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#330daysofbiking Day 85: bicycle lunch date

the good folks of Gardner's Market

Today’s ride: a bicycle date.  Beautiful (and cool!) ride downtown to meet Mark at one of my favorite lunch spots, Gardner’s Market.  Located in the heart of downtown, it is full of charm and character, from the gourmet treats on the shelves inside, to sidewalk cafe tables and window-boxes filled with flowers.  The owners and staff are efficient and friendly, and maintain an atmosphere that is both informal and intimate.  Their delicious deli lunch items are fresh and made to order; my favorite is their California Veggie sandwich on whole wheat, full of sprouts, tomatoes and avocado goodness.  And I won’t even begin to mention their freshly baked muffins and cookies … (ymmmm).

In a little gift/antique shop next door, we saw this great little Schwinn Sting Ray Orange Krate in the window – such a great little bike from “back in the day” (circa 1968-70’s), complete with banana seat and 5-speed Stik Shift (LOL)  I’m glad I was pre-occupied with my lunch (and lunch date), because otherwise I would have had to find out if it was for sale (and for how much?)!  It was a beauty.

Schwinn Sting Ray Orange Krate in the window

Riding into downtown, partly on the Greenway and then through the streets of the Historic District, made me realize how I really need to get into downtown on a more regular basis.  I love riding through the pretty neighborhoods, stopping at the library, a lunch break at Gardners, having tea or coffee, popping in to see my friend Charles at Trailhead Bikes, the summertime weekly Farmer’s Market, visiting friends Jeff and Sarah … lots of reasons to head that way, and I need to do it more often.

my bike outside, and (Teas)

... and a nice spot outside to enjoy your tea

#330daysofbiking Day 84: cows and cool

in the cool evening

Fairly productive day, although feeling like I am sounding like a broken record lately…

My rather skewed idea of a productive day:

  • swam (in the morning)
  • sheared Elmer the goat (with the help of Matt and Grant)
  • took Grant to get his hair sheared off (thank you, Donna)
  • made the mango-jalapeno ice cream (with the help of Matt and Grant); recipe needs revision
  • helped Mark with the mowing
  • took an evening ride on the Xtracycle (with cows)
  • wrote this lame-o post, and got my ShutterCal pic posted

It is a silly life I lead some (most) days…

The things that will have to wait for another day: reading, paddling, a test ride with the new bicycle/boat trailer, catching up on email/notes I owe to people, groceries.  And a nap in the hammock. 😀

Mostly, I am thanking the weather gods for the cooler evening temperatures; what an incredible difference to ride with a cool engine.  And @blueallez, the cows say “hey” (or “hay”?) –  and also made a few suggestions for the ice cream recipe revision…

a very cool bike (lol)

a cooler Elmer, shearing day - Matt holding the "handlebars"

a "cooler" Grant: last week he lost his appendix, this week he lost his hair 😉

#330daysofbiking Day 83: in search of shade

So, this morning I had the brilliant idea that a nice long-ish road ride was in order.  Got the Monday morning mountain of laundry out of the way early, and even though the outside thermometer was creeping quickly towards 90’F, I figured what the heck – how bad could it be?

Oh, my stupid, stupid ideas…….

It started out well enough.  But after about an hour out, I realized that stopping to take any more pictures was a heat-stroke wish.  Out of water, bottle of Nuun completely drained, getting beyond typical sweaty-ness to that, well … something along the lines of a hot lobster feeling.  Skin starts feeling prickly, face is flushed, the start of a headache.  Basically, a whole lot of miserable. I’ve never functioned very well in high temperatures, and although I try to pre-hydrate as much as possible and drink plenty along the way, I know when enough is enough.  Time to head in.

Appears we were about 2-3 degrees short of record high temperature for this date – last report I heard was high of 94’F, heat index of 102’F.  Basically, pretty stinky for cycling – at least for me; my internal cooling system appears to be somewhat defective.  Lesson learned.

too hot to stop for very long (White Oak Valley)

finding shade near a farm

#330daysofbiking Days 81 & 82: and now, for something completely different… almost

man hits the ground (and not on a bicycle)


Not that I am a huge baseball fan or anything … but who doesn’t like a baseball game on a summer evening, cheap seats, beer and peanuts?

RIding on Saturday (Day 81) was a pretty boring commute/errand-running trip.  To the pet store.  To Target.  To the grocery store.  Just plain hot and nasty.  Arriving everywhere like a complete sweat-ball.  Oh well.

In the evening, the entire gang decided to head into Chattanooga to catch a baseball game.  The Lookouts are our local double-A team, an affiliate of the L.A. Dodgers.  Always feels like summer, sitting at a ball-game – even though I tend to do more people-watching and everything other than paying close attention to the game.  I just like being out there, sitting with Mark and the boys.  And a different setting for picture-taking.

Day 81 errand-riding

Today was another hot one.  I think, on average, we’ve been in the 90’s every day this week – with heat indexes at 100’F or above.  Just pretty miserable to be riding for any length of time.  Saved the riding for the evening once again – Mark and I took a spin on the Xtracycles.  Just around “the neighborhood”.  The cicadas are out in full force, their droning song fills the air.  We need some rain.  We need some cool.

Day 82: two Xtracycles, double the fun...

#330daysofbiking Day 80: strokes

Swim strokes.  Pedal strokes.   The Strokes (as in the band).  Heh.

Started the day out with swimming strokes.  Early morning at the pool, the first swim this week … but good to be back in the water.

Ended with pedal strokes.  And a considerable amount of goofing off on the Xtracycle … the bike that always brings out the kid in me.  We have a lot of “Old” roads around here; Old Freewill Road, Old This Road, Old That Road.  Basically little sections of road that had once been a main road, but have since been bypassed by a newer, bigger, improved versions.  More often than not, there is virtually no one using the Old roads, except for the few locals who live along them.  And me.  I like to ride them, just because they are less travelled, rarely any cars.

So tonight, out on my ride on one of the Old roads, The Strokes’ song, The Modern Age was playing in my head … and there was not a car in any direction.  And I was on the Xtracycle.  So I find myself riding my bike like a kid, up on the pedals, swerving back and forth like on a pretend slalom course, singing out loud at the top of my lungs:

Up on a hill, here’s where we begin. this little story … Oh in the sunshine having fun, it’s in my blood, I just can’t help it … Let me go go go go go go go….!

Thankfully, I think only the cows heard me.

pedal strokes ... somewhere near the site of the slalom-and-sing episode (be thankful I don't take video)

swim strokes (no singing)

#330daysofbiking Day 79: inside

inside ... old barn

The Patient is recovering nicely.  Spent most of the day inside, laundry super fun times.  Got outside this evening and took a peaceful road rode, stopping to poke around inside one of my favorite old barns in the neighborhood – I can never seem to resist this place.  Had to go in and look around.

The heat and humidity have been smothering.  I’ve given up trying to ride mid-day; it’s either get out early in the morning, or wait until evening.  Feeling like some sort of insect that crawls under a rock during the heat of the day.

Today I rode in the evening; I love the light, the still air, the crickets.  Inside the barn it was cool and filled with that musty smell of old hay.  Cobwebs and a pile of animal bones in the corner.  Kind of creepy, but fascinating and wonderful at the same time.

The heat of the day always brings sky drama, clouds, the flicker of lightening inside them.  Maybe it will rain?

#330daysofbiking Day 78: resilience

despite circumstances, he keeps it light and keeps it funny (Grant)

A couple of days of pure crazy … and a good lesson in parenting and the incredible resilience of kids.

On Sunday, when I last rode and posted, Grant had been at home – said his stomach was bothering him.  He didn’t seem to be overly sick, just a bit lethargic, and we assumed he was fighting a bug or had eaten something that hadn’t agreed with him.  After four kids and about 20 years of dealing with childhood illnesses, colds, flu and the like (even though relatively infrequent), it just didn’t feel like any big cause for concern – especially with a 15 year old, who was capable of articulating how he was feeling.

On Monday morning, Mark and Dillon headed down to Georgia for a two-day college orientation session, and I stayed behind – Grant was still feeling sick.  He had a slight fever, but still complained that his stomach was hurting – through the middle, very general, not in any specific spot.  Since his temp wasn’t coming down he had passed the 24-hour mark and didn’t seem to be improving, we finally decided to head to the doctor, just to have him checked out.

After examination and then some bloodwork, the doctor came told us he was admitting us directly to the hospital – all signs indicated a pretty hot appendix, and it needed to be removed as soon as possible.  And so it went …

just admitted, his room in the pediatrics wing - complete with bears on the wallpaper (lol)

The surgery went just fine, although the surgeon reported to us later that the appendix had been in pretty bad shape – partially gangrenous, rather nasty, but fortunately no indication of rupture or perforation; we had gotten him in just in time.  In any case, even after cleaning things out well, he wanted to keep a close eye on Grant for any possible infection.  Dosed him up well with antibiotics and then a little waiting game for his temperature to come down, and confirmation of a healthy recovery.

Of course, as a parent, I can’t help feeling a slight sense of guilt, justly or not – the self-questioning, the “why did I wait so long before taking him in?”  I was rather shocked that even though he didn’t outwardly seem to be very sick, inside things were so quickly becoming dangerous, toxic.  And relieved that I hadn’t waited any longer.

Today, back at home, things are going very well.  Youth coupled with the amazing healing ability of the body (and some good medical care).  Mostly, we’ve all been a bit exhausted after the past few days – spent a large part of the day napping, watching Wimbledon, and just feeling grateful.  Took a quick ride up the road in the afternoon, but just couldn’t do any more.

Grateful for all of the friends who sent notes and checked in.  Grateful for today, and health and wellness, home and rest … Looking forward to an even better tomorrow, and back on the bike, back to normal (whatever that is).

home, Wimbledon, and the purple furry guy (a Phil Barbato creation)

#330daysofbiking Day 77: the fatherhood road

beautiful world

Happy Father’s Day.  Rode today with the best father of all … my husband, Mark.  Father of our four amazing boys, beloved husband, friend, and my favorite riding companion.

It’s sometimes hard to believe that it has been nearly 20 years since Mark began his ride on the road of fatherhood; it’s been a beautiful journey, filled with challenges, but abundant with rewards.  Together we have raised four fine young men – beautiful, smart, fun (and funny), talented, compassionate, kind, loving.  The years, like the miles, have flown by so quickly, and Mark has always guided the way, provided direction, inspiration, guidance and love.  He has known when to push, and also known when to let them find their own way.  He has been the finest of teachers, and the best of listeners.  He has always been there with encouragement and support – even when life’s hills loomed big.  He’s been a parent, but also a friend – a very tricky line to navigate.  There is no one else I could have imagined taking this ride with …

We rode together today, a picturesque route past fields, rolling hills and along the river.  For me it was a reflection and a reminder of how beautiful our lives are.  Nothing worthwhile comes without effort, practice and patience – whether it is parenting or cycling – but it’s an incredible journey, and I’m glad we are riding it together.

my riding companion, my life partner... Mark

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#330daysofbiking Days 75 & 76: water to water

in the pool, first light (Dillon)

Sometimes, my posting is like way I ride hills … lagging behind.

Yesterday I began the day with an early morning swim with Dillon.  Came home to pick up the rest of the crew, and the boys and I headed to Chattanooga.  Mason and the Governor’s School group were coming into the city on a trip to visit the UTC SimCenter (because that’s their idea of good times and excitement, lol)  – and we decided to meet him for lunch and a quick visit.  It was brief, but I think he was happy to see all of us … and likewise.

Enjoyed some good conversation about the Tour de Suisse, some geeky physics jokes (which were basically over my head), and a review of this years’ crop of Governor’s School kids – impressive as always.  And when I mentioned to Mason that I missed riding with him, he responded in his typical manner, “Yeah, I miss riding with someone who’s a lot slower than me …”  I, of course, hit him for that one.

Chattanooga: bicycles, Matt, Dillon

Came home and got out for a ride … into town for a haircut.  That was the extent of it.  😛 No camera, no pictures; just taking care of business. By bike.

Today it rained for a while, but fortunately the weather cooled off a bit.  When it started to clear in late afternoon, Mark and I decided to head to the river for a paddle.  I wanted to ride, so Mark hauled the boats and let me go by bicycle.

Spent a couple hours out on the water, exploring a few new stretches of shoreline.  Rumbles of thunder in the distance, but beautiful skies and very comfortable temperatures.  Fish were jumping everywhere, herons overhead.  Spotted a beautiful Kingfisher, but couldn’t catch him by camera.  Paddled back to the landing in the golden twilight.  Rode home as the sky was turning pink.  Perfect.


#330daysofbiking Day 74: days of thunder(storms)

passing through the White Oak Valley

The pattern is becoming all too routine: smothering heat through the day, big burst of thunderstorms late in the afternoon, riding in the evening after everything has passed.

It’s nice to have a little extra man-power around the house lately.  Matt and Grant did almost all of the mowing (thanks guys!).  Gave me a chance to get some things done around home, and I eventually headed out for my solo ride among the hay bales and pink-shadowed clouds.  Realized – somewhere in the middle of the ride – that I had completely forgotten my plans to attend a community long-range planning meeting in town (sorry Jeff).  So much for my biking/pedestrian advocacy efforts.  #Fail.

Right now, I am just tired … and in need of sleep.  Have nothing else to say.  Happy evening, friends. 😀