Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cyclist's Mantra

5:34 sunrise
22:38 sunset

Originally posted over at the Surly blog, I love this Cyclist's Mantra that was re-posted on our bike club's facebook page a few days ago. Go and read the whole thing, but here are some excerpts that I especially like:

If you think your bike looks good, it does.

If you like the way your bike rides, it’s an awesome bike.

You don’t need to spend a million dollars to have a great bike, but if you do spend a million dollars and know what you want you’ll probably also have a great bike.

...

Being shuttled up a downhill run does not make you a weak person, nor does choosing not to fly off of a 10 foot drop.

Bike frames made overseas can be super cool. Bike frames made in the USA can be super cool.

Hey, tattooed and pierced long shorts wearin flat brim hat red bull drinkin white Oakley sportin rad person on your full suspension big hit bike – nice work out there.

Hey, little round glasses pocket protector collared shirt skid lid rear view mirror sandal wearing schwalbe marathon running pletscher two-leg kickstand tourist – good job.

Hey, shaved leg skinny as hell super duper tan line hear rate monitor checking power tap train in the basement all winter super loud lycra kit million dollar wheels racer – keep it up.

The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

...

No bike does everything perfectly. In fact, no bike does anything until someone gets on it to ride.

...

Really fast people are frustrating, but they make you faster. When you get faster, you might frustrate someone else.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My dear deer

5:21 sunrise
22:53 sunset

It only took 2.5 months (due to the first shipment getting lost in the mail and then a Canada Post strike) but look what finally arrived in the mail today - my resin deer head!

We still have to paint one more layer of "Carrot Stick" on the wall but then the deer will be mounted above the fireplace.

Isn't it awesome? She might need a name. I'll take suggestions if you've got 'em.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Coal Lake Road

5:21 sunrise
22:53 sunset

So on Saturday I wanted to go for a long-ish ride in order to remind myself what 4+ hours on a bike actually feels like. I wouldn't call it training for the Soggy Bottom per se; something more along the lines of a practice run. One doesn't exactly start a training regime 2 weeks before an event. But I wanted to put in a long day just to remind myself that I can do it and it's not that bad.

Good news is that I am still perfectly happy to be on a bike after 6 hours and I could have kept going. I didn't go anywhere quickly, mind you, but I really am pleased that I know how to settle into being on my bike for several hours. I eat decently, I drink lots of liquids and I have learned how to be patient. I think that's actually what is important - learn how to just keep moving without really focusing on how far you still have to go. Be persistent but not necessarily rushed. Believe that you will eventually get to the end... as long as you keep turning those pedals.

Last year Sierra, Julie and I tried to complete the Coal Lake to Mt Mac ride but we were foiled by bad weather and some confusion with our (faster) cycling partners who we sent on ahead of us and who then promptly missed a crucial turn. We didn't complete the ride. This year I was hopeful as it was sunny and warm as the five of us gathered in Monika's front yard.

But as we set off from her place we heard the rumble of distant thunder. We continued on and as we approached Mt Sima it looked like we were heading right for the one area of darkness.

We stopped at Sima to survey the sky and, well, it didn't look great. I really didn't want to be climbing the Coal Lake Road in the rain (just like last year) but it was too late to turn around and we figured that maybe we'd be lucky and miss the rain.

We were wrong.

It rained, quite hard at times, as we climbed up the steep and loose gravel road. I was not very happy. Thankfully, I was not freezing. We all put on an extra layer and continued towards the marker signifying the turn off towards Mt Mac. At this point, the rain had eased off and there were glimpses of sunshine.

So the weather improved, which was awesome, but the terrain continued to be challenging. I'm not sure I would call Coal Lake Road a "ride" as much I would call it a "hike a bike" but heck, it's still good exercise and good practice for the Soggy Bottom. A lot of the trail that we pushed up was probably ride-able but when your legs are tired sometimes it seems easier to give them a break by walking.

At any rate, we reached the last harsh push up to the Mt Mac towers in less than 4 hours and we sat together to enjoy the gorgeous views of Fish Lake for a few minutes.

Then it was reward time - down the Mt Mac road (which felt like a paved highway after Coal Lake) and over to Goat Trail for a bit of fun and a sunny view of Whitehorse.
I don't love that trail but I don't mind the challenge and it was good to do something other than climb for a change. Then suddenly we were back on the Copper Haul Road and it was a quick tour of Quickie and back home.

We rode 53.5km and gained 1308m of elevation. It took us 6.5 hours to complete (although just over 5 hours of pedalling). Translate that into American and you get 33 miles and 4290'. Let's call it a slightly shorter, climbier, version of a leg of the Soggy Bottom. Here's the ride. I couldn't figure out how to upload the data from Ben's GPS unit, but I grabbed an image of the map showing our route.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer

5:14 sunrise
23:00 sunset

We planted our garden a little on the late side this year but look - the first veggie has grown!


It's been a mixed week weather-wise. Three days of icky rain (I got soaked on a bike ride Tuesday night) but the last couple of days have been sunny and beautiful. I may not look all that happy but I do enjoy having a post-work beer on our back deck.

Today I am going to tackle the only ride that Sierra and I didn't complete last year: Coal Lake Road over to Mt Mac. Sierra's at a race in Idaho but I will be joined by Julie today and possibly some others. So far it's sunny and gorgeous out - let's hope it stays that way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A couple of sporty notes

5:05 sunrise
23:08 sunset

Went on a hash run again last night. Thankfully, it was only 6km and flat because it was just the boys (who actually run) and me (the girl who lollygags). I wish I had carried my camera on the run as I usually do because our beer check was overlooking the Takhini river in the most gorgeous spot. You'll just have to imagine it.

And in other sporty news, I finally signed up for the Soggy Bottom 100 last week. It's a 100 mile mountain bike race in the Chugah National Forest of Alaska. Check out where the race starts, in Hope. I think it's going to be a crazy beautiful ride. Way back in April I toyed with the idea of riding all 100 miles of the race solo but I look back at that idea now and laugh. Not a chance in hell I would (could?) complete 100 miles on a mountain bike. However, I have convinced two other awesome Whitehorse women to join me on the trek and we have put in an entry as a relay team. I think I will be riding the last leg, so probably partially in the dark. I'm still kind of nervous about 35-40 miles but it's an achievable goal and I am hoping that we get beautiful weather and interesting terrain. I'm also hoping for Alaskan beer and a glimpse into what Anchorage is like. I'm sad that neither Tony (who told me about this race in the first place) nor my bike-wife Sierra will be making the journey with me, but there's always next year.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bike Biathlon

4:40 sunrise
23:23 sunset

How can you make biking even more fun? Add rifles!

Tonight I tried out the sport of biathlon. Yes, this is usually done on skis but the local club offered it up as a biking event. Super fun. I had never before touched a gun. They are kinda scary. But then you get more used to them (this is probably a negative thing overall for society but I digress...).

First, we practiced shooting:



Then we were ready to go!

After having a bit of an orientation, we raced off to do a 2km lap, shoot at 5 targets from a prone position, race another 2km, shoot at another 5 targets, then race the last 2km. Every time you missed one of your targets you had to do a penalty lap. Thankfully this penalty lap was only about 100m although, had it been the full 2km over again, I might have won the race. I actually hit all 10 of my targets so I was very impressed with myself. It allowed me to finish ahead of a whole bunch of people who all ride bikes faster than I do. But, when you make fast people ride extra distance, it's amazing how the end can turn out!

At any rate, LOTS of fun. I highly recommend checking out the sport of biathlon. Not sure how I would feel about it on skis in the winter but on bikes in the summer?! Fabbo.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday

4:48 sunrise
23:23 sunset

A pretty mellow day.

Tea in bed, cuddling with Ben and Mingus and watching stage 9 of the Tour de France (well, the highlights anyway. We weren't up to watch live).

Yard work and laundry.

And that was Sunday.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tramps Like Us...

4:37 sunrise
23:33 sunset

I'm late to jump on the Born to Run bandwagon but I found the book surprisingly inspiring.

I kept folding over pages in various places that I wanted to come back to and think about. They may sound contrived, when reproduced out of context like this, but the more I think about them, the more I pause on these statements, the more I think they are really important.


Ask nothing from your running, in other words, and you'll get more than you ever imagined.



Instead of cringing from fatigue, you embrace it. You refuse to let it go. You get to know it so well you're not afraid of it anymore.



Make friends with pain and you will never be alone.



It's a great book. Even if you don't run, I think you'll find it a solid read. And yes, I am going for a run tonight.