2014 Riding Diary

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.

9/27 - Good grief, has it really been two weeks since my last ride? I guess it has. Overtime at work, plus a nasty throat virus that also made my legs ache for days, have been mostly to blame. The weather has been amazingly warm this last week, so Mr. M and I head out for a Saturday morning ride. He doesn't go far, as he is now getting sick, so after a few miles he turns back and I continue alone. See three horses on the road by an Amish farm - entire family is out trying to catch them and get them back into the stable. Today I have left my comfort zone and am riding a road I haven't ridden all year - mixed feelings of elation and fear as this road is the same one I was hit on in May (though I am several miles away from that spot), and also tends to have a lot of traffic. It's a relief to turn onto a side road and head through the nature preserve/marshlands. See turtle crossing the road - shell is dark on one side, yellow-splotched on other, and covered with moss and leeches (ugh). Up the road the sumacs are lovely, and at the top I find a perfect little autumn dell with a gorgeous bank of coloured leaves around a weathered telephone pole. The day is so beautiful I would like to keep riding and never turn for home ... it feels great to be back on the bike. Tiny white asters everywhere; also see orange and yellow hawkweed, encouraged no doubt by the warmth. Could easily have gone another ten miles but there are things to be done at home. A good ride on a beautifully hot fall day. 17.6 miles.

9/14 - Knee much better now - have learned my lesson and will downshift on today's hills! A beautiful Sunday afternoon, strong cool wind blowing. It's cold in the shade today, but warm in the sun. There's a valedictory feel to these near-autumn rides - growth is slowing, flowers are disappearing, trees are drying up preparatory to colouring up. We've had some very cool nights which have knocked out a lot of the goldenrod. See quite a few flowers lingering on G hill though - QAL, soapwort, thistle, mystery white flower - and collect several skeeter bites while photographing same. Good climb up next hill; lovely clouds today over the high prairie. Go to look for apple tree above R road (the one I found blooming in the spring), but it's not visible what with all the undergrowth (perhaps overgrowth would be a better name as the stuff is really tall!). See a few woolly bears on the road. Ride goes very quickly as I am thinking of crochet. Weather must be cool as I'm not sweaty at all when I get home (also the air is drying out). A good ride - wonder if I'll manage to hit 1000 miles this year? Hard to say. I've definitely been taking it easy on myself since the accident. Hope to do better next season. 17.2 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.

9/06 - Saturday afternoon ride. September seems to do something to my personal sense of competition - felt extremely relaxed with no urge to go fast. If there were more time I'd have gone farther, slower, but we had to be somewhere in a couple of hours. Wild sunflower absolutely glorious on T road. Kept an eye out for blue asters on G road as this is their time of year to appear - and there they were as expected! Beautiful afternoon, pleasant ride. 15.8 miles.

9/02 - Very busy day so saved my short ride for the evening. Lovely clouds earlier but now they've all gone, except for a few small ones that are following the sun to bed. Beautiful sky, mauve in the east and sunset-tinted in the west. Am watching out for deer but don't see any. Have cut it rather fine in terms of daylight so keep up a fast pace; get home just before it gets too dark for safety. A good evening ride, made better by the fact that I didn't inhale any bugs. 9.1 miles.

8/31 - Found out Mr. M was planning to ride today, so took advantage of the rare opportunity to ride with him. Started out early but had to turn back as it was very foggy with poor visibility. Tried again a few hours later; fog had burnt off, and the sky was beautifully blue. The song of the blackbirds is gone, to be replaced by the whirring of katydids. Still a few daylilies blooming; also plenty of wild sunflower and false sunflower. Try to get a photo of Mr. M behind me but he takes evasive action (best I can do is the blurry shot at left). We ride my normal loop and he blazes by me on the climbs - has made a ton of progress this year. Feel I ought to push the pace on the flats so as to keep my end up. :) A fun ride. 17.5 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.

8/18 - Sloughed off yesterday, which was Sunday, so am riding on Monday instead. A pleasantly warm and humid morning, mid 70s and wind southwest about 10 mph. See a lone chicory blossom just outside town, but don't want to stop on that particular highway for a photo as the cars pass too quickly there. (I don't think I've gotten a single chicory photo this year.) The flower I thought might be yellow milkweed turns out to be a variety of goldenrod. (But I do see some orange milkweed a few miles later.) On P road the county mowers have been out - suddenly I can see all sorts of plants the tall grass hid before. See lots of little orange-ish, orchid-like flowers - take photo and find out later they're spotted Jewelweed. Climbing the hill by P's house the mowers are still at work - they've really torn up the verge and hewed down some of the smaller trees and shrubs at the edge of the wood. I can't bear to look - that stretch was full of meadow buttercup, wild geranium, and bellflowers. And an apple tree grew along there too. Now it looks like a tornado went past. Instead of revealing beauty they've unfortunately destroyed it. Spirits are raised by finding some orange Hawkweed growing in a lawn (!) by a barn at the top of the hill. See lots of swallows on the high prairie, as well as tons of QAL down the hill, some with pink buds. Wild cucumber everywhere, draped over trees and fences, reaching fingers out towards the road - hard to believe that in a few weeks it will all be dying out. A really good ride mentally. 18.3 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.

8/08 - Late afternoon ride, pleasantly warm and windy - low 80s, wind about 10 mph. See lots of QAL, knapweed, heliopsis, compass plant, Euphorbia corollata (flowering spurge), Bouncing Bet, wild bergamot, daisy fleabane, and Canada hawkweed (closing for the day). Goldenrod becoming more prolific (dang it). Several ground squirrels; no swallows - have they already moved on? I hope not.... There's a late-summer smell to the air - as of things very ripe and just beginning to think of future decay. Catch a glimpse of lovely yellow Swallowtail flitting amongst the red clover on S road; turn back to try and get a photo. Have to stalk it back and forth along the verge (hoping there aren't any ticks in the tall grass), and finally get a decent shot or two. :) 15 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.

8/05 - Short late morning ride, upper 60s (but feels warmer), slightly sticky, wind very moderate. Take swallow photos and compose haiku for same (Swallows on the wire/are you making winter plans?/Please don't leave too soon). I hate to think that we're on the downhill slide to fall. Purple loosestrife very beautiful right now - marsh on P road simply covered with it; see one perfect plume in a ditch on the way home and stop for a photo. 14.1 miles.

8/03 - Very sticky day, low 80s, wind west(ish), 7-10 mph. Take off in late afternoon for undetermined route and distance, trying to remember that I can go as slowly as I like and stop for photos. But it's so humid that stopping is quite uncomfortable - much nicer to keep moving and create a breeze of sorts for myself. Stop for some wildflower shots nevertheless and am instantly swarmed by skeeters. (Wish they wouldn't sting through clothing, the little buggers.) A slow warmup today; pace finally picks up on J road. Woods are lovely and cool; see several flowers blooming here in the shade that have long since finished in other more sunny areas - some scraggly Dame's Rocket, a columbine (!), and white yarrow. Leaves of Canada violet are turning yellow. See a couple of new flowers along this stretch - will have to look them up. See also plenty of spotted knapweed. Thistles are popping out everywhere - such a lovely shade. End up going a bit farther than I intended; find myself on a road I've never ridden. See pair of turkeys with one young one. (What is proper term for young turkey? This was about the size of a small chicken.) Beat cheeks on homeward half of ride, as weather looks a bit thundery and it's even stickier than when I set out. Wouldn't mind if only the sweat would evaporate. See the first goldenrod - aack! The death knell of summer.... 27.2 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.

7/18 - After a week of cool and oddly spring-like weather, the wind is veering back to the south and it's feeling like summer again. Actually rode with Mr. M this morning - a hilly route and probably one of the worst roads in the vicinity, but great climbing. I can beat Mr. M on the flats (for now), but he can beat me climbing. (And descending - which, incidentally, was miserable due to the bumpy ruts and cracks - will my arm EVER stop hurting?) Tacked on a few extra solo miles at the end as he is not up to much mileage yet. Lovely sky, upper 70s, wind moderate and southwest. Lots of St. John's Wort this summer; wild parsnip and soapwort very profuse just now; saw orange milkweed and tiger lilies on S road. 16.7 miles.

7/13 - The humidity has broken, leaving another beautiful day. Strong west wind, gorgeous clouds, deep blue sky. Slept very late this morning and then took a nap after breakfast - think I must still be catching up from Colorado. An enjoyable late-afternoon ride, all the better for the extra rest. Heliopsis and rudbeckia out; large patch of bellflowers on R road; see also lots of mini daisies (rather like a large wild chamomile - see photo of 7/06) blooming on B road, as well as a single red carnation (!). Peaceful cattle clustered behind picturesque gate on G hill; they don't mind a bit when I stop to take their photo. 19.3 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.

7/09 - A beautiful morning, more June than July. Clear blue skies, puffy white clouds, quite a strong west wind blowing. Yellow Hawkweed is very abundant this year; I see tons of it (but alas no Orange hawkweed). Also blooming are Birdsfoot Trefoil, Soapwort, Spiderwort, Wild Parsnip, Cow Parsley, Queen Anne's Lace, Cow Vetch, Knapweed, and thistles just beginning to come on. (Feel sure there are more flowers I've forgotten.) Just outside town, a family of turkeys crosses the road a few hundred yards ahead - little turkeys so cute. Good, short morning ride before work. Nice to have the training pressure off - no need to worry about Bike MS. I can do all the short rides I like! 15.8 miles.

7/06 - A welcome-home Sunday ride. Legs feel great and climbs are very smooth and strong - Colorado must have been good for me. :) Hot, sticky day but strong wind mitigates the heat. Take a banana for my snack and it helps greatly. Lovely day and lovely ride. (Find that driving back from Colorado, vs. flying back, makes the transition much easier - I'm not missing the mountains like I was after my return last year. Wisconsin has its own beauties and they are very evident today.) 27.7 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.

6/10 - Short training ride with intervals. A grey morning, slightly damp and cool. Feel much snappier than on Sunday's ride and finish my circuit in very good time. See the first Spiderwort and Cow Vetch. Very large dragonflies have appeared all down R road; one flies right into my jersey with an audible smack, startling me horribly (am still sensitive to loud sudden noises). Have a moment of awful panic when a car passes me at high speed - find myself bracing for the blow (which doesn't come - whew!). I do wish cars would slow down as they pass. Adorable calves on S road, very curious when they see me turn around to take their photo. Arm felt pretty well today; only a few twinges. 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.

6/03 - A sublime day - blue skies, cool wind, moderate temps - the kind of weather we dream about through the long cold winter months. Short ride today, with intervals, but filled with beauty upon beauty, joy upon joy. Would have taken lots of photos if I had the time. Locust trees are flowering; it's like riding through Heaven to see those walls of white blossom against the blue sky, and smell their honeyed scent. See White Yarrow, Salsify, Daisy Fleabane, and Swamp Buttercup, as well as Golden Alexander, Dame's Rocket, wild Geranium, and wild Columbine. At the willowy bend a pair of Canada geese are guiding five adorable goslings into the water. (Five!) See quail rocketing up from the verge at two different places. On top of G hill can hear a large farm vehicle lumbering up behind me. It hangs back breathing heavily down my neck (probably afraid to pass me lest there's unseen traffic coming up the other side of the hill). It begins to get on my nerves so I kick Iris into her biggest gear and fly down the hill much faster than I normally would, just to get out of its way. (Am usually a coward about descending at speed so this was good practice for me.) Have to admit that getting on the road today was a bit of a struggle as I was feeling panicky and fearful before leaving. The beauty of the ride helped distract from this, as did mentally writing a poem about the day (an unintentionally Gerard Manley Hopkins-esque poem - see blog), but the stress returned as soon as I got home and off the bike. Feel as though the accident has robbed me of the carefree joy of cycling; can only hope I get it back sometime. Every ride now, especially with Bike MS looming, is a tug-of-war between pleasure and preparation, with intermittent panic thrown in. Should just be grateful for the happy moments and wait out the stressful ones. They will pass. 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.

5/04 - Rode over to Dad's to hang with the fam before L & P flew home. Weather gloomy in our village but cleared to gorgeous blue skies by the time I reached Dad's. River pretty high; lots of trees up to their waists in water. Bit of a headwind but not as bad as yesterday. Had lunch with fam then rode home. Stopped for photos of huge old weeping willow tree with split trunk - leaves and catkins exactly like yesterday's tree (though bark looked different). A good ride both ways. 23.2 miles.

5/03 - A busy day with company and dinner plans, but I made time for a ride in the afternoon. The sun was finally out and the day was glorious though windy. Saw the first tree leaves of the season! (The miracle has happened once again.) Not sure what kind of tree but the leaves and catkins were decidedly willowlike - so some sort of Salix. Had a tailwind on the outward half and a heck of a headwind on the homeward half, but a good ride with some climbs in it. Can't say I like riding against a 20 mph headwind but it builds character and teaches dogged persistence.... 19.5 miles.

4/30 - It finally stopped raining! Woo hoo! A damp chilly day with a damp chilly wind blowing, but at least the roads are finally dry. Went to pump up my rear tire and found it had flatted. (I knew I should have stopped at Yellow Jersey the other day for tires!) Luckily my spare was good to go, though it took a bit of stretching to get it on the rim. A short ride with lots of intervals today. Saw a Great Egret just outside town; also plenty of geese, ducks, robins, blackbirds, and a passel of deer feeding in a clearing off the road. Good ride, strong finish. Intervals felt good too. 14 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.

4/20 - A beautiful Saturday to end a week that started with torrential rains then snow and ice! Temps close to 60; wind south/southeast about 15 mph. A slow, relaxed ride with two moderate climbs; still feeling good on the climbs. Was mentally distracted (in a good way) by thoughts of crochet and design ideas. Willow fronds glowing brighter this week and streaming almost sideways in the wind. Frogs singing like crazy in all the extra ponds we have right now (water is pretty high). Was almost too warm with wool top under jersey; almost but not quite. A good ride. :) 16.6 miles.

4/5 - A longer ride, warmer too, though cloudy and not as lovely as yesterday. More climbing - legs still holding up well! Am slow but not out of breath at the top of the grades - doing much better than last year at this time. Landscape still pretty bare - hard to believe that soon we'll have flowers and greenery. Not soon enough for me! See also blog - "Two Short Rides". 15.8 miles.

4/4 - Very short out and back with no time to spare between housework and date with K family. Took B road to top of hill, then down towards lake and back up. A good little climb and surprisingly not too difficult. Beautiful afternoon but wind very cold. Marsh looked lovely under the sunshine and blue sky. 3.8 miles.

3/11/14 - First road ride of the year! Lovely day, though ground still covered in snow and air pretty chilly. I don't know how the season will play out - have the feeling it will be getting off to a very slow start - but am not worried about it. Whatever happens it will all work out. Hope to do a century at Bike MS this year, but shall have to wait and see how the training goes (especially with Dad's health being so up and down). It's great to be on the road again after such a long winter. 10 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.