Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Finishing the Festive 500 and 2013

A friend asked me how many miles I had ridden this past year. Truthfully, I don't know. I do know how many miles I toured (close to 3000). I could figure out how many miles I raced. However, total miles training (I didn't Strava every ride), and just riding around--I have no idea. I don't really care either. I just know that I rode a lot, and I am stronger at the end of this year than I was at the end of 2012.

As for the Rapha Festive 500 (a Strava Challenge to ride 500km in 8 days, from Dec. 24th-31st), it started out badly. I had a flat and had no air to inflate my tire. I had to call my husband to bring me some air. Then, the next day, I had two flats! At least this time I was prepared with two tubes and a pump. Still, I didn't complete my planned ride. At that point, I saw a pattern emerging, and it wasn't good. I came home and swapped out the rear Gatorskin tire for a Gatorskin Hardshell. That solved the flat problems. The third ride was a Team Night Ride. It wasn't as long as usual, but we did a route we have never done in the dark. It was great to do something different. I got up early the next morning to meet Jean for a ride before she had to be at work. That was another 49 miles for me.

Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised when three other gals showed up for the Team Ride. This gave us the opportunity to do a women-only ride. We told the guys not to wait for us, we would do the route, but at our pace. We had a great ride, and even altered it to give us a few more miles.

Sunday, I was thrilled when Jean asked if I would like to join her and Ron for a 75 or so miler. We headed south and west to Porter, then to Malone, and over to McCleary. From there we did the reverse of part of the route I had done the day before (I had even told the gals, the day before, that I prefer the route in the opposite direction--lucky me, I got to do it!). Ron did a great job keeping my heartrate in the targeted zone for this time of year. I do so much better when the leader rides nice and steady! Even the few hills were not lung-busters (yes, I mean lung--legs are not usually the issue). By the time I got home I had ridden 81.2 miles and was a mere 9km from finishing the Festive 500. I could even take Monday off!

Just getting to the park for the start of today's ride put me over the top. Chip scheduled a New Year's Eve Day ride. At first it seemed it would just be Chip and I, but then Mark showed up. Then, joy of joy, Lauren pulled up! Yay! I would not be the only gal! Even though Lauren is much better than I am, I knew I at least stood a chance at not getting too far behind. Plus, I like riding with Lauren, and I don't get to often enough.

We had a great ride joking around with the guys (they thought they should go faster because we were still able to talk while keeping up behind them--Lauren informed them that women can always talk!). 

I finished the Festive 500 at 567km. I finished 2013 with a lot of great rides and tours! I was able to both tour and race. Racing gave me the fitness for touring, and touring fulfilled my need to see new places! All in all, a good year! Now, onto 2014 with more racing, and a tour of Europe! 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ice Ice Baby!

I say, "I don't like this! I don't like this!"  Chip says, "It'll give you something to write about!" I guess there's that...

We delayed today's ride until 11:00, but it was still only 25 degrees. Not such a big deal. I've been riding throughout this cold snap. I even rode Tessa, my race bike (I do a much better job keeping up). I've pretty much got the wardrobe down--starting from the feet: 2 pairs of socks, shoes, then two pairs of booties. Tights with bib shorts over (or bib tights with shorts over--depending on what is clean). Sleeveless wool base, long sleeve wool base, long sleeve jersey, and jacket. Buff around the neck, and one on the head. Finally, possum/Marino gloves, with lobster gloves over.

The plan was Case to Delphi (via 113th). Delphi up to Mima-Gate and down and across Hwy 12. The next left and over to Rochester. A few turns, and back over to Case. All was going just fine until we got a ways down Mima-Gate. The further south we got, the more snow there was still on the sides of the road. Then we saw a dreadful sign..."Caution--Icy Spots Ahead". Ah CRAP! NOT GOOD!

First there was just some white patches. Still, they made me nervous. I rolled through them ever so carefully. Then...as the road curved...well, it was covered in a sheet of ice! The ONLY thing that kept me from slipping was a strip of gravel. The whole time I was saying, under my breath, "I don't like this! I don't like this!" 

After that patch, there were more. Fortunately, nothing quite as bad, but still enough to keep me scared spitless. I fell behind (how did they go so fast???--which wasn't really fast, but faster than me!), but I didn't care! In fact, by myself, I could coast through the slippery parts without worrying about running into anyone.

We got to where we turn onto Moon Road and cross a set of railroad tracks. We usually stop for snack/pee breaks. I stopped, looked to my left and saw the whole area just before and over the tracks was ice. Even if we hadn't stopped, I would have. Since we were stopped, I got off my bike and walked it over the ice to the other side of the tracks.

The rest of Moon Rd wasn't too bad. Then we turned onto 183rd to more ice. Again, I took my time. By now I was singing a little "I don't like this!" song (to the tune of "Alouetta") everytime I had to ride through a patch. The group was waiting for me at the stop sign. Chip said, "Hey Colleen, look! More ice!" Yay...

At the stop light in Rochester, I said to Kyle, "Just so you know, I am NOT having a good time." But, after that, it was okay. We had no more patches of ice to ride through. I stayed with the group and made it back into town. I cut off at Tumwater Blvd. and rode the rest of the way home. 

I rode 55 miles. Most of the miles were not ice, but it seemed like they were, and I don't wish to repeat that ride anytime soon! NO MORE ICE ICE, BABY!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Finally, a Rest Day

Hi, my name is Colleen (group says, "Hi Colleen"). It's been 3 weeks since my last rest day.

Cycling can be an addiction. Especially when there is a Strava Challenge. If you aren't familiar with Strava, go to Strava.com and check it out.

The Strava Challenge that ended yesterday was the Pearl Izumi Fall Forty. The goal was to ride 40 hours in 3 weeks from Nov. 16th to Dec. 6th. Strava is worldwide, so, for some, this was maybe not such a big deal (it's summer Downunder). For many, it meant riding in less-than-ideal weather.

My goal was to ride 40 miles each day. That would give me some cushion if I had a day or two I couldn't ride. In the end, there were just two days where I was unable to ride at least 40 miles; the first day and the last day. I did ride every day. Most days were over 40 miles (a few even over 60). In fact, my average daily mileage was 49. I rode in glorious sunshine, but I also rode in the rain and freezing temps. I even rode in a bit of snow. In the end, I rode 67 hours 27 minutes. In the 21 days, I did 31 separate rides for a total of 1029.5 miles. 

So, how did I stack up to fellow participants? There were a total of 31,128 participants worldwide. Of those, 27,926 actually logged hours. Of those (men and women), I came in 57th. Among just the women (a paltry 1,815), I came in 3rd. I bow down to the 1st place woman who logged 73 hours 12 minutes and is from Longmont, CO (it's gotta be cold there!). I missed 2nd place by about 1 hour 45 minutes. The 2nd place woman was from Australia. An interesting fact: There was another Australian woman who was in 1st for more than half of the challenge. She rode 61+ hours in...4 back-to-back rides! I can see you are doing the math. Yes, that is 15+ hours for 4 days in a row! That's crazy! Remember, only actual moving time counts. The longest ride time I have ever done is 12+ hours. She must have worn herself out, because she never logged anymore hours, and therefore, lost her 1st place standing (kind of a Tortoise and Hare story). Finally, amongst the 9 teammates who signed up for the challenge, I came in 1st. One caveat: my standing could change as people have until Dec 9th to finish uploading their rides.

I am fully aware that a good part of why I was/am able to ride so much is due to not being gainfully employed. For that, I am very greatful. I am also more than happy to spend this day completely off the bike! Finally, a rest day!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The OOA Good Samaritan Night Ride

Baby, it's cold outside...really, really cold...mid 20s cold. But, freezing cold weather does not stop the intrepid night riders of the OOA Racing Team! Nope! 10 of us showed up to brave the cold. Last Tuesday it was also cold, and we went north. Normally, that would mean we would go south tonight, but I was on the trail south yesterday and it was not good. There were large patches of frosty white trail. I would rather do the hills of the north route than crash on the flat trail of the south. So, we went north again.

As we were hurtling along the trail between Martin Way and 26th, I was riding next to Henry. We were talking, when he says, "Was that a person laying on the side of the trail?" I hadn't seen anything, so I said I didn't know. Shortly after that, those behind us started shouting to hold up. We came to a stop, and the rest caught up and said there was a guy laying on the side of the trail, and shouldn't we go back and make sure he was okay. Of course we did.

As we came upon him, he was curled up on the side of the trail. He had a hat and coat on, but no gloves. It took awhile to wake him (for a second, I thought we were going to have to check for a pulse). Jean called 911. The guy sat up. He was clearly intoxicated (either that, or his favorite eau du toilette is alcohol). He wouldn't give us his name. The 911 operator said they would send someone out. Chip offered the guy his gloves, but the guy wouldn't take them. The operator said we could go (we offered to stay), so we wished the guy well, and continued on our ride. It was just way too cold to let someone sleep outside like that. There is a good chance he would have died of hypothermia by morning.

The rest of the ride was uneventful. We returned to the trail on the way back. The guy was gone--hopefully he is sleeping warm in a shelter. Us riders can sleep well tonight knowing we did a good thing. We choose to be out in the cold, but we are prepared. The guy might have made choices that put him out on the trail, but he was clearly not prepared.