thumbing my ride…

June 15, 2010

So, I am out of the Livestrong Ride this Saturday due to a busted up thump and hand.   I feel on my left thumb/hand when I said hello to that blackberry bush during the Ski to Sea race on 5/30.  It swelled all up and hurt bad for quite a while.  Just as it was starting to get better, I tripped and fell on it again this Saturday (wine might have been involved).  Now it is back to being swollen with a bit of blue for color.  Went to the doctor, and the good news is I didn’t break anything in there.  The bad news is  –  it is a tendon injury and I need to keep weight off of it for three weeks.  I am not even supposed to open a jar.  Great.  It finally got sunny and I have to go back to a stationary bike for a few weeks.

I might try my sit upright commuter bike with the really good disc brakes (so I only need to use one) to commute to work.  But sustained rides are out for a bit.  It is a bummer.  At least I helped raise a wee bit of money to fight cancer, which was the whole point anyways.

So, I will set my sights on the Tour de Whatcom.   I did the 25 miles distance last year with my 8 year old son.  He did the whole thing on a mountain bike!  He wants to do it again this year.  We bought him a 24″ wheel road bike last summer (old steel peugeot ) and he is looking forward to riding that this year.  He wants to do the 50 – but not sure he’d finish it.  Maybe next year!

I am also going to think about the Chuckanut Century, maybe try to do at least the 50.  We shall see.

In the meantime, once the thumb heals up, I am going to start training here  (but ummm, much much sloowwweerrr…)!


Test for Ski to Sea

May 27, 2010

The ski to sea race is this Sunday (May 30).  I have not had much time to train, so I wanted to go out and do a test run to see  how bad I might be this Sunday.  (The Ski to Sea is a relay race from Mt. Baker to Bellingham, Bay.  You can find a cool write up on it at USA Today.)

The Mountain Bike leg of the ski to sea is mostly urban assault riding probably due to the fact that we have to ride between the take out point for the canoe leg to the put in point for the kayak leg – and there are no mountians between those two points.  So, to make it different than the road bike leg of the race, the course (in addition to gravel road and pavement) goes over spongy fields, some muddy single track, and makes you ride a section of railroad tracks.  All in all, it is 14 miles long.

You cannot ride the course ahead of time – due to portions of it that are on private property.  Last year, they let everyone do a practice ride on Saturday the day before the race.    This year, they aren’t going to let us ride the course ahead of time. 

So, I had to find another location to do my “time trial.”  I picked the gravel path around Lake Padden.  An image from Map My Ride is below (CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO GET THE FULL SIZE MAP).  I thought this location would be a good choice because the Ski to Sea course is not technical (except in a very few spots) and a good portion of the course is on gravel paths and some pavement.    There are no spongy fields around Padden, but if you go around 4 times, you have to climb about 900 feet of elevation total – and there is only 250 feet of elevation gain over the length of the Ski to Sea course.  So, I figured it was a trade off.

I did four laps around the course in the pouring rain on Tuesday after work with no snacks and no water bottle.  My mileage was just over 11 miles and I finished it in 44 minutes.  This includes slowing down for the numerous folks who were out there walking with their dogs and stopping to drink from the one water fountain I found that worked.    That isn’t too bad.  I think that maybe now I won’t make a fool of myself on Sunday.

My goal is to finish in 1 hour 15 minutes.

“Can’t Do” mentality

April 12, 2010

I have been trying to get myself motivated to train – and through this effort discovered something about my attitude.  Simply put – it ain’t good.

Since my diagnosis about a year ago, and especially following my surgery, I have had a “can’t-do” mentality.  I can’t go for a hike, I can’t kick the ball around with my kids, I can’t ride at the bmx track, I can’t play softball, I can’t ride up that hill out of the saddle, I can’t walk to the store, etc.     

My hips have hurt me on and off since I was a teenager, but I never believed I couldn’t do something.  I just worked around it and went on as best I could.  I didn’t worry; I didn’t question too much (or at all really); I just thought about being outdoors and about having fun.   I got on my bike and felt like this: 

 Now I find that I worry and ‘what-if’ and question and doubt.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  I want my ‘can-do’ attitude back. 

A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.” – Albert Einstein

42 road + 15 dirt does not quite equal 71

March 31, 2010

I hated to make this decision – but I have decided to downgrade my road ride in the Livestrong Challenge Ride to 42 miles.  I have thought long and hard about this – and my work and family schedule have just not provided me enough time to train properly for a 71 mile ride that includes a pretty good sized climb.  In addition, my left hip (non-operated side) has gone downhill quickly the last month.  It will most likely be going under the knife in September.  So, I don’t want to put too much pressure on it heading into surgery. 

But although I have removed 30 road miles from my upcoming plans (and a big hill), I have added 15 miles of dirt (a.k,a. fun).  I am going to be taking part in Bellingham’s annual Ski to Sea Race.   It is a relay from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay and includes almost every type of recreational activity one can imagine.  I participated on our corporate team last year.  This was our team photo last year (which I took):

The one with the green “hat” is me.  Last year I did the canoe leg – 18 miles of paddling on the Nooksack river.  It was a long long long way to paddle a canoe.   This year I’ll be doing the mountain bike leg!  It is 15 miles and the course is not too challenging.  Since I have personally seen several folks finish the coarse dressed as giant strawberries or in gorrila suits, I think I can pull it off.  It should be a lot of fun.

First ride – the (sortof)event

January 3, 2010

It has been about three months since I have been on any bicycle.  Friday was supposed to be my first ride post surgery – I even had a route planned and everything (see previous post).  It wasn’t an epic (2 whole miles) but I was looking forward to it.  And then – we got to start the new year with a typical winter day in Bellingham.   The full stats from weather underground can be viewed here.  In summary – steady rain, 45 degress F, sustained winds of 25-30mph from the south, gusting (often!) to 50 mph.  

So, I moped around the house until my husband suggested that I take the bike up and down the street, at least.  I got the commuter bike out (since it has a full set of lights on it) and took off down the street in the pouring rain.  It was so great to be back on the bike!  The hip felt great – almost no pain while peddling on the flats.  I flew down the street (heading north) with almost no effort at all.  Until…I turned around into the 30 mph head wind.  I had to downshift and peddle pretty hard, but I made it back to the house and still didn’t have any pain in the hip while on the bike.  It was raining pretty hard and had gotten dark – so the only picture I have of the event is below.   That is me riding the bike you can barely see with the bright front head light.

 This wasn’t what I had planned – but it wasn’t a total disaster.  I now have SOME hope for June.


December 18, 2009

I am often unmotivated to find time to ride. I’d like to think this is because I work hard at my job, am married with three kids, and have a busy life. More likely it is due to my love of warm socks, comfortable chairs and good (but cheap) red wine. I have a tremendous amount of personal inertia. I always plan for later. But now I worry that at some point in the future, I won’t be able to ride anymore. Fear is a good motivator.

I had hip surgery in October, and am now in recovery mode. It hasn’t been quick or easy, I still limp much of the time. I had been feeling sorry for myself until I spent some time reading a really great blog – Fat Cyclist – over the weekend. If you have time, check it out – it is in my blog list. Feeling like an asshole for feeling sorry for yourself is a great motivator.

So, I signed up for the Livestrong challenge ride (70 miles) in Seattle in June. I do not want to embarrass myself. So, I plan to train hard. I don’t want to get smoked by some guy in his sixties riding a single speed bike. Humiliation appears to be the ultimate motivator.