I got a new bike basket and bag (more about that later), which I love, but even though I pre-measured, it turns out that the bag isn’t quite big enough for my work laptop.
I suppose I could have returned the bag and basket and gone with the rear rack and pannier, but I decided to try something different: leaving my laptop at work. After all, we have a perfectly good family laptop, plus I have my iPad mini, which can easily go back and forth.
So far, it hasn’t been any real hardship. I do have to share the family laptop with other people, which means occasionally I have to ask to use it, but that’s OK!
Am I really using my electronics less because of this decision? Maybe not. I’m still in the habit of using my phone and iPad to obsessively check social media and play solitaire. And I hadn’t been using the laptop that much at home anyway. But it is something different for me!
I’m still mourning a bit, especially when I think of an errand I could run by bike, or of things I’d like to grow. But here’s where we are now: the balcony of our apartment, and me with my current bike, a Schwinn Avenue hybrid.
And those would be planters on the left. Our youngest and I planted some seeds from her day camp, but only the fava bean plant has survived so far. I’ve got some more seeds, though, and we’re going to do some replanting. But that’s it for our garden, so far.
You can also see our pool toys on the right. Our complex has a pool, and that’s definitely an asset.
We’re still doing Girl Scouts, as you can see by my shirt. We went horseback riding yesterday, then today I dropped our eldest off at resident camp, and at the end of the month we’ll be going on a medieval-themed campout together.
I’ll still be riding that bike to work, once school starts. Actually, I had started riding it back in June, when I took the Xtracycle in for a tuneup. It’s lighter and faster, but I can’t carry much yet; I need to get a rack and/or panniers. And fenders, before it starts raining!
We have most of the boxes unpacked, but we’re still getting organized. So, life moves on.
It was a beautiful day for the Lancette Memorial Ride in Canby, Oregon — cool but sunny in the morning, warming up just enough later in the day (it eventually reached 83 in Portland).
The ride wound through several of Oregon’s small, country towns and hamlets: Canby, Mulino, Liberal, Macksburg, Lone Elder, Barlow, Butteville. Wendy instantly described it as “bucolic.” And wow, yes. Horses, hay bales, corn fields, farmhouses, rural post offices, and a perfect white church with stained glass windows and a steeple (which was our first rest stop). We picked out many houses we wanted to live in. And we could have had so many adventures along the way! We pictured ourselves crashing weddings, joining a family reunion, taking a detour to check out the town of Needy (also known as Hardscrabble), stocking up on millions of peaches, and “borrowing” a boat to float down the Willamette (undoubtedly encountering a mystery along the way). If I had had my Xtracycle bags and racks, we would certainly have indulged at one of the farm stands.
But we stuck to the course, and to our 40-mile goal. My longest ride so far had been 30 miles, and indeed, by the time we got the rest stop at the Historic Butteville Store (at 28 miles, been operating since 1863!), I was tired. Of course, we persevered, fueled by excellent snacks provided by the ride organizers and volunteers and Wendy’s margarita-flavored Shot-Bloks. It took us just under five hours total, including two 10-15 minute rest stops and a few unofficial stops to recover from hills and deal with my watering eyes. I did have to walk part of the way up two hills and all the way up another one, due at least partially to the limitations of my bike (it weighs 40 pounds and only has an 8-speed derailleur). But most of the course was fairly easy to ride.
So what’s next? I still want to work my way up to a full century and then the Seattle to Portland ride (two centuries in two days). But I think, and Wendy agrees, that I’m going to need a different bike for that. I’ve thought of getting my Radish re-geared (which might not be a bad idea anyway), but a lighter bike would be good, too. So unless I decide to sell the Radish, I’m going to have to set myself a savings goal for that. I also need to get ME lighter. I’ve been burning lots of calories, but not losing weight because I’ve also been eating a lot to fuel myself for those long rides. Weight loss and distance riding don’t really mix (at least for me), because I can’t ride without the fuel. So over the fall and winter, I need to work on weight loss, aerobic capacity and muscle strength rather than distance. It’s rather less exciting, but it needs to be done.
If you are an Oregonian, I can definitely recommend the Lancette as a ride. It was well-planned and well-supported. I can’t speak for the longer routes, but the 40-mile was a great route with plenty to see and not too many hills. You could even do the 40-mile route on your own if you wanted to — there are stores conveniently located in Mulino, Lone Elder and Butteville for rest stops. You can view the route map and cue sheet here.
It’s almost here! The Lancette is tomorrow. Wendy and I have made our plans (I wonder how our dad feels about giving his 30-and-40-something daughters a ride to their sporting event?), and all equipment seems to be in working order. I have a water bottle in the freezer, and I’ve packed my tiny equipment pouch (I’ve removed my Xtracycle racks and bags for the duration). Wendy has the energy bars/gels/blocks/whatever.
So. 40 miles! We’ll be on the road tomorrow between about 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Today I started a new work assignment, in a new place, with a new kid.
I had a few butterflies, but no debilitating anxiety. It’s only a three-hour work day, so I have plenty of time for other things.
I’m pleased with my progress on the anxiety/depression front. I do need to continue my mindfulness practice so that I can maintain this level of sanity. And I’ll still have an appointment sometime to review my meds. But I’m doing well overall.
Now I need to do a little more biking! It’s been just over a week since my last ride. I’m planning to try riding to work and back tomorrow, which will be fairly challenging. It’s eleven miles each way, and it’s going to be hot. I’ve got to do it, though, because the big ride is coming up in less than two weeks!
So, you’ve probably heard the term “hitting the wall.” Cyclists seem to mostly call it “bonking.” I’ve always figured it meant something like “I’m super-tired and I feel like I can’t go any further but I’m gonna push through and do it anyway.”
It’s not always surmountable, though. Saturday I bonked hard enough that I couldn’t keep going. I was near the end of a 30-mile ride, but it had taken a little longer than I expected (had to stop for a repair and also got a little lost), and I hadn’t brought enough snacks. I should have just stopped to get something (I had opportunities), but I wanted to push for home and get it done, dammit! I was a little worried about one steep climb getting there, but hey, I’d done it before!
But when I stopped at a park about two miles before home (and a little bit before the overpass climb) for a water break, I suddenly felt nauseated and then light-headed. I called home for a ride and lay down on the grass, and when my husband came to get me I honestly couldn’t do much of anything to help load my bike into the van.
I’m sure it didn’t help that it was already 90 degrees and climbing by that point, either. I’d drunk plenty of water, but still.
I’m not discouraged, though. I’m certain I can do this if I just manage my food intake better. And it was a beautiful ride. I rode four different multi-use (bike/pedestrian/etc.) paths in the Portland area: the I-84 path, the Gresham-Fairview Trail, the Springwater Trail all the way from Gresham and through Sellwood, and the East Bank Esplanade along the Willamette River. After that, I had to climb through the neighborhoods back to East Portland, which was the hardest part (and where I bonked out).
I have no idea what week number this is for my bike training. I’m still at it, but I’ve adjusted my goal to doing the 40-mile Lancette Memorial Ride, rather than the 60.
Why? Well, that’s what seems most achievable at this point. I’ve been riding every week, but I missed a long ride one weekend because my bike was in the shop and another because we were on vacation. Then I worked for two weeks, and I did bike commute during that time, but I was utterly exhausted. Last weekend I did a 26-mile ride, and this weekend I did 30 (more on that later). This week I’m going to California to visit my grandmother, and may or may not get to ride at all (got a bike, Aunt Susan?), and next weekend we have a big Girl Scout event.
So, life happens. I can work with that. I’m feeling good about my progress — I feel stronger and am getting faster.
I’m unbelievably exhausted this week, and I didn’t even get to go for a long ride over the weekend. I’d taken my bike in for a tune-up on Thursday, and was hoping to get it back Friday or Saturday, but they ended up calling me shortly before closing on Saturday, and I had to be somewhere else at that time, so I didn’t get it back until Monday evening. I rode it home, and then the next day I rode it to work.
This week I was on a new assignment (I work as a recreation assistant for kids with special needs during the summer), and it turned out to be a very active one. I rode almost seven miles in to work, and then that was followed by relay races, dancing, dodge ball, walking to the library and back (almost a mile each way), and playground time. And then I rode 7+ miles BACK, including a stop at the bike shop to check out a funny noise.
Ladies and gentlemen, I was sweaty and exhausted. It was an extra-humid day, too, so I’d gotten sweaty in the morning and never really dried out. When I got home, I went straight to the shower, and once I’d gotten clean clothes on, I was tempted to fall directly into bed.
The next day I woke up with sore muscles all over, presumably from the other activity and not the biking. I’m still recovering. I haven’t even ridden in the past couple of days, because I just needed to give my body time. And fortunately, the past two days haven’t been quite so active at work, either. I should be ready to ride again tomorrow.
I’m still coming home ready to fall into bed, though. Fortunately, I’ve got a good book to read (Code Name Verity, which has been recommended by literally dozens of people I know), so that’s a good excuse to just go lie down.
A Web 2.0 mom working toward a sustainable lifestyle