Wednesday, January 31, 2024

1/12th of 2024

Time for the lobster claw gloves

January is always a good for a reset. After a packed December with family and friends, including hosting a few gatherings -- and having both boys home at the same time, which meant more cooking and meals -- I was happy to get back on track with healthier eating and a regular workout routine. Donna and I did a juice cleanse, which was interesting. I'm not sure I felt cleansed when it was done, but it did help me mentally break away from the excess of the holidays. 

Coffeenurring '23 patch arrived!
The weather has been rather depressing, and I've only been out on the bike a handful of times since the new year started. Since I have a PMC Winter Cycle coming up in March (with my sister-in-law Kathy Grant), I've been getting on the trainer a few days a week just to get in some saddle time. The winter cycle is a spin event, so I don't need to train for it, but it's a good motivator to get on the trainer. 

It's been a month of ups and downs, but we're navigating through it. Fortunately, sprinkled in with the sad and frustrating moments was a University of Michigan WIN in the college football championships, (both boys are Michigan Wolverines); Last fall's Coffeeneuring 2023 patch arrived! So fun! (Always be Coffeeneuring!); Will accepted an offer at Tufts Medical School to pursue his DPT; and we completed a hardwood flooring project which disrupted the house for a while but wrapped up on Monday. It looks so awesome. 

It's been a long month. Im ready to flip the calendar to February.

It's good to be a Michigan Wolverine

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Coffeeneuring 2023 Control Card

Always Be Coffeeneuring

Ride Number: 1

Date: 10/09/2023
Mileage (total): 5
Location Name: Cafe Avellino
Address: Humphrey Street, Swampscott
Drink: Iced latte (and Italian sugar cookies)
Bike: Trek Domane
Ride note: Met a friendly elderly neighbor and his 13-year-old dog, Sonny, who were visiting the cafe  for Sonny's daily homemade meatball, (made by cafe owner Teresa S.)

Ride Number: 2

Date: 10/14/23
Mileage (total): 16
Location Name: The Blue Canoe
Address: School Street, Marblehead
Drink: Iced Vermont maple coffee (and a breakfast sandwich)
Bike: Trek Domane
Ride note: My sister Donna joined me for coffee at The Blue Canoe, followed by art shopping downtown. Fortunately my purchases fit in my backpack for the ride home.

Ride Number: 3

Date: 10/19/23
Mileage (total): 18
Location Name: On the Grind
Address: Jefferson Ave, Salem
Drink: Large cappuccino (and an oatmeal cookie)
Bike: Trek Domane
Ride note: Ran an errand in Salem, which is always difficult at this time of year. (Haunted Happenings brings thousands of tourists to Salem every October) Riding the bike made it quick and easy! I took a winding, off the beaten path route, and snapped a photo of the Halloween decorations on Federal Street. Coffee was at a new place -- On the Grind Cafe -- which opened last Spring. It might be my new favorite coffee shop!

Ride Number: 4

Date: 10/27/23
Mileage (total): 11
Location Name: Java Sun
Address: Atlantic Ave, Marblehead
Drink: Iced chai (and pistachio biscotti)
Bike: Kona Kahuna
Ride note: 75 degrees! Summer in October, I'll take it. Unless that's emblematic of global climate change; in which case, I'd rather it be the normal 55 degrees of October.

Ride Number: 5

Date: 11/3/23
Mileage (total): 14
Location Name: Camilla's Cafe and Breakfast
Address: Canal Street, Salem
Drink: Medium cappuccino (and a croissant)
Bike: Kona Kahuna
Ride note: Started the day early with a gorgeous sunrise! Rail trail to Salem and back, including a paved section along Canal Street in Salem. Stopped at another new coffee spot -- Camilla's Cafe. Great day for a ride!

Ride Number: 6

Date: 11/11/23
Mileage (total): 15
Location Name: Red Line Cafe
Address: Essex Street, Salem
Drink: Iced mocha (and ham and cheese spanakopita)
Bike: Trek Domane
Ride note: Headed our on a windy morning to meet Will at the Peabody Essex Museum, followed by coffee at the (new to me) Red Line Cafe  on the pedestrian mall. There's still quite a number of tourists 2 weeks after Halloween.

Ride Number: 7

Date: 11/16/23
Mileage (total): 15
Location Name: Lulu's Bakery and Pantry
Address: Derby Street, Salem
Drink: Iced latte (and a chocolate covered marshamallow)
Bike: Trek Domane
Ride note: Last ride of the challenge! Visited (new to me) Lulu's Bakery in Salem during a winding tour through quiet city streets. The hordes of tourists are finally gone and Salem is peaceful again. I love this time of year, the lull before the holidays.


I finished Coffeeneuring early this year! Woot woot! That's so rare for me! The weather was near perfect, which made it easier. I also visited several new coffee places this year -- four of the seven, (On the Grind, Lulu's Bakery and Pantry, Red Line Cafe, and Camilla's) -- and one, (Cafe Avellino), I'd only been to once before. Salem has several terrific coffee spots downtown, (and really the best coffee), but I avoid biking through there during most of October. Some great rides this year! Hopefully there will be a few more before the snow arrives.

Happy riding, happy fall!

Friday, November 17, 2023

Coffeeneuring Ride 7, An early finish!

Coffeeneuring Ride 7, Lulu's Bakery and Pantry

I didn't ride with a theme this year, but I could have -- I visited four new coffee shops this Fall and easily could have added a few more to make it a theme. Today I stopped at Lulu's Bakery and Pantry which opened in 2022 and was new to me. Add it to the growing list of great coffee places in Salem! 

The bakery offerings were large, (cookies the size of a saucer), so I chose a small chocolate covered marshmallow and ordered an iced latte with oatmilk. I'm trying to limit my sweets leading up to Thanksgiving, but when I opened the mini bakery box there were two marshmallows inside. OMG. Yes, it was as delicious as it looks. 

I only ate one... until I rode home and patted myself on the back for once again riding up Lafayette Hill into Marblehead... and rewarded myself for the effort with the second marshmallow. Lol.

I started my ride with a loop out to the Willows and Winter Island, and then back towards Salem Common where I intended to cut down to Wolf Next Door for coffee. The trees were beautiful, with just a smattering of leaves hanging on for the last bits of autumn. A lighting contractor was stringing lights in the trees, getting ready for the winter holidays. I love this time of year, when Salem transitions from the gaudy Halloween spectacle to classic, old charm Christmas. It's so lovely.

Broke out the coffeeneuring bandana today

I walked my bike through the Common and rode down Hawthorne Blvd towards Derby Street, but changed my mind on the coffee destination -- instead visiting Lulu's Bakery. It was a happy decision.

Heading home, I swung down Peabody Street to check out the new mini murals that were painted over the summer. Last May, I helped prep the panels for new art work, but hadn't made it over to see the new installation. I got a chuckle seeing the Dunkin' art -- what a perfect ending.

Coffeeneuring 2023 officially comes to a close. Hopefully there will be a few more coffee rides before the snow falls.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Coffeeneuring Ride 6, Museum Day!

Coffeeneuring Ride 6, Red Line Cafe
After several days of gray, wet weather, it was nice to see the sunshine this morning! Will and I had tickets to see the Salem Witch Trials exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum, (ending on November 27th), but with the weather being so nice, I wanted to take advantage of it while I could and get out on my bike! We made a plan to meet at the museum later in the morning, and I headed off to Salem on the road bike.

The sun was deceiving. There was a cold headwind!

1941 Columbia Superb
We met at the museum and had a great time exploring the galleries for a few hours -- we can both easily spend an entire day there -- and then walked down to the Red Line Cafe on the Essex Street pedestrian mall. I'd actually never been to the Red Line Cafe, as so many of my favorite coffee places are nearby, but I'm glad we checked it out! It was packed -- but we were able to find a cozy table, and went ahead and ordered two iced mochas and some food. The coffee was great and the lunch hit the spot and we enjoyed the vibe. It was still quite busy in Salem post-Halloween, which was surprising to see. 

Heading home I had a tail wind, which wasn't so bad. 

Coffee, art, bikes, and Will. It was a perfect Saturday.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Coffeeneuring Ride 5, Sunrise start

Early morning double sunrise
I know I'm lucky to live where we do -- it's just a short hop to the beach -- and yet I don't take advantage of catching the sunrise often enough. I was up early today and thinking about brewing my first cup of coffee when I received a text from Will, (already at work), alerting me to the pinks and purples in the sky. I headed down to the beach, thinking there was still 15 minutes before the sunrise, watching the pinks and purples in the sky become shades of red and orange as I got closer to the ocean.

When I arrived at the beach, I was surprised to see the sun was already well above the horizon, a bit hazy from the clouds. My timing must have been off?? But, as I sat on the seawall and enjoyed the changing colors, the sounds of the surf, and the gulls flying overhead, the actual sun popped up over the horizon, giving the illusion of two suns. Stunning.

Today's coffee ride was to Salem, taking the rail trail and new Canal Street bike path that drops you right into Riley Plaza, Salem. (Is it still called Riley Plaza?) I've been trying to visit new coffee places during this year's Coffeeneuring Challenge, and decided to try Camilla's Cafe and Breakfast on Canal Street, adjacent to the bike path. (It's a new-ish place in the original HoneyDew Donuts shop.) The coffee was good but my timing may have been off because they didn't have much in the way of small snacks. I ordered a cappuccino and croissant and sat by a sunny window to warm up. 

Coffeneuring Ride 5, Camilla's Cafe

I headed back home, staying on Canal Street to Loring Ave and then through the Forest River area. There still isn't much foliage to be seen this year -- and many trees have gone straight from green to brown and leafless, (with no change of colors in between). Crazy weather we're having, but lovely for riding.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Coffeeneuring Ride 4, Summer in Fall!

All the colors

It doesn't get much nicer than today's summery day in late October! Last week it was so raw and chilly, we came close to turning on the heat in the house. Today, the temps outside hit 76 degrees! Crazy weather! I took a trail ride into town with a side detour to Hawthorn Pond. We still have a lot of green trees for this time of year, but there are pockets of autumn colors here and there.

I dipped over to Java Sun for an iced chai (with almond milk) and a pistachio biscotti, which looked yummy but sadly was very dry and short on flavor. Once-upon-a-time, this was one of my favorite coffee shops, but lately it's been hit or miss. 

Three coffee-dedicated rides to go, and I'm on track to actually finishing the Coffeeneuring Challenge on time this year! (Last year I needed the bonus day when I misread my calendar -- a few years I've finished on the last day.) I don't want to jinx it, but I'm feeling optimistic.

Coffeeneuring Ride 4, Java Sun

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Coffeeneuring Ride 3, On the Grind

Coffeeneuring Ride 3, On the Grind Cafe

The weather isn't looking great for the weekend, so I headed out on the bike today while we still had sunshine. It was a perfect day. I had an errand to run in Salem, which is always dicey at this time of year with the influx of thousands of tourists. (Not an exaggeration.) Fortunately, I know a lot of side roads and detours, which made for slower, meandering ride, but a nice one. I stopped and snapped a few photos of a house on Federal Street decorated for Halloween. The pumpkins and skeletons were fabulous.

Coffee was at a new place on Jefferson Ave in Salem called On the Grind Cafe. They served Atomic Coffee, which is a local favorite. The coffee was really, really good and I enjoyed the friendly vibe. I will definitely become a frequent customer. 

Perfect autumn day

Halloween on Federal Street

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Coffeeneuring 2023, Ride 2, Saturday Sun

Coffeeneuring Ride 2, The Blue Canoe

We lucked out with the weather this weekend, which was originally forecast to be a washout. I took advantage of the limited early sunshine and biked to The Blue Canoe in Marblehead where my sister Donna joined me for coffee. We then located a bike rack a block and a half away, locked up my bike, and walked downtown to do some art shopping. 

We headed first to the Artisans Fall Festival at the Jeremiah Lee Mansion -- which was ok but lacked freshness. The artisans were, of course, very talented and had lovely items, but everything on display was overly familiar and nothing inspired a purchase. (Especially since we each own several pieces from many of the same artists.)

Leaving the mansion grounds, we next headed to the galleries and artisan shop at the Marblehead Arts Association at the King Hooper Mansion, diagonally across from the Lee. I purchased a sweet felted acorn necklace and a suet bird feeder with a kaleidoscope of colorful nesting materials. (Donna purchased a few items as well). We had a fun afternoon visiting a handful of shops, making a few more purchases, (a hat and gloves for me) and then called it an afternoon. 

The sun disappeared on my ride home -- I caught the best part of the day.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Coffeeneuring 2023 is underway!

10h Anniversary EOD Ride

Two things to celebrate today! 

One, it's the tenth anniversary of the 2013 Undefeated EOD Ride, a charity ride for the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation. Wow! Ten years!? Hard to believe that was one of my last epic rides. I wore my Undefeated EOD  jersey today in honor of LCDR Kevin Childre -- one of the ride founders and a good man. I appreciate everything he did for me during my time in San Diego.

And Two,,, welltoday I kicks off my 7th season of bikes and coffee with the 2023 Coffeeneuring Challenge! There's something so ironic about being excited for a coffee ride challenge in 2023. LOL Ten years ago (tomorrow) I was riding 200 miles down the California Coast with members of the US Navy elite -- and today I'm content to just ride five miles or so for coffee.

It was a gorgeous day to be out on the road bike! I headed to a new place in town but realized I didn't have a bike lock on me, so circled back to Cafe Avellino which has outdoor seating, I ordered an an iced latte and three small Italian cookies, then sat outside where I enjoyed chatting with an elderly gentleman who lives nearby. He walks to the cafe everyday with his tiny, dog Sonny, so Sonny can get his daily meatball. (Adorable.)

Gorgeous day in town

Coffeeneuring Ride 1, Cafe Avellino 

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Summer Days and a Break from Social Media

Chillin' in Maine

Well, a lot has gone on since my last post in April, but nothing related to the bike! (The final days of 30 Days of Biking were written, forgotten, and lingered unpublished. I've belatedly hit the publish button on those.) Obviously I took a break from the blog and journaling -- especially since I didn't have any cycling events on my calendar to train for! I also took a break from Instagram and anything social-media related. It was a care-free summer.

Mike and I spent a little time in Maine, where he'd like to retire one day. We explored the midcoast region of Boothbay Harbor, Pemaquid, Monhegan Island, Camden and Damariscotta. (If we settle somewhere near Red's in Wiscassett, he'll be happy.) But ohmigosh the hills! Once-upon-a-time I could manage those hill climbs, but I will definitely be needing an e-bike if we retire to Maine.

The summer passed quickly, and then September, and now we're into October! Jennifer and Amy have a half Ironman coming up, and Alison has an ultra trail run, but other than that, it's been quiet with the BOWZ squad. I don't know if we'll ever get back to pre-pandemic mode.

But Coffeeneuring is up next! I'm in for that.

Hiking on Monhegan Island, Maine

Lazy summer days

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Year 10, 30 Days of Biking, And that's a wrap.

April 27, Quick ride after a long day on the road

April 28, Lynn Woods MTB

April 30, Trail ride with Will, in the rain
And that ends 30 Days of Biking

The beginning