TWICE the price and I will sport your message on the flight out to Tahoe on Friday, June 4 (I must make it through security at the airport...keep that in mind) through to the end of the race on Sunday!

Pricing of parts is below.  Again - first come, first serve.  I will update the list as they are sold.
  • Left Helmet (Head) - This is my logical side and, therefore, worth a bundle folks...pay up!  $50 SOLD @ DOUBLE in memory - thanks Dawn! Ah...a decorated headdress for the weekend!
  • Right Helmet (Head) - You'd better send a creative message if you want this side.  $40 SOLD to Build Creative Group: http://www.weliketobuild.com/!  Thanks! Another doubled amount.  Awesome!
  • Face - Hmm...marker or tat on my face...likely to still be there on the flight back home...that's gonna cost you: $200
  • Neck - Strangle me with your message.  Remember though, I'm already at higher altitude for the ride and having a hard time breathing. Choke me on the cheap! $25 SOLD @ double!!! Tat on its way.  Scary....  thanks Frank!
  • Back - This will be the most visible message to most riders...as I plan to pass them!  $100 SOLD! Thanks, mom & Todd.  :)
  • Left Breast (Heart) - While I wouldn't normally favor one over the other, this one is associated with my heart, it's definitely worth more.  $75
  • Right Breast - The ride is for LLS, but if you want to remember or honor someone that fought breast cancer, this is the perfect place!  (See how I made that totally clean for all you dirty-minded people?) $60
  • Stomach - Be my fuel throughout the race.  100 miles burns a lot of calories...give your message here some substance!  $50 SOLD in memory.  Thanks, Pat!
  • Left Arm/Right Arm - These are important for shifting, braking, feeding and watering myself, and will be exposed skin areas, as I'll be wearing a short-sleeve jersey.  $35/arm
  • Left Hand/Right Hand - Much like the arms, hands play an important role, but they are smaller. $20/hand
  • Left Butt Cheek/Right Butt Cheek - Plenty of room for a good size message on either side here. $40/cheek Both SOLD to Robyn!!! Thanks Robyn!
  • Left Quad/Right Quad - This is where most of the power is, so send a powerful message for these babies.  $50/quad Both SOLD - Thanks, dad & Barbara!
  • Left Calf/Right Calf - Exposed skin and part of the powerhouse.  These are called the Johnson calves in my family - they mean business!  $30/calf Both SOLD - Thanks Mike!
  • Left Shin/Right Shin - While I would prefer a massage over a message here, as I do get shin splints, please give me a message of hope for this space!  $25/shin
  • Left Foot/Right Foot - I hope your message is worth covering up my adorable red cycling shoes! $20/foot
Pick your body part?  Click on Donate Now and then email me or it could be sold to another.  Note: until I confirm the donation has been made, the body part is still up for grabs...so to speak. 

Make me work for you, while we work to find a cure for blood cancers!

If buying part of my body just makes you a bit uncomfortable or you just wouldn't know what to say in your space, never fear.  Also up for grabs is sponsorship of each mile I cover.  Make your donation and tell me what mile(s) you want.
***update 05-Feb-10: Tracking sponsorship of miles has moved to its own page.  Check the Sponsor A Mile link at the top of the page or click here.
  • Miles 1 - 25: Easy-peasy $10/mile M7 SOLD
  • Miles 26-50: Starting to feel it $20/mile M36 & M50 SOLD
  • Miles 51-60: Really hungry now  $25/mile
  • Miles 61-70: Cramp.  Definitely a cramp.  $30/mile M69 SOLD
  • Miles 71-80: Gearing up for more hills  $35/mile
  • Miles 81-90: Hill climb at this point? Crazy!  $40/mile M88 SOLD
  • Miles 91-99: Need everything I can get now.  $50/mileM92 SOLD
  • Mile 100: The final mile!!! $75 SOLD
Remember - 100% tax deductible, 100% feel good experience.

First Group Ride. Lesson: Bad Karma for Fellow Riders

So we had our first group ride last Saturday.  The ride was going to be a nice flat, easy ride around Sauvie Island for about 15 miles.  Since my usual rides are longer and I have ridden out to Sauvie Island from my house before, I invited any of the group that wanted to park at my place and ride out there with me (and back) to show up early and we'd get going.  I had two takers. 
We set off around 8:15am.  We had about 10 miles to cover to get to the group meeting site by 9am.  We had a beginner rider, so we weren't really sure how long it would take.  I led the ride and kept calling/looking back asking about pace.  This seemed redundant after awhile and I felt if anything, I was going to annoy them more than help them, so I shut up about 5 miles in.  Yes, yes, that's right, I actually stopped talking.  It happens on occasion, people. 
It was raining and out on Hwy 30, for those not familiar, there is are a lot of semis.  There's a large shoulder to ride on, but the semis spray up a good deal of water (dirty water, mind you) as they pass.  Lovely.  Right before the bridge over to Sauvie Island, there is a small hill.  I shifted to an easier gear at the base to make my short climb.  I did so just a tad too early and found myself spinning out at a cadence my legs didn't want to keep up at, but this ended shortly.  I laughed and yell something about premature shifting.  I heard no response and figured my two fellow riders were using their oxygen for the hill and not wasting it on responding to me.  As I turned onto the bridge and glance back, I saw nobody.  There are trees at the corner, so I paused a moment thinking maybe they were passing behind them.  Nope.  Still nobody.  I turned around and looked down the highway...nobody.  $@#!  What happened?  I waited a few minutes and finally decided to head back.  A mile down the road, there they were...fixing a flat. 
I don't know how many of you have had to fix a flat before.  It's not terrible once you have it down, but I can guarantee you it is not fun to do on the side of a highway, being sprayed with water by passing trucks and cars, while your hands freeze.  In any case, it got done.  I had called the group leader and explained we may not make the group site by 9am, but would catch up with them in their loop.  However, we made it there right as they were pulling out for the ride.
I met some great people and listened to stories of why they were riding as we did the loop around the island.  Afterwards, my two fellow riders and I headed back without incident.  Total miles = just over 33.  I was wet, dirty, and a bit cold, but it was actually a great ride for the experience.

Sunday, Bike Transportation Alliance of Oregon hosted a ride to go over some of the areas that would be affected if the 2030 Bike Plan is approved by the city council this Thursday.  I had again let my team know I was going to go on this for my Sunday ride and asked if anyone wanted to join.  Again, I had two takers (not the same two from Saturday's ride).  Halfway through the ride, one of the two got a flat.  Will I continue to invite others to ride with me?  Absolutely.  Do I think I will continue to get anyone...probability on that is likely dropping.  :(

Next group ride is this Saturday.  Let's hope for a safe ride with no flat tires!

29 January 2010

More shout outs and catch up...

So, time flies when you take a vacation.  Hawaii was beautiful, but now it is time to get to work.  Much to do!  This is a very busy time of year for me (I seem to manage to say and mean that at any point in the year), but I am hoping that all the time put in for training will simply act as an outlet for stress.  Most importantly, it is never forgotten that those for whom I am doing this would love if 'busy time of year stress' was all they faced. 

Shout outs go to Steve Warren and Agnes Ramos!!!
The amount of support I have received from business associates is incredible.  I am so lucky to work with such generous people.  Most recently, Steve Warren and Agnes Ramos have donated to LLS.  Thank you so much.  I already enjoy working with each of you and now, well, now I am simply warmed by you.  Thank you.

Training starts in earnest on Saturday.
This Saturday is the first group ride.  I missed the kick-off party, so I have yet to meet my teammates in person.  I am excited to meet them, as our exchanges through email and our group site have shown that this will be a great group.  We will ride a nice short and flat ride around Sauvie Island.  A couple of teammates are meeting at my house and we are riding out to Sauvie to add a few miles to our day.  Without much time on the bike this month, I have a feeling that this usually easy ride will be a bit tough.  At the very least, the on-ramp to the St Johns bridge coming back will be a killer.  I love-hate that on-ramp.  Really.

Thanks for all the support.  I am one-tenth of the way to my goal, thanks to all of you.  You're awesome!

13 January 2010

Shout out!!!

I am very happy to give my first shout out to Bank of the West and Richard Pickwick!  Thank you soooo very much for your donations.  Thank you, Richard, for submitting my sponsorship packet to the bank and for your personal donation on top of theirs!  You and your company rock and on behalf of all those that are so desperately hoping for that cure, I thank you from my heart.  We all so very often take our mundane lives for granted, until something like cancer threatens to take it away.  Your generosity helps to fight back and say that each person's life means something...   thank you.  :)

12 January 2010

Everyone's Favorite Topic: Fundraising

Stuff you should know:

  • More than 75% of funds raised goes directly to LLS for Cancer Research and Programs
  • 100% of your donation is tax deductible
  • Even a $5 donation helps!  If you can, donate $5/month during the course of my training and you will have donated $25!  (A wee factoid: cappuccinos are not tax-deductible and have not been proven to do anything to fight cancer, but often cost more than $5.  Isn't that interesting?)
  • WATCH THIS SITE!!! I will be posting details of any fundraising events I hold (at least one wine tasting will be coming up), so keep an eye out. 
If you are wondering how to donate, just click that Donate Now button in the right side column and it'll walk you through it.  Super duper easy.  If you prefer to donate by check, please let me know and I can tell you where to send it.

If you want to join the cause or simply join me on one of my individual training rides, let me know...every kind of support helps!

If you know me, you know I am not a salesperson AT ALL and one of the things I hate most is asking for money.  However, this is a good cause that sells itself (in my opinion).  If you want more information, please visit the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's website.

08 January 2010

The Beginning

Regrettably (well, somewhat), I will miss the first group training session on 23 January, as I will be on a flight coming back from Hawaii (I know, no pity).  So, my first group training will take place the following Saturday, 30 January.

I will attempt to document how the group training rides were and throw in some entries for my individual rides from time to time, too.  I will also use this site to thank each and every person that supports me in this endeavor whether through a donation to LLS on my site (see My Fundraising Site link on the right) and/or just being there to cheer me on, inspire me, and put up with my whining!  Let's be honest, there will be whining.

So, here we go...wish me luck!