Monday, October 3, 2011

Give me a Challenge... however small

WOW... my last post on this blog was June 1st. I knew it was a while ago, but not that long. Sadly, there is not much "bike" news that I can pass on. I have been neglecting my bikes, and it shows. It has been too hot over the summer... I have been too busy at work.... I stayed up to late to do homework... and the list of excuses goes on and on. All of them just that... excuses and justifications (in my own mind) to not ride.

On Friday I was reading Mike's blog and came across a word that I had never heard before. "Coffeeneuring". Well, I clicked on the Coffeeneuring Challenge link on his blog and found the rules for a challenge that MG (a DC Rand rider) had created. "Coffeeneuring Challenge" rules as spelled out quite clearly on her blog, and it sounded like just what I needed, a challenge, to get my fat toucas back on the bike.

In a nutshell, I have to ride to 7 different coffee shops (of my choosing) by the end of October. The coffee shops have to be more than a 2 mile ride, the rides can only be done on Saturday and Sundays and you can only visit 1 coffee shop per day. Well, you can visit as many as you want, but only 1 will count towards the challenge.

The prize... the fun and exercise that you get doing the weekend rides is your prize. I am not looking at what I can get, I am REALLY looking at what I can lose. Maybe a couple lb's.

I made my list of coffee shops and made a plan. Saturday morning came around and I got the bike ready to go. Air in the tires, lube on the chain, wiped off all the cobwebs and I was off. I actually put the bike in the car and drove to the B&A trail and rode to Java Diva's. Information about Java Diva's can be found at their website Java Diva's . It ended up being a 16 mile ride at an incredible slow pace. On the way back to the car, I stopped at the Farmer's Market to meet Bev and get some good fall vegetables. It was a great ride, great weather and a great way to start the challenge.

Sunday morning was the true test. Would I get up and ride again? The coffee shop on the list today was City Dock coffee in Annapolis. This would require me to ride over some mountains (OK, just a bit of a stretch, but after being off the bike for so long, I knew they would feel like mountains). I pulled myself out of bed and downstairs to check the temperature to see how to dress. 46 degrees. I had complained all summer that it was too hot to ride, I could use the excuse that it was too cold to ride. I dressed appropriately and off I went. This time from the house I rode to City Dock coffee and then back home. I have not seen the Garmin statistics for that ride yet, but it was 17 miles at a slow pace.

Two down, 5 more to go. Next weekend I will knock out two more coffee shops and get a little bit more of my fitness back in the process.

Thanks for reading and I am going to try to carve out just a little bit of time every couple days to do an entry here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Catch up post

Ok, so how do I wrap up almost months of not blogging into one post? It really won't be that difficult, because I haven't done a whole heck of a lot, which is a problem. The rainy season (March, April and May) has come and gone, and with rain comes a wealth of excuses why NOT to ride the bike. "It's too wet, It's too cold, If I ride in the wet I'll have to clean the bike completely and I don't have time to ride, let alone ride AND clean..." You get the picture. Needless to say, my miles are down significantly this year. So much so, that I will not even fill out a training log for January - May.

Work has been a strain... but only because I let it be. Delayed roll out of new computers has caused other projects to get pushed back and back and back. I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, so provided that the light is not attached to an oncoming train, I should be back to some sense of normalcy soon.

I have ridden 4 times in the past 7 days, so things are looking up. Last Wednesday I took the day off to watch the Blue Angels perform. Bev had gotten tickets to the VIP tent, and since I consider myself a VIP, I wasn't going to miss it. Well, the Blue Angels decided to have a close call in Lynchgburg causing them to cancel the next few upcoming shows so that they could do a safety stand down and correct the problems that led to the close call. So, I took my bike and rode from home to the Rusty Bridge and back. On Saturday I joined the SPP bagel ride into Annapolis. A large group of riders came out for that ride because of the beautiful weather. On Sunday I rode with Mike and Bob around the Severn River with a detour out to Crofton for some Caribou Coffee. It was a nice ride at a nice pace with nice people. It doesn't get much better than that. Finally, this morning I joined the 5:46 group ride from the Rusty Bridge. I think there were 14 riders at the start. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the pace is very fast, but with a large group, enough people, for varying reasons, did not want to go fast. So 4 or 5 of us hung back and rode at a more moderate pace. I have not seen the difference in the scales yet, but I can feel the difference in my attitude and energy levels. I am hoping to ride the 5:46 ride again tomorrow. I'll let you know if I make it or not!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why I ride?

For anyone who has gotten an email from me you may have noticed my signature line that says "Would the person who stole my motivation please return it, no questions asked!" This past weekend I had my motivation returned to me by two SPP members.

On Saturday I managed to force myself to get my bike gear on and head out for a ride. I was leaving the house too late to make it to the starting point of the 7:30 ride on time, but I decided to head in that direction and intercept the group as it headed to Annapolis. Well, as it turned out I only saw Chip heading down the trail. I turned around and we headed into Annapolis to enjoy a nice leisurely ride, a hot beverage, and some good conversation. On my way home I realized that I have really missed the camaraderie that we have riding together as a group. Sharing a laugh, talking about whatever happens to be the topic of the day, or sometimes (for me anyway) sucking in as much air as possible and trying to hang onto the back of the group. That ride helped to return a portion of my motivation.

The rest of my motivation was returned when I received the following email from Dangerous Dan this morning:

       Dear Chris:
           I found a package of motivation on the side of the road, a little tattered, it had bite marks and dog spit on one corner, but otherwise it is intact and fully functional. I didn't know who it belonged to, so I kept it safe and took it with me for a ride every now and again to keep it charged up. I had it with me on our night perm in January and it really liked all the long hours and cold miles so I knew it belonged to an experienced randonneur. Yesterday it was really in its element and enjoyed the scenery and camaraderie of the group. It pulled me over the hills, and pushed on the descents, it waived to the ducks in the stream, and the horses in the pastures, and mocked the farm dogs behind their fences. It has been good company.

Now that I know it is yours I would like to reunite you two as soon as possible. So I will keep it on the bike and get it to you when we ride together next which I hope will be soon. See you on the roads:

Dangerous Dan

I promised Dan that I would relieve him of my motivation sometime this week. Along with my motivation, Dan and Chip have returned my appreciation for the people that ride with SPP as well.

So to answer the question "Why I ride?" it is not only to get my heart rate up and burn calories, but to spend some time with some great people who share a common interest.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A slow start to a new year

So it is the last day of January, and I just totaled up my miles ridden for the Severna Park Peloton mileage challenge. It was quite an embarrassing number. I could go on and on with the excuses about how cold it has been, and the snow and ice are not exactly the conditions that I want to ride in and the list goes on and on. The truth of the matter is that I have not had the motivation that I need to get out of bed and on the bike.

Last year, I worked very hard to get in shape for the 550 mile ride through the mountains of New England in July. I had a goal. Something to work towards, and because I was registered and had solicited sponsors the help raise money for diabetes I felt that I had to ride those miles or be embarrassed in July. After the New England Classic was done, so was I. I thought it was just a "burnt out" feeling and a little bit of time off the bike and I would be right back to riding almost every day. But, the more days I didn't ride the harder it seemed to force myself to get on the bike and ride. Because I was working towards my R12, I still found myself riding some to maintain what little fitness I had left in order to ride the 200k's.

So, here we are in a new year, and I have started the month out with an all time low for me in regards to mileage. I need a goal. A target to work towards. I am not going to do the 550 mile New England Classic again, but I am considering the shorter 150 mile version. The amount of money that has to be raised is much more manageable, and I won't have to take a whole week off from work to do the ride. I have my eyes on an event that I may possibly consider. I believe registration is in April and once I have officially registered, I will let everyone know what it is. So, stay tuned, for updates.