Revival. Sometimes it happens by circumstance. Sometimes it comes by choice.
This past weekend I rode one of my fairly regular training routes. It’s a 32 mile loop with a fair amount of climbing – about 1600 feet and gets up to a 12% grade in parts. It takes me out along one of the roads where fires raged two weeks ago. They are actually still smoldering a bit in some places around the valley as they are not yet fully contained. There is evidence of the fires in the sporadic charring seen, and in the fire crews still maintaining watch, and in the PG&E crews hard at work restoring normalcy (power) to areas where it was lost. This route doesn’t go into the heart of where the fires actually burned ferociously, but already, I am seeing signs of revival. It will be a long hard road for some, but it will come.
Fall (or Autumn to some) has always been a favorite time of year for me. I am from upstate New York, and the colors of Fall are astounding. When I see them around the Valley, my longing for home is always revived. I love the smell of fallen leaves. I love wearing shorts with a bulky sweatshirt on breezy, clear afternoons. I love the feel in the air that says change is coming. And if it weren’t for recent events, I love the smell of smoke telling me people are snuggling with families by a warm fireplace. I don’t always enjoy the feel of acorns crunching under my feet or tires, though. I love the knowledge that after fall and winter, nature will revive us with the fresh smells and brilliant colors of spring – my new favorite time of year since living in California.
My revival began in the fall, about four years ago. I chose to renew health and fitness levels and revive quests for adventure once thought lost. What a ride it has been! I am reminded every year though, that sometimes revival involves hard work and conscious decisions. It can be harder to get up and work out every morning when it is dark and cold outside. It can be harder to get a ride in after work when the sun fades so quickly. It can be hard to make healthy food choices when the season says “bake!” But onward we ride. Revival doesn’t always just happen. It can be a long, persistent journey.
Song of the day:
Wow! It’s already getting close to harvest time in the valley. The days are starting to get noticeably shorter. Schools are back in session. And the fog is staying put longer in the mornings. Change is in the air. We’re definitely starting to see Fall peek around the corner.
With Fall coming, and winter not far behind (and yes, I know it’s still August), I’ve started thinking about my continuing exercising and training routines. So, cross training has crept back into my vocabulary and I like it! I am a cyclist at heart but I enjoy other activities to challenge myself as well. I’m still riding one hundred plus miles per week (if I get a long weekend ride in), but I’ve started to run again too. This week I pulled off 16 miles. No, not in one run. But, some day! I enjoy running in the rain, so for the winter in California, it’s a good one to have in my wheel house. Besides, switching it up helps keep me from getting bored (not a good thing if you know me).
As far as cycling goes, I’ve been working on speed (thanks for the ongoing motivation bgddyjim! For me, that means HIIT (high intensity interval training). Easy to do when you essentially ride loops – rather than going straight across the country. OK, straight may be pushing it. You all know I got lost and backtracked more times than I’ll admit! I’m also working on climbing strength. I’ve climbed some mountains in my day, but I’d like to do it quicker and easier.
I do have a couple of personal challenges in mind for the near future. I’m still working them out in my head though. I haven’t settled on what they will be for sure yet. Suffice it to say, I have something in mind for running and a couple somethings for cycling. Stay tuned. 🙂
My next event for a cause is the Tour de Fox – Wine Country, a ride to raise funds for Parkinson’s Disease research. I’ll be riding with my friend Pam and her team.
Song of the day:
Training has been good not only for improving fitness. It has also taught me many things in preparation for my long adventure.
In no particular order…
- Shift to a lower gear BEFORE stopping – especially on an incline (makes starting up again, much easier).
- Turn lights on before heading out.
- Turn lights off once you are home for the day.
- Check your tire psi before every ride.
- Fill your water bottles – and remember to take them with you.
- Keep Spare cash/ATM card in your bag.
- I don’t like being cold!
- Layers are good things!
- My face dries out much quicker/easier at age 54 than it did at age 25. Sunscreen and moisturizers are good things.
- Heat, hills, and headwind are still a B–ch! (Did I say I don’t like being cold? Really?)
- I can change a flat tire.
- Riding 100 miles isn’t so hard.
- Ride your own ride! Always!
- Spinning at a high cadence is a good thing (helps for climbing, moving against the wind, and endurance).
- Sometimes the mapping aps get it wrong!
- Photos do not fully capture what you experience out there.
- Chamois is a good thing.
- If you want to use technology, charge your batteries!
- Brifters – who knew? Didn’t have those when I rode in the ’80’s.
- Use the built in snot rag part of the gloves, not the scratchy mesh! (Unless of course, you have an itch.)
- Close your mouth if you don’t want to eat bugs.
- If I never swallow another bug, it will be too soon!
- Tailwinds are good only if you are NOT returning home on the same route.
- Headwinds are good ONLY if you are returning home on the same route.
- Wear sunscreen even if it’s overcast.
- Cars do not see you – you must keep aware of them.
- Self discipline – get out there and ride – even when it’s cold, even when it’s raining, even when it’s hot, even when it’s windy, but only if it’s fun.
- I can still do this!
God is good! Ride on!
Anticipation is a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen. : the act of preparing for something. Anticipation is a thing in the Napa Valley because when the grapes start appearing on the vines every year, there is anticipation about what the vintage will be like.
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’
Carly Simon sang those words and they keep running through my head as I ride past all the vineyards awaiting my start date. My anticipation has more to do with being excited about the adventure that is fast approaching. So what do I do in the meantime? Continue training/preparing, of course. People wonder what my training looks like. How do ride a bunch of miles without really going anywhere? Well, I have several loops/routes that I know every inch of by now. I repeat them as many times as I need for the miles I want. Take a look…
My 1-mile loop. I sometimes do several of these when the weather is lousy. I did 20 of them New Years eve morning to help rack up the miles for my Rapha Festive 500.
My 4-mile route. I’ve done so many of these, I’ve lost count.
My 5-mile loop. I did this one 24 times for my 24-hour challenge.
Picture taken mid ride every hour for 24…
This one is my typical 20 mile out and back.
The next one shows some of the hill repeats I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks. It’s about 9.5 to 10.5% for about a half mile. I do 3 to 5 of them and then finish off with my 4-mile loop. There is a small spot at the bottom that gives your belly a tickle that I love. We used to say the back roads of upstate NY had tickle belly hills on them because that’s what it felt like if you drove over them fast. And don’t tell the husband, but I usually get over 40 mph coming down the hill. What a rush!! 🙂
And last but not least, there’s Partrick Road. It was when I climbed this road back in September that I started thinking I could ride across the country. It gets up to about a 13% grade in spots and stays over 9% for 3 miles. I rode it today – probably the last time before I launch – and saw lots of improvement! I think I’m ready! Happy Mother’s Day!
17 days now! Tick Tock!
Am I a bike snob? I think I might be. It’s definitely not because I have a very high end road bike – I’m certainly not in the class of the Trek Madone or Specialized Venge! And it’s most definitely not because I have the best looking cycling kits or ever judge others for theirs (you can ride in whatever makes you happy!) Maybe it’s because I believe in bike trail and road etiquette. Maybe it’s just because my sag wagoneers think I am, at times, due to my rants post ride.
Some random thoughts that may make me a bike snob. You be the judge…
- Can you at least nod or wave to a fellow cyclist on the road? (Unless of course, I recognize the panting and struggle of being in the middle of a steep climb while I am zipping down the hill on the opposite side smiling from ear to ear. In that case, no need.)
- Roads/Paths are generally two ways. Stop taking up the whole thing riding/walking five abreast and doing a slow weave so you can chit chat with your group while not paying any attention to others coming up behind you.
- Definitely don’t litter! I can’t believe I even saw you tossing that banana peel on the ground! And don’t leave your punctured tube there either.
- Keep your dog on a leash!
- Don’t cut off cars or ride erratically and give all cyclists a bad name.
- Don’t be a moron and ride in all black without any lights on your bike at dusk.
By the way, most days now, I actually enjoy riding on the Vine Trail. Tourist filled weekends, not so much, but on week days, it makes for a nice flat 20 mile loop from my house, and regulars on the trail are great!
There! I feel better now! Thanks. 🙂
I work for a health care organization for which Live Well Be Well and Thrive are taglines, and they take them to heart. Employees are encouraged, not pressured, to have healthy lifestyles. They were part of the reason for me getting my own health and fitness back in line. They offer a variety of programs to help employees learn and take action. For the past few years they have even sponsored a Pound for Pound challenge where for every pound of weight employees lose, they donate a pound of fresh produce to local organizations. We even have Live Well Be Well Coordinators for each of our facilities. We have Andie and she’s great! She has infused a ton of enthusiasm, fun, and variety into our program. Today, she organized a bike ride that I was happy to join. I rode 15 miles to get to the start. I rode with the group for 20,
and then rode another 53 to get back home. Not too shabby, given the 4700 feet of elevation that went along with it.
Starting to feel ready. Happy Easter!
So…It looks like Scoobert is going along for the ride in June. It seems as though he behaves rather poorly if he is left behind for several days. He really does enjoy car rides and since he LOVES going for walks, he will definitely give the other sag wagoneers something to do during the day. Besides, he knows lots of tricks to keep them busy.
Oh yeah – training – I did get in a few miles this weekend. Saturday was chilly, windy and a bit damp. Sunday was one of those perfect days that we seem to get a lot of in Napa Valley. I sure can’t wait ’till I stop going in circles though!