My RAGBRAI Team LIVESTRONG Fundraising Page

Monday, January 31, 2011

A staggered start (or a tale of guilt)

Ok, that's not really the right word, but I can't think of it offhand.  It's more like going in spurts - go, stop, go, stop.  Like a 15 y.o. trying to leave from a standing stop driving a manual transmission car for the first time.  Got the picture?

So, the last time I wrote, It was Jan. 10th.  It's been three weeks since.  I haven't had a lot to write about since then in terms of actually doing anything related to riding.  Oh, I've been on the trainer a couple times, including that day, the day after, and on Saturday the 15th.... Sixteen days ago.

There are excuses and rationalizations I could provide.  Some legit.  Others not so much.  And the truth of the matter is that the next two weeks won't have a lot of seat time either.  These are my final days at my current job, the one 250 miles away from home.  Soon, I'll be starting my new job in Madison and I will be home full time!

So, there you have it.  I have logged about 2h 35m (guessing that equals maybe 40 mi) on the trainer so far.  Nice thing is that I was able to move up to 45 minutes pretty quickly.  (In contrast to last year, when the first days were hell.)

I am excited and anxious.  That was reinforced this weekend with the route announcement for RAGBRAI XXIX (see  The jerseys are on sale, too!
NICE! (and only $60.00)
 The other development lately is something called #bikeschool on twitter.  I have picked up some followers (and started following back) who are seriously into biking.  Each Thursday night at 8:00 they have bike school, where all the posts include the afrementioned hashtag and a moderator (teacher) throws out some questions and people chime in with their responses.  Fast, fun and funny.  People from the Twin Cities , Austin, Milwaukee and beyond all sharing.  Kinda cool.  Have only made two so far, but the hour flies by. 

Anyway, I am getting ramped up to ride.  Even if I haven't actually ridden much yet.  And I feel a little guilty for not riding more.  But I cannot change the past, only determine my own future.  And that future includes more time in the saddle.

Oh, and as you can see, thanks to the Fat Cyclist, my blog is UCI approved!  Woo Hoo!  Thanks Fatty!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Commuting by Bike

Today I accepted a new job that I will start next month.  Currently, my job is 250 miles away from my home.  So commuting by bicycle really isn't feasible. 

Well, not from home anyway.  I do have an apartment in the next town over.  I could actually bike back and forth.  Except that my work schedule keeps me in the office for 12, 14, 15 or more hours each day (when I'm up there).  I rarely leave the office before 10p.m., and occassionally after midnight.  Only to return the next morning at 8 or so.  The reason was so that I could be home on Fridays.

So, instead, last spring and summer, I kept my old bike in the office and would ride in the evening, then return to the office to work some more.  That worked well and I had some great rides out in the countryside in NW Wisconsin (near the MN border in the Cities area).  Although I did get honked at once and someone in the passenger seat flipped me off.  Gopher fans I figure ... I was wearing my Bucky jersey.  (I wonder what they would have done had I been wearing my Obama jersey!?!)

Well, because of the distance and time away from home, I have been looking for a situation that was closer to home.  Now I have one.  Working for the state in an office building a block from the Capitol Square in Madison.  According to Mapquest, I am about 10 miles from the new office.

10 miles.  That's a 40 minute ride.  On my bike.  (vs a 25 min car ride at rush hour!)  Sounds like I will be able to commute to my new job on my bike.  And still be able to leave on time to pick up my daughter from after-school care on time.  Cool.

I may start using the old hybrid bike - a Diamondback Parkway, circa 1994
But I have ridden it so little, the tires still have the new tire threads on it.

On the other hand, I find the road bike to be a lot more comfortable!  We'll see.  Spring can't come soon enough!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Time on the Rollers is Time on the Bike

Ok, so on Monday, I said I would bring the old bike, the Schwinn, home so I could set it up on the CycleOps trainer and start riding.  Well, I did!  Ok, it's not that big of a deal, but it is a start.  Considering I haven't ridden since early September, it was an important start.

Even the Schwinn was sad to just be sitting at the apt in New Richmond.  So, I loaded it up and brought it home.
As I was strapping it on, an older woman said, with a hint of jealousy, that I must be heading someplace warm.  Well, Madison is a little warmer than New Richmond.  And the basement is warmer than it is outside, so I guess she was right.

On Friday, I set it up and actually rode.

30 min on Friday and 20 more on Saturday.  A rest day today - my legs are still sore, as is my seat.  Tomorrow and Tuesday more seat time.  It wasn't a glorious start, but it was a start.  And I feel good about it.

1/10:  Another 30 minutes today.  Sore and sweaty after the ride, but feel good about getting the ride in.
Tomorrow, I ride again!  (Though I do need a new tube and new tire.)  After tomorrow, it won't be until Saturday until my next ride.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 - A New Beginning

Or is it more like Groundhog Day (the Bill Murray movie)?

Since RAGBRAI XXVIII ended back on July 31st, I have riden a total of four rides.  The chaos of life and work caught up to me and didn't find - or make - the time to ride like I should have.

Now, it's winter in Wisconsin.  It's 15ºF out right now.  And snowing.  And I don't have any winter gear.  At least I didn't until I found these! 
Thermals!  But I still need a base layer, winter gloves, a balaclava, boots for over the cleats.  (Just started riding last spring, so still acquiring the necessary gear.)  Should have gotten out when the temps hit the 40s last week.  Whoulda, coulda, but didn't.

In the meantime, all the weight I lost getting ready to ride RAGBRAI - not a lot really, only about 15 lbs - has all come back, plus some more. 

I follow some folks on Twitter (@thenoodleator; @TheBeerRunner; @lovingthebike; @bikerly; @eggman; @rcmckill; @GrouchoSports) who are all still riding, running, training.  I hope to be inspired by their dedication.  Instead, I mostly feel guilty.  They're doing it... no excuses.

RAGBRAI seems so far away.  Both in the past and in the future.

But, on the bright side, registration for #XXIX now open, both directly on the RAGBRAI site as well as through Team LIVESTRONG.  I need, for my sake, to get registered and to get started on training.  For the same reasons I started to ride last year... to take care of me - physically and emotionally.

So, it's January 3rd.  I'm up north and can't do anything about it now, but I think on Friday, when I am home again, I'll set my old bike up on the CycleOps (trainer) and start riding. (My home is 250 mi from my office - so I stay up here during the week and return home for the weekends.)  Even if it's only a couple days a week, I need to get started.  And now is as good a time as any.

RAGBRAI XXIX, here I come!  Wanna join on the ride?

Also thinking of riding the Miller Lite Ride for the Arts (June 5 in Milwaukee) and GRABAWWR Lite (June 18th, Land O' Lakes, WI).