Sunday, August 31, 2008

By this time tomorrow...

...I'll either be dead tired or sittin' on top of the world! Why? Because tomorrow morning I will ride my first metric century (62 miles)!! Thanks to Gustav, I'll likely be riding it in the rain - but even so, I'm very excited! I'll be riding as one of 6 members of the Southern Crescent Cycling team as an effort to support the share the road campaign - and more specifically - new legislation that will require cars to give 3 feet when passing cyclists on the road.

On a totally off topic note - I came in the garage this afternoon to find that we have a new garage pet:

I'm not sure why he chose our garage or why he's trying to ride my daughter's bike but I hope he finds a new home soon.

And lastly - I finally got my hitch and new bike rack installed. All I can say to Saris is: pppssbbbhbhbhbbttttttt!!! Yes, mrs. customer service rep - it DOES fit my car!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Adding to the Wardrobe

Accessories, as most of you know, are a girls best I couldn't help but ask Dale at Epic to wrap my bars w/ matching cork tape!  Does that look hot or what?

I'm also pretty stoked b/c by the end of next week, I'll have a new bike rack on my car if all goes well.  The manufacturer says it isn't recommended for my vehicle because I have a rear mounted spare tire but I've researched it and I believe there is plenty of clearance.  So if all goes well, I'll have one of these babies to show off soon:

And since we are talking about things I like, I should just go ahead and throw out there that I'm currently coveting this  beautiful piece of technology (you know, in case anyone is feeling generous):

My bike is starting to look better than my closet...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ridiculous Product of the Day and other thoughts...

Ridiculous Product of the Day:

Lifted from BSNYC's quiz results...I couldn't help but post these

yes folks, these are bicycle helmets. I can't decide whether to giggle or vomit. Here's a link if you'd like to look even dumber than the average bike nerd and purchase one of these for your next charity ride...

Speaking of riding...TSD was kind enough to drag my lazy butt along last night...unfortunately he was wearing a helmet cam so there is now footage floating around to prove that I actually ride a bike. I hope TSD kills the sound so no one can hear how much I complained and whined during the ride. Perhaps if he chooses to upload the footage, he'll select a section where I'm managing to look somewhat competent.

So What's New?

I'm "training" for a metric century ride on labor day...and by training I mean that I had Mexican food and beer last night after riding my bike at a miserable 17 mph in the wind. I'm hoping that I can make through all 62 miles in a time frame that doesn't make me ashamed to show my face on the next "B" ride .

I've gone back to work which means I'm apparently grouchy and I spend at least 10 hours a day answering stupid questions and worrying about things that I really have little control over. I have to remind myself constantly that the public education system did not get itself into the shape its in overnight and I'm not going to fix it that quickly either.

I'm considering a visit to a chiropractor or doctor of neck hurts and it's a bone thing - not a muscle thing. I think...

My mom is having a heart cath tomorrow - which is frightening - hopefully all will turn out well, if they find problems they'll ship her up to Crawford Long for additional procedures.

We have finally resolved our issues with the home owners insurance company and the last of the funds came via mail earlier in the week. This means that the TiVo has been replaced and I'll have to return to regular showings of "Go, Diego, Go!"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Road Rage Against A Cyclist

I hope someone puts this guy away for a long time...


This entry will remain untitled because I've run through so many good titles in my mind that I just couldn't pick's a few to preface the story I'm about to tell:

Think of it as an "Experiment"
Whatta night
Got Lost
Dear Heather and Thomas, you were right
I hate Hwy. 92
It's the road that never ends (and you have to sing it...)

So to give the full effect, I need to back up to last Monday night. I met Heather and Thomas at AMS to change Heather's tires and ride for a while. After a fell laps I grew bored and suggested we venture out a little. Thomas suggested a side street he knew of past the air field so we headed out that way. We found our way over to Upper Woolsey Rd. It's a horrible road - lots of bumps - but not too much traffic. After a few miles, the daylight was starting to fade so we decided to turn back since we weren't exactly sure where we'd end up. In my mind, we'd loop back around near AMS, even if it was down Tara a bit. I typically have a great sense of direction but the daylight was an issue so I didn't argue. Knowing what I know now, its a good thing...

Friday night Ann C. and I met at the Trek store in McDonough with the intentions of riding to AMS, around the loop until we were tired, and then back to Trek to our cars. When I arrived just before 7:00 p.m., we noticed that traffic was a little heavy on Hwy 20 but decided to go ahead with our ride. From Trek to Hampton at the track is roughly 8 miles away and it was a fairly uneventful ride. We saw baby goats and had a few honkers...that was about it. (On the topic of honkers - have you ever noticed you can tell the difference between the jackass who is honking b/c he's too stupid to know that bikes are road legal and the honking of the guy who thinks its cute to see a woman in spandex? There's also the honker who just says Hi! I think we encountered all three.)

Anyway - we got to the track and I told Ann all about the ride with Heather and Thomas. We decided that we'd try Upper Woolsey again just to see where it goes. Now first off, I told Ann that we encountered very little traffic on Monday night. Shortly after making this statement, a string of at least 8 cars passed by. We continued on, looking at houses and dogs (praying they were tied up or too tired to chase us...). We saw a cute kid on his bike who apparently thought we were cool and waved frantically until we were out of sight. We pedaled along talking about the Divas and the upcoming Wilson 100 when suddenly I noticed a road sign ahead. We had already passed into Clayton Co. which wasn't surprising since the speedway falls along the Clayton/Henry line. But the sign we approached came as a big surprise - "Welcome to Fayette Co."... We giggled a little...realizing that we most likely weren't looping back around to AMS but kept on going. It wasn't long before the road came to dead end. A gas station was on the left - we decided to stop and use the GPS in my phone to get an idea for where we were. The road sign said we were at Hwy. 92 which sounded familiar but wasn't a road I could really place... I tried the GPS to no avail - poor signal. We saw a sign that pointed to the left for Griffin and I-75 and to the right for Atlanta, Fayetteville and I-85. I reasoned that Griffin was towards Tara Blvd so we should go that direction. Ann agreed so we headed on. I need to point out that we held several conversations along the ride and I when I checked the computer, we'd gone around 20 miles w/ an average of 18.2 mph. I was proud that we'd kept such a good pace!

Now, I should take a moment to tell you that the decision to turn left on Hwy. 92 was probably the last good decision we made all night. I think somewhere along Hwy. 92 we became delirious..

Hwy. 92 was pretty, at first. Nice homes, folks having bar-b-ques... There was a nice breeze and we both felt good. We were pedaling along around 20 mph, taking the hills at around 17 or 18 and I was thinking this was one of the best rides I'd ever been on. We passed more roadkill than I care to remember, a sheriff giving a ticket, three guys on 4 wheelers and a couple of dogs that gave chase for a few minutes. I have to admit I was terrified of the dogs.

Hwy. 92 lost it's appeal after about 5 miles. It became a major Hwy with quite a bit of traffic, lots of hills and every time we were sure that if we climbed the next hill there'd be a nice downhill or familiar area on the other side, we were let down and exhilarited at the site of the next big hill... (please read the last line w/ sarcasm...). I began to sing. "yes, it's the road that never just goes on and on my friend..." I managed to get a laugh out of Ann who joined in for the next line.

To my readers who don't know me well - I should mention that I don't sing well. I sing to the radio but it's not customary that I sing on rides...this should have been the first signal that we were becoming crazy or dehydrated....

A few more hills and we saw a Walmart sign. We were in Griffin and we'd found our way back to Hwy 19 41/ Tara Blvd. We decided to use the crosswalk across Tara Blvd since we had two working blinkies (one white, one red) between us. Ann clipped the red one to her saddle and my white one to my bars and decided that we'd work like one unit so we'd have a white light on front and a red on the back. We crossed Tara and Ann suggested that we take the first left turn to try and run along side of Tara instead of having to ride w/ the traffic on the Hwy. The left turn made me nervous and I was praying that the traffic wanting to make a left in front of us would see us turning and not run us over. I should have prayed for our safety on the next few roads we'd encounter.

Right away I realized that we'd turned into a neighborhood that wasn't safe for to travel. There were three or four cars in front of us so I followed them to the next intersection. As I was getting ready to turn left, I heard a yelp as Ann crashed to the ground. I twisted around to see if she was okay. I yelled back to her and suddenly realized I was coming down too as the twist I made to check on her had pulled me off balance. Ker-splat. In an instant we had gone from determined and finding our way home on a ride gone wrong, to giggling at the site of two women on the ground in Lycra - each w/ a foot still clipped into our pedals so we couldn't figure out how to get up. I became aware of a car approaching the intersection and I managed to get my foot loose and hobble with my bike over to the side. Ann also found her way off the ground and we ended up making a right turn instead of a left just because we were facing in that direction and the other way looked shadier than the place we'd come from.

The next few turns are a blur in my mind but I think we took the next left which ended up being Experiment St. We passed what looked like a school and the Griffin campus of the University of Georgia. Somehow we ended up with Ann leading and I yelled ahead for her to find a well lit parking lot so we could try my GPS again. The roads became bumpier, darker and scarier and when we finally stopped, I knew that we wouldn't be riding back - we needed a SAG, fast.

My GPS said we were 13.5 miles to my old address in Hampton which is located right off of Main St. in the center of town. I knew that the TREK store was roughly 7 or 8 miles from there. It was 9:20 p.m.

As three City of Griffin police officers flew past us at about 100 mph (no kidding!), Ann decided to call a friend who lived close by to pick us up in his truck. When he arrived, he explained that we had made our way to the local drug center of Griffin and there was only about one other area that was worse. The guy was kind enough to drive us back to TREK and show us Jordan hill (a favorite among local cyclists) along the way.

Back at the TREK shop, Ann and I made a pact to ride again - but this time we'd map our route first.

My husband was apparently sleeping or really into the book he was reading because he never called to check on me. Ann's husband was rather irritated with her because he knew we'd been in a dangerous area. Hopefully he'll agree to let her come out and "play" again - I had a blast! I also have a story that I can tell for the rest of my life.

My Jamis is in the shop today; I noticed some hesitation in my shifting along the way.

I can't wait to ride again - bruises and all. I did sustain some injuries as a result of my crash but nothing that'll keep me off of my bike. As I drove home that night I realized that I had just finished a grueling week of work but didn't think about it once on our ride. Instead I was able to rejuvenate my mind by watching the geese that flew over head, by mooing at the cows on the side of the road and by using my mind and legs in unison to propel me into my ride and away from my stress.

There is nothing more exhilarating than a bike ride. Even if you get lost.

I tried to recap our route on a map and while I couldn't create anything pretty to post - I did figure out that if we'd have gone left on Wildwood Rd from Upper Woolsey (a turn I distinctly remember), we could have turned left on Lower Woolsey and looped back around to the speedway. Maybe next time we'll try that and leave Hwy.92 and the city of Griffin for other cyclists who need a story to tell their grandchildren.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Night of the Rogue Deer

I took a PATH ride from Panola to Arabia and back middle of the week with Heather and Florian. It was a last minute decision because I'd had a rough day and I really needed to blow of some steam. I accomplished my de-stress mission but the deer had it out for me....

First, I rounded a corner at about 17mph to find a deer, stopped, in the middle of the PATH less than 10 feet from me. I stopped (I didn't know I could stop so fast, actually) and stared. He stared back. I wasn't sure what to deer charge? will they bite? Suddenly I wished I'd listened all of those years when my dad relayed his deer hunting experiences. As I flipped through my mental Rolodex, searching for a memory of a vicious encounter between my dad and a deer, I was struck by how long the deer and I had been engaged in our staring contest. The dark glassiness of his eyes were started to spook me and just when I thought I'd scream "uncle" - he leaped off into the brush on the otherside of the road. Weird.

The journey continued on and I noticed several more deer along the way. There are two primary, no three primary reasons that I ride the PATH trail. First, I love the scenery and wildlife. Its beautiful and calming. Second, it has hills that are challenging. I love speed and distance but every now and again I just need some hills for the purpose of training. And the third - which is equally important - is that Heather will ride with me since there are no dangerous obstacles other than deer who enjoy a good staring contest... As we were getting closer to the end, I came down a hill, rounded a corner and as I typically do, checked behind me to see if I could still see Heather. What I saw almost made me fall off of my bike...running behind me at full speed was a fawn (those spots are so cute!). For a moment, I thought maybe I was finally being accepted as part of the PATH pact and the deer had allowed for me to "run" with them as part of the group. Group ride was starting to unravel in my mind with a whole new perspective until I suddenly saw the fawn swerve off to the side and disappear to where no road bike should ever venture. Damn. For the first time in my life I felt acceptance - like I was one of some group...

Apparently the fawn had been spoked by Flo who was not far behind and took off running to get away - when he saw me, he diverted to the brush on the side. So much for acceptance.

The evening ended - we had raced moonlight and won - it was late when we got back to our cars and the park ranger was waiting to lock the gates as we drove out. I turned my car onto Alexander Lake Rd and as I rounded the first curve, there stood a deer staring at me, watching as I drove away. In my rear view mirror, I almost swear I saw him pull up on his back legs, raise his right leg and shake a hoof as if waiving goodbye.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Storm Update

I swear...I am adamently opposed to using this blog for discussions of anything other than cycling...but....I thought you'd like to know that we are back in our house w/ a temporary fix on our air conditioning and nothing else working (well...we have electricity...). We hope to have further discussions w/ the insurance agency tomorrow about taking care of our's a run down of what we know:

Tree damage $3,200.00 - yikes!!!

AC damage $133.00 for temporary fix...the big bill comes on Tuesday when the parts arrive...

Sprinkler System Damage - estimate tomorrow

Alarm System Damage - estimate tomorrow or tuesday
electronics - all fried but the TV/Microwave/Washer and Dryer... We've submitted the values to the insurance company and we BETTER hear something tomorrow... Electronics include Mac G4, battery charger for the camcorder, alarm system, sprinkler system, DVD player and surround sound, Game Cube, XBox 360, TiVO, a hair iron (strange, huh?) and a partridge in a pear tree. Who knows what we'll continue to seems like everyday we find something else wrong...

Keep prayin'....If I can get all of this muck taken care of then I can actually climb back on my bike!