Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Next Step

The Tahoe ride is over, but my Road to the Century continues. Next weekend I have a metric century, The Delaware Doublecross -

One thing just about everyone knows about Delaware (assuming they know it even exists), is that it's small! Many bicycle clubs have rides that cross their state, or cross the state and come back (doublecross) - these rides usually take days. In Delaware, we can do that in a mere metric century (about 62 miles)!

I have yet to finish a metric century, but for some reason I'm not concerned about finishing this one - perhaps it's because I rode 45 of the toughest miles I've ever experienced a few weeks ago! 62 flat, sea level miles seems like nothing!

On the century front, I've signed up for another century - once again, upon flat, sea level terrain. September 10 - The Amish Country Bike Tour -

While most in this area are aware of the Amish of Lancaster County, many people don't know that we have an Amish settlement here in Delaware, just west of Dover. This ride includes a rest stop manned by the Amish, complete with pies and cookies! My kind of ride!

So the quest continues - and the training too. In fact, I'm heading out shortly to get a nice ride in today.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Finish Line

This ranks up there with some of the worst days I’ve ever had. I can honestly say I did not enjoy myself during this ride. Yes, the views were lovely, but there are lovely views in many places. The air was so thin I could not breathe after the first big climb (800 feet). It felt like I was breathing through a plastic bag with a pinhole in it. I was truly scared I wouldn’t be able to catch my breath. When I finally recovered, another hill appeared to take whatever air I had left in my lungs right back out.

Oh and did I mention it rained for about 75% of the ride, and it sleeted and hailed too, for good measure. When it wasn’t raining, it was still cold. I think the high was about 50F (and that didn't hit until well into the ride). So there were precious few times I was warm (with my three layers on) and most of the time I was just soaked to the core.

I did get through about 43 miles before I needed help. I had some motorized assistance up the 1,000 foot climb, and even downhill for most of the way. I was dropped off about 2 miles from the finish. And then I crossed the finish line.

The Road to the Century continues… but never again in Tahoe…

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Panic attack

I'm in my hotel room, the night before the ride, and I can hardly breathe. Tears are rolling down my face and I'm freaking out. I feel like I don't belong here. I know my sane side is saying that I've trained as hard as I could and I'll be able to make it so long as I don't stop pedaling. But my chest is tight, and my crazy side is trying to get me out of this. I just want to hide, or run, or do anything else but this. Damn my keen sense of flight.

I know I'll talk myself down from this ledge - or my teammates will (assuming they find me..hehe). But right now I'm not feeling like I can do this......

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Packed and ready to go

My suitcase is packed and sitting in my car. My computer bag is sitting waiting for my computer. I leave in about 2 hours for the airport and I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

For those who have been following me, you'll likely remember all the *LOUSY* weather I've faced on my many training rides - the 28 degree weather on the Icicle Metric in March; the 40+ MPH winds at the Ocean to Bay in April; the pouring rain during the Diabetes ride in May - not to mention the regular cold and wet weather we've had this whole spring here in Delaware. looks like that was meant to train me for America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride. From the AMBBR website:
As of Tuesday, May 31, 2011:
Weather Forecast for Sunday, June 5, 2011.
Mostly Cloudy with 40% chance of showers or thunderstorms. Day-time high temperatures – 50-55F

At this time, the 20th Annual America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride will take place, Rain or Shine, as nearly 1600 Team In Training members are scheduled to travel from 59 different cities in the US / Canada and participate in the event. There is no option to reschedule this event.

Bike the West will do everything possible to provide for the Safety and Welfare of all participants, including the possibility of delaying the Start Time and/or altering the course routes, and providing additional SAG Transport Support for the course.

Please be prepared and dress accordingly for the possibility of showers.

We are also working on alternate indoor facilities if inclement weather should presents itself on June 5.

Whee. Well, here goes. At worst, sounds like I might be doing 100 miles of laps around a velodrome...I'm actually laughing as I type this. What a crazy journey!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Epiphany

So, as I was climbing the hills of Cecil and Chester Counties this Sunday (re-riding the Icicle Metric), I realized that 100 miles is simply not going to happen. At this point in my training, I can complete a 50 mile ride, but I'm simply not able to get beyond that yet (especially if there are hills involved).

I'm going to go to Tahoe, ride until I need to stop, and then I'm stopping. No guilt. I raised close to $6,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I have biked more and further than I could have imagined when I bought my bike about 14 months ago. I have nothing to be ashamed of.

I intend to fully enjoy my time in Tahoe (I've never been there before so I'm excited about seeing it) and I'm going to enjoy the ride, and I'm going to go as far as I can. Then I'm going to enjoy the post-event party without guilt!

And then I'll set my sights on another century, and keep working toward it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

In the Homestretch!

Quite a bit has happened in the last few weeks since I've updated my blog.

First of all - I MADE MY FUNDRAISING GOAL! Thanks so much to everyone who contributed! I can't tell you how much your support means to me!

Second, I still have not completed a metric century. The weather last time was not as advertised - it was not 70 and sunny. It was 50, windy, chilly and overcast. And once again, I was miserable. My leg cramped up going up a hill, and I went 4 miles out of my way when I missed a turn. I ended up with 31 miles under my belt before I quit. This Saturday is my last scheduled metric century - the Tour de Cure, benefiting the American Diabetes Association. Once again, it leaves from Newark, and will likely tackle the same hills I've struggled with in both other metric centuries. Wish me luck - completing this would be such a boost to my confidence.

Third, I did complete a ride to Chesapeake City and back - 50 miles, plus two bridges. I crossed the canal via the Chesapeake City Bridge heading down - what a nightmare! There's no margin, so I was in the lane, blocking traffic. And when I got to the top and tried to shift, MY CHAIN FELL OFF!! I nearly fell off my bike and there I was at the top of the bridge trying to fix my chain while making myself as flat as possible so I wouldn't get hit by passing cars! I was terrified! It was not fun! I went home via the St. Georges Bridge, which has a bike lane. Much better! I could weave and maneuver my way up the hill without as much fear.

I get the sense that the hills in Tahoe might be of a similar grade as the St. Georges Bridge - I have nothing concrete to base that on, but that's my sense. Long but not particularly steep. (If anyone who reads this knows differently, and has an idea of a hill I can compare them with, please let me know.) So I think I'm going to climb the bridge a few times in the next few weeks before the ride.

My bike ships out Memorial Day Weekend, so I don't have much training time left! I should put a countdown on my facebook page. 25 DAYS TO GO!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Metric Century on the Horizon

This Saturday brings another metric century ride - a ride benefiting the Cecil County College Scholarship Fund. The route is something like a figure 8 - it goes in a 30+ mile loop in one direction, meets back at the start, and then loops 30+ miles in another direction. Much of the first half of the route mimics the route I took for the Icicle Metric in March (the one that kicked my butt) so I'm really looking forward to seeing how I've improved in the last month.

I upgraded my bike to tackle hills, by changing my cassette (the rear gears) and derailleur. I rode yesterday and it made a big difference on the hills (not that I tackled major hills yesterday, but still...)

Next step - I want to see if I can move the clips on my bike shoes back a smidge - I think the pressure point on my foot is incorrectly placed, causing my toes to numb. If my foot hits the pedal slightly more forward, I think it will fix my problem. I have to check my shoes before Saturday and see if this is possible.

I'm really looking forward to Saturday's ride (minus the 7:30 am start time - ugh) and I hope it gives me a good gauge of my efforts to date.

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Halfway there!

I RODE 50 MILES ON SATURDAY!! Now, granted, it was a completely flat ride, but the wind was KILLER! The headwind was so strong at one point, I was only going about 6 miles an hour into it. So it's kinda like a hill, right?

I had a breakdown at about mile 46, where I started crying, thinking that there was no way I could ever do 100 miles. But my friend talked me off the edge, and support from my coach and teammates after the ride made me feel better. Failure is not an option. I just have to keep that in my head.

I still need to figure out how to keep my toes from going numb. It's really become a problem, and I was forced to get off my bike more often than I thought I would, just to get the blood back into my toes. (Any suggestions - please let me know - and no, my shoes are not too tight - already fixed that by buying a size up) And my butt was pretty sore that night - but it didn't hurt so much the next day, so it's definitely progress.

Oh, and not only did I do 50 miles on Saturday, but I did another 20 on Friday, and the wind was just as bad (and it was colder)! So overall, I felt like I had a really great weekend!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Success Amid Failure

The Icicle Metric is over. I didn't finish it. I completed 38 miles and simply could not make it up one more hill. When the SAG wagon came to get me, he said I stopped at the perfect spot, because "the next few miles had the major hills." WHAT?? The hills I tackled were not the "major" ones??? Holy &^%$&!

I took a ride later in the day to see what I had missed along the course and he was right - if I had gone just around the corner from where I stopped, what awaited me was a GIANT hill. I never would have made it.

I realized something, which made stopping easier - I wasn't having fun anymore. I was dreading the next turn, thinking it would bring a hill. I had to get off the bike and walk up the last few. I hate walking anyway, and walking in bike shoes is certainly no picnic. I would get a nice downhill, and all I was thinking about was whether I had enough speed to carry me up the majority of the next hill. I wasn't enjoying the ride anymore. So I stopped.

One thing they tell you at Weight Watchers, over and over again, is to find an exercise you enjoy, or else you won't stick with it. I was so thrilled to find biking, because I truly enjoy it - I feel like a little kid riding my bike. On Saturday, I started out with that feeling, but by the end, I was just a tired, overweight, miserable heap of sweaty, sore mess. So I stopped.

On Sunday, I got back on my bike - I took my familiar route into Old New Castle, and aside from being very sore, and having a little trouble getting up hills I never even noticed being there before, I was having fun again! I went about 10.5 miles on Sunday - I wanted to go further, but my body just wouldn't have it - and I had fun!

I took another look at the elevation map for Tahoe. Aside from the two big climbs, it's not a very hilly ride. The hills that are there undulate, giving breathing space in between (the hills on Saturday just kept coming - one after another after another, with no relief). So yea, while the two climbs may be challenging, I'm looking forward to enjoying the ride. Because really - isn't that what it's all about?

And I did ride 38 miles on Saturday - pretty impressive considering.....

Friday, March 25, 2011

My First "Real" Ride is Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the (aptly-named) Icicle Metric Century in Newark, DE. My first real, supported, not-just-me-and-a-couple-others ride. I really don't know what to expect. I mean, I know there will be a route, painted on the ground (I hope I don't get lost!) and rest stops along it. I have no idea how many people signed up (and more importantly, how many will not let the cold chase them away). And I know we start off around 8:30 am, and the course closes (no more support) at 4:00 pm. So I've got 7 1/2 hours to go 60 miles. I hope I can make it!

But, I did 40 miles last Saturday, and nearly 40 the Saturday before. So I think I'm ready for this. They tell me there are hills - but I was in Lancaster County last weekend - the hills can't be worse. If I can finish the 60+ mile ride this Saturday, I will feel completely confident I can finish America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride in Tahoe in June!

So, wish me luck! It's going to be in the 20s and 30s out there but I do have the appropriate clothing (although I may be stopping at Performance Bicycle to pick up some shoe bootie things - I don't have them yet and people tell me I need them). It will be cold but at least it's supposed to be sunny - no rain! Yay!

Oh and thanks to everyone who has donated! I've reached my minimum fundraising goal for Tahoe, and I've closing in on my own goal! You guys ROCK! Thanks also for the support and encouraging words. They mean a lot to me.

See you after I melt the Icicle!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Metric Century Coming Up!

First of all - MY FUNDRAISING TOPPED $4,000 THIS MORNING! I'm quickly closing in on my goal! If you want to help me stop worrying about fundraising and just enjoy the rest of the journey, please visit my donation website. Any gift, no matter how small, will help fight blood cancers.

Also, please consider joining me at my next fundraiser - Dinner at Casablanca Moroccan Restaurant in New Castle, DE on Tuesday, March 22 at 6:00 pm. It's only $30 per person, including tip (alcoholic beverages are available but are not included) and you get a 6 COURSE meal! And there will be a bellydancer! Good times! Hope you can join us if you live nearby!

As I said last time, the mileage is really piling up. Last Saturday I did 40 miles! To put that into perspective, I rode from my house in New Castle, DE to Elkton, MD - I crossed the Mason-Dixon Line, BABY!! OH YEA!! :o)

On Sunday, my training schedule had me doing 20 miles, but I only did 10.7. However, it was a very productive 10.7, as I wore my bike shoes for the first time on a ride - on streets and everything! I even crossed the highway with them! I feel a lot more confident about wearing the shoes and snapping in and out of the pedals. I now plan to wear them this weekend for another 40 mile ride (in Lancaster County for a change - anyone have any routes to suggest?) and for the Metric Century (62 miles) next weekend in Newark.

I'm also signed up for a 50 mile ride in Bethany Beach in April, and a 50 mile ride in Newark in May (Tour de Cure, benefiting diabetes research - my father died from complications related to diabetes, so it's another charity close to my heart). If anyone wants to join me for all (or part - all of these rides have shorter versions), please let me know - it's fun to ride with people you know!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The mileage is adding up

Today I'm supposed to ride 35 miles. It's supposed to be warm (highs around 60F) and would be perfect for a nice long ride. But I scheduled too much today in too many broken chunks, so I can't ride 3+ hours at a time. I guess at least I'll break it into segments and at least get the saddle time in.

Last week I rode with members of the team and we took Route 82 from Greenville to Kennett. Beautiful ride, with some tricky hills. I held my own until near the end. I tried to shift into a lower gear to go up a hill and my gear got stuck. Momentum ceased and I found myself walking the hill. After that it was all mental. I couldn't do the other 2 hills I encountered. Amazing what happens when your head just isn't in the right place.

I had my bike fitted before last week's ride, and it made a big difference. I also got new pedals that I can clip into. Now I need to practice clipping and unclipping my shoes, so I don't tip over like a loser, with my feet stuck in the pedals. :o) I think I'm going to try that this morning, while I'm waiting for a 9:00 am appointment.

I have two fundraiser dinners coming up - On Monday, March 7, anyone who dines at Friendly's on Kirkwood Highway in Newark, DE from 5-9 pm will be helping Team in Training - a percentage of your check will be donated!

Also, on Tuesday, March 22, I'm hosting a dinner at Casablanca Moroccan Restaurant on Route 13 in New Castle, Delaware. $30 per person gets you 6 amazing courses of wonderful Moroccan food, served family style. Plus there will be a belly dancer. Tip is included, but alcoholic beverages are not. 20% of proceeds go to Team in Training. Please RSVP to me for this event.

Also, if you are interested in PartyLite votives, tealights, or jar candles, let me know - I am selling them, and 50% of the proceeds go to Team in Training.

Or you can just donate by clicking This Link

Thanks for the support!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spring, please?

So, over the weekend we were teased by spring - we had 2-3 days of beautiful weather. Temps reached 70F on Friday! And I took advantage! I got out on my bike Friday morning and rode for 22 miles! It felt so good! Something about riding outside makes me remember why I decided to take on this crazy challenge.

I'm still getting used to the smaller seat, and I think I need to have my seat adjusted back a little. My butt hurt for 2 days! Will I develop callouses on my butt cheeks? :o)

Last night, it snowed. About 4" of fluffy, white snow. I think it's something like 20F outside as I write this. Talk about a tease! While it's supposed to be slightly warmer this weekend, it's also supposed to rain - nay, POUR - this weekend. *sigh*

My long Saturday ride is supposed to be 30 miles. I think I'll be doing 3 hours inside instead. On the positive side, I'm on Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer...

To support my efforts, please donate at

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Training begins

Sorry I've been a little behind in updating the blog. I promise to make a better effort at this.

First off - let me say that the beef 'n' beer fundraising party was a huge success! Everyone had a great time; the food was fantabulous (mom's roast beef changed lives once again, and my niece's lasagna was a hit too); the dj was fun; the karaoke was awesome (loved that we had about 20 people up on stage at the end singing Sweet Home Alabama) - it was a perfect night! And most importantly - WE RAISED OVER $1,000 FOR LLS! SWEET!!!

As of today, I am 61% to my goal, and I hope to reach my goal by March 26 (which is an important date, for reasons I'll explain shortly). If I can reach my goal by then, I will be able to concentrate only on training and not have to worry anymore about making my fundraising goal. So please, if you haven't, consider donating at my website.

I finally got outside last Sunday, and rode to Old New Castle and back - just about 8 miles round trip. It was the first time I had ridden my new bike - the Fuji Absolute 2.0. I am thrilled with it! It handled well, even with all the flotsam and jetsam I had to avoid, thanks to the snow. I'm hoping that I can get out this weekend again - perhaps even both days - as it's supposed to be over 40F this weekend. I'm going to do a longer ride, perhaps a 25 mile one if I have the time.

Now more about March 26 - that's the date of my first group ride. I signed up for the Icicle Metric with the White Clay Bicycle Club. It's a metric century ride (a little over 60 miles), and it should really give me a feel for how my training is coming along. I plan to finish it, but I can always shorten the ride to the other official mileages (22 or 31 miles). I'm told it has some hills, including one at the very beginning, so it should give me a feel for what I need to work on for the rest of my training.

I have never ridden in a group ride before, so I'm a little anxious to see how I do. I believe other members of my team will be riding in this as well, so I can see how I measure up. (Not that it matters, I know, but...)

I am also planning to sign up for the Ocean to Bay Bike Tour in Bethany Beach on April 16. It's a 50 mile ride, and will be considerably flatter, but it will also help me with the group dynamics training.

Okay, I think I've caught you up now. Time to go ride on my trainer! If you're interested in signing up for one of these rides with me, let me know - that would be cool!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spin Class

I took my first spin class on Friday, and am officially hooked! What fun! It turned into a 75 minute class, and it completely wiped me out for hours, but it was so cool to feel like I was riding up and down hills! I've done similar rides on my bike indoors, by shifting gears, but there was something about the spin class that really made it feel real.

I had so much fun I found another class Monday evening! The second class was tougher, because he spent a good 60% of the class out of the saddle, and I'm still having issues with my feet going numb. Pedaling on numb feet is not pleasant, and I kept shifting my weight around in odd positions trying to get relief. Plus I was wearing regular sneakers, so my feet had no real stability. My muscles were super-sore afterward.

But I got a real feel for how my ride will be, and I'm even more excited! Oh, and I lost about a lb this week, even though it was my birthday week and I had a lot of cake opportunities.

AAANNNDDDD --- Thanks to wonderful friends, I am already 47% to my Team in Training fundraising goal! This is before my big beef 'n' beer party this weekend - I might actually be able to raise all my money by the end of this weekend! (In which case, I'll raise my goal...)

To donate, click on the link to the right, or go to
If you want details about the party, message me and I'll tell you all about it!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Planning a Party

Thursday, January 20, was my 44th birthday. A week from tonight (Jan 29) is my birthday party. Most years I throw myself a birthday party, with well over 100 of my favorite people. So this year, with Team in Training fundraising to do, I thought I'd combine the birthday party with a beef 'n' beer, to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Sounds like a lot of fun, and I certainly love to throw parties, but I feel like I'm running out of time - I sure hope this all works out and people actually come, and enjoy themselves too!

I collected a bunch of raffle prizes from wonderful, generous local merchants - we're going to have 10 baskets with great prizes - some worth over $200!! If anyone reading this is interested in attending, let me know and I'll get you the info. The event is in Newark, Delaware.

Something tells me my 44th year is going to be an amazing one!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

Well, I don't really get snow days anymore, thanks to technology (I blame Citrix) but at least I can work from home.
A wonderful restaurant in Wilmington, DE - Bella Vista Trattoria - held a fundraiser for me yesterday. They donated 15% of the proceeds of meals purchased by anyone who brought in a particular flyer. So last night I invited a bunch of family and friends to dine out. We had a wonderful meal, and I know we raised a bunch of money for Team in Training. I'll update with the final numbers once I receive the check.
When I got home, I didn't really feel like working out, but I forced myself to do 30 minutes on the treadmill. Have I mentioned how much I dislike the treadmill? But I wanted to watch the news, and TV in the room with the bike is not hooked up to the cable, but the TV in the room with the treadmill is. It wasn't so bad, I suppose. But it's amazing how few calories I burn walking on the treadmill vs riding my bike.
Well, I guess I'm off to burn more calories shoveling snow.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A new year, a new start

I was sick over the holiday. Had a nice case of the stomach flu (which accounting for a 7 lbs loss this week, which is awesome!) and just did not feel like exercising. But I think I've shaken that off. I've been on the bike this week, and I've been on the AeroPilates machine, or as my friend likes to put it, the medieval torture device - I swear I'm going to get stuck in that thing one day. I really need to keep my cell phone close by so I can call for help.

I'm anxiously awaiting my training schedule. I should be hearing from the coach soon - we start our indoor training this month!

I'm also looking forward to planning my birthday party, which I'm going to use as a fundraiser this year - January 29. I'm finalizing the details this week and can't wait! There will be a 50/50, door prizes and raffle prizes!

I'm 26% toward my goal, which is very exciting this early! To donate, check out

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Merry Christmas to me!

I bought myself a present today! I bought a new bike!

After talking to a number of people, doing some research, and thinking long and hard, I realized that my wonderful Trek Pure Sport was not going to be the right bike for a Century. It's heavy with big, wide tires, which means it takes more effort to go a certain distance. It has funky geometry, with my feet more forward for comfort. That means I can't stand on the pedals and still pedal, which won't allow me to get relief or power, depending on my needs. And it likely will be difficult to ship to Lake Tahoe, mostly because of the wacky geometry.

Sooooo....I started looking, asked a few experts as well as some biking friends, and I settled on a new bike - the Fuji Absolute 2.0!

I'm thrilled with it (I'll post some photos later) - It's a beautiful bright blue and so pretty! And it's sooo much faster! I haven't taken it for anything more than a quick spin, but I'm sure I can go 3-4 miles quicker on it with the same energy output. So excited!!

For now, I'm keeping the Trek on the indoor trainer, and will use the Fuji for outdoor rides. I bought some thermal riding clothes, so I'm hoping to get outside sometime this month, when there's a sunny, not-so-frigid day.

My official training starts this month! This is getting exciting!
Oh, and one other thing - thanks so much to my donors! I've already hit 26% of my fundraising goal! Please help me raise the rest quickly, so I don't have to worry about it while I'm training hard.