Monday, June 27, 2011

Note to self

Note to self: Don't do nearly twenty minutes of squats and lunges and other horrible lower body exercise along with the torturous workout video the day after a sixteen mile ride and the day before a ten mile ride. I also did twenty minutes upper body work, so everything below the neck hurts. Oh, wait, my teeth are still tender. Everything below my eyes hurts.

So. Sixteen mile ride. Yeah. Scott and I jumped on our bikes late Saturday afternoon. Scott didn't want to go too far and we rode up to Smiths Switch. He decided he wanted to go a little farther and we rode up to Ashburn Road. We passed the most adorable houses. I mean, seriously adorable Craftsman-looking bungalows. And they were nestled up right against the trail. I suggested that we ask the folks in the most adorable house to trade with us. They weren't home, unfortunately; we'll have to try later. At the corner of the W&OD and Ashburn Road sits Carolina Bros BBQ. Scott suggested that some evening he could ride out and pick up take-away BBQ and ride home with me. Sounds like fun to me.

After a little breather, we decided to continue west. We passed the Luck Stone Quarry Overlook and continued until we found the Two Creeks Trail Area. I'd forgotten my glasses and didn't feel like taking a gnat or dozen to the eye while goofing around in the woods. Plus, we're old and wanted to make sure we had enough oomph to make it back home. Surprisingly, I had quite a lot of oomph and not only sped back home, but cycled up the 28 overpass. I nearly stroked out once reaching the top of the bridge, but I did it. I'm looking forward to the day when that won't be such an exciting thing and will be business as usual.

Yesterday, I felt tender in the parts that touch the bike saddle and whipped out an exercise video. I've been biking for a month now and figured I was strong enough to do the forty minute workout. Ha. Ha ha. I groaned and panted and whimpered my way through most of the video and sweat so much that I wouldn't have been nearly as damp taking a shower. Sheesh.

The fun part came this morning when I slooowly crawled out of bed and stretched well so that I could actually move like a semi-normal person. I wanted to bike to work and by golly I did even though the humidity was awful and my legs were pretty beat from Sunday's fun. Fast forward through a pretty hellish day, and I biked home an hour later than I normally leave. Oof, the trail was crowded with recreational folks. I did not cycle up the 28 bridge. I did make it up the Holborn hill, though, and celebrated that victory by making Scott haul my bike inside because I was too wiped out. I'm feeling and sounding a lot like Aughra tonight. Tomorrow is definitely a rest day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer loving

I biked to work yesterday and Scott met me at the Smith's Switch rest stop to bike home with me. After cleaning up, we piled the bikes into the back of the truck and tootled over to Spokes, Etc to have their techs adjust our brakes and straighten my slightly-out-of-alignment back tire. While the techs worked their magic, I perused the bikes and, per a friend's suggestion and my follow-up research, took a test ride on a Specialized "Ariel".


She was so incredibly light and glided across the parking lot with barely any effort on my part. I actually hollered to Scott, "She's like buttah!"

I was smitten.

I took her back inside and asked the salesguy if they will be running any kind of deals on the bikes later this summer. Yes, but only for the extra small and large sizes. You know, the ones that the majority of folks don't need. I thought and thought. I hemmed and hawed. Scott was absolutely no help and kept repeating, "Do what you want to do; it's your money. But remember that you have dental work tomorrow that your insurance may not cover..."

Drat! Plus, I didn't want to stack such a beautiful bike in the back of my truck. She needs an honest-to-goodness bike carrier. And I'll be getting a trailer hitch installed in Memphis. That sealed it for me. I decided that I will buy her next month when we return from our trip south.

I'm so excited about riding her to and from work and everywhere else that I can.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Scott and I hit the trail this afternoon and rode up to Wiehle Road in Reston which made for a 12.1 mile round trip. It was fantastic. The weather wasn't too oppressive and the breeze was steady but not hindering. I struggled up the Reston Town Center overpass, but it didn't wipe me out. In fact, as I coasted down, I told Scott that I wanted to keep going until Wiehle. The trail is so pretty east of Town Center. There's a pedestrian bridge I'd never seen and the supports of the American Dream Way bridge are quite picturesque. All in all, it was an enjoyable ride with a couple of surprises.

Surprise the first: I dinged my bell as I prepared to pass a guy walking on the trail. He nearly jumped out of his skin and yelled at me for "nearly scaring [him] to death". I replied that I was trying to warn him that I was passing. He said that I shouldn't do that. Scott hollered that the signs all along the trail state that you must warn before passing. And with that, we'd passed the grumpy curmudgeon and shook our heads at his idiocy. We passed him again on the way home and I made sure to holler loudly when I rang my bell to pass. Maybe he'd had enough polite (and impolite) cyclists go around to teach him that warning was a good idea. Whatevs.

Surprise the second: I fell off the trail. We'd crossed Crestview on the way home and pedaled about halfway up the hill when I needed a quick breather. After recovering, I hopped back onto my bike, which literally consists of hopping because I cannot touch the ground when I'm on the seat. Unfortunately, I was facing uphill which makes it even harder for me to hop up and the handlebars shifted slightly and C.C. and I fell over into a thick stand of, thankfully, very soft bushes. Scott panicked, of course, and raced back to rescue me, but I was laughing and dusting dirt off my knees. I need to be more careful or Scott's going to cover me in bubblewrap.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday's commutes

Yesterday's weather was absolutely glorious. It was very nearly the most perfect day for commuting via bike, at least in the afternoon. The morning was quite chilly and I was downright cold until I rode into the full sunshine on the trail. My fully-loaded trunk bag and lunch bag made the bike heavier than the backpack-and-lunch-bag-in-basket combo of my last commute, but I managed. I think my biggest issue was how tired my legs were from Sunday's exertion. Plus, I didn't sleep well Sunday night because I was a combination of over-tired from Sunday and over-excited about riding to work on Monday. Good times.

But I made it to work safely and left Scott a VM that I'd arrived before locking my bike and trudging off to the gym for a shower and fresh clothes. My new bike shorts dry a whole lot faster than the yoga capris I wore last time and all my clothes were bone dry when it was time to change for the ride back home. I prepped the bike and myself for the ride, phoned Scott to let him know I was leaving (he gives me 45 minutes to an hour from the "I'm leaving!" call before he worries about me lying injured in a ditch along the trail), and set off for the uphill ride back home.

I did some huffing and puffing getting to the trail, but yesterday's ride back home was the easiest one yet. I blame the constant uphill battle of getting to Reston on Sunday. Even though I was working harder to ride home, my legs didn't hurt as much as they had during the morning ride. Must be getting stronger. And then it happened. I started up the long and steep ramp for the Rte 28 overpass. I told myself that I could bike up it and I didn't need to hop off and push. "Look," I told myself. "You're doing it! You're almost halfway there. Look! You're two-thirds there! Ooh! You're three-quarters there. Yay! You're at the top and you pedaled the whole time! WAY TO GO!!"

I took a congratulatory panting spell at the middle of the overpass and watched Route 28 traffic for a few seconds before continuing on. The ride from 28 to home was the easiest ever. Not only am I getting stronger, I'm getting smarter and smoother about shifting gears. That makes a hyooge difference in my momentum and fatigue. I did not pedal up Holborn; instead, I chose the slighter hill on Sherwood as a small reward for working so hard earlier. My big reward was a shopping trip to Sports Authority where I picked up two more day-glo shirts for riding and a couple more pair of padded shorts. I spent the rest of the evening stretching my super tired legs and relishing in the knowledge that I didn't have to ride on Tuesday. But I'm looking forward to riding again on Wednesday!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Back in the saddle again (again)

I pulled my repaired bike and repaired self back out yesterday morning and ran the morning errands by bike with Scott. My bike and I performed very well, I am happy to report. After cleaning ourselves up, we ran a few more errands by car and then took off for Annapolis to celebrate our twin nieces' birthday. A grand time was had by all.

We pulled the bikes back out again this morning and headed towards Herndon along the W&OD. We took a break at Elden Street, the three mile mark, and swigged Gatorade while trying to decide whether we should continue on or turn around. I voted for continuing into the unknown. Okay, it's not entirely unknown, but it's been about ten years since I've ridden to Reston and I don't remember what things are like along the trail.

Things are tough along that part of the trail, that's what things are like. Lots of stops for lights and then lots of steep inclines for overpasses. Oof. I was literally panting for breath by the time we got to the top of the Town Center Parkway overpass in Reston. I was just about done and we had four-and-a-half, thankfully mostly downhill, miles to ride to get back home in the stinking heat. The breeze we caught while coasting downhill helped revive me, but the hills were getting harder and harder to climb. After one last break at a lone picnic table in a stand of pine trees between Herndon Parkway and Crestview, we pushed for home and rode up just as T was walking to our house to spend the afternoon in the pool with me. Excellent timing!

I must give a shout out to A-M for recommending Buff Headbands. Mine arrived from yesterday and I was honestly surprised by how cool it kept my sweaty head under my helmet. I could actually feel the breeze through the vent holes as the fabric wicked away sweat. I am one super happy customer.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Not exactly as planned

Got home from work last night and talked Scott into cycling with me over to Eastern Mountain Sports where I could pick up a carabiner for attaching my lunch bag to my new trunk bag. We suited up, headed out and enjoyed the gorgeous weather on the trail. I coasted down the steep hill from the Rte 28 overpass and prepared to turn left to exit the trail on the Pacific Blvd on ramp when I heard two female cyclists yell "on your left!" I waited for them to pass, looked over my shoulder, turned 90 degrees and =WHAM!= was on my back on the ground from being T-boned by a male cyclist who came out of nowhere behind me.

Scott and another male cyclist ran over to me and I tried to get the world to stop swimming and spiraling around me. I also tried sitting up but was too dizzy. Plus they fussed at me to lie down and stay still. The guy who hit me walked over to see if I was okay. I could answer questions and Scott said my pupils weren't dilated but mostly I just lay on the ground and whimpered and cried from adrenaline and shock. The female cyclists came back and called 911. I didn't want an ambulance; I wanted to get back on my bike and continue my planned errands. But Scott fussed at me any time I tried to move so I stayed on the ground, looking at the tall grass waving on either side of my face and feeling the breeze on my bare foot (the collision had literally knocked me out of one of my shoes and sock) as we waited for the EMTs to arrive.

The EMTs asked me what I assume are the usual questions: what's your name, where are you, what day is it, who is the president and I was able to answer correctly. After removing my helmet, they put me in a neck brace and strapped me to a back board. Ugh. Not pleasant. I was lifted to a gurney and rolled up to the ambulance. A lot of firsts for that day. The EMTs marveled at the remains of my helmet and thanked me over and over for wearing it. They said that I would have left the scene via medivac instead of ambulance had I not been wearing it.

In the emergency room I was given morphine for pain -- my head was killing me and my backside wasn't feeling much better -- and was eventually wheeled back for x-rays. According to the doctor, I had no neck, back, or spinal injuries but I was slightly concussed. He removed the brace and back board and helped me sit up. The world immediately swam and I felt like I was falling off the bed. I also thought I was going to be violently sick. The doctor and nurse took turns slightly elevating the bed until I could sit up without feeling like I was falling. Eventually, I was able to leave the bed and was grateful for the wheelchair ride to my car. At two and a half hours this was my second shortest ER stay.

I drank lots of water when we got home because the morphine left me with dry mouth. I was very tired from the adventure and Scott followed me to bed a little before 10pm. I slept fairly well, although the world swam every time I changed position in bed.

Today, my neck and collar bones are a little sore, probably from the neck brace, and my backside is tender. I'm dizzy if I move too quickly. But I'm not in pain, per se, and Scott is doing an excellent job of taking care of me. I need a new front rim for my bike and a new helmet. Scott wants to get us both properly fitted for helmets. I keep telling him that my helmet was obviously properly fitted since I'm not in traction of worse. :)