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Posts tagged ‘#330daysofbiking’

the day after

 

by the river

So what do you do the day after #330daysofbiking?  C’mon … did you really think there was any other option?  😉

Two of the boys were home for a brief weekend visit, with the local Battle of the Bands being the driver.  The boys’ band The Night Shines took the win this year (YAY!) – and they have a free download of their song Forest Fire on their bandcamp site, for anyone interested).

Ross and I had a perfect day to take a great ride up to and along the river.  After all of the grey and rain of the past days, it felt so good to have the sun shining.

While I don’t intend to keep a running tally of how many days I ride over the next year or so, I may just keep a personal log of the days I don’t – which hopefully will be kept to a bare minimum.

The perfect cycling life lesson appeared in my friend Jim’s (@bikerly) blog today; it can’t be said any better than this:

 

bikes, the people I love, and a beautiful day - it doesn't get any better

 

day 328: serainity

While I am more than ready to see some sun and blue skies, I have to confess that there is a certain tranquility to riding in a soft rain.  I love the smell of the damp fields, the quiet windless-ness, the mist hanging over the hills.  Once I get past my initial reluctancy to be out in it, and get warmed up and used to the damp feeling against my skin, it’s a beautiful time to ride.

 

bike, barn, cows ... as always

crossing Bigsby Creek

in a pickle(!)

 

who knew pickles could be so emphatic? ... (exclamation mark, really?)

Winding down, the last few days of #330daysofbiking, and I find myself “in a pickle”, so to speak.  Nothing to do with my bikes or cycling, but rather my camera.  While I am not exactly camera-less, my favorite camera, my best camera, my DSLR … has died.

From the symptoms and error message code, it appears the shutter has reached the end of its expected lifespan.  While only the Canon techs can tell me the exact shutter count, I anticipated that I was probably past-due for this to happen.  This camera has been a real workhorse, and while very well-loved, it has also survived an incredible amount of abuse.   In fact, I debated getting another camera body for the Italy trip at one point, as I really didn’t want to risk technical failure on that trip.  Fortunately, I’ve gotten through the past months without any problems … until now.

 

the very last shot from my beloved 7D

So, I have sent her off to the camera hospital and will hopefully have a diagnosis/prognosis by the end of the week.  Sadly, it seems that everyone is temporarily out of stock on the same camera body (by itself), if I come to the point I need to shop for a replacement.  And as much as I’m tempted to move up to a full-sensor body, there are too many features on the 7D (mostly fps) that I would have a hard time living without.   Forgive my rambling.

I guess I had just looked forward to finishing up #330daysofbiking with some really nice spring shots, with the camera that is so familiar and so comfortable to me that it’s almost like another appendage.  Yes, I get carried away with this stuff.

For now, the weather has been rather grey and dismal in recent days – a little bit like my mood.  Hopefully the sun will re-appear very soon …. Today was day 327.  Three days to go.

 

grey and dismal ... the day the camera died

Day 325: sticks ... and bike (Lumix)

 

today's tulips ... Day 327 (iPhone)

social network, social neighborhood

 

photo by Tavia McGrath

The photo above is from one of my ShutterCal friends, Tavia McGrath, from the greater Salt Lake area.  I was really moved when I saw it on her calendar – the sepia, the bikes, the old saddle and basket – and even more intrigued with her caption:

I live in a great, walkable neighborhood, but unfortunately it’s the exception rather than the rule around here. Big suburbs where you’re a slave to your car are the norm unfortunately. I feel lucky to be able to walk to the post office, the library, the grocery store, not to mention two big city parks. There are also a whole host of restaurants, coffee shops, and cool, independent stores all within walking and biking distance. It’s a great place to live!

(~Tavia McGrath)

We had a brief e-conversation about her neighborhood and the strong feelings we both have about the importance of social communities and sensible development with human-powered transport in mind.  From what she described, there are several up-and-coming neighborhoods in the Salt Lake area with the “livable community” tenets in mind – from attractive (non-cookie cutter) housing, small independent businesses, community gardens, and social events to miles of biking and pedestrian trails enabling people to take advantage of everything without depending on a car.

Sounds like a slice of heaven to me.

 

Grant on the greenway

This week has been Grant’s Spring Break, and we’ve been fortunate to have a few balmy spring-perfect days.  We spent some time riding around town – along with throngs of other folks who were out enjoying the gorgeous weather along the greenway.

And it always get me thinking about that famous movie line, “… if you build it, they will come.”  People genuinely want to walk, ride, and get out of the car when they are given the opportunity.  I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t rather walk to the corner store for the newspaper than have to drive, park and deal with the nearest congested StuffMart for the same thing.

In these times when far too much of our social connectivity is linked through cyberspace, from social networks to email and the rest of it, I really believe that many people crave more real social interaction.  From gathering at the coffee shop, or sitting at a sidewalk cafe table for lunch, or simply taking your kids and your dogs for a walk or ride along the greenway.

We crave a sense of neighborhood and a connection with the people within it, even at the most casual level.  While our “virtual” communities may seem limitless, and are not without merit (as I think about Tavia), they are not always as “human” as we need them to be.

I really hope that we can change this … that we start re-examining the direction of our “progress”.  That maybe moving forward will actually take us a little bit backwards –  to two wheels, two feet, and connections with real people.

 

around town

spring

 

 

 

 

 

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)