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.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Recovery Ride - Sunday, 13 March

Today the Kirkwood group rode the Stone Mountain ride again, and it was a great ride. It wasn't too windy, and the weather really was about perfect (I had to take off my base layer at the park). I rode the B group with K, and it was just a really positive, fun ride. She's on the Fletcher team, so I certainly plan to ride the event with her then, and possibly get gimmicky with the fund raising, too.

Afterwards, she, G, and I stayed and had lunch, which was fun and very tasty (though I probably should only have eaten half the sandwich).

All around, a great day. I need to ride tomorrow for a proper recovery, though, so that I don't want to die in the middle of the week.


Maximum speed: 32.7 mph
Average speed: 13.0 mph
Distance: 33.18 mi
Time: 2.32.58

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Training ride - Saturday, 12 March

Today's ride was AWESOME. It was the pacelining day (the first GTR I did last year!), this time out in Silk Sheets. I love that ride. Love it love it love it. It was awesome that I also got to ride with V, which doesn't usually happen on GTRs. She smoked me, too. Anyway, I rode the whole ride with V, and then most of it with D and K. Despite a flat coming into the SAG stop (D's, not mine), it was rather uneventful, and a lot of fun. There were a few hills to keep it interesting and to make it a decent training run, but not so many that I wanted to die. It started out ass cold (which is to say about 31F), but it was sunny and clear, and warmed up really quickly.

Maximum speed: 36.3 mph
Average speed: 13.9 mph
Distance: 34.82 mi
Time: 2.29.47


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lent: Day One

Boy, oh boy, was today tough! I spent a lot of time drinking water, which meant I also spent a lot of time (literally) running to and from the bathroom. I'm doing the best that I can with this whole not walking thing, but for sanity and my legs' sake, I may have to modify it to being a solely outdoors activity--at least until I get into better shape. I made the mistake of starting off all gangbusters this morning, running the dog on our usual 1.5 mile walk route, and then still had to ride my bike to/from school, not to mention the running around the building, up and down stairs, and running the dog the other times throughout the rest of the day.

It's getting old really quickly, but at this juncture I still think it's funny and a good challenge. I'm going to keep it up as long as I can. One of the hardest parts about this is simply remembering to run.

I hope this doesn't kill my cycle training.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Lenten Sacrifice

As dictated by "Anonymous", this Easter season I will be giving up walking. That is, if I must go anywhere on foot, I must run.

What a challenge, indeed!

(cross-posted to fundraising page)

Mardi Gras Challenge: Success (re-post from an e-mail)

Thank you to everyone you donated during the Mardi Gras Challenge. With your help, we raised $780! That is incredible for a time spanning less than a week, and I am so touched by your generosity and I am honored to know you.

Just because this most recent challenge is over, there is still a far bigger challenge ahead: eradicating blood cancers. I am still several hundred dollars short of my (low) goal, and there are other benefits to you for donating:

1. I have finished piecing the quilt top (for photos, see Any donation of at least $5 makes you eligible for the raffle, just indicate whether you would like to be included in the drawing, which will be at the end of May.

2. The refund rally is still on! This tax season, remember how much you hate paying taxes, and how you didn't miss the money you're getting refunded this April. Please consider donating 10% of your refund to this worthy cause, which is 100% tax deductible.

3. As my mother says, the best personal reward is doing something for others: you would be making a huge difference in the lives of patients and families, by helping support them with mentoring programs, research, and other care.

Thank you, again, for your continued generosity (and patience!)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An Urban Donor: Personal Challenge Met

Today, for the first time, I donated platelets. I'll tell you, it wasn't the ordeal I expected it to be (to the point that I'm thinking about when I'll be next available to go back).

1. They no longer do it with a needle per arm: instead, it's one needle (or at least only one complex prick) and you're good to go.
2. They let me watch Harry Potter (and simultaneously read Anne of Green Gables, which, as anyone who knows the slightest bit about me knows, is one of my favorite books of all time. What a combo!
3. No Lorna Doones, but I did get a packet of Oreos and a bottle of water for while I waited for G.
4. They take as many units as you are able to give (based on height, weight, platelet count, gender, etc). I could only give one unit, and it took about an hour. It only takes about half an hour to forty minutes more to donate two or three units (the max).

I got a little numb/tingly in my mouth and nose, as if I'd been drinking, but that was about it. I felt great at the end (though a little sleepy and antsy from sitting so still and not being allowed to sleep).

Fact: A typical patient may require up to 120 units of platelets over the course of his treatment.
Fact: A person can donate platelets twice a month, for 24 times a year (that's a maximum of 72 units in a year)
Fact: Platelets only last 5 days, because they can't be frozen like red blood, and one of those days goes to testing.
Fact: If platelets are unavailable to meet the need of a patient, his chemo or other cancer treatment must be further delayed until both the platelets are available and have had time to take.

And, finally...

Fact: not all those who need platelets have family and friends who can donate for them, and rely on the community. It is no more uncomfortable than giving blood (actually less uncomfortable, given my lousy blood donation experience), and only takes a couple hours of time. Unless you are unable to donate, you should. You could help save a life.

This is so important, I can't emphasize it enough. Please donate. If you can't bring yourself to donate platelets or blood, then please consider donating money to support patients in other ways.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quilt Progress: Top Done!

That's right! ARA sent a beautiful deep brown fabric to use as the outer border, which I finally washed, ironed, and cut today. If you'll recall, all that remained to be done was the two borders, so that's what I did today.

Apparently, however good a camera you have, it's really hard to get a good picture of fabrics.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Recovery Ride - Sunday, 6 March

In a word, today sucked (the word being "sucked"). It was raining this morning when I took the puppy out and the only good part about the day is that the rain had stopped by the time of the ride. The temperature was in the low fifties and it was windy. And, for whatever reason, S decided to take us on a lumpy ride. I don't think I would have minded the hills so much if it either weren't so windy or if it hadn't been so miserable yesterday. All this to say, my legs were tired and just like water-soaked logs: heavy and useless.

Everyone on the ride (all five of us!) really didn't want to be there, but was only there because we felt everyone else wanted to be. As soon as this was sorted out, we decided at mile 9 (right next to my apartment! the tease!) that we would only ride a total of 15 miles instead of the originally planned 25. I was fine with that, believe me.

Again, this was a character building ride, and I'm glad I went (though I am also glad, sort of, that we didn't go the whole distance).


Maximum speed: 28.1 mph
Average speed: 12.3 mph
Distance: 16.26 mi
Time: 1.19.18

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Training ride - Saturday, 5 March

Today we rode up in Cherokee county. I recognized the Publix that we left from as one where we got M's mom's birthday cake last year. It was all very exciting to recognize the start, when I thought it was going to be in a strange place. That's not to say I recognized any part of the ride in the least.

Anyway, it was a cold (50 degrees!) and wet (downpours!) ride, and a lot of people didn't make it, but I did and so did three of my mentees! woohoo!

I rode alternately with L, A, and D (who is J's friend), and had a great time. The very cold/wetness of the day made my hands stiff, so I had a hard time shifting and my knees were tired. My energy sapped pretty quickly, too, because of a few unlucky stops (a missed turn, a brake rubbing a wheel) and one good, windy one (the SAG).

In the end, it was very character building.


Maximum speed: 33.7 mph
Average speed: 12.6 mph
Distance: 29.65 mi
Time: 2.20.13

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mardi Gras Challenge!

I am adding a Lenten challenge, just in time for spring! Mardi Gras is next week, and I am offering a huge opportunity: whoever donates the largest amount between now and the end of Fat Tuesday (March 8th) gets to pick what I give up for Lent! Sorry to disappoint, but I'm already a vegetarian, so you'll have to get creative with this one.

I will post the winner (and their decision) on my training blog and as an update to my information on Facebook, for all the world (that I know) to see.


(cross-posted to my main fundraising page)