Day 365: Woo hoo! I survived 365 days!

3 01 2011

This time last year I embarked on a project I wasn’t sure I could finish. I started this blog 365 days ago. The original intention of the daily project was to share my thoughts about cycling and my attempts at weight loss. I had success with some things … other things, not so much. I plan to continue the blog posts, although it will probably be on a weekly rather than daily basis.

Looking back over the past year, this blog project has been a learning experience which enabled me to meet quite a few fellow cyclists (both in person and in the online world). While I may not have accomplished everything I originally set out to do, here are some of the things I learned from the project:

  • A 365-day commitment is much more time-consuming than I expected. Silly me. I figured each day’s post would only take a few minutes. Most of them took close to an hour, depending on the post’s topic. Some needed a bit of research, which took more time. Other posts just took a while to write because I’m not terribly comfortable writing. Getting past the initial stage of staring at the blank computer screen took me some getting used to.
  • Carrick has the patience of a saint (see previous item above). I’m not sure which one of us is happier that the daily posts are ending and life will return to normal. She’s been very patient with me through the project and is always very encouraging, which was a huge help. Thank you, Carrick.
  • I lack willpower for dieting. My original intention when I started this blog was to learn better eating habits and lose 20-30 pounds. I enrolled in Weight Watchers in July and have since lost 11 pounds. Not as close to my goal weight as I wanted to be by the end of the year, but I’m trying to not beat myself up about it. I’m learning to view my food choices as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. It’s been a slow and sometimes frustrating process, but I’m getting there. And I’m not giving up.
  • Life sometimes gets in the way of plans. Work, after-work commitments and daily blog posts sucked up much more time than I anticipated, cutting into my cycling time (not to mention my neglect of my photoblog). I’ve now learned I need to allow for time in my schedule to enjoy regular bike outings, whether those are regular rides with Carrick, group rides or solo rides. By not planning in advance, I often let the opportunity slip by.
  • I learned to fix a bike. Not a big deal to most people, but if you knew how mechanically uninclined I really am, you would understand how pleased I am that Carrick and I went a little out of our comfort zone and took the Park Tool School classes to learn maintenance and repairs.
  • Louisville is a pretty awesome bike-friendly city. In fact, it’s #21 on Bicycling Magazine’s list of America’s Top 50 Bike Friendly Cities.
  • My “rides wish list” keeps growing. Each time I hear about an interesting ride, I add it to the list. In 2011, I plan to make a more concerted effort to do some of the rides. I’m particularly interested in trying to do some long-distance overnight touring with panniers, tent, and other necessary equipment. The only thing I lack is a touring bike. Maybe that’s the next big thing to save money for.
  • I had a lot of fun rides. I may not have racked up a few thousand miles on the bike this year, like several commuters I know, but I still had a blast. Some of my favorite rides this year included (in no particular order): The Indy N.I.T.E. Ride; Lexington’s Legacy Trail; Back Bay Nature Preserve in Virginia Beach; McAlpine Locks and Dam; the Louisville Loop; and the annual Hike & Bike event.
  • I can do anything I put my mind to. Actually, I knew this before I started the blog. As I get older, I realize that really the only thing preventing me from achieving my goals is myself and I need to work on that. I intended to ride my first century ride this year, but I didn’t make it. I did, however, ride a half century during our Louisville Loop to Farnsley-Moreman ride this summer (and 50 miles of the 100 Miles of Nowhere ride back in May). Small victories, but ones I’m excited about. I learned how rewarding it can be to push myself past my comfort level at times. The sense of accomplishment inspires me to keep trying and keep pushing myself.

Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog this year and for leaving comments, tips, suggestions and encouragement. I greatly appreciate your support and I hope you’ll continue to follow the blog even though the posts will be weekly instead of daily. Probably a relief to everyone. 🙂

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.

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Day 360: “Across America by Bicycle” and “Ghost Trails”

29 12 2010

Across America by Bicycle

A couple weeks ago I started reading a book called “Across America by Bicycle: Alice and Bobbi’s Summer on Wheels” by Alice Honeywell and Bobbi Montgomery.  The book describes the adventure of two retirement-age women who ride across country from Astoria, Oregon to Bar Harbor, Maine – a journey of over 3,500 miles. I was about 30 pages into the book when I misplaced it (presumably at work which is where I had it last). I found it odd that I lost it. I don’t recall ever losing a book before. I remember having it in my hand after leaving the cafeteria at work during my lunch break. After that, I’m not sure where it went. I searched my bookbag, my car, the house, my desk at work … everywhere. So far it’s still missing (along with one of my favorite bookmarks my Mom made me). I ended up ordering another copy from a bookstore and I received it last week. I plan to start the book again soon.

Ghost Trails

In the meantime, I just finished “Ghost Trails: Journeys Through a Lifetime” by Jill Homer, deputy editor of Adventure Cyclist magazine. You may be familiar with Jill from her blog Jill Outside (formerly Up In Alaska). “Ghost Trails” is an account of Jill’s experience during the 350-mile ultra-endurance Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska. (The race involves either the 350-mile route or an even more insane 1,100-mile route all the way to Nome.) Jill was relatively new to cycling when she decided to enter the race. The annual race includes not only cyclists, but runners also. While reading the book, I kept thinking, “How can I complain about cold weather when it’s 25 degrees?” Throughout the race, Jill describes cycling or walking in 30-below zero conditions (or worse). Racers faced frostbite, and hunger not to mention the extreme mental and physical exhaustion. One runner in the race dropped out early after becoming blinded on the trail due to frostbite on her eyes. Not her eyelids, mind you – her eyes. She apparently was running into the wind with no goggles. Ugh!

I have absolutely no intentions to ever enter such a race as the Iditarod Trail Invitational, nor am I a fan of winter weather in general. But the book was a fascinating read and well-written. I found it very difficult to put down. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
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…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 352: Cyclingforwater.com

21 12 2010

Many people every year ride the TransAmerica Trail and each cyclist has their own specific reason for doing it, whether it’s to fulfill a personal goal, enjoy the scenery or raise money for a charity. California photographer Brittany App and Oregon videographer Garrett Russell are riding the Southern Tier to raise awareness to bring fresh drinking water for those in need.

The 3,159-mile journey from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida is expected to take around three months. Riding 40-70 miles each day, they make stops in cities and towns along the way to raise awareness and money for WaterAid, an international charity working to provide fresh and clean water to people in Africa and Asia. Their fundraising goal is $20,000. Throughout their trip, they are documenting the details on their Web site, cyclingforwater.com.

Ode Magazine had a good article about their ride last month, when they were about half way through their journey. To find out more or to make a donation, visit cyclingforwater.com.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting





Day 288: Janeen completes TransAmerica Ride for LiveStrong

18 10 2010

I mentioned a while ago (here and here) that cyclist Janeen McCrae (a.k.a. “Noodle”) was in the process of the TransAmerica tour on her bike (a bike named Precious). I’ve been a follower of her blog for quite a while prior to her most recent endeavor, but it’s been great to follow her TransAm progress. It seems though that her blog got stuck somewhere in Kansas. I’m not sure what happened, but I hope she’ll update her details soon. I’ve missed reading her humorous posts and seeing her awesome photos. Anyway, if you’ve not checked out her blog, I recommend it. She’s very funny and is a great photographer also. Janeen welcomed other cyclists to accompany her on parts of her ride. During her trek through Kentucky she came close to Louisville. We exchanged e-mails a few times as I had hoped to ride with her even just for 20 miles or so. Unfortunately, my work schedule didn’t work out.

Last Wednesday Janeen made it safely to the end of the ride: Astoria, Oregon. 4,410 total miles. 73 days on the road. $7,184 raised for LiveSTRONG’s Team Fatty. Very impressive on all accounts.

I know a lot of people have done the TransAm ride, but I can’t imagine the stamina (both physical and mental) it must take to complete the ride. What an incredible way to explore the country. Considering how often I like to stop for photos during my bike rides around town, it would probably take me two years to make it across the country (assuming I ever made it at all). But wow, what an amazing journey that must be. Congratulations, Janeen! Glad to hear you and Precious made it safe and sound!

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Strawberry, banana smoothie = 4.5 points

Lunch:
— Spinach salad = 0 points
— Veggie chicken patty = 3 points
— Apple = 1 point
— Light Lime salad dressing = 2 points
— Diet root beer = 0 points
— Weight Watchers bite-size chocolate creme cake = 1 point

Dinner (at home! OMG, we actually cooked dinner tonight and lived to tell the tale):
— Chicken breast = 3 points
— Panko bread crumbs = 2 points
— Roasted garlic & herb seasoning = 0 points
— 1 tsp olive oil = 1 point
— 1/4 cup black eyed peas = 1 point

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream bar = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 287: Bike rides wish list

17 10 2010

Fall in Cherokee Park, 2008

I have an ever-growing list of bike rides I want to do at some point in my life. Some are local area rides, some are long distance or multi-state trips. For various reasons (time, money, experience, etc.) I haven’t done many of them yet, but as the hot weather seems to finally be coming to an end and the cooler temperatures of fall are approaching, I find myself yearning to take time off work and head somewhere on my bike.

Bike Vermont has a lot of rides I would love to try eventually. Adventure Cycling Association also has a large number of rides; some are best for beginners, others are for more experienced cyclists. I’d like to do the Texas Hill Country ride at some point. I guess that would mean I’d have to really improve my hill-climbing skills before attempting that one. I’m also intrigued by the Tetons-Yellowstone ride, good for intermediate level cyclists. I used to live in Idaho about 28 years ago (my parents and I moved to Texas when I was 13). Idaho was a great place to grow up and I still miss living there. I was young enough when I lived there that I think I didn’t fully appreciate at the time how beautiful that part of the country really is.

Bicycling Magazine’s recently listed their Fall Foliage Ride Guide:

We may look into the Athens, OH ride for a future Fall Ride. At least it’s only about 4 hours from here. And there are still many, many areas of Kentucky that I’d like to explore by bicycle. So many options. Not enough time.

Where are your favorite rides?

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Whole wheat english muffin = 2 points
— 1 tbsp peanut butter = 2 points
— 1/2 banana = 1 point
— LF chocolate milk = 3 points

Lunch:
— Lean Cuisine Tortilla Crusted Fish = 6 points

Snack:
— Power Bar = 3 points

Dinner:
— Turkey sandwich on hoagie bun = 6 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream bar = 2 points

Activity:
— 12 mile bike ride (1 hour) = + 3 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

Thanks for visiting.