Posts tagged ‘springtime’
The month of March feels kind of like a vinyl record with a scratch in it; there is still a lot of music, but there are skips, repeats, and the tracks don’t always play as they should. For now, I am starting at the present, and moving backwards – in pieces.
Our son Mason came home from school for a brief weekend visit, as we had missed him over his Spring Break. We got to catch up, get back on our bikes after too many days absence, and do a little leisurely riding in the incredibly balmy temps that have been setting records across the country. Mason had spent his break with a team of students from his university; they travelled to the islands of Trinidad & Tobago to work on a Habitat for Humanity Global Village project – mixing concrete, shoveling sand and helping lay the foundation for a family’s new home. There was a cement workers’ strike on the islands, so they really had their work cut out for themselves – mixing everything by hand with shovels and a lot of muscle.
He had some wonderful stories (best listened to while we were out on our bikes), made some new friends, got some running in (lol), and I loved that he took some time from his busy schedule to do some giving back. (Photos from my son’s camera).
foot race challenge
Habitat for Humanity Global Village, Trinidad & Tobago … the cement mixing
While Mason was off getting dirty and building houses, the rest of us headed to the mountains for our annual week of skiing in Colorado. It was a well-needed break for all of us. The snow was wonderful, the skiing fantastic, and like in years past, it was hard to come back home – I always tend to leave a part of myself in the snow and mountains, and someday may be staying for good. My plan is to post a gallery of snow-mountain-ski pics of this place I love, my second home, later this week. But for now I’m just including a few of the bike-y ones (and a snowy one … because it’s been so warm everywhere else).
I love the active mountain culture in Steamboat, and especially that they are so bicycle friendly – they are an LAB Gold Level community. Skiers on bikes, bikes loaded with everything from groceries to snowboards to dogs and kids. Weather, altitude, snow-covered roads are never a deterrent. One of these days my dream is to have a little house along the Yampa River, riding on the Core Trail into town for breakfast or lunch, and loading my skis on my Xtracycle for a trip to the slopes. Oh, perfect life.
And then there was all of the tornado and Red Cross stuff that I had left off with. Sigh. I am relieved to report that the damage was not as massive in scope as last April – which is still little consolation to the people who have lost their homes – and we are all grateful that no lives were lost. Our local Red Cross chapter joined with folks from Chattanooga and Knoxville, and the relief efforts went very well, as you can read in detail here. (Photo credit for these two shots from my volunteer friend, Sandy; my camera stayed at home).
But very sadly, in the midst of all of the disaster response, our chapter suffered another major blow; due to continuing reorganization and personell changes, we now no longer have a Disaster Services Director in our chapter. My friend, mentor, and “boss”, Michele – a 10 year Red Cross veteran – is no longer with the organization. This change in addition to the other personell cuts made earlier in the month, I can’t help but think that the writing is on the wall, so to speak. It appears our small local chapter has effectively been dismantled at this point, and I am greatly saddened … I honestly don’t know what my own volunteer future will be.
Most frustrating, no one from the upper echelons seems to be providing any communication/direction to the volunteer base. It reminds me of sitting in an airplane on a runway with no pilot … are they going to cancel our flight? Are they going to send another pilot? Or do they just expect one of the passengers to take the controls? Like I said, it’s just incredibly frustrating – which made my decision to leave for some skiing during Spring Break a little easier.
I am back to my bike, my silly routine. I am sorry to have not been able to finish the Utilitaire games, but I take my hat off to The Old Guy and my other friends who finished successfully – I applaud you all. And I thank MG for the dreaming up the whole idea, for I had great fun participating for the weeks that I was able to – which, for me, is what it was all about anyway. It made me re-think variety in destination riding, and I look forward to incorporating the goals into my riding routine.
Hopefully the remainder of March will be a little more normal, a little less interrupted, no big scratches. We’ll see.
I don’t know the official high temperature today, but my window thermometer read 74’F … and in the course of a week, nature has exploded into springtime. While I should have been doing other things, I was seduced by the weather …
Just things seen by bike (and apologies for double-posting today).
No destination, no Utilitairing today … just riding. On the cusp of Spring.
(You can thank me now – despite the initial scare, this is a 100% goat-less post). 😉
There has been a lot of rambling around lately … because I am obviously honing my non-productivity skills. And because the weather is beautiful, and I’d rather be out on my bike goofing off, rather than, well … cleaning out the attic or mowing grass.
I’ve been drawn to long rides on the Xtracycle lately. As someone once perfectly described – it’s not the lycra-clad fast and furious stuff (as if I ever do that), but more of a “long, slow boogie”. Typical me. Carry a picnic lunch, stop and talk to cows, linger in the fresh green of spring.
So … a few of the sights of recent days, because there’s not much more to be said.
wandering road, wandering mind
There are typically a handful of days with each season that are absolutely perfect for cycling. The weather is ideal, the landscape leaves you speechless – whether it be the height of color in the fall, a pristine day of snow, or the sweetness of spring in bloom. This week, we’ve had a healthy dose of springtime splendor.
From the dogwoods to the lilacs to the tumbling wysteria, it’s been delight to the senses. (And, admittedly, very frustrating to be without my camera … which, hopefully, will be back in my hands and repaired within the next week).
Yesterday as I was out riding and wandering the roads through green fields and blooming trees, I guess my mind was wandering as well. It’s not that I feel a need for a new “project” like #330daysofbiking, but simply considering some cycling fun that I want to try and plan for the months ahead.
And during the first few miles of my ride – when the day is so beautiful and the legs are just warming up, feeling fresh and strong – I start imagining a few crazy ideas … like how about a dawn-to-dusk ride?
Being the good parent that I am (heh-heh!), I am considering how to recruit a couple of the boys, along with my dear husband, to hop on bikes some morning just before sunrise, and pedal around for an entire day – yes, the entire day – right through to sunset. Not continuously, and certainly not hundreds of miles or anything too nuts, but stopping for meals, maybe a nap, a little sight-seeing on the side – but just spending the entire day tooling around (and probably fairly leisurely) on bikes. Yeah … #dawntodusk, if I was inclined to start another (stupid) hashtag.
So whadya say, guys? 😉
And then of course, as I continue riding for another two hours and my wandering mind begins to return and focus on my tiring legs and the sunburn I’m beginning to feel on the backs of my arms, I think: dawn-till-dusk?!! Whose half-baked idea was that anyway?!
We’ll see. The idea hasn’t yet left my head … I will just wait to see what the boys have to say (envisioning the rolling of eyes, and a great deal of head-shaking). 😉
day 330: from #30daysofbiking to #330daysofbiking
It began one year ago – #30daysofbiking. And then turned into #330daysofbiking; my goal to ride 330 of 365 days. Today I managed to cross the finish line. Day 330. It actually took me 367 days to reach the benchmark; I missed a few more “buffer” days for out-of-town travel than I had anticipated … but it is what it is, and close enough for me.
While I would have liked to celebrate this day with some exceptional or special ride, it was really just a day like many of the others … through the local landscape, me, my bike and a few cows. As I was riding and thinking about this entire “project”, I realized it was the most appropriate way to reach the finish line. Just another day, just another ride. From the beginning, it wasn’t about epic mileage, conditioning thresholds or anything cycle-spectacular. It was just about being out on a bike. Every. Every. Day. (Or as close to every day as was humanly possible.)
I am sure that many, if not most other people would’ve kept more detailed statistics about a project like this – and in hindsight, it may have been interesting. I basically only kept a daily log in a little Moleskine journal, with the date, a very rough route description and the bicycle I rode. I estimate mileage to be several thousand miles, but I have no desire to try and make a more specific calculation. Beyond this, the only other stats I can offer are:
- I have ridden 14 different bicycles – in 4 states and one foreign country (Italy)
- I had one significant crash
- I wore out one pair of shoe cleats and one camera
- number of cows and old barns seen along the way … (lost count long ago)
The best record of the experience, the emotions, and the daily adventures is probably buried in the entries of this blog over the past year. The rides with friends and family, the rides in the rain, the rides in the snow, the rides on the sunny blue-sky days. The several thousand photos I have accumulated, many appearing in these entries. It’s a little too difficult to sum up.
While I wish I had something more profound or insightful to say for this final day, I can’t find the words tonight – other than, “it’s not hard – go out and ride your bicycle.” One day a week or seven days a week. Thirty days, or 330 days. It’s the best gift you will ever give yourself. All you have to do is pedal.
back to the bike
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 ….
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.
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.
#30daysofbiking Day 15: secret garden
I know – it’s been a little flowery around here … but it’s springtime, so what do you expect? Even though I was due to take a grocery run on the Xtracycle, the day was just too lovely to not go for a road ride.
When I was young, one of the first “chapter books” I remember receiving for my birthday and reading was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I remember being fascinated by the idea of a beautiful garden locked up behind a wall. Today’s ride took me by a lovely old home in Hamilton County, with an amazing (and somewhat overgrown-and-gone-wild) collection of beautiful flowering plants and trees, climbing green ivy, and a tumbling picket fence. Since it was all growing right along the side of the road, I couldn’t resist stopping; it begged to be photographed. Beautiful to the eye, but the scent of the wisteria was even more incredible.
I had a wonderful ride (despite the excessive amount of pollen in the air – we’re above record levels), and got home just in time to leave again for Grant’s tennis match at Lee University in town. I don’t know which is better – a college campus on a crisp autumn day, or a college campus on a gorgeous spring day? While I was waiting for Grant to get on the court, I walked around and was happy to see a nice number of bicycles and cyclists on campus. And I think I’ve mentioned it before, but one of our good friends who is a professor at Lee (and I often shudder when I think of him reading this mess :-0), rides or walks to campus every day – and I’m sure he’s inspiring others. So awesome you are, Jeff! 😀
It was a long but lovely day – and a great improvement over yesterday. Pretty exhausted, but definitely in a good way.
#30daysofbiking – Day 2: bicycle dinner party/picnic
Day 2 of #30daysofbiking … Another glorious weather day, beautiful balmy evening. Sons Mason and Ross are home for the long Easter weekend (while sons Dillon & Grant are off recording with The Band). Decided to plan a lovely dinner picnic, transported by bicycle to a great little picnic spot along the local greenway. Didn’t know if it was going to come together until nearly the last minute, due to Mark and Ross driving home from Johnson City … fortunately, it all worked out.
Undoubtedly due to the beautiful weather and school holiday, the greenway was packed with people – walkers, bikers, skaters, scooters. Everybody out enjoying the beautiful evening. It’s so wonderful to have a community gathering place – a place where we can all get outside for a while, out of our cars, and just take a walk, socialize. Take a ride or have a picnic. Or any combination of these things.
Our dinner next to the creek was lovely. Our ride was fine. Another great day of #30daysofbiking. 😀