From Fell To Forrest

I can’t ride like this but I can appreciate it, and the photography is fantastic.

*borrowed from the LazyRando


Testing One’s Mettle

Prior to moving to my loft last Aug. I had a base mileage of riding where I could easily go out and ride 15-20 miles. Then with all the changes and time restraints I didn’t ride much until after the New Year. I started commuting (by bike) about a month ago a couple of days a week and have gotten out on the weekends for longer and longer rides. Since I’ve acquired the Hillborne, I’ve wanted to ride much more and have set some goals for the year with regard to distances. I believe I’ve mentioned wanting to do a populaire.

First, I want to increase my base mileage, building up to a mildly structured training regimen. However, most of my riding has had the absence of any significant hills. Last Sat. I decided to see what kind of shape I was really in and challenged myself to a local climb over 4 miles long with a consistent 4% grade. I’d ridden this many times before, but what can I say, it’d been awhile; about 22 years! And, yes, I was also lighter. After the birth of my daughter (22 years ago) I began road riding more seriously and rode all over the Berkeley/Oakland hills. I’ve been riding since,  both road and mtb off and on, with a few years where I’ve trained and ridden in a few centuries, with a 100 mile kayak race thrown in between. Now, I want to ride long again, on a comfortable bike (Hillborne), and I don’t care much about racing.

I came from down there
I came from down there

The long and short of it is, I did get to the top of the 4 mile climb. The bad news is that it was very hard and required a couple small stretches of hike-a-bike. Demoralizing when you remember how you use to do it, encouraging when you remind yourself that you didn’t just turn around and coast all the way back to the start when it got hard. I’d had a 20+ mile ride planned for the day, but when I got to the top my legs were spent. There was one other good uphill on the planned route, but I decided to decrease the mileage for the day and head a different direction. Then it got really cold as I was on the shady side of the mountain and had some downhill patches of road. My legs felt really dead and as I pedaled by a road I’d been down before, wondered if I should cut my losses and just get to the end as best I could. I rode maybe a 1/4 mile further and stopped on the side of the road with a large shoulder in the sun to think about it. My goal was to see if I could do this climb, and I did.  I still had to remind myself (especially when I set goals) that I want to be having fun. And I say, still, because I can lapse into the mentality of a youngster who doesn’t believe they’re really accomplishing anything unless they are really suffering. Lastly, I knew continuing on the present road for an additionall 5-7 miles to add to my weekly totals was not going to make today’s ride fun. I turned around. Down and down I went, 28 mph, and found myself dropped in Montclair. A pretty easy last few miles to the start with a sunny stop sitting on a bench in front of a beautiful, little lake ( Lake Temescal) where I devoured a Honey Stinger.

After Sat. I’m feeling some doubts. Am I pushing too soon for the June populaire? Should I take more time, just build more base mileage? Can I really do this?

Invisible Waves Of Knowing

The death of two cyclists in Thailand made me stop and think about relationships and social media. I’m sure it’s been written already and probably better, but for me the ability to share life and  bicycling experiences via the internet, whether through blogging, Twitter, etc., is appreciated. I’ve learned so much just tapping into the invisible waves of communication. But what about the people we don’t actually meet but begin a conversation with via social media? Do we really know them?

At the most basic, via a text, I’m able to check in with my daughter at college, or inquire as to dinner with my partner. I can quickly see what’s going on in the bicycle world on Twitter, or I can vicariously ride the Tour Divide with brave souls who have completed that monumental task and taken the time to share their adventures through their blog.

You can see who’s blogs I read. Some I’ve followed going on three years and some are quite new. I do add and drop certain sites based on my own interests and how compelling their writing is to me. I’ve recently added some randonneuring blogs; I hope to do my first populaire this year. I’ve developed a sense of relationship with some just by reading their words, and viewing their photos. Sometimes I reach out and comment on their blog. I might share my congratulations on their feats of accomplishment, or just a few words to say I hear their sorrow. Sometimes I just ask a question; “what kind of light is that on your handlebar?” Often they respond, and some in return follow my blog.

Coastrider is one of the blogs I’ve followed the longest. From Scotland, a blog with wonderful photos, stories and videos. It was Coastrider who inspired me to not only purchase a Pugsley, but build my Pugs with an IGH. When Coastrider posted he was ill and couldn’t ride for at least a month, I worried about him. I checked his blog every day to see his latest post and to make sure, if possible, he was OK.

my Pugs
my Pugs

MNBicycleCommuter hasn’t posted since July last year after his failed attempt at riding cross-country; a dream he’d held for many years. When Doug posted he’d abandoned his tour, I was shocked. I had been reading Doug’s posts daily, sharing in his preparations. I was happy for him when he announced his departure, and sad for him when he shared he had stopped. Doug is the real deal; a full-time bike commuter, snow, sleet or rain. It was Doug’s blog and  his words with beautiful pictures from his part of the country that inspired me to begin commuting by bike. I urge you to take a look at his blog. I’m sorry Doug discontinued his blog.

my Vaya
my Vaya

So, do I know these people? I affirm that I know a part of them, just like you, the reader, know a little about me. With the sharing of words and photos and the topics we choose to write about, a little of who we are just sneaks out. I’m a very private person; even introverted. I enjoy writing and taking pictures and my blog is part creative outlet. If I’m honest though, my words here are also a little about reaching out to the world; here I am. These are some of the things I do, I love and I’m willing to share with you.

Did I know Mary and Pete? Well, I’d  never met them in person but I know they grabbed the world by the horns and didn’t let the fears of living interfere with the act of LIVING.


“Skid In Broadside In A Cloud Of Smoke”

I didn’t know Pete and Mary, but it would have been an honor to do so. I’ve heard through the Travelling Two blog of their death in Thailand while on a world bicycle tour. It brought tears to my eyes for many reasons………

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!'” (borrowed from Travelling Two)

Thanks Mr. Presidents

Today’s a holiday for me. I really enjoy 3-day weekends and I have one the first three months of the year. My Jan. holiday I spent visiting with my mom in Camarillo. This holiday I relaxed, celebrated my partner’s birthday and took a couple bike rides.

Yesterday was beautiful; the warmest it’s been in awhile. I intended to ride but didn’t and even took a nap (I rarely nap). I enjoyed the day tremendously, and we capped it off with discovering a new Chinese restaurant with organic beef, chicken and seasonal vegetables. It was delicious.

So, I had to ride today as I’ve decided to try a populaire scheduled the end of this June. That means I want to have more base miles before I really start a training schedule. For part of the training I’ll participate in a couple of orgainized rides, starting with a 37 miler in April, and then a metric century in May. Hopefully I’ll be prepared to do a 115K populaire in late June; my first.

Today’s ride was cold, windy and cloudy. I really wanted to just turn around and go home. Yesterday was in the upper 60’s˚, and today’s ride was 42˚. But I’ve actually registered for the race in April; so being unprepared or having to quit due to improper training is always good motivation for me to first, get out the door, and second to keep going. I rode half the route on the SF Bay Trail. It seems no matter what direction I was going it was a head wind. Here’s a picture from Saturday’s ride, but I passed this area today too. It didn’t look like this though. Off in the distance, you can see the San Francisco skyline.

albanybulbInto about half of my ride, I cut under the highway to try to get out of the wind and rode on city streets. It wasn’t too bad as far as traffic and the buildings blocked some of the wind. I wound my way through Emeryville and Berkeley and connected up again with the trail (at Buchanan) with about 5 miles to home.