27 July, 2008

Warning - mature female topic below

Well, maybe not the entire post, but initially. Change of life, menopause, it's happening to me. Has been for a number of years now. I am blaming most of my nuttiness on changing hormones. I go back to the Gyno on Friday. I'm hoping, now that I'm tobacco free for over a year, we can discuss hormone replacement. Seems they don't like giving those to smoker's.

But honestly, I can't exactly put all of my nuttiness on menopause. Some of it is how I am, have been and always will be. I won't expand here. That would be too boring.

I didn't ride Wednesday or Thursday, but did Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Should've worked more this weekend, but just couldn't bring myself to it. I even told hubby that I was working all day today, but then talked myself into riding this afternoon.

Glad I did. Yesterday's 30 miles felt great and I pushed myself to stay with the front group. They were going fairly easy, but I was averaging 20 - 22 hanging on to one of their rear wheels all the way from downtown, to Shawnee and 3 blocks from Iroquois park. That incline into the park always gets me. Should've done the hill, but all the coffee I drank earlier made my bladder start talking to me, so I hit the restrooms instead. Sat at the stop sign, waiting for the guys to come back down when Paul rode past. He had skipped the hill like me. I took off and grabbed his wheel for a few blocks. He said something like he was gonna take off, had things to do and I said no problem. I kept up with him until the hill at Papa John's stadium and got dropped at the light at the bottom. I still kept within a block or two but by the time he got to Kentucky and turned I never saw him again. Fastest time I've done this ride. But was wiped out all afternoon. I only had a peanut butter sandwich and chips for dinner the night before. I know better than that.

Well, I need to decide what I want to do in September. The Senior Olympics has 4 cycling events in Ashland, KY. I was thinking this would be a good way to "get my feet wet" with racing. One of the girls at work approached me about joining Team Louisville about a week ago. I'm not thinking I'll do anything but last place at the Senior games, but at least I'll get some idea if I have the potential to be competitive or if I like it. Lots of work to do before then if that's what I decide to do. Planning, interval work, and need to get a copy of the course map.

Hope this week turning into August is a good one for everyone.

23 July, 2008

One year anniversary

of smoking my last cigarette is tonight at 10 pm. I was really mad at myself when I finished it, because I had gone a full 24 hours without one and then had to start counting all over again. :-) I have to say that I'm glad did smoke that last one. It reinforced how badly I didn't want to smoke again.

I was riding a stationary bike most days, putting in 10 or 15 minutes at a time. I was terribly out of shape and 10 minutes really isn't much. But I had to start somewhere. Now I'm riding my road bike at least 100 miles a week and my longest ride to date has been 60 miles over 4.5 hours. It's still not easy, just easier. But then I keep adding to my goals.

Ms. Diva asked if I've lost weight. Yes, most definitely. But more importantly I've gained tone and shape. Unfortunately, I've also gained wrinkles. That's what happens when there is less fat to fill out the skin. :-) I don't have the official numbers though. I only weigh when in the doctor's office. Haven't been since April and will be back in October. I've dropped 2 pants/skirt sizes, from a 10 to a 6.

My life is different. I feel more alive. I am in the out of doors, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells. Birds singing, children laughing, horses running in the fields, fawn with their mother's walking out of the woods, grills cooking dinner, roadkill, skunks, manure. I didn't say it was all pleasant!

This year has been a journey for me. I've learned a lot. I have a lot more to learn and do. I have so many more adventures on my to do list. Now that I can breathe easier, maybe I will get to mark some off.

20 July, 2008

Funny how different it is

this July from last. I was taking Chantix, walking instead of smoking during breaks at work. One thing that is the same - sweating. :-)

It's been in the 90s and humid, but hardly any rain for a week or more now. I rode a 47 mile ride with the club yesterday. I'd say that there were about 30 total, maybe more. They were so much faster than me. I hung with D for just a short piece. She'd found a cyclist's rear wheel, but I think she is stronger than he is. The ride started out in the 70s, but there were no clouds in the sky. As the sun moved higher, the temps grew and the humidity dropped if only a little bit. It was almost 30 miles to the store stop (Pilot) in Simpsonville, which made the return only abobut 18 miles. Thank goodness! I had to stop once before arriving in Simpsonville and again following the official stop. I was having a hard time regulating my body temperature and just needed to rest in the shade for a few. My heart rate was too fast and I could feel my pulse in my ears and temples. The ride took 4 hours to complete. I think I stopped for a total of 35 minutes out of that. That is somewhere just under 14 miles per hour. so slow, so HOT. This got me exactly 100 miles for the week, but wait 1 more day.

Rode 23.5 today from the BE Wellness Center thru the park to Spring to River Road and back to Glenview. DK gave me his rear wheel on River Road. He didn't have any water! So took pity on me. Stand-up guy he is. His nickname is Grasshopper, but I won't learn that story until I ride my first century with him.

A friend competed in today's Lake Placid Iron Man. Anxious to hear about it. Clocked a great time. From what I've read so far the temps were mid 60s and it poured rain throughout the day. Averaged about 19.5 MPH, so I guess wet roads weren't a huge problem.

3 days to go and I'll have a full year under my belt of tobacco freeness. :-)

17 July, 2008

Hills, heat, haze, Ohio valley in summer

A couple of people have told me lately that I've been bitten by the cycling bug. They are correct. Two or three have said they are proud of me for sticking with it and confessed they didn't think I would have.

I took smoking cigarettes and replaced that activity with another. First was walking and then trying to run. Second was cycling. The walking/running slowly faded as my enjoyment with cycling increased.

I love to ride. It's hard stuff. I said in my last post that I need more rural rides with hills. I rode a club ride last night that was fantastic and a couple of hills were very hard. I arrived at the ride start about 45 minutes early. It was in Southern Indiana and I was unsure of the total time it would take me to get there from work at the end of the work day. The temps were in the low 90s and had an air quality alert. This was the first time I did this ride and began to worry about the heat and such. What I found out is that 85% of the ride was in the shade and the temps dropped by at least 10 degrees in the shade and more at the bottom of the valleys. I managed to bugger my other knee, not as badly as I was on the left one, but got some nice road rash.

Riding these hills are hard for me. But I don't want it to be easy. I want and need a challenge right now. I've set goals of averaging 100 miles a week on the bike. Now I'm thinking that needs to double next spring. But I have to figure out how to do that and still get my work done and not upset my husband even more by not being at home much.

Dixie rode with me last night. She's close to my age, single, and is from Illinois. She raced quite a lot until last summer. She has been coaching me, giving me tips and helping me on the hills. I mentioned to the ride captains last night that I suck at hills and Dixie said, "I'm gonna kick your butt! You are doing great, but need to be positive about yourself." I am working on the positive while trying to maintain my realism. I told her that I won't quit and I won't.

Rode Monday and Wednesday. Had long work day on Tuesday and I didn't get home until 11 pm. Temps were 95F today and not so good air quality. Thought I'd ride tonight, but this ride would not be shaded and cool like last night. I'm not sure my asthma would do well on a day like today. I'll do an easy ride tomorrow. Then 50 on Saturday morning. I think I'll limit my urban rides to 2 a week max. Too many traffic lights. One fellow cyclist said that those rides are when I need to do my sprint workouts - race to the next light when the current one turns green. Sounds like a plan!

I want to do a century in September. I need to get more miles. I want to race in the spring, so I hope I'll have enough base and time in the saddle that I can be somewhat competitive (age group).

13 July, 2008

Geez, it's been over a week

since I've posted anything. Not exactly sure why that is. Had a nice vacation at home. Didn't do much of anything except: sleep, eat, ride, saw a movie. I must assume that I was very behind on sleep, because I slept quite a lot. Next was riding. I've averaged over 100 miles each of the last 3 weeks now.

The two people that quit smoking with me last summer have "fallen off the wagon". But I can't. So I ask them to let me know when they go down for a smoke break and I'll grab a cup of coffee. I don't want to loose track of these guys, they are my buddies!

I've decided to back off of the urban rides this week and go rural. Did 31.5 miles under 2 hours (5 minutes under) on Thursday from Sawyer Park to Crestwood thru Sleepy Hollow. I just get slower and slower the closer to the top I get. Dixie was a sweetheart and stayed with me. Coached me up and down the hills and on the flats, which weren't often. Rode 41.5 yesterday. The RC from the first ride I rode with LBC put on a barbeque ride with a 15 and 40 mile option. I just keep adding roads to this list of hills I don't care for. ;-) What I need is to find more, ride them and add them to my list.

I've watched several stages of the Tour de France. Those guys are machines out there! Gawd, I'd love to ride that fast and that efficiently up mountains. Dreams, but what dreams.

I've been reminiscing a bit over the last day or so. Tony Snow died. He was one of my favourites. Good person, always calm, always courteous. Sad to see the good ones leave us.

02 July, 2008

First day of vacation

Just hanging close to home. Didn't make any formal plans. Maybe a day trip or two. I was hoping to ride as much as I can squeeze in, but have to wait and see what Mother Nature has in store. Rain is forecast through Monday!

My BFF (best friend forever in the whole world) told me that she fell off the wagon in the last week. She was all concerned with letting me down. Silly girl. She can't let me down. She was my inspiration. She was my rock. She is the reason that I am tobacco free for more than 11 months. She said she's going to start back on the Chantix. I am here to support her in any way possible. It is not my place to judge others.

I've witnessed more honking cars in the last week than all year to date while riding. It's amazing how inconsiderate drivers can be around cyclists. But then drivers are inconsiderate to other drivers, so why am I so surprised?

I've been keeping up daily with ther results of the Master's Natz here in town. Local women rocked Monday and Tuesday with top finishes. http://www.usacycling.org/results/index.php?permit=2008-1887 Also, 2 local cyclists have been out west riding the Cascade 1200. This brevet is over 4 days and has a 93 hour limit to complete. Micah finished in 82:27 and Steve in 90:04. 1240 kilometers is the same as 770 miles. A very long ride. The home team looks great!