Thursday, September 11, 2014

What's Next, Elevation Profiles, & Never Forget

What's Next:  The short answer -  I'm not sure.  But that doesn't make for a very good blog post.  So I'll try to explain a bit of the longer answer.

So while my knee is generally okay with cycling, it's not generally been okay with much else.  I called the orthopedic to get things started to get going with my next series of injections.  Depending on when those are ready to go, one of the following scenarios is likely to occur:

If they can be ready to go by Oct 17:  Will plan to attempt to commute to one day of Balloon Fiesta by bike, weather permitting and if I get a suitable light for my bike.  Husband will attempt the century at Day of Tread and I will sit that one out. Hopefully my knee will be in good shape for light hiking by mid November.

If they can't be ready to by Oct 17th. Will still plan to commute to one day of Balloon Fiesta by bike. Husband & I will likely attempt the half-century at Day of Tread. Light hiking won't be possible by mid-November, but I'll try to set up the injections to begin immediately after Thanksgiving.

Elevation Profiles:  Just to give some idea what the "short course" ride was like.  The scale isn't the same between the two graphs.  Trust me, day 2 was much more challenging.
Day 1 - 36.8 miles, short steep climbs beginning and end, overall not too bad
Day 2 - 38.1 miles, due to scale it's deceiving - long steady climb first 10 miles, remainder easy peasy
Never Forget:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pedal Los Pueblos Reflections

packing up to head out
Packed up on Friday to head up to Pojaque, NM which is where the home base for each day of the MS ride was located.  The elevation is higher than it is for us at home.  We're at about a mile above sea level and the start location was closer to 7800 mi above sea level. I was nervous about the elevation as well as the hills more so than the distance that we planned to ride.
Day 1 in team jerseys
It's a fully supported charity ride for MS.  There are rest stops roughly every 10 miles. The first day had distance options of 36, 58, 88, and 100.  The second day had distance options of 40 and 58.  Last year, Husband did 58+40.  This year, I joined him for the ride and insisted on the shortest distances, 36+40.  He's quite a trooper and was fine planning to ride shorter and slower so that we could ride together.  We we part of a corporate team, with me clearly being the least fit on the team, so we didn't ride with the other folks.  But our small team of 14 riders raised almost $8000 for MS and it was pretty cool to be a part of a team rather than an individual rider.  Plus our team jerseys rocked!I was pretty happy to see the finish line on day 1 feeling good.  The weather forecast for that day seemed iffy: it was grey clouds overhead when we started and chance of thundershowers.  Instead, we actually had a nice ride day.  The clouds were welcome to keep the relentless high altitude sun off our skin and the temps comfortable.  All in all, it was a nice day to ride.

Finish line on day 1
We actually booked a 50 minute soak and 90 minute massage Saturday afternoon at a spa up in the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  That was a really nice treat and it did wonders to loosen everything up and prepare us for day 2.

Ready for Day 2
The majority of our company team wore last year's team jerseys for day 2, but I didn't ride last year and didn't have one.  Husband opted for his tier 2 fundraising jersey from last year and I wore one with orange for MS.  This made it hard for us to be identified from a team perspective, but since we weren't really riding with the others, it didn't seem like it mattered too much.  Plus a lot of repeat riders that had earned the fundraising jersey had chosen to wear it that day, so Husband fit in with that theme.
Made it to rest stop 1!!

I felt amazingly good on day 2 and was hopeful for a good outcome!The skies were clear for day 2, so it was cooler in the morning and the sun was back to it's relentless self.

earned my medal
Husband had told me the night before to just focus on getting to the first rest stop.  The first segment was the most challenging of the day and after that it would be relatively easy.  He wasn't kidding! That first segment was tough!  But I made it. It was also extremely scenic.  Lots of opportunities to stop and take a photo, but I was afraid I'd have a hard time getting going again if we stopped, so we just took it in as we observed it.

About midway through the ride, of of my colleagues joined us as his wife had opted for the longer route.  It was nice to have company and new conversation to finish off the ride.

All-in-all it was a good weekend.  I was also happy to see that I had raised a total of $505 for MS, which is what the weekend was really all about.  And I proved that you can just be a middle aged woman with an exercise habit and still complete an event like this.  Win-win!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Riding, riding, riding...

I didn't tally everything for August, but I did tally my bike mileage: 279.6 miles total for the month.

Rode a little over 120 miles over the long weekend.  I won't bore you with details, but I have had some successes and some failures and have come to the following conclusions:

  • I will probably do okay the first day of the MS ride, but the second day will be a real struggle for me. 
  • I will need to focus on replenishing spent calories after each ride to avoid "tapping out" afterwards.

I've happy to say that I've met my original fundraising goal, but now I'm actually trying to beat my husband's amount and I'm about $80 short.  You can find out more about MS and why I'm riding here: Lisa's MS Fundraising Page.  As I try to remind my friends and family, don't mistake me for an athlete, I'm actually just a middle aged woman with an exercise habit, and probably the least fit of the folks that I'm riding with next weekend. The MS ride will be a challenge for me, but less of a challenge than those faced with MS deal with on a daily basis.

It's not too late if you'd like to sponsor me on my ride.  No donation is too small.  Just ten cents per mile that I plan to ride that weekend works out to a donation of $7.60.  Best of all, no ice required. ;-)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

It's complicated...

Friday afternoon -  went to packet pick-up and got (among other things) my VERY pink shirt for the event. Assembled my stuff and got my bike number put onto my bike.

very PINK event shirt

bike ready to go with number
I don't know about you, but when I do a repeat event, I start thinking about previous years.  That's where things got complicated for me.  I remember getting a calf cramp last year.  I remember that Husband was out of town doing the MS ride.

Then I remembered the call from my sister.  The one where she told me that she had seen mom for the first time since Christmas and didn't recognizer her.  That she had lost a lot of weight and was weak and in a wheelchair. And that she probably wouldn't make it though the next year. And a flood of memories and emotions all came back.  I told Husband that I wasn't sure that I wanted to do this event this year because it now had some bad memories associated with it.  But I decided that if I slept well, I'd just do it anyway.

This morning I got up, got dressed, and started packing the car and had an emotional melt down.  I went back to bed and cried for awhile. Then I decided to get going and go do this.  I was running out of time and it was now or never.  So I grabbed my keys got in the car and headed on my way. the midst of the melt down I guess I forgot to put my helmet in the car (d'oh!). When I showed up at the venue fairly last minute without my helmet, I decided that it simply wasn't meant to be this year and turned around and went home.  Yes, I'm sure there were work-around options. I'm probably not the first person to show up without a helmet and probably could have borrowed or bought one this morning at the site, but my heart just wasn't in it.

We're now on plan B for the day, a bike ride with Husband.

Maybe the aqua-bike or tri will happen for me next year. But this year I'm a DNS.

Updated to add:

Plan B turned out to be a 32 mile bike ride on a path that was mostly new to me.  I really enjoyed it.  So at the end of the day, it's all good.  No harm; no foul.  Here are a few photos from the ride:

potty stop at a library.  bathroom mirror selfy fail. hahah

our bikes resting at a pit stop

a cool looking old tree.  love the bark pattern.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend Day 2 - RailRunner Bike Tour

If you haven't read my post about Weekend Day 1, consider reading about Saturday's training adventure there first.

All caught up now?  Good.

Bikes on top of the car ready to go before sunrise
Today's adventure required us to get up at stupid-o-clock in the morning because the RailRunner ride was scheduled to begin at 6:30am and it's about a 45 minute drive from our house to the start point.

I'm really not sure why they thought it was important to start THAT early in the morning for a 40 mile ride, but it is what it is.  Part of the reason we opted to participate in the event was to give us a solid day2 ride in prep for the MS ride in early September

A variety of types of riders participated
This event has a photographer and I'm hoping there is at least one good photo of Husband & I.  I really liked one of the photos last year and apparently the event folks did too because they used it on their event page!  Anyway, I didn't take many photos today, just focussed on riding.  I am including this one that shows some of the diverse types of riders that participated (tandem and hand bikes shown) The majority were road bikes, of course, but we also saw a few mountain bikes and recumbents.

Unlike the course we rode Saturday, this course is mostly flat, with one section starting around mile 23 or so that had some slow gradual climbing.  We started off surprisingly strong, averaging 17.5 mph until the first aid station.  Slowed down a bit after that. And I was pretty slow on that climb part. Overall average ride speed (when moving) ended up being 15 mph for the ride, 2 hours and 31 minutes.  We ended up stopping three times, two aid stations plus one stop that we added.  No flats today.  Yay!  Also, it's worth mentioning that the course was very well marked and had alert and helpful volunteers.  Thank you!!

I should have mentioned that I had one of the worst nights sleep in a long time last night.  I was pretty tired when it was time to go and I was very low on energy once we got back home. Took a nap, but I'm still dragging.  Hopefully I'll sleep better than that in between day 1 and day 2 of the MS ride otherwise that 2nd day is going to be very difficult.  I decided to order a white noise machine to help with my sleeping issues.  I hope it works.  It's small enough to take with me when I travel too.  More on that later.  Should arrive Wednesday.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekend Day 1 - Aqua-Bike training day

out of breath after loop 2
Given that the Aqua-bike is a week from today, I figured maybe it would be good to ride the course.  And since we're doing the MS ride in a few weeks, we decided to ride the course twice.

I wanted to give my wardrobe choice a trial run as well.  I decided to go with tri shorts and a bathing suit top with a shirt over it.

The tri shorts were okay although I obviously prefer bike shorts. The bathing suit top however is a no-go.  I found it to be very uncomfortable.  I think I'l wear a run-bra thing with a shirt over it instead.

My race times on this course have varied from 42-46 minutes.  I did it in about 43 minutes the first time today and 48 the second.  It's a short, but moderately hilly route.  I feel confident now going into the bike part of the aqua-bike next weekend and I learned that I need alternate wardrobe choice.  From that perspective, it was a good training experience!

True be told, I haven't been swimming laps since sometime in 2013.  I should probably at least check my goggles to make sure they don't leak.  Yeah, you may have noticed that I'm not really all that serious about training for this event.  It's really just for fun anyway and news flash, I'm not going to win anyway. :-D

Tomorrow we have an early wake-up for the 40 mile ride event that we entered.  It has a 6:30 start time and the starting line is about a 45 min drive from our house.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Three (mostly) successful rides

partly cloudy skies!
Thursday - Solo ride of a local 16.5 mile route with some hills.  The weather was quite nice, partly cloudy which is a treat for us in central New Mexico. I was feeling good and had four tubes, a bike pump, and two C02 cartridges just in case I had flat tire issues so that I wouldn't have to call for a ride home.  Ride started out well, but noticed front tire getting soft on the back part of the ride.

Rather than deal with it on the road, I rode on it carefully.  Tire pressure was down to 60psi at home; it was a slow leak not an all out flat. I put in a new tube *and* a new tire on the front. My bike is now sporting a matched set of Vredstein Fortezza tricomp tires. Was another frustrating ride experience, but it is what it is.

new front tire
Saturday - The plan was to complete a ~44 mile route with husband that includes much of the upcoming bike tour route.  I checked to see how my new front tire/tube was holding up before we left the house and it was in good shape.

I'm happy to say that we completed the full route as planned this time. Hit some debris under a bridge at ~mile 32 and had to change the front tube, otherwise an uneventful ride. I felt pretty good when we got home and was encouraged about our planned day 2 ride.  We really need that second day of training since the MS ride is two hilly days in a row, but we don't usually ride consecutive days in training.

ready for day 2
Sunday - Chose a local 18.5 mile route with hills to ride with husband with hills. Neither one of us was all that happy about being on our bikes for a second day in a row (saddle soreness), but once we got going it wasn't too bad. However, it quickly became clear that hills are going to be a challenge for me. Was struggling on the hills and was exhausted afterwards when we got home.

I'll admit, the struggle I had with the second day of riding was discouraging. However, I'm not ready to give up.  I'm just really glad that we're doing the back-to-back riding in training so that I'm in better shape the day of the event.  Besides, "Life's not about limiting your challenges, but challenging your limits."  Right? RIGHT?!?

So here's the plan for the upcoming week:

  • Thursday - Solo ~16-20 miles with hills
  • Saturday - Ride the 15 mile course (aquabike is the following week) with husband - possibly starting from home to add some distance?
  • Sunday - RailRunner 40mile bike tour with husband