2017 Riding Diary

Miles to Date in 2017: 126

Saturday, July 15 - We've been watching the Tour most mornings. Usually this gets me all fired up to ride, but this year I've been squelching those feelings, knowing that it's just not an option right now. But after watching Thomas de Gendt's breakaway this morning (TdF Stage 14) I suddenly couldn't stand it any more. I had to get out on the road bike. Did a very easy 10 miles, with lots of photo stops. Nothing hurt immediately afterwards (progress!), but I was exhausted the rest of the weekend. Some delayed pain on Sunday and Monday, but not nearly as bad as before. I'll wait another week and try again.
Lots of knapweed and QAL blooming right now, also crown vetch, wild bergamot (surprisingly profuse this year), fleabane, spiderwort, birdsfoot trefoil, salsify, hare's foot clover, red clover, Turk's cap lilies, coneflower, and wild sunflower (or possibly false sunflower). Also saw a hoary verbena (somewhat rare around here), some Desmodium, some fireweed, a rough-coated cinquefoil (also a rare sight), and a new-to-me flower with tiny, rose-coloured, star-shaped blossoms - research suggests Lesser Centaury. It's always exciting to spot a new flower, and this one is a darling.
10 miles

Sometime between the ride below and the one above - Two mini-rides around the neighborhood on cruiser bike, one about a mile and a half, the other just to the bank and back. I found out a few weeks ago that I'm horribly anemic, which would account for the muscle aches and general weakness. Taking iron and waiting for things to get better. Regarding post-surgery pain, my doctor told me (on July 3rd) to give it another six weeks. *sigh*
About 2 miles

Monday, June 26 - Short evening ride on cruiser bike. A thin young moon is slowly chasing the sun down a clear western sky. Very cool and breezy (can it really be almost July?). Quads still sore, also surgery area. I guess this is the new normal, at least for now. At least I passed the 1-mile mark!
2.1 miles

June 21, first day of summer - Updating this page to reflect several mini-rides. After the painful effects of the first three post-surgery rides, I stayed off all bikes for a while. Last week I got on the cruiser and rode a block to the bank. Post-ride pain now concentrated in hips, knees, and quad insertions. (At least the area of pain is shrinking.) Pain lasts for several days, then wears off. Since then, have taken two more short rides around a larger block. Last night I rode to the park and back, a little over a mile. Sore muscles today but thank God the joints feel better. Surgery area still uncomfortable. It's going to be a long road back. I can't push things or I'll mess up the healing process. This is obviously not my year for a century. Again. :|
About 3 miles over several rides

Thursday, June 1 - Ready to try again. Take a super short (about 1 1/2 miles) ride on the cruiser bike. Slow pace as before. Feel not too bad while riding, but once home and off the bike, the pain starts up. Not all over this time (progress!) but still pretty bad from waist down. Wish I knew what's causing it. Take a walk the next morning and that makes the pain worse. Muscles and joints from hips to knees are really achy.
1.5 miles

Saturday, 5/27 - After last week's inexplicable post-ride pain, have waited over a week to ride again. Am feeling stronger and hope today things will be better. Ride slowly and carefully again, but it's still uncomfortable, though not quite as much as last week. But as soon as I get home and off the bike, I start hurting. What the heck is up with that? The pain is a little less than last week, but still all over, joints and muscles both. Dang.
9 miles

Thursday, 5/25 - A little over three weeks since surgery, and I can't stand it any longer. Got to get out and see what's blooming. Keep a very (VERY) slow pace, low gear, feel okay at first, but every time I get off the bike to take a photo feel as though I'm going to fall over. Balance seems messed up somehow - also having trouble riding a straight line. But the sun feels amazing and it's great to be out. After about 2.5 miles something tells me I need to turn around. It doesn't hurt to ride but it's not very comfortable either. Keep the pace slow all the way home, and within minutes of getting off the bike I hurt all over. Have never felt anything like this - very discouraging. Hope it will get better.
5 miles

Saturday, 4/29 - I'm scheduled for surgery Monday and have been wanting to squeeze in all the rides I can before then, but Nature had other plans - thunderstorms all week. Today the rain stops for a bit, so I take a short ride to look for wild plum blossom and anything else that might be blooming. See a gorgeous tom turkey strutting and displaying in the woods, but every time I point the camera he folds up his tail and sidles behind a tree. Still I manage to get a few fuzzy shots. Serviceberry and wild plum are both blooming; the plum smells amazing. Also see pussytoes, violets, wild apple, and dandelion.
9 miles

Sunday, 4/23 - Feeling stronger this week than last. It's violet time, so I head out to all the local spots where I know the violets grow thickest. Legs and lungs feel better, though the cough is still with me. But flu is on the mend. Blogged here:  http://mrsmicawber.blogspot.com/2017/04/hunting-for-violets_30.html
16 miles

Easter Sunday, 4/16 - Have been down with influenza over the last couple of weeks. Still coughing an awful lot, but strength is slowly seeping back, and the weather is so lovely today I simply must take a ride. (Have taken a couple of short walks in the last week, and they've completely knocked me out. Will be interesting to see what happens when I ride.) It's sunny and warm, first shorts-weather ride of the year. Find when I get on the open road that the wind is rather fierce - 15-25 and gusting - but I start with a tailwind and hope to be well warmed up before turning back into the wind. Leaves are out everywhere and the frogs have begun to sing in the many ponds that appeared after the rain. See lots of new leaves and catkins, blossoming hardwoods, and mysterious cone-like objects on some pussy-willow-covered shrubs - feel I ought to know what the things are but flu brain is obscuring clear thought. Hoping for some wildflowers today but nothing has come up yet - maybe next week. The wind is a beast on the way home but I'm taking things very easy and am content to ride slowly. The cough stays away while I'm riding, but the minute I get off the bike it comes roaring back. Go figure. Better than the other way around, I guess.
11 miles
P.S. Was fine after the ride but paid for it the next day - felt like I'd gone a hundred miles. Flu sucks.

Sunday, 3/19 - The last ride of winter! Calendar winter, that is. I'm lucky to have gotten as many winter rides as I did this year. February's thaw was short-lived - winter came back with a bang (as we knew it must) - but today, after weeks of ice and snow and melting and mud, rinse and repeat, we suddenly find ourselves with a mostly clear day and temps just above 50. Can't let that pass. A sharp icy wind is blowing from the SSE, 15-20 mph, with gusts that make my jacket snap and rattle like a flag in a stiff breeze. Today's ride is short but includes a long gentle climb. Hear chickadees for the first time this year; plenty of blackbirds singing too. Still some ice at the edge of the lake, and a new crop of potholes has appeared on the area roads. Would like to have ridden farther but that frigid wind is discouraging. I just want to get home and inside where it's warm. (Where is the ambition of 2013? Gone with the wind.... ba-dump-bump.)
10.5 miles

Wednesday, 2/22 - Warmer still - in the low 60s today! A full day of crochet design followed up with a late-afternoon ride. Partly cloudy and slightly sticky, wind southwest. See the first blackbird (have been hearing them for a few days though), also some sandhill cranes, and a large flock of turkeys crossing the road just past P's house. Do a bit of climbing today; legs feel good considering an almost total lack of exercise over the winter. Shifters definitely need replacing - not surprising on a 30+ year old bike. Feels great to be out and on the road - am getting used to the warm weather (of course we're forecast for cold, ice, and snow on Friday). A magnificent sunset takes me over the last several miles. Temp drops sharply as the sun nears the horizon. Probably the last ride for a while, but it's been a real treat to have three of them this month.
16.5 miles

Sunday, 2/19 - Second day in a row of our crazy warm weather. Wind has shifted around to the east - a bit chilly but the ambient temp makes up for it. Today's ride is short and leisurely, with plenty of stops for photos. Strange to see all the open water and dry ground hereabouts - hope we get more snow before winter ends. (We need the moisture.) Heard blackbirds, sandhill cranes (!), and what I think was a heron. Signs of an early spring? We'll see.
14.5 miles


Saturday, 2/18 - The first ride of the year - always a mixture of exhilaration and business-as-usual. Exhilaration to be back in the saddle, and business as usual because it feels like no time at all since my last ride in November. Beautiful warm and sunshiny day, amazing clouds in a deep blue sky. Wind west to northwest, maybe 5-7 mph. Trees have been budding out all over the place for a few weeks now (makes me a bit nervous, that) and the geese are already back. The ground is thawing nicely and much of the ice is gone. So strange to be riding in February, but I'm glad for the opportunity.
16 miles

February 2017 - The weather has been slowly warming up, culminating in a weekend of high-50s temps. Even the slackest of hobby cyclists can't resist the chance of a comfortable February ride in Wisconsin, so I'm going to grasp the bike by the handlebars and take full advantage of the weather. And to keep the momentum going, I'm starting this diary RIGHT AWAY.

Here's to good mileage and safe roads in 2017!

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