Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cancer Sucks

I think that about sums it up.  It sucks.  And unfortunately, it's all around and has touched many of us.

Sometime in the last 3 years I decided I wanted to ride in a century.  It seemed daunting and hard but at the same time I knew I could do it with the right amount of training.  I am a goal oriented person so goals work for me.  I thought about doing Team In Training - but honestly the whole fundraising aspect was not appealing to me.  I don't like asking people for money...or help - it's a character flaw.

It was sometime late 2008 or early 2009 the I received a call from my best friend, Jen, she just found out that her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  I didn't really know anything about pancreatic cancer at the time, that it was one of the worst types to get because typically when they find it, it's too late.  Jen was getting married in September 2009, and as her father started going through treatment, it was really tough not knowing how the treatment would take and what kind of impact it would have.  The week before the wedding was stressful, as most weddings are, but even more so because her father was not taking well to some of the medication.  It was a tough week to be a part of as I had never really seen the effects of cancer and it's treatment before.  I had never seen the toll it took on the human body and surrounding family members.  Jen was married on September 19th, 2009 and her father was there to walk her down the aisle and give a beautiful speech at the reception.  One month later, Jen's father, Charles Donovan,  passed away. 

Before Mr. Donovan's passing, I hadn't experience much death that wasn't somewhat "expected"  because of old age.  "Old age" death was something I could understand - something that made sense, even if it was tragic.  But Mr. Donovan's death was a really hard experience for me.  It's what got me thinking about Team In Training again.  A year later, January 2011, I was signed up for my first century.  I had seen how one type of cancer had affected someone I cared about very much.  Suddenly the fundraising didn't seem like such a big deal.  There were 2 rides that year, and one was effectively double the fundraising with a far away donation - I chose that one.  Go big or go home.

During that ride, I met some truly amazing individuals.  Warren Bruno, owner of Atkins Park in Atlanta was our honored hero last year.  The honored hero is someone you ride "for", someone who can provide the inspiration to keep going if you lose sight of why you are training.  Someone who currently is or has had their life changed by cancer.  Dan Gennari,, was a frequent riding buddy (whom I've mentioned before in the recap of the ride last year)  found out he was in remission just before the century last year  - he is our honored hero for the ride this year.  

And, unfortunately, the more I do this, the more people I find out have experienced or experience with some form of cancer.  A co-worker and friend just recently found out that his father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of B-cell Lymphoma.  This year I will also be riding for Ernie Bacalzo.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Quilt Top - half way there!

There has been a lot going on lately and I haven't had much time to commit to this years quilt.  Between biking 100+ miles last week, continuing training for the triathlon coming up in June, and life in general...there has just been no time!!

Until tonight.  And now, half of the quilt top is sew together...woohoo!!

This year's quilt is employing a new method of sewing zigzags.  Last year used squares and triangles sewn together and positioned appropriately to make the zigzags.  This year, I'm trying something different.  This quilt involved cutting strips of fabric and sewing them 2 by 2 together.  Each long strip was then cut into 7 squares of 6.5 in by 6.5 inches.  Then those squares were positioned to create the zigzag.   The squares were then sewn together in a diagonal strip, and then each strip was sew together.

Half of the diagonal strips sewn together
While easier to put together, this method does create a lot of "waste".  The edges of the quilt are currently zigzag, those will be cut to be straight when the quilt is done.  I thought about leaving it zigzag - but then binding the quilt will take another year to complete. I hope to use those cut pieces for some sort of design on the back.

*Oh, and I know there is a mistake in the quilt, for those of you who see it...but I didn't see it until I took this picture and I'm not taking all that apart.  Especially because it's mostly in the "waste" section.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Gaps with the TEAM

Today the team went up to Dahlonega to ride the front 3 Gaps - it was a fantastic ride!  It started out a little cold, as we turned left out of Turner Store to get in a few miles warm up, the air was brisk and I started to wonder if I was dressed appropriately.  We came back by the store and started up Neel's Gap.  I stayed back with a group - my big concern (something I do a lot) was I might go out too fast, so I wanted to make sure I didn't do that today.  As our group slowly spaced out, it's a 7 mile climb so everyone really needed to go their own pace, I realized that I felt really great. I was riding with D and S for awhile and then decided to pull away to see who was ahead of us.  I ran into B - who was very "serious" on the hill...over the next 20 min or so I caught up to and rode with A, K, D and then finally was able to catch up to H.  We ended up finishing Neel's Gap together.  

Leaving Neel's it was H, H, D and myself - we prepped for the down hill by rolling up our sleeves again and stayed alert for the left turn that sneaks up on you.  Once we made the turn, we were on Wolf Pen - the hardest of the 3 gaps.  I knew we all needed to go our own pace and just get'er done.  So we did...I ended up finishing pretty strong on that gap and did not have to stop this time - woohoo!  We gathered at the SAG, refueled and then H, H, D, G, and I left.  

We went a pretty good pace out of Wolf Pen.  We tried and failed a few times to paceline, but overall the ride was pretty pleasant and even shorter than I had remembered.  We ate some snacks at the stop sign at the gas station before our third left of the day, and then headed off to Woody's.  Again, we had a paceline for about 10 seconds but then it fell apart - oh well.  We picked up C along the way.  He was lookin' for a good time and he found one!

Woody's was even shorter than I remembered, and I wish I would have slowed down a little bit more to help out H and H but G and I were going a good pace, and i thought they were right behind me but then G broke off to go back to catch them.  At that point the little "Hiker Men" sign wasn't far away and that's my signal the Gap was almost over so I just pushed on through. 

C, H, H and G finished the last Gap soon after.  We stopped to talk to D because she hurt her back, and then we headed down the screaming hills of Woodys.  I took it a lot slower this time than last time, that put me at the end of the pack, but they waited for me at the Rock Pile (our fourth left of the day) and we headed back for the last 5 or so miles.  It was nice that it was rolling hills because it was a lot easier to chat with H, H, and C.

After the ride, we changed and got some grub at Turner Store.  Bacon Cheeseburger and sweet potato fries...yuuuuuuummmmmm!

Overall - this was a fantastic ride - and EVERYONE rode so well!!  It was great to see everyone on team so happy and proud of their accomplishment!

Ride Stats:
Distance 37.9 mi
Avg Speed: 11.5 mph
Max Speed: 35 mph
Ride Time: 3:16:52

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cars are Mean!

Ohhh...traffic was terrible yesterday.  I was driving over to Atlanta Cycle to do the Women’s Vinings route that leaves at 6:15.  I left Perimeter at 5:15 and arrived in Vinings (no interstate - that was super red on Georgia Navigator) at 6:20.  Just in time to see everyone ride out of the parking lot. I almost turned around in frustration and went home. 

But, instead, I got myself together, cue sheet in hand - left Atlanta Cycling determined to catch up to the group.  And I did!  It was great.  It really was a great ride...except I did almost get killed.  Some dumbass car, passed me on the LEFT going VERY FAST while i was signaling and in the process of making a left hand turn.  That was the first time I’ve ever actually be “shaken” by a car.  Whew!  I’m glad H was there - she yelled “car back” just as I was turning, because of this I hesitated which I believe caused me not to get smashed to pieces from the car.

Other than, great ride, perfect temperature and overcast sky, so not too sunny.

And it was nice to run into coach G and J on the ride!

Ride stats from Strava:

Elapsed Time
Max Speed
Avg Speed

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ride Catch up! Including, riding with Tyler Hamilton and Jim Capra!

I've had a lot of good rides since my last post!

On the 31st we did a 45 mi ride in Canton - it was beautiful scenery.  At one point we passed by some cows and a horse just chillin' under a HUGE tree int he middle of a beautiful field.  I should have stopped and taken a picture.  I don't have any stats because I was having trouble with my GPS tracking on my phone that day.

On April 1st I met up with Laura and Ginnie and we did a ride in Silk Sheets - this was the same day as another fundraiser going on in Silk Sheets so we ran into Libby on the ride.  Or rather, as she was flying by she happened to spot me and yelled "VALLLLLL".  No stats for that ride either.  I had them on my bike computer but cleared them out on the next ride before I wrote them down.

On April 4th, I took off from work and rode up to Dahlonaga with Libby and Nola - we met Megan and Vicktoria up there to do THE GAPS!   We did Neel, Wolf Pen, and Woody.   It was a great ride.  I"m really glad I had them with me because the Gaps are NO JOKE.  I'm looking forward to doing them again this Saturday with TNT.  GPS did not work for that ride but I have some stats from my bike computer.
Distance: 38.1
Average Speed: 12.3 mph (this is amazing considering I was only going about 5pm up some of those hills...)
Max Speed: 36.2 mph - OH YEA!

I then rode in Brookhaven on the 5th - surprisingly my legs felt awesome.  Laura came out to ride too - which was great!  We took it nice an easy - but my legs felt good.
Distance: 19
Average Speed: 12.0

Then Friday 4/6 - went to dinner with the TNT staff and met Tyler Hamilton and coach Jim Capra.  They were really great.  We met them Friday and then they came and rode with TNT on Saturday and stayed for the cookout at Hard Labor Creek - it was really a great time.  We had perfect weather and we coudln't have asked for a better ride.
Distance: 50.7
Average Speed: 14.7 mph

And finally that brings us to today...recovery ride was great.  Rode out of Cadence bike shop in Sandy Springs with Tyler and Jim again.  My group got lost on the no drop ride :-)  But the company was good and the weather was fantastic....and I've always want to ride on Roswell
Distance: 18.5
Average Speed: 12.1 mph

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Sheets were Silky!

What a fantastic ride at Silk Sheets this morning.  I was a little worried at first, as a pulled out my garage it was raining, but as I made my way around the city and out to Silk Sheets, the rain cleared.  The weather ended up being terrific - not to hot, not too cold.  All in all, it was a perfect ride day.  AND C showed up to ride with us!! woohooo!

My Tracks for some reason only tracked about 22 miles of the ride.  Today we rode 35 miles, so I'm not sure what happened there.

From my bike computer:
Distance: 34.8 mi
Average Speed: 13.5 mph

I had a great time riding with a couple different people - J, D, and L!

Could not have asked for better riding weather.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I'm a baaaaaadddddd blogger...

Okay okay...yea, I haven't been very good at blogging lately.  Part of it was getting a new phone and not having My Tracks installed, part of it was I dropped my computer on my bike and it didn't work for 2 rides, <insert another excuse here>....either way, we are all straightened out now.

Last Saturday, we rode in the fantastic Peachtree City.   I wasn't real excited about getting up and riding but once we got moving, everything was great.  The weather turned out to be fantastic, the route was hilly but not hilly, but still hillier than I remembered Peachtree City being.  All in all it was great.  I rode a lot of the way with K - she's doing fantastic and i'm so glad she decided to do this ride.

Total distance: 30.8 mi
Moving Time: 2:16:32
Average Moving Speed: 13.5 mph
Max Speed: 30.8 mph

Sunday we did our usual Kirkwood Sunday Ride - it was a little different, the route we took did not quite match the route we've taken in the past but it was great ride - with even GREATER riding buddies.  L, D and M - no one better to ride with than these three...well, you could add C but since she's not riding this season, this is my top 3 :-) 

We plan to take a pre-ride up to the Gaps to prepare for the TNT ride coming up - I'm both scared and excited - since I've never actually ridden the Gaps.  Everyone I know who has completed it thinks its a great ride....I'm looking forward to it April 4th!  

I haven't worked much on the quilt.  We had some house items to take care of....some new furniture, painting, water heater breaking, etc.  I hope to get back on the ball with the quilt next week.