Saturday, January 28, 2023

An inauspicious start

For many years, I started the new year with a schedule of ride events and races and goals to train for -- often laid out and documented here in my blog -- and that was a routine for several decades. I have a few goals penciled in for 2023, but it’s not like the old days of training and FTPs and watt goals. I’m content with that. 

I ended 2022 with a trip to the ER in an ambulance after taking a head first fall down a flight of stairs. After slamming my head and neck into a wall, I passed out in the kitchen. The police, fire, and ambulance arrived soon after, (all a blur), but I remember looking up and seeing my cousin's son (a firefighter) standing at my feet, looking down at me. We locked eyes and both smiled, and I knew I was going to be ok. 

I was in rough shape going into the new year -- too sore to get back into a fitness routine, over to the Y for spin classes, or on my new treadmill to join my sister for our 3x weekly walk/run. I was feeling pretty blue when my Coffeeneuring 2022 patch arrived. (Thank you Mary!) It was a reminder to just take it easy, enjoy the ride, enjoy a coffee, and not take it all so seriously. I’m here for that. I got back on the treadmill in Week 2 of the new year, excited for my new NordicTrack smart treadmill which arrived January 2nd, a Christmas gift from Mike. I love it. We converted the boy's former playroom into a home gym this year, and it's been helpful to my recovery. By Week 3, the soreness in my back and neck eased up enough for me to return to spin classes at the Y. The PMC Winter Cycle is just a week away! I'm not as ready as I would have been had I not taken a header down a full flight of stairs, but I'm well enough to ride and I'm super excited about it.

We finally got some snow this past week -- enough for a bit of snowshoeing before rain arrived the next day and it all melted away. It's been one crazy winter.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

2022 Coming to a close

Both boys home for the holidays
The weeks are just ticking by... it's hard to believe Christmas is just a few days away! Chip is home from Michigan for a two week break between semesters and it's good to hear the boys laughing in the house again.  

It's been hard to stay on track with any workouts and mindful eating through the holiday season... I haven't been to spin class in two weeks and I've been out off control with carbs and sugar. Hopefully I'll get back on track after the Christmas weekend. (I have good intentions.)

2023 kicks off with a run-walk-bike brunch with the girls, (the bike ride still a maybe) -- a few of us are running the Frosty Four in Salem while the rest do a trail walk or bike ride. Either walking or running, it looks like we've got some polar temps headed our way to start the new year. Brrrrr... 2023 is coming fast.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Coffeeneuring 2022 Control Card

Ride Number: 1
Date: 10/15/22
Mileage (total): 8
Location Name: Breeds Pond, Lynn Woods Reservation
Address: Pennybrook Road, Lynn, Massachusetts
Drink: Iced coffee with oat milk (and zucchini bread)
Bike: Kona Kahuna MTB
Ride note: Gorgeous spots of foliage but mostly piney green. Breeds Pond is gone, decimated by this summer's drought. The whole pond. Gone.

Ride Number: 2
Date: 10/23/22
Mileage (total): 15
Location Name: Zestfriendz
Address: Humphrey Street, Swampscott
Drink: English breakfast tea (and lemon polenta shortbread)
Bike: Trek Domane
Ride note: Took my coffee to go and headed to the pier. It was a gray, sometimes misty afternoon.

Ride Number: 3
Date: 10/29/22 
Mileage (total): 18
Location Name: Mookie's at Mugford Cafe
Address: Washington Street, Marblehead
Drink: Chai tea latte (and avocado toast)
Bike: Trek Domane
Ride Note: Pretty ride around Marblehead, the leaves are already past peak. Headed downtown and stopped in at Marblehead Mercantile and also caught a glimpse of Tom Saltsman's Halloween installation, Meretseger, in progress. 

Ride Number: 4
Date: 11/2/22
Mileage (total): 20
Location Name: Zumi's Cafe
Address: Main Street, Topsfield
Drink: Iced latte (and chocolate chip cookie)
Bike: Kona Kahuna MTB
Ride note: Foliage is still looking lovely. The trail was really quiet. Riding midweek was perfect! 

Ride Number: 5
Date: 11/7/22
Mileage (total): 16
Location Name: Wolf Next Door
Address: Derby Street, Salem
Drink: Iced latte (and coffee cake muffin by AJ King Bakery)
Bike: Trek Domane
Ride note: 75 degrees in November! Nice to ride around Salem without the October crush of tourists.

Ride Number: 6
Date: 11/18/22
Mileage (total): 6
Location Name: Panera Bakery
Address: Vinnin Square, Swampscott
Drink: Hot chocolate (and a sugar cookie).
Bike: Trek Domane
Ride note: Cold! Wind! Rain! Changed my plans mid-ride and headed to Panera Bakery, cutting through the Forest River Conservation Area on the way. Was shocked to see the graffiti vandalism in the preserve

Ride Number: 7
Date: 11/20/22
Mileage (total): 16
Location Name: Front Street Coffeehouse
Address: 20 Front St, Salem
Drink: Coconut Maple Latte (and old fashioned donut)
Bike: Trek Domane
Ride note: Cold but sunny for my last coffeeneuring ride for 2022. (Took it down to the wire this year!) Rode through a very quiet November Salem -- vastly different from October Salem! Stopped into Front Street Coffeehouse and enjoyed a latte at leisure. Perfect wrap up ride for this fall's Coffeeneuring Challenge!  

Final Stats
Total Rides: 7
Total Mileage: 90
The Bikes: 1. Kona Kahuna MTB. 2. Trek Domane
Most Common Beverage: Iced Latte
Total Years Completed: 8 (of 10 attempts)

(Thank you, Mary G. (and intern!), at for this annual social coffee ride challenge. xoxo)

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Coffeeneuring Ride 7: The Final Ride!

Front Street Coffeehouse
Well, I took it down to the wire this year -- it happens sometimes. My final ride for Coffeeneuring 2022 was to Salem and Front Street Coffeehouse, where I originally planned to ride on Friday. It was cold, cold, cold, and I'm not quite ready for winter riding. I've yet to dig out the toe covers and lobster-claw gloves for cold weather. Still, it was a nice ride and I was able to spin around Salem with ease. Salem in mid-November is a far cry from Salem just three weeks ago. There were very few remnants of Halloween madness left behind.

It was quiet at the coffeehouse where I ordered a coconut maple latte and an old-fashioned donut. (The latte was on the specials board today.) With very few people inside, and plenty of open tables, I was able to warm up in a sunny window with my latte before heading back out in the cold. After swinging through artists row to pick up some honey, (which I couldn't do because Beverly Bees was closed), I headed home.

And that's a wrap for this year's Coffeeneuring Challenge! It's always fun to see many of my IG cycling friends joining this end-of-season celebration. 

Always be Coffeeneuring!

Friday, November 11, 2022

Coffeeneuring Rides 5 and 6: Hot and Cold

It’s been a hectic two weeks and I haven’t had a chance to post the last two Coffeeneuring rides until now. Here they are: 

Ride 5: Beach Day! It’s rare to get a 75 degree day in November, and we were lucky to have several in a row the first weekend in November. On Monday Nov 7th I rode out to Winter Island and Salem Willows in glorious September-in-November weather. The parks were busy with folks enjoying the sunshine and I even saw a few people sunbathing on the beach!
My coffee destination was a new place that opened last winter called Wolf Next Door. It was a fantastic little spot taking the place of Derby St. Cafe and one-thousand times more friendly than the former shop. The coffee specials were creative and the selection of AJ King pastries were hard to choose from. It's now my favorite coffee destination near the Salem waterfront! The owner was especially friendly and my iced latte coffee and coffee cake muffin were a perfect ending to a great Coffeeneuring ride.

Ride 6: Cold! We went from 75 degrees last week to 40 degrees this week. On Friday, Nov 18th I headed toward Salem with one cafĂ© destination in mind, but changed my plans when it started to rain. The shower was brief, but with more on the radar, I decided to cut my ride short and head to Panera Bakery on the route home. I cut through the Forest River Conservation Area and walked my bike over to the wetlands to see if any egrets or herons were still around. (They were not.) I hadn’t been to Forest River for  a while and was saddened to see the overwhelming graffiti on every stone outcropping and rock face in the preserve. Even the smallest bowling ball sized boulders were marked in spray paint. It was disheartening.
I arrived at Panera just as the clouds opened up with another burst of showers. I sat by the windows and watched the rain, enjoying a fun mitten-shaped sugar cookie and mug of weak hot chocolate. It was nice to get out of the wind and wet weather for a cozy break. 

One more to go for this year’s Coffeeneuring Challenge!

Friday, November 4, 2022

Midweek Ride, Coffeeneuring #4

By the Ipswich River

Since I got a "late" start to this year's Coffeeneuring Challange, I knew I'd need to double up one week in order to get in an extra coffee ride during the six week stretch. (Official rules allow (no more than) two rides per week counting towards the 7 ride goal. 

On Wednesday I headed out to Danvers for a mid-week ride and rode the multi-named rail trail to Boxford. At the end of the trail in Boxford (10ish miles), I turned around and headed back through Topsfield for a coffee stop at Zumi's Cafe on Main Street. What a great place! I sat outside at a cute table in the sun and enjoyed an iced latte and chewy chocolate chip cookie. Perfect!

Iced Latte at Zumi's in Topsfield
Heading back to Danvers, I took a side cutoff over to the Wenham Canal, but saw an oddly placed "No Trespassing" sign near the corner. I'm not sure what that's all about. There were a few people walking by the canal, so the sign, and the odd placement of it, was a little confusing. 

The foliage is well past peak here in Massachusetts, but the colors are still gorgeous. Fall is fading fast.

At the Wenham Canal 

Friday, October 28, 2022

Ride 3 of Coffeeneuring 2022: New discoveries

Chiat latte and avocado toast at Mookie's
We are now beyond peak foliage here along the coast and the leaves are dropping rapidly. It won't be long before we start to see snow -- unless the drought in New England continues through the winter. The temps were a bit crisp today for Coffeeneuring ride 3. I rode out across the causeway and around Marblehead neck before heading downtown to the historic district. 

My destination was a small cafe, (I can't recall the name), where The Seagull Gift Shop used to be, but it was no longer there. I continued up Washington Street and stopped into Marblehead Mercantile  to say hello to Pete and Kathy, and then moved on to Mookie's on Mugford Cafe where Foodie's used to be. Good gosh, so many changes downtown... old favorites are gone and new stores have moved in, but a few  stalwarts remain -- Tory's, Haley's, and Arnould Gallery.


I'd never been to Mookie's and was happy I stopped in. Everyone was really friendly and the atmosphere had a quaint and cozy vibe. I ordered a chai tea latte and multigrain avocado toast and sat on a comfortable padded bench, somewhat hidden behind the raised counter. While waiting for my latte to be served, I heard a very familiar voice on the other side of the counter ordering the lemon orzo soup -- it was Gene Arnould! (I worked for Gene at the gallery ages ago.) It still feels very small town in this neck of the woods.

Happy with my coffeenneuring discovery of Mookie's, (I will be back!), I left Washington Street and continued up Pleasant where architect Tom Saltsman was building his latest Halloween installation -- something that has become a much anticipated event in town. This year he has built the Egyptian cobra goddess Meretseger in his driveway. It's quite spectacular, and just in time for Halloween weekend!

I love the fall.
Tom Saltsman's Egyptian Cobra Goddess
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2022

Coffeeneuring Ride 2: Staying Local

Coffee to go, sitting by the pier

We had a gorgeous Saturday for a ride... but I wasn't motivated to get on the bike. (That happens.) Unfortunately, the sunshine didn't carry over to Sunday for my coffee ride, and we had a gray morning before torrential rain moved in. I decided to stay local and did a loop through the town and ended up down by the water where I had a choice of four coffee stops. 

I ended up at the last one in the Humphrey Street row, the quirkily named  Zestfriendz. There was a small number of customers inside and plenty of seating, but I chose to take my tea to go and walked my bike down to the pier with my snack. (Tea, because I'd already had two cups of coffee a few hours earlier, and a lemon polenta shortbread cookie.) 

The cool, overcast sky added to the quiet stillness of the deserted harbor and pier. I hung out for a while, enjoyed my tea, and headed home. A restorative end to a busy week.

Gray Sunday

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Committed: PMC Winter Cycle


Well here's a surprise -- I'm back in the PMC family and have registered for the Pan Mass Challenge Winter Cycle in February. The Winter Cycle is a fundraising event for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and despite the impression of it being a frostbite ride, (remember those?), the PMC Winter Cycle is an indoor event held at Fenway Park. It's been a few years since my last PMC and I'm happy to be able to participate in this event.

100% of every rider raised dollar goes directly to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. I haven't begun any fundraising yet, (literally just registered today) but here's the link for donations -- it makes a perfect Christmas gift!  


Saturday, October 15, 2022

Coffeeneuring is back!


Well I'm closing out the training-season-that-never-clicked with the world famous Coffeeneuring Challenge, 2022 Edition. I was quite content today packing up a thermos of coffee and heading out to Lynn Woods while cycling friends (and a couple former VK teammates) rode the King Challenge up north, or made final preparations for next weekend's Ironman triathlon in Sacramento. I had a pretty chill afternoon.

 Coffeeneuring Ride 1: Coffee shop without walls

The pond has all but disappeared 

It was my first ride at Lynn Woods Reservation since underground root fires in August closed the park. The drought that hit Massachusetts this year has left Breeds Pond Reservoir practically bone dry. So sad. The foliage is really beautiful at this time of year, but the woods were predominantly green as there's really a lot of pine at LWR. 

Fall colors

I got a late start to this year's Coffeeneuring challenge, as travel and weather delayed my kickoff ride, but better late than never! Today I enjoyed an iced coffee and slice of zucchini bread by (what used to be) the reservoir. It was a picture-perfect day for a ride!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Summer Days Come to a Close

Had to break out a jacket today!

I'm always sad to see summer come to an end. Sunshine and warm days, gardening chores and fresh veggies, walks to the beach, and trail rides to town... this has been an easy, breezy summer.

Mini harvest after the summer drought

The drought that hit New England this summer, hitting especially hard in Eastern Massachusetts, was particularly hard on my vegetable haul this year. Garlic did great, and my potato haul was an improvement from last year, but the tomatoes and peppers, and pretty much everything else, were weak. I still have some fall veggies coming in, so we'll see if carrots and brussels come through.

I've been riding and getting in regular workouts during the week -- and my nutrition is on track -- so I'm finishing this non-event summer on a high note. I feel 100% better than I did last year, (and the year before), at this time. Hopefully I can ride this wave of momentum through the winter, and start participating in some events and races next Spring/Summer. That's the plan, anyway.

Mike and I are still C25K-ing. It's been slow and steady. Run dates are fun dates.

Coffeeneuring 2022 is coming up in a few weeks! Hahaha... gotta love these social challenges.

Coffeeneuring practice ride. Plus Cafe

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Hot, Hot, August

40 feet above the forest floor. Trail hike and
canopy walk with Will in Quechee, Vermont

The summer went crazy fast -- wow, September already?! I had a fitness goal this summer that I'm thisclose to reaching, which makes me happy. It feels good to be back on track after what has essentially been three summers of pandemic stress. For the most part, our daily lives have returned to normal, but a wave of Covid in our house in mid July (that befell our extended house guests, but not us), was a reminder that the virus has not got away. 

Garlic success! 

Summer 2022 will be remembered for the HEAT and DROUGHT. My gardens, which started off well in May, have been decimated by lack of rain. The garlic planted last November, harvested in July, was a great success. Tomatoes have been fair, and green beans prolific, but everything else... peas, cucumbers, zucchini, onions, peppers, brussels, broccoli... struggled this summer. There's still hope for the carrots and potatoes.

Mike and I are lacing up our running shoes once again and have resumed our weekly C25K run dates. I've gone back to wearing ASICS Gel Cumulus, which has a slightly wider toe box to accommodate my malformed foot than the Hoka Clifton. (My foot never really healed right after the fracture in 2020.) It feels good to be running again and I'm looking to add an event to the calendar, maybe a turkey trot or Halloween 5k. Ashley just posted a run in New Hampshire that might fit the bill.

The girls are moving along with their IM training with a little more than one month to go. I haven't spent a lot of time with them -- or on the bike recently -- but I'm heading out on the bike today. September is the best.

Farewell August

Monday, July 25, 2022

Hot Summer, Easy Days

Adams Pond, Bridgton, Maine
Summer is well underway and I’m ready to toss my training plans aside for lack of a true goal. There just isn't anything on the horizon right now that's of interest to me. Flow State Mountain Biking Festival and NEMBAfest are coming up over the next two weekends, but I'm skipping both this year. King Challenge is scheduled for October 15th, but it's less than a week before Alison, Jennifer, and Amy head out to California for IM Sacramento, so that's out as well. (It will be Alison's final Ironman, maybe.)
Views from Mt Ascutney
I’m taking a break from our Saturday rides for a few weeks, and will get back to it in the fall. Mike and I spent some time up in the lakes region of Maine last week, and then headed over to Vermont for a couple of days. We did a few hikes while we were away -- mostly easy to moderate trails -- it was hot up north! We cut our hike up Mt Ascutney short of the summit, with a plan to revisit on a cooler day. It's been a scorcher of a July!
But all in all, it's been an easy summer with family, friends, low key hikes and bike rides and time spent in the garden. (Zero training.) Maybe by September I'll feel more motivated to kick something into gear. For now, I'm just enjoying these dog days of summer.
Summer in Marblehead