Thursday, November 29, 2012

Who Turned up the Heat?

I thought for sure tonight's night ride would be in the rain. Not only did it not rain, but someone turned up the heat! It was in the low 50s tonight. I was way over-dressed! I took my red jacket off at the start. I wished I had not worn my "Live Long and Prosper" gloves. I was still plenty warm enough and even unzipped my purple jacket.

Even with the good weather, there were only 5 of us. We headed back up the trail with the boys keeping up a rather brisk pace. By the time we got to the Fones Rd crossing, Jean and I were falling behind. Jean caught up to me at the crossing, then we caught up to the guys once they realized we weren't with them anymore and they slowed down...a bit. Once we caught up, they resumed their peppy pace. Jean and I kept up pretty good for awhile then Jean's fender was getting severly clogged with pine needles. At the second Waldrick crossing, Brad had to turn back. Ron and Jean took the opportunity to get the needles out of their front fenders (they both had to take off their front wheels). The four of us continued to the trail junction turn around. On the way back, the guys were, once again, picking up the pace. Coming back, the trail trends down, plus the wind was a little more at our backs.

I think Jean thought she was just going slower tonight (when her fender was clogged she was), but really, the guys were going faster. My average speed when I got home was 16.9 mph. That is the fastest average of all the night rides I've done--and the warmest!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Great Day for Picking up Racing Tips

I can't pass up a sunny day in November. These days are rare. As luck would have it, a few of the OOA gals had the day off today (or were able to get a sitter for their munchkins). They were meeting at 11:00 at Ralph's Thriftway. Cindy and I had already planned to ride, but when we saw the post for this ride, we opted to join them instead of going by ourselves.

We started out with 8 of us gals! I don't think I have ever been on a ride with 8 women and 0 guys! Except for the special team rides (like the "Meet the Team" or "Turkey Ride"), there is never that many women.

We headed over to the Westside via West Bay Drive. There is a steep nasty hill to go up off West Bay. We made it to the top, but were missing Carrie and Cindy. We waited for a bit and when they didn't show, what did we do? We went back down!!! Now, I have been accused of being "hardcore" when it comes to cycling. But, next to these women I am a lump of jello that hasn't quite set up! They are the true definition of hard core and...I...truthfully...aspire to be them (although, currently, I mostly just perspire). When it appeared Cindy and Carrie had turned around (later found out Carrie's chain was stuck on the big ring and Cindy's knee was giving her fits--she's having surgery on it this Friday--now, that's hardcore!), we went back up the hill...*gasp* *wheeze*! Actually, it was easier the second time...slightly.

We did my favorite French Loop Rd. It gives nice views of the water from a quiet one lane road. Someday I'll have to take my camera and go out there just to take some photos. After French Loop we crossed Cooper Point Rd. and continued on past Evergreen State College to Mud Bay and then down Delphi. Lauren and I were leading which was great because it is a nice downhill and I could go as fast as I wanted (when I am not in the lead I usually have to brake because, as we all know, weight always wins on the downhill).

We rode all of Delphi (which, coincidently, took me past the scene of the crash a few weeks ago--no crash today--YAY!) to 110th. Then into Littlerock and back north on Maytown Rd. We turned on Case Rd up to 93rd, stayed on Case to 113th. We did the mostly-up rollers of 113th to Tilley, then continued straight onto McCorkle. There are two big back-to-back hills on McCorkle. I always get dropped on these hills. This time I started up the hills at the front as I knew I would end up at the back before the top. I think the other gals must have wanted me to feel like I'm getting better, and thus went slower, because I made it to the top still in the front! Shocking!!! Jen caught me just as I got to the top. Coming down, she was pedaling and I coasted past her (that weight thing again).

At Hwy 99 we rode to Rich Rd. Usually I peel off at 89th and head over to the trail and home. Today I stayed with the group to Yelm Hwy, then turned for home. If I didn't have another 10 miles to ride tonight for a meeting, I probably would have stayed with them all the way back to the start. It was THAT good of a day!

As for the racing tips, as we were riding, Lauren was telling me some of what a race is like and the things we will practice once we start training for the race season. One great thing she said (that she heard from Derek), and that I will try to remember, is that, no matter who you are (Cat 1 or Cat 4), everyone is in the same amount of pain...some can just go faster in that amount of pain.

Total miles: 48

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Some Photos From the GGG Ride

Here are some photos Taryn took. As you can see, it was a beautiful day!

Ridin' With the GGGs...

Or...O' Christmas Trees, O' Christmas Trees, You Really Are So Plentiful!

Today was an out-of-the-ordinary, super-fantastic day! I had seen a post on Facebook by Taryn (founder and GGG extraordinaire of Go Get It Gals--check out her website: ) about a GGG ride starting in Mossyrock. Well, as some know, I no longer have a car, so I responded that I would be interested in going, but would need a ride. I'd be happy to pitch in for gas if there was someone with room for me and my bike. Taryn said she had room (in the Go Get It Gal Van of Awesomeness). I met up with her and Michelle (another great GGG) in Tumwater. Taryn fit all three of our bikes in the back of the GGGVofA and we headed south to Mossyrock. Mossyrock is the home of the fourth member of today's GGG Posse, Peggy.

Taryn, Michelle, and Peggy (along with three other gals) had done a GGG cycling tour in France this last summer (Taryn is putting together another Conquer the Cols Tour for this next summer. I encourage you all to check it out at It was great fun to hear about their tour and even more fun to ride with them. Peggy put together an excellent DVD that we watched after our ride.

We left from Peggy's house just as the last bit of fog was burning off to reveal a lovely blue-sky November day. Temps were in the upper 40s, but we were dressed warmly (a little too warmly as the day went on). We first rode into Mossyrock itself. We wound up, down, this way, and that until I couldn't even tell which direction we were heading. I absolutely love these kinds of rides where I have no idea where I am! I only knew we were near Riffe Lake and Lake Mayfield. We ended up going around Lake Mayfield and past Ike Kinswa State Park where we camped when Kyle was little. We were on rural roads going past farm after farm. I don't know how many Christmas Tree farms we went past, but it was a lot! At one they were harvesting trees. The fragrance of fresh cut fir was definitely in the air (kind of like having one of those pine tree things hanging from your rear view mirror, except better).

We rode about 32 miles in a loop, then came back to Peggy's where she treated us to a delicious lunch (she called it a snack) of macaroni salad, pineapple, and banana bread.

After watching the DVD, we piled the bikes back into the GGGVofA and headed back to Olympia. Taryn dropped me at home just as the late afternoon sun was starting to set. What a great day with great women! They are some awesome Go Get It Gals!

I didn't take my camera (I meant to, but forgot). Taryn took photos though. Perhaps she will put them on the Go Get It Gals website...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Turkey Ride...

Or...All Roads Lead to Pie!

And, the longer the road, the more pie it leads to!

Yes, some people are happy to sit at home watching a parade, some football, and maybe even a dog show. Me? I'd rather do a preemptive strike against the calories I will be consuming later on in the day. And, if this strike can also benefit those less fortunate among us who just want to have some calories to eat...all the better.

Today's ride was put together by Dave from the OOA Team to benefit the Thurston County Food Bank. It's a win win. We ride so we can eat more and we also ride so others can eat more too.

We met at 10:00 at Tumwater Falls Park. Dave took donations to give to the food bank in the name of the OOA/CBC Racing Team. There were over 20 people--mostly team folks, but a few extras too (including family in town for Thanksgiving). We also picked up a few CBC club riders. OOA women were well represented (not all of us are stuck in the kitchen cooking all day!).

We headed South to Tenino then on Crowder Rd. to Skookumchuck and Johnson Creek. About half of the group headed back at Tenino (that's one of the great things about these rides--there is almost always a shorter route for those with limited time). Once we got back to 507 we rode along 507 for a short bit to Military Rd. From Military it was on to Waldrick. This was actually the first time I have ridden this section of Waldrick. Usually I'm on the trail, but the trail is not good right now for a large group of riders. We rode Waldrick to Stedman and Stedman to Rainier Rd. The group turned at Firtree, but I just continued on Rainier and headed home.

Apparently there is a pie eating contest. The person who eats the most pies by midnight tonight, wins (I don't know what--a bloated stomach???). I heard DJ say he was going for 4 pies! Damn these guys who can eat like that and still drop me with no effort whatsoever! I figure with a 3 hour, 53 mile ride at an average speed of 17.4 mph, I earned a "reasonable" dinner including a PIECE of pumpkin pie!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone (I am especially thankful to those of you who faithfully read my blog)!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Ahhhh yes, the vocalizations of the group night ride. Especially after a wind and rain storm from the day before.

Even though I had ridden on the trail in broad daylight earlier today, it did nothing to prepare me for riding through the debris in the dark. A little bit freaky. I met up with Jean where the Chehalis Western meets the Woodland Trail. We rode the rest of the way to the start where we met up with the guys (except Brad who met up with us as we headed back up the trail).

Through certain sections there was a constant chorus of, "Stick, branch, stick, whoa...tree!". I hung back to give myself maneuvering room. Since we were 7, I had the freedom to move back and forth when I was off the back. I still managed to keep up until we got to the roundabout on Rainier (the one section of road we go on to get back to the trail). Then there was a car coming through the roundabout so I waited. No problem--I caught back up back on the trail. It was also raining at that time...then it stopped.

We made it to our usual turnaround at the trail junction. Jean had so much stuff in her front wheel, she had to take it off to clean it out. I really like my new fenders. Stuff doesn't seem to accumulate like it did with the old fenders. Yay!

On the way back, I was following Ron when I saw him jump his bike over a couple of large-ish branches (almost tree size if you ask me). I just, automatically, did the same. Perfect!

I even took a turn at the front with Chip. It was actually less stressful as I could see the branches better. All in all, it was a pretty decent ride. If nothing else, I learned I can roll over a whole bunch of *#%# and still come out upright! I'm sure it won't be the last ride of this kind!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Getting Back on the night no less! If I'm going to be honest, it was a little nerve wracking at first, but then it was okay. It helped that the weather was perfect for a November night ride--no rain, and temps in the mid 40s.

There were 7 of us. For a change, the gals outnumbered the guys! I found I was most comfortable hanging off the back. I kept a healthy distance from the rider in front of me. I was also comfortable if I was in the front (Michelle and I lead for awhile up to the turnaround point). The best part was that my knee felt good. My butt felt good for most of the ride (double padding, tights over shorts did the trick). I was starting to feel it toward the end, so 38 miles is maybe it for a couple more days. Tomorrow's ride is 62 miles, but there are ways to shorten it, so I think it will be fine.

It's great to be back in the saddle again!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

50 Shades of...

...Black and Blue!

Below is a photo of my legs 2 days post crash--a whole lotta bruisin' goin' on. *WARNING* It ain't pretty.

I took my wheel in to the shop yesterday. The diagnosis was grim. The rim was dead. The boys at the shop rose to the challenge, but she just couldn't be saved. Fortunately, they had two options in stock for replacement. One had even been hand built at the shop. I went with that wheel. It's a Mavic Sport double-walled aluminum. It's durable and should perform well should I happen to find myself in another crash situation (which, although I would really prefer not to, is possible).

The front fender was also broken. Since no one sells just one road fender, I had to get a new set. I got SKS Raceblade Long. I have SKS fenders on Stella and I've been very happy with them. The old fenders were always rubbing anyway. The Raceblades go on in such a way as to minimize the chance of rubbing.

So, the bike is all fixed and ready to go. As for me? I've done a bit on Stella. As long as I don't pedal too fast, and I wear a good pair of PADDED bike shorts, it's not too bad (not to worry, there will be no photos of THAT bruise).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Number 3 in about 35,000

Third crash in about 35,000 miles of riding. Those odds aren't too bad if you ask me.

Today's group ride started out good. It was raining, but not too hard and it was warmer than the past couple of mornings. We headed over toward Delphi on Sapp Rd. One guy got a flat, but we were close to his house so he just rode home and got a new wheel. That gave me time to get to the top of the Sapp hill without getting behind. Then I got behind on the hill up 62nd to Delphi, but Sergio got a flat so I was able to catch up.

We took off again. As we were approaching Alpine Dr, a lady looked like she was going to pull out in front of us. The lead guy (Tim) braked quickly. Manek tried to stop, but hit Tim, and I braked and tried to swerve to the right of Manek, but Manek was also swerving right, and I hit Manek. Both him and I went down. I got up pretty quickly, but Manek did not. 911 was called (and came really quickly!). By the time the EMTs got there, Manek was sitting up. They put him on the stretcher to take him over to the rig to check I'm out. He, fortunately, seemed to be okay, except, maybe his elbow.

I picked up my bike to get it out of the road. Unfortunately, the front wheel wouldn't roll. Diagnosis was a broken spoke and a severely out of true wheel. Even with the front brake open, the wheel wouldn't roll freely. I made a couple of phone calls, but no one was available. The friendly firefighters said they would arrange to take me and my bike home. Manek's wife picked him up.

Once Manek was taken care of, and I filled out an accident report for the sheriff, the EMTs loaded my bike in the back of the rig and they drove me home. Turns out the young EMT (or fire fighter) who rode in the back with me went to school with my son Dillon.

As for my body, my left knee and lower leg are scraped a bit and I have a whopper bruise. My right leg also has a lovely bruise as well has my left shoulder--nothing a little ice and ibuprofen won't cure. As soon as I get my wheel fixed, I'll be back on the road.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Bit on the Chilly Side

Tonight was a great evening for another night ride. This time there were 8 or 9 of us. We did the same route as last time, but this time the leaves had been swept off the trail--YAY! We were able to go faster overall. It's amazing what you can do when you can see the trail!

It was also a little colder than last time. Actually, it was quite a bit colder. I exchanged last time's short sleeve wool base for a long sleeve wool base yet, I was not the slightest bit sweaty when I got home. However, my feet stayed toasty and, although my hands were numb, they felt warm when I took my gloves off.

Did I mention how much I like riding in the dark? It's even more fun with a group. I love the pace--fast enough to keep me working--slow enough to chat and get to know the people in the group. The 2 1/2 hours seem to fly by!

It was another 38 miles, but this time the average was 16.7!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Following the Blinking Light

Tonight I did my first night ride with a few members of the team. I'm no stranger to night riding, but I have generally been alone and just riding to get somewhere (commuting).

The night rides meet at the Eastside Trailhead of the Woodland Trail. I left my house and rode the trail to the trailhead. There were five of us tonight--3 guys, 2 gals. I knew Ron and Jean and met Chris and Brad (add two more to my roster of names I'm learning).

We headed back the way I had come up the Woodland Trail to the Chehalis Western Trail. When I was making my way to the start, there were some places where I really slowed down because I couldn't see the trail amongst all the leaves (it's really dicey when the trail curves slightly--then I really wasn't sure if I was in the middle of the trail or coming close to the edge). Going back up was not as hard because all I had to do was follow the blinking light in front of me! Plus the lead guys are great at calling out obstacles and stuff.

We rode as far south as the trail junction with the Yelm/Tenino Trail. There we turned around and headed back. I headed home from the bridge over Yelm Hwy.

By the time I got home, I had ridden 38.8 miles with an average of 16.1 mph. Due to the slower nature of riding in the dark, I was able to keep up easily. It was fun and I'll definitely do it again!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lesson Learned the Hard Way

Today I rode with yet another group of Olympia riders (well, in truth, there was quite a bit of overlap). Today was the "Friday Group". This group rides every Friday from Ralph's Thriftway. I think there is some variance in the time--today the meeting time was 11:00.

Since I knew the ride was going to be at least 3 hours, I thought I should have a snack before I went. So, I had an apple with peanut butter...lots of peanut butter...too much peanut butter.

The ride over to Ralph's was fine. I had plenty of time, so I wasn't pushing too much--just warming up. I met up with the group and saw many familiar faces (especially amongst the women). By the time we headed out there were about 12 of us, and half of us were women.

The loop we were doing was Johnson Creek (actually Johnson Creek Rd itself is just a 3 or 4 mile part on the route). I felt pretty good as we cruised south and picked up the trail near Fir Tree. I was having a great conversation with Larry who just got back from Africa.

As we made the sharp right from the Chehalis Western to the Yelm/Tenino Trail, I realized I had picked up a few pounds of fir needles between my fender and wheel. We stopped at the turn to go across 507 and onto Johnson Creek Rd. I was able to get most of the needles out of the fenders. During the stop, I noticed I was getting a side-ache and a tiny bit lightheaded. I ate a Shot Block and then we headed up Johnson Creek. The lightheaded feeling went away as soon as I started riding again, but the side-ache got worse. I slowed down considerably going up the hill as I was having a bit of trouble getting a deep breath. The group pulled ahead, but they slowed down and let me catch up. Adam let me hook on to his wheel and I drafted behind him back to the group. When I didn't have to work as hard, the cramping would dissipate a little.

I think what caused the cramping was eating too much protein before the ride (in the form of peanut butter). I have had this happen before (case in point, the "Side-ache Sandwich" from Berry Fields Cafe--Crab and Provolone on toasted sour dough--and, usually...okay...all the time, followed by dessert--enough to give anyone a side-ache!), but not after eating an apple and peanut butter. I guess the difference is that after that much protein, I usually don't hammer the pedals quite so hard.

Anyway, I was able to keep up okay on the flats and I would get dropped on the hills. Someone would always drift back let me hook on to their wheel and pull me back to the group. Once I was in the middle of the pack, I could maintain the speed even with the side-ache.

I peeled off for home at Capital and North Street. I made it home just before the rain started. I clocked 62 miles with an average of 17.2 mph.

So now I know. Don't eat too much protein BEFORE a ride. From now on, I'll stick to a snack of carbs! Lesson learned!