I Dare You to Move

f500-logostamp-640x640

In 2010, Rapha laid down a challenge: ride 500km in the eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Since then the Rapha #Festive500 has become a holiday ritual for cyclists, with tens of thousands of riders around the world attempting the distance each year. And what do you get for completing the challenge? A nice patch and the ability to tell yourself you persevered and made it to the end. I stumbled upon the challenge last year as I trained for my ride across America, and I completed it. So of course, I had to do it again. For my American friends, 500km is about 311 miles. But…

How do you fit in a #Festive500 ride when it’s the holidays?

How do you fit in a #Festive500 ride when your only child who has been traveling around the world for the past 5 months is home for 3 weeks and you want to spend time with her?

How do you fit in a #Festive500 ride when you and your husband finally have some days off from work at the same time – and he doesn’t ride?

How do you fit in a #Festive500 ride when you want to spend some time reconnecting with friends?

How do you fit in a #Festive500 ride when you have to work?

How do you fit in a #Festive500 ride when you’re supposed to be training for a 15k race on the first weekend in January?

How do you fit in a #Festive500 ride when you wake up every morning to an outdoor temperature hovering around freezing?

You just fit it in. I did. Here’s how…

You get up early and ride. You have lights on your bike that allow you to ride in the dark. You have clothing that allows you to stay warm and toasty when it’s near freezing outside. You ride some local loops so you can bump up the miles. You ride a little bit every day. You ride to and from other activities. My recap:

IMG_7735

Day 1 – Christmas Eve – I only rode 25.65 miles. It was a busy day, but I figured I should start with something. Christmas Eve was on a Sunday so we attended regular worship service at 9:30 am. We went to lunch at one of our favorite watering holes. Then in the afternoon, I rode my 25 miles since we were attending Christmas Eve worship service at 7:30 pm. Of course, I still had to wrap presents as I always seem to wait ’till the last minute!

IMG_7665

Day 2 – Christmas Day – I was actually up early, about 5 am. The girl usually is, but this year, she was the last to stumble out of bed. We had fun opening our gifts. Mr. Sag made the girl’s favorite breakfast – pancakes. I made Mr. Sag’s requested Christmas lunch – ham and potato salad. And then I headed out for my ride of the day. I ended up with 40.28 miles. Good thing. I needed to average close to that on each of the 8 days of the #Festive500 challenge and I was a bit behind.

IMG_7689

Day 3 – I headed out early and it was only 33 degrees F. out there! Luckily, I’ve stocked up on all weather cycling gear. I just donned my tights, flannel lined, long sleeve jersey, wind proof jacket and balaclava (face mask). I intended to ride at least another 40 miles but I got a flat tire at the 38.65 mark – 2 miles from home. Since I was so close, Mr. Sag picked me up and we fixed the flat later in the evening. I made it back in time to take in a movie with the girl – one of her favorite pastimes. Great day!

IMG_7708

Day 4 – Warmer today! At least it started out one degree warmer at 34 degrees. I rode through some of my favorite areas of Napa Valley and ended up with 56.69 miles on the day. Catching up with the average needed. Speaking of chilly, if I were still living where I grew up, I’m not so sure I’d even be out there. Thank goodness I live in California!

NY Snow

Day 5 – Another early ride as I had to go into work in the afternoon. Only able to get 20 miles in so I knew I would be in the catch up game for the next three days.

Day 6 – A 44 mile day. I needed this average for the next two days as well if I was to make it to the goal. It was another beautiful Napa Valley day and I was able to sneak in lunch with the family and then dinner with some friends.

IMG_7753

Day 7 – Saturday…my usual running day with Penni and I didn’t want to disappoint. We have a 15k race coming up on January 7, after all. So I rode 4 miles to get to our meeting spot. I stuck my running shoes in my trunk pack (handy for so many things). I changed and we went out for a 4-mile run. Unfortunately, I felt very sluggish so the pace ended up being pretty slow. It might have been the wine I had with dinner laughing at me. Penni is so patient with me though! I love running with her. I was pretty sluggish the rest of the day too, but ended with 45 miles.

IMG_7749

Day 8 – last day! I headed out early again and was able to get 25 miles in before church. I attended worship service and then rode another 16. That was it! 502km in the bag.

IMG_7776

What a great way to end this epic (for me) cycling year! As we head into 2018 I am throwing down a challenge of my own. There’s a saying that fighter pilots have –

“Speed is life”.

Planes

As a Physical Therapist, I prefer to say “Movement is Life!” So in 2018, I dare you to move. Any activity is good – walking, running, cycling, swimming, or other – you choose. It doesn’t matter if its 10 feet or 10,000 miles. Just get up, get out, and move! I dare you!

Thus, the song of the day:

Happy New Year! Ride on!

 

#Napastrong

 

NapaFire

I live in Napa, CA. On Sunday, October 8, 2017, some of the fiercest wildfires in history broke out on one of our mountainsides. It quickly spread due to unprecedented winds gusting to 60-70 mph. Napa and several surrounding counties, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, and Mendocino have suffered unimaginable losses of human life, animal life, property, and livelihood. Luckily, my family was spared. Sadly, many whom we know, were not.

In the face of this devastation, I have also seen incomparable kindness, love, compassion, volunteerism and generosity. Napa will survive!

I had the opportunity, due to a work commitment, at the end of this week of fire, to visit one of my favorite places. I fell in love with Pacific Grove when I arrived in California 27 years ago. It is all together beautiful, energizing and peaceful. After a week filled with smoke, anxiety, and unknowing, it proved to be all that and more. I had thrown my bike in the back of my SUV before leaving home, just in case. It turns out that we had almost a full free day on Saturday, so of course, I rode. I was off before most of the tourists were even awake. I took in the sunrise, and I rode along one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline one can imagine. 50 miles and 4 hours later, I felt renewed.

DSC02168

DSC02169

DSC02173

DSC02176

DSC02182

DSC02185

DSC02188

And just as the lone cypress is resilient against the odds, so too will be Napa. We will recover. We will love and help each other. We will move forward. We are #Napastrong!

Song of the day:

Ride on!

 

And We’re Off!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”      – Mark Twain

I didn’t want to wake up twenty years from now and say “I should have done that ride across America. So with that, we’re off!

Time to leave the comforts and conveniences of the Napa Valley behind.

Cyclists Prayer

Let’s do this!

The Prologue

We are readers in my family. My daughter (the girl) is the voracious one. She reads one to two books daily and can smell a book store from miles away! Books/stories usually have a prologue. It is an opening of a story that establishes the setting and gives background details. It can also be an introductory act or event like in the Tour de France. So…fittingly, today was my prologue.

The big adventure began today. Baker Beach in San Francisco to Napa. 72.8 miles in the bag! Only 3500 more to go. Plymouth, here we come. Look out America!

The plan was changed too, of course. Most cycling mapping aps navigate from San Fran to Napa via Vallejo. To get to Vallejo, you have to take a ferry across the bay. I decided that I just couldn’t take the ferry. I had to ride! Therefore, new route.IMG_4072

Most of the route was new to me as you’ll see from the quick little backtracks at times but it was really nice when I hit Sonoma and the roads were the ones I ride all the time. I usually try to stay away from Sonoma, though, because the roads feel like you are riding the Paris-Roubaix.

The ride:

I even got a welcome home from Aaron Comfort Dog and Team Aaron!

Song of the day:

I grew up, musically speaking, in the 70’s and 80’s. My favorite band was Journey. I knew they were from San Francisco, but I didn’t know anything about that city by the bay. When I first got to California (1990), I even met Neal Schon (lead guitar)! He was just hanging out at the Sweetwater Saloon in Mill Valley. Some friends and I had gone there to listen to some local band. He chatted with us for over an hour. Cool guy!

So when I was dropped off at Baker Beach to begin the ride across America, Journey songs started going through my head. Journey. How appropriate!

Ride on!

Anticipation

DSC00433Anticipation 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.

Anticipation, anticipation
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!

Ride on!

Barns Across America

I’ve always been drawn to barns. Something about them intrigues me. It might be the history they seem to hold, or the way the sunlight seems to perk up their old worn out siding. It might be that I grew up in rural upstate New York and they tended to be landmarks on the way to places.  I remember one I was always drawn to because it was so pristine looking. You could see it off in the distance, just after Rochester, on the way home from Buffalo. It might be that I have really fond memories of visiting Kandi’s family farm while in college. We got to witness baby Joey (calf) being born one year. We always picked corn right off the stalk to have for meals. And her mom made the most delicious barbecued chicken with a white marinade that I’ve never been able to recreate. It was probably the open pit method that I just don’t have in town.

Here are some that I’ve seen on my cycling trips around the Napa area. And I’ll be sharing barns that connect with me as I move ever so slowly (relatively speaking) across america starting in less than 25 days! Oh my!!

IMG_3962
Napa, CA – 5-mile loop
DSC00202
Napa, CA – Oak Knoll District
DSC00199
Napa, CA – Bay Trail
img_2978
Dixon, CA – Not really a barn, but I like it.

What draws your attention?

Ride on!

You Sent Me a Sign

I always see signs out there when I ride, but what are they trying to say?

Get on your bike. It starts now!IMG_3993

Keep going. No stopping!IMG_3960

Oh crap! I got a flat! Two of them!IMG_3972

This is where you ride…IMG_3466

Really?IMG_3983

I’ve lost my head?IMG_3986

Looks like there could be some trouble…IMG_3978

I’m fading…IMG_3987

I’ve hit a wall.IMG_3928

Wishful thinking!!! This road has a slight incline for goodness sake!IMG_3981

Ride on! 🙂