Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Well, it is Wednesday December 30th and I can't decide if I am going to go to New Orleans to ride this weekend. Normally, I try and ride all of the NOLA rides with the exception of the January 1st weekend. I don't like traveling on holiday weekends.

So, I was (notice I said was) going to spend the weekend quietly with David. I was hoping to get my CA2 in and take it for a couple 30ish mile rides - make sure I am comfortable on it before my 200k on January 16th.

But, the "BEEHIVE" is going to be in NOLA for the 200k ride. John Schlitter and Troy (a fast Ti Areo cyclist), plus two new recumbents from the LA area will be joining Pat and company. Steve, ever the salesman, is really putting the pressure on me to come down - not that my arm has to be twisted much. But, do I really want to go down?

1. Get to ride with JS and Troy - or at least see them in the parking lot
2. Get a 200k in on the 2nd day of the year
3. R-12 BABY!!!! This would be a good ride to finish my 2nd R-12 on!
4. Possibly ride my first 200 on my CA2

1. Not spending quiet time with David
2. Riding my CA2 with very few miles on it - it may not be adjusted properly and mentally I need my first 200 to be a good and comfortable ride
3. Intervals tomorrow should leave my legs trashed - again - making them tired for the 200k
4. Not spending quiet time with David

So, what is a recumbent randonneur to do? Heck if I know!

If my CA2 is finished, I may go.
If Doug thinks that JS and Troy will stick around to talk to over dinner, I really may go.

However, it may be really nice to get my CA2 on Thursday (?) and ride it 30 mile on Thurs and do a 100k on Friday and Saturday and maybe even ride it again on Sunday.

If my CA2 is not finished, I probably won't go.

The weather is really supposed to be nice in NOLA and it sure would be great to get my R-12 finished with my 'bent buddies in tow!

I'll keep you updated on the final decision!

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Years Resolutions

I like making New Years Resolutions. I typically write them down in a journal that I use from time to time. I have resolutions in this journal from 2005, 2006 and 2009. Interestingly, I have had mixed success with achieving my resolutions. Losing weight is always on the list regardless of where I start out. In 2005 it was at 173 lbs, 2006 it was 154, 2009 it was 186. So, just by looking at my starting points, you can see that sometimes I can achieve weight loss and sometimes I can't. In a couple days we will seee where 2010 will start out, but it will be lower than I can remember since at least sometime in 1997 when David and I got married. I will want to loose down to 135 in 2010 which should put me at the mid point of my average recommended weight range for someone my height.

Each year also includes a mileage related goal. Funny to think that a goal of 4000-5000 miles was hard to attain. In 2005 I only reached just over 3500 miles. 2007 I reached 5800; 2008 was a pathetic guess of just over 1000 (thanks NS2) as I did not keep up with a speedometer. I only rode in 3 200k rides and 1 century and I did little to no training in between those rides. 2009 I fared much better riding over 6000. I am hoping to ride Wednesday or Thursday to push my total over 6100.

So what will my 2010 goals be? Since we are entering a new century, I really need to set some massive goals. So here is the beginning of the list:

1. To ride my bike across the United States knowing that just the attempt is a blessing from God and to relish the opportunity to see America up close and personal.
2. To keep a good attitude on the trip even when I get tired or I am faced with difficulties - heavy traffic, steep mountains
3. To weigh 135 by March 15 and to maintain that weight for the rest of the year
4. To ride a 200k ride at 17.5 mph
5. To ride 12,000 all purpose miles and finish in the top 5 females on the UMCA year rounder

Non-cycling related:
6. Once a month, have friends or family over to the house, or go over to their house for dinner or just for fun
7. Volunteer for some organization
8. Try to inspire someone to do something they never thought they could
9. To eat clean and healthy

Well, that is a start. I will see if I can come up with one more non cycling related resolution by the 1st.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Wedding

Well, I have not been riding in the last week for several reasons - primarily due to Christmas, having my bike parts changed over to the CA2 frame and The Wedding. My son Ken is marrying Brooke Grantham tonight. They make a really good couple and I believe they have a great foundation for a long and healthy marriage.

Ken asked Brooke to marry him after Thanksgiving last year. So they have had over a year to plan the wedding during the engagement. I must admit that I am very impressed with their dedication and planning. Everything seems to be in place just as the couple have wanted. No one is running around like a chicken with their head cut off trying to tie up loose ends. The couple has planned this wedding so well, that I think this has been my most relaxing Christmas in a long time.

If these kids put as much time and dedication into their marriage that they have put into their wedding I have not doubt that they will be married until death do they part. It is so important to realize that time is what a relationship needs. Time together and time apart. Time for yourself and time for each other. Balancing time is the tricky part as taking too much time for yourself can put distance in the relationship yet too much time together or requiring time together can be too stifling.

It leaves no doubt in my mind that Ken and Brooke love each other. I am also impressed that they have made a point to keep Christ in their marriage. They have a church in Birmingham and they have a theme passage that they try to stay centered on - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 - the last part of 12 says "A cord of three strands is not easily broken". Truly a marriage that allows Christ to be the center of will not fail. It is hard, though, to keep Christ in the center. Most often, Christ is replaced with a very unhealthy dose of self or He is replaced with kids. Many marriages begin to suffer with the birth of children for this problem. Kids are great, but they should never be put so high in a marriage that it squeezes out the spouse or Christ. It is my prayer that this couple continue to remember their verse and that the "3 cords" strengthen to a steel cable.

Congratulations Ken and Brooke! May your marriage be strong and healthy. May you experience true joy and happiness in your lives together!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

CA 2 and IF

My CA2 frame is in! I took my IF and Corsa in to Jim yesterday to start "harvesting parts". It truly was bittersweet. I think I feel guilty that I am taking parts from the bike that I rode my first 200k. I really thought that bike would be the last bike I would ever need/want. I loved it. I rode my only 400k attempts on it. I haven't even thought about a 400k on my Corsa. Of course, it is probably because all three 400s were so painful and difficult that I just don't have the desire to attempt another one. It was 2-3 weeks after my last 400 in October of 2007 that I purchased the Corsa. I haven't ridden the IF since "ride your bike to work day" in 2008 and I have only ridden it maybe one other time since Oct of 2007. I should sell it, but I don't have the heart to yet.

More on the CA2 later - I have to go get ready for church!

Tough Week - 202 days to go

This has been a very difficult week. Monday I got a text from our secretary and she has the flu and won't be in. That is the only bad thing about my new job is that there are only 2 of us in the office - so I hurried to the office to cover for her. She has been out all week, so I have been doing both of our jobs. So, I am getting home later and I am very tired.

However, despite the workload and general Christmas busyness, I have maintained most of my workouts. Monday - full weight workout which really makes my legs tired.
Tues - drills on spin bike - could not do both sets, one for time reasons and two - they were that difficult. I really laid it all out and had no energy by the end of the first set. I got my HR into the 170s briefly but into the mid 160s for a good bit of the time. I had issues having enough energy to even get up and get ready for work. I still haven't puked, but I am really close to tears at the end of each of these sessions.
Wed - exhausted and did not go to the gym. I intended to go after work, but I did not get off until 6:30 and was mentally and physically drained. Did not do SLD.
Thur - woke up feeling much better and did my drills at the gym on the spin bike. They were hard and once again I don't think I got my HR much over 168. My HR monitor would drop to 00 about the time I thought I would push it to 170, so I don't know if I truely reached it or not. My RPE was definitely a 9 or 10 and toward the end of the last set I am breathing very hard and shallow and my legs are burning and can barely turn the pedals. Intended on making up my SLD but once again did not get home until after 7 and just could not make myself do it.
Friday- went to the gym and did the leg portion of my Wednesday drills. Did not have time to do anything else as I had to go in to work since our secretary is still out. My legs are toast. My hamstrings were wavering here in the office when I was just walking across the room.

Friday night, I was so tired that when we got home after dinner and shopping, I went straight to bed. I wanted to ride with Jim, but I did not wake up until 7 and I knew I would not be able to get ready in time. The sleep did me good though.

Anyway, that is my update for the week...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

11/12 of an R-12

Yesterday I bagged my 11th ride of my 2nd R-12. An R-12 is an award that can be earned by riding 12 consecutive 200 k (or longer) rides - one each month for 12 months. I earned my first one in 2007. I had a couple difficult rides earning it as I was much slower in 2007. I started this R-12 in February. I really had no intention on earning another one as some months you just don't have time to get a 200k ride scheduled. This year, however, it has been incidental. Up until this month I had already planned on doing one or more 200k rides anyway. So as December approached I had to decide if I was going to keep it going. Since I have already completed 10 and I know I will ride at least one 200 in January, I decided to finish the task.

So last Saturday, I was going to ride the ride to get the monkey off my back. With Christmas and the Wedding, I did not know when I would be able to ride if I did not get it done that first weekend of December. Alas, it SNOWED!! Snow is rare in Mississippi, but we got it Friday night and early Saturday morning. Needless to say I did not ride. The snow was virtually gone by 12, but I did not know the road conditions and there is no need to ride in suspect conditions and break a hip 7 months before my big ride.

Looking at the forecast showed a dismal day coming for Saturday. Highs in the 40s and a 90% chance of rain = yucky! I started worrying about this dumb ride. I knew that riding it the weekend before or after Christmas/the wedding was most likely out of the question leaving Dec 31 as my last option. Boy, that was pushing the envelope a tad bit. So, was doing it Friday an option? The forecast showed a 20% chance of rain most likely starting after 6 pm and lows in the mid 30s and highs in the mid 40s. I live in the south for a reason - those temps are cold and I don't like cold!

Thursday, I posted the fact that I was going to try and ride Friday and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an email from Dougie saying that he would be there!! We knew it would be cold and there was a chance that I would have to work. We decided to let that be our decision. If I did not have to work, we would brave the cold and get the 200 done. As it turned out, I did not have to work and thus we were riding. Twice that night, I almost texted Doug to back out. It was going to be so cold. David surprisingly told me not to ride. But I would think of all my friends in Dallas and my coach in Colorado. 40s would be very acceptable temps to them. So I but my big girl long johns on and stopped whining.

It was 38 when I woke up. Warmer than the 32 I thought it would be. I still hoped that Doug would call and bail so I could crawl back in bed. Alas, he did not. I decided to wear two wool jerseys, my thermal tights, wind proof gloves, one pair of wool socks, ear headband, shoe covers and my neck buff and of course my Showers Pass jacket.

We left the house at about 6:10. It really wasn't as cold as I thought it would be, matter of fact, I had to stop 7 miles from the house to take off my under layer of wool as I was sweating. We did have a headwind that I was fighting and my heart rate was staying well above normal in the 160-170 range. My legs were really heavy feeling as I have been working on intense intervals and weights the last two weeks. It was obvious that I would not be able to hold an average pace above 15 mph today.

Doug needed to stop at Ratliff Ferry to get fluids. I took the stop to adjust my layers. I needed more than just one wool layer, so I decided to try my silk underlayer with the wool to see if it would wick better than the wool under layer. I also added a second pair of socks with a chemical hand warmer for my feet. One of the bad things about riding recumbents is that your feet are out in the elements leading your body through the cold air. The cleat feels like it is searing your foot with cold. Even though I had on my heavy booties over my shoes my feet were freezing and numb. I took way too much time at this stop, but it was probably good as I got my layers perfect this time.

Leaving Ratliff Ferry the temp felt much cooler. My bike computer said it had dropped to 35. I am guessing the wind had picked up too. Even Doug said it was tough when we came to the clearing and the wind ripped through us. My legs were burning and I really was glad Doug was with me as I knew that I was going faster riding with him than if I had ridden alone. About 10 miles or so up the road I realized that I was really comfortable. My layers were now perfect. I was really amazed to be riding in 30-40 degree weather as comfortable as 70. I am so glad I decided to get out of bed and ride.

We made it to Kosciusko in 5 hours. A little slower than what we predicted, but with the wind and the sluggishness of my legs, that was not a bad time. Plus we were going to have a tailwind coming back (ha!). We stayed in Kosy for 30 min or so. I decided to eat, so that took a little more time than I would have liked. Plus I spilled my water when adding it to my hydropack. We got stopped by a funeral procession on the way out of town and I noticed that there was no tailwind. It changed to a shear crosswind. ARGH!

So, we diligently and efficiently rode home. I did not drink as much, deliberately, as I think I drink too much which makes me have to pee too often. We did have moments of tailwind although they were not as strong and prevalent as I had hoped. I think we only stopped briefly 3 times. One of the stops I took the chemical warmers out of my shoes as my toes were burning. That was a mistake. I should have just repositioned them. I did not realize how well those things were working. Within 5 miles my feet were cold and numb again. I decided to tough it out as we only had 30 miles to go.

We opted to take the bike trail home as neither of us like heavy traffic and that last 3 miles to my house is awful. The trail probably added 5 min to the trip but it was much nicer to not have to worry about the Friday afternoon traffic.

We made it back in 10 hrs 7 min. This is 40 min faster than my previous best time! With the cold, wind, and sluggish legs, I was very pleased. I know I am getting stronger and riding with Doug will sure help me get faster.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I am a terrible blogger!/Pac Tour Desert Camp 2010

Okay, now I really need to start working on my blog and being more consistant with it. So far I am a pretty pathetic blogger. I have a handful of people that are interested in following my training for my Northern Transcontinental bike ride, so I need to develop a better discipline doing it.

So here it goes:

The PAC Northern Transcon is going to start in Everett Washington on July 10, 2010 and end 30 days later in Williamsburg, Virginia. I read back over my earlier blog posts and found that I made the decision to ride cross country around March 4th. Too funny really. I hired a coach, Michelle Grainger, the first of April and slowly but surely have been training for the ride. I have lost a total of 42 lbs and want to lose at least 8 more. I have lost a lot of inches although I really have no idea how many. I know I am stronger and fitter than I have ever been.

I also made the decision to participate in a one week Desert Camp also orgainized by the PAC tour just this week. I will be heading to Arizonia to train in the mountains during the week they call Chiricahua Challenge March 13th. The routes will be different from the routes I did in April 2007, but some of the roads will be the same. We will fly in to Tucson and cycle to Tombstone instead of Sierra Vista. We will also move to Willcox for a night or two. I am very apprehensive about going out to do this ride. I guess it will really show me where my strengths and weaknesses are. Seeing that I have issues riding up some of our "hills", I have no idea what Mountains are going to do to me....

Friday, October 16, 2009

Natchez Trace Tour: Waiting to start vacation

It is 4:30 and I am waiting for my doc to give me the charges for the last two patients of the day so I can start my vacation!

Had a really good ride last weekend (New Orleans 150 mi) and I am really looking forward to this week riding the Natchez Trace - 900 miles in 8 days. It has rained almost every day this month and it looks like we may have dry weather to start the ride. It will be in the low 40s and high 50s tomorrow and if we are lucky we will have a 20 mile tailwind. I was going to pack light - two jerseys and two pair of short with arm and leg warmers - now I have one wool underlayer, one synthetic underlayer, two pairs of tights, two long sleeve jerseys, a vest, a jacket...

Our itinerary is as follows:

Sat 17 - Ridgeland to Natchez - 114 mi
Sun 18 - Natchez to Ridgeland - 103 mi
Mon 19 - Ridgeland to Houston, MS - 135 mi
Tue 20 - Houston to Tuscumbia, AL - 112 mi
Wed 21- Tuscumbia to Nashville, TN - 150 mi
Thu 22 - Nashville to Collinwood, TN - 106 mi
Fri 23 - Collinwood to Houston, MS - 138 mi
Sat 24 - Houston to Ridgeland - 135 mi

With my drive day, I am hoping to have right at 900 miles. The total mileage if I did not have to drive would be 993 miles.

Pat, Steve, Dennis and I will be riding all 8 days. Doug "eetmochicken" Morgan will be riding with us on Saturday. Alan will be joining us on Monday and John will be joining us in Nashville. This is going to be one heck of a ride.

Stay tuned to read about the adventures!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Matthew West - Motions - my creed for the next 15 months

Below are the words to the song Motions by Matthew West. I find them very powerful and true to my endeavor to cross the country by bike.

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Natchez Trace 300k - a lot of work to be done

I held the Natchez Trace 300k yesterday. Alan and John from Memphis and Pat and Steve drove down/up for the ride. Actually, Pat drove down Thursday and rode my Roosevelt Rough Rider 200k Perm. He is on a major K tear. His goal is to get 10,000 k this year and he will be 1/3 of the way through by the end of April.

Anyway, Friday night we were all watching the weather closely. We were having major tornadic storms all over the state. Steve got a real late start and got mixed up in the mess having to drive 30 mph on parts of I55. We could not figure out what the weather was going to do for Saturday. It looked like lows in the low 50s and highs in the low 60s and windy. Some forecasts called for rain and others indicated that it would be over in the early am. Knowing that there was a good chance for rain, I bought a Showers Pass rain jacket hoping that I would not need it.

The wake up call was for 4:30 and at 5:00 the temp was already 59. If I wore my wool, I would burn up so I unpacked my ss jersey and arm warmers and put them on. At this point, it looked like the day would be sunny and warm, but it would cool down after dark. I added my wool underlayer, tights, gloves, extra socks and chemical hand/foot warmers to my bag. 5:45 it starts to rain - ugh. We stand around and debate if we should start or see if it will pass. It is still raining at 6:15 and we pull out anyway. At least I would get to use my new rain jacket. We opt to take the bike trail up to the trace instead of walk through the field. At the left turn on Agency Way a possum runs out and I almost hit him - not sure how I missed him actually. We accessed the Trace at the bridge and were on our way. The first two miles are little rollers that help you get warmed up and I get hot fast! I feel like I am cooking and I know I am sweating in the rain jacket. I remembered that they recommend releasing the wrist velcro so that air can funnel through the arms of the jacket and back out the venting in the back of the jacket. It worked perfectly. I was instantly cooled. Looks like this jacket is worth the $ I paid for it.

It continued raining for about an hour - not hard, just a slow steady rain. Once it stopped it warmed up really fast. I was riding very well and felt great. I was having problems pacing behind anyone as the rooster tails would hit me in the face. I felt like I was getting wetter from the rooster tails than from the earlier rain. Regardless we were making great time. We passed up Ratliff Ferry and opted to get bathroom water if necessary on the way back.

The Trace was absolutely beautiful. The dogwoods were in full bloom the whole 90 miles to Jeff Busby. Everything was greening up, there were still a few red buds blooming and a few patches of wisteria putting out the most glorious aroma. These are things you can't enjoy from a car. At one point a funny looking bird flew out of the trees. I got a real good look at him to see that he was an owl. You don't get to see owls very often. With all of the rain we had this past week, the brooks that usually run dry in the summer were all full and flowing. You could even hear some of them trickling.

John and Alan were riding ahead of Steve, Pat and I. When the inclines started near Kosy, I was dropped and rode into town by myself. I knew Pat and Steve would eat at Subway and I was going to just stick with Hammer products so I opted to go to Parkway Pure. John and Alan were still there, so I felt good that I was only 10 minutes behind them. I was up 1.5 hours at that control. I am pretty sure that this is the fastest I have ever ridden the 60 miles. My batteries in my GPS had crapped out and I did not feel like stopping and changing them out, so the last reading I had before I lost power was 15.5 mph. I fixed my perpetuem and ate a Hammer bar and left just after 11:00. The next few miles I started feeling really bad. I became nauseated and extremely tired. I caught myself drifting all over the place. I could not stay awake. I pulled over on a bridge to take a caffeine pill. Steve and Pat were riding up as I attempted to take the pill. I told them how I felt and tried to swallow the pill. That was not going to happen. I choked on the pill and spit it up. At that point I could tell I was not going to keep anything else down. I walked to the edge of the embankment and hurled. Everything I had in my stomach came up. I tried to keep it off my shoes. The weird thing was that as soon as I puked, I felt alert and ready to go. We debated for all of 3 minutes whether I should continue to Jeff Busby or go home. I probably should have gone home, but I continued. I actually felt good. Although I ended up slowing down on the hills, I don't think the hurling effected me to any great extent. Maybe I was more sluggish, but I don't really know.

The slow inclines are prevalent on this part of the Trace. The hill slug that I am just could not hang with the guys. Now that I had stomach issues, I was afraid to eat or drink much for fear it would happen again. I am guessing that the issues may have been caused by my hammer bar, but I have eaten one on the last 3-4 long rides without any problems at all. I was riding pretty slow, but the guys had stopped for me just before French Camp and we decided to wait and stop on the way back. From French Camp to Jeff Busby is only about 13 miles, but it gets really hilly here. Last time through, I had to walk the hill at mile 90 and Lil Mtn. Both hills are over 200 ft elevation gain. The hill at mile 90 is really not that bad. It is longer that Lil Mtn, which is much shorter and steeper. I have never gotten up Lil Mtn on the recumbent and was hoping to do so today. When I got to Jeff Busby, I could not see the guys so I figured they were already atop Lil Mtn. so I started straight up. There were people walking up the hill and I was gaining on them, so I was able to pedal faster than they could walk. This is comforting to me. I actually make it up to the "switch" (not really a switch back) on the mtn. This is the farthest I have made it on the recumbent. So now up to the really steep part. I am determined to make it up. I am noticing how much windier it is up on the mtn. It is very noticeable since I was in my granny granny and only going 3.3 mph. At that moment a car starts down the mtn. I am not afraid of it, but it does cause me to lose my concentration. I am still pedalling ever so slow. Just after the car, a Sheriffs car, passes a big gust of wind hits me and bloop over I go! It was really funny. I was going so slow that it did not really hurt. Both feet were still clipped in and I was in a very awkward position. I heard a car coming and knew there was no way they could get around me and get up the hill, but it is not easy to unclip lying on your side. Fortunately, it was the sheriff. He had seen me fall in his rearview mirror and turned around to check on me. That was really nice as if I had a broken collarbone, I would have had a good escort. Once he knew I was okay, I could tell he was trying not to laugh. He did comment that he couldn't ride a bike 10 miles and asked if I would like to have him sign my brevet card. I chuckled to myself as I knew that he had talked to Steve and Pat. I walked the last little way up the hill to find Steve and Pat going through there stuff.

I am starving at this point. Pat has a salmonella bar - peanut butter cliff bar that the "best by" date was in early February. I am sure it is on the do not eat list, but I am starving and I was afraid I would puke my food, so I figured it wouldn't hurt if I attempted to puke his too. It is actually really good and I am able to eat it and keep it down.

So, as is our fortune, someone almost always has a birthday on one of our rides and this year it is Steve. Dougie had just so happened to be able to route his way from North Carolina back to Jackson via Jeff Busby park. He wrapped a gift and hid it in an old hollow log just on the other side of the restrooms. I did know that it was there and did tell Steve about it the previous night. I know he worried for 90 miles that Doug had left him the 5lb weight (see the Mardi Gras blog). Doug of course has not been around Steve and Pat long enough to become that evil and the present was along the line of Stuckeys crap. As I recall, the gift was funny looking sun glasses, a towel and toilet paper. I don't remember the saying on the towel or toilet paper, but it was funny! I think that Pat may have taken a picture of us on top of the Mtn. I will see if I can get a copy of it for the blog.

It was very cold and windy on top of Lil Mtn, so after I got my stuff together, we took off down the mtn. The hill at mile 190 is much longer but much less steep than the other side. It actually starts from mile 192 ish and ends at 190 or so. I have never had to walk this hill, but I am very slow. I had averaged 11.5 from Kosy to JB, so I was hoping to speed up on the way back. I kept reminding myself that it was "downhill" from there and technically it was, but there sure seemed to be way more inclines on the way back than I remembered on the way to JB. The guys would pull ahead and turn around and circle back to get me. I got really lucky with this as at one point I was still just behind Pat when I could tell my front tire went flat. I had always wondered how I would tell if I had a flat on the front and it is very obvious. I was perturbed that I had a flat because my tires had less than 300 miles on them and should not even have a nick yet. Pat came around and made a very fast tire change. I got "lucky" as the flat was pinched and not a puncture. I guarantee that Pat had my tire changed in less than 10 minutes. So we were back out on the road again. The pattern would continue, I would hang on as long as I could (not long), the guys would get ahead, they would then turn around and come pick me up. At some point along the way before French Camp, I took another salmonella bar. I ate it up real fast w/o throwing up. It kept me fed until close to Kosy. So, we actually did this ride only stopping at Kosy both ways and Jeff Busby. Had I we stopped at all the normal stops, we would have never made it home before daylight Sunday. I would love to know our off the bike time as I guess it was less than an hour.

We pull into Kosy and somehow I make it into Parkway Pure before Pat and Steve. I go for the fried burrito. I could not wait - there were two left and I was getting one of them. I ate one of these on the 400k in 2007 and it was the best crappy burrito I had ever eaten. I am so starved that I wolf this one down. I decide to buy some nutter butters and rice crispy treats for the ride home. I am still concerned about puking my hammer stuff. I really don't think the hammer stuff caused me to be sick, but I wasn't taking any chances. At this point, we were still 1.5 hours up. I had not lost or gained any time for the last 100k. I only averaged 11.5 mph, but with only a little time off the bike, we still were not down any time. Hopefully, I could speed up some on the way home.

Well as luck would have it, I did not speed up. One of my problems was that I remembered one of the two reasons I like to drink Hammer products on the bike. I can't eat and ride at the same time. I have to slow down to fish a cookie from my pouch and then eat it. This just won't work for me. I know that I will have to work harder to figure out exactly what Hammer combinations I need, but I just can't eat solid food and ride at the same time. I can see eating real food on occasions, but not in between controls. So, as I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, Pat is trying to become a K hound (see Lone Star Ranndonneurs). And as any good randonneur that rides with their slower counterpart, panic, well maybe not panic, but certainly stress crept into his voice. He reminded me several times that we might not make it at our current rate of 10 mph. I just could not speed up. I was hungry and I don't like eating or drinking anything when someone rides behind me at night (neurotic, I know). So knowing that my goal is not to be a K hound this year, my goal is to get faster and stronger, I did not have any qualms stopping and DNFing the ride. I decided to call David to come pick me up at Red Dog road - 40 miles from home. The guys still had 5 hours to complete 40 miles - very doable without me. However, Davids phone decided not to work. After calling him for several minutes and just getting voice mail, and since it was very cold off the bike, I decided to call mom and dad as they were only 10 minutes away. I send Pat and Steve on their much faster way!

Imagine getting a phone call from your daughter who is on a bike on the Natchez Trace at 9 pm at night! I know they think they switched me at birth with some sane child. What a boring life they would have had with their real baby! I asked mom to come sit with me until I could get ahold of David. Well, even though my parents have lived off the Trace for some 20 years, apparently they are not familiar AT ALL with the north Trace and the mile marker they access the Trace from. Of course, if I was not a cyclist, I probably would not know that I live on mile marker 100 either (exactly .7 miles off mile marker 100). I knew that I was 5 miles from the highway 16 exit at the Red Dog Road pull off. Well, my parents thought I was in a dangerous part of town near Thomastown, some 20 miles further north. Dad freaks that I am out here all alone, blah blah and I try to humor him because it is REALLY cold when not riding. So he agrees to come get me and I get back on the bike and ride towards him to keep warm. In no time at all he is calling me asking if a car with funny lights just passed me. I tell him I have no idea, but a car did pass. Well, what he was seeing was Steve and Pat. They really do look like a car when they are riding abreast, but it really freaks you out when Steve drops behind Pat. I think Dad calmed down when he realized that the funny car was the two guys. You can really see us at night. So moments later Dad and I were attempting to load my bike into his SUV. This is really funny. The whole day is really funny. Rain, puke, falling over, flat tire, Davids phone on the fritz and being rescued by my Dad. It really was funny. So, Dad gets me a hamburger from Wendys and we make it "home". I think mom is really pleased to have me over. We talk about everything until 1:30. It is really good to have time to talk to her. I don't remember the last time we had any alone time. Now that Aidan is around, we always have family time.

I try every so often to get David to no avail. At 1:00 I call and get Pat and they had just gotten in. He wakes up David and I get to tell him everything that had happened. He had not gotten any of my text updates or phone calls all day. We make arrangements to meet at the Dollar General on Hwy 25 at 10:30 in the morning. I should have ridden the 50 miles home, but I was tired and my knees were sore.

So, I have a lot of work to do. Since my last blog, I was able to make arrangements with Michelle Grainger to be my coach. I will blog more about that later. So hopefully by September, I can do this 300k at 17 mph. That may be a long shot, but I do hope to be able to do it in less than 16 hours. We will see how it goes...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday March 22 Goals for the Week

Goals for the week:

Continue to record meals in Livestrong
Workout Tues-Thurs
No cake type products
In bed no later than 10 3 nights this week

Things to look forward to:

Should drop into 160s this week
Possible perm weekend May 29-31 I wonder if there is a way for me to stretch it further?
PAC Tour 2010

Things I need to work on:

Speed and hills
Program for improving - coaching may be out for a while

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cavalier Hill Repeats - March 21, 2009

Woke up this am to my alarm at 6. I felt pretty rested. Dianne was coming over at 8 to do hill repeats. I know that my two main weaknesses are hills, speed, and headwinds -okay that is three weaknesses. I can ride in a flat pace line and downhill pretty good.

I did not get my stuff together the night before like I should have, so I was unorganized when Dianne showed up. It was probably 50 degrees when we left the house at 8:30. I am having trouble deciding what to wear most days. I get messed up going between sunny and 50 and cloudy and 50 as they are two entirely different temperatures. I ended up with a ss jersey, arm warmers, buff, leg warmers, normal socks and my PAC tour jacket. By the time I got to Livingston, I took off the jacket and buff.

We decided to go down Cavalier, past the church and turn around at the stop sign at Coker Rd to get the steep hill at the church. Going to the stop sign is good rollers that are very easy for me, but Dianne mentioned that the hill at the church on the way back can be challenging and I agreed that it would be good to work on too. On the way down Cavalier I noticed that we had a good tailwind and I was able to get up to 41.6 mph. It amazes me how comfortable and at ease I am going that fast on the bent. I guess it is because my center of gravity is so much lower. On the way back from the stop sign, I am able to spin up the hill at the church with ease. It was early in the ride and my form is coming back. I was behind Dianne getting to the foot of Cavalier and I really wanted to push hard going up the first time, but knew that Dianne would most likely be faster than me at the mid point, so I touched my brakes and just followed her. And, she did out climb me as the hill pitched up mid way to the top. I just don't know why I fall back so on hills. I guess that is why I am out here working on them. At the apex, Dianne stops and looks like she is heaving. She still had on her jacket and started getting to hot so she stopped to calm down. She amazingly was able to hop back on her bike and ride to the fire station. She shed all her layers at that point and was ready to go. I don't think I had to go into my granny-granny gear the first time. We casually cycled back to the top of Cavalier and back down. This time I noticed that I was only able to get to 39.? mph. We turned around at the bottom of the hill and took a bio break before starting up again. When it was all said and done, we went up the hill 5 separate times - 2 more than we had ever done in one day. I had to go into granny-granny each of the next climbs, but had a good cadence and control over the bike. My hill climbing handling skills are so much better. I am not getting panicked like I was in the past when I am climbing while a car passes. The last 3 times down Cavalier I tried to see how fast I could go, but could get no faster than 41.5.

Unfortunately, we both had afternoon commitments and need to be back at the house between 11 and 11:30. I think I could have easily ridden up Cavalier at least 2-3 more times. My hips were starting to burn as I climbed, but it was not awful. Maybe we can push 10 times later. We really had an advantage in the weather though as the temp was probably in the low 60s with at mild wind. Cavalier will be a lot harder when it is hotter.

So, I drank most of a 3 SE+1H bottle and a shot of expresso gel. I did use my whey w/a green smoothie for recovery. We only ended up doing 26 miles, but this puts me at 801 miles for the year. Next weekend I should pass my 2008 total!

Next weekend is my 300 k to Jeff Busby. It should be a challenge. I would like to complete it in less than 18 hours. I am hoping that even though the route is more challenging than Pat's route that I will be better prepared and 5-6 lbs lighter. Cross fingers for good weather.

Thoughts on rides in April:

4/4 - Shiloh hill repeats?
4/11 - Vicksburg Military Park or Morton 200k
4/18 - Vicksburg Military Park if I did not do it the previous weekend
4/25 - Natchez Trace 400k - this will probably be the only 400 I do this year as I really want to concentrate on the 300 k and speed work. The faster I get the less I have to worry about riding at night.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ride South Signiture Ride - Pre Ride - March 14

It rained all day Saturday. The forecast for Sunday was not much better. Depending upon which station you looked at rain was predicted early morning for Jackson and all afternoon for H'burg. I was not looking forward to riding in the rain, but only Dianne bowed out.

I drove to Jim's at 7:00 for an 8:00 start. Jim was not there when I arrived so I started getting ready in a light mist. I had on a short sleeve jersey, leg warmers and Davids rain jacket. I was pretty cold and I was guessing it would not warm up very fast so I decided to add my wool undershirt. It was probably 48 degress at this time. Jim still had not shown up and I thought about calling him and going home. Little did I know, he was doing the same thing. I am glad we did not call each other as the day would improve later in the afternoon. Jim showed up just before 8 and we left at 8:10. Doug was going to meet us at the Home Depot on the route. His wife drove his truck to H'burg so we would have a way to get home, so he did not have a vehicle.

This was a new route for me and the first new route that I had been on since last September. Interestingly, the Sept route was with Doug and Jim to Natchez. I had a cue sheet but would only refer to it once or twice since I was riding with Jim and Doug. I quickly realized that the wool undershirt was too much, but could not do anything about it. I was staying up w/Jim pretty good for the first few miles until we hit a long incline. I thought I was going to die. I was burning up and sweating - not good for 48 degrees. I stopped and pulled off David's jacket. Now, I was too cold, but since I don't normally ride with Jim, I wasn't going to mess around with different layers. We pick up Doug on his Giro about 10 miles into the ride at the Home Depot. He is waiting for us just off of the street and so we don't stop in the parking lot to adjust clothing.

The traffic is heavier in this area - as I thought it would be. Jim will have a police escort when they do this ride at the end of the month. I don't know how comfortable I would be riding alone here on a Saturday. There is some church traffic, but I think it is lighter that what we would see on a Saturday. Fortunately, the first rest stop is at about mile 15. I was able to stop for a bio and adjust clothes. I have a hard time all day being comfortable. I do not have the right combination - I am either uncomfortably cold or hot all day. At this point I add my vest and take off my buff and ear warmers.

Some cars really pass us close, but this stretch is pretty fun. There are a lot of rollers that allow you to pick up speed and shoot right up and over the next hill. We pick up a good bit of speed here are are averaging close to 15 mph at the next stop. Doug and Jim eat a biscuit and I grab a drag of gel. This stop is in Florence. I am pretty sure that I had been here several times before - the Casting Crowns concert and taking Meagan to see Daniel - I wondered if we would ride by his old house. After a while, we do ride right past the house! Not long after that we would turn into the hilly part of the ride. We have a really long hill up to a rest stop at a church. It is a winding climbing hill, not too steep, but pretty long. I am able to get into a good rhythem and although slow, I don't have a problem getting up it. The stretch to the next rest stop is just a few miles. The guys have figured out that the store on the route is closed for good, so we stop accross at a church and Jim inquires if we can stop for water and restrooms there in the future.

I did not realize it at the time, but we have 20 or more miles before we can get water now - I will probably be really low by the time we reach the next stop, but I don't worry about it. My speed drops considerably at this point. The hills are pretty constant. Doug warns me that we have a real steep hill coming up. Complicating the hill is the fact that right below it is a small wood plank bridge. So as you are coming down the hill in front of it you have to make sure you hit the plank right or you will be tossed. So, picking up speed on the preceeding downhill is not wise. Matter of fact, Doug said to make sure we were in our granny gear as we hit the bottom. He was so right. I really worried about this bridge and hill for a few miles. In all actuallity, the bridge is plenty wide as to not be too scary when crossing it. The first part of the hill is really steep - probably more than Shiloh. I got lucky and was in the right gear when I hit it making the hill much easier than I thought it would be. However, this was just the begining - the hill is really 4 hills - similar to yogi hill. It was pretty challenging by the time we hit the apex. I did not have to walk, but I was as slow as Christmas. The guys laughed at me since I said it was easier than I had imagined. I really did enjoy this section a lot.

We stopped in New Hebron for the next rest stop at a grocery store. I bought a full gallon of water and filled up all my bottles. By this time I was finally getting comfortable. The sun was peaking out from the clouds on occasion, but I don't think the temp ever got as high as predicted.
Since we had passed the "bad hill" I thought the worst of the hills were gone. Alas, I was wrong. The road leading out of New Hebron to Prentiss was very hilly. Long 2% hills with decent traffic. I really slowed down here. The hills persisted until about 5 miles before Prentiss and then they were rollers with more of a downhill than uphill.

Finally, we reached the Long Leaf. I knew though that the first 5-7 miles were a long slow grade. I was only averaging 8 mph or so at this point. We had averaged 13 to Prentiss. What a hill slug. The guys were waiting on me at Carson and I was able to stay with them more on this stretch to Sumrall.

New Orleans 300k March 7

Dianne and I left work after 5 to head to Pats. I picked her up and we got a little later start than I would have liked.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Harder to blog than I thought

I have been trying to get online to catch up on my blog. I want to blog at least once a week. I am still so undisciplined that it my take a while. It is difficult to do everything I need/want to do on a daily basis.

I have really made up my mind to do the Elite PAC tour next June. I have 15 months to train. I am pretty sure that with hard work and determination that I can do it. I will really have to be strict though. I am starting with my food intake. February 24th, I started logging my food on's daily plate. This is a really neat site. I have not had an opportunity to play on the site much, just log in my food. I am attempting to lose 1.5 lbs a week and eat healthy. It has taken a week, but I can tell logging my food has helped. I am trying not to cheat by not logging something in. It is amazing though where my calories are. I eat more calories daily from either peanut butter or salad dressing. I don't think I can give up my pb yet, but I will try to make better decisions on the dressing.

Food goals:
No fast food - hamburgers, fries - I am going to examine salads on a day to day basis. Big fast food salads are "healthy" but they are loaded w/calories. The Zaxbys salad I like has 480 calories without counting the dressing. The Sherry vinaigrette on Newks salads has a ton of calories.
I want to match my calories with my workouts. Today I just stretched - 50 whopping calories, plus I may have to go out to eat, so I am trying to keep it small. Yesterday I burned 600+ so I ate a little more.
No packaged sweets - cupcakes cookies gas station crap.

Wow, I started using Race Caps Supreme two weeks ago. Boy can I tell a difference. I take one on non workout days and 2 pre workout and 1 post work out on regular work out days. I will take 2 pre long ride and 1 per hour during long rides. The other Hammer products work so well for me. I am also starting Appestat today. It is an appetite suppressant. I may not really need it, but I am going to try it for a while.

Saturday Feb 28 - It was a really cold and miserable day. It wasn't raining, but there was a fine wet mist in the air. I decided to ride up to River Bend to get 50 miles in and push my yearly total to 600 miles. Remember, my pump did not work last weekend for Steve. Well, it did not work for me either! As I pulled out of River Bend I noticed that the tail wind wasn't with me like I thought it should be. And as last week, my legs felt heavy. Of course, the first thing I wanted to sluff it off on was a flat tire. Knowing it wasn't a flat tire I just kept trudging along. About two miles later, I decided to stop and assure myself that it wasn't a flat. I was extremely surprised when I reached down and realized my tire really was flat! Well, of course, my pump would not work and I was stranded. Fortunately, I was able to get ahold of Dianne and she came and rescued me! I was pissed that I did not get my miles in. I ended up with only 582 for the year so far.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mardi Gras 200k Weekend

I got back from the Mardi Gras 200k weekend at midnight last night. What a great weekend!


Dianne and I drove down to Dennis' in Mandeville Friday afternoon. We were fortunate enough to get one of the bedrooms. Dennis and Maria are always great hosts. I was really surprised to see all the people when we got in. Doug (Brandon), John (Memphis) at Pat were already there. We also had two very unexpected guests, Ron and Jack from Topeka, Kansas! John brought a friend, Alan from Memphis and not long after we arrived Matt (Virginia) showed up. Steve showed up much later bringing our total riders to 11. We had jambalaya for supper and king cake for desert. It was colder and we were more tired than last year so we skipped the parade and I think we were in bed before 10.


Saturday started early with a 4:15 wakeup call. Getting up that early did allow me to get my stuff together leisurely. The early temp was definitely in the 40s. For some reason, I miscalculated my clothing requirements. Last weekend we rode in a constant temp of 57 and I was cold the whole time. It was supposed to warm to the mid 60s, but I really did not do a good job of adjusting the clothes. I started out with shorts, arm and leg warmers, ss jersey, vest, jacket, reg socks. Once outside I realized I needed another layer. I went back in and put on a wool underlayer and changed to wool socks. I really worried that I was over dressed at this point. That wool underlayer is really warm. I hate having to take off my underlayer later in a ride when it gets too hot, but I was afraid that I would need it. I think my earlier miscalc came from not thinking about the lack of sun for the first couple hours. Anyway, I am very glad I wore the wool underlayer. I would have been miserable without it. I also had my new buff - very good investment. I will probably wear it alot.

We took off for the ride start at 5:45. The ride start is 6 ish miles from Dennis' house. It really was cold. I was stupid and although I had two pairs of shoe covers and two pairs of toe covers, I did not wear any of them. My toes were numb by the time we arrived at the ride start.

Ride Start to First Control:
We got to the ride start without any problems just before the official start of 6:30. We were off by 6:35. Amazingly, the whole group stayed together to the first control. Pat likes to ride Audax style and the bigger the group, the harder it is to ride together. I think it is difficult with more than 4 or 5 cyclists as it is too hard for a faster rider to adjust their speed to the slowest rider. In most cases there is a big difference is speed between the fastest and slowest. Since I am one of the slowest, I can really see how this falls apart. It can be frustrating when I am faster than anyone in the group to slow down for them as I think it is much easier to ride the speed you are accustomed to - especially when there is a 2-3 mph average difference.

Sometime during this first 30 miles particularly somewhere between mile 19 and 30, I thought something was wrong with either my legs or my bike. I was sluggish, my legs felt heavy and I could not "spin". At first I thought I had a flat or a break was rubbing, but I really couldn't find a problem with either. I could not get my heart rate up either. I really was afraid it was me, but did not want to admit it. The last two weekends I saw great improvement in my cycling. I am still very slow averaging 12-12.5 mph on longer rides. But, I really felt good, like my endurance was back. One thing I have always been able to do on the recumbent is accelerate. I can take off really fast and put a gap on others in a hurry. I could not close a gap to save my life Saturday. My legs were just too heavy. I did work out really hard on Thursday and just decided that I over did it, even though I never had any leg soreness Friday. I started letting it bother me. I tried to be positive. We were averaging 13.5 mph at this point, much better than I had originally expected, so I had to take pleasure from that. Maybe that was why my legs were heavy. We did get to the first control 30-45 min up.

First Control to Second Control:
I was ready to leave the control pretty quickly. Since I was the slowest, I tend to try and leave first and let the others catch up with me. I was unaware that Matt had a broken spoke, so Pat, Dennis and Steve stayed back to help him. The others rode off with me. 3-4 miles later, I had to take off a layer. The sun started to come out and warm things slightly. I still had on my underlayer, but took off my vest,jacket, and gloves. At this point, I was dropped and would not ride with anyone for a while. Unfortunately, I started to beat myself up. What had I done to screw up my legs? I worked out really hard on Thursday. I started taking race caps. I did not stretch Friday. I did not think it was the race caps, because I felt good other than my legs. I was alert and seemed to have energy, but I just could not make my legs go. I allowed myself to get negative and decided that I would not be doing the 300 in two weeks. This is one of my biggest problems. I was truly preforming better that I had the previous two weeks, yet because I was not preforming at the level I wanted to, I started going mental. ARRRGH!

Doug, the Kansans, Dianne all waited for me at one of the turns. Pat, Matt, Dennis and Steve all came up behind after messing with Matts wheel. One weird occurrence, we were all honked at and buzzed by a black pickup. This attitude is typically rare in LA. They are normally the nicest people to be around. At the corner, we had pulled off waiting for the others and a lady stopped and told us we should be riding on the bike trail - some 30 miles behind us! Dianne told her that we had the right to ride on the road and the lady started cussing us out. She had kids in her car and one of the others pointed out that she should not act that way in front of her kids, she replied that it was a free country and she could do !#$%#%# what she wanted in front of her kids! Poor kids, I am sure they will become upstanding citizens too! The weird thing was that we were all pulled over out of the road in the parking lot. We had been cycling single file when on the road and the traffic was light enough that we would not have even held anyone up at all. Sheesh!

We all stayed together for a little while. I really needed to pee, but we were in an area that did not lend well to relieving ones self. I was really getting hot and holding it became a real issue. It was frustrating me beyond belief. That is the other issue with Audax cycling. It does not lend well to the individual needs. If one person stops then they all do and not everyone needs to pee at the same time. I finally could not stand it! I stopped, peed and took off my base layer. I put on arm warmers and my vest as it was still cool, I just did not need the wool anymore. Once again the guys waited at the next turn. However, when I got dropped again, only Pat and Steve stayed with me. I would fall behind them and continue to bash myself. Pat waited for me at the last turn before the control. 1.6 miles of rolling hills that should not be a problem - however, I was in my granny granny gear the last half mile. I just had no energy. At the control, Steve asked how I was feeling. I told him I was doing okay, just a little disappointed that I was sluggish this weekend.

Second to Third:
I stay on a totally liquid diet on the long rides. So, it does not take long for me to be ready at the control. Once I had my bottles ready, I went on ahead. The Kansans and Tenns were ready before I was and left before me. My legs really hurt all over at this point. Not excruciating, but I was not comfortable. I rode several miles by myself and then Dennis caught up with me and then Doug and Steve. I really like riding with these guys. Funny story: Pat and Steve concocted a plan to zip tie a 20lb weight to Dougs bike. Little did anyone else know, but they also slipped a small disc 5 lb weight into his bike bag. He found the 20lb weight without a problem, but never suspected the 5 lb one. He only found it when he was packing his bike after the ride!

While riding alone on the stretch before Dennis caught up with me, I did a little soul searching. I want to be an endurance cyclist. Not everything is going to be perfect. I am going to have times that don't work out the way I want them too. My attitude must stay positive. I was still riding at 12.8 mph - better than any other weekend. We were an hour or so up. The weather was nice. I am riding my bike. I was with friends. Shut up your whining. Put your big girl panties on. Although my legs still hurt, I was going to have fun. So when the guys and Dianne caught up with me, I had fun. We pretty much rode together for the next 15-20 miles.

Once we reached the 13 mile stretch, Dianne, Dennis and I skipped a bio break and got out in front of the others. Dianne was riding like a bat out of hell. She has always climbed better than me and she was putting major distance between the two of us. By now my knees were really hurting the left knee was hurting really bad behind the knee and the right hurt on top and behind. I occurred too me that I had moved my seat Friday morning. The longer I rode, the more I decided that I had not tightened the seat bolt tight enough. I was going to wait until the next control to stop and look, but it finally got the better of me. I found a good place to stop and pulled off. Darned if I wasn't right! My seat was about 4 inches from where it should have been. I got really lucky here and Steve and Doug showed up to help move the seat! Eureka! Once the seat was moved, I could spin! I could accelerate! My legs were still tired, and my knees still hurt, but, hurrah, I have a reason that my legs were so heavy!

Third to End:
The rest of the ride I felt much better. I was able to hang with the group. Issue 2 popped up its ugly head just before dusk. I had been riding with my Ixon all day. I turned it off at the ride start as I did not think I needed it anymore. At dusk, it would not come back on. No worries, I had spare batteries. We put them in and after a little prodding, the light came back on although I did not have it aimed right. I realized I did not pack my backup light. Thats what I get after being off the bike for so long. This is a really good reason for Audax riding. When riding in a group, the others can pick up the slack of those that may need a little help, in some cases the group can provide the draft, the light, the upbeat in attitude, the properly applied kick in the pants. All in all Audux riding in the right combination is my favorite way to roll.

The ride continued successfully with our group staying together for the rest of the ride. We finished 12 hr and 3 minutes into the ride. I can't find our official finishing time for last year, but I am pretty sure we were slower but took less time off the bike. I am fairly certain that we ended with a better time.

No hot foot!!!! This is my first long ride with the Specialized shoes with arch support in combination with the Crankbrothers Acid pedals. Whoo Hoo!
Being able to come back with a better attitude after lunch!
Perfect fueling - 5 SE+2H to the turn around control, Hammer bar for lunch, 5P for the next 18 miles, 3 SE +2H to the end.

Things to remember:
Bring back up light
Don't go negative
Bring warmer clothes, just in case

Back at Dennis':
We all gathered back at Dennis and Maria's for a shower and supper. The Kansans had to leave to get back home, but the rest of us were able to stay for dinner - a most wonderful spaghetti and meat sauce and chick parm. For desert, we had homemade banana pudding - a wonderful end to a great day! After dinner, we packed up and headed to Pat's.


Tour de la New Orleans

After breakfast (piggys and cinnamon rolls), we headed out to New Orleans. It was much colder and windyer. I wore my wool jersey and all the other paraphernalia from yesterday. We started out to the levy at 9:30. I did not bring any lights since they really weren't working. My legs were very sore and my left knee hurt really bad. I was doubting if I could do the whole ride, but what the hell. Fortunately, the worst of the pain would wear off with distance. It would rear its ugly head after an extend stop (lots of these), but overall was okay.

St. Charles:
Okay, I hate riding in traffic - the traffic that the car passes you in your lane without giving you any space. I had a really bad occurrence of this December 2007 and still have not fully recovered although I am really trying to get better about it. St. Charles was bumper to bumper cars, but Dianne mentioned that she wanted to ride in the garden district. Pat ever the pleaser, would not deny. I voiced my concern to Pat who all too well knows my fear and he indicated that if were too much, we could always turn off. This ended up being one of my two favorite parts to this ride. The traffic was heavy, but it was either slow enough for us to ride between cars, or when available, we rode in the "parking lane". The morning parade crowd was gathering and we became the parade! It was spectacular. We had a lot of stop a start and dodging between people and vendors, but the crowd really reacted to our bikes. All over you could hear - look at those cool bikes! People were all dressed up with Mardi Gras colors and there were ladders and these neat seats on "stilts" set up for kids to sit in to see the parades. While waiting for the parade to start there were vendors selling color hats and boas and food. Doug had a hat Maria had given him and he put it on while we were riding slowly in the crowd. Although chaotic - it was a complete blast. We attempted to eat at Cafe Dumond, but the line to wait was at least an hour long. We walked over to City Grocery instead and at a muffaletta. Doug, Dianne and I split a whole one.

The Award Ceremony:
From City Grocery we cycled down Chartes to somewhere just off the quarter. Steve stopped us all and stood on a loading dock of a deserted building to make a grand presentation. Apparently, he had been disturbed at getting away with the awful joke that they(?) played on Doug the day before. They(?) assumed Douggy would find the weight much earlier in the ride and discard it along the way. Well, since that did not happen, Steves conscience got to him. He had taken the weight home, painted it, glued a medallion onto it and turned it into the nicest, yet heaviest, medal I have ever seen. The ACP should ask him for his expertise in designing the next medals in 2011! He then wrapped this medal very nicely and presented it to Doug. We were all able to sign the back of it. The best part of all came with the realization that now it was a really great keepsake, Doug had to haul it another 30+ miles back home!

Meander was the name of the game for the rest of the day. We meandered to the lower ninth ward where the damage was the worst after the dams broke after Katrina. The area is seeing slow progress. Brad Pitt has sunk 2 million (?) of his own money into revitalization of this part of the city. The houses supposedly were designed to be green. They were definitely interesting. We then headed out to Algeriers(?) to see the Jean Laffite battlefield. From there we rode out to eat again. The original dining choice was closed so we found a suitable substitute. After filling our guts again, somehow Doug was able to let air out of Steves back tire. While waiting for everyone to get gathered up at a gas station, they lead Steve into a discussion of his tires and how difficult it is to change the back tire of a recumbent. Minutes later, we are back on the road stopped at a light and Steve realizes that his tire is running flat. He crosses the road against the light and heads to the ferry well before the rest of us cross. When we get to the ferry, he has already started changing the tire. Doug does not hold out on Steve at all and shows him his valve stem cap. Steve's face was priceless. The dawning of the trick was absolutely perfect! We were able to board the ferry and Steve was able to finish fixing the tire on the ride. The best thing to come of this trick was the realization that my pump no longer works.

Getting back:
At this point it was getting late and we knew we needed to get back to Pat's. Doug, Dianne and I were leaving to go home and it looked like it would be midnight before we got back. However, the challenge was to get back through the parades. Traffic on Canal was completely bumper to bumper gridlock. Steve had a good idea to go on this back road near the street car/train line. We were able to get to Tchopoutulus (?) without a problem. We did have a police car catch up with us and hurry us out of the area we were in. We were able to travel "chop-a-two-lus" street pretty easy until we ran smack dab into the floats lining up. This was phenomenal! People in costume with all sorts of commotion. We were weaving in and out of the crowds, stopping and starting, darting around bands and parade goers. It was so exciting. It would have been fun to have been able to stick around to see the parades since we were in the middle of them, but alas, we had to get home. It was dark when we hit the levy and neither Dianne nor I had lights. Pat and John stopped at a store off the levy and we attempted to continue to Pat's on our own. I really learned a lesson about not having back up lights. I really could not see unless I was really close to Doug. Pat eventually caught back up with us and lead us home.

What a great weekend - somewhere close to 195 miles! I should eclipse my 2008 cycling miles sometime in March! WHOO HOO! WHAT A RIDE! I really appreciate everyone being so supportive. Thanks to Dennis and Maria and Pat and Cindy for putting us all up. And thanks to Pat for being such a great RBA and providing such a great cycling weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Ok, I am not a good Blogger. Lets see where this goes this time since I have not blogged in a year and a half.

2007 was a great cycling year. I finished with 4000 k, over 3000 ultra cycling miles and somewhere over 6000 total miles. I bought my Corsa in Oct 2007 and started riding it exclusively.

2008 sucked. My office combined with 4 others to form a very complex multi-specialty group. I started working 56-72 hours a week sometime in February and really did little else. I participated in my own Natchez Trace 200k - it was great - I had several LSR members drive over for the ride and had a PR while doing it. I also rode in Pat's Mardi Gras 200k. The next weekend Aidan was born. He is really the only good thing about 2007. I do enjoy being a grandmother!

I participated in one more 200 k - the Franklinton 4th of July ride. I struggled as I had been off the bike more than on it.

I rode so little, I have no idea how many miles I actually rode. I am guessing less than 1000.

So, it is February 20th. I am 25 lbs heavier now than my April 2007 weight and I have already lost 10 lbs this year. I am motivated to become a real athlete. I will leave in a few hours for this years Mardi Gras ride. My goal is to finish in the time limit. Last night I heard Shanna Armstrong speak at a Boys and Girls club award banquet in Kosy. Very interesting. Her story is almost unbelievable. She was not always the picture of health and athletic envy - at one time she was a 170lb+ smoker!

Well, I am not a smoker! I really want to be a true ultra cyclist. I don't know why except the fact that I love to ride, I love the outdoors, and I love pushing myself. Lets see where I go!

My longer term goal is to make another PAC tour in 2010. I would really like to do the elite tour as it is basically RAAM without the sleep deprivation.

Short term goals:

Lose 5 lbs a month to lose at least 25 lbs - maybe 35.
Finish a MS or LA 200k at 15mph ave
Ride a minimum of 250 miles a month.