Saturday, May 15, 2010

Biking update

I have 2 new biking obsessions this spring/summer: road biking and mountain biking. I still commute by bike too, just haven't been blogging--don't have time anymore for the daily updates. I joined a couple of mountain biking clubs (one for everyone, the other for women). Well, the women's group is serious! They do a Tuesday eve road ride to train for strength and endurance I guess, and a Thursday eve. mountain bike ride, and they race all summer long. I don't think I'll race this year because I've got so many trips and other things planned, and it seems I've got plenty to keep myself busy building strength and learning technique.

On the Tuesday eve road rides, I can barely keep up with everyone else. This prompted me to try to improve my "road bike", which isn't a racer. Eight days ago, I went into the bike shop looking at getting skinnier tires, which led to a discussion of new wheels, or perhaps a new bike. Well, 2 hours later I walked out with a new bike!!!! We've had crappy weather since then but I still got in several 25 mile bike rides in horrible winds.

Today was finally a nice day and I spent it at a yoga workshop and then mountain biking at CamRock. That was my first time there. Here I am starting out with my shiny new shoes and jacket (bought more than a bike at the bike shop):

A short ways down the trail, it goes down a steep gully. It was not quite dried out from the rains this week so was a bit slippery. I later talked to a guy who did an end-over going down this gully. That's when you flip over the front of your bike--he fell flat on his back and somehow didn't hurt himself. Okay, I really didn't like hearing this story! I do not want to pursue a dangerous sport! I want to live a long healthy life with no injuries! So, that gives me pause. I will try this out and try to be careful but if I decide it's too dangerous I will have to quit. On the positive side, I had a lot of fun doing the trails. I fell once while trying to go over a log--my pedal got caught on it. The second time I had more speed and coasted over it with the pedals sideways, and that worked perfectly. There were lots of fun downhills and difficult but fun uphills, and gorgeous scenery (river, trees, fields, flowers everywhere).

The other places I've gone mountain biking so far are Quarry Ridge and Blackhawk ski area. These are both fun and have some good technical climbs and drops with rocks and branches to practice on. I look forward to trying out Blue Mound and Kettle moraine, and many other parts of the state.

Tomorrow I hope I have time for a road ride in the late afternoon (busy all morning and early afternoon), and I hope weather is okay. It's funny, I haven't done road biking in years, and all of a sudden I am totally excited by it. Funny how you can turn on a switch for something. I'm really quite lousy at it (slow!). But that's part of the fun--I'm hoping I'll improve at it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mar 14, 2010

I just got back from vacation in Florida. I brought my bike down and I'll post my bike rides from there over the next few days. It was fun. This morning I was back to biking here in Wisconsin. It was nice to get out in the sunshine. I was already feeling I needed to get out after riding in the car for our trip home and being indoors all yesterday. Fortunately, the sun was shining and the birds were teeming (compared to a few weeks ago). The red-winged black birds are back, and I saw a robin too. The cardinals and chickadees were singing, and a bunch of other birds whose songs I don't recognize. Here's the start of the bike path this morning at 8 am:

The temperature was 40 F, winds 13 mph from the north. By habit I dressed too warm. Tomorrow I'll change out my coat for a lighter one.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Feb. 22, 2010

Okay, here's yer pictures. The start of the bike path, right around sunrise on a darkish day, but at least the 1" of snow brightened it up a bit:

Starkweather creek:

It was around 30 F, with winds from the north. The path was plowed, as always. I am so grateful for this! At first, I was feeling dreary, like the weather but the bike ride cheered me up, like it usually does. The birds were noisy. I saw a hawk-like bird with a white underbelly flying overhead. I wanted it to be a snowy owl but I think it was a hawk.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Feb. 15-19

This was a really nice week for biking. My rides started at 6:50 am, sunrise was about the same time, the winds were calm or light from the north. It was cloudy the first few days, then clear the last 3 days. It was cold on the clear nights, down to 7 F on Thursday morning, but it didn't feel that cold. It was bright, now that the sun is rising early. It was even brighter on the way home. The sun felt warm even if the temperature wasn't. I actually got hot on occasion, but I enjoyed it. The bird songs are getting more numerous and it's great to hear. We had some snow on Monday-Tuesday. I decided I need to lubricate and clean the chain everytime I ride in the snow. Otherwise it gets rusty and frozen. But on Wed., things were cleared up enough that I used my fast bike. What a lovely week it was!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Feb. 9

I had fun biking both yesterday and today. Yesterday was the calm before the storm. It was supposed to be cloudy but it was sunny and perfectly calm and not too cold (20s F). It was just very nice. I don't know why exactly, just a peaceful morning.
Then today we had snow overnight and much of the day. It was only about 5.3 inches total, so nothing compared to the 3 feet on the east coast! And even just 50 miles east of here got a lot more than we did. It was just a nice snowstorm here. The worst road on my route is the road down the hill from my house:

The bike path was nicely plowed, as always!


Here's Starkweather creek on the way home:

And looking down the bike path:

For the final hill to my house I took a different road (Maher) because that was plowed. Then just had to ride a block on Morningside Ave in the unplowed snow. It's hard to ride on this snow when cars have make tracks in it. It's really slippery even with the studded tires. Fortunately it was one short block on level ground. I could have walked if necessary.

Tomorrow is supposed to be very windy and cold so that will be a challenge.

Friday, February 5, 2010

feb 5

It's 4.52 miles to my exercise class. hee hee.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

GPS toy

I got a little wrist-GPS for Christmas. I tried it out today. I determined that it's 3.9 miles to my yoga class. If I remember tomorrow, I'll find out how far it is to my exercise class. My speed was too slow to admit to you. Max speed was 18.5 mph because I live at the top of a hill. Here's the route I took:

It's not a very detailed map, but it's still kinda fun to see it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Feb 1: spring is coming!

It was a balmy 10F when I left at 6:45 am this morning and it wasn't even pitch dark. It would have been colder but clouds rolled in over night. I'm glad! We had a house guest who got up early so he snapped this photo of me ready to go on my ride. This is pretty much my full cold-weather gear. I have lots of layers underneath my new $36 down jacket (not vegan, oops), and snow pants over my stretch pants, and warm boots and giant warm mittens, and face mask and goggles:

Okay, as I said before, I can't post every day anymore, but just thought I'd update about the exciting signs of spring. I heard cardinal songs yesterday, and chickadee and nuthatches this morning. These are their spring mating songs. That's gotta be the first sign of spring. Yea!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

It wasn't my imagination!

Housemate couldn't wait to tell me that our Wild Birds Unlimited newsletter says that "Late in the month, as days lengthen, Tufted Titmice and Cardinals begin to sing." So it wasn't my imagination. So maybe those were tufted titmice instead of chickadees singing. I'll have to listen to my birdsongs. Great, something to look forward to on my morning bike rides!

last week in January

Is it my imagination or are there more birds out in the morning? This week, I heard chickadees doing the song I haven't heard since last spring. I saw cardinals. They stay over all winter so that's not a surprise. It just seemed noisier on the bike rides in. Maybe it was because the sun is slowly rising earlier so I'm just catching the birds waking up again.

I was out of town for almost 3 weeks in January. When I returned, I drove my car for a few days in cloudy weather. Then I just felt crazy! I don't know how people can stand to not get outside in winter. It makes me depressed. So I got on my bike again on Tuesday, and it was great. It was a cold week, but sunny and nice. Friday morning was the coldest with temperature -4 F when I left, but winds were calm. Thursday was warmer, at 3 F, but the winds were 10-15 mph from the NW, gusting to 25, so that felt as cold or colder. I was so bundled up it didn't matter. My new mittens are great! I also got a cheap new down coat (not vegan, oops) on sale for $36! It's perfect for biking, because it's shorter than my other warm coats. It's a men's coat, a little too big, but allows lots of layers which I like. I bundle up about twice as much as other bikers. I'm skinny and I bundle up until I'm fat; and I like to be toasty!

It's good to be back!