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.