Woman escapes Japan’s tsunami by bike

19 03 2011

My heart goes out to all the people in Japan since the horrible events on March 11. As if the earthquake itself wasn’t enough, they have to deal with the tsunami, a nuclear disaster and now are likely facing typhoid and cholera and who knows what else. I know there are many stories of survival that we may never learn about, but I couldn’t help but share this story of 83-year-old rice farmer Tsuna Kimura escaping the tsunami by bicycle.

My apologies for the delay in blog posts. We’re in the process of selling our house, packing, etc., and it’s consumed much more time than I expected. I’m hopeful all the details will be worked out soon and regular weekly posts will resume once things get settled.

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 362: Time to get back in shape

31 12 2010

Having moved here to Louisville from Texas almost 10 years ago, I’m still not a fan of winter. I remember many Christmases in Texas when my parents and I cooked steaks or burgers outside on the grill in 70 or 80+ degree weather. In fact, their temperatures were in the 80s last week, while we were dealing with temps in the 30s here.

Once winter arrived in Louisville a few weeks ago, I figured it’s time to make some new playlists on my iPod and get out the indoor bike trainer or the rollers. (Perfect for trying out the new Spinervals DVD Carrick bought me for Christmas.) Today though, it was 64 degrees! I’ve not been on my bike for about a month. As my friend Tom said recently, sometimes “life gets in the way of cycling.” I had some house cleaning to do this afternoon to get ready for friends coming over tonight, but I decided that could wait. A nice leisurely bike ride outside during a perfect sunny warm day was the first priority on my list.

I changed into my cycling clothes, did a quick bike check of the brakes, tires and chain, checked the air in the tires, grabbed the house key and off I went. It felt good to be back on the bike, but it was windy today and I think the past few weeks sitting around on my lazy butt made for a bit of a struggle today. I never felt like I got into the groove of the ride. My shoulder was bothering me after starting physical therapy again last week. (Yesterday’s MRI should tell whether or not it’s a rotator cuff tear, which is what the therapist is betting on.) The wind made my breathing a bit difficult since I’ve not been training in a few weeks. Maybe having something to do with being diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma a couple months ago. Crap, I’m falling apart! I expected to be a lot older than 41 before having to deal with arthritis, rotator cuff problems and asthma. But things could also be a lot worse, so I hesitate to complain.

So despite an abbreviated ride today, it was still a pretty great day. And the house cleaning is finished. I wish all of you a Happy New Year! Be safe out there.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 329: Balaclavas and cold weather cycling

28 11 2010

Today’s beautiful, sunny day more than made up for our rain-drenched ride on Thanksgiving Day. I slept in a bit this morning, and wasn’t sure I wanted to ride today considering the temperature was around 38 degrees. But not wanting to waste a sunny day, Carrick and I headed out for an easy 10-mile ride. I’m happy to report my base layer, wool socks, jersey, jacket, hat and gloves kept me warm and toasty so I’ve really got no excuse now to not continue cycling into the winter (at least until the snow comes – and then I plan to use my mountain bike). Carrick said she needs a warmer base layer, shoe covers and better gloves. Otherwise she said she felt great today.

My only question is what to wear to keep my neck and face warm. I know most people wear a balaclava. I’ve only tried mine once last winter — it made me a bit claustrophobic. I suppose that’s my only option though, for face protection. Maybe on the next cold ride I’ll give it a try. It’s a better option than not riding at all. Maybe with the balaclava I can pretend I’m a bike ninja. I’m pretty sure ninjas don’t get claustrophobia.

Do you wear a balaclava when cycling in the cold? Did it take some time to get used to it?

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 327: The Thanksgiving Day ride on Lexington’s Legacy Trail

26 11 2010

Never go on a bike ride in the rain with a photographer. Thanksgiving Day morning, Carrick and I rode part of Lexington’s Legacy Trail. We knew rain was in the forecast, but we figured it would be just a cloudy ride with the rain holding off until later in the day. We were wrong. By the time we got the bikes off the car, the rain started. We decided to do the ride anyway. Because of the rain, I tried to just ride — to not bother with taking photos. But I couldn’t do it. Barns, geese, ducks, horse farms — all asking to be photographed. Of  course many of the shots didn’t turn out well due to the rain, but at least I got a few.

We were the only ones in the parking lot.

A small church we passed as we pulled into the parking lot.

Barely a mile into the ride and we were already soaked.

The beginning of the trail.

I had waterproof bags in my jersey for our phones and my camera in case the rain got worse. Did I mention the rain got worse? Yep. Within the first mile into the ride it dumped on us. And with 16 mph winds, it made for a tough ride. But once we were wet and soggy we figured it was pointless to give up that early into the ride. A couple miles later we were soaked and my shoes were full of water. My cycling jacket was waterproof (and windproof) so at least my upper body was dry and relatively warm. But once my feet get cold the rest of me does too.

I decided to turn back, but Carrick did an extra couple miles while I waited inside a tunnel (seemed like a good place to stop). As I took a few photos in the tunnel, a police officer drove slowly toward me. I expected it would be another instance of being asked what (or why) I was photographing. The officer didn’t ask about that, but it turned out to be a pretty brief conversation:

Cop: “Have you heard any gunshots?”
Me: “Gunshots. Seriously?” (I know – dumb question. But I thought maybe she was pulling my leg since I was dumb enough to be out on a bike in a heavy rainstorm.)
Cop: “We had a report of gunshots so I’m checking it out.”
Me: “I’ve not heard anything, but it’s so windy I probably wouldn’t have heard it anyway.”
Cop: “Ok. Well, enjoy your ride.”
And she was off. We were in town, near many of the horse farms so it’s not like we were riding a remote backwoods trail out in the boonies. Still, it was slightly unnerving to wonder if we might be an accidental target for a nearsighted hunter.

The tunnel where I waited for Carrick. I considered asking the cop if I could take her photo, but she didn't seem to be in cheery mood.

One of several barns we passed.

Kentucky farmland.

Geese crossing the path.

A few minutes later Carrick and I headed back to the car before someone decided to shoot at the two turkeys on bikes. So despite the rain, despite the wind, despite the report of gunshots in the area, we still had a fun ride. The Legacy Trail was a great place to ride. Smooth pavement, no potholes, very little debris on the trail (even with the rainstorm) and pretty scenery. We’re already planning to go back to ride the entire trail (but in better weather). Thank you, Carrick for always being ready for an adventure.

Wet, but we survived.

Today’s food journal:

Lunch:
— Organic whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter = 3 points
— LF chocolate milk = 3 points

Dinner:
— Turkey sub sandwich = 9 points
— Baked Lays chips = 1.5 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

         _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 315: Wind chill calculator

14 11 2010

Despite the fact that it’s mid-November, it’s been surprisingly warm the past few weeks with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. I’ve found that once temps get in the low 60s I have to start layering my clothing when I go out for a ride. (Recently I discussed my lack of motivation for riding in cold weather.) Today, I enjoyed a nice 15 mile ride with temperatures in the low 50s. I know the good-weather days are going to end soon as Winter moves in. While I was riding today, I wondered what exactly the wind chill was. My math skills leave a lot to be desired, so I turned to Google to search for a good explanation on wind chill and how it’s calculated. This chart from the National Weather Service was pretty helpful:

National Weather Service wind chill chart

Apparently, this is the formula the U.S. National Weather Service uses to calculate wind chill:

T(wc) = 0.0817(3.71V**0.5 + 5.81 -0.25V)(T – 91.4) + 91.4
T(wc) is the wind chill, V is wind speed in miles per hour and T is the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit. 

I have no idea what this means, nor how to calculate the numbers. (I was an English major – math frustrates me.) Maybe some of you can make more sense of it. Or perhaps I can just use a calculator like this one or this one. I found some good information at IceBike.org. I wondered how wind speed differed from cycling into the wind. According to IceBike, cycling into still air is the same as wind speed. Okay, I guess that makes sense. But does the wind chill factor change if a cyclist rides at 15-mph into a 10-mph headwind on a 40-degree day? Or is that the same as what’s stated on the chart? I’m still confused.

Today’s food journal:

Lunch:
— Organic LF yogurt with granola = 5 points

Snack:
— Power Bar = 3 points
— 1 cup LF chocolate milk = 3 points

Dinner: (at restaurant, so I’m estimating points as best I can)
— Black bean lasagna = 13 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

         _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.





Day 306: Cold-weather cycling

5 11 2010

I won't be riding in weather like we had back in February.

As colder weather approaches I lack the motivation to get outside and ride. I know several cyclists who love the cold winter months, but I guess you could say I’m a fair-weather cyclist. I ride a lot in the spring and summer months, (except for when it rains). Most of the time I can deal with the heat in the summer, but once fall and winter arrive with colder temperatures I feel more inclined to put on my warm fleece pajamas, my slippers and curl up on the couch with Carrick and watch a good movie.

I have the right clothing for winter cycling, which I discussed back in June: warm base layers, thermal tights, wool socks, windproof shoe covers, gloves, hats, a balaclava (which I hate to wear because it makes me feel claustrophobic), and two jackets. The only thing I lack is the motivation to get my lazy butt out of bed in the mornings when it’s cold and dark outside, spend the next 15 minutes figuring out what to wear, then putting it on, then getting the bike ready. It’s much easier to stay warm and toasty in bed. Of course that explains why I end up having to start over with the training each spring. I build up a good routine and feel like I’ve increased my endurance from spring to fall.

Once winter arrives, I don’t spend much time on the bike outside and I get bored easily with indoor training. Last winter I didn’t ride much at all. This winter will be different. I really have no excuse. I have the appropriate clothing for cold weather. I have indoor trainers (stationary, rollers and a Sufferfest video to go along with them), I have the need for more exercise to speed up my weight loss. Now I just need someone to kick me in the butt to motivate me.

How much training do you do during the winter? Do you train indoors or outdoors? Or both?

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Strawberry, banana, peach smoothie = 5.5 points

Lunch:
— Grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat = 7.5 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Dinner:
— Lean Cuisine French Bread Pepperoni pizza = 6 points
— 1 cup LF chocolate milk = 3 points

Snack:
— Skinny Cow ice cream bar = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

         _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.





Day 252: Sunday ride – 50 miles of the Louisville Loop

12 09 2010

Every Sunday, Carrick and I head out on our bikes for a long ride. Sometimes the rides are 10 or 15 miles. The past couple weeks they’ve been 20 or 25 miles. We don’t really plan in advance where we’re going to go. We decide that morning while we’re getting dressed and eating breakfast. A lot depends on the weather. By the time we’ve finished breakfast, pumped up bike tires, filled water bottles and completed various other cycling-related pre-ride tasks, we’ve decided where we’re going. Lately, we’ve been talking about riding out to Farnsley-Moreman (about 25 miles) and back. Today, we decided to ride downtown and out to Shawnee Park to pick up the Louisville Loop. We figured we’d ride toward Farnsley-Moreman, see how far we get before getting tired, then turn around and come back. We ended up doing the entire route, a 50-mile round trip. We stopped at a “cyclists welcome” convenience store to get water and snacks and realized we were only about 10 miles from Farnsley-Moreman. We couldn’t be that close and not finish, so we decided to keep going.

It was a perfect day for a ride. The temperature was probably in the low 80s, humidity seemed very low and it was a beautiful blue-sky day. I’m glad we took advantage of it. The ride took about 4 hours, which I figure isn’t too bad for our first 50-mile ride. Or second 50-mile ride if you count the 50-mile “round-and-round” 100-mile to nowhere ride we did back in May. Overall, it was a pretty fantastic day.

This section of the Louisville Loop runs near quite a few power plants, chemical companies and a couple other companies spewing who-knows-what out of the smokestacks.

Another smokestack.

A cemetery next to one of the huge smokestacks. Seemed strangely appropriate.

A bridge on part of the Louisville Loop trail.

Cyclers welcome.

An abandoned house along the Levee Trail near Farnsley-Moreman.

A bike friendly community.

 

Railroad tracks among the trees.

Carrick gives the Root Beer a thumbs up. Root beer has become our favorite sugary drink on a long ride. Something about the thick, syrupy sweetness gives the perfect jolt of energy.

I loved this old rusty truck inside a junkyard. There was a huge "Electrified Fence!" sign just to my right. I wasn't sure if it was the outer chain-link fence or the inner fence, but I didn't get close enough to find out.

The Old Spaghetti Factory building in downtown Louisville. I love the architecture of this building.

Today’s food journal:

Breakfast:
— Whole wheat english muffin = 1 point
— 1 Tbsp peanut butter = 2 points
—  1/2 banana = 0.5 points

Lunch (during bike ride):
— 1/2 Builder Bar = 2.5 points
— 1 apple = 1 point
— 1/2 package cheese/peanut butter crackers = 2 points
— 1/2 small Root Beer = 2 points

Dinner:
— Grilled chicken sandwich = 9 points
— About 5 waffle fries = 4 points
— BBQ sauce (less than 1/4 cup) = 1 point
— Iced tea = 0 points

Exercise:
— 50 mile bike ride: 4 hours, 12 mph average = +29 activity points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

         _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting.