3.13.2011

*relaxed sigh*

And with that I close a good weekend, though one that seemed to go really fast. Yesterday I worked my 2nd ever charity gig at the VanAndel Arena during 2 performances of Disney Princesses on Ice (my first go at the "job" was over 2 years ago working with my hubby at the same venue, to benefit his JDRF ride account. This time I'm working towards my own fundraising goal). We sold an insane amount of popcorn to little girls in frilly dresses. the 8.5 hours I worked really flew. I don't think I ever had that much fun at a for-profit job. Helps that my "coworkers" are such a fabulous bunch! Anyone who would like to join me working one of these shows is so very welcome to do so--friends who work with me have their hours contribute toward my fundraising account.

I'd probably work the arena shows a lot more often were we not an hour away. It's hard to justify the drive for a single show, but these weekends with 2 events on the same day make it worth the drive time.

Today I loafed around, mostly. I did a 55 minute upper body workout, my new (not a new workout, but new to me...it's a few years old) Cathe Friedrich Pyramid Upper Body DVD. I have a bunch of her workout DVDs, but I think this one may be my very favorite, yet. She seemed a little slap-happy during the entire workout, which made it all the more entertaining and made the hour pass even faster. I also like that it's not as gear-intensive as some of her other workouts (which can be a real PITA in our small living room, since everything I drag out has to be dragged back. Our next house will definitely have dedicated workout space for weights and bikes on trainers). I think not having to mess at all with the barbell makes a huge difference. This one uses only the step as a weight bench, a few sets of dumbells and my fitness ball.

Tomorrow I'm going to do another 8 mile run (best window for it, this week...even though I just ran that distance a few days ago...longest run yet in 2011), then make the hour drive to our favorite bike shop to have a few tune-ups and tweaks done on my bike. The cables likely need some adjustment now that they've had some time to stretch (I've logged just shy of 600 miles) and my 80mm stem definitely seems to be a hair shorter than what I really need. Indoors it seemed fine, but outdoors I'm a lot comfier in a more "aero" position, so I end up with my handlebars back further than I'd like (I can see the front of the brakes while on the hoods and the entire front brakes while in the drops). 90-100mm should do the trick.

This week's weather forecast has me absolutely giddy. Our 20s and 30s are being replaced with 40s...we are so ready (by "we" I mean our rugrat, too. He is practically begging to get out on the tandem)! Tonite all bikes made the move to the garage. I really need to get around to selling my "old" road bike, since it's awfully cramped out there.

3.08.2011

A day of firsts

OUTSIDE!!!
At noon I registered for my first ever Ride to Cure event benefitting the JDRF. A little while later I FINALLY managed my first outdoor ride on my 3-months-new (to the day) road bike. I'd call today a definite WIN (this day was so full of win, in fact, that I'm positively wired, even though it's well past my bedtime)!

My ride went well...better than expected, really. I knew my new bike would handle differently than my old bike--and it does. But it didn't take more than a few miles before it felt pretty comfortable. I'd be a complete liar if I said that those first few pedal strokes didn't scare the shit outta me, though. Granted, part of the feelings of instability are as much a part of having spent almost 4 months entirely on the indoor trainer, but most of the sensation was that of a bike that requires very minimal "instruction" to go right or left. People often refer to stiffer, performance geometry frames as being "responsive" or "twitchy." Now I totally GET what they're getting at. My new bike definitely feels twitchy. Not in a way that I won't come to love and find very 2nd nature, but after riding 3500 miles on a "plush" geometry frame it's a very different sensation.

The other thing I noticed right away is how insanely light my new ride is--what a difference 3 little pounds makes (though my butt now weighs at least 3#s more than it did during my previous outdoor ride on my first road bike). I'm no faster than I was in the Fall, though. All those 100-200 mile weeks had me a LOT more fit on the bike than I am now (and 10#s of clothing to keep me warm riding in 36º temps certainly didn't make me any faster, either). I hope that returns pretty fast once I start logging more serious miles outdoors. At half (or less) of my Summer mileage I've gotten pretty soft (in more ways than 1).

The cornering is one place where I actually felt MORE stable. I HATED corners on my previous bike and never felt like I had good control on them, requiring taking them slow and wide. Granted, I still took corners slowly today, since I'm out of practice and there's a lot of debris and stuff left from plowing. But the few corners I did take had me feeling like THIS bike wants to take corners more sharply and at a faster speed without feeling at risk of losing control. I'd compare it to the sloppy/soft suspension of my Ford Escort vs. the stiff and sporty suspension of my little zoom-zoom Mazda 3. In car terms my previous bike had a ton of "body roll."

Things that we may further tweak on the new bike: I think I may need a slightly longer stem. I believe my current stem is an 8cm and I'm suspicious that I may do better with a 9, or maybe even a 10. On the trainer the reach seemed comfortable, but on the road I'm feeling like I'd like to have my hands just a hair more forward than they currently are. A longer stem would make the steering a little less touchy, too.

I hope to get another outdoor ride in later in the week. In the meantime I have running and weight workouts on the agenda and will be doing my first fundraising gig this weekned at a Disney on Ice show...every popcorn and pretzel sold gets me a little bit closer to that $4,000 fundraising goal.

3.07.2011

$4,000 in 222 Days

This averages to $18.01/day.

Today I registered for my first JDRF Ride to Cure event. I believe this will my hubby's 7th. I've had a road bike under my butt for about 16 months, now, so it's time I joined him and a truly incredible group of people in their efforts to help eradicate this wretched auto-immune disease (unlike the "Type 2" version of the disease, those with Type 1 or "juvenile" diabetes can do nothing to prevent their body from attacking their pancreas. It's not an avoidable "lifestyle illness").

On October 15 I will be pedaling from Furnace Creek up Jubilee Pass and back. 105 miles...in equal (or greater than) temps. Throwing some money my way is the easy part. Your donation is tax-deductable and will go a long way towards helping find a cure for so many. A cure that enables them to be rid of insulin pumps and multiple blood sugar pokes every day.

Help me raise that $18.01/day.

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3.03.2011

Oops, I did it again...

I went and registered for a race...a scary race. My first ever time trial on my bike. You know, the same bike that has yet to see the light of day!!! This is the part that freaks me out. New bike with very different geometry than my previous bike, an entirely new shifting system (SRAM, as opposed to my prior Shimano 105 group), skinnier tires, and brakes that are likely going to stop me WAY faster than what I am used to. The risk of wind is nerve-wracking, as well. Previous bike was 20#s. New bike is about 3#s lighter. Lightweight bike with big tubes works kinda like a sail. Strong cross-wind gusts are scary stuff. That's the time when I wish I were on my 30# steel POS mtn. bike. Nothing moves that thing (not even my pedaling furiously).

Mostly I am worried about corners...and the potential for patches of gravel and ice on the roads, since the race is only 3.5 weeks away and it's still Winter in MI (Mother Nature is not letting us forget this...bitch). The last 4.5 miles don't look fun, either. I'd do better if it were a 260 foot climb over the course of a mile or less. But it's going to be a gradual uphill for that distance. I hope I don't blow up. I've only done one bike race in my 16 months of riding--and that was relatively early-on and I wasn't yet fast enough to do any sort of major damage. Of course, that day was also torrential rain. I guess I've already had a sort of trial by fire on a bike, huh?

Last night we did our latest The Sufferfest workout - Angels. I felt pretty strong after doing a pretty brutal hill workout on the nowhere bike. But the nowhere bike isn't the same as the bike released from the trainer and set out on the roads. I'm prayin' for some warmer days in the next week so that I can start doing some workouts outdoors. The few warmer days we've had have also come with rain, or outside commitments. Then we get a massive storm and the roads are trashed. There have only been a couple of brief windows for outside rides. The rest of the time we've been dealing with temps in the 20s, ice on the roads, and wind. Blech.

Running is going OK. This is actually less frustrating than the biking bits, since the temps are a bit warmer and the roads have been generally clear for at least the past week. Not post-holing through snow or backsliding on ice is sorta nice.

I'm mostly liking my new NB 905s, too. Mostly. The one thing I don't really care for is this "lock-down" liner dealie. It's different than a traditional tongue and the top edge cuts into the spot on my foot where the top of my foot and lower shin "meet." I've got a small chafed spot on both feet. But it seems to be less of a problem as I put more miles on the shoes, so I think the tongue thingie is molding to my foot. I've seen other runners give this feature less than glowing reviews, so I expect NB will address this issue in future versions of the shoe. I'd like to see a traditional tongue, personally...if it ain't broke, and all. My feet sure are happy to be in shoes of an appropriate width for my duckish feet, though. Toes work best when they can spread during the gait-cycle.


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