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. 


03 February 2010


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!