Slow Saturday

August 31, 2008

Last night’s party was excellent, even though it lasted until after 3 am.  The social interaction alone was worth it, and meeting so many other cyclists was bonus!  Sure, it meant I slept through most of the day today, but I’m thankful to have been invited.

After some beautiful outdoor cello practice, I got caught up watching some insane cycling videos on youtube and  I got a big kick out of the Ice Biking video (see below), keep an eye out for the ice sailing guy!  The worst idea I had all day was to ride my bike after watching these videos.  It’s OK, I didn’t ride like that.

Mr. Bieniek Playing the Violin

Accidentally great dinner
While out on my bike, I managed to accidentally have an excellent dinner experience: to reiterate what many of you already know, I am currently learning to play the cello.  I was lucky enough to pick, without prior knowledge, the restaurant where my instructor plays. What a fortunate coincidence!  It would be an incredible understatement to say “he’s really good,” but what else can I say?  I enjoyed the experience tremendously.  He, and his accordion accompaniment, played all kinds of music.  My favorite was their version of Chicago – 25 or 6 to 4.  I asked them to play something amazing and they sure did.  Pictures do this moment no justice, but I’ll include one anyway.   Mr. Bieniek teaches several stringed instruments: guitar, mandolin, violin, cello, etc.  Here is a picture of him from dinner, playing an excellent rendition of Dick Dale – Misirlou on the violin.  It was easily the coolest version I’ve ever heard, much more interesting than the original, which I like very much.

Sorry for the sub-par picture quality, all I had on me was a cheap camera phone; and yes, that is my bicycle in the background, locked to a tree.


Ice biking on the Charles:
Monster Track V

Artistic Cycling:
After dinner, while looking up more information about fixies (read: pics of fixie girls), I came across this amazing video. It feels rather understated.

Bike to Work, day 80

August 29, 2008

The big Eight Zero!  Too bad it was so slow:

24:25, 6.5mi
57ºF, Odo 2059mi
avg 15.9mph, max 27.5mph

Ouch! That average speed just stinks.  Here’s why this was such a difficult ride:

  • Food: No substantial dinner last night.  I should have had a full meal after karate, but for some reason I didn’t feel hungry (maybe it was the ice cream).
  • Rest: Not enough sleep.  After karate I picked up an ice pack, then visited my friend at Starbucks® for a soothing hot chai.  It was more about visiting than chai, though I mistook the relaxing quality of my favorite tea for ‘will help me sleep’.  Woops.

During the ride I certainly put the effort in, but there was just no energy to give.  On the other hand I spent time hanging out with cool people, so it was worth it.

What a wonderful evening!  I didn’t have time to write my time down after work, so here it is:

21:29, 6.5mi
73º, Odo 2065mi
avg 18.2mph, max 29.7mph

I had the privilege of socializing with very chill folk in Boston after karate last night. One cycling conversation lasted hours! I was also lucky enough to meet up with an experienced cyclist and chat about cold weather gear, etc.  Excellent!

Tomorrow I’m going to the beach, with plans to hang out with another cool group of people.  I’m planning on cycling up and down the coast, too.



Surprise! I cut my hair (off)!  Leo, at Cesar’s Hair Design was great, and knew more about my condition than my doctor did.  The spot was growing, so I just took it all off.  Woo!

I didn’t ride yesterday, due to illness.  I stayed in bed most of the day, only leaving later to shave my head and run some other errands.  For more pics of my bald head, visit Darling Millie.

Hopefully, this will make me more aerodynamic!

22:50, 6.5mi
57ºF, Odo 2046mi
avg 17.0mph, max 26.1mph

I pushed and pushed then gave up.  Maybe I should start setting monthly record goals.  Having an attainable goal is the biggest training motivator I have, on a bike.

Welcome cat bloggers!  Please feel free to browse around the main site.  Wow, my site traffic more than doubled today.  Thanks Millie (and Mom)!

19:19, 6.5mi
81ºF, Odo 2052mi
avg 20.1mph, max 31.6mph

I pushed hard for a record, knowing there was little chance of matching or beating my best ever.  Instead, I was working for a best of the month.  Weather I got it or not, it proved to be the motivation I needed.


The tanline is from my camelbak.

Bike to Work, day 78

August 26, 2008

He almost looks dignified


Cute Pooch

I pushed hard for the first 2 miles and wore myself out early.

23:54, 6.5mi
54ºF, Odo 2032mi
avg 16.3mph, max 25.3mph

Zzzz… Clearly getting enough sleep is important *yawn* to a good morning ride.   *snore*

19:59, 6.5mi
79ºF, Odo 2039mi
avg 19.5mph, max 32.8mph

Another sub-20 time!  Allright!

My beautiful bike has been making strange noises recently.  On my first epic century, just as I started out for the second half, there was a noise that made me jump off the bike.  It sounded like thin pieces of metal being twisted and stretched.  It was aweful.  Everything looked ok so I got back on and it did it again, until I got rolling.  As you know, I finished the century.  My bike is a trooper!

Recently it’s been clicking as I pedal, two or three times per rotation.  It’s loud enough to be annoying even when I’m wearing headphones.  I knew it was something to do with the crank, but I didn’t know what.  Goodales pulled through again.  They fixed it–I cannot recall the words they used, it sounded very easy, though–and now it works like a dream.

I am actually on my way to visit the store now, to put a deposit on my new bike.  I’m getting the Centrum, and I’m very excited!  Yay!

Bike to Work, day 77

August 25, 2008


Think of the heads you’d turn riding that around!

My ride this morning was uneventful.  I attempted to keep my average speed up by accelerating up the hills but not so much as to work up a big sweat.  The reason for this was lazyness compounded with forgetting to buy a tiny bottle of shampoo for work.

23:49, 6.4mi
66ºF, Odo 2019mi
avg 16.2mph, max 25.6mph

I’m expecting rain today.  Fortunately it shouldn’t be too cold.

No rain today.  However, I took a moment to stretch before my ride, and I’m glad I did!  I felt a huge burst of energy at the start, and carried it to the end, past the total exhaustion point.  I listened to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, hoping I could get home before it finished (17:09)

18:57, 6.5mi
84ºF, Odo 2026mi
avg 20.5mph, max 36.9mph

Still, one minute from a record is miraculous.  I can identify at least three things that have been slowing me down.  I need more protein before the ride home, I haven’t been drinking water during the day, and I haven’t been stretching.  What a difference just stretching made!

I started cycling to work in March at 20ºF.  It was a numbingly cold, 33 minute ride in on my trusty old mountain bike.  One day it snowed gently.  It was the warmest day that week.

I had no complaints.

Since then a few things have changed: my route, my bike, my gear, and the temperature.  It’s much warmer now.  Today it was 52ºF in the morning and will be 85ºF when I go home.  I still don’t have proper rain gear but honestly, it’s just rain.  Riding through a quick shower on a hot day can be very refreshing.

Now though–now it’s getting cold again.  One day in March I rode at 34ºF in the rain for 40 minutes.  A police officer blocked my shortest road home. “Blasting” he said.  I had a helmet, I was willing to take the risk–but no.  That was a bad ride, but it’s the only one I can think of.  I’ll have to pick up a wind/rainproof coat, and leggings soon.

One of the best rides in was when I managed to draft behind a dump truck.  The truck smelled bad, but offered a large draft zone.  I quickly accelerated to 30mph and stayed there for some time.  Eventually the truck accelerated to a speed I couldn’t match, even in a vacuum, and continued on.  The next day that same truck passed me before a turn off, and honked as he passed me the second time.  He held a fist up with a yellow bracelet.  Live Strong!

My commute is about 6.5 miles, or 13 miles round trip, to work.  Occasionally, I will cycle up to Manchester to teach Kenpo Karate.

The first of these trips was gruelingly painful.  It was only 15 miles, but I was carrying extra weight and I had never cycled that far before.  The traffic was heavy and fast, and very discomforting.  When I finally arrived at my destination (more than an hour later!), I could hardly walk, let alone carry the mountainbike up stairs into my aunt’s house, and that was just to get into the house.  Climbing the steps to get to the second floor was even more difficult, even without the bike.  I did this ride twice in the first week.

I’ve come a long way since then.  I started by adding 10 miles to the route, to get off the crowded rt 3.  Now it’s 25 miles from work to the studio, and I’m barely winded.  I’ve started riding longer routes now: a few 50 mile rides, and recently my first century: 100 miles.  For reference, I have two more centuries scheduled next month: one in NYC and one here in Nashua.  They are one week apart.

First I lost 5 pounds, then I gained 10.  My legs feel like the twisted steel cables of a suspension bridge: Powerful and unyielding.  The confidence, stress relief, and joy cycling brings me every day is more than enough to keep me riding, but I must mention the workout, the absence of road rage, and the reduced environmental impact as other benefits.

It’s been a long road, this two thousand miles.  I will cherish every moment.

Bike to Work, day 76

August 22, 2008

This was not a perfect morning, but riding in was pleasant and stress free.

25:29, 6.4mi
57ºF, Odo 2006mi
avg 15.2mph, max 27.8mph

I’m planning a second century next month, in NYC with a good friend of mine.  It’s a week before my Ride to Read.  I’m so excited!

I pushed hard on the ride home, but just couldn’t even get close to a record.

20:48, 6.5mi
86ºF, Odo 2013mi
avg 18.7mph, max 31.8mph

Now for a shower, then a seminar with Lee Wedlake!

Two Thousand Miles

August 21, 2008

I’ve done it!

Odometer: 2000mi

Woohoo!  (real update to follow)

Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

Spaghetti with Parsley Sauce

Mom’s food blog: Cooks With Love.

Amazing food like this is how I became a spoiled food-snob.  Just looking at the pesto pasta makes my mouth water… with fresh parsley from the garden and fresh grated Parmesan cheese, covered in red bell peppers.  The colors are enough to make me love it, but it’s the taste that keeps me coming back.

Thanks Mom!

Bike to Work, day 75

August 21, 2008

After last night’s uneventful ride I decided to get back on the bike and ride to work.  I was a little frightened that my leg might start acting up half way into the ride, but there was no warrant to the fear.  Riding 6.5 miles hurt less than walking from my bike to my desk.

22:54, 6.5mi
52ºF, Odo 1988mi
avg 15.0mph, max 26.8mph
*damaged leg

A couple of miles from work I realized that my leg didn’t hurt at all, so I picked up the pace and rode faster.  I’m so happy!  Tomorrow I’ll reach my goal of Two Thousand Miles.  I wonder if I can make three thousand by the end of the year.

Well I raced ahead and finished my goal today.

46:45, 12.3mi
82ºF, Odo 2000mi
avg 15.7mph, max 33.8mph