Saturday, December 31, 2011

America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride 2011

Here it is, the end of 2011 and I realize I have been putting off writing about my ride around Lake Tahoe for about 6 months.  Part of it was that I wanted to complete the quilt I raffled off prior to posting my experience - and that still is not 100% complete though it's about 95% there.  I wanted to add a personalized note on the back of the quilt, which required me to purchase some fabric markers, I finally picked some up about 2 weeks ago.  I now have them so there is nothing in my way!!  I'll post an updated picture of the completed quilt prior to sending it off to the winners: Jennifer and Brendan Meyer!

My ba-donka-donk full of everything I might need
on the ride
Okay - so the ride.   We had to load up with several layers of clothing because of the cold and wet weather.  We also all had fuzzy peaches affixed to our helmets (TNT tradition - each chapter has their own item attached to their helmet - i saw SPAM, a tornado made out of pipe cleaners complete with flying cows, tomatoes, and many others). The ride started pretty early, it was still dark out (though the fact that there were thunderstorms and rain greatly increased the darkness).  It was in the 30s or low 40s but with the wet rain and lack of sun it felt FREEZING.   I had purchased some shoe covers earlier in the week - hoping they would help keep my feet warm - but they did not do much to help at all - my feet were freezing and eventually they just went numb.
I'm the third one back in the blue jacket - brrrrr!

No one had told me they were going to close the course when we rode on it, and in retrospect that was kind of a dumb thing to think considering the length of the course, but for some reason I thought that the road would be have less cars.  We approached Emerald Bay, the steep switchbacks I had rode up the day before and I was so glad to have ridden up them already.  This was the one part of the course where they closed the road, but only in the direction we were riding.  As we were going up the switchback, cars were still coming down in the opposite direction - still scary.  I may not have gone very fast, but I made my way up Emerald Bay, this time, without stopping until I got to the top.  Once at the top I found myself breathing extremely heavy and needed to pull over to catch my breath but it felt great to even get that small amount of improvement over the day before.

As planned, we rode past the first SAG stop - it was a beautiful view, and we had stopped the day before to take pictures because as we were warned, it was a mad house!  We regrouped just past the SAG stop and started into unventured territory.  I remember this was a big deal the day of the ride.  Up until that point, I had ridden everything the day before, but the next 85 miles were all new and I wasn't really sure what to expect.  We rode along, it was still cold but the rain wasn't as hard so it was starting to feel a little better.  I remember riding along and someone pointed out the first glimpse of sky between the clouds.  It was very small, but I was hoping the clouds would just part and oh, what a story it would be that the first 15 miles of the ride were in the freezing rain.
Starting to clear

The next stop we had was a SAG stop for our GA Chapter only.  One of our teammates, Lauren, had her family out supporting us, it was great!  The clouds were starting to show some blue peeping through.

The rest of the events are not necessarily in order as it all kinda mushed together since I didn't get this down 6 months ago.  But these are the memories I take from the ride:

Below is a picture from one of the SAG stops and as you could tell even though the sun was out a little, it was still cold and wet.  Approximately 10 min after this picture was taken Debbie ended up getting her tire caught in a rut in the road that was full of water and very difficult to see.  Thank goodness for a good helmet and her thumb is almost healed!

We made friends with some "Sacramento Tomatoes" who showed us a secret bathroom before the big bathroom stop so we didn't have to wait in line for 20 minutes.

I was suprised at the number of cars on the road - not only cars, but rude cars.  At some point during the ride I remember a car speeding along very close and very fast next to bike riders and then basically riding the back tire of the next group of riders beeping and just being a jerk.  When the riders would slide over to let him by, he picked up speed and raced to the next group where he did basically the same thing.  I was really surprised.  I thought the area would be aware and know of the bike ride going on....and support it.  It brought a lot of new people to Lake Tahoe and we were all supporting a good cause.

The distance around the lake is only 72 miles, so there is a 28 mile out and back to Truckee to make it the full 100 miles.  The ride into Truckee was fine, the ride out of Truckee was a hellish downpour.  And that was another 25ish miles of rain.

After all the rain, there really were some beautiful views.
Super clear water

Biking Crew
I remember exclaiming "I feel great!" and  "This feels terrific!" Several times until we hit around mile 82/83ish.  At that point we were on Spooner, the 7 mile slow incline, and I was done.  My body was tired.  I could feel the sunburn on my face.  My legs were barely moving.  My stomach was not feeling 100%.  I was not able to keep up with my best riding buddies.  I wanted nothing more than to get off the bike and just walk up the hill, but I refused.  I pulled over a few times to regain some more breath and strength - I'm not sure if that helped or hurt me but I was moving so slow that I didn't really lose that much momentum.  My friend Dan (a recent survivor - his Lymphoma is in remission) looked like he was feeling much the same way I was.  He would pass me, and then I would pass him, and that continued for most of the 7miles of Spooner.  We'd mutter a little "hey" but speaking was just too much at that point.

When Spooner was over, there were some really great descents, and I probably took them a little too fast because I was sooooo ready to be off the bike.  I don't remember how far, but at some point I coming down a hill I saw Charlotte and Libby hanging out in a parking lot on the right....I was near tears at seeing them because I was so happy to hopefully ride with them again!

About 2 miles out from the finish line, one of the mentors thought it would be a good idea to wait and then have us all ride in together. While this is a good idea in theory, my mood, my legs, my stomach, none of me was having it.  We were waiting for some others to come in and we were told that they were about 20-30 min back.  I felt terrible but I knew I could not wait that long.  I could see the finish line - and all I wanted to do was get off my bike and go sit on a real toilet.  I said I could not wait that long and Dan said neither could he.  So Dan, Libby and I went off to finish the course.
From the left:  Libby, me, Dan's friend, and Dan approaching the finish line.
Coming up to the finish line I was overwhelmed with emotion.  It flashed through my head what had just happened - I raised $3900 for LLS, I trained for close to 6 months, I met some amazing people, I just biked 100 freakin' miles (bucket list item), and I'm crossing the line with new friends that I would not have met had I not joined TNT - one of whom, is in recovery...and teammates who had finished earlier than we had were all waiting and cheering us on.  I burst into tears.  Several of my teammates was asked if I was okay, I think they thought I was hurt.  Nope - just happy and proud to be done.

At that point - I felt like I was done with Tahoe.  While I completed the course, I felt that between the weather, losing all energy at 82ish miles, Spooner, stomach issues - that was it for me.  I might do another century but it certainly wouldn't be Tahoe.

Turns out I was wrong.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting to Lake Tahoe

The night before we left - I had a hard time sleeping.  I fell asleep okay but then woke up at 3am and didn't go back to sleep.  I actually got up at 4:45 - took a shower and finished packing everything I needed that morning.  A (my roommate for the trip) road over to my house and we carpooled to the airport.  The flights out were pretty uneventful, everyone was excited.  When we landed in Reno we took a bus to the hotel.  The hotel name was Harvey's and having never been to AMBBR before, I expected a motel looking place - but turns out Harvey's is a casino affiliated with Harrah's - ha.  Needless to say, the hotel was pretty nice.

After checking in, it was time to pick up our bikes.  My bike was undamaged but there were several teammates who had chunks out of their tires, or bikes were scratched up.  One bike was badly damaged and the tires had to be replaced - yikes.  All of the ride-preventing items were fixed before ride day.

The weather was crappy and the forecast called for rain Saturday and thunderstorms on ride  A and I must have checked the weather almost hourly just to see if anything had changed - we were kinda bummed about the weather.

Friday night we the team rented a yacht and we took it around Lake Tahoe - it was a lot of fun.  It was also extremely cold, there was an upper deck of the yacht that provided a great view, but it was just too cold to sit outside - even with the provided blankets.  I spent most of my time in the inside portion of the yacht, only popping out to take pictures.   By the end of it we were all pretty tired.

Saturday morning we woke up and had breakfast at a local cafe, went to pick up our packets for the ride and then off to the bike shake out.  We left a little late due to the fact that we all needed to pump up our tires and we were sharing 1 pump.  When we headed out, it was raining a little bit but not too bad.  It was overcast with dark grey clouds.  My plan was to ride out with the group going to Emerald Bay  and just ride to the base of the hill.  I didn't want to push it before the big day.  We rode out and then stopped at a great spot to take a group picture - looking out over the lake, it was beautiful - even though it was overcast.   We then headed up to the base of Emerald Bay and somehow I was convinced to keep going.  I looked up at the switchbacks and immediately thought - uh, no, there is no way this is going to happen.  But, I was wrong because it really wasn't as hard as it looked.  I had to stop twice and then once again at the top to catch my breath - the altitude affected me more than I anticipated.    I got to the top and we rode to an area where you could take pictures and we did - it was great.  Apparently on ride day this area is FULL of people and just in general a cluster so we took all our pictures Saturday so we wouldn't stop on Sunday.  The ride down was a blast too. It was raining a little bit harder, and it was slick, but I dropped down on my handlebars and feathered my brakes - it was great.

The ride back to the hotel - not so great.  The rain picked up, we were freezing, and there was a lot more traffic and a lot of cars did not seem to like us being on the road.  We were really glad to get back to the hotel safely.

The rest of the day we ran errands, had our inspiration dinner to carb up, and went to bed early so we'd be prepared for the ride the next day.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mountain Bike Ride

Where did I ride?  here

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 29.35 km (18.2 mi)
Moving Time: 1:26:11
Average Moving Speed: 20.43 km/h (12.7 mi/h)
Max Speed: 59.40 km/h (36.9 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 477 m (1566 ft)
Max Grade: 9 %
Min Grade: -13 %

The Ride:
Since my bike is on it's way to Tahoe, I borrowed a friend's mountain bike and biked around Berkley Lake with it.  I'm pretty happy with the time and speed.  Considering I was on a mountain bike and the hilly-ness of the ride, I think it was pretty good.  My legs were pretty tired at the end - woohoo.

I've ridden this ride on my road bike a few years ago, before training for the century.  It was terrible.  I was terrible.  I coudn't handle all the hills and it basically kicked my butt.  But now, I did it on a mountain bike no problems.  Yay for progress!

That will probably be my last ride until Tahoe...but I'll be able to fit in a spin class or two I hope!! 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Last Rides

I didn't post about the last couple rides because both had issues.  

The group training ride on Saturday I ended up breaking a spoke on my back wheel.  I made it 36 miles according to my computer.  I had to be SAG'd in and I wasn't a happy camper.   I took my bike directly to Roswell Bikes who had it fixed by Tuesday.  

The next ride (and the last right before the big day on my bike) was supposed to be on this past Thursday but it POURED rain and thundered and there was lightning - boooo.

Now my bike is on a truck across the country and that makes me a sad Val because I didn't get to ride it since the spoke was fixed and it had to be shipped away.


BUT - I'm so excited about the big day!! This time next week i'll be at Lake Tahoe!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thursday Brookhaven Ride

Where did I ride? here.

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 34.11 km (21.2 mi)
Moving Time: 1:27:39
Average Moving Speed: 23.35 km/h (14.5 mi/h)
Max Speed: 49.53 km/h (30.8 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 483 m (1584 ft)

The Ride:
I tried to fix my bike by tightening the cables to the front derailler  That worked for almost the first loop of the ride.  Then I started having issues shifting in the front again - big time and finally I just got my chain in the middle ring and stayed there the rest of the ride.  Other than the shifting issues, the ride was okay.  I rode with M for a little and L most of the ride.  I like my riding buddies :-)  

I explained my issues to one of the coaches and she suggested I talk to DP about taking a look at it - apparently this man can fix anything.  So I did and my bike is now in his hands getting fixed.  I'm really excited about my next ride with it - I can't wait to feel the difference.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

70 miles....ouch

Where did I ride? here.

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 114.64 km (71.2 mi)
Moving Time: 4:50:28
Average Moving Speed: 23.68 km/h (14.7 mi/h)
Max Speed: 50.40 km/h (31.3 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 1372 m (4501 ft)

The Ride:
This ride was a doozy!!  It started out poorly with my back derailer shifting all over the place and without my direction!  I spent the first 10 miles trying my darndest to catch up to my biking buddies but my bike was not helping me.  I finally caught up and was able to ride with them to the SAG.  I asked G to look at my bike and with a few turns here and there my back derailer was fine.  The next section of the ride was also fine, the group rode well and we pacelined and all seemed hunky dory.  We even passed an older woman on a rider mower with her curlers in - it was quite amusing!  

After leaving one of the SAG stops there was a group of us and we had like 13 or 15 person paceline going but those pacelines never go to the right pace for me.  Today it was really fast.  By the time i broke away from the paceline my leggies were tired.  I ended up riding to the 3rd SAG with 2 people I don' tusually ride with - but it was great to have them.  I met up with C & L, C, and the other A at the SAG.  We started off and my legs could not keep up.  At some point I was not able to shift into my big gear on my front derailer, this was very frustrating.  Silk Sheets is a lot of rolling hills so on those hills it's great to get in your big gear and  gain some momentum for the next hill - unfortunately, I could not do this.  Booo.

The ride was frustrating but I'm glad I was able to ride it with C.  She assured me this was not a "pity ride" but i know at times she held back - and I was so glad to have her with me.

After the ride we had a celebration for D - one our teammates.  He recently found out he's in remission.  We were so excited for him.  D is one of my favorite people on the team and I'm so happy for him to have received this wonderful news - i can't imagine the relief he and his family must have felt.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Recovery Ride

Where did I ride? here

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 46.37 km (28.8 mi)
Moving Time: 2:15:59
Average Moving Speed: 20.46 km/h (12.7 mi/h)
Max Speed: 52.23 km/h (32.5 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 546 m (1791 ft)

The Ride:
This was a really great recovery ride, the weather was perfect.  I wasn't sure how my legs would feel from the tough ride the day before.  The first half the ride my legs were not happy, the second half they felt fantastic!  We avoided going around the mountain so this was a shorter ride of just out to the mountain and back.


Group Training Ride - Hardest Ride Ever

Where did I ride: here

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 103.28 km (64.2 mi)
Moving Time: 5:05:02
Average Moving Speed: 20.31 km/h (12.6 mi/h)
Max Speed: 60.30 km/h (37.5 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 1984 m (6508 ft)

The Ride:
Ouch!  Wow, after the recent flat rides we've been having this was an extremely humbling experience.  This ride was tough - my legs ached, the hills were sucky, and the worst part was that it was one loop done twice!!  So after the first 31 mile hilly loop we had the SAG stop back at our cars (it would have been so easy to stop) and we had to go out there and do it again.  During the first loop, traffic was terrible.  We were stuck with a ton of cars, our group got broken up - but we met back up at the SAG.  The second loop was just overall an extremely hard experience...both mentally and physically.  I had a hard time with the mental aspect of this ride... each hill in the first loop I was trying to file away so i could prepare better for it on the 2nd loop but in the end there ended up being too many to keep track of.

At the end of the ride, I texted Aje and told him I was going to be useless for the rest of the day - which was completely accurate.  Looking back now - I'm really proud of how hard I worked and the fact that I completed both. I'm also glad to have my riding buddies - C & L (even though at the end of the both loops she was far ahead)!, and L.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

232.3 Miles of update...

whoops! It's been awhile since I've updated.  Here's a quick recap:

Sunday April 10th I rode here.  It was the recovery ride from the 50 mile ride.  I rode with the old crew - L and K.  It was a great ride and so wonderful to ride with them again.

Thursday April 14th I rode here.  I had a terrible day in general and I was not in the mood for the ride.  I started out really fast and lost my steam near the end. the end of the ride I felt a lot better.  And that's when M and I discovered PorkSlap Ale!

Saturday April 16th we rode in Silk Sheets again.  When the ride started, I did not start My Tracks so I did not track the entire ride :-(...which sucks even more because we took off really really fast with a fast group and I would LOVE to know our average speed.  L sent me her heart monitor information but since I've been so lax about updating the blog, I haven't even looked at the stats.  After the first SAG stop, L, C and I decided it was time to slow it down a bit - we were going too fast, we wouldn't have enough steam for the entire ride.  I'm glad we did this.  In the end, we ended up still making great time, and since we didn't make the second stop at the SAG, we got back rather quickly.  C had a mishap with her cleat getting stuck in her pedal, but thank goodness that wasn't realized until we were back in the parking lot.

Sunday April 17th was the recovery ride for Silk Sheets, we rode intown.  M and I showed up to ride and we were secretly hoping that no one else would show up so that we could take it easy, do about 20 miles and call it quits - we were both tired.  G showed up and was on board with that and lead us on a great 20 miles.  Then we ate at Le Petit Marche - it was super tasty.  Great day, great ride.

Thursday April 21st was the Brookhaven route.  Again, I wasn't really into riding but over all this was pretty good ride.  M was having some shoe issues and I was more than happy to cut out 5 miles and call it a night.

Kari and our Japanese maple
Saturday April 23rd we rode in Peachtree City.  It was a fantastic ride.  It started out overcast and misty, but this ended up being great riding weather.  We had a pretty great ride, with a great pace.  We worked on keeping our paceline and rotating quickly instead of getting stuck in the front for long periods of time. I think we did a great job.  After the ride we went to a pool party at one of the TNT cyclist's houses - it was great.  M and I carpooled so that she could leave her dog at my house so Aje could let her out.  Unfortunately, M was sweeping this ride so she didn't actually finish until about 2.5 hours after I did.  In the end, it all worked out, food was still warm and we had a GREAT time in the pool.

Sunday April 24th we had our Stone Mountain recovery ride and L showed up!!  The old crew meets the new crew!  It was quite an interesting ride.  We had several new people ride with us, it was Easter morning and the group was pretty big, there were children who rode with us (awesome kids) for about the first 30 min or so, one of them was even leading us!  Then on the way back from the mountain we picked up a cyclist who was having issues with her tire so we helped her our and she ended up riding back with us a good portion of the way.  We got slightly lost without our guide, but thanks to My Tracks we were able to look up a past ride to find the way home.  We ran into some bad road work, the streets were grooved and not fun to ride on, so we finished on a not so high note, but I still think it was a great ride.  And another terrific brunch from Le Petit Marche.  Yum.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Half way there!

Where did I ride:  here

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 81.62 km (50.7 mi)
Moving Time: 3:15:55
Average Moving Speed: 25.00 km/h (15.5 mi/h)
Max Speed: 64.80 km/h (40.3 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 746 m (2447 ft)

The Ride:
This was probably one of the best rides I've ever been on.  The usual crew of C and L grew to some more - we had a fairly large paceline going in the beginning.  About 14 miles in was the first SAG stop, we grabbed some food, and got back on the track pretty quickly.  One of the coaches caught up to us and got us started on a double paceline - it was fantastic.  We were flying and it made us forget about the many many miles we were biking.  I didn't have my computer on my bike, but I heard from L that we were going about 27mph in the double paceline.  It was a large group of us too, there has to be 10-12 cyclists.  We hit some small hills and the paceline broke up - we tried a couple more times to get the double paceline again but we couldn't quite get it as good as that first time.  The ride was really great - it was very "polleny" and at times very humid - on the car ride home it was 90 degrees - yikes!!  I'm glad we bike in the morning.  After the ride we had a BBQ at the park that we started at Hard Labor Creek State Park, and I don't think I've ever had a better tasting hot dog.

I still can't believe I biked 50 miles!!  And then I realize I can't believe that's only halfway to the 100 miles I will be biking in June!!  

Thursday Night Ride - Cutting it Short

Where did I ride? here.

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 24.55 km (15.3 mi)
Moving Time: 1:01:26
Average Moving Speed: 23.97 km/h (14.9 mi/h)
Max Speed: 47.73 km/h (29.7 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 311 m (1020 ft)

The Ride:
When we started the ride, I tried really hard to catch up to M but I was unable to, and then by 3/4 of the way in the first loop I was pooped.  I ended up cutting the ride short....because, well...I felt like it :-)  There were a couple people only doing a 5 mile loop for the second loop instead of the 10 mile loop and I was ready to do that as well.

Overall the ride was good - pizza afterwards was delicious!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Where did I ride? From the Budweiser Plant in Cartersville.

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 70.76 km (44.0 mi)
Moving Time: 2:49:22
Average Moving Speed: 25.07 km/h (15.6 mi/h)
Max Speed: 43.20 km/h (26.8 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 592 m (1943 ft)

The Ride:
Again - the longest ride of my life!! I did not want to get out of bed this morning.  If I wasn't raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I can tell you that there is a good chance I would not have.  But I'm so glad I did, this was a fantastic ride.  It started out a little chilly but at the SAG stop we stripped down to comfortable clothes.  The ride was really really great.  We started out with a pretty large paceline which eventually split up into 2 lines.  I rode with C and L again and A joined us.  We all rode really well.  My bike started to ghost shift again - woohoo.  I need to clean it and get it tuned up - so I'm taking it in tomorrow.  Unfortunately that means I wont' be able to ride tomorrow - but I can still go to Spin at the Y.

The second half of the ride was also great - G rode with us and he really pushed us to go faster than we normally go.  He also pushed us to stay in a good paceline - making sure we slowed down when there was a gap, etc.  Then when we were within a mile of the plant, G reminded us of how short we had to go and suggested to GO FAST - so we did.  L took off like a rocket - I tried with all my might to keep up with her but I could not.  I started to lose some steam and realized I may have shot out of the gate too fast - but then I saw the plant, my end goal, and that was enough for me to scrounge up some more energy. 

After the ride, C and L shared a tasty sandwich with me and we hung out to chat.  What a beautiful day today!!  I'm so proud of my stats also - 2mph over our normal speed :-)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Group Training Ride - Longest Ride of my LIFE!

Literally.  And mentally.

Where did I ride? here

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 65.77 km (40.9 mi)
Moving Time: 3:00:34
Average Moving Speed: 21.85 km/h (13.6 mi/h)
Max Speed: 52.20 km/h (32.4 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 910 m (2986 ft)

The Ride:
I'm just going to put it bluntly - this ride was terrible.  It was slightly chilly and on the verge of rain with some misting throughout.  My legs felt heavy and useless.  I felt like this was the worst ride I have ever ridden - though I ended up being surprised by my stats - average moving speed of 13.6 mph is NOT BAD at all!  

This was a huge milestone for me - I've never ridden 40 miles before - not only did it feel like a long ride, but it was literally the longest ride of my life.  I rode with C, L, and D for the whole ride - it was great riding with them.  They are so positive and we kept a good pace because we had each other.  When it got tough at the end we all worked together to make sure we were all successful in finishing the ride.

Talking with M after the ride, while she was in a group well ahead of us, she had a similar situation, seems like it was just a tough day to ride.  

Looking forward to Thursday - hoping to have an uneventful, fantastic Thursday night ride.

Thursday Night Ride - A Mess!

I have no stats from this ride.  I got stuck in terrible traffic and JUST made it to the ride.  At each stop light along the way I was looking for things I could prep to be ready for the ride.  The first red light I put on my biking gloves.  The second red light I took my pants off - I don't make a habit of walking around in just spandex.  The third red light I put on my left cycling shoe.  And so on...I almost put on my helmet but figured that might be taking it a little far.  When I arrived I was in such a hurry that I forgot to start My Tracks.  It was probably better that way.

The ride started off okay, but then my bike started ghost shifting a LOT.  To the point where I was riding alone - at the end of the pack just waiting for the first loop to be over because it was time to bail.  I wasn't getting a good work out, it wasn't fun, and I was getting just plain frustrated.  I caught up to the group at the end of the first loop and told G I was going to head back.  He asked why and I explained my shifting issues.  He put his bike to the side and started working on my bike...he was twisting and tightening things and just as he was almost done L, C, C, L & D showed up.  I had thought they were ahead of me!  G ended up fixing my shifting issues and we were off for the second loop.  Oh it was so night to ride CORRECTLY!  No ghost shifting, no turned seat.  It was great.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Beyond Six Flags - Group Training Ride

Where did I ride? here

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 57.45 km (35.7 mi)
Moving Time: 2:42:43
Average Moving Speed: 21.18 km/h (13.2 mi/h)
Max Speed: 52.23 km/h (32.5 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 908 m (2981 ft)
Max Grade: 9 %
Min Grade: -11 %

The Ride:
The focus of this ride was to ride with a group and maintain a pace.  I rode with L and C and along the way we picked up K.  We focused on pacelining and the pace was great.  For me, I was personally trying to keep a solid pace - not going in bursts as I have in the past.  This proved harder than I thought - there were times i wanted to go faster, and times I wanted to go slower.  There was a hill at the end I almost didn't make it up - but thank goodness C was there to provide some encouraging words.
We did have one minor accident along the ride, there was a quick stop/slowdown from the paceline and we had a rider fall to the curb and on to the sidewalk.  This is a possibility when riding in a paceline and that's why it's so important to communicate.  

Also - my bike started ghost shifting at times - I'll have to have that looked at this week.  Looking forward to Thursday as I hope to make the Thursday night ride!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Ride!!

Where did I ride?  here

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 33.24 km (20.7 mi)
Moving Time: 1:32:16
Average Moving Speed: 21.61 km/h (13.4 mi/h)
Max Speed: 45.04 km/h (28.0 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 448 m (1470 ft)
Max Grade: 9 %
Min Grade: -8 %

The Ride:
Woohoo!! I'm so glad I was able to make the first midweek Brookhaven ride.  I was even a little early - this gives me hope that I'll be able to make it in the future.  As we were waiting to get going, my bike fell over while it was leaned up against the biggie, picked it up, got on it, started the ride.  About halfway into it my back on my left side really started to hurt, so did my left quad and hip flexor. I chalked it up to not working out in the morning since the time change, I haven't been able to get my lazy butt out of bed in the morning. 

When we almost had the parking lot in sight, meaning we were super dooper close to the end, one of the coaches asked me if my seat was turned...and then it clicked - my bike had fallen over.  I looked down and sure enough my seat was not straight, it was angled to the left - thus causing my back and leg pain.  I'm a terrible symptom noticer.

Anyway- the ride was still pretty good, the weather was absolutely fantastic!  Sun was out, mid-to-low 70s - perfecto!  It was also great to see some familiar faces - M was there (of course - yay!), L, D, C....all good eggs.  We all stayed to eat and have a beer after the ride - it was a lot of fun.

I hope I can make it next week!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Team in Training Journey Quilt - 2011

The quilt is almost done - all that's left is to finish putting on the binding so I think it's time to start the quilt raffle!!
Just started putting the binding on!

This is my second quilt EVER(!) and I'm extremely proud of it!  The colors represent the Team in Training colors and I thought the pattern would appeal to almost everyone. I found the winding path pattern extremely symbolic and applicable to many areas in life.  It also fit quite literally with the 100 mile bike journey I'll be biking on June 5th!

Quilt in progress!
Donate now to help raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society AND get chances to win the quilt!

$5 - 1 Chance 
$25 - 6 Chances
$50 - 15 Chances
$100 - 50 Chances

If you've already donated and would like your donation to be applied to chances to the quilt, just indicate in a comment!

The drawing will be held on Saturday May 28th.

Silk Sheets - Group Training Ride

Where did I ride: here

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 56.60 km (35.2 mi)
Moving Time: 2:32:12
Average Moving Speed: 22.31 km/h (13.9 mi/h)
Max Speed: 54.00 km/h (33.6 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 771 m (2530 ft)

The Ride:
The ride on Saturday was fantastic!  It started off a little chilly - I was able to shed some layers at our SAG stop.  I rode with M & D for the first half of the ride.  We worked on riding in a pace line for a little and then spent the rest of the time chatting.  We ended up spending a decent amount of time at the SAG stop because D had a flat tire and he was able to patch it.  This was good to watch as I have never had to patch a tire.

The second half of the ride was pretty great too, K is one of the coaches and she joined our group.  When she was leading the paceline we were FLYING, it was really hard to keep up with her - in fact, I could not.  She slowed up and then we rode a more manageable pace.  

I felt great after the ride - I also manged to figure out how to program the location of the church at Silk Sheets into my car so I don't have to look up directions every time - yay technology!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Quilt Journey is Almost Complete!

Since that last quilt post I have added the white border to the quilt,  I also created the back of the quilt.  I hope it would be all green but I apparently didn't do the math right so I added some purple blocks on the back.

Quilt backing

After that, it was time to quilt!  I layered the backing, batting and top of the quilt.  I choose to stitch in the ditch around the zigzag "journey" line on the front.  I forgot how difficult that can be when working with a lot of fabric.  This is only my second quilt, so I haven't figured out all the best practices yet.

Quilting a lot of fabric on a small machine can be...interesting

After I quilted the top zigzag, I went around the quilt and stitched in the ditch of the white border. 

Quilting complete!

Next step is to trim the edges and add the binding!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Slippery When Wet - Group Training Ride

Where did I ridehere

Ride Stats: (They're back!!  My Tracks updated and the stats appear correct!)
Total Distance: 47.01 km (29.2 mi)
Moving Time: 2:09:16
Average Moving Speed: 21.82 km/h (13.6 mi/h)
Max Speed: 53.10 km/h (33.0 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 627 m (2058 ft)

Falls: 0!
The Ride:
Action shot of rain on my sunroof
Well, I did not want to ride this morning.  I could hear the rain pouring down when I woke up and I had to wake up early because the ride start was about an hour away.  I was one of the first to arrive, which had me wondering if I was crazy for coming out in this weather.  Today wasn't as cold as it was last time we rode in the rain - so we had that going for us.  I was prepared, so I thought, I brought a lighter but more waterproof wind breaker and I had several Publix plastic bags to wrap my feet in before putting them in my shoes.  This is supposed to help keep your feet dry-ish and keep the wind out too.  

The ride started out very wet.  It was a steady rain, and not being used to riding in the rain, I'm not used to making sure I'm the correct distance from the person in front of me so they don't spray me with their tire water.  I'm glad I had my glasses, I switched out the lenses to have the clear ones, hoping that would work for blocking some of the rain in my eyes.  It did, but they also fogged up a lot - which was kind of a pain. At one point, there was so much water from both the sky and the back tire of the person in front of me, that I felt it actually running down my tights and into the bags that were supposed to be keep my footsies dry.  Oh well.

Post ride shot - in case you can't tell, I'm SOAKED!
I rode with a new group today, S, L and C - it was a great pace.  I think the rain really motivated us to go faster - I'm pretty happy with my average speed.  We reached the SAG stop, which was about 15 miles into the ride, and it felt like we reached it really quickly.  The rain had stopped and even though I was wet, I felt pretty good.  I'm guessing that it was about 10 miles after the SAG stop whent the rain started again - pretty hard too.  We had met back up with the group that left before us at the SAG and we rode very fast back to Publix.

Gloves CAN dub as socks
if the ones you have are
soaked and you forgot
dry ones.
At the end of the ride, despite not being able to feel my feet, learning that my windbreaker was in fact NOT waterproof, and being soaked and snotty from the cold rain, I felt great!  30-ish miles with an average speed of 13.6 mph - AWESOME.  I wonder how much of that was motivation from the rain, and how much is actually getting better at cycling.  Either way, I'll take it!

Bike sludge - my bike now
needs a bath
I may have felt great - but my bike on the other hand, is going to need a good wash.  Good thing we had a bike cleaning clinic last GTR.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain again.  Because of this, I'm pretty sure I won't be riding in the rain again.  Once in a weekend is enough for me.  Tomorrow I will either set up the trainer and bike in the basement or head to the Y for a spin class.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Quilt Fabric Change!!

I haven't had as much time to work on the quilt as I would have liked.  I ended up having to change out the 3rd fabric, it just didn't look the way I wanted it to when I held it up to the portion of the quilt I have complete.

The 3rd fabric is white now, it it looks like this:

Kirkwood to Stone Mountain Ride

Where did I ride: here

Ride Stats:
Still no good stats :-(

The Ride:
This ride was FANTASTIC!  The weather was great, the sun was out, and I felt like I had the energy to concur the world!  Well, at least Stone Mountain.  :-)  The ride up to Stone Mountain was a great pace.  The ride around the mountain was awesome as well - I used my gears very well - I worked on anticipating gear changes. When we were about 6 miles from the start...I started to feel BEAT.  My legs were tired, my back was hurting and my shoulders were tight....but it was all totally worth it.

I'm totally exhausted after that ride - but still kinda smiling! 

I don't think there is a better way to describe this ride other than FANTASTIC.  Maybe...FN FANTASTIC :-)

Saturday Training Ride - Vinings

Where did I ridehere

Ride Stats:
None :-(  The stats my phone took were very wrong.
28ish miles.

Megan and I before the ride

The Ride:
Brrr.....after the 70s weather we saw over the last week, I was surprised at the 36 degree weather so I bundled up!!  The ride started out to a rough start.  About a mile into the ride my chain fell off...boooo.  After some help from another cyclist I was back on the road again and I caught up to the group I rode with last week.  The hills in this ride were really tough.  I did not do a good job using my gears and my bike was extra squeaky.  About 1/3rd of the way into the ride, there was some confusion over which direction to go and one of the cyclists fell pretty hard.  After we made sure she was okay we headed off to the SAG stop.  At this point we started talking about how the ride was pretty hard and we were told that the 2nd half of the ride was harder.  Yikes!  The coach then suggested another route that is still hilly but not as steep.  While I wanted to try the hills, the rest of the group I was with did not.  About 20 min into the second half, I too was glad we didn't do the steeper hills.

At the end of the ride, I realized how much stopping our group had done to wait for others to catch up.  I think next week I need to find another group to ride with.  I also realized that I was really really hot!!  The 36 degrees had changed to 50 something degree weather.

We started the ride at Atlanta Cycling so afterwards I had them look at my bike and I bought some lube - no more squeaky chain!  Woohoo!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Recovery Ride Fit for a President

Where did I ride? here

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 26.49 km (16.5 mi)
Moving Time: 1:21:20
Average Moving Speed: 19.54 km/h (12.1 mi/h)
Max Speed: 29.70 km/h (18.5 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 501 m (1643 ft)
Recorded: Mon Feb 21 15:35:52 EST 2011

The Ride:
I had today off for Presidents Day, so Megan and I rode on the Silver Comet and it was fantastic.  The weather was great, my body was the perfect amount of sore and the ride left me feeling energized.  The nice flat ride was exactly what I needed after the challenging ride yesterday.

Also on the ride we happened to pass a college friend of ours on the trail - totally random.

I couldn't have asked for a better weekend of rides!!  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quilt Face...almost complete!

I've been so excited the last several days to be able to work on the quilt again.  The face is almost complete and it's really, really taking shape!!
TNT - The Journey Quilt
I'm extremely happy with the way the quilt is coming out, I was worried about lining up all the seams correctly and making sure the "purple path" was maintained.

Tomorrow I need to work on the border and/or pick out the backing fabric, make sure I have enough batting and then get ready to quilt this mofo!! 

35-ish miles to Stone Mountain

Where did I ride (partial map):  here

Ride Stats:
Not accurate - the stats on the map above are incorrect because of my phone dying.
Maximum speed: 30.6 mph
Average speed: 13.0 mph
Distance: 32.63 mi

Time: 2.29.57

Mine were something like that - Megan rode with me most of the time.

The Ride:
Wowza - this was a no drop ride, and that's really the only reason I was able to complete it.  I was really excited about this ride.  I wanted the extra distance and was looking for a challenge.  Oh yes, I found a challenge.  When we started the ride, there was a group that took off very quickly.  It was apparent in the first 10 minutes or so that this was not going to be pretty - they were very far ahead, I was no where near the speed of the first group, and was only riding with Megan because she was hanging back with me.  At that point I realized this ride was not going to be fun or productive if I was focused on trying to keep up.  I started thinking that maybe I should turn around and let them ride their normal pace.  Megan offered to stay back so we were going to do our own ride - two of the other riders stayed back too.  From that point on, the pace we rode was terrific.  It was tough, I was still near the rear but I was okay with that. 

My legs were alternating from burning to feeling phenomenal to feeling tired.  It was a great ride.  Prepping for the longer distance I drank almost both my water bottles on the way to the location and then refilled them with some Gatorade I had picked up on the way downtown.  I finished those on the ride and then drank the rest of the Gatorade bottle when I got back to the car.  I'm so glad I was well hydrated.  After the ride, my legs were sore and I was tired, but considering the distance and the ride, I felt fantastic.   After  nap, I was feeling even better.

My stats are messed up and my map is incomplete because I had to use the navigation on my phone to get to the starting point of the ride, my car's GPS could not find the address.  My battery was low - I'm surprised it tracked the amount of map that it did.

Hopefully next Sunday I'll ride again with them and I just look forward to improving.  I don't need to be the fastest, but I'd like to keep up with a group and not be the last one :-)

Brookhaven Ride - Group Training - Saturday 2/20

Where did I ridehere

Ride Stats:
Total Distance: 32.69 km (20.3 mi)
Moving Time: 2:19:52
Average Moving Speed: 14.02 km/h (8.7 mi/h)
Max Speed: 44.10 km/h (27.4 mi/h)
Elevation Gain: 449 m (1471 ft)
Recorded: Sat Feb 19 08:20:35 EST 2011
Falls: 2 :-(

The Ride:
I was looking forward to this ride since I heard the weather would be 20 degrees warmer than it has been in past rides.  I decided to still wear the running tights over my bike shorts, but didn't think I'd actually need them.  Boy was I glad I had them on!! Even though it was mid 50s out, moving quickly through 50 degree weather still feels cold.  It did warm up quickly - but the start was a little tough.  About a quarter of the way through the ride I warmed up to where I actually wished I didn't have the long sleeves on.

I rode with a good group, I felt like I was both pushing and the ride was enjoyable.  The pace was good and the stops were appropriate.  After having such a good ride, I was a little disappointed at my average speed.  There  were a lot of hills, and I felt as though I had ridden well.  But oh well, I need to get in my head it's really not how fast you go, but more that you complete it and complete it well.  Execution vs Velocity.

Oh, and the falling started again - booooo.  I fell once when we were starting to go at an intersection....and the second was AT MY CAR!! The ride was essentially done, I rode to my car and I took my second spill right next to it.  My knees can't take much more of these falls - I have a bruise from the first week that is still healing!

After the ride a group of us stayed for lunch at a pizza place in the shopping center we parked at - it was delicious.  That salad and greasy slice of pepperoni pizza were heaven  :-)  It was great to get to know some new people and see my mentor Rod again!!