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Posts from the ‘#330daysofbiking’ Category

back to the bike

the pink sleeve

the pink sleeve (... cold enough for jacket and gloves)

 

basically, the sum of my addictions

The week has gone from cold-ish and grey requiring jackets and gloves,  to warm and sunny with flip-flops and sleeveless shirts.  Such is March.  And it has been back on the bike with, well, perhaps some renewed enthusiasm – although I still have snow on the brain.

The big excitement of the week:

  • having Dillon home for spring break and getting to ride with him (although he is much too fast for me these days)
  • seeing the publication of several of my photos, including the cover photo, for VBT‘s 2011 Italy Bike/Walking Vacations catalog (and yes, with permission and compensation – thank you, Chaipel)
  • coconut cupcakes 😀 #FTW!

For #330daysofbiking, I have reached Day 316.  Two weeks (?!) to go ….

 

grey day and greening pastures

road repair roadblock {-P

riding (or rather, trying to keep up with) Dillon

riding (or rather, trying to keep up with) Dillon

beautiful spring day, students and their bikes on the local Lee University campus

 

my dear husband (via my camera) appears on the cover and in feature article of VBT's 2011 Italian Cycling Tours catalog

the snow excuse

 

there is nothing... NOTHING... better than this - sun, fresh snow, high mountains, my skis and first tracks though the trees

To the people who have known me best over the course of my life, they know with little doubt where my first love lies – on the snow, on skis, in the mountains.  As much as I am passionate about cycling, and as much as it has become such a big part of my life, there is nothing I love more than being on skis on a cold sunny day on top of a big mountain.  Nothing.  Period.  (Apologies to my beloved bicycles.)

A little background  … my father decided put me on skis when I was a pre-schooler, and I still have fond memories of first lessons in the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico before I was even able to read.  My dad became a National Ski Patrolman in the midwest where I grew up, which enabled us to ski virtually every day during winter.   I grew up racing and eventually became a ski instructor.   I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to ski in the summer for several years, when I shipped off to summer race-training camps on the high mountain glaciers each June.

 

with "my boys" at 10,000 ft - Storm Peak, Steamboat Springs

Skiing was a huge part of my life, of my family’s life … and despite ending up living in the snowless Southeast and raising my own family, the passion continues with my own boys, who have become incredible skiers in their own right – learning to ski in North Carolina, and skiing each year in the Rockies.   They have become skilled enough to ski everything on the mountain – from the trees to the double-black diamond chutes.

 

Ross shows how it's done ...

 

Mason heads down Storm Peak

powder day ... you can't really tell, but he's grinning ear to ear :)

powder day ... you can't really tell, but he's grinning ear to ear 🙂

So what does any of this have to do with biking?  Well for me, it appears that this crazy obsession/diversion of the trip to the mountains has managed to derail #330daysofbiking.  Since I managed not to get in a single day of cycling while out West, it appears I will be two days short of meeting my goal by April 1.  Rats.  But I just couldn’t help myself – the lure of the snow and the mountains was just too irresistible to do anything other than ski.  It’s my only excuse.

Despite this “failure” – and it is disappointing, because I was so close – I think it was good to have the interruption for sake of perspective.  Maybe it was good to get off the bike for a few days and revisit another passion with the people I love.

Someday I hope that we will be living in a place where I can set another (silly) goal – one that would look something like #100daysofskiing-and-#300daysofbiking.   Load the ski equipment onto the Xtracycle and pedal to the mountain for a day on the slopes.   (Although I might have to add in a #30daysofcupcakes and #100daysofknitting just to round things out 😉 ).

For now, I have a renewed enthusiasm to be on my bike again, and the quest continues to finish #330daysofbiking one way or another.  Since I can only blame my weakness for snow for the lack of cycling in recent days, I’m leaving a few last pictures from the mountains.  Sigh.

 

the snowy day tree

the USSA Junior National Freestyle Championships were being held on the mountain while we were there - these kids were unbelievable; our future Olympians

the art of spotting (and not landing on your head)

I had to restrain myself from buying a pair ... but I seriously thought these would look SO hot while riding my bike

the iconic symbol of Steamboat Springs ... the old barn on a snowy day

... and as the sun sets over the mountains

 

 

timing

parabola

We’ve had some crazy weather.  From warm, sunny and balmy to torrential wind and rain.  And a couple of tornados in the area, unfortunately.  Timing is everything – getting out before the bad stuff takes over.  Riding in some rain is one thing, riding through destructive wind and hail is another … and definitely not for me.

On Monday I decided to head out early in the morning for my ride – mostly because I had to make a trip into Chattanooga, and I knew the rain was coming.   It was grey, gloomy and windy and I road less than 3 miles before turning around and heading in.  The wind gusts were nuts.

Later in the day, on my return trip from Chattanooga, I made what I expected to be a quick stop at the shopping mall.  While I was inside, the worst of the storm hit.  Hearing some frightening reports from a few salespeople in side, I decided to just hang out inside until the whole mess blew over.  When I finally decided to leave, I was pretty shocked to see the damage – several big light poles had toppled, a couple of glass doors had been shattered by wind gusts.

wind-shattered door at Hamilton Place

toppled light pole, mall parking lot

One of the toppled light poles landed on top of four parked cars and did considerable damage.  Fortunately, not on top of mine.  Recent news reports have stated that there were 2 tornado touch-downs in the greater Chattanooga area, and while I don’t think the mall was officially hit, it may have been close.

Since then, the weather has been stunning – sunny and warm, still a little gusty but nothing like Monday.  While I’m enjoying the balmy days, I must confess that I am giddy over the prospect of being in snow again and doing some skiing in the mountains for a few days .  🙂

So until I return, here are a few less-snowy pics from recent days of springtime.

And for the record, today marks Day 307 of #330daysofbiking, 28 days remain.

Elisabetta

a line-ment

bars and barbed wire

today's greening fields (... and my knee) {-P

not cycling shoes ... (LensBaby)

the gallon of milk

 

cartoon world of our local grocery store

Although I am tempted to rant about our local grocery store choices (or more accurately, lack of choices…), and the disappointing assortment of over-processed, over-packaged convenience foods within our horrid chain stores – we have no Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, EarthFare or anything remotely decent within a 25 mile radius – I will spare you my whining.  My family is weary enough of my complaints.  But I like to cook – and I like to cook real food.  Food “from scratch” as we used to say, rather than out of a box or a freezer case.

And today as I was heading to the grocery store on my bike thinking about all of this, wishing I had a decent grocery store/market within riding distance, I was reminded of a wonderful 3-minute video I had seen earlier in the week by the amazing people at Streetfilms: Moving Beyond the Automobile (Vimeo).

Of course it features the incredible cycling infrastructure improvements of the Big Bicycle Cities (NYC, Portland, SF, etc.), but what really struck a chord with me were some of the statistics about the exponential increases in ridership when safe, protected cycling infrastructure is provided to the public.  The old, “if you build it, they will come …” idea.  Tenfold.  One-hundredfold.  Exponentially.

As (my hero) Rep. Earl Blumenauer so perfectly states:

“People shouldn’t have to burn a gallon of gas to get a gallon of milk … “

He goes on to talk about the need to give people safe and accessible transportation choices of all types – choices that will reduce the demand for using the automobile, which can ultimately save people time and money, while improving their health and “ultimately enriching their daily experience.”  I couldn’t agree more.

So I cycled to my poor-excuse-for-a-grocery-store and got the gallon of milk.  And a few other items of “real” food.  And I dreamed about how wonderful it would be to have a bike lane, or even a little bit of road shoulder, to easily cycle to some Real Foods store …  Maybe someday.

 

the enriching experience part ... "cartoon" Xtracycle, back home with the milk & groceries

 

 

Day 300: Napolean Dynamite

 

Day 300: no shocks, no pegs, and I've never tried taking her off of any sweet jumps...

Today I reached day 300 of #330daysofbiking … and I am still wondering how I actually got here?  (Don’t even say “by bicycle”.)

I will be honest – I am sighing a big sigh of relief and happiness that I’ve managed to stay on target and am on the final stretch to meet this ridiculous goal.  For some reason, I was feeling … well, ridiculous.  A little giddy, a little goofy, and considerably nerdy for some reason.

I wanted to ride out to get a cupcake (but didn’t).  I didn’t want a “serious” ride today.    For other reasons unknown, the famous bicycle scene from Napolean Dynamite was on my brain today – as well as the Napolean Dynamite soundtrack song, Music for a Found Harmonium from Penguin Cafe Orchestra.  Ok, well that was on my iPod.   (But please listen and watch, for it is the only way you can appreciate my peculiar mindset.)

Dressed in skirt, tights and a sweater with ruffles (and I would’ve added a hat with feathers if I owned one) –  rather than “cycling clothes” –  I took Elisabetta out for a purely leisurely and fun ride through a local abandoned golf course (more about this place will come in a future post), riding on the golf cart paths.  No traffic, no people, no chasing dogs.  It was relaxing, it was fun, and it was probably a little bit silly and pointless basically riding around in a series of circles.  But I think it was what I needed.  To just let loose, to let my inner Napolean come out – to feel like a kid on a sweet bike.  Without the sweet jumps, of course.

 

no more golf carts

So … I have until April 1 to finish the last 30 days of biking (for #330daysofbiking).  Hard to believe that nearly a year has passed by, and even more baffling to realize that I may actually see it happen.  We’re heading to the mountains and going to be doing some spring skiing in March, and I was (am) afraid of not having access to a bike for several days.   But if all goes as planned, I still have enough “buffer” days to finish.  Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, here are a few pics from the last few days of #330daysofbiking.  A little more serious, a little less my inner “Napolean”.  😉

 

a taste of springtime

in search of Holsteins

father and son ... Mason made a quick trip home last weekend; we had some beautiful riding together

they laugh and make jokes over the things I ask them to do for my camera 😉

I cannot master the panda {-P

 

karma Friday

the hauling

Do you ever have days when a tiny voice inside says something along the lines of … “today is not the day”?  The planets are not aligned, there is a feeling of bad karma, an inner hesitation, clouds overhead.  And of course I completely ignore that little voice.  Serves me right.

Rest assured – nothing truly bad happened.  No crash/collision, no flat tire, no mechanical issue.  Just a multitude of  basic annoyances that began with getting rained on (and having no rain gear, of course), continued with wasting energy (Staples no longer carries the type of photo canvas I went to buy), and included a superabundance of discourteous Friday motorists (the left-hand turn cut-off, the texting-while-driving twenty-something passing too close for comfort, and the barreling log-truck driver apparently late with his delivery to the pulp mill).

There are not many days I am happy to get off of my bike and off of the road, but today was one of them.  I should have listened to the little voice.

universe off-kilter ... but home again, safe and sound

#330daysofbiking Day 294: long ride & longhorns

 

little longhorn

 

Exquisite riding weather today … sunny and temps near 70’F.  So I set my to-do list aside and took a nice long road ride into the neighboring county.   And although I had my eye out for some Holsteins for my friend @bikerly, they were apparently out grazing in distant pastures.  Instead, it was a day for Longhorns.

 

sweet black ears and nose

you could probably hang a bicycle from those horns (... and no, I didn't try it)

 

 

spotty

always propped up along a fence

always propped up along a fence

 

waiting for springtime green