Tuesday, February 5, 2013

We're IN! GGR heads to Little Red, again

It's been about four years since my cycling sistah, Rebecca, and I travelled to Logan, Utah to ride in the Little Red Riding Hood, All-Women ride. I remember that year (2009)  because it was a busy one and it was also the first time I rode 100 miles.

I also found the blogpost after the trip http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8756245212773654749#editor/target=post;postID=9017476828798771129

I am thrilled to be going back with Rebecca and hopefully, some others. There's nothing like a road trip to ride some awesome bicycles in a fun place.

On Feb. 23, 100+ women will ride in the Girls Gone Riding All-Women ride here in Arizona. It's the fifth year we've done it and while it has not reached the heights of Little Red, it's still a fun day of girl power.

This year, the event benefits Brett Saks Foundation, Aid To Women Center and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. $10 of every registration fee goes to help these charities and then the women may choose to fundraise to earn socks or a jersey. This year, I'm proud of the GGR new jersey.

Join us at Windmill Winery on Saturday, Feb. 23, to ride with a group of great women. You'll have a great time and even meet some new friends to ride with.

Register right now here.

We'd love to see you!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Distance vs. Speed - The Interval

Six years of riding, one accident setback and thousands of miles of riding. That's been my cycling story. About a year ago, I read Selene Yeager's book Ride Your Way Lean and learned that eating is part of the equation with cycling to lose weight and riding, of course, is another element. She also emphasizes strength training and stretching too. These are not eye-popping epiphanies. But, the one thing she does spend quite a bit of time discussing is the value of interval training with regards to helping melt more pounds off.

When I was just beginning, I was told that intervals were an excellent way to improve one's speed. Who doesn't want to be a faster rider? There have been times that I thought to myself, what the heck? I never plan to race so who cares if I make it to the bagel line a little later than the others? But there is something to be said about the satisfaction of remaining at the front of the group feeling comfy and finishing strong. (Yeah--it's underrated, giggle). But seriously, I just really didn't mind if I was at the tail end of the group ride.

So when the words of intervals being a key component of riding off pounds, I thought to myself UGH! Really? First of all, I like riding with others. So imposing one's interval training on a group is not going to happen with the recreational groups I ride with. And, I rarely ride alone and when I do, I get so bored that I have to keep self-talking going to keep me in the saddle.

I have been cutting my already healthy diet in half and have been losing about a pound every ten days. It's painfully slow...Adding more miles is helpful and lifting some weights is too. But I'm determined to give this interval thing a try. So today, I rode 11 miles--about half as much as a typical pre-work ride. It was tiring and I was as shiny as slippery trout when I walked through the garage door in the 90-degree morning. I decide to do half-mile increments of full, balls-out craziness and I could feel the fire raging in me as I pushed it remembering to keep my legs circling and thinking about using my whole leg.

So, I don't know if the intervals are going to strip the extra pounds off, but for the next six weeks or so, I'm going to give a go. Stay tuned....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bike Stories: March 25, 2012

Who knew when I started this cycling adventure six years ago, that I would stumble into an amazingly broad experience that combines nearly all of life's pathos and ethos, is incredibly complicating and sophisticated, yet also very simple and fulfilling.

Just recently, I began to think of all of the fascinating people I have had the privilege of riding bikes with in these last six years. Some of them, I have met briefly while pedaling alongside of them on a Sunday ride never to see again, some I have become very closely linked with and still others, I run into off and on on the roads of Arizona yet seldom create plans to ride with formally. Thinking of these people one day after a particularly enjoyable ride, I realized how many stories have been shared on these wheeled adventures. It's remarkable how I have learned some of the most interesting things about people I barely know and in many cases, rarely see in any other capacity except while riding bikes. It's true, many of these rides last three, four or more hours, and as social beings, we have the compulsion to share who we are. And the various shapes that takes, is even more compelling!

Today, I rode along with a woman I have known a short time. She shares her time among Arizona and another place that's colder as many Arizonans do. She's an uplifting sort and very kind. Today, in the few moments we rode together, we talked about how so many of us have things to overcome in our lives. Like many of the people I have met while riding, she is a former runner and is now gaining her strength as a cyclist, although clearly, running still courses through her veins as her very first love. She shared with me two very distinct and very personal things. First, that years ago when her son was diagnosed with a chronic illness, she found it difficult to open her eyes in the morning, get out of bed, move through her day, live her life. Second, that a year ago, a hate crime was perpetrated on her son after they believed him and a friend to be gay and decided to beat the hell of him.

I expressed my sincere sorrow at these tragedies. I said I have come to believe that life is hard. So hard, that during the times that it isn't hard, we must drink the full elixir of every moment. She then asked me the question, Why do we think we should be immune to these difficulties of life?
I said I believed we spend those moments that life is good, expecting it to remain that way and that these painful things that come our way will happen to someone else, or not at all. All are but fairy tales that we conjure up and they keep us sane for most of the time.

This lovely woman's son is healthy today and has survived that excruciating experience. She said that while his beautiful face was repaired well, the one scar that mars his forehead doesn't trouble him. She said he told her that maybe it makes him look a little tougher. I thought about that statement today as I moved through my day. Life's trials can make us appear tougher to the people we meet after...It's when those scars we carry make us so tough that nothing can penetrate who we are, that we become damaged by our trials rather than made richer and stronger by them.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drink some wine with us and help us raise dollars for MS!

It's virtually unheard of to be a cyclist and NOT have heard of the national campaign for National MS Society called Bike MS (Formerly known as MS 150). It was the first organized bike ride I ever did. Each rider is responsible for raising $250.

To help our team reach its fundraising goal, I have arranged a night of fun, wine and food at My Wine Cellar, an Ahwatukee wine bar right across from the Basha's plaza where The Bagel Nosh is. For years, we have begun many, many rides from the Basha's Plaza and paid little attention to the winebar because who thinks about wine at 6 AM?

Zoya, the owner, has arranged for us to have the patio in the back that can seat up to 70 people. For $30, you will receive two tickets for glasses of wine or beer and a ticket for your choice of an appetizer. We will have some door prizes and a raffle to help our donations along.

Hope you will consider joining us. The cost is $30 and you can write off $11 of it.
It would be great to have a nice showing of cyclists since we all like riding together, I think we'd also like sipping wine together.

Hope to see you!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

FIVE Bicycle Resolutions for 2012 - Number Five

Resolve to clean your chain a minimum of every other ride.
One of the most costly components of your bike is your cassette. If your Dad is anything like my step dad, you have been cajoled, lectured to, pestered and demo'd the value of having your car's oil changed every 3500 miles. Your bike's cassette is another system--just like your car's engine-- where dirt, grit and grime can wreak havoc on moving parts.

Get yourself an inexpensive, lint-free towel that you can get dirty without fretting whether the spray stain remover can tackle it or not in the washer. Keep it handy, like wherever you store your bike or your riding shoes etc. When you bring your bike in, give your chain a quick wipe down. This quick and simple act will help reduce the dirt on your chain and therefore, your cassette, preserving its condition for longer.

Additionally, about once a month, don't forget to wipe your chain down really well, and then clean it with a mild detergent, such as Simple Green. Allow it to dry, and then be sure to lubricate each link on your chain with a good dry bike oil. After you have treated each link, take a clean, lint-free towel and wipe off excess oil; the oil has soaked into the links where you want it. Removing excess oil from the outside of the links will help prevent the oil from becoming a magnet for grit and dirt on the clean chain you just prepared.

--Just three more days to register for the Fourth Annual Girls Gone Riding All-Women's Bike Ride for just $30. Feb. 18, 2011 in Gilbert, AZ! Register here on the blog through PayPal.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Would I be a nut for cycling if I still lived in PA?

Sure, I rode bikes when I was a kid...first a teal blue Schwinn that I got when I was five and then a bright orange Sears Roebuck 10-speed in sixth grade. It was the orange one that led me to kill my front tooth in seventh grade. I was riding it home from my girlsfriend's house while carrying my red Ambridge jacket (not wearing it because for some reason at that age I felt wearing jackets and coats was uncool). The sleeve got caught in my front tire causing it to jam and consequently hurl me from the bike where I knocked my teeth on the curb. The tooth died a slow death, turing from its normal color to a pale greyish ivory and then ultimately an even more shadowy eggshell.

But I digress...I soon abandoned the bicycle when I turned 16 and adopted my fondness of driving the 65 Chevy Impala car that lacked power steering, a good heater and power brakes. It wasn't until I took up the bike at 45 that I found cycling to be the exercise of choice for me. While I haven't really given it much thought until this visit to western PA, I often wonder if I would have ever taken it up if I hadn't moved to Arizona. Here, swimming is a May 31st through September 1st activity. Few people have outdoor swimming pools because there are more months you cannot use the pool than months you can. I guess I subconsciously viewed bicycles as one more of those activities that are seasonal.

While out scouting for kitschy western PA items to tote back to AZ, (like T-shirts that say Stillers instead of Steelers) I came upon two cyclists out for a morning jaunt in Zelienople. The temperature at 11 AM was stubbornly stuck at 28 degrees. My ears were aching and my hands were in shock and I was just standing still. Yet, these two were cruising along at a speed of at least 21 mph, clad in tights, toe warmers, ear warmers, arm warmers, face warmers, yet they were chattering to one another (evidenced by the steam exchanging between them) and seemed oblivious to the frigid temps. If the cycling addiction grabs hold of a person, it's likely it won't matter what the temperature, a person with a cycling monkey on his back's gotta have his fix. After all, look at the many cyclists that brave the southwest sunshine and high temperatures to satisfy the craving. Add the early hour of riding at 5 or 6 AM and the questions of dubious sanity begin to circle.

The winter cycling situation does beg a few questions:
Are polar bottles necessary to keep the water from freezing?
How do the frigid temperatures affect the performance of carbon, rubber and spandex?
Do people ride with hot tea, hot cocoa or coffee in their bottles?

Friday, October 7, 2011

You gotta have a dream...

There was a time about 20 years ago that I got into a crazy multi-level marketing scheme with my then husband. In retrospect, besides being very clean (there were terrific soap products involved) the leadership outfit or 'upline' of the group encouraged us to read positive books and listen to tapes of speakers from the organization who had ACHIEVED and were purportedly rolling in cash.

Anyway, the soap-selling business was just one of his crazy ideas, but the one thing I never regretted was the reading. And, most of those books were written about positive thinking, learning how to avoid pitfalls or negativity and nearly every single one of them discussed setting goals. When learning to road ride, goals can be your friend and can be the impetus to improve your speed, your endurance and increase how serious you are about becoming a better cyclist.

Setting a goal as a cyclist is really no different than setting any other kind of goals. To steal one of the tools I read in those books, goals should be SMART - Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Timely. These elements will help you get where you want to go with your riding. If you are a new cyclist, talk to someone who is patient and experienced to help you arrive at your first cycling goals. To help illustrate this, I will walk through setting an initial goal. As I write this, I think it's time for ME to set some new cycling goals...Hmmm.

OK..moving forward.

So you now ride twice a week and your longest ride has been 30 miles. If increasing your distance is your first goal. Choose a distance that you want to reach. A metric century or 100 kilometers or 62 miles is a good goal for starters. This meets the Specific criteria as well as the Measurable one. You'll know whether or not you reach it or not because it's easy to determine that distance.

Since many organized rides offer metric centuries, you can choose one of them or visit www.mapmyride.com to locate a route near you that is save and meets the distance criteria you are seeking. Find one you like and keep that route saved somewhere.

Establishing the metric century goal is definitely Achievable but it's also important to view WHEN it's achievable. Some fit cyclists can ride a couple of times and achieve a 62-mile ride. They may have a sore tush and experience cramping and aches. However, others cannot achieve that in just a few training rides and even if they could complete it, they certainly wouldn't enjoy it.

Keep in mind REALISTIC and TIMELY as you set the date. If you are brand new to exercise and riding, completing a metric century in three weeks when you can only train one day a week, isn't realistic. Putting a date on your goal is essential though. So if you are brand new, consider that you will need to ride no less than two-three times a week for about three to four months to prepare your bottom, your lungs, your legs, and the rest of your body for that 62-mile ride. If you can ride only on weekends, you will probably need to add another month or two to your training.

To recap:
Specific -  Metric century - 62 miles
Measurable -  62 miles, plotted on a map
Achievable - With the training, yes!
Reasonable - Coupled with the appropriate training schedule, check!
Timely - Set the date and ride, baby, ride!

What are you waiting for? Come out and join us...