Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Focus on Fall

This time last year I was gearing up for my first ever century ride. I was feeling pretty fit and had done a ton of biking throughout the season including the super awesome and challenging Box of Frogs ride and a bikepacking adventure. This year I got off to a great start with some winter riding and another round of 30 Days of Biking in April. I was working on a milage challenge and had several organized rides on my calendar. Then my Dad, who had already been dealing with issues from Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia, took a bad turn and life changed in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

Even before Dad passed away in early July, I realized that bike riding would not be a priority and that I needed to focus on my family instead. So, save for a few rides and a three session mountain biking class in late July/early August, I really didn't ride bike all summer long.

Well, life is setting down somewhat and I'm happy to say I've managed to get out on my bike twice so far this week. I'm NOT in shape and certainly am not riding as strong as I'd like. I huff and puff up the hills and haven't ridden more than 10 miles on a ride thus far.

I get sad when I think about how I was able to ride 100 miles this time last year and realize there's no way I could do the same thing now. But, the thing for me to focus on is this - I'm riding again. I love the sound of gravel crunching beneath my tires and the feeling of the wind on my face. I enjoy riding in the fall with the cooler weather and changing leaves.

I may have lost riding this summer...but I have the fall.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Owen's Big Bike Ride

It's been ages since I've blogged about bicycling or anything else. That's mostly due to the fact that I haven't been riding my bikes much and also because my father was very sick and then passed away in early July.

That said, I didn't quit blogging entirely in this time. My husband, Owen, took off in early June to ride the Tour Divide from Canada to Mexico and while he was away I posted blog entries for him at his blog Owens Epic Rides. Some of blog posts were Owen's words alone but much of the time I added content of my own as well.

To start reading about Owen's Tour Divide ride, click on Arrived in Banff and start reading! Move forward through the posts by clicking on "Next -->" in the upper right hand corner of each blog post.

If you are a bikepacking enthusiast, you will likely want to read the post detailing Owen's gear list. Read it at Packing for the Tour Divide.

For a sneak peek at the riding conditions on the Tour Divide, here are a couple of pictures from Owen's blog.

Friday, April 1, 2016

300 miles in 30 Days

It's April 1st which means it's Day 1 of the next round of 30 Days of Biking!

Today's ride was on the Cannon Valley Trail.
Had to go around a tree that fell on the trail.
I signed up to do the challenge again, of course, because I've been doing in April ever since 2010. Wow! Now that I think of it it appears I'm either dedicated or a bit crazy - perhaps I'm a bit of both.

Don't know what 30 Days of Biking is? Well, it's a challenge where people pledge to ride their bikes every day during the month of April. As of this moment, 7,658 people from all over the world are officially on the roster stating they have pledged to do the challenge. People don't have to ride any certain number of miles. There are no prizes or people policing you to make sure you ride. You just commit to riding every day and do your best to complete the challenge.

After completing the challenge six years in a row I certainly know I can ride my bike every day for 30 days so I wondered if I should pledge to do 30 Days of Biking again this year. I decided I would do the challenge again but create a personal challenge within the challenge. I decided to create a milage goal for the month but really didn't know what number of miles would be reasonable for me. I came up with a goal of 300 miles in the month of April.

I suppose I liked the way that sounded - 300 Miles in 30 Days - and that's part of why I picked that number of miles because, now that I think of it, 300 miles in a month isn't really a reasonable goal for me. I think I have biked 300 miles in a month since I started bicycling in 2009 but I'm actually not sure. Last summer, my biggest milage month was 288 miles. I know some people bike 300 miles in a weekend a thousand or more miles a month but that's some people and this is me and my goal. 300 miles in 30 days is a stretch goal for me. But I can do it. Okay, I have doubts I can do this but I am going to say I can do it because that will help me accomplish my goal.

At the suggestion of my instructor/coach Amy from my Life.REVAMP class, I created a chart so I can color in a block every time I bike 10 miles. Guess what? I colored in a square and then some on my chart this afternoon! Yep, for the first day of 30 Days of Biking/300 Miles in 30 Days I biked 12 miles!

My 300 Miles in 30 Days chart
I find it motivating to fill in a chart like this. Not sure why - but I know it helps me to see how I'm doing. It also helps me greatly to write about my goal and share it with all of you because then I feel like I'm accountable to someone other than myself.

So I'm off to a good start! I can do this. Wait, let me reword that - I AM doing this!
I am biking 300 miles in the month of April. Yay!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

My Best Bike Moments of 2015

Inspired by Pedal Hub's recent podcast, "The roundtable reunites!" in which Patrick, Amber and Gene discuss their top 5 bike moments of 2015, I decided to reflect back on 2015 and write about my five best bike moments of the year.

Here are mine, in chronological order:

My Vaya - post ride and still full of mud
Box of Frogs was a 60 mile bike ride adventure on gravel, tar and through the mud that I did back on June 7th. I set out to do the ride on my own but was lucky enough to ride along with my friends Kate and Victoria. Finishing that ride taught me that I can do things that seem impossible - like trek through flooded bike trails and ride all day long. The ride was long, hot, muddy, windy, rainy and wonderful!

At the beginning of the Gandy Dancer Trail
My Bikepacking Adventure happened in early August and involved four days of biking in Wisconsin, most of it on the Gandy Dancer Bike Trail. Owen and I packed up our bike bags with a change of clothes, some toiletries and a few other essentials then rode from place to place and stayed in hotels (we'll add camping to our bikepacking trips in the future). We discovered we could manage with very little, rode almost 170 miles in four days and had a blast!
I blogged about the trip in great detail. Here are links to my blog entries:

Katy and I relaxing in hammocks on the most wonderful day
Coffee and Hammock Adventure happened in late September when my friend, Katy, and I headed out from Northfield on gravel roads to Caron Park. We'd had fun on a ride a couple weeks earlier when I we stopped during a ride to made coffee and planned to stop for coffee on this ride as well. So we found Caron Park then somewhat accidentally rode some of the mountain bike trail in order to find an ideal #coffeeoutside location. We made coffee then Katy said she had a surprise - she pulled two hammocks out of her backpack. So we tied our hammocks to trees and then drank coffee and relaxed away the afternoon in our hammocks then biked back home. That day goes down in history as one of the most perfect days of the year! Thanks again, Katy!

Close to the end of my first century ride
My First Century Ride in September was an awesome experience! I have long wanted to do a century ride but have thought riding 100 miles in one day out of my capabilities  I rode my Salsa Vaya with Owen, who rode his Salsa Mukluk and we ventured out on a route created by Owen that mostly went on paved bike trails but also included some gravel. We started riding at dawn in Wayzata on the Dakota Rail Trail then headed west to Hutchinson on the Luce Line Trail and finished in the dark in Wayzata again. Good thing we had bike lights! The ride was long but not as bad as I thought it would be. We didn't go fast and we stopped often to rest and for food. Some of my favorite moments from that ride are talking to people we met along the way. It was the best feeling to see my trip odometer turn over 100 miles. Yay!

Happy New Year!
New Years Eve Sechler Park Ride - To close out the year, Owen and I loaded up our fat bikes and headed to Sechler Park, one of the mountain bike trails in the Northfield area created by CROCT (Cannon River Offroad Cycling & Trails). The night was gorgeous and moon-lit and made for a fun albeit somewhat challenging short ride through the woods. Neither Owen nor I spend much time on mountain bike trails and the trails weren't very well packed so that's where the riding challenge came in for us. That and I decided to tackle some of the obstacles in the skills park area. I've never ridden obstacles before so was really excited that I successfully rode the teeter-totter twice! Along the ride, we bumped into local fatbike race legend and friend, Christopher Tassava. We stopped and chatted a bit before heading back home. Even though we weren't riding when the clock struck midnight, it was the New Year somewhere during our ride! All in all, the ride was a perfect way to wrap up 2015!

What were your favorite Bike Moments of 2015? Feel free to comment below.