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Posts tagged ‘road ride’

#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 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 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. 😀


@330daysofbiking Day 71: river & ride

the end of the day

The ride came at the end … again.  Another solo road ride, post-late-afternoon-thunderstorms.  The roads were damp, steam rising from the heated pavement.  Fields are lush and green.  The air was just starting to cool, no winds.  Lovely.


Spent the day on the river with the boys and friends, paddling the upper Hiwassee.  It was the perfect hot day to spend on the cool river – the water is amazingly chill, coming down from the mountains.  It was great to be on the river on a Monday; we had it basically to ourselves, very few others out on the water.  A few fly fishermen, one or two other paddlers, our group. Nice.

Plenty of silliness … getting stuck on rocks, navigating the rapids backwards more than once, paddle-splash wars, sailor hats, the landing at “goose-poop island”. LOL.  Plenty of sun till the very end, when the late-afternoon storms started to pop up.  Mexican food for dinner, and then some music by the boys. Good times.

A few pictures from the day … ahh, summer.

something out of Gilligan's Island??

Leslie ... complete confidence

Matt & Grant ... amazingly NOT backwards

the beautiful upper Hiwassee River

#330daysofbiking Days 69 & 70: pedal, paddle, pedal…

beautiful endless stretch of road ... riding with Dillon

Summer days.  Sometimes they are so fun-filled and action-packed it feels like we are moving 90-mph in our 35-mph lives … And so I missed posting yesterday, and will have to make this post a double-feature. LOL.


Had a great ride with Dillon on Saturday.  It was hot; mid-90’s, very humid.   I took it easy out there, drinking plenty, taking my sweet time – as always.  At this point, all of the boys can really out-ride/out-pace/out-climb me … but they are still nice enough to ride with me, waiting for me to slog my way up the hills.  We always have fun – they never fail to make me laugh over something.   The day’s fun was getting squirted with his water bottle while I was trying to get a photo … which just happened to feel quite  wonderful in the heat.

you cannot tell, but I was being squirted by a water bottle while trying to shoot this...

Today, Mark and I started the day with a quick trip to the river.  Finally had the new boat out for a paddle – and it was fantastic! I think this is going to be the perfect boat for me; stable, light, and great deck/storage for easy access to everything from my water bottle to my camera.  I think I am also going to be able to haul it  easily by bike very soon – getting a small scupper-hole cart/set of wheels, and plan to tow behind the Xtracycle.

very happy with the new boat - can you tell?! 🙂

met another couple out paddling - with their cute pup, Chavelle, on board (please tell me that I don't have to start bringing the goats along?!)

Came home, and Mark headed off to the airport for another week of out-of-town business.  After dinner, I headed out for a solo evening ride.  It was a peaceful and beautiful ending to a weekend of small adventures, fun.

When I thought about what I wanted to write tonight as I was riding, it kind of occurred to me – what do all of these things mean?  The pedaling, the paddling, the pictures … very likely, a whole lot of nothing to anyone else – but so much to me.

I had a conversation with a friend recently – talking about how “to live”.  About all of the time we spend maintaining our lives (jobs, school, family, home, daily “stuff”), versus how much time we are actually living … Is there really a difference, or is it just the same thing?  I’m not entirely sure, and even though there cannot really be one without the other, I believe there is a difference.  I like to think that my boys, my family, won’t look back and remember how many times I washed their dirty socks, or how well I dressed or mowed the lawn … but that they will remember the times we rode together, or skied together, or paddled together, or laughed together, or had our goofy adventures together.  To me, these are the times we are living; aware of each other, enjoying each other, being with each other.

It is a good thing – to live. It is even better to be living.

So pedal (or paddle) on……….

tonight's ride ... the road home


#330daysofbiking Day 57: memorial day

flags along the way ... Memorial Day

End of the long holiday weekend.  Spent the day working outside, running a few errands, and finally had an evening ride.  One of the houses we passed had a fence lined with flags.  On bikes, in the evening, it was a good time to remember …  The sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandparents – who have served or are serving.  Waiting for peace, waiting to return home.

One of my ShutterCal photography friends, Brian, who had once served in the Army, put it very well:

You don’t have to believe in, like or support a war or the morons who start them (I certainly don’t) but it is VERY important to (honor) and respect those who willingly put their lives on the line by serving in ANY uniform.

Remembering.  And wishing for peace.

at ease

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#330daysofbiking Day 55: Seussian

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” ~ Dr. Seuss

A wonderful long and leisurely road with my beloved today.  The roadsides are covered in wildflowers – and weedflowers.  All beautiful to me, thorns included.  I don’t know why, but the blooming thistle always reminds me of some Seussian creation.  They are such odd, crazy-looking flowers on tall stalks – and manage to grow to perfect handlebar height (beware the thorns!).

The threat of rain convinced me to leave the DSLR at home, but I had my little Lumix and remembered a ziplock bag today. 🙂 As we were riding, I was trying to think of/remember all of the beloved Dr. Seuss quotes I could.  His wonderful books and illustrations always had – and still have – a special place in my heart. So today’s few riding pics are paired with the wonderful words of Seuss…

"If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good." ~ Dr. Seuss

"From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere" ~ Dr. Seuss

"Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one." ~ Dr. Seuss

"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." ~ Dr. Seuss

#330daysofbiking Day 49: missed one

father and son

This should have been Day 50 … but yesterday I missed.  Didn’t ride.  😛

Yesterday was the big end-of-school-year/beginning-of-summer/graduating-kids bash at our house.  The big group of friends … volleyball, swimming, ultimate frisbee, barbeque, bonfire and The Night Shines concert in the barn.  A lot of these kids have become like family over the past few years, and it was great to just kick back and have some fun.  It turned into a rather late night around the bonfire; the music and conversation didn’t want to end.

assortment of party snapshots

Today, gratefully, the post-party clean-up was taken care of by Mark (mostly) and the boys.  Spent the rest of the day relaxing and unwinding, but got out for a ride with Mason and Mark in the afternoon.  It was a beautiful day, but the temperatures are really heating up.  Definitely feels like summer.  It’s the last weekend riding opportunity with Mason for the next month or so – on Friday he returns to APSU for five weeks to work at the TN Governor’s School for Computational Physics. Will be looking forward to getting him back in July, and more riding together…

shadow play

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#330daysofbiking Day 44: dumb and dumber

saw it coming...

Perhaps the smartest thing I did today was leave the DSLR at home.  (Today’s photos brought to you by Mason’s pocket camera – which, quite miraculously, I managed not to ruin).

So the sun was popping out, along with patches of blue sky, and we figured the rain had finally moved out.  Mason and I decided we were overdue for a nice long road ride.  I cannot tell you why, but something in me decided to leave the “good” camera behind today – and since my little Lumix had a dead battery, Mason offered up his to take along.

taking cover; Mason always manages to keep a smile on his face, regardless of what I drag him through

Around 8 miles out, the rain started.  And unfortunately started really coming down on a more heavily travelled stretch of road, where we encountered some yahoo who decided to pass a truck in the oncoming lane just as we approached – which could have been disastrous had we not had some ample clean shoulder space to move on to.  We made it to a small commercial building that was empty and up for sale, so we stashed the bikes and took shelter on the front porch.  We thought we could wait out the worst of the heavy rain – a plan that worked just fine until some really strong winds started blowing the driving rain onto the porch.  We ended up pretty soaked, thinking how stupid we were not to bring any rain gear, or even a plastic bag to stash phone and camera.  Dumb.  Murphy’s Law of cycling, I guess … but we should have known better.

The rain finally let up and we decided to head back out, debating whether to continue our loop, or just head back home.  Made the decision to stay out.  And about 5 miles further down the road, got caught in a downburst again! This time we were close to a big Baptist church, and found cover under one of their equipment sheds.  Had it not been for having stupid electronic devices with us, I think we would have just continued on in the rain. Time to stick a few ziplock bags in my seat bag.  (You would think I would have learned this by now. Duh).

Finally it let up again.  And the sun came out.  And the rest of the ride was spent drying off in the warm sun.  Totally worth it!    I wish I could bottle the air on a day like this – damp grassy fields, the incredible perfume of honeysuckle in bloom.  This was the reward part. 🙂

I don't know why I did this in black and white ... I just felt like something different 😛

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#330daysofbiking Day 39: lines and circles


Weather is still marginal, another hectic day.  Did manage to get a ride in this afternoon – with Mason, once again.  I had actually contemplated an errand ride by Xtracycle, trying to convince my mother-in-law that she could ride along on the back, but I just couldn’t talk her into it.  Go figure? 😉  So Mason and I headed out on to ride on a couple of roads I don’t ride on very often; it was a nice change of scenery.   Damp and earthy smelling after all of the rain, and very, very green.  One heavily wooded section of the road was like riding through a green tunnel.  I need to revisit these roads more often.

For some reason when the clouds are heavy I am always drawn toward shooting with the fisheye … and today was one of those days.  We came across this rusty old wheel along the road near someone’s driveway – and I just loved the scale of it against the bike wheels.  It also made me think how crazy it would be to have a bike with wheels that large… (I cannot explain how my brain works some days).  Same thing goes for the power lines; I have no explanation.  The world can look very different and interesting on a bike – and even more peculiar through a fisheye lens.  Put the two together, and, well … ?

So ends Day 39.


lines and circles (via iPhone Hipstamatic)

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