Category Archives: Cycling

Anything bicycles

Getting My Legs Back

It sucks right now that the 31 miles I rode today kicked my ass.  Last November I rode 72 miles in one day, amazing how some time off the bike quickly affects one.

Life has been a little bit in the way with silly things like buying a house, family visiting, and traveling. Fortunately I am settling back down and finding time again to do the things I love on a regular basis (like blog!).

Hopefully by this November I will be back to having a set of strong legs and today’s ride will seem like a piece of cake. (yummm…..did someone say cake?)

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2 Days on 2 Wheels, 138 miles of Bike Therapy! Part 3, The Finale!

Part 1 click here, part 2 click here

So after a good night refueling on some appropriate food to prepare for another full day of riding (Mexican food, Little Debbie Donuts and beer)  I had a good night of rest and woke up at 6am ready to go!  Of course I was in central time zone so really to me it was 7.

So I’m going to sidetrack for a minute and talk food since I have had a few people ask what I brought and ate.  Well being a little worried about food availability and also knowing I had food available I brought kind of a strange mix of too much!  Not being a huge fan of GUs and all of those other fancy instant energy things I brought more sustenance type things.   I brought along a snack mix I picked up at Greenlife, a couple of Cliff Bars for Kids (because they are smaller and quite tasty), dried lightly sweetened papaya because it is yummy and similar to a lot of what people pay more for as far as energy stuff goes, a couple of big Cliff bars (gingerbread spice because it is my favorite one and only seasonal) and the most important Emergen-Cs for my water.  I think for me hydration and electrolytes is what I need most as I tend to make up for everything else in food otherwise.  I had a lot leftover from what I brought and as you saw earlier ate total shit for dinner (I did honestly have a hard time finding anything sweet that wasn’t Little Debbie at this particular tiny grocery store) and was fine.  I know what my body can digest well and what it can’t.  I avoid eggs, turkey, tvp, and onions.  Otherwise I’m pretty good to go as long as I don’t excess in anything.

Okay so back to my travels.  I got up….yep…6am central time but 7am in my mind.  I was not in a hurry as it was chilly and I knew I had plenty of daylight to make it back to my car. I dressed and wandered over to the “free”breakfast the motel had and found not much other than some raisin bran and crappy coffee.  I had a little bit of both and then went back to my room and enjoyed a Cliff bar on top of that.  I packed everything back up and set out.

The sun was shining, the air cold but still.  It was beautiful.

I started pedaling and was quickly into a zone. I was several miles into my ride before I started to relax and enjoy the beauty around me.  At that point I was really starting to take everything in and my emotions all came to me at once.  I started to cry.  I cried because I was happy, because I was overwhelmed, because I was proud of myself for this journey, because I was scared I would not finish my journey… there were so many emotions inside of me at once that I really cannot express it.  I was almost balling in my tears with everything I felt.  It really was something I needed.  Bike therapy at its purest.  It isn’t something I can really explain, just something I am so happy to have experienced and one of those moments in life I would not trade for anything else.  It truly felt like I had a “therapy breakthrough”.  It seemed as if my life became a whole lot more clear and that I released some of my pain and anxiety over things past.

I’m sure some people think that I’m full of shit for saying what I felt during my ride but I also know many others have felt the same way whether it was on bike, during a run, a hike or whatever.  The fact that you know you can do something you never knew for sure you could do before is truly enlightening.

Okay, enough with the sentimental, emotional feelings and back to where I was…..I kept riding and thoroughly enjoying the bright, sunny day that was slowly warming around me.

The miles seemed to fly by as the air kept warming up and the sun shined down.  Even the section with hills went by with ease.  I did take some time to admire the view at the “top” (I’m spoiled by my mountains in NC).

I continued on until I was back into Rockmart, GA where I had planned to take a long lunch break.  Unfortunately the restaurant, Johnnies,  that other cyclists that have traveled this section have talked about had switched to winter hours and would not be open until 5.  I rode around the tiny town to see what other options there were and settled on a Coke from a local store.

Next thing I knew I was almost back to my car!  My energy was high and at about 50 miles in I came up behind a skinny guy on an  unloaded road bike looking like he was working hard for him.  I said “on your left” and slowly passed him by with my loaded down rig.  He did stay on my tail drafting me so after a mile or so I pulled over at the next trail head and let him go by, I didn’t want to keep up this pace forever but it did feel good to pass him up.

Shortly after that I was back at my car!  I checked to make sure my car looked okay and I decided I wasn’t quite ready to pack it up.  I wanted to explore the trail a little closer in to Atlanta and add on a few more miles.  So that I did.  I rode in total 72 miles on Saturday and felt damn good.  Over 138 total for the two days.

After I decided I was ready to pack up i headed to the nearest pizzeria and had a few slices of pie and a beer.  Life was good, no better than good, absolutely fantastic.

I drove the long 4 hours home and was so happy to see my cats and house.  I settled in for a good night of rest.

I really wasn’t quite over with my adventure until Sunday.  I awoke and worked on some crafts and did a few errands and then decided I needed to ride.  I toke the rack off my bike and headed out for a shortish loop through Leicester.  21 miles of absolutely beautiful country that I call home.  I ride through there often out from my door and even though I had the trip of a lifetime in two days I still couldn’t be happier to call the mountains of NC home.

2 Days on 2 Wheels, 138 miles of Bike Therapy! Part 1

Ever since I spent a day on the Great Allegheny Passage just outside of Pittsburgh I have thought a lot about bike touring, particularly on Rails-To-Trails type destinations and in particular more of that great landmark.   I have been yearning to spend days out on my bike exploring the country via two wheels.

Well Pittsburgh is a bit of a drive and so is Cumberland, MD at the other end of the trail.  Plus the surface of that trail is mostly crushed limestone, not the most suitable for my dear Cessna (aka my Scott Contessa road bike).  So I started looking into closer options.  I had never been on an overnight on my bike and decided I needed to find somewhere to start.  Looking around on the great internet I found it!  The Silver Comet trail!  It starts in Smyrna, GA just outside of Atlanta and runs to the Alabama state line then connects with the Chief Lagida trail and continues to Anniston, AL.  The whole length of the two being about 100 miles.  Perfect!

Now I needed to do some planning and a little bit of training.  I have never had to carry much of a load when I rode before, nonetheless to plan on carrying a load for many many miles.  So I started researching everything I could about these trails and got to work on prepping my bike for a trip.

I didn’t have any money to spend on gear so I went with what I had.  I took the rack off my commuter and with my trunk bag and one pannier (yes I only have one….working on my Christmas wish list now) started thinking about what I really needed to bring.  I started riding with the added load and found hills to be a definite challenge!  Thankfully the trip I was planning had minimal hills, although one section of some good hills but other than that pretty flat,  nice change from home!

So the longest distance I had ridden up to this trip was 52.5 miles and yet I was planning two days of about 65 miles each day.  My 52.5 mile trip had been on the Blue Ridge Parkway climbing up towards Mt. Pisgah and this trip was pretty unexciting as far as elevations were concerned.  I figured I needed to challenge myself but not do anything too stupid so it seemed reasonable.  Still it was a little daunting planning a trip in which I exceeded my top ever mileage, not one, but two days in a row!

Oh and I don’t think I have mentioned yet but I was planning this trip as a solo excursion.  Feel free to give me all that “safety in numbers” stuff and whatever but I am a risk taker.  It is a big part of my personality.  Independence and stubbornness are part of my personality too.  Qualities I  quite like in myself.  I have been on a bit of solo trip quest for the last year and a half.  I find it rewarding and a bit of therapy for me so it makes sense that riding my bike, which I already consider therapy  coupled with a solo trip would be something I desired.

I definitely was getting excited, a little anxious, a little nervous and could not wait for this trip!  I needed the time away from my normal world and I needed some quality time alone with Cessna.  Ahhhh…life is good.

Stay tuned for part 2 but here is a song that came on my Ipod while riding and being a Beck fan and my mood at the moment this song was ideal.

Beck Go It Alone

 

My Brain on Dreams

Damn brain…..it keeps on thinking even when I tell it to stop!  Sigh, I guess that is what it was designed to do dammit.  Anyway there has been a lot going on in my life to keep it busy, especially at night in my dreams.

Last night I dreamed I was riding at Dupont.  It is in fact where I rode today and had planned to ride today.  I dreamt I was at the sign for Pitch Pine Trail and the person I was riding with was gone.  My dreams often times are set in places I am familiar with but are different in my dream.  This time it was just like it was when I rode there today.

Really pretty much just like this picture I took today.  The long gravel road stretching out in the distance with the leaves changing and no one around.  Silence.  Riding Dupont and possibly this trail were in my plans for today but places usually are not this prominent the night before in a dream.  In my dream last night I was standing at this exact intersection wondering where the person I was riding with had gone.

“Where are you?”  I yelled.  I whistled (which in reality I suck at) and yelled for the person I was riding with.  “You are going to miss out on a really fun trail”  I yelled.  I never actually saw the person I was yelling to and have no idea who it was supposed to be. In my dream I was concerned about where they went but knew they were ok.  I ventured down the trail after calling out and whistling but I was sad.  Sad that I was enjoying this trail without that person.

The dream had pretty much escaped my mind before I went riding today but as soon as I put my leg over the bike it started to come back to me.  I rode on some of my favorite trails and then was at that intersection.  I stopped.  I stopped for quite a while thinking, feeling, seeing just how real it was in my dream.  I even hesitated to go down Pitch Pine but I did.  I actually ended up circling around and riding it twice.  The first time with anxiety but the second time with pure fun.

Strange how dreams can affect me. They have been there my whole life and over that past couple of years I have really started listening to them but not always clear on what they say.

I just keep hoping things will be clear when they are supposed to be.

Oh DuPont, How I Love Thee!

I was way overdue for a mountain bike ride and I needed to get to Brevard this weekend anyway so I loaded up Flash this morning for some quality time together out at our favorite local place to spend some time, DuPont.

I forget just how much I love DuPont until I am there.  So let me count the ways:

1. Ridgeline Trail, really a whole reason alone for me to go to DuPont.

2. Jim Branch Trail, yes another fantastically stupid fun trail

3. Airstrip Trail

 

4. The fact that there is actually an old airstrip that the trail comes off of

 

5. So many trails I can always find a new one to ride!

6.  The stunningly beautiful lakes

7. The amazing waterfalls

8. The variety of scenery, flora, fauna, rocks including the slickrock granite that provides a great riding surface or sometimes a nice place to take a break

 

9.  The trails vary from gravel roads. super stupidly fun flow all the way to steep rocky technical downhills.

Yes, I had a great day out playing in DuPont with Flash.  It was some much needed bike therapy!  Thanks DuPont!  Thanks to the friendly horseback rider who offered to take my picture with my bike in front of High Falls.

 

We’ll be back soon!

 

Craft Addiction and Other Randomness

So I think I must have become addicted to my beercrafting as I like to call it.  I came home and worked on a few pieces I am working on before looking at my email, facebook, eating dinner, etc.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have a new piece or two for my Etsy page. In case you haven’t checked it out here is the link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BrewsAndJewels

I think it’s a good addiction and I’m definitely having fun with it.  Plus I personally think I’m producing some pretty awesome things.  🙂

Otherwise life has been pretty good the last few days including achieving the longest single day ride to date of 45 miles on Sunday.  I hope to beat that soon.  I’m working on a goal of riding from my house to Mt. Pisgah and back.  Just under 60 miles round trip.  I’m getting a little closer each time and feeling pretty awesome about it!

I also was randomly thinking how I used to commonly post Beck videos and I feel like I’m overdue.  So here you go.  Enjoy your night, Monday is almost over!

 

Starting and Stopping

I keep starting a new blog post with my current thoughts and then stopping.  I delete everything and start again.  I have done this for three days in a row.

So I’m just going to post this video I found on the old YouTube.  It gave me a much needed little laugh.

Enjoy!