Monday, October 10, 2016

End of Summer/Fall Arrives

Sunset behind the clouds at Coquina Beach, Florida
Beach walk, Coquina Beach, Florida

Wow. Is it really OCTOBER?? Hard to believe how quickly the last month has flown -- although so much has happened in the last 4 weeks, it's easy to see how I lost track of time. I headed down to Bradenton, Florida in mid-September to hang out with my father-in-law, Fred, recovering from heart surgery. We spent our days being active and walking, as he worked to rebuild his strength for the upcoming winter softball league. (Go, Fred!) I managed a few interval runs while I was there, although the heat and humidity killed me.

Rebecca Gross, Day One of KMC Cross Fest

Ben Gomez Villafane, Day Two KMC Cross Fest

Returning home for the first weekend in October, I discovered Fall had arrived while I was gone (!), and cyclocross season was upon us!! We were set to host former Vanderkitten CX racer Rebecca Gross for KMC Cross Fest, and made arrangements for Caro's younger brother, Ben Gomez Villafane (racing as a UCI Elite Junior) to stay with friends for the weekend. Plans shifted a bit when I returned from Florida -- with Rebecca opting to stay closer to the venue, and Ben needing transportation to Connecticut each day -- but it all worked out perfectly and I got to spend the weekend watching both of them race. Really fun! It was awesome to see Rebecca again, (she is returning to stay with us for GP Gloucester), as well as spend some time with Ben as we drove to/from the Thompson Motor Speedway each day. (Love him. Such a terrific young man.)

Fall has arrived!

Finally, this past weekend I was able to take advantage of my first free Saturday in a month to get out for a Cyclopath ride with the breakfast gang! There were only four of us for the ride on Saturday -- a consistent turnout this year. Our rides this season are coming to an end, the leaves are just starting to change and the air is crisp and cold -- my favorite time of year, although that sentiment is not shared on a chilly morning. Hopefully we'll squeeze in one or two more breakfast rides before wrapping up for the year.

Andddd.... Coffeeneuring started this weekend! If I get out there today, I'M IN for 5-7 more weeks. Better get on that.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Still Working on that Run

Run, walk... 10K steps

My poor sister Donna. I've been planning to ramp up my 5K training this month, while at the same time she's starting a fitness routine that includes walking. So I said, "Hey! Let's train together! I'll walk with you!!" Hahahaha... I'm not running yet, because we're walking and talking at the track, but I think it's going great.

Between my Garmin 510 and the Garmin Forerunner 15, I'm already gadget-girl, but I've been wanting to get a FitBit or Garmin activity tracker since January. So I said, "Hey! Let's get FitBits!" 

She thought it was a great idea, so we both had them delivered this week. Fun!

Of course, sure enough, I'm confused by how a few things work.

I'm not driving her crazy or anything, though. (LOL)

I still have 3,300 steps to go before I sleep.

But will it sync to Strava?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Winding down summer on the trails

Easy summer days
Willowdale with Michelle. (My big head! Hahahaha)
Lost in Willowdale

Monday, September 5, 2016

Farm to Fork Fondo

Farm to Fork Fondo, Maine
"Combine a beautiful ride through enduring farmland along Vacationland's coast, hundreds of cyclists from beginners to professionals, aid stations with treats straight from local farms, a post-ride Maine lobster bake and farm to fork barbecue feast, and you've got yourself the Farm to Fork Fondo - Maine!"from the Farm to Fork Fondo website 
Ahhh... what can I say? Other than having a uniquely challenging ride on beautiful Maine backroads, and fun with friends (at the post-ride barbecue), the Farm to Fork Fondo was a bit disappointing.

  • Gorgeous scenic route with challenging, rolling hills
  • Maine
  • Friends! (Eight of us in all)
  • Great mechanical support from LL Bean
  • Fun post-ride lobster bake and barbecue
  • No food at first farm stop, other than dense oaty Clif bars. (Where were the "polenta cakes with wild blueberry jam swirl, mini blueberry and chevre turnovers with honey glaze, and shortbread cookie sandwiches with blueberry buttercream frosting"? Hahaha... I'm not kidding.)
  • No food at second farm stop either, unless you can count broken bits of cookie, maple sugar candy, and those anchor Clif bars). No "Maple-oat-carrot bars, chocolate beet cake with maple cream frosting, or shots of the farm's pure maple syrup"... (ok, seriously?)
  • Ahh, not as promised/advertised/promoted
  • Hand to eke out the first half of my ride on energy chews. (Unplanned)
  • Friends not happy, (telling me they're going to vet the next ride I propose. Sigh.)
Meh. All in all, a mixed experience. Not sure I'd ever ride this one again.

Great support from LL Bean!
We discovered a gash in my tire 30 minutes pre-ride.
Nice to be able to get that replaced so quickly. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Northern Rail Trail

Rich and Chip take a break from the rain

Despite ambitious plans at the beginning of the summer, Chip and I decided last week not to ride this year's Harpoon Point to Point -- in part due to the low-key summer I've been having and lack of training. Instead, we tossed the mountain bikes in the back of the car and headed up to Ascutney to check out some trails. Rich was interested in riding as well -- as we've made a tradition out of doing the P2P together -- so he met us in Vermont on Saturday despite rain in the forecast.

Let me just add that I don't put much credence in weather forecasts -- they are always wrong. So when I heard thunderstorms were expected in the area, I didn't believe it. (Hahaha...)

From Ascutney, we drove 25 minutes north to Lebanon, New Hampshire to The Northern Rail Trail -- what a terrific discovery! The mixed terrain trail of hard packed dirt, crushed stone, and gravel extends for approximately 58 miles down the former Boston and Maine Rail line, beginning in Lebanon and traveling east/south to Boscawen on the Merrimack River. My initial plan was for us to ride as far as Danbury (28 miles/56 RT) but didn't count on torrential rain and severe thunderstorms to hit us. We headed out in a light, misty drizzle which eventually turned into drenching downpours with rumbles of thunder six miles into the trail.

Despite poor visibility and tough riding conditions in the rain, we continued on to Canaan (14 miles) where we found a charming breakfast/lunch spot, Dishin' it Out, still open for lunch with 30 minutes to spare. We walked in soaking wet and asked if it was still ok to get lunch. A few folks in the restaurant chuckled at our appearance, but all were genuinely nice and welcomed us right in, despite the fact we were leaving mud and puddles on the floor as we took a table. (A terrific place! We'll go back!)

"You're jumping in the lake?" "Why not? We're already soaked"

After lunch, we returned to the trail and headed back to Lebanon at a somewhat faster pace -- we gained 500 feet in elevation on our wet ride to Canaan, so it was nice to have a slight descent on the trek back). We stopped five miles out of Lebanon for Chip and Rich to check out a rope swing hanging over Mascoma Lake, and of course both took turns jumping into the lake. (Chip several times.) Their reasoning was that they were already soaked from the rain, so why not jump in the lake? Hahaha... (At this point, my Strava app quit, probably while I was taking a video of the two of them jumping into the lake, but in all, we rode just under 28 miles round trip.)

Catching that moment just before splashdown

We had a great adventure on The Northern Rail Trail despite the wet weather challenges; Scenic lake and mountain views, seven river crossings in the first four miles, an abandoned mill and waterfall, an old train depot; Chip wiping out on a bridge, and Rich and I almost doing the same behind him; and both boys scaring the hell out of me showing me an enormous spider in the tunnel (eesh)... it was a fun afternoon. I'm looking forward to checking out other parts of the trail in the future!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Indoor Ride Cycling Studio

We had fun last week checking out Lila's new business -- Indoor Ride -- with Amy, Jen and Chip! The new indoor cycling studio will add another cycling option to my workouts this winter, and between both P2 and Indoor Ride, I have another reason to cancel our membership at the YMCA. (The boys haven't been using the Y facilities for a while, and I only hung on to the membership for spin classes.) The studio is terrific and tons of fun -- and my feelings weren't too hurt when Chip DUSTED me in our pseudo-workout. (Really, I just went along to chat with everyone. It wasn't a race, Chip!)

Sending tons of luck to Lila and Justin on their exciting new venture!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Up the Coast to Maine

On the road in Rye, New Hampshire

We joined the Cyclopaths on Saturday for the annual TriState Cohen Classic to Nubble Lighthouse. I overslept for the 6:30 a.m. start in Hampton, but Chip and I hustled quickly and drove up to New Hampshire in time to catch Donna, Brenda and Kathy on the road. (We drove to Rye, NH and biked down the coast towards Hampton, meeting them en route. Smart!)

We caught up to Brenda, Kathy and Donna on the road

We had a fantastic ride in the morning, passing gorgeous beaches and marshes along the way. Breakfast was in Portsmouth at Cafe Espresso before we crossed into Maine towards Kittery and York. Brenda, riding with a broken wrist and a newly acquired recumbent bike, had difficulty keeping up with the gang despite the slow pace (8-10 mph), and opted to turn around in Kittery while four of us continued on to the lighthouse. We had rolling hills and smoothly paved roads for the stretch between Kittery and York, making it a fun ride.

Chip helps Brenda with her recumbent wheel
Kathy, Donna, Me, and Chip at Nubble Lighthouse
Chip's longest ride, 65 miles

Heading back through Kittery on the way home, and despite eating scrambled eggs, a full belgian waffle, bacon, sausage, homefries, toast, and an iced chai for breakfast, Chip was sad when we passed Lil's Bakery and didn't stop! Lucky for him, we pulled over to a minimart to grab a cold drink, and he snagged himself a slushie. (Of course.)

Taking a slurpie break

The return trip was a bit of a challenge, as temperatures hit the 90's and added beach traffic was a nuisance, but it was a nice ride. In our mad dash to leave the house, I left our Garmins at home. Knowing Chip likes to know our mileage, I started the Strava App on my phone... but it killed my battery on the long, slowwww ride. (Bummer.) Based on the mileage everyone else had, I estimated ours at 65 miles. Chip's longest ride! 

A fun day, despite the heat.

Hot hot hot!
A great ride!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Summer Rides

June 27th, Perfect summer day
June 29th, After a storm.
July 1st, Ride through town.
July 12th. Back on the mountain bike after an injury break.
July 9th, Breakfast ride in the rain.
July 16th, It was a hot one. Finding a bit of shade.

Re: Infrequent Blog Updates

The breakfast ride/lunch ride

It's been a while since I last posted. I've just been crazy busy, recovering from my calf injury, getting out for rides and adventures, but also taking a break from the grind. Today was the annual TriState Cohen Classic ride to Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine -- a 70 mile ride from Hampton Beach to the lighthouse and back. Chip joined me for the ride, which was crazy slow, but he/we rolled with it. 65 miles. Hot -- but fun.

The last month or so I haven't been recording rides on my Garmin or posting to the blog. The breakfast ride (with the North Shore Cyclopaths) has been exceedingly slow. (The slowest rider sets the pace, which lately has been 8 mph.) I've been trying really hard to keep our Saturday morning breakfast rides going and have organized new remote starting points for some of our older riders. It appears to be working, as we've had a good turnout! I just have to get over my anxiety about the pace.

Chip has joined me for several rides -- with the promise of breakfast getting him out of bed on a Saturday morning -- and that has made it really fun. I just love riding with him!

July 2nd to Ipswich

Friday, July 15, 2016

Not quitting on my 5K

The calf strain I've been struggling with put a wrinkle in my 5K training plans. I had a small setback 3 weeks ago when I re-injured my calf climbing up stairs. (Not very glamorous. I missed a step and came down hard on my injured calf. Damn it!)

Rest, ice, ibuprofen, and massage have helped somewhat, (huge props to massage therapist Sarah Haase at Shanti Bodyworks), but it has taken a little while to recover. It's been a month now since the initial injury, and I still feel tightness but no pain. My pal Nikki took a break from running as well, and we've made a plan to get back at it soon.

Meanwhile, I'm still riding, albeit slowly. This wasn't my plan going in to the summer, but I'm not going to let it completely derail me. I still have squad goals. Yassss.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Another trip to the DL

My 5K plans are on hold for a few weeks while I recover from a (self-diagnosed) calf strain. Last Friday, (June 10) I felt a tightness in my calf as I headed out for my run, thinking it would be fine once I got going. At .6 miles, my calf seized up, rippled, and popped. OMG. Painful. I had to limp home.

It's been almost a week, and I'm still hobbling around, barely able to climb the stairs, but actually able to ride my bike. Huh. I've discovered that I don't use my calf muscles at all when riding -- Just my quads. Who knew? Maybe that's why I have huge calves... they never get a workout!

So, I'm in recovery mode as I give my right calf muscle a rest -- likely another 1-2 weeks. I'll get back to running ASAP. 

Yes, I know this is, like, the third injury I've had in the last year... a few people have pointed that out to me. Can I just mention that maybe, just maybe, an occasional injury comes with the territory of being ACTIVE?!

(Previous thoughts deleted.)

Fortunately, I'm able to ride despite my injured calf. Last Saturday was a slow-paced breakfast ride to Manchester with the Cyclopaths, and a few short rides around the neck on Monday and Tuesday. I've also been able to get some trail rides in too, and had fun introducing two of my SpiderOne teammates to off-road adventures last night at Lynn Woods. Fun stuff!

Michelle loves off-road! Her first venture on a new MTB.
Chasing the sun. Night ride at Lynn Woods

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Global Running Day

Nikki and I got a track workout done on Global Running Day.
(Missing my bike.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

He stole my bike...

Chip and I headed out for a trail ride on Saturday... 

but ended up ditching those plans after an off-trail side trip to the Farmer's Market, 
(where he bought cider donuts)... 

and then ending up at the beach (for lime rickey's)... 

'cause that's how we roll.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Moving from Crisis Mode

The last week was a tough one as Mike spent a long week in the hospital with a medical emergency. Long days of worry, care, and concern wiped me out for much of the week -- although I did manage to get in several runs with Nikki, early, before heading in to the hospital.

Mike was released on Friday... tired but well... and all is seemingly back to normal.

I missed my bike all week, but running helped alleviate some of the stress I was under and I'm glad I stuck with it during a time I could have easily made excuses and skipped it. I stayed the course with my run goals -- time to decide (soon) which 5k I'm training for.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Running, Part 2

Just doing it.
Well, there really isn't a Part 1 -- It's just that I've tried to do this running thing before and couldn't get into a routine. (It was winter, the weather was cold, and I just didn't love it.) Part 2 means I'm making another GO at it.

Many of my dearest friends, (and of course my husband, Mike), are runners -- and all have encouraged me to join them at one time or another for various workouts and events. (Thanks Ingrid, Alison, Cate, Lila, Jennifer, Amy R., Nikki, Amy S, Kristen, Lisa...) I've always taken a pass, relegating myself to the sidelines, but recently have had a desire to give it another shot.

I started running May 1st as a week of rain settled in. I wasn't itching to get out on my bike anyway so it was a good time to start. Tomorrow wraps up Week 2, and I've been getting out consistently with encouragement from the fam. Chip has even joined me for a few runs, (of course). #partnerincrime

Rainy day. Chip slows down his pace to run with me.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Off-Road MTB

Loving the adventure
The sad thing about mountain biking is that I didn't discover it sooner.
I love, love, love riding trails.

So much awesomeness on a gorgeous day

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Dogtown with Chippy. Laughing so hard it hurt

Chip's lacrosse game in Gloucester early Sunday morning gave us a good opportunity to explore Dogtown Commons after the game, so we tossed both MTBs into the car and made a plan for adventure. And OMG, what a crazy adventure it was!!

Soon after entering Dogtown, we got lost -- though were eventually able to pick up a signal on the phone to download a map. We then went in search for the Babson Boulders -- created by philanthropist Roger Babson, who commissioned unemployed Finnish stonecutters to inscribe inspirational messages into boulders throughout the woods during the Great Depression. It was a crazy "scavenger hunt" -- following a main trail which became confusing with crisscrossing trails and forks in the road. I don't know how we managed. (Chip lead the way. Hahaha...)

The trail was 50% passable by bike, very rough terrain at times, so we hiked quite a lot, but it was one of the best adventures. Chip gave it a ten out of ten for adventure and I couldn't stop laughing at our ability to get lost despite our "map". (We found 16 of the 27 boulders.)

Funniest, craziest day in a long time. So much fun.

"I know where we are. Rockport's that way." Good to know.

"This is for Will."

"Just follow me. I don't need a map."

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Day 30, 30 Days of Biking, In the books

Pre-ride, just two of us... for now.
Day 30!! As the final day of the challenge fell on a Cyclopath Saturday, I assumed I would end 30 Days of Biking with a breakfast ride. Waking up to overcast skies and chilly temps -- 42 degrees -- and knowing Donna had decided to head to spin class instead -- I was unsure whether anyone else would show up for the ride. I asked Chip if he would ride over to Salem with me, convinced that no one else would arrive for the ride, and promised him breakfast at The (elusive) Ugly Mug if no one else showed up. (His favorite breakfast spot, which we haven't managed to get to the last few times we've planned.)

At 7:30 a.m., noting that it was just the two of us at the Salem start, I said, "OK. The Ugly Mug it is..." and then looked up to see Joan on her way down the street. Haha... Poor Chippy. "Destination Ugly Mug" thwarted again.

The three of us rode to The Depot Diner instead, making our way down a rough 1A, dug up for road repairs. After breakfast, we returned to Salem, stopping at the Stickworks installation before continuing on to Swampscott for a 20 mile ride.

30 Days of Biking 2016... Done. (Though we have a bonus day planned tomorrow.)

Stopping at the Stickworks installation before heading home.
30 Days of Biking complete.