Miles ridden in 2014: 926.6
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Just popping in on New Year's Eve to read through the diary. Snowcatcher and Lizard sent me a Fall Blaze jersey, just in time for the stirring cycling desires that always hit about now. I hope I can ride pain-free and fear-free next year. Here's to a new, better, and safer season in 2015!
10/11 - A chilly, windy day for what would turn out to be the last ride of the season. Nothing wrong with the day, but I just wasn't happy or comfortable on the bike. Memories of the accident once again seem to be swarming out of nowhere, crowding out the joy of the road. I still tend to get panicky whenever a car passes from behind, especially if it's going fast, and my left hand still gets sore and has never quite regained its normal strength. The best part of the ride is getting photos of Tallulah with a woolly bear, and going home to write a story about it. It's a relief to get home and hang up the bike for the year - literally as well as figuratively. The accident casts a much longer shadow than I would wish ... I do hope things will be better next year. 15 miles.
9/08 - Another beautiful fall day, warm sun, cool breeze. Decided to stay in one gear for entire ride (no downshifting on the rollies), felt pretty strong but paid for it later with a sore knee. Think I'll stick with using my gears to save my knees. :) A definite sense of change in the air today - preliminary leaves drifting down here and there as though they don't want to wait for the mass exodus. Some of the walnut trees have stressed yellow spots - still see many trees that never recovered from the 2012 drought. Lots of tiny white asters in bloom now. 11.1 miles.
8/19 - Snuck in a short late afternoon ride. Another warm and humid day, also pretty windy. Am writing this up many days after the ride so can't remember any particulars other than that I had a tailwind on the way home, which is always pleasant. :) 13 miles.
8/16 - Seriously, it's been 8 days since I rode? What happened? Oh yeah - work. (And plenty of slacker tendencies on my part, though in my defense, I have been speedwalking regularly.) Another very short late afternoon ride - hot, humid, and thunderstorms on the way. See a Hoary Verbena - first this year - such a lovely blossom despite the rather dreadful name. Heliopsis and wild sunflower very profuse, goldenrod coming on strong (boo hiss!), plenty of milkweed and euphorbia corollata (or flowering spurge - can't decide which name I like least - spurge sounds so unpleasant, but so does euphorbia as for some reason I associate it with poison. "Corollata" and "flowering" are lovely words, though.) See also what looks very much like a yellow milkweed - have never seen this colour before (usually they're pink or orange). Am realising that although I call this a riding diary it might well be called The Country Diary of a Wisconsin Cyclist. Seems to be more about wildflowers than riding. :) 10 miles.
8/07 - A quick one before work. Would have ridden farther but I slept right through the alarm. :) A beautiful morning, about 70 and clear, wind southeast 7-9 mph. Sandhill cranes are beginning to gather; a sure sign of fall to come. See also blackbirds in the corn and more swallows on the telephone wires - more signs that summer is on the wane (sigh). Best enjoy it while we can! 9.6 miles.
7/31 - 11 days without a ride! Have been a) in New Hampshire for crochet conference and b) working my feet off since I got back. Squeezed in a very short ride this morning just to loosen up my knees, which have been feeling stiff after several long days on my feet. Warm morning, low wind. It was good to get out and see the wild chicory (and Queen Anne's Lace, and wild bergamot, and soapwort, and helianthus, and loads of lovely knapweed). The wild apple tree on S road is loaded with fruit, some of which is beginning to drop. Yikes! Can autumn be far behind? 9.1 miles.
7/20 - Another lazy Sunday in which I leave the ride until late afternoon. And very relaxing too! Slightly cloudy, slightly humid, but pleasantly windy. My mind is full of crochet thoughts so am not as observant as usual, but I do see two deer. The first coneflowers are blooming on P road, and the heliopsis is like a sunny yellow cloud on S road by the marsh. Also see the mysterious tiny umbellifer the name of which I can never remember - can it be Water Hemlock? Must look it up. A good ride, decent pace, plenty of energy. Rides always seem to go quickly when I'm thinking about crochet. :) 19.5 miles.
7/11 - Cloudy and sticky, with rain forecast for later. A local sporting event takes place this morning so I hold off on riding until it's done. Finally see some Orange Hawkweed in its usual spot; it's rather scarce this year (at least along this road). A good fast ride today; feeling strong and fit. Don't want to stop for photos! Must do wildflower ride soon, though. Glad I rode in the morning, as later on a stupendous storm rolls through, dumping several inches of rain. Panicky tendencies and post-accident trauma still in evidence but have decided to try not to write about it. (Perhaps if I ignore it, it will go away?) 15.8 miles.
7/01 - Went out for a ride with the nevvy. "I just want to take a quick spin to loosen up my legs," I said. "How about 24 miles?" he said. "Sure, I can do that," I said, so out we went, and ended up climbing 1300 feet. Small beer for a Colorado ride - not exactly the Double Triple Bypass - but way more than the easy spin I was planning on. Had the fun of descending Nelson Rd. outside Boulder - a few miles of gently winding, fast downhill pleasure. Saw a cyclist on 63rd being paced by a scooter (pretty darn good pace too). A good ride with pleasant views. 24.1 miles.
6/26 through 6/29 - 12, 81.8, 54.3 - three Colorado rides, including Bike MS - will fill in the details later! (See blog posts.) :)
6/22 - Nature has conspired (in various ways) to keep me off the bike for a week. Today I look forward to doing a 45-miler, the longest I've been able to do this season. Only a week till Bike MS so this would be my last chance for a longish ride till then. It's hot and humid so I wait until late afternoon to start my ride. (Last year I was very diligent about getting up early to ride. This year things are different, and I'm trying to keep it low-key and low-pressure.) There's a light overcast when I start which helps cool things off a bit; very little wind. See LOTS of goldfinches - where have they been until now? Every hedge seems to have at least a pair swooping along and through it. See also a pair of bald eagles out by the willowy curve - first time I've seen them outside town. They're huge, and sit motionless in a dead tree. Waiting for Sunday supper no doubt.... Flowers blooming include Meadow Rue, Sweet Yellow Clover, White Campion, Soapwort, Hawkweed (yellow and orange), Spiderwort, Crown Vetch, Cow Vetch, what I think are Viburnum, Wild Parsnip, Yarrow, Daisy Fleabane, and the first Cow Parsley of the year. Take photos of the mystery frothy white blossom on P road (turns out, upon searching the wildflower book, to be Bedstraw). About halfway through first lap notice dark clouds building in the west; by the time I finish first lap they are very close. I decide to skip the second lap and just ride up and down the road outside town as long as I can, in case it starts to rain. A lovely cool wind comes rushing from the west; all the maple leaves turn upside down, and about a mile later it starts to rain. :) I sprint for home (about 2 miles away), rain falling harder and harder as I go. Just as I reach home the thunder begins - glad I decided to cut it short. A pretty good ride and relatively panic-free. Would have liked to go farther tonight; but refuse to worry about it. Twenty miles more or less today won't make much difference at Bike MS next week. Better to be safe than sorry! About 25 miles.
6/15 - A very busy weekend with lots of social commitments - almost despaired of riding at all. Started very late in the afternoon - hot day, strong wind. Due to panicky tendencies, decided to do my entire ride by going repeatedly up and down one street just outside town - I figured 9 "laps" would give me just over 40 miles while keeping me within a few miles of home. An interesting exercise, and it certainly helped me to feel safer. I took a photo or two on each lap and was rather surprised that it never got boring. (Probably helped that the road was curvy and somewhat rolling, rather than flat and straight.) Took short breaks after the 3rd and 6th laps; drank lots of OJ mixed with water, sugar, salt, and potassium; ate a banana on second break. Saw turtle crossing the road on lap 3; it was gone the next time I passed (whew! was afraid it might get hit). I noticed a dug-up looking patch on the sandy verge near where the turtle was crossing; it must have been laying eggs there. Saw also several deer. Crown vetch blooming for the first time this year; lots of red and white clover, and sweet yellow clover too. Finished pretty strongly though I think just a bit underhydrated. If I am careful to eat and drink enough, often enough, I think I'll be okay at Bike MS, despite my lack of decent training this year. 41.6 miles.
6/13 - Spent the morning swatching design ideas and calculating yardage requirements for same; could not get out on the road until late afternoon. A pretty day, but windy. Rode slightly different loop (with exact same mileage); felt pretty decent though arm was hurting again just a bit. On P road saw what looked like an oddly-shaped squirrel crossing the road ahead of me; when it saw me coming it jumped and dropped something from its mouth onto the road, then turned and ran back to the side. Turns out it was a ground squirrel, and the thing it dropped was a baby squirrel! (Bad mother!) I hope it came back to pick up its baby after I had gone past.... Saw also several deer. No new flowers today. 15.8 miles.
6/08 - Planned for a long ride this weekend but am feeling terribly sluggish and reluctant to hit the road. (Part fatigue and part psychological.) Saturday very hot and humid so save ride for Sunday, which turns out an absolutely beautiful June day, 70s and moderately strong northeast wind. Start out very slowly and keep going slowly - takes about 20 miles before I perk up a bit. Remembered to doctor up the water bottles with potassium and sugar; also take an apple and a good supply of energy balls (have I posted about these? If not, must do so). Take two breaks along the way. See lots more White Yarrow and Golden Alexander; Dame's Rocket not dying back like I thought but really flourishing; see also lots of Swamp Buttercup, Daisy Fleabane, wild Columbine, wild Geranium, and mystery flower on P road (same one I saw last year and could never identify - white, frothy spike of tiny blossoms on a short plant). Locust trees still blooming, though past their peak, but they still smell amazing, as do the honeysuckle which are flowering profusely. See two deer and a groundhog, plus a large leatherback turtle crossing the road at the willowy curve. (A pickup truck is parked nearby, I suspect to keep an eye on the turtle and wave off traffic.) Beautiful moonrise in a blue, blue sky with white bank of cloud beneath, over green fields and trees. Finish ride better than I started, but still pretty sluggish. On the bright side - the arm didn't hurt going over bumps and cracks in the road! First time since the accident! 37.5 miles.
6/05 - A short ride (no intervals), just to keep the legs loose and work in a few more climbs. A lovely morning, fresh and cool. White Campion and Mouse-Ear Chickweed coming out. Dame's Rocket already dying back - not as prolific this year as last. See tons of asparagus gone to seed (as usual, I missed it when it was pickable - should really make a little map of some of the places I see it so that next spring I can go back and look for it before it's too late). A good ride, with a nice strong finish. I'm exactly where I ought to have been a month ago in terms of fitness and strength, but there's not much I can do about it now. No panic today (yippee!), only mild alarm upon being abruptly passed a few times - which is progress. Arm still hurts, but not as much as before, so I guess that's progress too. 15.8 miles.
5/31 - Hot, windy, beautiful day. Have not ridden all week due to extra work hours - am tired and lacking oomph due to same. No route planned, just a general idea of what direction I want to go and hoping it may add up to about 30 miles or so. See huge banks of Wild Geranium on J road, also new little flower that looks like a tiny white violet with very large leaves. See also Dame's Rocket (coming on strong now), Dock (curly?), False Solomon's Seal, wild columbine, and Golden Alexander. Trees now in flower include mystery tree with long spikes of tiny white bloom, and Elder. Am thankful there's little traffic today as I'm feeling intermittently panicky and teary again on this ride. (Dang it.) Arm, elbow and wrist still stiff and sore. Am careful to take plenty of food and make regular stops to eat it, which really helps prevent muscle fatigue. Also remembered to put potassium and a little sugar in both my water bottles. Stop for longest break at beautiful gate seen on last week's ride; very peaceful sitting on the ground, listening to birdsong and the wind in the aspens. Finally start to feel relaxed and stronger during last 5 miles of ride; pass an Amish carriage just outside town which is always a mental boost. :) Have my work cut out to be ready for Bike MS as I am way behind in training compared with last year! A decent ride, though I felt very lacking in gumption. 28.9 miles.
5/25 - Sunday, blue skies, warm temps, perfect day for a longer ride. Decide on a route cram-jammed with every hill I can think of. (Why the urge to punish myself? Probably because I'm so behind on mileage compared with last year. Feel I ought to make up for it by climbing as much as possible before going to Colorado next month.) Work out the route on Google maps and am pleasantly surprised to see an elevation profile pop up that shows I'll be climbing a total of 954 feet. (Would like to know exactly what that number means - assume it's elevation gain of all the climbs put together?) Of course it's not the Rockies but for my neighbourhood it's not bad! Ride starts out great - have remembered to put potassium and a little sugar in my water to help keep me going. Legs feel pretty strong. See Dame's Rocket, wild mustard, wild geranium, the first Canada anemone, lilac, wild columbine, flowering crab, and False Solomon's Seal. (Am pretty proud of myself for recognizing the last.) Also see a deer which pops up suddenly while I'm scouting for a spot to eat my snack. A farm on G road has an American flag on every fencepost - lovely sight. Lots of tractors out today, mostly discing - bet the farmers are as happy to be out as I am. Left arm and elbow still stiff and sore from the accident, and I'm still inclined to panic when a car comes up suddenly from behind. Follow Mr. M's advice and wave whenever I hear someone coming. Makes me feel like a fool but if it helps them to see me (and not to hit me) is worth it. With about 10 miles to go realize I didn't bring enough food with me - shoulders are sore and head is slightly achy. (But legs are fine.) Finish ride in better shape than I deserve considering I didn't feed properly. Also slightly underhydrated but that is easily remedied. (Later I develop a whopper of a sunburn on my arms as I neglected to apply sunscreen. Duh!) All in all a good ride on a beautifully hot May day, with some strong and steady climbing. Next time I'll take more food. 32.5 miles.
5/23 - A beautiful day - again limited as to time so I do a short loop with intervals. It's warm and windy and gorgeous today - a good beginning to the holiday weekend. See Dame's Rocket beginning to bloom (already!). Smaller flowering trees are losing their blossoms - hardly any serviceberry or plum blossom left, though apple blossom is going strong. Air smells wonderful. 10 miles.
5/20 - It's sunny and humid and WARM. Wonderfully warm. My time is limited this morning or I would ride much farther than I do - but I limit myself to a short loop with intervals. Really a perfect day, though sticky. Birds are singing like mad and sound as crazily happy as I feel to be out in the sunshine. Only one bad bit - I almost get hit by a car AGAIN - some bozo sitting at a stop sign who decides to pull out just as I turn left in front of him. (I have the right of way, too.) I yell "Don't!" and he hits his brakes, but really - what the heck is he thinking? Have to mentally shake myself after this and not let it ruin the ride. A good strong finish. My mileage is awfully low for the time of year but I count myself lucky to be riding at all. 15 miles.
5/18 - Much better ride today! (Whew.) A slight delay caused by tire trouble but this was soon corrected (thanks to Mr. M), and I was happily on my way. A beautiful afternoon and it was great to be enjoying myself out there rather than worrying about being hit. Had a good climb near F farm - glad to know I haven't lost too much ground from being hit. Saw lots of kingcups and violets, and found a new apple tree just coming on to bloom - so beautiful I could have sat under it for an hour just looking at the delicate pink-and-whiteness of it. Only one moment of panic, when topping a small rise I heard a vehicle coming up behind (unhappy associations with the accident). It was a pickup truck, and as it passed me I looked at the height of the side mirror and thought how a blow from that, at speed, might well break a cyclist's neck. Horrible thought. Guess I was lucky to be hit by a small car with a lower mirror. :/ Was feeling rather grim after this but ran into Mr. M on his motorbike just up the road - we stopped for a few minutes' chat and that made me feel much better. All in all a pretty decent ride. Arm hardly ached at all, though elbow was stiff. 20.2 miles.
5/17 - Stitches out yesterday, so got back on the bike today. Noticed my tights got grazed from the accident - will have to replace them, dang it. Was planning to do 13-15 miles but had no oomph, so shortened the ride. Every time a car came up behind had to turn my head and make sure they were pulling wide (was fully prepared to go off the road if I thought they weren't, rather than be hit again). Arm and elbow sore; going over bumps very painful. Stopped to take wildflower photos which helped things a bit - saw dandelions (of course), garlic mustard, violets, serviceberry, wild plum (?), and wild mustard. Kingcups were blooming in the marsh near the larches. Started feeling teary and stressed on second half of ride (for no apparent reason). Felt like this for a few hours after the ride too. Seems ridiculous but I guess it's to be expected - some sort of post-traumatic reaction. It sucks. Will ride again tomorrow and hope for better things. On the bright side, a beautiful afternoon though windy, and legs and lungs feel fine. Arm is achy and throbbing intermittently tonight. 9.1 miles.
5/12 update - Am still sore from the accident but things are loosening up. Can use my hand much more now, though some actions send pain shooting up my arm. Arm muscles are achy and sore; stitches are beginning to itch; arm bruises changing colour and still VERY tender to the touch. Hip bruise remains huge and eggplant-coloured but is beginning to hurt less. Not sure when I'll be able to ride my road bike again as my grip is still weak. Stitches coming out Friday (I hope).
5/06 - Rode over to Dad's again to help him with some bills and filing. Had a tailwind most of the way out so the trip went pretty quickly. Got hit by a car on the way home - ouch. Was hit from behind; felt the blow on my arm but found out afterwards it hit my hip too. Left hip covered with giant bruise; arm bruised and cut above and below elbow. Hand stiff and has lost some grip due to arm muscle damage. (Car lost its mirror.) Was taken to hospital for stitches and x-rays; nothing broken, thank God, but doctor said the muscles were bruised and would hurt for quite a while. (He was right.) Bike miraculously okay; the car hit me and nothing else. About 18 miles.
4/22 - Drove to Yellow Jersey, parked, and rode bike to Lodi. Very stiff cross-headwind - had no idea it would be so bad. Took 45 minutes to ride 8.3 miles - descent into Lodi not fun at all with wind in my eyes making them tear up so that I could hardly see the road. Good climb on the way back - 2.5 miles of grade, not steep, but steady. Felt fine at the top - am really in better shape than I deserve to be after a winter of inactivity. Ride back to Yellow Jersey (still in a strong crosswind) took just 53 minutes - not bad considering it included that long climb. Felt good to get out of the wind and take the car home. Will probably never ride that road again as it is in very nasty shape - too many cracks and potholes the entire way - but have always wanted to climb the Lodi grade and now I have. :) 16.6 miles.
Part of me is ashamed that I've only ridden the trainer twice this winter, but another part of me doesn't give a rip. There were many mornings I could have gotten up early to ride, but I chose to sleep instead. And that's okay. I've lost so much sleep over family issues this year that I feel I will never catch up. So I will take my chances and hope for better things next winter.
Unknown Date - Another half-hour on the trainer, whilst watching Alton Brown discourse upon cauliflower. What can I say? I lead an exciting life.
1/27/14 - At last I have gotten on the trainer! Should have started last month, but life ... and crochet ... and my dad's situation ... and work ... made it rather difficult. But enough excuses. :) A new year has begun, and the cycling season will be upon us before long - time to get the legs and lungs warmed up and ready. It was exciting to put on my cycling shoes; not so exciting to climb on the trainer and start pedalling. But soon I'll be out on the open road and there will be plenty to look at. I managed to get a few rows of knitting done, though it's rather hard on the pelvic bones as my saddle is not designed for upright riding. But I think I'll keep it up as it's a better way of spending time than watching videos. (Right, Deb?) 1/2 hour.