Saturday, December 29, 2012

This week in review: not a lot happened

Last weekend I didn't have time to update because we flew to Texas a couple hours after I finished my solo 6-miler that morning. I was pretty proud of myself that day for a number of reasons: it was a chilly morning (though sunny, and the water on the East Lake golf course was beautiful), I had to run 6 miles by myself, and after a couple of miles in I hit my stride and felt great.

Then we went to TX, and I packed enough for three days' worth of running: Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Sunday happened: 4 miles on the trail with C, Boy's brother, resulting in a 5k PR (whoops!) Tuesday didn't happen: there was an electrical storm for about 4 hours that morning, lasting until around 8:00a, at which point the rain started to turn into sleet, which itself turned into snow, which lasted the rest of the day. Tuesday was also Christmas Day, so there was no slipping out with all the company over to run 3 miles. I got a mile in on Wednesday, but the path was treacherous with all the ice from the day before, and the grass/land next to the path was just uneven enough not to be safe. Our flight on Thursday was canceled and the rebook was for 6:00p, which was then delayed about an hour, getting us home after 11. So, no run on Thursday.

That brings us to today. I ran 8 miles at the river. This is, if I remember the nordic training from high school correctly, the longest I've ever run, and certainly the longest I've ever run without plyos or workouts in the middle. Go me!

Me, going. This is an accurate reenactment of my run today.
I also kept up, for the most part, with the fasties C and M. I had a nice time chatting and running and falling behind on the last half mile climb to the parking lot. I had a REALLY nice time having coffee afterward.


Average pace: 10:10 min/mi (10:17)
Distance: 8.03 mi
Time: 1.21.37 (1.22.34)
Average Heart Rate: 187 (235)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's been a nightmare of a week...

Anyone with access to broadcast or print media is aware of what happened in Connecticut. It's a horrible, horrible thing and brings a whole slew of horrible, horrible memories back. I'm not going to discuss it further here, beyond sending thoughts up north to those families, and the hope that they find comfort and solace this holiday season.

My personal trials and tribulations pale in comparison and aren't worth mentioning here. This will be a very brief post and recap:

I felt great on Sunday at the ride, even with a 5 mile run in my legs from the day before. That was awesome, so I did a loop around Stone Mountain park and STILL felt great.

I felt great on Tuesday, despite a nagging tightness in my right Achilles tendon, and had a good run.

On Wednesday I was not feeling amazing, and opted to run in the neighborhood at home instead of driving up to Brookhaven with the team. This turned out to be a good decision, as my tights wouldn't stay up and my jersey wouldn't stay down. I ended up doing 1.5 mi with Sikari in the dark, never having been so grateful for a run to be over. I did strength exercises on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I did not run on Thursday: I walked the pups with Boy for 2 miles and otherwise took the day off (beside walking to/from MARTA). I felt my Achilles really needed a rest. I did stretch.

This morning I woke up and felt good. My Achilles wasn't sore or tight, so I knew I had been smart to take Thursday and Friday off. We were scheduled for 6 miles, so after an hour of stretching clinics and other meetings, I set off with P on the 6 mile course (with new friend J, who was the only other full-distance runner there today, never too far behind). I eased myself into the run, keeping a light conversation with P the whole time. I didn't have any pain, and made myself stop at the water stops (except the last one, because it was so close to the end and I didn't need it).


Average pace: 10.47 (10.54)
Distance: 5.91 mi
Time: 1.03.48 (1.04.27)
Average heart rate: 153 (187 max)

I forgot to get a picture immediately after the run. Whoops.

All told, a good run. I didn't realize that my pace was as fast as it was, as I felt pretty slow the whole time. We walked for may 100 yards at around mile 4.5, but otherwise were pretty consistent. Afterward, I helped some friends move. Around then is when the pain started, and my Achilles was really sore. I need to be better about icing after runs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Love, Mom

I'm going to take a break from posting about training and TNT (and interrupt my mid-week blog silence) for a minute, and instead talk a little about the other (bigger) half of my life (my life is huge).

If you're a good teacher like me (ha!), it's that time of year when the thank you e-mails and we-appreciate-your-help gestures start to come in. Despite the stress of last-minute e-mails, requests for help, and "what do I need to know for the exam"s; despite the frustration that there is still a disconnect between knowing and doing for some students (as is the unfortunate nature of statistics), I love teaching. I have been forcefully reminded of that over the last couple of weeks.

It is incredibly rewarding and heart-warming to receive no-strings-attached displays of gratitude and thoughtfulness from my students, who are universally in the throes of agony and stress from finals week (and still several days away from the final for my class). Who does that? Good kids, that's who. I love teaching.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

This week in training: A Santa Ride, increased mileage, and cookies

That's right. Those of you who know me know that cookies play an integral role in my training, primarily via fundraising. Thanks to the lovely friends who were at the Santa Ride in memory of Warren as well as those other lovely friends who know good baking when presented with it, I raised another couple hundred dollars for LLS this week.

On Sunday's ride my legs were totally whipped from last weekend's track training, and I expect the same will be true tomorrow and every Sunday for the remainder of this season. I did my long run on Wednesday (4 miles!) and am pleased with myself for that. The big news is that today I ran (jogged) all of 5 miles with my buddy, C, who will now also be too tired to ride too hard on Sundays and will likely be my company for the rest of the season on that, too.

I didn't run on Thursday: I felt kind of icky the whole day and got home after dark. I realized when I got home that all my running clothes were dirty, too, so that sealed the decision to take a sometimes necessary off day. I did walk the dogs 2 miles yesterday (and after today's run, too, because why not?) in addition to shorter walks on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I've had plenty of time on my feet.

Today's stats:

Average pace: 10.50 min/mi (10.59)
Distance: 5.02 mi
Time: 0.54.22 (0.55.09)
Average Heart Rate: 157 bpm

Here we are after 5 miles. Check out my new hat! Also free!

I mentioned the wonky HR stats before our ride last Sunday and C suggested that I was wearing the strap just too low, since then I've had it jammed right up underneath the girls (and tightened a bit more for good measure) and I haven't seen the weird max or spikes that I was before. Problem solved, for free!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Track workouts are for the birds

Seriously, I was excited about the track workout today because it was promised that we would work on our form, breathing, and foot turnover. We did all of the above, which was great. It turns out that my focus on the position of my body, my arm pumping, and even counting my breaths is spot on. I am even right where I'm supposed to be with regard to foot turnover, taking 176 of the 180 recommended strides per minute. I think that's easily within a margin of error.

However, track workouts stink, because we stopped for 5+ minutes every quarter mile (one lap) to talk more. It got tedious and I got tired standing there. I did learn things (see above) but I would rather have learned first run later.

Anyway, today's stats:
Average pace: 9.55 min/mi (10.15)
Distance: 3.09 mi
Time: 0.30.37 (0.31.39)
Average heart rate: 201 bpm (which I tend to doubt)

After the GTS... Best caption for the face I'm making here wins.
No contest here, I'm clearly trying to squeeze one out.
As far as the heart rate goes, apparently this version of the HRM strap struggles when the band gets sweaty (all the time) or with dry-fit material (also all the time), and for a lot of people it seems to be most buggy right at the start of a run or ride and then balance out. That makes sense, as it would explain the normal average heart rates that I've gotten in the past as well as the weird spikes. It makes sense for today, too, because it was all starts and stops.

Beside the GTS today, in which we saw C from the KSR join the Team (yea! but she's too fast for me), this week I rode my bike twice (KSR and then Thursday's commute to/from school) and ran 4 times (TWRSa). Between that and figuring out that I need to look at calories in and out on a more micro view (daily vs weekly), I was able to lose 4 pounds this week. My body was just waiting for me to figure it out, it seems. So, some (not all yet) excess weight lost, some more progress made on the dissertation, and a bunch of cookies sold makes for a pretty satisfying week.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This week in training

Belated Graciasgiving wishes to you, my 7 readers. I just got back home from a GTS, our first at The River. It was a chilly start, but standing in the sun (and then running) made all the difference. I ran with P, who I first met on Wednesday. He's a friend of D and is new to TNT, if not running and cycling. It's been a pretty good week in terms of excercise: I ran on Sunday (because I totally bailed on the ride to Duluth with the KSR folks) as well as on Tuesday (with some sweet PRs and my first sub-10-minute mile!) and, of course Wednesday. On Thursday I opted for a ride out to Stone Mountain and back, partly to make up for the lack of a ride on Sunday and partly to stretch my legs differently. I hadn't been on the bike since last week and it had been too long. I was pretty tight and sore, but it was still an enjoyable ride with good company.

Post-post-run-cooldown. Sunny and cool and awesome.

Yesterday, of course, was a rest day. I am very good at rest days.

I'm feeling pretty good about these runs, and I think that when the time comes (next week?) I'll be good to go for increased mileage. That's been an option the last few weeks, too, but you know me.


Average pace: 11.07 (11.19)
Distance: 3.18
Time: 0.35.20 (0.35.57)
Average Heart Rate: 193

These heart rates have seemed off lately, I'm not sure what to make of it. I feel good during the run, and not like my heart is trying to beat its way out of my chest, so I'm going to assume I'm OK and that it's the technology.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Running... and walking a little, too

This week I rode on Sunday (a really good day with A and M) on the usual KSR route. It's nice to be able to just enjoy that ride and ride with whom I want without having to worry about making up for training.

I also ran on Tuesday and Wednesday and, of course, this morning. I did not run on Thursday (again), and this week I didn't have much of an excuse besides time's getting away from me and then having to make (tasty) mushroom soup. I know that if I want to get the most out of this season and training I have to get out there each day, and as I'm already cycling instead of running on Sundays I don't think I can afford to miss another run day.

Don't worry: as far as rest days go, I am very honest about sticking to them.

This morning was D's first GTS with the team, and it was nice to have someone to run with. She woke up dehydrated (probably from having the heat on, it's finally getting cool here) and didn't feel fantastic while on the course. So, I was happy for the excuse to walk a little bit and, all told, we still ended up running the bulk of it.

Not bad for  a cool and sunny Saturday.

I forgot to start the GPS until about 3/4 of a mile in, so these stats are from Diane's Strava:

Average pace: 11.20 min/mi
Distance: 3.6 mi (including warm up)
Time: 0.40.45 (including warm up)
Average Heart Rate (this one's mine): 134

Monday, November 12, 2012

First GTS: Look Ma, I'm a runner!

Last week I started unofficially officially training for the Publix marathon. The event itself isn't until March 17, but I sort of wonder whether I didn't start early enough. Remember: I'm not really a runner.

Anyway, the GT team started doing unofficial group runs last Tuesday and Thursday of about a mile each, so I thought I could do that. I did not want to stay on campus after dark, however, so I went home and ran a mile and a half on Tuesday and felt pret-ty good.

On Wednesday I had already planned on joining the unofficial Team group run out of Brookhaven (it's nice to just expect to be there once a week) with D. Neither of the coaches were able to make it, but K (my excellent mentor) did, and so we ran a 3.6 mile out-and-back.

On Thursday I had every intention of running a mile "recovery", but then the nerves started acting up (not in the anxiety sense but in the neurological sense) and I felt weird and didn't think even a mile-long run was a good idea.

I felt better by Friday morning, but that is a scheduled rest day so I did absolutely nothing besides school work. Let me tell you, that was a great plan, because I was able to submit a draft of my prelims to my extraordinary (6th-grade advanced-group spelling word) adviser. Until I get feedback from her, I'm operating on Megan time. Listen: it feels pretty damn good.

Saturday morning was the first official OFFICIAL GTS (session, not ride) and kickoff. The tri team was there and there was a little coaches' meeting before we got started. D was on a kayaking adventure in Florida, so I was on my own (though I saw a number of people I knew. Yea! friends!) for the run itself. We had three options: 2, 3, or 4 miles for the first run. Not wanting to overdo it, I chose the safe 3-mile option, which was also an out-and-back. It ended up being only about 2.75 miles, however, which I would have known if I had checked the GPS watch C graciously lent to me for at least the duration of the season. I turned back when I was supposed to according to the cue, but not according to the distance. I'm a little disappointed, but during the meeting beforehand they warned us that distances were approximate.

I have things to learn, certainly, about the run team.

I will have stats from each run, but they are going to be different from the bike (for example, no maximum speed). All stats posted will be moving averages (totals). When I've PRd for distances, I will note that, too.

GTS Stats:
Average pace: 10:51 min/mile (11.01)
Distance: 2.74 mi
Time: 0.29.45 (30.12)
Average Heart Rate: 170

I only stopped twice, both times for the water stop. The coaches were very specific about ALWAYS STOPPING AT WATER STOPS, and drinking 8oz of water while there. I know I will cramp if I drink that much that fast before running, so I only had about 4 oz each time (and almost cramped as it was). I should've only stopped on the way back.

Anyway, it was a very positive experience, and at the end the team captain took pictures of everyone so that we would have faces to go with the names (my name is Megan). I hope to do a "photographic essay" of the season, involving a picture from each GTS. Since D wasn't there, this mugshot will have to do.

I just ran 2.74 miles and already changed. I am so fast.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Running Cyclist

I'm updating (twice!) today with the intention of getting back into the habit of journaling my training progress. As those of you with Facebook (who haven't hidden my constant requests for fundraising from their newsfeed) know, I registered for the Georgia Publix (insert large peach here) Marathon for March 17th next year. I'll be training with the Team in Training marathon team, because I have such low faith in my willpower that being accountable to others and a cause is the only way I'll be able to get through it. Some things to note:

1. I am not a runner, despite faking it (poorly) during ski season in high school
2. The longest distance I've run since high school is the 10K portion of two Olympic tris (and I didn't run the whole of either of them).
3. I have these short, stumpy legs.
4. I make excuses.

To the ends of successfully completing a marathon despite 1-4 and a 5-100 not listed here, I am also racing a 15K in the middle of January (also here in Atlanta) and possibly some 5Ks just to establish a baseline (slow).

Anyway, this process is going to require a lot of reflection and bookkeeping, just so I can see the progress I've made and show to myself that it is, in fact, something I can do. It's also to show you (my 5 readers) that this is something you can do, too. And, I'm holding myself accountable.

Be prepared for boring training run updates. They are going to consist of about 3 miles to start with, and will be boring. I'll be using Strava to track my progress as well, so there will be fun stats to follow.

A week of Very Bad Ideas.

You know me as An Urban Cyclist (or, more likely, as Megan, because that's who I am). For two years I have regaled you with stories of my exploits on the bike, both as a commuter around Atlanta and as a participant and mentor with the Team in Training cycling team. I have become less consistent with posting these stories because I lost the habit, and habits are hard things to rebuild.

Yesterday was Thursday, which meant it was a ripe day for riding in the neighborhoods of Brookhaven. I had ridden to school (8.5 miles) in a lot of traffic (long waits through multiple cycles at various lights). The ride in Brookhaven starts at 6:00p now because of the earlier sunset, so I knew I wanted to get up there around 5:30p or so. I could do this in one of two ways: ride my bike up there (about 8.5mi up Peachtree) or take MARTA (about half an hour). Rather than spend the two bucks required for a half hour train ride, I left the office at 4:30p and set off on my northward journey. I really like the route up W. Peachtree and Peachtree, it's neat to ride out of Midtown and up through Buckhead to Brookhaven; the only problem was the traffic (and one other cyclist). Most cars gave me plenty of room (three lanes in each direction on Ptree, one way traffic on W. Ptree), but some just couldn't be bothered and came within inches of my bars as they passed. I would totally ride up to the start again, but I would have to leave earlier in the day to avoid the worst of humanity (which is, of course, Atlanta drivers and entitled cyclists during the rush).

Maximum speed: 28.1 mph
Average speed: 11.8 mph (because of slowly rolling up to lights)
Distance: 8.5 mi
Time: 0.42.58

Ride to Brookhaven:
Maximum speed: 30.8 mph
Average speed: 12.8 mph
Distance: 8.2 mi
Time: 0.38.16

Ride in Brookhaven (1 loop):
Maximum speed: 29.8 mph
Average speed: 13.1 mph
Distance: 10.3 mi
Time: 0.47.07

The loop around Brookhaven was nice, but even though I'd eaten well during the day, I felt weak and shaky toward the end and decided another 10 miles wasn't the best idea. L and V were riding with me and were also due for shorter rides, so they didn't mind calling it quits early with me. It was a great recovery-paced ride, and nice to ride with these ladies.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Viva Bike Vegas -- A Quick Recap

Some of you may know that I get distracted easily. Throw in the requirements of grad school (RAing! Prelims! Managing other students!) and it's understandable (again, for those who know me) that I will get side-tracked.

I thought, rather than try to catch up on months' worth of cycling I would post some numbers. Anyone with any passing familiarity with me knows that numbers are among the things I love best.

Months since my last post: 3 (almost to the day)
Miles ridden since then: 1110.39 (total mileage on the year: 2880)
Elevation gained (lower bound): 44,618'
Bike rides since then: 39
Money raised: $761 (between June 28 and August 27, actually)
Maximum temperature ridden in: 105F (on event day. in the desert)

Between this season and last, I raised over $5,000 to help in the fight against blood cancers. I hate cancer. I really, really do hate it.

The ride in in Nevada was beautiful -- there isn't much to do out there, so you can't help but notice the beauty of Lake Mead and the surrounding mountains and canyons. I had intended to ride the 122 mile option with L, A, K, D, and B, but we got separated early on because I stayed back to sweep one of our riders who was, at that time, by herself. Despite the possibility of plans to work out getting on the 122 mi route later on, it was not to be. I had a wonderful time riding with my other little group, two of whom were my mentees--both cancer survivors--and two of whom were first-time TEAMmates riding their first ever century. Everyone looked good, despite the heat and lack of humidity (I had been barking for a week about hydration), and everyone finished under his own power. An incredible and inspiring day, and I am so proud of--and happy for--the team. This was a tough ride, mentally and physically, and everyone made it through, no worse for wear.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two weekends of Training Rides - Saturday, 14 and 21 July

The last two weekends have been great. They've also been wet. For the second time in a week, I am putting on sopping wet shoes for a Sunday ride, after they've been (literally) chilling over a floor vent.

I am also OK with this.

Last weekend I rode with mentee and new participant A, who started the season guns a-blazin'. She is  strong and powerful and has great handling skills, and with a bike that fit who knows what she could do. We rode with anOTHer new participant, B, up in Cartersville, the flattish and fast BBC 48 route. We ended up doing 50, however, because in the rain we weren't able to see the road markings on the way back and just rode the route backward instead. The extra 2 miles weren't a big deal, but the buckets of rain we had for half the ride were. It was A's first time riding in a downpour, and besides the fact that our legs were getting tight from the chill (and that we were reading road markings backward), it was only the stinging of the rain hitting our eyeballs that dampened (ha!) our spirits. The ride was GREAT.

Thankfully, Strava recorded the whole thing, as my computer gave up the ghost (I killed it) when it started raining. Given that we were WAY slow on the way back in, the average speed of 15.0mph is impressive.

Details can be found here.


This weekend the team found itself back in the Gaps, and I found myself riding with survivor and alum A and my trusty sidekick D. The day started out hot, humid, and sunny, so the shade of Wolfpen Gap was more than welcome (if the grade itself wasn't). I was feeling GREAT after warming up, but A had never ridden the route in the counter-clockwise direction before and D was coming off a couple weeks of not riding much. I took the opportunity to ride up ahead of them and then descend back to where they were a few times on Neel's and Wolfpen. They looked great, and steady paces prevailed. We made it across Neel's and Wolfpen without incident, when about a mile from Suches I looked ahead and saw a big cloud of fog. As I was saying "That doesn't look promising" the sky opened up and we were caught in a downpour. We hunkered down under shelter provided by the gas station at Suches, listening for thunder in the distance (we heard it).

I knew that my brakes were already soft from the water and that I was not interested in the descent from Woody's (my favorite part of the whole ride, dammit) in the torrents of rain we were experiencing, and convinced (in a manner) D and A to ride to the top of Woody's and assess the situation from there. Well, the sky continued to piss all over us, and we hitched a ride in the bed of the SAG truck (thanks, K!) back to the start. We saw A (see last week's summary) and R, both completing their first ever gaps experience) about four miles from the finish, meaning that they BOOKED it down the hill (we were at the top with them).

I think everyone, with the exception of M, had a great experience yesterday. So proud of our team!

Maximum speed: 40.02 mph
Average speed: 9.78 mph
Distance: 30.81 mi
Time: 3.09.13
Climb: 3,954'

Details and map here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 7 July

We had a 40 mile ride in PTC last weekend, which is one of my favorite places to ride. Flat, fast, fun. I love it. I LRd with the ever enjoyable M, who got me so caught up in her story that we completely blew past a turn and added a couple extra miles. Even with that additional mileage (not even noticeable), we had a great ride. It was a hot day, but started off cool and wet after an evening rain, so it didn't really heat up until later in the day.

I don't have much to say except the usual about just how inspiring I find this woman. That's probably getting old by now, but every weekend I leave the ride awe-struck.

Stats (from Strava because I foolishly deleted all my text messages from my phone without transferring stats first):

Maximum speed:  36.4 mph
Average speed: 12.5 mph
Distance: 38.7 mi
Time: 3.05.05

Details and map can be found here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 30 June

Shaaaaaame on me. Shame on me for not updating here this week. I didn't have anything to say on the 23rd, because I missed that GTR. My dear friend V and I had registered for an Olympic distance tri, and despite our severe training drought, we went and competed on one of the hottest days we've had. V came in second for her group! I'm so proud of her! Next time, though, we train. I had a good day, too, despite the three days of stiff legs and arms that immediately followed. There might have been a correlation.

Anyway, I then took most of that week off, except for Brookhaven loops (it was 100F that night, so really it was Brookhaven LOOP). Last weekend was predicted to be a scorcher, and they were right. The grass, while not brown, was crunchy and dry and poked my toesies as I watered my "garden". The sun was hot and high. The temperature was like the sun: we hit 105F (according to my car, while I was moving), breaking Atlanta's ALL TIME heat record. I found it a little hard to believe that 105 was only the hottest it's ever been here, because temps of over 100F are not unheard of, and 105 isn't that much higher when you're talking about a city that, despite some good attempts, considers concrete to be landscaping.

That said, it was a DRY heat, so instead of the usual swampy-sauna days we had oven days. And it was good, because they were over quickly. Saturday's ride was supposed to be 35 mi, but as we were in Sandy Springs (HILLY), we had a 31mi route. And, as a road on that route was closed and torn up, we ended up with a 27.5 mile route, which despite our standing around trying to figure out what to do about the closure, still got us in before the day got too hot (it was still in the upper nineties/low 100s when we rolled in -- in the South, heat is relative).


Maximum speed: 41.9 mph
Average speed: 12.6 mph
Distance: 27.46 mi
Time: 2.10.13

I was going to post my elevation, but I couldn't connect with Strava on Saturday so I don't have those details. I am REALLY proud of the team: it was a blistering hot ride, but everyone did great, reported a good ride, and came in all (sweaty) smiles.


I rode on Sunday, too, in similar conditions (the sky was mercifully hazy, keeping some of the sun's heat off us in the morning), but the usual KSR. I forgot to turn Strava back on after the rest at the park. I am kicking myself for that, because I even told C, on the way out, "I think I forgot to turn Strava back on", but then mis-remembered starting it again and ended up with nothing for the second half. No matter, it was still a great ride. I had the A-group in my sight most of the time on the way out, with no small thanks to J for letting me suck his wheel, and felt good, if sticky, the whole time.


Maximum speed: 31.7 mph
Average speed: 14.5 mph
Distance: 27.36 mi
Time: 1.52.25

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 16 June

This morning we were on my home turf, doing the usual Kirkwood Sunday Ride with the team. I love this ride. We had guest coaches today, J and G, because D and N are out in sunny California, starting RAAM (wheels down at 3:00EDT!) Among other things, that meant OUR wheels down was pretty close to on-time. I headed out toward the front of the pack, but about 5 miles in was already pulled back to LR, which was enjoyable because I got to ride with M. She is a trip, and just a delight to ride with. Everything is new and exciting and monumental for her on the rides, and she is just proud of her new accomplishments each week. I must say: so am I. J showed up for the first time this season (not a morning person -- I get it), and so she got to meet the team and come out for a ride. She looks pretty strong, so I think she's going to do well this year. I also got to ride with L (from the summer team) on the way back. I like her a lot, and this was the first time I'd really ever ridden with her. The three of us made a nice little group.

The ride itself was not very eventful, but it saw the return of my grumps. Again, five minutes with M all but makes it go away, but I would like to avoid them completely if possible. I am pretty sure at this point that it is NOT a sugar thing, but is instead a Megan-Get-Over-It thing. That's looking tough fornow, I hope to master it.

At the end of the ride, everyone stuck around for brunch at Petit Marche (again, KSR tradition), and it was great to visit in a relaxed, social setting. The grumps came back because I am in that mood lately, but it was a real treat to see H for the first time since her accident. She still isn't riding, but she's home and driving and on her feet, and it was so nice just to catch up a bit.


Maximum speed: 32.0 mph
Average speed: 11.6 mph
Distance: 34.75 mi
Time: 2.57.52

Details and map can be found here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride - Sunday, 3 June 2012

Unlike the last two seasons, I did not include a preview of the ride. I know, I know, that was likely the most devastating part of the whole of June for you, but in my defense, I was busy. I couldn't tell you what I was busy doing, but I'm sure it was very important and not at all made-up.

We left for Nevada early on Friday, 1 June. I hadn't been out west since 2003, and I had never been to Nevada or California, so it was all very exciting, made more so by being on a plane full of my teammates. The air was electric with energy, but nothing else dangerous or explosive because the TSA wouldn't have stood for that.

We got to Nevada without incident, and piled our luggage onto a Ford Explorer and our selves into a limo bus. A limo bus may be great for getting around town before prom or after a wedding, but it is not the best mode of transportation for getting from an airport through the mountains to a destination several hours away, in terms of raw power or passenger comfort. Despite that, we made it to Tahoe--with a stop at In-n-Out burger (not worth the guilt, I assure you)--in decent time. There was a bit of relaxing and getting the lay of the land (after getting our bikes in a not-at-all-hurried fashion), and then heading out to go on a catamaran for a cruise on the lake. The weather really could not have been better if we'd asked for it, so the sky was crystal clear and the water a brilliant blue, and it was a great way to close out the first day there. It was made better by the fact that B and B were able to join us for the cruise after all, and got to meet the team in our most comfortable social situation: drinking.

On Saturday we had breakfast at a little cafe just down the road, picked up our ride packets, and then headed out for a shakedown ride up to Emerald Bay and back (technically, it was up to Inspiration Point, which overlooks Emerald Bay, but including that would be pedantic). The altitude did a number on my breathing -- I didn't feel winded, just short of breath (if that makes sense). The climb itself wasn't bad except for the thin air. I was with V, though (she'd gotten a flat early on and I'd hung back to help her fix it and keep her company in my grumpy way), and she assured me that it would soon be over (it wasn't) and that it would be better next day (it was). We got some pictures at the top, and I saw a Stellars Jay (a beautiful bird), and ate. And drank (Nuun).

I'll say here that J and G did a great job coaching the team this year, as the two trips to the Gaps were perfect training - nothing at Tahoe was worse than anything we'd already done (indeed, Three Gap has more elevation than all of AMBBR in half the miles), so we were well prepared for the adventure before us.

Aside: I am listening to ABBA Gold as I write this up, which makes for a very upbeat experience. Excuse any accidental leaking of lyrics into this recap.

Anyway, as I said, the ride to Inspiration Point and back was fraught with peril, as the steeply banked and tightly wound switchbacks we made our way up had to be navigated back down, and it wasn't the most fun thing I've done. I descended with V, L, and A, who, after his crash in the gaps, was rightly on edge about the descents there and the next day. I told him I would wait for him at the bottom, after watching his line for a bit of the descent (he looked good), and the four of us regrouped and headed back to town. With one small incident (I almost bit it because of an invisible lip along the edge of the road and the shoulder I was trying to escape) and a bit of good luck (a butterfly caught my draft for 300-400 yards), we made it back in one piece, better for having tackled one of the two tough climbs expected the next day.


Maximum speed: 28.8 mph
Average speed: 14.1 mph
Distance: 25.63 mi
Time: 1.48.09

Details and map can be found here.

That night, B and B rejoined us for the Inspiration Dinner. Georgia had the largest contingent at our dinner (of THREE!) and the largest number of triple crowns (per capita) at the event. Our own Don Schaet was the top fundraiser, at $52,000 (and counting) for the entire national team, and received special recognition and an award (and the bib number 1). He didn't reach his goal of $77,000, but considering all he has done over the years (and this last year especially), it's still an amazing achievement and I'm so glad he was honored so publicly. A few days after the ride he was in Alaska, completing a century there to mark off the 50th state and wrapping up another life goal of his. After a seemingly interminable strategy meeting, it was time to get things ready for the next day. Our ride start time was 6:20a, so it was to our benefit that dinner was at 4:00 and that we were still functioning on east coast time.


After an early morning rise, we gathered at the start as a team, with our three honored teammates at the lead of our small group of peaches. We rode to the checkpoint with them up front, and then scattered, splitting naturally into our pace groups. Having already seen Inspiration Point the day before, we mostly blew through that SAG stop, freewheeled down the back of the hill and rode out to Meeks Bay, where A and G (and C, off to the side) were waiting with drinks and smiles for our first "Friends and Family SAG". Then, back on the bikes and go-go-go.

We got a good group of about 6 people together for the ride to and back from Truckee. The roads there weren't great, but also weren't the nightmare everyone had me expecting. What was awful along there was the traffic (the drivers there are just not used to cyclists, apparently, and have no sense of appropriate behaviour generally, it seems), and the other cyclists -- both TEAM and not -- who were completely unpredictable. Again, the Georgia chapter has excelled at teaching predicability and etiquette for cycling in and around groups, which seems to be a failing among other chapters. The other cyclists and traffic made for a rough and occasionally dangerous experience coming out of Truckee, but the scenery was actually enjoyable, and the hill wasn't as soul-crushing as everyone had led me to believe. Shortly after that jaunt, at about mile 60, were ALL of the friends and family with smiles, cow bells, clapping, cold water, pop, and sandwiches. All told, this had been a pretty easy 60 miles, going VERY quickly.

Because I had dawdled a bit, the main group I'd been with left just ahead of me, and I never saw them again until the end. This was fine, as I rode with another group at my pace (with L and V -- this was a well-mentored group. ha!), and I was able to ride with different cyclists. This was fortuitous as the altitude was affecting H a little more than expected, and she and I started to fall back a bit after King's Beach (as I told G in a text: shitshow). L insisted that I eat a rice cake, which I did in addition to a bit of sandwich I'd taken from the family SAG. I was getting very grumpy at that point (I really don't like riding with strangers), and that might have had something to do with blood sugar, but at the time I insisted it was just crankiness (as it was mile 70 or so, I was rightfully tired). We headed out from lunch and climbed for a bit, and then climbed a bit more, up the dreaded Spooner (again, it wasn't bad except for the line of cars that would get stuck behind cyclists. At one point, A, G, and C passed us on the climb. LH, H, and I stopped at the water stop because we were all literally out (I drank a LOT on the ride, which was great. I really managed my hydration well the whole weekend, making for a much better experience than last year's ride in the heat of Fletcher), and continued on. As we neared the crest of the climb, we saw A, G, and C, who started running next to me (I was a snail) and started shouting "Megan! What are hills for? Who are hills for? PUSSIES" I replied that I was a candy ass, but it provided the energy to get me to power up over the last little bit and look back for H. We zoomed down the backside of Spooner, anticipating heavy cross winds, but not experiencing them at all. We were lucky, because without the winds we could look out over the water and really soak in the view.

Then there were only 10 miles left. In order to stay out of my head, I changed the display to the clock. H and I rode in together, and saw C waiting up ahead about a mile out from the finish, waiting for other peaches. He joined us for the final stretch, and we insisted that H finish ahead of us as we pulled into the lot. There we were! The team that had already finished was there, cheering us in, waving and clapping and shouting and drinking, and we were done! We had ridden 98 miles (something about calibrating the computer, but others had short miles, too), and could now join our teammates and cheer in everyone else. We waited until our final teammate came in (an hour or two after we finished), cheering on the crowd in general, drinking beer, water, and jager (for Warren, a great friend of the team and last year's honored hero, who lost his 8-year battle just a few weeks ago). B and B were at the finish when I came in, got some pictures of the three of us, and it was so nice to have family at a ride.


Maximum speed: 37.6 mph
Average speed: 13.7 mph
Distance: 98.69 mi
Time: 7.09.02

I think I saw that I'd been on the course for 8 hours or so, but I forgot to note my actual arrival time. My bad. There are no Strava details for this ride, because I didn't use the phone -- the battery would have died well before ride completion, and I felt having a working phone was more important than additional details and a map.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 26 May

While the Tahoe team was busy loading the truck to ship the team's bikes out west, the Vegas and Fletcher teams were riding up in beautiful Cartersville, GA. As I am fortunate enough to have a B (and now, C) bike, I was happily able to join them. The route for the Vegas team was a short 20-mile out-and-back, with a few hills and two rambunctious dogs (I yelled them off). I rode with T, a two-time survivor of Hodgkin Lymphoma: you know, the "good" kind. He had been in remission for 10 years before relapsing last year, and is now waiting for the official all-clear from his doctor. He has an incredible attitude and is just a generally friendly, all-around great guy. I am looking forward to riding with and getting to know him more this season. As we approached the SAG at mile 12, I asked if he wanted to stop. "Not really", and we blew past it.

Everyone looked GREAT on the ride (the six of us who were able to make it, that is). J crushed the route, and sweet M, who may well be my new favorite person, was beside herself at the end. Last week she didn't make it out of the parking lot. She'd brought an old mountain bike, but ended up borrowing a road bike that Coach D had brought for another participant. At the end of that ride, she was glowing, but nothing could top how she felt after this weekend. She had gone out during the week on the borrowed bike a few times, and ended up spec-ing a few bikes at Performance, finding one she liked. She rode the 20 miles with the two coaches and had tears in her eyes at the end as she told me how this was part of a total life change for herself. Every other sentence out of her mouth was "I am just so happy", and she radiated it. M has an amazing attitude and determination, and again, I am looking forward to getting to know her this season, as well.

Seriously, who are these people? How on Earth did we get so lucky that they found us?

Stats (from Strava, because there isn't a computer on the new bike yet):

Maximum speed: 27.3 mph
Average speed: 13.6 mph
Distance: 20.3 mi
Time: 1.29.44

Details and map here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 19 May

Yesterday was the inaugural GTR for the inaugural season of the Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo for Georgia's Team in Training. We rode 16 miles up at Riverside Park, and it is shaping up to be a great team. We have people of all abilities (per usual), some on mtb but most on road, and some people who have long experience riding and some who only got their bike last year. Everyone had a GREAT attitude, kept together, and worked it out. I had a wonderful time meeting my new teammates and am very much looking forward to riding with them in the heat and humidity this summer. I can't wait for the Tahoe/Fletcher teammates to join the Vegas GTRs, because it will be great for the new participants to see how big the team is and how great the camaraderie can be.


Maximum speed: 36.4 mph
Average speed: 15.0 mph
Distance: 16.06 mi
Time: 1.06.00

Details and map can be found here.

Afterward, Coach and I went down to Silk Sheets to join the current team on their last GTR and get a few extra miles in (he didn't make it out of the parking lot with the Vegas team, helping newer participants get comfortable being on a bike for the first time in years again), but I ended up SAGing in a few people and just hanging out with great friends.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Up The Creek - Saturday, 12 May

On Saturday the team rode the beautiful, well-organized Up The Creek Without a Pedal, in Rome, GA. If you will recall, last year I gave the ride rave reviews, and this year was no disappointment in that sense. In the "how did Megan feel" sense, however, I felt like poop. I rode about half of the first 23 miles by myself, because V dropped me (she should have, my legs were tight and heavy and useless), and I spent the remaining 40 miles in a paceline with V and L (and occasionally C), which made the ridiculous headwinds more bearable. The company was great, and it made for an otherwise icky ride. It's nice having friends around when you're not feeling up to snuff.  My legs showed up around mile 40, but not for long. I was tight and heavy the whole day, and at the end of the ride J ordered me to rest this week, saying "If you want to go out and really spin easy, that is probably fine, but you suck at that." (Verbatim, it was via g-chat).

And, since he's completely right, I've imposed a week off. It's hard. It will be made easier by a few things:

1. My legs need to rest
2. I need to get work done
3. My left hand (ulnar nerve) went numb again, despite continuously changing my position and spending a fair amount of time in the drops; the hand, arm, and elbow still feel funny (as does my right elbow, but to a much lesser extent)
4. If I get the work in 2 done I get to work in B&B's quilt, and that will be satisfying

So, Saturday was a long day, with 4 hours of driving and not quite 4 hours of cycling. It was still a success, looking at the numbers, but if I had taken a proper recovery anytime in the last two weeks, instead of pushing pushing pushing through the tired, stiff legs, I probably could have bested my time from last year (I'm in better shape, with a better base).


Maximum speed: 40.3 mph (this is for real: it was an intentional effort to get there at the bottom of a descent)
Average speed: 16.2 mph
Distance: 60.70 mi
Time: 3.43.15

Details and map can be found here. (The achievements are dubious, because V was killing it -- and me -- the whole ride, but her Strava app only recorded 22 of the 60 miles and because B doesn't use Strava).

The ride was also remarkable because it's the last one I'll do with the Tahoe/Fletcher teams until Tahoe on 3 June. This weekend I'll be riding with the Vegas team at their first GTR, and the following weekend the Tahoe team's bikes will ship (and I will be on the Giant (!!!!)) with the Vegas team. Then, it's TAHOE. Here's hoping they had the same mild winter we did.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Training ride - Saturday, 5 May

Honestly, I don't know if I can take much more excitement. I skipped blogging about a subpar training week (in which the awesome A got on her bike for her first Brookhaven loops, and J and all of Team Hertweeney had an appearance), and made it to Saturday, our second GTR in the gaps this year. We did the 3 Gap Fifty, out of the Walmart down the way, adding 12 miles to our previous route (otherwise, it was identical). It started off warm and got hot. Sweaty hot hot hot. We were down two mentors, so the four staff members there were stretched a bit thin... or we would have been. I ended up getting to spend some time with V, which was great. She's gotten so strong and fast! I'm so glad she's riding again this season! I spent a lot of time with K and J, going all the way up (and down) Neal's Gap with them. Then K and I saw A ahead on Wolfpen, rode with her for a little bit, and then it was just the two of us again as she crushed the climb. The three of us regrouped at the top and rode into Suches and up Woody together, picking up D along the way.

At the top of Woody is where it got exciting. Down the hill, one of the front riders had crashed. He's fine, banged up a bit, wrecked his bike (the fork sheared off the crown completely), and got a few stitches in the back of his head, but he's a tough cookie. The four of us (V got sagged up to us after J sagged in) heard the story, took it in stride, and started our descent down Woody and then down farther to the Walmart.

What started out with me in a foul mood (because of the heat? the sour/anxious stomach that has dogged me the last two GTRs?) ended up being a great personal ride. Fears were overcome, lessons were learned, and a chocolate Frosty was had.

Stats (the phone is too far away for me to get it, so these are from Strava):

Maximum speed: 50.3 mph (that's a lie, it was like 35 mph)
Average speed: 10.6 mph
Distance: 49.8 mi
Time: 4.40.51

Details and map can be found here.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Training ride - Saturday, 28 April

Those of you who follow me on facebook already know what an exciting day we had on Saturday. It's due to that excitement (and the ensuing busyness of the weekend) that it is only now, Tuesday, that I am able to sit down and write it up, hoping I can do it justice.

The short version: we rode in the rolling hills of Warm Springs (and through Pine Mountain). There was an accident. I rode in an ambulance. All survived.

The longer version:
It was a perfectly cool start to the morning. I had never been to the Warm Springs ride before, because of travel (Andrew and Ronnell's wedding) and injury (I wrenched my back the morning of the ride). I had heard about a hill, "The Wall", but otherwise was looking forward to the ride. We started out pretty lively, and made good time into the first SAG stop of the day, around mile 18. That gave us time to loosen the legs on an easy stretch (rolling and fast, with only one tour coach coming within 3 feet of me) before putting in another 8 miles to get to the hill. I noticed a lot of marks for the Wilson100, and recognized some of the areas we had ridden through on that ride. The TNT SAG stop had actually been located just before The Wall, but the Wilson route took us in the opposite direction of it. The Wall is a Category 4 climb, 400' over 1.5 miles. No switchbacks, just a straight-on climb. The best part about it is that you can see the top, so you know exactly how much further you need to go. J was there, taking pictures of everyone as they got to him, but he was an artificial summit: there was still a way to go. I stopped just beyond him to cheer the rest of my group up. A quick regroup at the Best Western (undergoing renovation because of severe tornado damage last year), and we were off into Pine Mountain.

There was a bit more climbing, but it was more rolling (check out the ride's profile on Strava). After the second SAG, though, it was surprisingly technical descent for two miles, and back onto the fast, easy terrain. It was shortly after the descent that I turned to H, whom I had been riding with most of the day, and said "Can you believe we've been on the bike for 2 hours and 45 minutes? It doesn't feel like that at all." She agreed: it had been, thus far, a comfortable and fast ride.

Then we found ourselves on the beautifully new tarmac on Stovall Rd. We had a pretty large group of people, which was just damn resistant to getting a paceline together. H was falling off the back, so mentor A and I talked -- he agreed to wrangle the herd up front, and I (and V) would ride back with H to keep her going. Then, not long after that, H -- who had been riding close to the edge -- clipped the lip of the new pavement and went down hard. A kind couple stopped their truck not long after, providing towels to prop H's head, paper towels to dress the gash over her eye, and (most importantly), shade under their large umbrella while we waited for our SAG driver and the ambulance to arrive.

H is fine, but that was the end of her ride, and mine, for the day. I rode the ambulance with her to the hospital, at which point I started making brilliantly sarcastic comments to her, which lasted for the duration of the next 5 hours she was stuck with me, as we waited for radiology results, stitches, and collected her car and took her to some friends'.

So, a very exciting day. The ride itself, as I said, was comfortable, fast, and enjoyable. We stopped just about a quarter mile short of the last SAG stop, and looking at the map, we were very close to the end - maybe another hour of riding, tops. H can do this, if she can get on the bike again.

This ride reinforces two key things:
1. Wear a helmet, and wear it appropriately. The gash she received was a helmet injury (the styrofoam over the forehead strap gave way, and the impact of the ground->helmet->forehead strap->forehead is what cut her. This is preferable to ground->forehead, which would have been disastrously worse.

2. Carry ID and insurance information on you. I'm not a shill for, but they are a great company. H never lost consciousness, but she was definitely confused and couldn't tell us where some of her things were, and couldn't tell us anyone we could contact. AND SHE WAS AWAKE. If something like this happens while you're on your own, or if you do lose consciousness, without that information on your person or bike, responses and information are slowed down.

Stats (I hadn't even looked at the cycle computer since Saturday... these are off because the bike has been walked a few times):

Maximum speed: 34.1 mph
Average speed: 14.7 mph
Distance: 52.40 mi
Time: 3.32.51

Route details and map can be found here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two weekend rides - Saturday & Sunday, 22-23 April

This weekend I went on two pretty spectacular rides (and they were spectacular for very different reasons).

On Saturday we rode down in the flats of Peachtree City. I got out a few minutes behind everyone else, though I'd been planning to ride up, because Strava couldn't get my location via GPS. That was frustrating. I took it in stride, though, and gradually caught and passed people. Then I saw the A- group not too far ahead. I told V and H my plan to catch them, and really went after it. The two of them hopped on my wheel, and I went balls-out to catch them. I finally did, after crushing it for 6.5 miles. That was the mistake. L was leading them, and she was on fire. Had I started with that group, I could have stayed with them the whole ride. As it was, starting off on a chase, cold, really burned out my legs. V, H, and I hung with them for the most part into the first SAG, and then fell back with a few others from that group and rode our own (lively) ride the rest of the day.

My legs felt the whole thing, and I was dead tired by the end of it. But, it was great to know that I could catch the group. The next goal is to be able to hang with a group I've caught. Even though my legs were complaining for the remainder of the 54 miles, it was a great ride. I was with a bunch of teammates I hadn't ridden with before, and it was a lot of fun. I love riding down there, to.


Maximum speed: 34.7 mph
Average speed: 15.7 mph
Distance: 59.32 mi
time: 3.45.53

I'm a little annoyed at the average, because it fell off dramatically over the last few miles. It HAD been over 16 mph.


Sunday was a typical KSR: I rode out to the mountain and back (no loops), and took it at a very comfortable, recovery pace. I reflected afterward that it was the first true recovery ride I've had all season, in that I kept my heart rate and effort low. The reason this was an especially noteworthy ride, however, is that Miss KK and SC rejoined. Now, S I had seen in the last few months, but it had been about half a year since seeing KK, and I missed her terribly. She's one of my favorite people. We spent the ride catching up, and everything is going so well for her I could just burst.

So that's why Sunday was great: I got to see my friend again.

Maximum speed: 30.8 mph
Average speed: 12.2 mph
Distance: 28.37 mi
Time 2.18.34

Again, it was a great ride with great conversation. I had to keep it short so I could help in Tucker with Tomato Fest 2012 (and herbfest and maplefest), but I am looking forward (again? still?) to the rest of the season.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Viva Bike Vegas!

I know it seems like a typical Megan-thing to do to so cleverly and humorously name a ride or post, but not so. It is now official: I am a proud mentor of the 2012 Viva Bike Vegas Gran Fondo team for TNT. This is a new event added to our repetoire, and knowing the support staff and coaches, it will be a great event as well. That's right, I get to ride all over, from the Vegas Strip to the Hoover dam. It's another dam bike ride, and I couldn't be more excited.

But, that means I broke a tacit promise I made to you, my friends and supporters, which was to only fundraise once a year. I am asking you to continue stepping up so admirably by giving me your money. And, by "me" I mean the 100,000+ people in the United States who will be diagnosed with a blood cancer this year. My goal for the summer is to raise $2,500 by 22 September.

Let me break it down for you:

• $100 will pay for 1 round trip per day for 5 days for a patient living in rural Georgia to drive to treatment in Atlanta

$42 will pay for 1 anti-nausea pill for a person in treatment

• $30 allows 1 patient to make a First Connection with a trained peer volunteer.

• $20 will help pay for 1 round trip per day for 5 days of treatment at a facility for an urban patient.

• $5 will cover the costs to send a packet to a newly diagnosed patient, which includes information on support and their specific disease.

All of these items are important aspects of LLS' mission to eradicate blood cancers and to support and educate patients and their families. I highlight the second one, however, because Holy Crap, cancer is expensive. Some perspective is useful here: your donation makes a difference in a big way.

So, how can you help? Any number of ways, the biggest being the following:

1. Share this webpage with your friends, family, and co-workers. Everyone (and I do mean everyone) has been impacted by cancer, either personally or via family and friends. Join the fight.

2. Click the green "donate now" button over there on the right. It can be any amount. Do it for yourself or in the name of a friend. Do it as a birthday gift (ahem - mine is fast approaching) or a wedding gift, or in memory of someone.

3. Order cookies or other baked goods from yours truly (price list coming soon, some special requests honored), or otherwise pay attention here for incentives and, calling a spade a spade, gimmicks to get you to help me help others.


Let the giving begin, and thank you!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 15 April

Seriously, after the raging success of Saturday's ride, this week's Sunday ride hardly registers. It was remarkable, however, for several reasons:

1. It was the largest group I've seen on a KSR this year
2. DE-N came, and I hadn't ridden with her in ages
3. The people who did come were not only the hard-core or in training regulars

We had a great group of 10-15 cyclists total, and the weather couldn't have been more agreeable. There was a time on the way back when the wind picked up and the sky clouded over, but only a few drops sprinkled down before nature righted herself and we were where we should have been all along.

I opted out of loops; though I didn't push very hard on Saturday, my legs still felt the hills. Apparently, riding the Gaps below pace is also tiring. Even so, it was a great ride.


Maximum speed: 32.0 mph
Average speed: 13.4 mph
Distance: 29.66 mi
Time: 2.12.29

Details and map can be found here.

Training Ride - Saturday, 14 April

I volunteered to be Lanterne Rouge for the team's first ride in the Gaps, which was this past Saturday. That meant I had the joy and pleasure of riding with Miss L, with whom I had ridden only one other time this season (and promptly got her (and two others) lost, inviting an extra 5 miles and long climbs in only the 4th ride of the season for the all-sport GTS). I vowed not to add any extra hills or miles this weekend, and we took off.

We had an early technical problem, in that she couldn't get out of the big ring in front. Although the route called for a short, 3-mile out and back for warmup, there were still enough hills from the get-go for this to be an issue. Knowing there were several thousand feet of climbing ahead of us, this had to be fixed. Fortunately, it was fixed fairly easily via a simple adjustment of the barrel (the difficulty coming from frozen fingers), and we rode back to the base of Neel's Gap and started the climb. We stopped only once, about an hour into the ride, so she could drink and refuel, but let it be noted that this was pretty close to the top of the climb itself (about 2.5 mi out). We quickly drank and refueled before taking a cautious descent past Vogel State Park onto Wolfpen Gap Road, which is the base of Wolfpen Gap. We stopped a couple times due to the steepness, but made it up in less than an hour (the second stop was a few hundred yards from the summit), and with another technical problem: she was having a harder and harder time unclipping, causing a fall trying to get going after the second stop. We got back on and kept going, however, because L is a trooper and it was a great day.

At the SAG at the top of Wolfpen, we spent less than 10 minutes, having just rehydrated and refueled (though I dug into the Pringles quite happily), and then started off, taking another cautious ride down the more technical descent that is Wolfpen. We hit the rolling terrain out to Suches strongly, at which point I told her that if I looked back and saw her coasting, she would be fined $1 for each infraction. I quickly made $6 (she's so honest!), and then we hit a long, slow (though not too steep) climb out of the woods into the farm country, a couple miles out from Suches itself. And that's when the mechanicals really came into play. First, nearly the crest of the climb, L couldn't shift out of the big ring again. She powered up as far as she could go, also having problems unclipping. We got to a more level area, got her off the bike, and fixed the shifting issue.

Two times we tried to get going, and two times we had a fall because of the tightness of the pedal. Frustrated, but not out, we walked the short distance to the top, got on again, and rode about 5 feet before she announced two things: her saddle had been knocked askew in on of the falls, and she couldn't get out of the pedals to stop. In dramatic fashion, I ditched my bike, ran up and caught her bike so she could get out. I called up to the coaches (on Woody for the second time at that point) to ask how to loosen her type of pedal, and another rider came by with an appropriate-sized allen wrench. Saddle and pedal now adjusted, after a half-hour of discouragement, we rode down to the gas station at Suches. I asked if she wanted to stop to get some pop for the sugar and caffeine, and she declined. That's when we saw J, who had ridden back down to meet us, so we stopped quickly anyway. We started up Woody, which L just powered through, took some pictures at the top, and rode off. I told her to go in front of me and to keep pedalling, even if she wasn't pushing. She BOMBED down that hill, where I was working in points to keep up with her. She masterfully worked through 7 miles of winding descent, and then booked it the final 5 miles back to the start.

We had an AMAZING day, talking about everything from her training, her reason for doing TNT in the first place, what made her decide to cycle instead of run this season, and my nonsense (Her: how long have you been riding? Me: Seven years. Her: Oh my goodness! Me: Well, it hasn't been constant. I do sleep) and cheering her on (which she really didn't need). I love this ride, I was so grateful to share it with her, as descending and riding at speed is a major fear for her, and she NAILED it. Seriously, I can't say enough how awesome the day and ride were.


Maximum speed: 32.1 mph
Average speed: 9.4 mph
Distance: 38.01 mi
Time: 4.00.52

Details and map here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Quilt Update!

As you loyal readers all know, ARA finished the quilt. It arrived, quilted and bound, earlier this week, and in person it is even more lovely than in the photos. This is the first time that the raffle quilt will have been completed BEFORE the raffle drawing itself. You lucky devils!

Many special thanks to ARA for making such a beautiful quilt (her blog can be found here, where you can see other projects she is working on) and to her friend Lynn, of Lynn's Obsession, for completing the beautiful quilting itself.

ARA and Lynn have both done a number of charity quilting projects. Last year, Lynn made (from start to finish) 87 quilts to be donated to the Wilkes-Barre VA hospital for the Jimmy Project, so named for her brother (much of the fabric was from her own stash, and another...300? yards was donated by a local quilt shop). Some photos, that don't do the volume of work required justice, are here. ARA has participated in another project, which involves making quilts for returning wounded veterans. I am grateful to have so supportive and active a family (and that they, in turn, have such wonderful friends).

Remember, all it takes is a $5 donation to be eligible for the raffle. The full schedule of prices:

$5 = 1 chance
$20 = 5 chances
$50 = 15 chances
$100 = 50 chances

The drawing will be held on or around Memorial Day, and I will notify the winner by e-mail and announce it here in the blog as well. The quilt is 100% cotton with a polyester batting. It measures 74" by 87" (it's HUGE!)

 May the odds be ever in your favor!

Weekday ride - Thursday, 12 April

I felt great yesterday. There's no other way to put it. On Wednesday I had done a brick with my buddy Dr. D, and my quads were REALLY tight and sore after the run. No matter. I commuted in yesterday, expecting to want to take it easy because of the soreness, and instead I just blew it up on the way there. I can't help but wonder if it was the difference in weight between the Fuji from earlier and the Felt, but it seems like only one day on Fuji (and then a couple days off completely) wouldn't make that much of a difference. Maybe it did... maybe it did.

In any event, my legs were still tight after getting to school, even the the commute was a personal best (slightly different route than usual, cutting out a number of traffic signals), and I figured that the Brookhaven ride was going to be nice and easy.


I got out of the parking lot and just lit it up. I immediately felt good, not even requiring my usual warmup to shake the acid out. I felt GREAT going up the first climb (which on any other day just sneaks up on me and takes out any momentum I'd built) and then I just kept going. I fishtailed a bit on some debris a couple times in the switchbacks, but still kept my line and kept going. I got to the top of the first loop and didn't see any of the lead group. I checked my time, as usual, expecting them to have just ridden off without waiting. Well, less than 3 minutes later I came around to the regroup area, and there they were, having just stopped a moment before. Rather than wait too long, I stopped, had some water, and took off again. I was really feeling good, and though the lead group caught me almost immediately after I left, I had them in my sights almost the entire length of the lower loop (losing them primarily because of a bad driver and an ill-time bud-swallowing).

The second time around, I told myself that for sure I was going to ease off. I could feel the acid building in my legs. BUT I JUST COULDN'T. Again, I just went after it, and it paid off. I felt great during and after the whole ride, and, best of all, I PRd. I'll take that.

It was a fantastic night out.


Maximum speed: 30.5 mph
Average speed: 16.0 mph
Distance: 20.31 mi
Time: 1.15.52

Details and map here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Commute - Monday, 9 April

Again, I won't be posting my my commutes regularly (though they will all be uploaded to strava, for those interested), but today was the first full commute of the year. Once or twice I think I rode to school, only to be picked up by G on the way to trainer class, and the other days of the week I was either doing bricks or giving myself some recovery time and opted to drive. Lame? Indeed.

I rode the Fuji to school, with one pannier semi-full of clothes. It was a gorgeous, cool morning and a sunny, warm afternoon. While I was VERY tired on the way out and my legs protested most of it, it was still a good ride. The more I ride the Fuji, the better I'll get because of the extra weight. I hope to return to last summer/fall's routine of riding in almost daily. It'll be harder to do because G works at Perimeter now and won't be able to gather me and my things before TR rides, but MWF should still work out, more or less.

Stats (to and from school, respectively):

Maximum speed: 44.4 mph (I think there was a hiccup in the GPS there)
Average speed: 12.1 mph
Distance: 7.4 mi
Time: 0.36.35

Maximum speed: 37.2 mph
Average speed: 13.5 mph
Distance: 8.6 mi
Time: 0.38.17

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 8 April

Happy Easter (and Passover), friends! This morning, feeling the burn from yesterday's ride, I knew I wanted to take it fairly easy and to just stretch the legs on a ride. The only other person to show up at Marche's was D, with whom I've ridden before, and we found a comfortable pace and kept the conversation flowing just as smoothly. Given Easter brunch in Tucker around 1, I only wanted to do a couple hours for recovery: about an hour in (we rode the reverse route to Central Ave near Stone Mountain) and then took another easy (not even rolling) route back to the path. I could definitely feel yesterday's half in my legs, but it was a good ride with beautiful weather.


Maximum speed: 28.8 mph
Average speed: 14.2 mph
Distance: 23.11 mi
Time: 1.37.18

Details and map can be found here.

Training Ride - Saturday, 7 April

Yesterday we all had the insanely special treat of riding with Tyler Hamilton (former professional cyclist and Olympic gold medalist) and Jim Capra (head coach of Tyler Hamilton Training). At dinner on Friday night we got to visit with both of them, and they are incredibly cool guys.

It happened this way (the best I can discern). L and C, who first started cycling two years ago on the Wilson team, had been following professional cycling for several years, and decided to start tweeting Tyler. He, being the cool dude he is, responded. They went out that summer (only a couple months into the sport) to ride and train with him in Boulder, CO, where he and Jim live and work. A friendship was born, and they've been out there several more times in the last few years. L, a mentor on this year's Tahoe team, suggested at the beginning of the season that she invite him out to ride with us one weekend. That weekend is THIS weekend. That's how I met a legend.

This weekend we rode 50 miles out of Hard Labor Creek, which is a ride I'd never done but traditionally is well-attended, and there's a cookout after. Nature, knowing that this was the plan, cooperated magnificently, giving us some of the best weather we've had yet this year. The intent was for them to ride up and back with everyone on the team, but they got out with the slower groups and never made it up to the front, which is too bad. Being in the back/middle, I got an inordinate amount of time with them, which was enjoyable to say the least. I had a great day and rode with a bunch of different people throughout, finishing on Jim's wheel (until he dropped me on a stupid small climb going into the park).

The cookout was brilliant and it was great to see so many other friends, too.


Maximum speed: 37.0 mph
Average speed: 14.9 mph
Distance: 50.58 mi
Time: 3.22.16

Map and details can be found here.

ETA: I left out the most crucial detail of the day: at around mile 40, I ran over a goddamn (dead) snake. My instantaneous reaction was a scream and shuddering, the latter of which lasted for the next several minutes. It. Was. Awful. I felt it under both tires AND, as it was all windy, multiple times. *shudder*

Friday, April 6, 2012

Weekday Ride - Thursday, 5 April

Last night we rode in Brookhaven, and I had the pleasure of riding with S and E for the first time since November. It was a real treat. S is training for her second IM (Canada) and so I rode her training plan with her (as best I could without a heart rate monitor). We had a good ride, and as it was a recovery week for her and recovery day for me, it wasn't too hard. I felt surprisingly good given the Gaps ride the day before, and easily got in the full 20 miles with the pleasant company and once again perfect weather.

Maximum speed: 31.1 mph
Average speed: 14.4 mph
Distance: 20.15 mi
Time: 1.23.38

Details and map can be found here.

Weekday Ride - Wednesday, 4 April

The title of this post is an understatement of close to the highest order. It wasn't just a weekday ride, it was a Ladies' Day Ride in the Gaps. L, N, VR, VW, and I took the morning off to ride the front three gaps up in the North Georgia mountains. It was the first time for everyone but L and me, and from beginning to end it was a great day (except where I spilled my entire coffee on the floor in the back of my car). N and VW are riding Fletcher this season, and so they won't be joining the Tahoe team on either of the Gaps rides we have planned for GTRs. VR wanted to have the ride under her belt once before tackling the challenging course with the additional responsibilities of mentoring other riders up the climb.

Let me tell you, it was amazing. The weather was cooperative in the best way: cool and sunny and a light breeze throughout (until 5 miles from the end where it whipped up and got a ton of small debris in our eyes). The promised rain was nowhere to be seen, and the other cyclists out and about were friendly and encouraging. I love riding up there, because I love the challenge of the hills, the whizzing descents, and the beautiful country roads. The views at each summit are lovely and inspiring, and the rolling road out to Suchess is fast and enjoyable.

I made it up Neel Gap in good time: we hit the bottom and I found a comfortable rhythm and cadence (about 70rpm) and just took off. I knew I could maintain it for the duration of the climb (51 minutes from Turner's Corner to the summit). L bridged the gap and rode the second half up with me. We clearly took more time at the top than my legs would have liked, because when we got to Wolfpen and the rollers to Suchess my legs were toast. Lesson learned: keep moving and don't let your body cool off. Even with the tired legs, however, I was able to "bomb" down the hills, which are technical (Wolfpen) and fast... and satisfying.

I was pleased with myself in terms of hydration and nutrition: I got it exactly right, such that riding back in to the store I found myself hungry but with plenty of energy.

I am looking forward to taking the team up there next weekend, and though I am nervous because I volunteered to sweep the ride, I think it will be a great day for everyone. I don't think there's anyone who's going that won't be able to do this ride, and I am looking forward to sharing in their pride for a hard job and daunting challenge mastered.


Maximum speed: 36.9 mph (Strava says 44.8, which would be nice if it were true...)
Average speed: 13.0 mph
Distance: 38.00 mi
Time: 2.54.12

It was a completely great day.

Strava details can be found here.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 31 March

This weekend's GTR was up in the beautiful country of Cherokee County, GA. We rode 45 miles out of the Free Home Publix, and as expected, it was amazing. When we were up in Free Home last year, it was a cold and rainy day, but even with the lousy weather I fell in love with the route. This year confirmed my memory of a great ride. I started out riding up to the front to be with J and G, but after stopping and restarting at an incorrect turn, I rode a bit further back with a line of alumni. I spent most of the rest of my day with A, D, and especially C. It was great to ride with him again; I hadn't had much opportunity to since the Wilson season, and we had a great time.

The day was sunny and not too warm; the only headwind kicked up on one part of the last loop, otherwise it was perfection.


Maximum speed: 38.5 mph
Average speed: 15.2 mph
Distance: 45.78 mi
Time: 2.59.07

Not bad, really. Going into the first SAG, with the fasties, I was over 17mph, which was in all likelihood unsustainable. It felt great, but I was glad to ride with old friends.

Details of the ride can be found here.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Weekday Ride - Thursday, 29 March

The last week in March saw our first official Brookhaven ride of the season. I started out feeling a little sluggish, but not more than usual. I found my stride pretty quickly, but probably rode a little too hard. I felt good. On the second go-round, I rode with L and V for a bit, and then HS showed up at the top of the loop and we waited for her to catch up. We weren't sure she had even made it because of traffic, but we left together and she looked strong. We took it a little easier on the second loop, and I rode in with Coach. All told, my legs felt good throughout, and I definitely pushed myself for at least the first half, because there were people behind me that I just wasn't going to let pass (until I got stuck at a stop sign whereas the guy behind me, undeterred, weaved through two cars and blew by me while I was about to get started again; jackass). Met some new, cool people and I am looking forward to these rides, among my favorite of the season.


Maximum speed: 29.2 mph
Average speed: 14.3 mph
Distance: 20.64 mi
Time: 1.26.04

Remaining details (QOM!) can be found here.

In other news....

I got an e-mail from the president of the GT Tri club (whom I had contacted about a week ago for information on whether the club was still active). He said they have a women's slot available for Collegiate Nationals, and if I don't take it it'll go to waste. Nationals are Saturday, 21 April (so I would miss a GTR) in Tuscaloosa. It would be cool to participate in so awesome and event (and to get a Tech tri kit), but I don't know if I am physically ready now, or if I could be then. Certainly, the cycling is ready to go, and I could easily get the running up, but the swim? And putting all three together? In less than a month? Mostly, I'm worried about embarrassing myself: the pictures they have posted from previous Nationals clearly indicate that, in terms of fitness, I am out of my league. Maybe there are more beginners than they showed that come to these things....

Anyway, I left him a voicemail, and hope that he calls back soon. I am thoroughly on the fence with this one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Buckhead Hills - Tuesday, 27 March

Tonight I got to ride with G and J on their usual Tuesday Buckhead ride. I joined them a few times last summer, and I'm looking forward to a full season this year now that DST has begun. My legs felt like molded lead from the get-go, likely because of riding hard on Sunday after a long ride on Saturday and not ever properly recovering (beside not doing much of anything yesterday). That said, I finally loosened up about halfway in, though I never felt strong on any of the climbs. I wasn't grumpy or in a bad mood, so I know it was just an off day in terms of feeling it. Even so, the numbers aren't horrific and I'm glad I went out.


Maximum speed: 36.9 mph
Average speed: 14.2 mph
Distance: 20.88 mi
Time: 1.27.44

You'll notice a slight difference between the stats above and those here; that's because I'd gotten a little way out before realizing I hadn't reset the computer. Whoops.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stella's Gap - Sunday, 25 March

I lieu of the usual KSR, because I'd ridden it yesterday, today a few of us went over to the West Side and rode Stella's Gap, a training ride with ABC. There were three distance options: 23, 30, and 38 miles, and we all did the 38 mile route. The roads were familiar, from previous GTRs out of Vinings and from the Tuesday Buckhead hills rides with J and G. I fell in pretty comfortably with the B group, while G and other J were off up front with the fasties. I wanted to push today, but knew there was no way I would average 16+ mph.

I enjoyed the route, though the roads were rough in a lot of places. Around mile 18 I was ready for it to be over, as I was frustrated with some of the other cyclists and starting to get tired. I began rationing my water at that point. All told, it was a good ride, but it mostly served to reinforce my dislike of riding with unknown and unaware cyclists.

Maximum speed: 40.4 mph
Average speed: 14.1 mph
Distance: 37.04 mi
Time: 2.36.47

This isn't so bad: it's not a fast average by any means, but given the total elevation of 2,636', and the long, though slow, ride yesterday, I'm pretty pleased with it.

The map and goodies can be found here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 24 March

We were in my usual stomping grounds for the GTR today, doing what is most of the KSR, with the twist of doing both the outer and inner loop around Stone Mountain. I rode with A today, who is a survivor and recent alumna. We had a great ride, keeping a pretty steady pace and effort the whole time, even with wind and spider/inch worm webs in our faces on the way back. Spring was out in full force today - the tires are green with pollen and the yards and park were full to bursting with luscious azaleas and fragrant wisteria. Add to it the "Ferris Bueller" weather -- blue sky and hardly a cloud in sight -- and it was well nigh perfect.

I used Strava for the first time, which does a lot of things that my previous sports app, SportyPal doesn't, including blocking out my home and work addresses from the public map and tracking fastest rides along various segments of known routes (and you can add your own segments, too, which I am going to do as soon as I Cat 6 my way to school starting Monday). Because we weren't going balls-to-the-wall, I am lower down in the female ranking on a lot of the segments today than I would like. But, the best part about that is that Strava compares how you do against others and against yourself: the next time I do this route I'm going to kill in terms of PRs and other ladies. They know who they are.

The worst part about Strava is that it's already bringing out my competitive side, which doesn't take much.


Maximum speed: 30.8mph
Average speed: 10.6mph
Distance: 42.84 mi
Time: 4.00.46

Ride info:

It was, as I said, a great ride.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let the (road) training begin! Sort of...

I've already been riding on Saturday and Sunday of each week, but I have missed being outside during the week, made all the more salient with the incredible weather of the last two weeks. Tonight was the last night of our Ultimate Cycling trainer class. It lasted 11 weeks, for a total of 22 sessions (3 of which we missed because of the first nice day just begging us to be in Brookhaven, sickness, or grumpiness). Over the last two and a half months, for an hour and a half each Tuesday and Thursday night, we got on the trainers and pedaled, pedaled, pedaled. Sometimes we did lactate sprints, in which you jump out of the saddle for 15 seconds and pedal at a high cadence and then, for the next 45 seconds, maintain that cadence seated; repeat 2 or 3 times without rest. It is tiresome. Or, we might do power drills, in which you pop into the highest gear and just go for 5 minutes. Repeat 2 or 3 times. It was tiring, exhausting, and especially tonight, overheating. But I feel stronger and faster, and that may be borne out on the road.

I am looking forward to returning to last year's routine of Tuesday rides in the hills of Buckhead and Thursday rides in the fast loops of Brookhaven. Spring is officially here, according to all sources (the calendar, the groundhog, the 9000+ pollen count, and the green trees). The violets are blooming, the wisteria is waving in the breeze. It's the best time of year. Let's ride bikes. I'll get to, next week.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 18 March

We will be riding the usual KSR route at the upcoming GTR this weekend, and knowing that - for now - the outer loop is on the cue sheet, I wanted to get it out of the way once so I would know how to mentor others up it. And I did.

In a (few) word(s): it ain't no thang.

I had myself worked up into a bit of a state beforehand, having distorted what everyone had told me about how the hill is a killer and super steep and awful, etc. Being myself, I was naturally anxious starting off, but then when I got to the base of the climb itself and looked up at it I realized it wasn't really much of anything. Steep, sure, but not awful, and certainly not as bad as it looked in profile from the inner loop.

Lesson learned: don't psych yourself out; stay out of your head.

On the ride out, though I'd initially wanted to go after it because of the easier ride the day before, I just didn't have much in me. I had eaten as much breakfast beforehand as usual, but I didn't feel very strong. Getting to the park, I noticed I'd averaged 13.9 mph on the way out, and and I was very hungry and almost a bit fatigue-shaky. As L and I brought up the rear, the boys and J were already there and eating, ready to go, so I hopped on their tail before I could talk myself out of doing the loop and rode. I had S with me, who convinced me that it really wouldn't be that bad, and he psyched me up for it. He's a great riding buddy. After the climb, I was REALLY shaky and I just had to eat, so I started to pull out a pack of Honey Stingers, but dropped other food on the way. S rode on while I went back to pick it up. I had him in my sight for the rest of the loop, catching him when he stopped to make the turn on the way back in.

I REALLY like that loop; it's fast, the worst is over quickly, and it's interesting. I definitely prefer it to the inner loop.

After getting back to the rest area, I ate the rest of my bagel from breakfast (still shaky) and saw my average had gone up to 14.0 mph. That didn't surprise me, because of the speed of the loop, and I expected it to drop on the way back home, which it always does.

Except for this time it didn't. L and I killed it on the way back, without putting in any apparent extra effort. I felt great at the end of the ride, and super proud of myself. Cycling is, for me, a mental game. If I can talk myself into doing something, then I can do it.


Maximum speed: 34.4 mph
Average speed: 14.2 mph
Distance: 36.83 mi
Time: 2.34.38

You can see the elevation and all that here.

Training Ride - Saturday, 17 March

It was a luscious green St. Patrick's Day down in Silk Sheets, with only the best weather for this year's team. There wasn't much wind, the sun was shining, and we got to ride the 35-mile route in reverse. I tell you, it was a pleasant change to ride the roads backwards, and so simple. It made me remember why I first loved riding in the area, before we were there too much last year.

Saturday's clinic was pacelining, and boy, did it take. At one point we had...6? 7? people, all new to the team, in a sweet line. Some work still could be done, but it was a sight to behold.

Behold; it's a sight.

Maximum speed: 32.9 mph
Average speed: 13.6 mph
Distance: 38.40 mi
Time: 2.48.50

It was, all told, a great ride. At the end, feeling "froggy", I went out to meet up with a later group and rode in with them for the extra miles and company. It was perfect, and I felt good.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quilt Progress: Repost from Stash Slash Project: "A Good Drying Day"

 The quilt is all but complete: only the binding needs doing. See the link to ARA's blog below for pictures of her laundry blowing in the wind, along with the quilt that YOU, dear reader, could win.

ARA is much better about completing projects than I am, so if you were to win this, the binding would be done well before Christmas.

Stash Slash Project: "A Good Drying Day": It's a beautiful day in Lebanon, PA.  The sun is shining.  There is a nice breeze and as my mother use to say "it's a good drying day."  Wha...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 11 March

Today started off cool and cloudy. The clouds parted here and there, but never so much that it got warm during or immediately after the ride. That's OK, it provided the impetus to keep going. It was also a VERY windy day, which made keeping going less pleasant. It was a great ride, though: D, L, and V from the cycle team all made it out (D and L for the first time evar!) and we had a blast.


Maximum speed: 32.1 mph
Average speed: 13.4 mph
Distance: 29.63 mi
Time: 2.12.28

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 10 March

Friends, this Urban Cyclist hangs her head in shame. Woe to me for having neglected my post-ride updates. I have been riding every GTR and KSR for the last month, I just have not been good (obviously) about actually posting the post-game shake down.

Today, I begin anew. I will slough off the poor work ethic of February (now 10 days gone) and, like March, roar like a lion.

Something like that.

Our GTR was in Peachtree City this morning, and it was a beautiful morning indeed. We rode 30 miles through the lovely and fast country roads about an hour south of Atlanta, and it was great. I just love riding down there. I rode with some new-to-me people, and I am very positive about the team this year. Mentor L, a local to PTC, even worked out a deal with the Chick-fil-a we park near, wherein we got a free chicken sandwich with a milkshake. I got the milkshake, gave the sandwich to J (with whom I spent most of the ride, and whom I adore), and we split an order of fries. A great day!

Maximum speed: 33.0 mph
Average speed: 13.6 mph
Distance: 30.65 mi
Time: 2.15.49

It was a bit windy here and there, which slowed us down, but at one point we got a steady, FAST paceline going into the park for our SAG, and it was a lot of fun. I'm really enjoying the team this year, and I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone continues to grow.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Friend Rob


I just got home from a celebration for my friend Rob Mosca. Rob's lovely wife and talented son hosted the party in his honor today, just two weeks after his passing of glioblastoma - brain cancer. I am not the writer that any of the Moscas are, so this prosiest of prose is meant to express my gratitude to Rob and his wife Chris for "adopting" me into their family when I moved back to GA nearly three years ago. I cherished our talks of politics, history, and Glee, while talk of Steampunk and Dragon*Con went right over my head. They truly were a second family while I lived at Post.

Now, with Chris' enthusiastic blessing, I have the bittersweet honor of dedicating this season of Team in Training to Rob. A typical example of Rob's grace: he donated his cells so that they may be used to advance research of glioblastomas, that other people and families don't have to suffer they way he and his did. Rob was a kind, thoughtful man, and I am so grateful that our lives intersected, sorry only that it was for so short a time.

Thank you, Rob. Thank you, Chris, for letting me do this for him. I love you both.