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.