Saturday, December 15, 2007

12/15/07 Weekly Ride Report

The weather lately has made for interesting photo ops and happy dogs, but has not been so conducive to biking.

We had an ice storm on Monday and I took these pics of the ice glazing berries in the privet hedge and a dried stalk of Joe Pye Weed.

Thursday, we had snow which the dogs absolutely love. Saffy makes Jeff and I play soccer with her. We have to use a basketball since it takes such a beating!

She invented this version of the game and puts a lot of energy and muscle into it and expects us to do the same.

Jeff and I can get quite a workout keeping up with her. She loves to try to steal the ball away from us and then wants us to try to take it from her. She loves 'fake outs' and is really good at doing it to us. She'll hold the ball with one paw, start to send it one way and then quickly change and go the other way!

Yes, I'm trying to distract you from my lack of cycling content for this post. I was so psyched up to ride after watching the cx race Saturday, but didn't get out until the brief warm up on Wednesday.

I had a really good ride with my fresh legs. I can't remember the last time they felt that fresh! They felt strong, even twitchy, which was a good feeling since I definitely have more bulky muscle than quick twitch fibers. I was on the 'cross bike, but it felt so light and connected to me. I guess that was the benefit of being so physically well rested.

The temperatures got up to 45-50 so I could go with my lighter clothes. Although a few splatty raindrops landed on me at the start of my ride it cleared a little. The wind was mild at first, though it got pretty strong toward the end of my ride.

My (meager) total for the week was 1 outside ride of 32.81 miles on the cross bike.

Rest is nice to a point, but if all this 'rest' continues I'm definitely going to start to atrophy, so workouts will be picking up again one way or another.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

RI 'Cross Race

I had a great time Saturday ringing a cowbell and cheering for racers at the 6th Annual W.E. Stedman GP of Cross: UCI Cat. 2 - Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross Series Round #6 & Rhode Island State Cyclo-Cross Championships. This is a *very* picture heavy post, but I hope you enjoy them!

Having just gotten a 'cross bike of my own, I was really excited to see so many women racers. They make it look easy!

A pedestrian bridge crossed the course near the start/finish line, so spectators could get a neat view of the fields as they started out on the pavement.
Cat 3/4 Women

Elite Women

Elite rider, Anna Milkowski, finished 1st.

Elite women on tough runup with Hannah in pink.

Mid-air mount, Hannah again!

Elite racer, Rebecca Wellons, stayed on the bike and powered up one time. Though this strategy was probably not as fast as dismounting and running, it was fun to watch! She finished 2nd.

The men's fields were a bit larger and included the Masters,

Cat 3/4's,

and Elite's.

The course was a little snowy for the first racers.

The Master's queue up.

Juniors and Cat 3/4 Women tackle the sand.

Slippery mud on this turn tended to cause a bit of a bottleneck and a few people went down here.

One of the best spots for watching as they twisted around the trees.

Many had to 'dab' with one foot on this corner.

Another view of the course with the Elite Women riding.

The Elite Men working together.

Ready and waiting in the pit.

The results of all the races are posted here.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

12/8/07 Weekly Ride Report

Weather and plans definitely hindered biking this week, but it seemed beneficial to have a little rest.

I did 2 rides outside on the 'cross bike for a total of 55.05 miles. And I did one tiny trainer session of about 7 miles inside. I have to get new batteries for my computer as it kept cutting out on me.

I saw two white-tailed deer in the distance on Friday's ride. Hopefully you can spot them in this picture, I know they're pretty small.

That gray sky sprinkled on me a little, but the heavy rain held off until I finished!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ice Cold

We have below normal temperatures here in RI and have had winds and precips since December began, so today was my first outside ride this week! I lasted for 22.08 miles. I did a loop past a couple of the beaches and then over to the rec area field for a lap around that. My tires were inflated for pavement, so riding over the bumpy, frozen ground was quite an experience and had me clenching my teeth and struggling to keep my grip on the handlebar with my cold fingers.

See the ice in the pic? Brrr...

I'm working on getting some winter gear and will make a post about it soon.

I have to face the fact that some days I'm just going to have to get on the trainer. I did 30 minutes on Tuesday just to remind myself what it was like and it wasn't too bad. I just need to set up a TV screen and fan in front of it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

12/1/07 Weekly Ride Report

I did 5 rides on the 'cross bike this week for 154.44 miles in all.

Sunday, I was trying to take pictures of my new tights (post coming soon) while rolling, but I couldn't get quite the right angle. However, I did get this shot of the frame which I kind of like with the road blur behind.

While I was playing around with the camera, Jeff got out ahead of me! I took this picture just to show you one of our roads and then focused on pedaling again.

The wind is pounding the walls of the house today and I haven't even set a foot outside! Based on the weather forecast, I think I'm going to have to start doing some indoor trainer workouts this week.

Friday, November 30, 2007

November Wrap Up

I finished up November with a 24.54 mile ride today. It was 34 degrees and breezy when I set out and my toes were pretty frozen by the time I got back, though I was otherwise pretty comfortable. The views and sunshine helped to keep me going. At one point, I was picking my line slowly through a potholed, patch on patch section of road and noticed this hawk perched overhead on a power line. I didn't think it would stay there while I dug in my coat for the camera with clumsy full fingered gloves and then 'woke up' the camera, but it did! I guess it was too cold to bother with flapping away.

Along with dropping temperatures, we had a lot of rain in November which I didn't want to go out to ride in. Then we had some holiday things scheduled toward the end of the month, so it was a little harder to stay on track and get the miles.

I managed to ride a total of 19 days and 525.48 miles. The cx bike has been put to a lot of use as it's great for mashing over acorns, sticks and leaves that litter the roads this time of year. I used it on 13 rides and my road bike for just 6 rides. I don't see many other bikers outside now and only did 2 group rides this month. Jeff did 8 rides with me, but I had to do 11 solo efforts to get the miles I wanted.

Here's the inevitable chart. I know, not exciting blog fodder, but these little bars help keep me motivated, so you'll have to live with it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I understand the usefulness of headwinds or even crosswinds for training, particularly in flat RI where to some extent we can use wind to simulate hill climbing. So, I don’t complain about that…much. But I do complain about crazy, swirling winds that randomly push you from side to side, front to back, down and up. For perhaps the first 10 minutes or so, I guess it’s actually fun, kind of like a carnival ride. But two hours later and I’ve been shaken about so much I hardly know which way is up.

Today was one of those days. Last night and early this morning, we had winds and rain with very warm temps, up to 60 degrees. About a half hour into my mid-morning ride, the cold north winds really picked up and started to drive the warm air out. So, I had crazy turbulence and rapidly dropping temps. Joy!

On the bright side, the weather did make for some dramatic pictures.

What better sky to have over a Gothic cathedral?

The surf was high. Down at the other end of the beach, near the rocks in the first picture, there were a bunch of surfers in the waves.

The sky looked pretty dark out over the water.

But was even darker over the road I was biking on!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

11/24/07 Weekly Ride Report

I'm doing my best to keep up my riding though colder weather and holiday activities! This week I did 3 rides on the 'cross bike for a total of 95.35 miles. Jeff did 2 of those rides with me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Pre Thanksgiving Feast Ride

We had a lot to be thankful for yesterday, including a beautiful warm day. It was perfect for a ride and we weren't the only ones out enjoying it. We saw so many other bikers, walkers, runners, surfers and horseback riders!

We biked twice around our beach loop and past the bird refuge (where we saw a Kestrel and a Harrier). Then we biked over to the town rec area for some loops around the fields for a total of 33.74 miles.

I snapped some pics of Jeff. This narrow lane is on the way to the fields.

It's fun to practice turns around the trees at the edge of the field.

A few laps around this big field can sure get the heart rate up!

And these are a couple of shots of Jeff as we headed back home.

It was an easy ride, but allowed us feel a little less guilty about taking that extra slice of pumpkin pie for dessert!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gobble, Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jeff and I biked past this flock of wild turkeys on last Sunday's ride. They seemed very relaxed considering it's turkey dinner season!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I know I’ve been biking a lot when...

Last night, I was telling Jeff about seeing someone we know drive by me when I was out biking. I told him that this person ‘ beeped and waved to me over the handlebar’, when I meant the steering wheel!

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Saddle

I've debated for some time about whether to try a different saddle on my X6 or not. Well, more frequent, longer rides on the stock saddle in cold weather became pretty uncomfortable as I had to keep shifting from one sit bone to the other during the ride rather than just being able to perch evenly. As the saddle didn't seem bad other than not being wide enough, I decided to look for one from the same line. The stock saddle is a Selle San Marco Ponza. Unfortunately, they don't seem to make a Ponza for women, so I ordered a saddle from the same 'Island' series, the women's Ischia. It is an appropriate width which is good, but also a bit heavier and thicker in profile. Luckily it's not at all expensive, so I don't feel badly about experimenting a bit. I ordered it from amazon since it's not something the local shop usually carries.

This is the saddle as pictured on amazon.

Jeff and I mounted it on the bike Sunday and I think we did a pretty good job positioning it, but I'll probably stop by the shop at some point as the owner said he'd help with adjusting it. It certainly won't hurt to have an expert look at the angle of my knees, etc.

This is a picture that I took of the saddles together for comparison. My new saddle is in the foreground and the stock saddle is shown behind, on Jeff's bike.

If you happen to know about saddles for cx and have any thoughts on this one, pros or cons, please leave a comment for me. Or if there is one that tends to be favored by women, let me know the name. I'm just getting started with cx, so I appreciate *all* advice!

Also, Jeff has decided he isn't very comfortable on his saddle, so we'll be looking into an alternative for him as well.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

11/17/07 Weekly Ride Report

Five days of riding this week and 137.56 miles total. Two solo efforts and 3 rides with Jeff. All but one ride on the 'cross bike.

The Japanese Maple tree in our yard is such an amazing color right now! I snapped the pic at the start of today's bike ride. I'd hoped to take some more pics as we rode, but it just seemed too hard to do with the wind, cold and full fingered gloves too!

Friday, November 16, 2007


That was the sound of the wind blowing past my ears on my ride today. No, not due to my great pedaling speeds, rather due to a constant NW/W wind speed of 14-18 with gusts to 27 mph! It was all I could hear for the entire duration of my ride, in fact, I still feel like I'm hearing it!

When I stopped for a drink and uncapped my Gatorade, the wind blew a spray of Gatorade right out of the bottle! The wind also made a foghorn like sound as it blew across the bottle opening!

It could have felt really cold today with temps no higher than 46 and a ‘feels like’ temperature of no more than 40 based on wind chill, but the sun was very bright and my black tights soaked up the warmth of the rays pretty well. I only felt cold when I was pedaling straight into the wind and there were some long stretches like that. At times I was practically doing a track stand into the wind gusts!

At the start of my ride, when I pushed the on button to wake up Garmin, it said 'bleeep' and shut off immediately despite having been fully charged on Wednesday. Aarrghh! As much as I like it, Garmin can be a real pain sometimes. So, I had to go without a computer today and just did a route that I know the mileage for exactly: 29.52 miles.

I’m trying to do a lot of easy Base Effort rides and think I did as well as could be expected at it today considering I had no computer/heart rate monitor and the wind was making me work a bit just to have any forward momentum at all!

I snapped a couple of pics where I stopped for a drink and look at the waves.

If you look closely at this one you can see some of the spray blowing off the tops of the waves.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


It was a cold ride for Jeff and I today. No one else braved the weather with us! The best part was jumping back into the sun-warmed cab of the truck at the end! Here’s Jeff, styling in his skully and showing the average for the day.

He can actually pull off the shades and skully look. I quite like this shot of him!

On the other hand, I can’t work the skully look, and opted to go with really bad hat head. Oh man, maybe I shouldn’t be posting this shot!

How cold was it? The high temperature during our ride was 35.6 degrees with a NNW wind direction and wind speed of 11.5-14.9. We rode 25.44 miles at 16.5 mph average with a quick stop to share a coffee and cookie mid-way. It’s so hard to ride in the cold. You want to go fast enough that you get warmed up, but not so fast that the wind-chill becomes unbearable!