melaniesuzanne: (Bike: Circe)
Long story, short: I rode just over 55 miles, raised $1,225 with the help of many generous donors, and had a pretty good time.

The people for whom I rode.

Long story, long. )
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
This past Sunday was my last good training ride day. I will be in New Orleans for Memorial Day weekend and the Tour de Cure is on the following Sunday. My plan was to ride from home to Reston Parkway, turn around and ride west to Purcellville, then turn around and ride back home. That route is 56 miles, only five miles short of my Tour de Cure if I have Scott drive me back home and ten miles short if I ride the bike back home.

I got on the trail at 11:30am, much later than planned, but the trail wasn't too crowded. The trip to Reston and the return past home were easy. I worked on keeping my pace at a reasonable 13 MPH but it kept creeping up to 14.5 or so. I got into a spot of trouble in Ashburn when my sunscreen started running into my eyes. After clearing that up, I continued on while being pounded by the sun. The air temperature was only 80F and the humidity was tolerable, but that sun was baking me pretty hard. I couldn't wait to get into the tree cover outside of and through Leesburg. I got to Raflo park -- mile 22 of my trip -- and seriously considered calling Scott to come pick me up. But I rested in the shade and breeze, ate half a sandwich, ate a banana, and drained both water bottles. Thankfully, there was a working water fountain and I was able to refill.

Let the collapse begin. )

You know, my not being a morning person makes me grumbly about tours and supported rides starting so blasted early in the morning. But now I understand why they do that. My Tour start time is between 7 and 8am so I feel a little better about not getting too sun baked while riding. Of course, now watch us get a monsoon on the day of.


May. 9th, 2012 02:35 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
The coming Sunday is BikeDC and I am super excited about the event. Getting to ride a car-free Rock Creek Parkway and George Washington Parkway? Yes, please! Scott and I are registered for the full 24 mile route, which will actually be about 33 miles when you factor in our bike club's starting and ending point at Gravelly Point Park in Alexandria.

Route map. )

And thus begins my dilemma. My first thought was that I would ride Lily the Ariel. But after reading Sheryl's two part account and Julie's (albeit unhappy) review of riding their respective single speed bikes in the NYC Five Boro Bike Tour, I'm tempted to ride Kate the Cruiser for this event. Scott's concerned about the hills and reminded me that these ladies are much more used to riding their single speed bikes. I feel like I'm up for the challenge, though. I don't have to make a decision until Saturday night -- I'd say Sunday morning, but considering the hour we're going to have to load up and head out to the meeting point that day, I'm doing all prep work the night before -- and I already have plans to take Kate out for a spin with the girls Saturday afternoon.

So, if you're local and participating in the event, you may see me dolled up in a Life is Good tee and skirt and riding either ... )

See you in DC!
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
Since I skipped the group ride from Leesburg to Purcellville on Saturday, I made Sunday a training ride day. Scott agreed to meet me in Leesburg and ride to Purcellville and back so I had the first and last legs to myself. The ride out was pretty easy and, due to the gloomy skies, the W&OD wasn't too crowded. I found myself amongst a group of the lycra set and kept up with them through the downhills, eventually losing them before we got to Ashburn.

I made the twelve mile trip to Raflo Park -- middle of Leesburg -- in 49 minutes and waited for Scott to arrive. A couple with two young boys stopped in the gazebo where I waited and asked for suggestions on bikes for them and a carrier for the boys. I may have overwhelmed them with answers, but I stressed the importance of finding a good bike shop and asking lots of questions.

Raflo Park.

Scott finally joined me and, after chatting with the family for another 30 minutes or so, we hit the trail westward. That climb to Clarks Gap is a bugger and the downhill side is a welcome respite. I started to bonk around mile 20 as we made the final climb into Purcellville, but again the slight decline as we hit the town limits revived me enough for us to pedal slowly through town and find a restaurant for a well-deserved lunch.

Elevation map. )

I feared that heading back out on full stomachs might not be the best idea. Scott may have had the same thought and suggested that we stop and browse Trails End Cycling. He may have regretted that decision as I found a pair of white shoes at a significant discount off MSRP. A girl does want a choice in footwear... Of course the problem became how to get them home. We were both on road bikes with no baskets or racks. Scott volunteered to play his usual role of porter and crammed the shoes into his jersey pockets. Bless.

My hero. )

The downhill ride home was a breeze and Scott was pleased to note all the recumbents out on the trail. He's developed a fascination with tadpole recumbents and I see a trip to bikes@vienna in our future. Anyway, I still felt great when we hit Leesburg and continued home alone as he loaded his bike onto the truck and drove home.

My final leg was pretty easy and I'm happy to say that I avoided any crashes with the ground, or anything else for that matter. I was able to play good Samaritan to another cyclist whom I noticed bleeding and limping along the side of the trail just east of route 15 by giving her some wet wipes and a band-aid. She said she didn't need any other assistance and I continued on my way. I even had enough energy to race a guy up the route 20-hate bridge (Scott's clever moniker) and not let him pass me until about half a mile from my neighborhood. I wound up with 46.99 miles in 3h 29m, a mile farther and 21 minutes faster than my last time riding this route. Color me very pleased.

Route map. )

We ended the day with an hour at Scott's gym where I enjoyed feeling weightless in the pool and getting pounded by the waterfall in the spa. Now I just need to work up adding another 21 miles for the Tour de Cure in four weeks.


May. 4th, 2012 10:34 am
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
During last weekend's ride, I overheard a cyclist tell his friend that when learning to ride clipless, you will fall three times. I had my third, and worst, fall last night.

I was exiting a shopping center (what my friends and I call the "Bavarian Monstrosity" at the corner of Centreville Road and Sunrise Valley in Herndon) and the driveway was a fairly steep hill. The driver in front of me gunned his car to make a right turn but then hit his brakes. I hit my brakes and unclipped on the right towards the curb. Unfortunately, Circe decided to go left. She never goes left. All my falls have been to the right. But left we went and I couldn't unclip fast enough and went down in front of a car. I hopped up as fast as I could, yanking my foot out of the left shoe and bounded with bike to the grassy spot next to the driveway. I lost a little skin on my left knee because I was wearing bike shorts instead of my usual capris, but I wasn't bleeding much. It took some work to wrench the shoe off the pedal, but eventually I got everything in order and walked the bike up the hill so I could clear my head of the shock and adrenaline.

Eventually I felt comfortable enough to get back into traffic and, because darkness was quickly falling, headed for home. I was a couple of miles from home when I realized that my left brake handle felt weird and I had to put my hand in an odd position to use it. It was only then that I noticed the left horn was no longer 90 degrees from the handlebar; it was more like 75 degrees from the handlebar. That didn't seem good. But it was working well enough and I got home just as full darkness came on.

Today I'm a little sore on my left side -- dull surprise -- and have discovered that I scraped up my elbow as well. The road rash on my knee isn't too bad, but I've got some pretty spectacular bruises. This isn't putting me off riding with a girlfriend tonight; though I will be on my hybrid. Scott works half days on Fridays and will take my bike over to the shop and get them to fix my handlebar. He said he could bend it back into place, but I want the professionals to handle this first repair.

May Day

May. 1st, 2012 11:35 am
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
It's the first of May (NSFW for language), my eighth wedding anniversary, and the start of National Bike Month. Whoo hoo! I've signed up for the WABA-sponsored Bike to Work Day -- yay, free food and swag en route to work -- and am anxiously awaiting to see what activities the fitness center at work will provide on May 18.

In other news, I -- well, the staff at my LBS -- have made some upgrades to Circe and Lily. Circe got a new stem Friday afternoon and that change has made my road bike so much easier to ride. My hands usually went numb a few miles into a ride; on Saturday, I completed a thirty-two mile ride with no numbness or discomfort. I even felt comfortable enough to ride in the drops a few times and I didn't feel like I would take a header over the handlebar. The new stem has me riding in a slightly higher position which is a lot more comfortable on my overdeveloped ab and my back. As my core strength improves, I'll probably go back to the shorter stem.

Lily got a thorough bath on Sunday. And I do mean thorough. It was a two and a half hour ordeal, but I got every bit of road grime off the frame and out of the cogs and sprockets. Her rims, cassette, chain wheel, and chain practically sparkle. She's not showroom clean, but she's the cleanest I've seen her since taking possession. Unfortunately, when I put her in the two highest/hardest gears, there was some grinding in the chain wheel. I could have monkeyed with the front derailleur, but I let the professionals handle that and I had the mechanic change out the spiky pedals for the combo platform/spds I purchased a few weeks ago. It's going to take a little getting used to riding with pedals that aren't grippy, but I'm happy to have the option of riding clipless while commuting.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
This past Saturday was the fourth annual Paul's Ride for Life and sixth annual Cyclefest Expo in Reston, VA. Since we were riding the twenty mile route, we took our time getting ready and hit the trail just before 8:30am for the five mile ride to Reston Town Center via the W&OD. The skies were sunny when we left the house, but the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped significantly before we even got to Herndon. Check-in at the RTC pavilion was smooth and as we snapped photos of each other, two members of the Bike Me DC club joined us and we hit the trail.

Pics )

The ride itself was pretty easy -- I mean, a third of the route was my usual commute and we've both traveled the entire route many, many times -- and everybody from volunteers to ride participants were enthused and high-spirited despite the chilly temperature. Most people alerted a pass with a "Good morning!" rather than the standard "Oh your left!" Lots of families joined the ride with kids on trail-a-bikes, in baby seats, or in trailers. One man even had a chihuahua in his front basket. Poor little guy looked chilly despite his fluffy jacket. The rest stops were nicely appointed, but some hot cocoa would have been a nice touch. I was so cold when we left the second rest stop and headed back towards Reston that I suggested we stop by our house and get some warmer clothes. Mother Nature must've been listening, though, because the temperature shot up a few degrees and the wind dropped enough that I actually had a good sweat going by the time we got to our jumping-off spot. We decided to continue without stopping.

When we got back to Reston Town Center, the Ride for Life volunteers were in celebration mode and the Cyclefest Expo was in full swing. We visited for a long while with a couple of women representing Tri Team Z. Scott's interested in triathlons and this looked like a great group with whom to get involved. He signed up for more information and will probably attend one of their next meetings.

I chatted with a representative of Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling a bit. They've organized a ride from a Reston Park-n-Ride to the Udvar-Hazy center this coming Saturday (available to WABA members only for insurance reasons). I'd love to participate, but I've already committed to another ride out to Purcellville. The rep said that this was the first of what will hopefully become a regular ride; I hope he's right because it sounds like fun. We also discussed the issues that we suburban cyclists have which differ from our urban counterparts such as faster-moving traffic, limited access roadways, and scarcity of cyclists which means that drivers aren't as aware that we're on the roads. I also stopped by the Friends of the W&OD tent and asked how one becomes a friend of the trail. Seeing as how I use it for business and pleasure, I feel like I should give back, you know?

By this point, Scott's and my teeth were chattering and we decided it was time to head home. We'd been given coupons for a free water bottle from The Bike Lane and we swooped by the shop for swag before hitting the trail to go back home where there was hot showers, fluffy PJs, and lots of napping with warm cats.

According to an email sent out by the event organizers, 460 riders participated on Saturday and by all accounts, everyone had a pretty good time. I know that we enjoyed ourselves and will be back again next year. I may even feel comfortable enough riding one-handed on Circe that I can take some pics on the road.
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
This coming Saturday is the fourth annual Paul's Ride for Life in Reston, VA. According to the event's website, this ride is dedicated to the memory of a cyclist, Paul Rossmeissl, who died in June 2006 from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident on the W&OD. Paul's unfortunate death allowed three organ recipients to live. All proceeds from the ride go to the Washington Regional Transplant Community.

If you're localish, this event might be of interest. It looks like Saturday is going to be pretty nice for cycling with overcast skies and a high of 55F. Well, it'll be nice for me as I prefer chillier days. Scott and I are being punks and riding the twenty mile route, but we are going to ride our bikes to and from the event which will put another ten miles onto the day for us.

In addition to the ride, the sixth annual Cyclefest Expo will be going on from 10a-3p in Reston Town Center. "Multiple vendors"? Oh, yeah; I'm there. Although, I'll be on the Dolce which doesn't have much in the way of cargo capacity... Hrm. I suppose putting Lily's metal or Kate's wicker basket on Circe would be the peak of silliness.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: Circe)
I hit the trail at the crack of 1pm on Saturday (so not a morning person) for another training ride. Just like last weekend, Scott met me at Idylwood Park in Falls Church, but this time we continued east along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail until its junction with the Custis Trail and rode that to Rosslyn. Since I'd ridden that route before, I called out to him the blind corners ahead of time -- for which he was grateful -- and gave him a heads-up on potentially troublesome intersections as well as the switchback ramp leading down to the Roosevelt Island parking lot. The ramp was much less scary my second time down but he found it terrifying. He kept one foot unclipped and extended the entire ride down just in case... but we made it to the base safely.

(Yes, there are commuters who face that ramp just about everyday, but we live in the sticks and don't have to deal with switchbacks... except for the one just west of Clarke's Gap which is especially fun in autumn when it's blanketed in leaves. But anyway...)

Route map. )

I realized something as we pedaled along the Mount Vernon Trail: that multi-use path feels about half the width of the W&OD. It seems like the MVT could almost fit in one lane of W&OD. I find passing other cyclists and pedestrians fairly harrowing. I always feel like a jerk because I'm passing too closely, following too closely to wait for an oncoming cyclist to pass, or nearly running oncoming peds and cyclists off the trail. Suburban trails, like suburban streets, are wide expanses compared to their more urban counterparts, I guess. Yes, I'm generalizing a bit.

You can easily ride two abreast on the W&OD, but I wouldn't try that on the MVT. )

We stopped for a short picnic break between the Memorial Bridge and Lady Bird Johnson Park where I marveled at the Washington, DC skyline. I still feel a flutter in my chest when I see the monuments and Smithsonian castle across the river and realize that I live in the nation's capital. Okay, I live twenty-five miles northwest of the nation's capital, but you get the picture. The hubs, who spent most of his years in Annapolis, is less impressed seeing as how he had field trips there all the time. But for me, despite living in Virginia for sixteen years now, that skyline still gets to me.

We hopped back on our bikes and reached Gravelly Point Park -- which was CLOGGED with people -- easily. The ride to and past National Airport was harder because we were beginning to tire and the wind from the south kept getting stronger and stronger, but once we turned onto the Four Mile Run Trail, it was smooth sailing again. I have to say that I was very glad to have Scott with me at that end of 4MRT because the isolation creeped me out pretty badly, but I eventually relaxed and enjoyed the scenery. We returned to civilization fairly quickly and panted our way up to the W&OD trailhead in Shirlington.

Oh my goodness, I had NO idea how pretty the trail is up there. Well, once you get out of the urban part, that is. I want to explore the paths down along the stream. I guess that's still Four Mile Run? Somewhere along the way, I called out to Scott that we needed to stop. He was worried that I'd hurt myself, but I was scrabbling through the bush of the side of the trail trying to find the plant that smelled like the plant that used to grow in the bayou near the farmhouse where I grew up in Arkansas. I love the scent of whatever it is, but I have no idea what the plant is and I can't remember what it looks like. But gracious, does it smell sweet and it send me right back to my childhood.

Back on the bikes and we pushed to the meeting point of W&OD, 4MRT, and Custis. I began to tire and was nearly done by the time we got to Shreve Road. I bargained with myself, promised myself that I could walk Circe up the formidable hill that is Virginia Avenue (like last weekend), told myself that the truck was less than a commute distance away, and I didn't have to ride fourteen miles against the wind back to Sterling. The ride up Virginia Avenue was hard and I pushed myself to "get to the next driveway" and then I could walk and just as I thought I couldn't climb any more, the street leveled off and I could get ready for the downhill into Idylwood Park.

Route elevations. )

I wound up with just under forty miles with the ride. I'm trying not to be disappointed in my stamina and reminding myself that I'm still adjusting to the road bike and new posture. Scott stressed that I'm riding faster than I could on the hybrid and I'm able to go farther with each ride.

New gear

Apr. 13th, 2012 03:09 pm
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
Lily is great for road trips thanks to her basket and pannier. I can (over)pack whatever I might need for a longish ride such as snacks, extra beverages, an assortment of gloves, extra jacket, speakers for the iPod, etc. Even the larger pump can fit in either the basket or pannier. Circe doesn't have that storage capacity. Even her seat post bag -- the Detours medium Guppy -- is smaller than Lily's.

Detours Guppy
I love its wee flowers.

I've crammed a spare tube, CO2 cartridge, tire levers, multitool, handi-wipe package, a tiny amount of emergency cash, and a couple of band-aids in the Guppy and that sucker is PACKED. I might be able to wedge my house and bike lock keys in there, but no way could I stow my phone or snacks.

My first solution was a Detours Mighty Midge stem bag, but I was never completely happy with it. I couldn't fit much in the way of snacks in there and it wound up getting pretty full with phone, cash, ID, and keys. Plus there was no good place to stash my handkerchief. Despite trying to use and love the bag, the final straw was when it fell out of the mount no less than three times during the solo portion of my training ride last weekend. Thank goodness I was stopped each time. When Scott arrived at the park, I ripped the bag off my bike at threw it at the backseat of my truck in disgust.

Detours Mighty meh. )
However, that wasn't the only bag on my bike. Oh no. I also had a Bell handlebar bag which DID contain gloves, headband, PB&J, banana, camera, and the contents of the stem bag after it was removed. It, however, also had drawbacks. It unzips in the front and, if not opened carefully, will dump its contents into an unseemly pile in front of the bike. It also doesn't play nice with the brake and gear cables and I was nervous that the velcro straps would come undone since they were so tenuously clasped in order to make room for the cables. It was close, but not right.

I'm hopeful that the Detours Metro is the final solution to my portage problem.

My aesthetic needs are satisfied. )
It's roomy without being overwhelming. It has multiple openings for stashing items of different sizes and shapes. And it matches my saddle bag and the colorway of my bike. (Shush.)

The cover flips up to reveal mesh pockets and a deep front pocket.. )
Headband and bag strap, check. Windbreaker, check. There's room left over in the deep pocket for extra gloves, sport drink powder packs, and a marmoset or a small lemur. When its cover is flipped open like this, the inside of the cover has a clear pocket which could hold a route sheet, but I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving the cover open like that. On the other hand, the marmoset might like feeling the wind in its fur.

Can't go anywhere without my HoneyStinger waffles. )
The top zips open to reveal deep storage which will easily accommodate a sandwich, banana, waffles, and my camera. The zippered inner pocket will easily hold my phone, ID cards, and cash, and the key ring will do what key rings are supposed to do.

No attachment anxiety here. )
The attachment mechanism does a fairly good job of playing nicely with the cables and keeps the bag pushed out from the handlebars enough that I can wrap my fingers around the flat portion when I want to give my hands a rest and/or sit uprightish for a bit. The bag is removable from the bike by pulling on the ring on the back of the bag. Be careful of jostling the small mammal in the front pocket.

The hubs and I are taking a training ride tomorrow and I will report back on how well (or not) this bag performs on a modified Arlington Triangle route.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: Circe)
I've been moping about how much solo cycling I do. While I adore my alone time on the bike, occasionally I do get a little lonesome putting in all those miles by myself. With that in mind, I jumped at the chance to ride on Sunday with friends who are also training to ride in the ADA Tour de Cure in June.

Team us!
Bel, Bob, Scott, & me with our trusty Specialized steeds.

My route was slightly shorter than my planned fifty mile ride, but I still managed almost 37 miles by riding from Sterling (mi 22.5) to Idylwood Park in Falls Church (mi 8.5) , backtracking to Hunter Mill in Reston (between mi 14.5 & 15) with Bel, Bob, & Scott then riding back to our meet-up spot in Falls Church (mi 8.5) and continuing with Scott up to the spot in Arlington where the W&OD meets the Custis (~ mi 4), and then back to the park in Falls Church where the truck was waiting to carry us back home. I am so thankful that Scott drove the truck to meet me at the park. While easterly tailwind got me to Falls Church in an hour, that same wind was a killer going westbound. My legs were killing me on the final leg and I wouldn't have made the slog back to Sterling in that headwind.

Elevation map )

During the ride, I took my first clipped-in spill. I unclipped on the left and promptly fell to the right on to a, thankfully, super soft patch of grass. Also thankfully, I remembered to leave my right foot clipped in so I wouldn't possibly sprain it or worse. Bob and Scott were horrified, but I threw my arms in the air -- once crawling out from under the bike -- and hollered "Whoo hoo! I'm a real cyclist now!" Circe was fine and I was merely covered in chain grease from my knees down. My pride wasn't even bruised; I was too jazzed that the fall wasn't anywhere as painful or scary as I had imagined it would be

Scott in the overbrush. )

The training ride shook my belief in my being able to ride a metric century, much less a full one. But I have to keep reminding myself that this was the first longish distance ride on my new bike and I have six more weekends of training -- I'm out of town Memorial Day weekend) before the big event. There's plenty of time to continue training and the ride will be okay.
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
In less than twenty-four hours and within fifteen miles of riding with combo clipless/platform pedals, I decided that I'd rather have dual-sided clipless pedals. Luckily, based upon my enthusiasm for the new pedals, Scott decided Saturday morning that he wanted a set as well. En route to the shop, I asked Scott if he'd like my pedals on his bike and I'd get the new pedals for mine. Since both sets of pedals use the same style of cleats, switching them around wouldn't be an issue. He thought that was a great idea and the Spokes, Etc. mechanics were only too happy to set us up.

Circe at rest
Circe at rest.

Oh my gosh but the dual-sided pedals were even easier to use than the combo pedals! Scott used the platform sides for the ride home and I coached him through clipping in and out Sunday morning and he took off to practice with his new pedals and shoes on the W&OD. He came back all grins.

When he's ready to change his combos out for standard clipless, we'll move those pedals over to my Ariel so I can either clip in or wear regular shoes on commutes and shopping trips.

Kate & blossoms
Kate's a natural against cherry blossoms.

In slower and lower news, I love my cruiser so very much. I've decided to name her Kate because she's so spunky and all the Kates I know are overflowing with personality. I love that everybody smiles at her. Little girls gasp as I cruise by and even the two ten-year-old boys I pedaled past yesterday let out a breathless "Cooooool". Her only drawback is that my cable-and-string-eating cat Oreo wants her tassels so badly.

Ima eat your tassels.

Apparently plastic tassels are made of noms.
melaniesuzanne: (Bike: rat)
I biked to work this morning on the Dolce so I could ride directly from the office to Spokes for a personalized fitting. And since I was getting the fitting, I decided that I may as well switch out the pedals and get some clipless shoes and cleats. I chose the Shimano PD-A530 SPD pedals (I think... I'm too tired to get up and verify) which have a clip on one side and a platform on the other and Specialized's Women's Spirita Touring Shoes (surprisingly comfy!). Alexander took his time measuring my angles and adjusting my posture. Everything seemed to line up satisfactorily and he suggested trying a shorter stem if I continue to experience hand pain. I think that particular issue is clearing up as I can now ride in the horns for ten miles before my hands start hurting.

After the fitting, he let me stay on the trainer and practice clipping and unclipping until I felt comfortable to try it on the open road. My sometimes-elegant (-ish) dismount method off platform pedals didn't really lend itself to a clipless dismount and I had to talk aloud to commit "move pedal to 6:00 position, unclip, coast, brake, lean to unclipped side, put unclipped foot down, and get clipped foot into 2:00 or 3:00 position for take-off" to memory. My platform dismount is "move pedal to 6:00 position, coast, brake, stop, take foot off 12:00 pedal and sail forward off saddle so I can touch the ground, step off 6:00 pedal and kick it up to 3:00 for the next take-off".


Anyway, I finally felt like I had the process figured out and I hit the open road -- literally; the shop is about four miles from the W&OD trail -- and, as luck would have it didn't need to unclip until I got to the gravel turn-off for my neighborhood. Yes, you have to "turn off the paved road" to get from the trail to my neighborhood. It amused me that every single stop light was green and every single intersection was free of oncoming vehicles. I successfully unclipped to leave the trail and successfully clipped back in on the neighborhood street. My only issue was when I got home, unclipped on the left, and promptly fell to the right. Luckily, I caught myself on the side of my truck and was able to correct before hitting asphalt. D'oh.

Impression? I LOVED riding in cleats. I was able to power up hills more easily and I could feel different muscles working. I can see how using this style of pedal/shoe combination will make it easier to ride longer distances. I wasn't nearly as psyched out by having my feet attached to my bike as I was afraid I'd be. Some day I'll fall with my feet clipped in but I'm almost used to falling with my feet on platforms so no big.
melaniesuzanne: (Default)
Since I was already sweaty from my commute yesterday evening, I decided to get even sweatier and changed into my running shoes for a brisk walk around the neighborhood. I'd mapped out a three and a half mile route when I walked regularly in 2010 and 2011 and that's the route that I used to get back into non-bikey exercise.

I shambled along the first mile feeling like my feet were cement blocks. It sucked and I wanted to turn around and take my road bike out instead. But I persevered and as I entered the second mile, my pace increased and I felt lighter. I jogged a TINY bit -- and I do mean TINY -- but I didn't feel like I would die when I slowed down. Walking and running really do use different muscles than biking. Weird.

One of my current goals is to reduce my flabby belly so I can fit into all the cute shorts, skirts, and capris I bought for last summer. I've also got an adorable jersey and sweet exercise skirts which are a little too tight for my pride. The regular biking has firmed up my legs and booty, but my belly and arms are in a sad shape. Crunches, push-ups, and strength training are part of my renewed exercise regimen as well.

My other goal is participating in the Maryland edition of the Warrior Dash in May. Hubbyfink ran the Dash in Charles County, VA, last October and had so much fun he's going to run it again. I thought it looked fun enough for me to give it a go. I need endurance and strength to get through the course.

Of course, there's bike training to be done as well. I'm aiming to ride the metric century (~65 miles) in this year's Backroads Century (ride date is 23 September; registration opens 1 May). I can comfortably ride Circe for fifteen miles or so and I've got to get in more time on the saddle to ride that additional fifty on the road bike.


Mar. 7th, 2012 10:38 pm
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
This evening was absolutely glorious. I got home from the orthodontist just before dark and had to take Circe out for a short ( >5 miles) ride. I rode through the neighborhood on the other side of the boulevard and picked up the W&OD for the return home. But as I approached my hopping off point, I had to keep on going. I could smell someone's dinner grilling. A choir of peepers sang as I flew past. I looked up and realized that the last light of the sunset reflected on the clouds in the west while the full moon in the east cast a pink glow on the wispy clouds in front of it. I'm so thankful for having the opportunity to experience such beauty.

But it's not all sublime joy about these parts. I was gleeful to discover that I hit over 30 mph while going through the twin hills on the W&OD east of Sterling Blvd. Wheee! And that was before the flame job.

Flaming Circe
Flame on, you crazy diamond frame. Or something.

But that wasn't the only decorating. I couldn't neglect my trusty commuter. It's beginning to feel like spring and Rose needed prettying up with a garland of lilies and a floral bag.

Springtime Rose )

You'd think I'd use roses, but the white roses and greenery looked to "wedding-y". Hm. And now that I think about it, I might have to rename the Ariel "Lily". That feels more natural than "Rose".

Margie and Oreo helped out to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, that help consisted mostly of trying to eat the silk leaves. The internet is made of cats after all. )
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
I took Circe out for a second spin after getting home from work last night. I eschewed the W&OD, which was chock full of other cyclists and strolling families, for neighborhood streets and gunned it to the top end of my comfort level. It's going to take a while before shifting becomes natural; since there are no dials at the shifters, I tend to look down at the chain to figure out an approximation of what gear I'm in. Yeah, that's about as safe as it sounds.

I put my hands in a slightly looser position on the horns and saved the thumb/index webbing from further abuse, so that's good. I've wound up with chain grease on the side of my right calf during the past two rides and that's weird. It may be how I'm standing at stops; more research indicted.

Oh, and toe overlap: I have it. In perusing the internet -- because it knows all -- this seems to be a fairly common occurrence with compact frame cycles. It's annoying at very low speeds when I'm steering a fairly sharp turn, but I'm pretty sure I can work around that.
melaniesuzanne: (I'm on a bike on OBX 10/5/11)
Tonight was my first actual ride on the Dolce and I learned many things during the short, six mile jaunt:

  • She wants to go fast. I barely had to pedal and she was off and running. I even raced up that blasted hill to the 28 bridge at 12mph. WHAT?? And, when I got home I wasn't a sweaty mess despite riding faster and farther than I do during a commute. Instead, I was merely glistening and my hair was almost completely dry.
  • My posture needs a lot of work. That's hardly surprising since, aside from the test rides, my road bike experience was a couple of short rides on my cousin's bike in my early teens. Riding on the horns and in the drop bars put pressure on the webbing between my thumbs and index fingers. Also, I don't need bike shorts for anything less than thirty miles on the Ariel, but I could've used them tonight. The saddle isn't that different from the hybrid's, but my posture put uncomfortable pressure on new and interesting places. Ouch.
  • She is light! I already knew this because I've goofed around using the bike for bicep curls. :) There was a bit of a cross wind during my ride and I felt like I might have been blown off the trail if I weren't so heavy.
  • She's also kind of squirrelly. Riding one handed was... frightening. I'll get there, and I might even get to hands-free someday, but it's going to take some practice.
  • Her name is Circe and we're going to be fast friends. See what I did there?


melaniesuzanne: (Default)
Mary F'ing Sunshine

August 2015

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