Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Garden

We have raspberries this year!!  I knew that you were supposed to cut back raspberries, so last year I cut them all back.  Then I found out that raspberries only grow on second-year canes.   No raspberries last year.  But the kids and I picked these this morning.  They are delicious!!

Cache Gran Fondo 2012

I did it!  I rode my bike for 51.4 miles in the Cache Gran Fondo 2012.  I only decided to try and do this ride less than 2 weeks ago, so I didn't have too much time to train.  I also don't have the kind of bike you're supposed to have, but the Gran Fondo is a ride, not a race, and billed for all levels.  I hoped I'd be fine.  Of course, when I signed up, it said it was a 40 mile ride.  Then it became 50, and I got worried.

By the time I showed up Saturday morning, I was really nervous.  I felt embarrassed to be the only one (it seemed) with a bike for riding around town instead of speed.  Mark came to see me off and give me moral support, which I really appreciated.  I hoped everyone would pass me quickly so that I could just ride at my own pace without feeling so self-conscious.  The 100 mile riders and 70 mile riders all started earlier, and at 7:15 am, our 50-miler group was off.

The course was pretty flat, so I did fine for a long time.  I started out in about the middle of the group, but people steadily passed me.  Every time I was pretty sure I was the last one, someone else would pass.  But it wasn't until nearly 20 miles into the ride that the young boys on mountain bikes passed me.  I decided that was really probably it--the last to pass me.  Then we did a little one mile sprint and I passed a couple of the boys.  No offense kids, but that was kind of fun.

At the first rest area, they had really good breakfast food that I didn't feel hungry to eat, and bike repairs offered.  My bike chain had started squeaking continuously as I pedaled, so I asked if they could oil my chain.  The guy was so nice.  I was embarrassed about my bike again, and he was very complimentary: probably just to help me feel good.  He also adjusted my shifters so that I could get into 8th gear (my highest) which wasn't working before.  Yeah!  I rode off feeling like I'd had a free tune up.

Then I hit the hill challenge.  It was about a mile and a half and looked straight up from the bottom.  I was determined to ride up the whole thing, even if I had to rest and then ride some more.  It seems really hard to walk a bike up a hill after pedaling so hard; I've tried it.  Not far into riding up, I realized that everyone on the hill was walking their bikes.  They yelled encouragements to me when I passed.  Bikers are nice!  Seriously!  Once I was done, I felt like the rest of the ride was in the bag.

Somewhere after that, I started having random thoughts like, "I should have shaved my legs," and "These bike shorts really helped!  I'm only getting really sore right now!"  Some ladies taking a break on the side of the road told me I was doing really well with that kind of a bike.  So nice!

The weather was fantastic: cooler than it'd been in weeks, and overcast.  Kind of sticky, but worth it to have the sun behind clouds.

At the 40 mile rest stop, I was really glad I still had 10 miles to go, because I still felt good.  The ride back in to Logan was fun, but I could start to really feel the tired muscles.

Mark and the little kids came to meet me at the finish line.  Lots of bystanders cheered, which was really fun.  What a great ride!  I'm so glad I did it, and I have to admit, it's a lot easier and more fun for me than running.  I'm taking a couple of days off now to rest my aching muscles and knees.  I forgot to look at my time when I rode through the finish arch, but it was pretty close to 5 hours and 20 minutes.  And I didn't finish last.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tour de Fleece

I keep hearing about my fellow fiber enthusiasts' goals in the Tour de Fleece.  This is where you spin every day that the the riders in the Tour de France ride.  I had great intentions to participate.  I haven't spun in a long time, and I'm dying to let some wool run through my fingers, even in the heat.

I also heard about the Gran Fondo bike ride in my community to support the hospital.  I've often wanted to participate in a fun bike ride through my beautiful valley, but I'm so intimidated by the experienced people in most races.  This one sounded perfect, because a Gran Fondo (Big Ride in Italian) is truly a ride, not a race, and is supposed to accomodate all levels.  There was a 40 mile ride that seemed about right for me.

I told my husband I wanted to ride, but the cost (which is a fund raiser for a good cause) seemed really high.  Well, my husband sponsored me and I started to ride last week.  That gave me a whole week and a half to train for my ride.  Let me just say that it hurts to sit.

So my deal with myself was that for every day I "spun" on the bike, I could spin on my spinning wheel.  This would have been great!  But I've biked almost every day, and haven't done a lick of spinning.  Maybe after the Gran Fondo on Saturday.