Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dashing thru the snow...

...for one last ride of '08.

'Dashing' is a little bit of an exaggeration as we averaged just 12.1 mph over the 20.13 mile ride. I'm not used to riding on snow, so I was taking it easy, learning about snow riding and having a very fun time!

When we set off, the snow was just beginning. The temps were at 22F for the whole ride. The wind speed was variable, 8-20 mph.

We paused at the boat landing where I snapped this pic of Jeff.

The grasses along the beach were crispy with frost like this.

As the snow built up on the roads it became more and more like pedaling on the beach sand, soft and grabby.

Another pic of Jeff...can you believe I was operating the camera with my lobster gloves *on* and pedaling one handed in snow!

I didn't realize it at the time, but I had icy bits sticking in my eyebrows! I had to give up on my glasses about 3/4 of the way through the ride as they were foggy and gloppy.

Ahh, pristine snow! I absolutely love having the 'cross bikes so we can do a ride like this.

Jeff and I will spend the rest of the day snug at home as the snow continues to build up and blow around outside. We were hoping to do a New Year's Day ride tomorrow, but it looks like we may be snowed in at home instead.

Happy New Year! Hope you are happy and safe tonight and throughout '09!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our Holiday: Bike Rides, Games and Food

My calf muscles are suddenly better. Honestly, I think the pomegranate cosmos I made last night healed me!! They were very, very relaxing =)

We always have some Scrabble battles around this time of year. We've been playing on the PS3 too, but working together in those games, like Resistance, to shoot the monsters.

It's nice to have Jeff home on vacation for games and lots of bike riding. We've already been out two days this week. Today's ride included 2.16 miles of beach riding which is incredibly fun.

When it's cold, gray and damp out I love to heat up the oven and make homemade pizza. It's the best after ride food! Here's one I made yesterday, didn't the crust come out well? This time the toppings were turkey pepperoni and kalamata olives. I sprinkled a little pecorino romano over the top in addition to the mozzarella.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Last Complete Week of '08

Jeff and I both rode 3 days and 94.92 miles on the cx bikes.

It was clear, but windy for our xmas day ride. You can get some idea of the wind if you look at the surf blowing back off the waves in this pic.

On Friday's ride, we saw these tiny calves. They seemed as excited by snow free ground as we were!
We stopped to watch them chase each other back and forth in the pasture with their tails in the air like cats. I didn't manage to get a clear shot with both of them running, but here's the little tan one. We could hear their little hooves clattering over the frozen ground.

Sorry, no pics from today's ride, it was wet and I didn't bother to take the camera.

Maybe one of you can help me with a problem? I have had tight, sore calf muscles since my Thursday ride. I am actually OK while pedaling, but I can't walk comfortably. Stepping forward causes the calf to knot up even more. I haven't ever had such knotted calves before. Does anyone have any suggestions for making them better? I have been stretching them, mainly by standing on a step and dropping my heel off the edge. I'm not sure what caused it, but it seems like maybe the 5 days off the bike wasn't so good for me!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas!

I got my Christmas wish...the snow melted so Jeff and I could ride! After 5 days off, I was feeling achy. It wouldn't have been so bad if I had been able to walk or jog, but we had treacherous ice and I didn't want to risk falling. Everywhere I went I hobbled around like a penguin. Today, it felt so great to get on the bike. It always feels so light and responsive after a break. But, it took me about 10 miles to work out the kinks in my muscles. Jeff and I did 33.34 miles in all on the cx bikes. It was really windy, but it was a fairly steady wind so it wasn't knocking us off our line much.

We opened our presents this morning and the dogs opened theirs as well. Saffy knows what to do on Christmas and gets very excited for it. Silas is more reserved about it. He's a bit neurotic, to say the least, and new stuff can make him nervous.

Silas slowly worked his way into his present and really seemed pleased with the tire toy.

Saffy tore into the paper, and found her stuffed, squeaky hedgehog to add to her increasing collection of soft toys. That was fun to play with, but she also had to shred all the wrapping paper into tiny pieces.

After shredding and playing with hedgehog, she set her sights on the tire and stole it from Silas.

After all the excitement and treats, they are sleeping soundly now.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

O Christmas Tree

My legs are feeling a little twitchy from two days off the bike, but I'm getting a lot of other things done around here, like decorating for Christmas!

We have a tabletop tree, loaded with an assortment of ornaments from family and a few I've picked out over the years, but I don't seem to have a single bicycle ornament!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


The snow accumulated quickly yesterday evening and overnight. The dogs were so excited and had to dig to find their toys in the backyard.

It's going to be awhile before the roads are clear again for riding out of the way of cars as you can see in this picture I took on our way home from the grocery store today. This is one of the main roads, so it is in much better shape than the side roads which are still snow covered. I would love to have a chance to snow bike, but there aren't any car free places that I know of around here.

I'm glad I was able to ride a bunch earlier in the week. I did 6 days of riding and 168.11 miles. It was good to make use of all three bikes this week, the old mtn bike doesn't get out of the barn much these days.

I'll take a day or two off and then get the trainer set up!

Friday, December 19, 2008

1 More Before the Storm

X6 is home from the shop and feeling great. It got new brake pads and chain and all tightened up. It's shifting beautifully! I love having both my bikes feeling like new again!

I went out for a 20 mile spin on X6 this morning before the snow. It was dim, cold and there was a fairly steady wind out of the north. I thought this view was interesting, almost abstract. In the foreground is a bit of icy marsh that runs between the road and beach. The gray band of sky keeps fooling me into thinking it is the ocean/horizon! The clouds like that over the sun are a sure sign of the snow to come.

I'm not sure when I'll get outside for a ride again...I may be on the trainer some.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I still don't have any waterproof gear because I don't think of myself as a rainy day biker, but I keep finding myself out pedaling in rain! I think I will end up buying some gortex before the spring rainy season.

My road bike is like new after the shop tuneup, but the weather has only been reasonable for 2 rides on it since. X6 is still in the shop. Thankfully I have the mtn bike to take out in the wet. It's been out two days this week, pretty much all on pavement. The short shoreline access paths are usually fun diversions from the pavement, but today they were more like small streams and I felt too soaked and cold and skipped them.

Today's ride got me to 4,012.28 miles for the year.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weekly Stats

I had 2 days off this week, so 5 days of riding and 125.54 miles. I'm kinda sad to see the miles that low compared to the last couple of months, but it's actually good mileage in terms of what I can usually do in winter.

Given the road conditions, I still haven't had a ride on my tuned up road bike! I'm hoping I can ride it tomorrow. The X6 is getting worked on, like fixing the rear brake that has been unusable unless I want to hear an awful noise. I'm looking forward to finding out what's been causing that! It will get a new chain and general tightening up.

I really shouldn't have let either bike go so long without a tune up. I thought the benefit of having multiple bikes would be that one was always in good shape when the other needed work, but somehow I timed it so both bikes needed work at the same time. Oops! I will try not to let that happen again!

Jeff and I did a cold ride this morning around our short loop and found that most of the flooding had disappeared, drained away at low tide. It was nice to be able to get through on the usual roads, but along the beach we had to pick our way through places where the sand and rocks had washed over the road. There were some pretty scary patches of ice, but we made it over them. It's suppose to warm up, so I'm hoping the roads will dry up so I can test out the tuned up road bike. If not, I'll go out on the mtn bike until X6 is back home.

Friday, December 12, 2008


We had wind and a ton of rain overnight and part of today. When I ventured out on my bike this afternoon, there was flooding everywhere from small streams and ditches. When I got down to the beaches, I saw that the marsh had filled up with water and the roads were flooded and closed!

Hanging Rocks Road is supposed to be in the center of this picture. You can just see some of the guardrail sticking up here and there. The water was mid-thigh depth and I know this because there was a guy walking through the cold water when I got there. He'd been out running and apparently didn't have time to backtrack the way he had come so he'd taken his shoes and socks off and gone through!!

You can see what the road is supposed to look like in this older pic I posted last spring. It's taken closer to those white signs in the flood pic, but I think you'll see the difference!

There was no way through to Sachuest Point today and the 2nd Beach parking lot was completely submerged in the right of this pic.

I backtracked and did a variation of my usual short loop for 21.16 miles.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bike TLC

My road bike went to the shop this week for some maintenance. I was expecting to leave it for a few days, but it was there for just 24 hours! That's some good service! My bike got a new chain and cassette and handlebar tape. It also got all the cables and the loose headset tightened and other little tuneups. I can't wait to go for a ride on it, I think it's going to feel like new! It certainly looks like new with that shiny cassette!

I seriously considered actually doing a 'cross race this weekend. I started going through the 'checklist' of what I'd need to do and went over my X6 thinking about taking the bottle cages off, etc. I've known my bike needs a tuneup because of some dodgy shifting, but it's a little more in need than I'd been thinking with brake pads almost down to metal in front and very stretched cables. So, it's not going to happen this weekend, but I am going to do it at some point! The bike shop owner talked with me about it too and really thought I should start in early fall with the training/clinic options. I am going to be serious about practising in '09, even if I have to tie pillows to my body for padding to reduce the bruising =) I really appreciate the encouragement, please don't give up on me, I do want to try it.

When I picked up my road bike last night, I made plans to drop off my X6 so it will be in good shape for the winter riding ahead.

I'd like to figure out how to do some of the maintenance stuff myself, but I don't even have a bike stand yet, so it's easier for me to take it to the mechanics. Besides, it's always fun to have an excuse to stop by the shop to see the new bikes and gear. I was able to get warm covers for my cx shoes last night (and Jeff's too)!

We are having a few soggy days this week. I got out Wednesday morning before the heaviest rain. There was just some light rain at times that didn't really soak through. The wind was something else, really gusty! Today is probably going to be a rest day. It looks like the weather will clear up during the day tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A New Challenge for 2009

It's never too early to plan some New Year's resolutions. Thanks to Trio, I have a new goal on the horizon, the

2009 Century a Month Challenge.

I'm going to choose the metric option given how hard it can be to ride any long distance from December-March. Considering I rarely do more than about 40 miles on rides, this challenge will be the push I need to to go further.

I went out to ride today and walked over some snow to get to where I get on my road bike. Well, the snow built up in my cleats and froze up quite solidly. I actually had to call my ride buddy to tell her I would be late to our meet up place because of it. I managed to find a rigid piece of plastic garbage on the side of the road and I chipped away at the ice with that. After that problem was solved, it was a good ride and I did 41.21 miles.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Snow and Sand*

(*Well, most of my ride was on pavement, but I did ride a stretch of snow covered grass and the sands of 2nd beach.)

This morning I was reading blogs and building up motivation to venture out into the cold. I find the blog Up In Alaska is often what sends me out the door with my bike. After seeing the weather she goes out in, really, what do I have to complain about?! Anyway, today I gained motivation from Jill writing the following:
And yet, for all the times I remember reluctantly gearing up and wheeling my bike out into the blah weather, I don't recall a single ride when I came home and thought "I wish that never happened."

I feel the same way. So, keeping that thought in my mind, I bundled up and headed out with my 'cross bike. I snapped a picture as I was having second thoughts in the driveway.

The temps during today's ride ranged from 18-23F with a windchill ranging from 8-15F, one of my coldest rides ever. My Nuun had a block of ice in it within the first 5 miles. My toes felt like ice cubes. I don't have covers for my cx shoes, so I was just in double wool socks. By 10 miles out, my feet were really uncomfortable and I was thinking the rest of the ride was going to be pretty difficult.

But then, coming down the hill at the end of 2nd Beach, I looked down the length of the long, wide beach at low tide and got an idea. Beach Ride Time! I'd never done it before, though I've thought about it for some time. Instantly I forgot about my cold feet and felt perfectly fine out there. I was pretty tentative getting out onto the beach as I really didn't want to fall over in front of people sitting in their cars in the parking lot. They already seemed to think I was pretty insane and falling down would have looked ridiculous. So, I dabbed and picked my way over the deeper softer sand and then got pedaling for real out on the flat, packed sands. Oh, it was sooo fun!!

These two pics were taken in the same spot, first looking one way and then the other.

Would you believe today was my first day on the beach this year?! Hot summer days didn't get me there, but give me a December day with single digit wind chill and I'm out there, apparently!

Here's the frozen water bottle shot. The camera lens was fogging up from suddenly being warm in the house.

I ended up doing 21.36 miles in all and after the first 10 miles managed to stay warm. I probably wouldn't have been cold at all with booties.

Early Christmas Presents!

When the weather isn't so great, I need to focus on some cleaning, maintenance and making sure I have gear I need. Yesterday afternoon I stopped by two bike shops!

I've mentioned my tires a few times lately...can you tell how worn they are in the pic? You may need to see them in person for the full effect. Take my word for it, they have squared off edges!

Visiting Bikeworks Sunday, I was able to get replacement Bontrager Race X-Lites. The water bottles I've used for over a year just went completely plasticky almost overnight, so I got a stash to replace those and was pleased to find Cannondale ones to match my bikes! I am going to try the Tri Berry Nuun. Do you have a favorite Nuun flavor? Also in the picture are some new cleats. I've been a little afraid of pulling out of the pedal with my old worn ones lately. I ordered some replacement handlebar tape which should be available soon. (They didn't have any Cannondale kinds in stock.)

We also went to Providence Bicycle to pick up the PI AmFib tights that were on hold for Jeff. He's going to love those! Of course, I started looking around and noticed this top. I don't normally wear such bright colors, but do on the bike for visibility. It's the PI Symphony Reversible Jersey.

Doesn't everyone love a reflective 'tramp stamp'? =)

This is one of my favorite items now, the shaping is great and it's so comfy! I'll be tempted to wear this one off the bike too.

I made do with a bare minimum of bike clothing for a couple of years and only the tights for winter cycling specific gear, so now that I've stuck with the biking for awhile it's fun to treat myself to some clothes. I do find it helps. I don't have to think about what to wear or worry about whether it will work. It is comfortable while riding and I can just get on with the pedaling, the way it should be.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It had to happen sometime...

...a rest day.

I have a supply of coffee and a stack of magazines for reading. And, of course, I'll be spending time out in the yard with the dogs who love snow. They never seem to tire of catching snowballs.

Here's Saffy, actually begging for the snowball Jeff's holding, while Silas plots how he's going to get it before she does.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Goddard Park RI CX Races

NBX G.P. of Cross / Verge New England Championship Cyclo-Cross 8...Lots of pics!

Jeff and I made it to the park in time to see the Cat 2/3 Men and the UCI Elite Women and Men.

Some Cat 2/3's make the change from fast pavement to grass. Note the tree in the right foreground. I tend to put a tree between me and the racers in places it looks like they may go wide!!

Cat 2/3's on a long grass section.

Elite women at the barriers.

Women leaders coming out of the sand into a run up.

I thought this was a pretty good picture from my little point and shoot. It's Rebecca Wellons chasing, eventually placing 4th, though she was leading the series overall.

Wellons again, on a run up.

Amy Wallace on the run up.

Elite men through the barriers.

Elite men tackling a run up.

Just after the mount after the above run up.

Elite men on a surface I thought looked like fun!

Elite men.

And, this is what happens when I am a bit too zoomed in as they go past, but I kind of like how these pics came out! This is the winner, James Driscoll, with his Cannondale bike.

I'm not sure who this is, but I like the look/color of the bike!

It wouldn't be a cross race without the Devil and the Ape Man!

You can click on any of the pics to see them full sized. Hope you don't mind the picture heavy post! I have so much fun at these things and end up taking a bunch of pics.

I noticed Until the Snow Ends riding with his bike cam, so I assume he'll have race video posted in a few days.

Edited to add: link to bike cam footage.

Stats for Week

Jeff and I went for a ride this morning, so I'm up to 62 days in a row now, but the streak will be ending soon, maybe tomorrow. Seven days of riding and 231.73 miles for the week.

In awhile, I'm off to watch some elite men and women race 'cross! More Cowbell!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

60 Consecutive Days Riding

At the risk of appearing somewhat like the cat in the picture, I'm going to post my stats for the past 60 days!

I know you kind blog readers have seen some of these numbers twice already, but I've got the whole set now. Sixty days and 1,964.20 miles. (I'm not too bothered about not hitting 2,000.)

My friend Lynn snapped a pic as I rode out to meet her today. It was so windy here and I'd just felt like I was going to be knocked over. I know I need a new jacket every time I see a pic of me in that big, old one of Jeff's! It is not flattering, especially when the wind is puffing it out!

I liked facing the challenge of riding everyday and trying rides in some weather I'd ordinarily avoid (like sleet!). I didn't get too fatigued or burnout and I've gotten a nice base that I hope to maintain through the cold weather and build on in the spring. I don't think I would have done nearly so many miles without the challenge and all the encouraging blog comments. Thank you very much for them! Getting to know some blogging bikers better has been one of the best parts!

The weather is actually looking good for tomorrow, so I will probably be out riding again. It's hard to stop daily riding once you get started! I may get a rest day on Saturday though as I will be going to watch other people pedal at the NBX G.P. of Cross / Verge New England Championship, but it will depend on if Jeff wants to fit in a ride and wants company.