Saturday, December 17, 2011

TNT 2012 - It's ON!

That's right, folks! The cycling season is fast approaching, bringing with it another challenge to you, dear readers: support me in my training and blood cancer patients and families. The fundraising website is now available here, and you can also donate via the widget at the right of this post (the one that says "Donate Now!")

Why should you donate? A few, non-exhaustive, reasons:

1. It'll improve the lives of the estimated 137,300 people who developed leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma in the last year, and the lives of their families.

2. You personally know of and care for someone who fought or is fighting cancer.

3. It's the holiday season and you're feeling generous.

4. The current tax cycle is almost up -- donate now and get a 100% deduction on this year's taxes (and then donate again next month and get THAT deduction, too!).

 5. You know I'm good on my word and really WILL ride 100 miles on 3 June with Team in Training, because I've done it before.

6. The warm feeling you get when you know you've done a right thing.

Thank you, all, for your continued support, and keep checking back here for fundraising and training progress! I'm excited to share my journey again with you, and hope that you find this process as fun and rewarding as I do!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hokies - Keep it Together

Today, 8 December, two more lives were lost to a lone gunman on Virginia Tech's campus. The campus is on lockdown, the nutbar (at this point in time) is at large, and they are securing students in safe rooms in the Student Center, where there has been "activity".

The feeling of helplessness is so familiar. It is not a friend.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love thy neighbor...

This isn't related to cycling, not really, but given that I currently live in Atlanta, and that Atlanta has a large LGBT community, this UrbanCyclist feels the need to relate the tail of one person's comment to a blog post,

That person's response was well-reasoned, and closed with "To say you are made wrong would be saying God made you wrong and He doesn't make mistakes."

I think that sums it up about right. Conversation over.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I've said it all before...

Below is my response to a question on a survey administered by a Tech student, about commuting in Atlanta.  The question asked what were my concerns about commuting in Atlanta. I've said these things before, and I haven't edited what's below, but I feel that it's true and, what's more, universal to American cities that are home to anyone that calls himself a cyclist.


Ignorance on three sides of the traffic issue: motorists/drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. It is easy to point fingers and say drivers are all menaces or cyclists are all entitled hipsters or pedestrians are all clueless, but each group also needs to look within itself and recognize that, at the same time they are painting another with the same brush, they are doing so within their ranks.

1. Motorists need to realize that bikes do have a place in traffic and on the road, and that cyclists ride defensively in part because of those motorists who are unaware of or indifferent to that place, and by doing so are often making the way safer for all involved. Motorists need to realize that a momentary inconvenience for them (such as waiting until passing through a 4-way stop before going around a cyclist, as opposed to speeding up to pass a cyclist before the intersection, only to abruptly stop immediately in front of said cyclist) may well cause a cyclist injury or cost him his life. As a law-abiding cyclist, I am weary of being yelled at by passing motorists with an axe to grind, getting buzzed by inattentive or indifferent motorists, and of being told to do something incredibly illegal and demonstrably less safe than my current behavior for the convenience and due to the ignorance of the law of motorists.

2. Cyclists need to recognize that not everyone on two wheels has been educated about their rights on the road, how to intelligently share the road, or what they may *not* legally or safely do (e.g., make left turns in front of stopped traffic from the right lane at a light). Not all cyclists are angels, just as not all motorists are demons, and cyclists must realize that motorists may drive too closely or express frustration or rage (however dangerous or illegal it is) because of previous experience with cyclists who behave erratically and ride as if they are above the law (whether deliberately doing so or simply due to aforementioned ignorance of their rights and responsibilities). Cyclists must realize that, though they have the right to the road, so do the motorists, and that a peaceful coexistence is possible. As a motorist and a cyclist, I am tired of cyclists running red lights *in the presence of traffic*, hopping between the streets and sidewalks to avoid traffic, and going the wrong way on one-way roads. 

3. Pedestrians must realize that vehicles (motorists and cyclists) have a right to intersections, and that there are traffic signals that they, too, must obey for a city's infrastructure to be successful and safe for all commuters. As a pedestrian, motorist, and cyclist, I am weary of pedestrians behaving like the proverbial lemming and following the other pedestrians en masse across a road (regardless of the presence of a cross-walk) in the midst of traffic, using bike lanes for running or walking dogs when a readily available and serviceable sidewalk is not two feet away, and ignoring traffic signals at their own convenience.

The biggest thing is to remember that the person behind the wheel, walking across the street, or riding a bike is just that: a person, a fellow human-being.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

This week's rides... thus far

This week has been eventful. In addition to my commutes, I've been on three organized rides.

The Lake Lanier Islands Triathlon - Sunday, 2 October

This race was my last for the year, both for financial and physical reasons. Financially, tris are too expensive to do very often (one a month is a bit extreme). Physically, tris are a LOT of fun, but this one had us huddled like emperor penguins on the beach before the wave start, at the crack of dawn, in 40 degree heat... er, cold. It was very cold. And, while it was wetsuit legal (water in the 70s), I neither own a wetsuit nor thought it would be worthwhile using one in a sprint when the act of stripping off the suit would make my transition time about as long as my swim time. AND, 70F water with an ambient temperature of 40 feels like a freaking jacuzzi. It was amazing. Because of the wave start, there were 50+ other women in the water with me, so while I had entered the race determined to crawl most of the way, I had to go to breaststroke a bit because of feet in my face (and my feet in others' faces). That said, because of the crowding in the water (and my general poor swimming), my pace for the swim was UNCHANGED from the PTC in August.

Getting out of the water was.... not so great. We had to run maybe a tenth of a mile UPhill to the transition area, soaking wet and, oh, it was still in the 40s. And windy. I wisely used some time to dry off my legs and change out of the tank and into a long-sleeved jersey, which I wore for the remainder of the race.

The bike course was hilly (not steep, but enough hills to slow down regular triathletes) and windy and, of course, not closed. There is only one road on/off the island and so there were cars along it. As it's only one lane in each direction (and not necessarily wide lanes at that), I was stuck behind a truck immediately because it couldn't pass the slower rider in front of it. A lot of the bike leg was like this. Still, I felt good, if a little chilly and a lot frustrated, on the bike.

The run course was, naturally, also hilly, but wind is less of a factor when running. I made it a goal to run the whole thing unless I cramped, and except for walking to eat a shot blok and to drink some water, I ran the whole way. This made for a sizable improvement in my official pace.

Official splits:

400m Swim: 0.11.12, a 2:48 pace: 41/52 in age group
T1: 4:31
13mi Bike: 0.44.50, a 17.4mph pace: 7/52 in age group
T2: 1:10
5k run: 0.30.28, a 9:49 pace

Total time: 1.32.09

So, no improvement on swim or bike, but a PR for the run! Woohoo!


Buckhead Hills - Tuesday, 4 October

Tuesday saw the return of J to the bike (as far as I'm concerned) after his broken clavicle a few weeks ago in Brookhaven. He, G, and I went up to the hills of Buckhead for the first time since June. I wasn't fast (I didn't expect to be), but it was nice to do a different, though familiar, route with the boys. I need to work more on the hills (I guess). Having ridden to school that morning, I already had 8 miles under my belt, but there's no taking it easy with these two. Fortunately (for me), J's time off the roads meant that he ended up hanging back with me (he's still a fast SOB), but without my feeling *too* guilty about it.


Maximum speed: 35.5 mph
Average speed: 14.9 mph
Distance: 17.57 mi
Time: 1.10.14


Brookhaven Loops - Thursday, 6 October

This brings me to tonight. I again had already ridden to school this morning, but I had felt REALLY good after two days' of commuting and the hills. I did NOT feel quite as great tonight, but certainly felt much better than I have the last few weeks up there. I rode most of the time with E and S, who are fun to hang around with.


Maximum speed: 29.0 mph
Average speed: 15.1 mph
Distance: 20.56 mi
time: 1.21.15

Both Tuesday and tonight's rides were getting dark by the end, despite the 6:00 start times. In addition, thanks to having gotten inappropriately yelled at the last two Thursdays, I think I'm over this ride for the season. As Dr. S has suggested, I could easily get in extra miles in the mornings by going out to Stone Mtn before heading in to school, for a ~42mi day. That's much more appealing, at this juncture.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My writing

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for the heavy-handedness of my writing.

TNT: We're In This Together

It is possible that this post is filled with every teamwork cliche in the book (with the exception of "giving it 110%". I give 100% exactly, 110 is right out.) And, like anyone who writes a story chock-full of cliches but low on substance, I still hope you bear with me to the end.

Team in Training is about more than "just" helping people with cancer. It's also about being a part of a team that, for better or for worse, spends every Saturday morning (sometimes spilling into Saturday afternoon) for 3-4 months together, gritting it out on the road or on the trails. And, while it can be easy to focus on one's own goals (complete a sub-6 century!), it's important to remember the 13 to 50 other members of the team, each with their own goals and motivation.

Which brings me to Deirdre. You can read her story here. What's important about it is not just the fact that she is honoring her father, a lymphoma survivor, but that she also had her own trials and struggles in life, in training, and, ultimately, in the event.

This summer, the cycling team--for which I proudly mentored--did two events: America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride, around Lake Tahoe, and The Fletcher Flyer Century, outside of Asheville, NC. I rode with the small but indomitable Fletcher team the same day the rest of our riders gutted out a cold, rainy ride out west. I rode with the cyclists that I typically rode with during training, for the most part. I couldn't tell you a thing about anyone's ride besides mine and, to an extent, the others I was with. During the event, and I'm speaking only for myself here, I was in a total bubble, relatively unaware of what others were experiencing (Fletcher was a personal hell for me). The day before, we'd heard that some of the Tahoe team's bikes had been damaged or roughed up to varying extents during transport, but it would be several hours after our finish before reports on their ride would start trickling in.

And what stories there were! No sun until the lunch. Rain, drizzly rain, overcast skies and temperatures in the 40s were the order of the day. Besides anecdotes (Debbie wrecked her thumb! Helen gashed her forehead! Deirdre fell! Val almost went over a ravine!), we didn't know what really had gone down out there. I was focused on my own personal misery after the Fletcher ride, so I was tuned out to the rest of the world. I had completely forgotten the nature of the team that we had forged through the snow and rain in February, the windy days of March and April, and the scorchingly hot, early summer of May.  I forgot that everyone else had their own ride and they weren't all necessarily as bad (or as good) as mine.

Today, I learned someone else's story. I learned about Deirdre's ride. I knew she had fallen, but I didn't realize the emotional journey of her ride. I didn't realize how badly she'd been beaten up. I had seen, first-hand, her determination and game-winning attitude during training rides and I am unsurprised about how she faced her trials on event day undaunted, with that same determination and can-do spirit. This lady is not a quitter, she will not be held back. Deirdre is what Team in Training is about. Thank, you, Deirdre, for reminding me to break out of my bubble and think about my brothers and sisters on the team.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Urban Cyclist Learns Rule #5 (sort of)

The Velominati keep the rules. I am learning Rule #5 the hard way. Not exactly, lemme 'splain.

I am currently at school, in the middle of extreme productivity on the academics front. It is about twenty-to-six, and it is going to start getting dark in a little while. The dilemma: do I keep working so as not to interrupt the productive juices, or do I ride home now, while it's still light, recognizing that I likely won't do any work again until tomorrow when I get back to school at the earliest. Friends who know me well will immediately understand the problem: motivation and work ethic.

Allow me to spell it out: I don't work at home, unless I absolutely have to. Home is full of fluffy distractions, television, and food. Additionally, there's no guarantee that I will be flush with motivation tomorrow upon arriving back at school to pick up where I left off (in fact, my motivation at this present moment makes any tomorrow less likely: contact your bookie).

But, were I to finish this task, it will be after sundown. I will have to ride home in the dark (really, duskish twilight). I don't like it. I have lights, but not great ones. I have ridden later than this and, while it's not my favorite thing, it's not entirely unsafe and it is doable. I just don't prefer it.

Thus, this Urban Cyclist has come face-to-face with the urban cycling truth: it is sometimes inconvenient. Anyone who commutes by bicycle has come across this at some point, and it's not always productivity that gets in the way. Sometimes it's bad weather, sometimes it's being held up by others or eleventh-hour demands, sometimes it's traffic (but, honestly, what cyclist doesn't know how to avoid that?)

Your Urban Cyclist now has to weigh productivity and being that much closer to her degree (and present laziness, truth be told) with the comfort of riding the bike before dusk. Harden up, chick.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Two Weekends' Worth

Saturday, 17 September

Last Saturday, G and I took off to the Great White North -- Cartersville, GA. We joined a number of former TEAMmates (along with the IronTeam and Tucson Team) at the Beautiful Backroads Century. G knew that TNT and Six Gap alum J would be there, so they happily rode off together. I rode primarily with D (who, I swear, I've ridden this with before a number of times in training), and we eventually were able to keep up with L and C, as well. I say "we", but really it was me. I was dead the whole day. D was riding the full century, while the rest of us were doing the metric option (really, 68 miles). We got to the SAG stops as they were being closed, due to my pokiness and our starting late (but really, not THAT late, I thought).

My legs finally showed up at mile 60. That is 60 miles of good company and conversation mixed with guilt and frustration.

Maximum speed: 32.8 mph
Average speed: 14.4 mph
Distance: 67.13 mi
Time: 4.41.38

Clearly, NOT the PR I'd been hoping for. My one consolation is that it was faster than last year. I haven't heard from D since then -- I hope he didn't really end up in Florida, afterall.


Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 25 September

Yesterday was the Six Gap Century Ride up in Dahlonega, GA. We didn't go. We had toyed with it earlier this season, and I had considered it even more recently.  But, we didn't go. We did the KSR out to Stone Mountain with a small group of riders. When we got to the ride start and I saw four men, I immediately recognized that I would be riding alone, a small "B" group, if you will. (The beauty of riding alone is that, really, I could be whatever letter I feel like. The "M" group? Why not?! The "C" group? Sure thing!)

My legs felt like lead all weekend (I had done a swim/run brick Friday morning and ridden to/from school for the football game on Saturday), and were no better Sunday morning. We took off, and I resigned myself to riding my own, and not anyone else's, ride. I had the group in my sight for a while, but I kept telling myself not to push or struggle. I know the route, there are other people out along the roads, so there was really no need to try to keep up, besides pride. I think I was able to see them for as long as I did because of fortuitous timing of traffic lights and they were waiting for me to get in sight before taking off again. About 2 miles in (not far at all, really), I considered putting the hammer down, catching them, and begging off (I'd tweaked my back getting out of bed that morning, too, and turning my head made it hurt). But, I never could quite get that impetus or speed going to put in that sort of effort.

Around mile 4, at one of the turns, I saw that C had hung back to wait for me (which was very kind of him). I told him to go on, that I wasn't going to be close to a comfortable pace for him. He kept me company for a bit, anyway, until we got to College Ave, where G was waiting. He sent C on ahead and rode the rest of the way with me to the mountain, at my pathetic little pace.

Or was it?  At the mountain, I had been averaging 14.9 mph, which isn't great, but is still decent for how I felt.

The way back, my back felt better but the legs were still heavy. G stayed with me the whole time. This was outwardly bearable for him, because he rode a metric the day before in PTC with the Tucson team while I was at the game. The rest of the group had already disbanded by the time we got back.


Maximum speed: 32.4 mph
Average speed: 14.4 mph
Distance: 29.73 mi
Time: 2.02.41

To think that, just a few years ago, I would have to talk myself up to do a thirty-mile ride. I just wish I were *faster*. Maybe I need a bye week, but I like riding to school.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brookhaven ride -Thursday, 15 September

On the commute to school today my legs felt leaden from the very get-go. I had a hard time maintaining a pace or getting up to speed. I was grateful for an alternate route that got me around some of the hillier portions, but still had a struggle getting there. I was surprised, then, that my average wasn't too different from usual.

Tonight at Brookhaven, I expected to still feel jellied. Instead, I felt decidedly better, and rode with N and D for most of it. I thought it was a pretty spirited ride, though my average didn't remotely reflect that good feeling.


Maximum speed: 28.3 mph
Average speed: 14.7 mph
Distance: 15.12 mi
Time: 1.01.16

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nation's Tri to Benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - Sunday, 11 September

Whew! What a mouthful! This past Sunday I participated (I can't really call it "competing") in my second tri: an Olympic distance on the Mall in Washington, D.C. It. Was. Amazing. Due to extensive rainfall from the storms the previous week (parts of the beltline were still flooded and closed), the Potomac was too high and fast (and, I presume, sewage-filled) to safely allow people to swim in it. And, having seen the river in person, it was *really* fast. Thus, the swim was canceled and that, children, is how Nation's Tri became Nation's Duathlon, so to speak (the bike and run distances remained at 40k and 10k, respectively).

I had little problem staging my bike on Saturday, after which I was able to spend a glorious day with E, S, T, and new pal B. By glorious, I'm pretty sure we watched Airplane! and fell asleep. Sunday came, and I woke at 4:30a, ready to be picked up by S' coworker R, who was also in the race. We got there, staged our areas, and commenced waiting. My wave started between 7:55a and 8:30a, but once they started letting people into the TA, it went by pretty quickly. While waiting, I noticed two friends from Mendon in my corral, so we caught up. And then, we were off.

Official (my) Splits:

T1: 2.04

Maximum speed: unknown
Average speed: 19.6 (20.3) mph
Distance: 24.8 (25.23) mi
Time: 1.16.00 (1.14.28)

Average pace: 10.42 min/mi
Distance: 10k
Time: 1.06.08

T2: 1.41

Total time: 2.26.00

The transition area was HUGE and, not surprisingly, a total swampland because of so many feet and so much water. I'm OK with the slower transition times because of these facts -- I didn't bungle anything and did the best I could.

On the bike I was flying, and refused to look at the average speed for fear that it would get inside my head and that I would try to slow down to be ready for the ride. Instead, I hammered it out, transitioned, and forced myself to do 3-1 intervals on the run for the first mile or so. The purpose of the intervals was for me to keep my legs from cramping at the outset and to keep my side from getting a stitch. This strategy worked, and, after walk/running with C for a bit, I found my pace and ran for all but 1 minute of the second half. I felt positively great.

It was amazing to see so many people out there, and to have a (apparently enviably) large group of supporters. I had a great time, and would totally do it again, even if it means getting a mouthful of Potomac (blech).

Finished the morning off with a deeee-licious chocolate shake and a lengthy nap. All told, a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 4 September

I don't have much to say about this ride, except that I was flying. I rode with J & A, and for the most part we kept the A group in sight. That is a feat. We lost them just outside of Stone Mountain because of a quick left-right turn (we didn't see them turn right), so we lost a few minutes straightening ourselves out. Even so, we were booking it. I don't have exact stats, unfortunately, because in straightening ourselves out, my phone rebooted. I only just realized now that, because of the improper shut down, I could have resumed the tracking (whoops).

Stats (all but distance based on first 9.57 mi, at reboot):
Maximum speed: 29.97 mph
Average speed: 16.2 mph
Distance: 35 mi
Time: ?

I'm pleased. I felt really strong on that ride (and on the commutes to/from school today), and it showed.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Brookhaven (a week ago!) - Thursday, 25 August

Google has taken over the world. I say this because I'm not sure you're aware of it. How do I know this is the case? I can log in with my google ID and I can shop, upload this blog, go to G+, talk with my friends, and manage my email and calendar (not to mention search scholarly articles and browse books, etc) with that one login.

Benevolent... for now.

Anyway, last week I rode Brookhaven with the usual suspects. That, and the occasional commute to school, has been the entirety of my training for next weekend's Olympic-distance Nation's Tri in DC. I'll get to that later (what? I didn't even review the PTC sprint from two weeks ago? Who am I?) This urban cyclist has had a pretty good go of it in Brookhaven the last few weeks. Spurred on by an all-time PR at the PTC tri in the bike leg (19.6mph over 14 miles), I realized I have been lollygagging on these other rides. I push, but not hard. Without AK there, I have no one around my ability to compete with.... the front is too fast (though I do like to keep up with them, or try to, for as long as I can), and, with the Tahoe season over, fewer TNT riders are making it a regular thing.

Anyway, I had a good ride.

Maximum speed: 29.9 mph
Average speed: 15.7 mph
Distance: 20.16 mph
Time: 1.16.37

This was the 5th 100-mile week since Fletcher, which isn't bad. The current week will NOT see me hit 100 miles, though next week there is a slight chance (it would have to happen before Thursday). I love riding my bike, and I kind of hate having the car back, in that I use it as a crutch (I recognize this in myself) for getting around. I come up with all sorts of excuses (I'm going to run/swim at school, etc) and then don't even follow through on those. I really liked commuting so frequently (read: daily) this summer when I didn't have the car, and I'm going to make it a goal to get back to that point.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Wilson 100 (km) - Sunday, 28 August

Yesterday, G and I went down to lovely Senoia, GA for the Wilson 100. We wisely decided a few days ago that the metric distance would be best, as we haven't been putting long hours in on the bike in a while. We met C at the start (and a few other TNT folk) and headed off.

The weather was great to start, sunny but cool and dry. By the end of the ride, it had climbed into the low- to mid-90s and was getting pretty gross (and all the shade had disappeared at noon), but it was still, mercifully, dry. I decided that I was not going to kill myself riding and that I would simply go the pace that felt good. Going into mile 50 that meant averaging around 17.3mph. After mile 50 (we had stopped to visit with fellow TNT alumni, and my former mentees, M & A), we hit a constant headwind and something of a wall. We limped in (C dropped G and me) and were finally, happily, finished. Again, it was wise not to have tried the full distance, however good we felt in the morning. I would have eaten better, but it still would have been uncomfortable.

At around mile 52, the peloton of riders attempting a sub-four full blew past us. I did not care to join them (I was comfortably tootling along at around 16-17), but C and G hopped on for a few miles. The riders passed too closely to me for comfort. I concentrated on going straight.


Maximum speed: 37.3 mph
Average speed: 16.4 mph
Distance: 65.85 mi
Time: 3.59.53

A sub-four metric! (I've already done this season,  and faster, but whatever)

All told, it was a good ride. And, it helped bring into focus how out of shape I am (a lot) and how unprepared I am for Nation's Tri (incredibly).

Total mileage this year: 2133.04 Goooo Me!

Friday, August 19, 2011

ADK and Brookhaven

Last week was about as lovely as can be. True, I didn't read the usual 3 books or spend oodles of time skiing or on the boat (or even in a kayak) and I slept on the floor for half of it, but it was an excellent vacation. G proved his mettle by meeting the whole family in an intense week of full-on Lutzness and coming out relatively unscathed.

During that time, I "trained" for this weekend's sprint tri by way of hiking almost daily, going on one morning run of 2.7 miles, doing two open-water swims (of approximately 550-600m and 1100-1200m in length), and wrapping it all up with one ~26.66-mile bike ride (in two parts) two and from Old Forge.


This reminds me: I need to get my cyclocomputer from school before the race tomorrow.


Anyway, I don't have stats on that ride, because neither of us were clipped in, and it was just a pleasant outing to Old Forge, where we had pop with the boat people (the cousins leaving that day) and failed to meet up with A,R, R, and M for Nutty Putty. We must have just missed them, as we were out there for a couple hours before riding back.


Last night was the first group ride I've been on in weeks, when I rejoined the usual Thursday night Brookhaven ride. It was an eventful ride for J, who broke his collarbone on the wet roads. Hope you get better soon, Coach!

Otherwise, V and I decided we would "taper", and so we rode only 1.5 loops and got in extra pizza waiting for everyone else (we didn't know until heading home that J had been hurt).


Maximum speed: 27.01 mph
Average speed: 14.83 mph
Distance: 14.66 mi
Time: 00.59.16

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two Rides - Thursday, 28 July and Sunday, 29 July

I really need to get better about updating this immediately after a ride, and not days after. In any event, this Thursday H was unable to join us at the Brookhaven ride because of a sprained ankle. I took the opportunity to ride with V a little bit and then, at her urging, really stretched the legs and pushed. Didn't get a full-out PR, but it was a tie from earlier in the season.

Thursday was also notable for the arrival of the Aflac tri tank V got for my birthday. I wore it on the ride, and I LOVED it. It fit great, felt great, and I felt fast. Looked great, too, I'm told, but no mirrors in parking lots.

Maximum speed: 29.2 mph
Average speed: 15.5 mph
Distance: 20.03 mi
Time: 1.16.59


I took Saturday off because of the housewarming the night before. I woke up on time, but we didn't have it in us to drive up to Cville for a ride. Laziness, pure laziness. And I packed. Instead, I rode with KSR on Sunday and it was good. I took the first 8 miles slowly with a lady who has just come back to cycling this season (and was new to clipless pedals) and then rode the rest of the way to the mountain by myself. I did NOT loop around the mountain, and just sat on my ass for a while. Rode back to brunch with the B group, and about midway back I felt great and just pushed the rest of the way. Great ride, great people, and good brunch (too much egg).


I don't know. They got lost in my phone somewhere, so this is by memory.

Maximum speed: 29 ish
Average speed: 14.5 mph
Distance: 30.01 mi
Time: 2.04.00 roughly

Good memory.

I've commute uneventfully this week, with the notable exception that every route to campus from the south (North Ave, W Peachtree, Luckie) has road construction with massive plates now. Add to the that general pittiness of Atlanta roads and you have one frustrated Urban Cyclist.

I'll conclude this post with the interesting note that, by the end of my commute today I will have surpassed 2000 miles for the year. Best Year Evar!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Two Rides - Thursday, 21 July and Sunday, 24 July

This past Thursday wasn't a ride as much as it was a mini-brick for H and me. I convinced her to come to Brookhaven to get more time on some hills and roads. Our plan was to do one 10-mile loop and then run a mile or two afterward. The sky was ominous, and the distant thunder and lightning even more so, so we opted to do the front 5-mile loop twice (just in case). H still is getting used to the lightness and responsiveness of her bike (and to the clipless pedals), so we took it easy and had a good ride, without real incident. We then changed shoes and started to run, but because of gulping down 20+ oz of water over 3 or 4 stops on the ride, H got a stitch early on that just wouldn't work out. We still managed a mile.

Bike stats:

Maximum speed: 25.3 mph
Average speed: 12.0 mph
Distance: 9.53 mi
Time: 0.47.13

I felt good. I didn't work too hard, but because I was able to run pretty easily after the ride and feel good, I am much more confident about the tri in August. I know it'll still be a challenge to put it all together, but I'm looking forward to it, for sure.


I commuted on Friday, and besides saying that I get my hackles up every time I go near the overpass where the guy challenged me, it was uneventful.


Sunday, I was the nominal leader of the KSR, which had another good turnout. I really like meeting the new people and the regulars who join us. I was feeling fishy (possibly residual from Thursday's brick and a late night Saturday) and weak, but V, L, and P were pulling up the rear so I had good company for the duration.


Maximum speed: 78 (damn computer)
Average speed: 13.0 mph
Distance: 30.59 mi
Time: 2.19.57

Like I said, I didn't feel great, but I really enjoyed the ride.

I spent a good portion of the weekend meeting a few of G's friends, who are pretty cool people. In all, it's been a positive several days.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Two Weekend Rides - Saturday, 16 July and Sunday, 17 July

Saturday, I rode here I like the link because I can see the profile and you, dear readers, can ALSO see the profile. It isn't very impressive (for impressive, see the profile for Stage 14 of the TdF), but it was still a step beyond the first time we went up to the Gaps last month.


Maximum speed: 39.5 mph
Average speed: 13.4 mph  (1 mph faster than last time!)
Distance: 49.41 mi
Time: 3.39.43

We expected a large group from Sorella to be there, leaving from Turner's Corner and, as we had already opted for a 50-miler, we rode the front three gaps again, leaving this time from the Walmart in Dahlonega, about 10 miles from Neel's gap.

This made a big difference, I think. Last time, we did a piddly 3-mi warm up which, I'll be frank, did nothing to actually get the legs going: I still felt like I hit the first climb cold. This time, however, we rode 10 miles, pulled into and then immediately out of Turner's Corner 10 miles later, and I actually felt warm (it takes ~7 miles for me to get going). We hit Neel's, and I didn't feel great, but I found a comfortable pace, remembered that it took about an hour to crest it last time, and then hunkered down for the long climb. I did NOT drop into the granniest of gears, knowing that if I could spin at a higher gear I would get stronger. Keeping an eye on the average speed, it didn't look like I was going any faster, but I definitely got to the top 10 minutes faster than last time (and my back didn't hurt and I wasn't dreading starting the day).

After Neel's, I knew from experience that the worst part of the ride was over. I also had half a pack of Honey Stingers (those things are aMAzing), and just booked it (for me on hills) the rest of the way through the ride. D passed me on Wolfpen, but I kept him in my sight the whole rest of the climb, getting to the top not long behind him. Rode up Woody's and back to Walmart with him. The descent from Woody's was the best payoff ever, except for getting stuck behind an SUV for a little bit of it. I swear, I felt freaking GREAT the whole time.

We had gotten to the ride start just about on time, and it had been drizzling to raining the whole drive up. I was secretly (and then not so secretly) hoping that we would get rained out, but nature would not cooperate. Instead, I had to do the damn ride and by the time I crested Neel's I had totally changed my tune. I felt great, amazing, spectacular, etc. etc. I couldn't get over myself! It was a great ride, and I think the weather DID cooperate, afterall:  68F and overcast the whole time! Perfection!

It also didn't hurt that the TdF had entered the Pyrenees the day before and I was acutely aware of how quickly those fng guys climb. I will not be put to shame by the skinnies!


Sunday, I rode the KSR with the usual group of great people. It was great to ride with K and V again, it had been forever! I was definitely feeling the ride from the day before, so I took it easy (and by took it easy, I remember feeling like I was pushing and just not getting much reward for the effort). I did NOT go around the mountain. I DID, however, get the breakfast special at brunch following the ride, which I enjoyed immensely.

Maximum speed: 33.8 mph
Average speed: 12.9 mph
Distance: 30.13 mi
Time: 2.18.45

Summation: I am a happy, happy girl.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Two Commutes and a Jackass - 11 & 12 July

It looks as if, for the time being, I'll be posting two rides or so at a time: the previous day's ride home and the current day's ride in. Until I get into the habit of being on the computer at home, this is just how it's going to be. I'm also not sure I'm going to post every commute still, but yesterday's ride out really pissed me off and I want to blow off some steam (yes, I wear anger for a while).


Maximum speed: 30.59 mph
Average speed: 13.7 mph
Distance: 7.57 mi
Time: 0.33.09

I took basically the same ride out as I did in, and I am not sure how I managed to add .8 miles. The chain joyfully hopped out over the big ring again (before I got off campus, at least), and it was squeak-squeak-squeaky, which was just annoying. I'd had a long day at school and just wanted to be home.

Anyway, I will preface my frustration with the statement that I am one of the most law-abiding cyclists out there. It's how my dad taught me, it's the law, it's just the right thing. That said, I was riding up toward an underpass through a residential area. There were cars parked along the side of the road, and it was one lane in the direction I was headed in. At the underpass, the lane split into a left-only turn lane and another lane, which was basically the one I was in anyway (I was headed straight). The stretch between the last parked car and the light was 50-100 feet (not long, but I'm no good at judging distances), so I stayed in the center of my lane and came up and stopped behind a car that was stopped at the light. Another car, windows down, pulls into the turn lane next to me.

Driver: (very politely) It's three feet, isn't it?
Me: (thinking he's asking for verification) yes, it's three feet, and thank you
Driver: no, that's the law, three feet, right? And you have to give three feet, too
Me: (confused as to how to explain why I don't have to be in the shoulder) well, there are cars, sir (gestures toward the line of parked cars behind her)
(the light changes)
Driver: three feet, you also have to give three feet and get over, (starts driving) that's what sharing is (pulls away angrily and makes a right turn across my path)
Me: (stands there, heart racing, shaking, dumbfounded, frustrated, and angry;  proceeds to ride the rest of the way home in tears, mentally finishing the conversation at least 15 times)

The thing is, he wasn't a dick about it at all, he was just a total dick. I think he was angry (obviously), but was very polite in his tone, but the way he pulled off with what amounted to a parting "fuck you!" and his own righteous (and misdirected) indignation marked him as an enemy for life. Dick.

ETA: I just checked google maps, and it is about 200' between the last parked car and the cross-walk. I still maintain that the guy was a total dick and that I was in the right for staying in the lane, I just hate to be factually inaccurate.


Got on the bike this morning, and immediately picked up the argument where it had left off. So unfair!


Maximum speed: 30.31 mph
Average speed: 13.32 mph
Distance: 6.88 mi
Time: 30.59

Tonight are the hills of Buckhead.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Two rides

Kirkwood Sunday Ride

I got back in town Saturday night and was happily able to join the KSR crew yesterday morning for the ride to the mountain. For not having been on the bike in (exactly) two weeks, I felt really good. I caught P's wheel around Katie Kerr and was just off the back of the A group for a while, before my chain decided it just couldn't be away from my pedal any longer and hopped off the large ring. Easy fix and rode in to Stone Mountain, no problem. I even did a small loop with P, which was a good time.


Maximum speed: 30.27 mph
Average speed: 14.02 mph
Distance: 32.78 mi
Time: 2.20.19

Not bad, though I could have been better. I pulled or strained something behind my left knee (it seems like I remember it hurting a few weeks ago), and it bothered me on the way back yesterday. At this point it's a discomfort more than anything.

We had a great showing on the ride, too! Almost 30 riders, most of whom were new to the group. It was cool to meet new people and to just get out and go go go.


Monday Commute In

I spent the night in town to make the commute easier and to ease the homesickness for the puppy, among other things, so I had a shorter ride in than I might normally. It was an easy jaunt, which took me through Little Five and past my old apartment (I think I saw B walking Odin, but on the other side of a divided road, so no chatting :/ ). I didn't anticipate the construction on North, but even with the traffic the drivers very nicely let me into their lane and I made it in without a problem.


Maximum speed: 31.72 mph
Average speed: 12.6 mph
Distance: 6.78 mi
Time: 0.32.16

There are few better ways to start a morning than with a bike ride immediately followed by a warm shower. Just saying.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 26 June

Yesterday the Kirkwood crew opted for a 30-mile intown loop. It was ill-fated from the start, when A (her first time joining us!) got a flat a couple miles in. And then another. And then a third. Cartridges, tubes, and patience running low, she begged off (understandably). Due to a lack of a cue sheet or known route, we were unable to split into our two usual groups. At the same time, because of the lights and stops and turns, I'm not entirely sure that we would have successfully separated anyway, it's so hard to get up to speed in town.

We were all a bit cranky by my 15, at which point the consensus was to do only 20 miles and just ride back to Kirkwood from that point. I lost my stats because the phone deleted all my texts (again), so this is from memory.


Maximum speed: 101.3 mph (funny!)
Average speed: 12.0 mph
Distance: 21 mi
Time: 1.46.58  (I have a good memory)

Total weight lost (as of this morning): 12 lbs. Ten of those pounds were lost in the last week and a half. It's about damn time.

I'm going to miss the next KSR and a whole week of cycling with my Atlanta friends because of B&B's wedding this weekend. I am bringing the Fuji home, however, so I will be able to ride there with Mom and Dad.


In other news that I don't really want to think or talk about, I am leaving the puppy home for at least the month of July, too. The bike will come back in August, Sikari may not, depending on how much work I get done while she's at home, and depending on how lonely I get without her. I'm already very anxious about July, and it's hard to think about. Right now she's asleep in the sphinx position, with her little chin on the floor, letting out little dream whimpers. She's my world, and I already miss her so much. It's going to be a long month, I'm going to have to throw myself into other things.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bud Lite Ride - Saturday, 25 June

Today a good group of us went up to Cartersville to ride the Bud Lite half around the fast roads from the Budweiser plant. I felt pretty good, but my competitive side knows that I need to get faster, and it appears that intervals are the only way to get me there now. I am not thrilled with this, but it will make the commute more interesting.


Maximum speed: 30.8 mph
Average speed: 15.5 mph
Distance: 55.35 mi
Time: 3.32.48

Cville got hit pretty hard by the spring tornadoes, and you could see a lot of the lingering destruction and devastation. Today was also the day of the Cartersville Century, which was using the proceeds to go toward continuing tornado relief efforts. It was sad and humbling to see the aftermath of the chaos, even a month later.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Weekday ride - Thursday, 23 June

This ride was laughable. In my (pathetic) defense, I ran 2.3 miles this morning. My legs felt fine, however, so there really was no excuse for pooting along at so abysmal a pace. I rode with D, and he got stuck with me because he didn't know the route (whoops), else I would have sent him on ahead right from the start. At the same time, however, I didn't realize how slowly I would be going.


Maximum speed: 29.5 mph
Average speed: 12.9 mph (bahahahaha)
Distance: 20.35 mi
Time: 1.33.58

Seriously? This is pathetic. I'm in disbelief. I don't know whether it was so slow because I couldn't push harder or because I simply wouldn't push harder. At no time do I recall feeling like my legs were going to fall off, so I have to assume I just wasn't paying attention and wasn't trying. Slacker-Megan wins the day, again.

The good news to this, though, is that I didn't kill myself running this morning, so I think that I'll be in great shape for the tris this fall.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Buckhead Hills - Tuesday, 21 June

So much for giving up on the hills tonight. I'm too suggestible, and rise to a challenge (e.g., "stop being a wuss") too easily, so of COURSE I decided to go do more hills. On the same roads I'd already ridden. Only a few times did I catch myself saying "stupid, stupid, stupid", and that was more toward the beginning. I felt really good on this ride, much better than I did commuting today, and was a lot faster. It was incredible the difference I felt between the heavy Fuji (and rack and panniers) and the light Felt (sans extra crap). And, despite holding up TWO people tonight (J and G), I didn't feel too bad about it, because I felt a lot better than the last time I'd ridden this route. The weird thing lately is that my arms have felt very weak on the rides. I'm conscientious about not gripping too tightly, especially on hills, but even so they get a little fatigued/shaky.


Maximum speed: 39.5 mph
Average speed: 13.9 mph
Distance: 17.90 mph
Time: 1.16.47

G said that we climbed about 1400', too, so that brings today's total to approximately 3800' of climbing in about 45 miles.That's basically the gaps again, but with the enjoyable reality of descents more reasonably spaced today. And, of course, with 2-4 hours down time between legs.

I was nervous before this ride, because I was hungry, but not (my stomach was weird all day). I had eaten a big lunch, but still felt a bit peckish once I got home. And, once I decided to ride in Buckhead, I knew that I would have to eat something to make it through. I mentally composed a haiku around mile 10 about my experience with that:

Eating a Clif bar
Is like unwrapping a turd
Won't go down easy

I also started telling boobie jokes to myself. It was a great night.

ETA: I just looked at the stats from the last time I did this ride, and I was decidedly slower tonight. Loser.

Today's ride home - Tuesday, 21 June

This was even longer. I missed the turn onto W Paces Ferry (I forgot where it was), but I think that was all right. I rode Howell Mill to Northside, and then just took Northside/Cobb Pkwy to Cumberland, so it was pretty straight shooting. I felt like crap on each of the (insignificant) climbs, though apparently I did about 2300' of climbing round trip, so maybe it was more than I thought. It just seemed like I was going up a lot, and only sometimes was it steep. Just bleeeech. But, I did it, and I know I can do it, so I have to keep doing it. Dammit.


Maximum speed: 33.81 mph
Average speed: 12.26 mph (laughable)
Distance: 13.35 mi
Time: 1.05.19

Just gotta keep doing it. I think I'm going to give up on the idea of riding the hills in Buckhead tonight.

Today's Ride In - Tuesday, 21 June

I don't know if I'm going to update this each and every time I ride in and home this summer, but I feel the need to reflect on this, my first commute from (groan with me) Smyrna. The heavier bike, rack, and full panniers made for a much different 13 miles than I had expected. I missed a turn off of Northside onto Mt Paran, but I just stayed on Northside and made it fine (despite some lousy drivers).


Maximum speed: 45.43 mph
Average speed: 13.6 mph
Distance: 13.52 mi
Time: 0.59.31

My total riding time, including lights, was about an hour and ten minutes, which is about right for this commute. If I hadn't missed the turn, I would have shaved off almost a mile, too. I wasn't thrilled today, because I felt slow (again, I blame the weighty-ness of the ride), but I kind of did this to myself by moving, and I don't really have an alternative. So, I will instead tell myself that I am looking forward to these rides this summer.

I am sad already that I will likely miss the weekday rides with the team, though. I will figure a way around it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 19 June

Today we rode out to Stone Mountain again, and we had a lot of new, fun people. I had a great time meeting the new folks, and swept the ride with them. I didn't do the loop around the mountain, but I felt good the whole time (probably because of the pace), despite yesterday's ride. I got a flat (glass) on the way back, but it was in the front and a really quick fix. I'm glad I felt so good, because I got to the ride start with a pretty sour stomach, which hasn't happened in the morning in a while. Even so, I'm glad I forced down my breakfast (and that the gas station across the street had Tums).


Maximum speed: 30.2 mph
Average speed: 11.5 mph
Distance: 27.59 mi
Time: 2.22.31

Mine was the second flat of the day, and both were in the front. However, that was not the last flat: I got home and, upon getting my bike off the car, discovered that I had hit the second patch of glass (about a mile from the finish) pretty solidly (I pulled out two sizable, for sticking in the tire, pieces), which apparently tore a bigger-than-expected hole in my (new) rear tire and causing a second flat. I need a new tire and more tubes, because replacing the rear will officially exhaust my supply, I think. I also need a new patch kit (my glue is dry), and I REALLY need to get a new frame pump (again), because if A hadn't been there with his, I would have been up shit creek.

Still, it was a great ride and I'm looking forward to next week.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Two days of Rides - Thursday, 16 June and Saturday, 18 June

I don't have stats for the Thursday ride: as I discovered this morning it was not a battery issue but simply that the wheel magnet was rotated away from the sensor. The ride itself was pretty good, though I was in an incredibly foul mood. I had found out that I had been set back in finishing my thesis for several months because one of my committee members wouldn't listen to me (1) and it took me well over an hour to get to the ride start, instead of the half hour it should have. I really fng hate the traffic here, and I can't believe that anyone finds this acceptable (on a daily basis, no less!) (2). Thank goodness V and D were there, because it is so hard to be in a bad mood around them.

Approximate stats:

Average speed: 15.0 mph
Distance: 15.0 mi
Time: 1.00.00

Today, G and J took a bunch of us chicks (and JD) to pop our Gaps cherries. We warmed up for a short ways and then rode the front three gaps. I really liked the route--it was pretty, the payoff after each climb was fabulous--and it progressed as it should, in that the three climbs got progressively easier and the payoffs got better.

The stats are minus the first mile and a half or so, before I discovered the issue with the wheel magnet.


Maximum speed: 41.3 mph
Average speed: 12.4 mph
Distance: 36.94 mi
Time: 2.57.13

I started off feeling kind of sluggish, and it felt like I was riding in sand on every ascent (I kept checking my tires to make sure they weren't flat), but the descents were awesome (though still tiring). Having the memory of a goldfish, by the time we'd gotten to Woody's Gap, I decided that riding the Gaps would totally be something I would want to do again. And, the thing is, now that I've done it I know I can do it, so there's no reason not to do it again. It was a really fun, great day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


A few years ago I randomly started receiving Outside Magazine (the first year was free! I didn't even ask for it!) Continuing that subscription has paid off:  as part of a market research study, included in the most recent issue was a $500 prepaid gift card to a real fancy-pants sunglasses place:

I think it was I who just a few weeks ago was lamenting my broken sunglasses at Fletcher (that is a tough ride to do without shades), and along come 7+ pairs, for free!  I know what you're thinking, "Megan, you already have sunglasses". My response to you? Phooey! It was my polarized pair that broke, and I intend to replace them with much higher quality.  I probably don't really *need* 7 pairs, so if you want in on the action, I think I could do without 5. Or the free chronograph that comes with placing a sufficiently large order.

Be jealous. I am insanely lucky. I should buy a Powerball ticket or something.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 12 June

I guess I can't really properly call this a recovery ride anymore, at least not for a while. We rode out to Stone Mountain, per usual, and I actually felt pretty good for not having ridden since Fletcher a week ago. K and I even opted to do a small loop around the mountain. We took a different route back, which was a nice change of pace.

The loop around the mountain didn't seem to take as long or be as steep as usual. Apparently, I have trained pretty well this season.

I had also had a late night for V's bday celebration, which may or may not have had something to do with me pre- and post-ride ickiness.

Maximum speed: unknown...
Average speed: 14.1 mph
Distance: 32.65 mi
Time: 2.19.15

K and I met a couple starting training for her first century, the Seagull Century in Maryland, which loops out to Assateague (sp?) island. It's in October, so we decided we are going to do it, and gather a team of KSR regulars to join us. Yea! Best idea I had all day.

I am looking forward to the ride in the gaps next weekend, too, I think it'll be a hoot.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Fletcher Flyer - Check

This was a great ride. It started off relatively cool (upper 60s) and in the beautiful country of Western North Carolina. I got some pretty good photos of the hills and countryside as I was riding. It reminded me strongly of riding with the NRVBA; the terrain and scenery were stunning.


Maximum speed: 40.9 mph
Average speed: 14.4 mph
Distance: 101.88 mi
Time: 7.02.50  (with 2 hours stopping time, bringing the total time to just under 9 hours)

The ride was well-supported and well-planned. The route took us... all over the place. We were along the French Broad River for a little ways (which was nice and cool and shady), we went through a little downtown area of some small town, so the ride was broken up visually, too.

The ride was also hot. A rough breakdown:

Mile 0: the ride starts (8:00a)
Mile 14.5: the first SAG), my legs show up
Mile 75ish: I start feeling not great. There was a 24 mile gap between the 4th and 5th SAGs, which was brutal. Most of that stretch was long and unshaded, so it got really hot.
Mile 81.5: The 5th SAG. I felt lousy, and the Gatorade I'd been drinking all day was gumming me up. I switched to ice water at this point, which was the right call. I also forced down a bunch of food. A was there with our unofficial SAG vehicle with the 80-mile pop, which went down easy and without which I am pretty sure I would have struggled even more.
Mile 82: I start to feel very sick: I developed a killer headache and stomachache, making drinking more water imperative and more difficult.
Mile 91: Last SAG: refill with more water and roll out, feeling ickier and ickier. 90% of the way there! (this mental countdown started at mile 10, btw)
Mile 98: I officially bonk.

Got to the finish, and K, A, M, and I rode across the line four abreast. I rode with them for the bulk of the ride, and they were amazing. A, M, and N pulled me for most of the time between SAGs 4 and 5, and A kept the mood light with his banter. They were amazing, and I am so grateful for my entire team for their support and encouragement yesterday: it was supposed to be the other way around!

At the finish, waiting for the rest of the team, I felt worse and worse, but kept trying to force down water. Finally got back to the hotel, took a shower, felt temporarily better, and then went downhill really quickly. I got really sick. All I can figure is it was dehydration, despite the massive quantities of water and Gatorade I had been drinking the whole day. I had to bail on the team dinner, but it's good that I was able to go to bed and rest. I got a few hours' sleep, but then woke up at 10p and couldn't get back to sleep for several more hours. I did, mercifully, feel quite a bit better. Thanks especially to K and S for taking care of me and bringing me a ginger ale. I think that made all the difference. I don't know how I got so sick, because I did everything I was supposed to. My body was just completely off the whole day. (My elbow hurt the entire ride. Really, elbow? was that necessary?)

The best part about the ride, next to my AMAZING TEAMmates? The bike didn't act up even once. I gave it a stern look at the beginning of the ride, and it got the message. Thank you SO much to G for taking time out of his day off to tune it. I am so grateful!


Personal saga aside, there were 4 chapters from TNT at the event, for a total of about 130 teammates, and we raised over $300,000 for LLS. There were some 900 riders total, and it was an amazing journey. I'd like to try it again, in the hopes of not going so slowly and not getting so sick.

The Tahoe team had a much more eventful ride, with bikes damaged during shipment, several wrecks, hail, rain, snow(?) and chilly temps the whole time. I guess we Fletcher folk chose the good ride this year, after all (though I would really like to do Tahoe in the future).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

And the winner is....

(drumroll, please)....

Curtis Hertwig!

Congratulations, Curtis and, what's more, Happy Double-Nickel Day! Thank you for your support this year.


There were a total of 443 chances alloted in the raffle for the quilt (based on people who indicated they were interested in the quilt). Everyone in the raffle was assigned a range of numbers, corresponding to the number of chances they received. Then a number was drawn from the u[1, 443] distribution. 

(cross-posted to the fundraising page)

Fletcher: Preflections

I'm getting to it a little early this season, but only because it's a hectic time right now. This weekend is my second century, and I am excited about what this small and mighty team will do. I'm worried about the bike's acting up (a HUGE thanks to G for taking several hours out of his Memorial Day morning to tune it just so) on the ride, and wonder if I'm cosmically forbidden to have an uneventful event. I am hopeful that such is not the case and that Fletcher goes off without a hitch.

Some interesting facts about this season:

In four months, we have
- raised over $156,000 for LLS
- collectively ridden over 50,000 miles
- drunk over 100 beers on Thursday nights
- witnessed Honored Teammate D go from "patient" to "survivor" (that took some leg work from him, dating back several years)
- made dozens of new friends

Several teammates were completely brand new to cycling, riding their first bike since childhood. Others have been doing this since the inception of the cycling program in Georgia. All of us are doing it because we hate cancer.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Recovery ride - Sunday, 29 May

Today the KSR went on the Atlanta Beltline Loop, which was simultaneously neat and frustrating.

Neat: got to see parts of Atlanta I didn't know existed (sometimes a good thing)
Frustrating: like any intown ride, there were lots of stops and turns.

In the end, I'm glad I went, but it isn't a route I would want to do often. We had some new-to-me cyclists on the ride, and lunch after was a lot of fun. Good folks, all of them.


Maximum speed: 28.7 mph
Average speed: 10.8 mph
Distance: 30.39 mi
Time: 2.46.59

The bike was being a bitch again, so I've resolved to take it to the shop after payday this week. I refuse to have a pissy bike in Fletcher for the big day. My legs were tired and tight still, but that made the necessarily slow pace more tolerable.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Training ride - Saturday, 28 May

Today was an unofficial GTR for the Fletcher team, as the Tahoe team shipped their bikes yesterday. Seven of us showed up and rode a half today at Silk Sheets, and it was, in the end, a good ride. Our two stops were at Roscoe's store, which we pass at mile 16 and 30, so it was a good day to practice self-support.


Maximum speed: 32.8 mph
Average speed: 15.0 mph
Distance: 49.63 mi
Time: 3.16.27

That's not bad, I think it's the fastest I've ridden Silk Sheets this season. This surprises me, because I thought that today's ride sucked. The entire freaking time. From the beginning, my quads were dead. I thought maybe I would work it out after warming up, but such was not the case. At the end of the ride, walking up the stairs to my apartment, my legs hurt: the muscles above my knees (quads, I guess) felt as if someone had taken a bat and hit me across the legs. I seriously just feel dead. I didn't ride last weekend, and all week I've totaled maybe 15 miles before today. I don't know if it was the swimming on Wednesday, the decrease in riding, or the riding of the Fuji and not the Felt. Whatever it was, I felt the whole ride as if I had already blown it out over 50 miles. just dead tired. I was incredibly surprised at the numbers.

Thanks to A and C, especially, for sufficiently distracting me such that I didn't pay attention to the length of the ride.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weekday ride - Thursday, 19 May

I didn't feel great tonight. I didn't work too hard the first loop, and the second time around my legs felt like lead, though I did at least try. A and I also almost got taken out by a hawk, on the second time in the switchbacks. Like, it was less than a foot away.

What's with the real life angry birds?

Maximum speed: 28.5 mph
Average speed: 14.4 mph
Distance: 20.34 mi
Time: 1.24.33

Waaaaay slower than I've been doing this ride. Just was not feeling it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Recovery ride - Sunday, 15 May

Today I broke from the usual Sunday program and rode in the inaugural Sandy Springs Bike and Brunch, coordinated by C. He asked the team to come out and support newer riders and to generate a larger presence, both for TNT and for cycling.

I rode the longer, hillier 20 mile loop with L and C. We all busted our balls yesterday and wanted to take it nice and easy, which we did.

Maximum speed: 40.2 mph
Average speed: 11.9 mph
Distance: 22.16 mi
Time: 1.50.34

Note: that max was achieved by gravity alone: I did not pedal at all on the way down, I merely tucked. It is a screamingly fast hill, and I loved it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Training Ride - Saturday, 15 May

Rather than our usual GTR, today we rode the Up the Creek Without a Pedal (metric) Century in Rome, GA. It was amazing: the support and SAG were great, the route was fast and pretty and safe and well-marked and police-blocked, the food was fantastic, and it was just generally incredibly well-organized. The free massage at the end was welcomed, too.

I rode mostly with D, D, and J, and we really put the hammer down. We averaged 18.4 by the first SAG (which we skipped), and then 17.7 by the second. Rolling into the finish, I achieved a PR. Like EVER ever. I can't believe I estimated (admittedly conservatively) a 5-6 hour completion time.


Maximum speed: 36.8 mph
Average speed: 17.0 mph
Distance: 60.00 mi
Time: 3.30.59

The precision in those numbers blows my mind. And, had we been riding in a pace line and not 2x2, we really could have done some damage. I had a truly fabulous time with the guys, and am sad that they aren't doing Fletcher with me. The weather started off cool (mid-sixties), drizzled exactly the right amount, and then the cloud cover broke about half and hour or so from the end. The one drawback was the continuing problem with my front derailleur, which is, of course, my own fault for not having fixed it yet. I intend to do that very soon, certainly before Fletcher, and I hope before next weekend. Really a GREAT ride.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekday ride - Thursday, 12 May

I was surprised at this ride for two reasons:
1. That I actually went
2. That I felt so good

After a bit too much celebrating my nearing 40, in the form of an extra shot of jaeger, I showed up no worse for wear for the Brookhaven loops like the trooper I am. I wasnt sure I would want to do two full loops, or even one, but I manned up and went out.

I started the ride slowly enough, but when I turned off of Windsor into whatever the hell name of the rough road, I picked up steam and realized that I felt GREAT and that two loops were in order.

The first five mile jaunt still had a slow average, of 14.8 or something, but I found my legs and stomach and brought that up to something more respectable by the end. I just felt really good. And, of course, having V there was incredibly helpful.


Maximum speed: 29.6 mph
Average speed: 15.2 mph
Distance: 20.37 mi
Time: 1.19.48

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Weekday ride - Tuesday, 10 May

Tonight I went to Buckhead to ride hills. The only other person to show up was G, and he very patiently waited at all of the turns for me.

My legs felt like rubber going to and from school, and I felt no better getting there. I was pleased that the hills weren't as bad as I expected, which isn't to say I wasn't super pokey: it just could have been a lot worse. And, the stats weren't as bad as I expected, either.


Maximum speed: 35.9 mph
Average speed: 14.5 mph
Distance: 17.68 mi
Time: 1.12.46

I won't lie, I started counting down the miles starting around mile 5. Gotta keep doing it until I stop hating it. It's gonna be a while.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Recovery ride - Sunday, 8 May

Today we rode to Stone Mountain again, and again I decided to skip out on the loop around. I could have done it, and probably should have done it, and I'm kicking myself for not having done it, but it is what it is. I'll just have to do it next week, no two ways about it.

We really took our time going out and back, and it was nice.

Maximum speed: I'm guessing 27ish... more on that in a moment.
Average speed: 12.4 mph
Distance: 27.25 mi
Time: 2.13.00

I figured out the mystery of the wild stats... if the cyclocomputer gets too close to my laptop (or, maybe, the phone too), it hears the wireless signal and goes nuts. Lesson learned... wireless computer aren't so amazing afterall. Annoyance!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Training ride - Saturday, 7 May

Today was a long ride, both in distance and in time. We ride 70 miles at Silk Sheets, which is getting a little old. It was a toughie. I didn't sweep, but I did ride in the back today. As always, the ladies there were a joy and a pleasure. It was pretty enjoyable until about mile 63 or so, when D bonked and got sick, at which point we pulled over and waited for SAG to get her. That half hour wait, plus another at the SAG for the last two riders out, killed my legs and momentum.

Still, it was a good ride, and I had a great time riding up and back with new and different people today.

Maximum speed: my computer says 101.7 mph, which I suspect is incorrect. I think it registered the wheel spinning on the car or something.

Average speed: 14.1 mph
Distance: 71.3 mi
Time: 5.03.08

After the ride, we had a picnic for (different) D, who just had a clean PET scan and has beaten his cancer. Much the same way I beat him up hills. It's all positive.

I do wish I would pick non-picnic days to have to finish so much later than everyone else.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Weekday ride - Thursday, 5 May

Tonight was just a really good ride. My legs and arms were hungry by the end (fatigue), but I felt good the whole time. Started out feeling like I was positively flying, and it didn't seem like the speed matched the sensation. Oh, but it did. I did two loops, because once on the bike, I just felt amazing.

Maximum speed: 30.1 mph
Average speed: 15.4 mph
Distance: 20.19 mi
Time: 1.18.40

So good ride. When I get to the end of rides like this, I wonder if, since I feel so good, if I should have pushed it harder. If I'm finishing with energy at the end, that means I could have used more earlier on. I don't know, but I often feel like a slacker when I come in feeling better than expected.

Still, a good ride.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Recovery Ride - Sunday, 1 May

It's May! It's May, the lusty month of May!

And what a glorious May Day it has been! We rode out to Stone Mountain and back, happily foregoing the loop around, for a pretty mellow recovery ride. After yesterday's lumps, the relative smoothness of today's ride along the path was quite welcome. V and I promised not to push it, and then she took off on the ride back. I was very tired, and so I did *not* push it at all.


Maximum speed: 31.7 mph
Average speed: 12.4 mph
Distance: 28.36 mi
Time: 2.16.16

It was a great ride and still a lovely day. I love May!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Training Ride - Saturday, 30 April

Today's ride was a real pisser. I would love to leave it at that, but I would be remiss were I to ignore the fact that this mentor had to be chatted through the second loop by Coach J (and to fail to offer a most sincere thanks). Also, thanks for thinking I was only 24!

We rode two 31-mile loops around Vinings, which is my nemesis here in Georgia (really, anywhere). I hate riding up there, but always am pleased with myself when I'm able to get through it. Today, I got through it, and that's all there is to say about that. One loop was about 3000 feet of climbing. I wish I could put that in perspective, but just know that 6000' in 60 miles is killer. I thought my legs were going to die. I had a lot of second-guessing myself. My back started to spasm after the first loop (24, ha!). I hated everything about this ride, except for the first half of the loop.  Still, I did it. I hesitate to call it good, but I will proudly point out that I still had a faster average on these hills this week than I did in uber-flat PTC (not my fault). That's a good perspective -- from that point of view, it was a pretty good ride.


Maximum speed: 42.1 mph (yeehaaaw!)
Average speed: 12.9 mph
Distance: 63.33 mi
Time: 4.52.41

There were more hilly options available. I did not take them. This ride was all about suffering, and I accomplished that, too.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Weekday ride - Thursday, 28 April

Tonight was glorious, weather-wise. After the tornadoes and storms that shook the apartment last night (no twisters in Atlanta, thank goodness), the cold front came in and settled quite nicely over us. It was beautiful and sunny all day, with only the lightest breeze.

I rode most of the time with A, but I was full of piss and vinegar (mood was good, everything was coming out exactly wrong), so I'm sorry for her. It was a good ride. My legs were tired, but my competitive side kept me going.


Maximum speed: 28.3 mph
Average speed: 15.5 mph
Distance: 20.33 mi
Time: 1.18.28

Good ride, and I love my team!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Today's Challenge: $160 to get me to Nation's Tri

I am strongly considering registering for the Olympic Distance Nation's Tri in Washington, DC this September. I have never done a tri before, much less an Olympic one, so this is a silly thing for me to even be thinking about. I hate running, and my swimming is really more aptly described as "not drowning, gracelessly".

That said, I'm still considering it. Because I am notoriously indecisive, I am putting it up to you, dear readers. If I raise $160 by the end of the day today (CLICK on "Donate Now" to the right, here), I will register for the tri, and probably resent myself for the remainder of the summer.

The best part? I'm already halfway there! I just need hundreds of people to donate $80, and I'm in.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thoughts on self

These non-quilt and non-bike related posts are starting to worm their way in here. Like this is an actual personal journal! As if!

That said... I wonder sometimes whether "that's just how Megan is" is OK. Deliberately vague (thus, deliberately infuriating, I know). I'm so awkward!

Let's ride bikes.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Recovery Ride - Sunday, 24 April

I was really looking forward to the ride this morning, and it did not disappoint. We rode to Stone Mountain and did the small loop around the park, per usual. It was slower than we might normally ride, but except for the loop, I didn't feel much like pushing it. We had a large group today, and it was a lot of fun meeting all the new people. We even picked up a stray on the way back, who had a flat but couldn't get her pump to work in any useful way.

Because we were so slow, the A group had already finished breakfast by the time we got back, but we still enjoyed our very tasty food with the leader, S, who stuck around for coffee with us (and provided very interesting tidbits of information).


Maximum speed: 34.3 mph
Average speed: 12.4 mph
Distance: 34.27 mi
Time: 2.45.01

Truly, a recovery ride.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Training ride - Saturday, 23 April

After last week's ride, K asked me to sweep for this week in PTC. I told her absolutely I would do it. Before the ride this morning, I talked to her to get an idea of what the goals for the day should be for that group, beyond making it to the end. We didn't really meet any of them.

It started out chilly, but not too bad, and drizzly with a lot of fog. I won't lie, I was anxious for the sun. The ladies and I rode well, and I truly didn't even notice the speed and how long we were taking on the ride except for when I would look at the actual clock time. I'll sum it up here: we finished between 2 and 3 hours.after everyone else. The killer was the stop time at the SAGs.... we spent too long at each, and that was my fault for not getting everyone going. The actual riding time was quite reasonable.


Maximum speed: 29.5 mph
Average speed: 12.6 mph
Distance: 59.94 mi
Time: 4.43.40

Total time... something like 6.25 hours, assuming a 9:00a start.

It was a pleasant ride otherwise, and I am so impressed with how far T and D have come. Of course, it is a joy and a pleasure to ride with C, too.

I rode in the dog shoes today and felt fine, too. Afterward, L invited us all to her pool for a picnic. We rolled in after everyone had been there for a few hours. I do like to make an entrance. I am so grateful for V and her patience today. I had a great time with her this weekend. And, I love my TNT friends! It is so totally worthwhile.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weekday ride - Thursday, 21 april

Today on the bike I had the unpleasant sensation that my cleats were misaligned, in the sense that they didn't seem to be located at the same place on my feet. This is very annoying, and I've hated these shoes since I first got them. I haven't been able to get the fit with the pedals right, nor the angle or location on the shoe. As I said, I am highly annoyed.


Maximum speed: 30.2mph
Average speed: 14.9mph
Distance: 15.05mi
Time: 1.00.06

I shortened the second loop because of the shoes. Annoyed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Running into the ground

That's what I did to my knees, running everywhere for the first few weeks of Lent, appropriate shoes be damned.

So, with bad knees I am instead walking everywhere, and occasionally trying out jogging here and there. I hope to finish strong for this holy weekend. The so us grateful for any time outside, so we will see.

Additionally, through coaxing and encouragement from one friend at school and an outright imperative from another, I am seriously considering registering for the Peachtree City Sprint tri this August. This would be my first tri, and a great foundation toward the pipedream that is a full Ironman.

My plan of attack... just get through the swim... ride like hell... and then stumble the 5k to the finish. Not throwing up gets me bonus points.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Recovery Ride - Sunday, 17 April

Today I woke up a little sore and stiff from yesterday's ride. I still wanted to stretch the legs, however, so I met V (and, eventually, G) for a recovery ride out of Kirkwood this morning. V and I didn't want to push too hard or go too far after yesterday's distance, and G was game for a shorter in-town ride. It was exactly what I wanted and needed today, a totally perfect ride. The weather was amazing (sunny and cool, with only a little breeze), and the traffic was light, as it usually is on a Sunday morning. G led us on a good route, and we three had a VERY tasty breakfast afterward.  All told, it was a great morning.


Maximum speed: 30.8 mph
Average speed: 13.1 mph
Distance: 19.69 mi
Time: 1.29.37

Here, I will add that I have ridden 670.99 miles since beginning training for TNT, and 715.62 miles since the beginning of the year. I feel great.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Reflections of a Cold April Day

Four years ago, at around 9:30am, 32 lives were horribly, horrifically taken. It was a lousy day, for a variety of reasons. Before the true horror of what had gone on that morning was generally known, a trying semester was winding down: I, personally, was looking ahead to qualifying exams. For others, final exams loomed only a couple of weeks away. It was a Monday in the middle of April in Blacksburg, virginia, so spring was still testing the waters. On that particular day, it was cold and overcast, incredibly windy, and there was even some snow. By the end of the day, national news services had turned the parking lot of the campus hotel into a veritable circus ground of news vans and satellites, and remained that way throughout the remainder of the week.

Then, across the Drillfield from our second-floor classroom, the sirens started. And, from our vantage point, as the professor continued talking about Cramer-Rao lower bounds (or something of that sort), we could see police cars and ambulances screaming around the drillfield to, forgive me, get to the other side. And then the students. Slowly, buildings were being secured and evacuated, and students were streaming, running full tilt, to get as far away from north campus as possible, as quickly as possible.

Class continued. We wanted to know what was going on; another student opened his laptop and found a brief campus-wide blast about events from several hours before, in a dorm a few buildings over. Class ended, and we weren't allowed outside; campus was in lockdown. Everyone was mad for information, and slowly e-mails from the university started filtering through, hours later. They had clogged the system with their urgency. Police were scattered all over campus, with outdoor PA systems admonishing everyone to "stay indoors, keep away from windows" which, could only be understood from indoors when one stood next to an open window.

Our classrooms had televisions with broadcast channels; we hunkered down and watched the news unfold on TV, news that was truly unfolding only a couple hundred yards away, and would grip the small town for months afterward. The cell phone signals were jammed, with 25,000 students and thousands of faculty and staff trying to get a call out to someone, anyone. I got some tongue-in-cheek texts out to my siblings, before the true scale of the events that day was realized. I got a few tongue-in-cheek texts back.

The newscasters said that there had been 2 fatalities and 12 other casualties, voiced over the images coming from across the Drillfield, of students (bodies?) being carried out, dragged out of buildings, being loaded up into ambulances. Thank goodness, was the general consensus, that it was only two dead.  About 5 minutes later, the newscasters said that there had been 20 fatalities, and as a group, we all yelled "CASUALTIES". How wrong we were; there were 32 lives lost that day, lives of children, brothers and sisters, and parents and grandparents. The newscasters noted how cruelly cold and windy it was, preventing from helicopters from landing to evacuate the most seriously injured.

It was, truly, an awful day. Count your blessings, and remember today.

Training Ride - Saturday, 16 April

Today was a tough ride. We were scheduled for 55, but I told C that I would like to ride 64 miles today, in remembrance of what happened four years ago today. He had also wanted to do extra miles, and I am grateful for his company today. It was a long, windy ride, but a good one.


Maximum speed: 31.0 mph
Average speed: 14.5 mph
Distance: 64.56 mi
Time: 4.26.00

Sadly, there's no catharsis in that. It's a sad day, and I think it always will be.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekday Ride - Thursday, 14 April

Except for commuting to school on Tuesday and Thursday this week, last night was the first time I'd been on the bike since last week's Brookhaven loops. I got there and felt like my legs were water-logged and heavy. On my rides to and from school, I've also often felt the need to just super stretch my quads, so I think that I need to be better about focusing on stretches. That is, it feels SO good to tighten my legs, that I think they need to be loosened... if that makes sense.

Anyway, I think the lack of riding and the pushing it in the wind on the commute before the ride last night contributed to my relative tiredness. I spent yesterday morning fixing the brakes on the Fuji (need a new cable... again) and then installed the new computer on the Felt. I'll tell you, I am very excited. The display is a little confusing, because there is so much always being presented (e.g., cadence, speed, and time, and then a rotating display at the bottom!) but I think I'll get used to it. It seemed pretty accurate, too, so I'm looking forward to having a few years' of quality time with it. I'm also looking forward to riding more regularly again, now that some of my deadlines have eased.


Maximum speed: 29.8 mph
Average speed: 15.1 mph
Distance: 20.36 mi
Time: 1.20.31

My goal had been to finish with an average about 15.0, which I did. It helped that I rode with A, who is, apparently, as competitive as I am. She would get ahead of me, and then when I would catch her, she wouldn't let me pass! She's so fun to ride with, and I am looking forward to training with her more. Sadly, she's riding Tahoe, so she'll be on the other side of the country (with everyone else) for the big day.

I'll say, the best part about starting training so early in the year is that I'll be ready for more rides sooner in the summer. Yea!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekday Ride - Thursday, 7 April

I know I'm (way) late posting these stats, but it's been a busy busy weekend (and even today is supposed to be highly productive -- this remains to be seen). I did ride on Thursday night, but opted to cut it to a 15 miler (doing a half loop on the second go-round, though I felt pretty good). My intent was to get back home earlier than usual to have time with the puppy before dropping her off and leaving the next day. I ended up leaving not much earlier at all, but I did enjoy the dinner and meeting our new coordinator.

I did get the new computer, but haven't installed it yet (too busy), so these are phone stats again:

Maximum speed: 20? mph
Average speed: 15.4 mph
Distance 14.88 mi
Time: 0.58.01

I felt good. I started off at the back of the front group, but they dropped me a few miles in (fine), and so I just rode hard the rest of the way.

As I haven't ridden since then, and likely won't be able to ride (except to school) until Wednesday, I think this is a good week for a bye.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A break

I'm breaking from the usual bike/quilt/TNT-related posts to just put out there that today I really miss my grandfather. No special reason, I just miss him.

That is all.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Training ride - Saturday, 2 April

Yesterday was a Very Big Day. We were scheduled to ride 45 mi up in Cartersville, which is my second most favorite ride (behind Silk Sheets, and only because it's farther away). The BL and BBC routes are relatively flat, with slow rollers, and it's just FAST up there. S, T, and D are in from out of town for this week's Master's Tournament, and all arrived yesterday. S was supposed to get in around 1, and I fully anticipated not being able to get back before 2 or 3 at the earliest (I'd forgotten just how fast the route is AND that Coach wasn't going to be there so that we would start closer to "on time"). With this in mind, I begged off after 18.5 miles or so, and then rode back to the start on my own. It hardly made a bit of difference, based on the speed of the ride, dropping those extra 8 miles. I totally should've just done it, and am kicking myself. If I had just checked the time of day at mile 18 when I made the decision to turn around, I would have realized that there was PLENTY of time to ride with the rest of the TEAM for 45 miles.

But I didn't, and the fact remains that I didn't quite ride the full distance when I could (should?) have. In the end, though, it's OK ish, because it gave me more time to get mentally ready for the Minute to Win It Challenge fundraising event that B and I put together. I don't have the money and haven't gotten the final count, but based on the number of people who showed, I'm calling it a success. It was a LOT of fun to plan and I think it was executed pretty well, though I am hardly impartial (at the same time, I am incredibly self-critical, so my assessment is probably fairly well balanced).

I'm so grateful to everyone who showed up and participated. I had a blast, and I'm optimistic that similar events in the future would also be successful. The sponsors were SO generous, too. They were great and incredible to work with, and I hope that they are as helpful the next time I need them. The whole thing was just awesome.

I digress. The point of this post was the training ride. All the stats are from a (different) app on the phone. I liked this one, because I got a voice update on total mileage and speed every mile (and, I'll tell you, those updates were coming really quickly -- I was flying).


Maximum speed: not recorded (I can't find it)
Average speed: 15.2 mph
Distance: 37.05 mi
Time: 2.26.36

There's a neat graph, too, showing my (avg? current?) speed over time; I was over 17 for a little bit there. I don't know what that means, though, because my maximum speed has to have been greater than that. Anyway, I think I like this app better than the last one, though I'm still not sure about stopping time. Clearly, it was a good ride. Look how fast I was! I especially am pleased with this one because I was alone for the second half and still maintained a really good speed with some very strong headwinds and a few rises in the road to do all on my own. That's a big deal: it's hard to keep up speed when you sometimes feel like your bike is going to be blown out from under you.

Yes, I am patting myself on the back. I'm looking forward to riding more this week (though it was supposed to be a bye) because I've ridden so well the last couple of days. There's nothing like a few good rides to serve as some awesome motivation.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Requiem for a Cyclocomputer

Six years ago, shortly after I got Baby Felt, I got a cyclocomputer from the same shop. Steve at the shop agreed that having a computer that would measure cadence, rather than estimating it yourself, was a good choice, and so he recommended the fabulous Cateye Astrale 8 (since discontinued, it seems).

This poor little guy's been feeling his age. He occasionally will stop reading cadence, only to decide a few weeks later that he has it in him, after all. Most recently, the reset button (on the bottom) became more and more difficult to push, so the stats would not always reset when I thought they had. We adapted by my being more specific about button pushes. The reset button is also the button that switches the top display between speed and cadence (I prefer having cadence up there, but the default is speed): for weeks, I have only been able to see my cadence when on that particular screen, and not all the time. We worked through this, because I know now what a comfortable cadence feels like, and it's been more of a comfort and challenge for me to have available. Finally, however, this week the reset button appears to have all but broken off completely, shearing inside its protective little rubber cover. Alas, what good is a computer that can only now serve as a cumulative record of maximum speed, average speed, and time?

We've been together through a lot--good weather and really really crappy weather (snow! sub-freezing temperatures! torrential rain!) You were with me on my first century, and all of my "longest ride ever!s". I'll miss you. Thank you for forever remembering my stats from last Saturday's lousy day at Silk Sheets. May your battery be long-lived and your maximum speed be swift.

Weekday ride - Thursday, 31 March

Today I wasn't too excited about riding. It was a very long day, and I was very tired. I *knew*, however, that I really needed to ride, for my own mental well-being. So, I packed up the bike from school and went up to meet some of the TEAM for the usual Brookhaven loops. I will say that today at 2:48p is the first time I'd seen sunlight since last Thursday; it has been rainy (like torrential sheets of rain), overcast, and dreary for a week here. And chilly. Still, I needed to ride, and ride I did, with a silent thanks to whomever ordered the lovely sky.

Just last night I ordered a new bike computer, because the old one finally bit the dust (in an apparently non-repairable way: the reset button broke.... off). Instead, I used an app on my phone (which battery lasted exactly until the end of the ride when I stopped tracking, phew!) to do the stats. I don't know how accurate the time is; the average speed looked about right (PR for the year!), but the time looked like total, and not just riding, time. I can't figure it out, and I have too many different tracks apps on the phone to remember which one does what.

Maximum speed: 34.70 mph
Average sped: 15.22 mph
Distance: 20.64 mi
Time: 1.50.09

Also, because of the app, I can tell you that I climbed 2795 total feet. I'm not sure if that seems right...

Boy, am I ever glad I rode. At first, while I was still chilly in the parking lot, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to just kill it today or go for a whatever ride. The first loop I rode strong and felt good, and I knew that the ride was worthwhile. The second loop I just went for it, and I caught G and J (uphill!) for the first time ever. I told them that I just didn't care that they were having off nights, a catch is a catch. Man, I felt GREAT tonight. I think I took J a little by surprise, but all that pent up emotion from last night and the lousy morning just drove me, and I could feel my (super) competitive side just take over. All this to say, it was a really good ride. Personal best (season) tonight.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Training ride - Saturday, 27 March

Everyone I talked to had the same general impression of the ride yesterday: felt slow and sluggish and (most of us) had tired dead-weights for legs. And, we all found that the stats at the end of the ride totally contradicted the lousy feeling we'd had during the duration, regardless of which group we'd ridden with. K and I started out like gangbusters with the front pack, just for grins and to see how long we could keep up with them. That last about 7 miles or so, I think. We were very grouchy at the start of the ride, which continued to the end. She's so fun to ride with, I'm glad to have a buddy for Fletcher.

This is a short update because I have a lot of work to get done (and to get started).

Maximum speed: 32.9 mph
Average speed: 14.7 mph
Distance: 40.74 mi
Time: 2.46.14

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekday Ride - Thursday, 24 March

This week's Brookhaven ride was no less exciting or enjoyable than last week's, which is saying something, because last week's was good. It was a windy ride last night, with temperatures in the mid-60s. Thank goodness Cindy had a spare pair of arm warmers (and thank goodness that it's the end of the winter season, such that all the cold weather gear is dramatically discounted).

Maximum speed: 28.3 mph
Average speed: 13.9 mph
Distance: 20.28 mi
Time: 1.27.00

It was, again, nice to just push it, though I'm disappointed that I just missed 14.0 for my average speed (I blame the slow roll into and then through the parking lot at the end). I felt really good on the climbs and just overall. It was a *great* ride.  Recommitment was last night, too, so it was great to see most of the team and to try on the new (tease!) jersey. I'm looking forward to Fletcher, as it's going to be a great time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Weekday Ride - Wednesday, 23 March

Today I took the first break I've had from work in a few days (though I really couldn't afford it and am now in hot water) and joined the Atkins Park Intown Ride. All the usual gang was there (that always makes me think of The Great Muppet Caper).  Now, here I am playing catch-up, with Smokey and the Bandit on in the background. I have a few more hours of work to do tonight, and then a long day of catching up further tomorrow afternoon before the Brookhaven loops.


Maximum speed: 27.1 mph
Average speed: 12.5 mph
Distance: 16.93 mi
Time: 1.20.49

I felt good on this ride. That's really all there is to it. It's supposed to storm tonight, and I hope that it does. We could feel the wind start coming up, and I swear I could smell the rain coming. It hasn't yet, but it will. And the streets of Atlanta will run green with pollen.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Training ride - Saturday, 19 March

This ride was very long (not distance-wise, just time-wise). We rode from Vinings past Six Flags in a simple, though a little hilly, out-and-back. Like always, it was worth it, but towards the end I really just wanted to stretch my legs and go. Based on how I'm feeling today (and how I felt for the rest of yesterday after the ride), it's probably just as well that I didn't. I have been absolutely exhausted lately; low energy and generally weak feeling. At least the ride was good, even though I didn't have the energy to go for the usual Stone Mountain ride this morning.

I'm not feeling particularly loquacious at this juncture, so I'll put in the stats.


Maximum speed: 33.8 mph
Average speed: 11.6 mph (waaaaaaaaaaaay slow... at the SAG, I'd been at 13.2)
Distance:  35.64 mi
Time: 3.l02.42

I'll leave with this: it was slow because I was riding at the back of the pack with an alum who's had knee surgery and back problems, and so isn't as strong as she might otherwise be, but still had an incredible attitude the whole ride. That is why it was worth it. We're a TEAM.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekday Ride - Thursday, 17 March

This was the first time I joined the weekly Thursday Brookhaven ride, which is good timing because this was the first such ride this year. That's right, two kick-offs for regular rides this week. I rode two loops, the first with C and V primarily, and then we picked up D about halfway into the second loop, as that's when we crossed paths with the A group. I had a great time, and the weather was glorious. It's so great to have an excuse (and the time) to go riding, and I'm so lucky to get to go so much this week.


Maximum speed: 28.7 mph
Average speed: 13.6 mph
Distance: 20.38 mi
Time: 1.28.18

It was a great ride for so many reasons: a lot of people showed up, the weather was awesome, the route is sweet,, and I just felt really good. We stayed at Elwood's for pizza and beer and good conversation afterwards. All told, it was an excellent night; especially having played hooky during the day, thus putting me outdoors for about 8 hours on an amazing day. The only thing is that today I am absolutely exhausted. I am totally looking forward to making these weekday rides regularly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Weekday Ride - Wednesday, 16 March

Today was a great day for a number of reasons.

1. I got shit done at KSU, which is the first time that has happened this semester.
2. I got from school to home, let out and fed the puppy, got changed and loaded, and got to Atkins Park in the middle of rush hour in under half an hour. This may not mean anything to those of you not familiar with what this feat entails, but it was pretty freaking sweet.

I'll come back to 3 after talking about the ride. Tonight was an awesome intown ride; saw some familiar faces (Warren rode with us!) and met a number of new people. I am really looking forward to the season's weekday rides, because it means after training is over I'll still have regular groups to ride with.

Maximum speed: 36.9 mph
Average speed: 12.6 mph
Distance: 15.41 mi
Time: 1.13.16

And, back to 3. Today, thanks to everyone who has so graciously and generously donated their hard-earned money, I surpassed my fundraising goal. That's an incredible feat, but I'm not finished! I'm going to keep going and working to improve the lives of blood cancer patients and families. I won't forget, however, that I am truly blessed.