Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mountain Bike Ride

This morning Joe and I left the house at 9:00 AM and drove to Black Diamond. We parked near the trailhead of Lake Sawyer and entered the woods for a 2 hour fun fest of mountain biking. The trails were great. No mud (yet) but not dusty either. The little rain we had this week just compacted the dirt and made the trails wonderful. We met perhaps 2 or 3 people while we were out there this morning. It was just a great ride. We returned to the truck tired and hungry but elated. It has been a long time since we rode our mountain bikes. August 18th I believe was the last time. It's a totally different ride experience than road riding. We packed up and headed for home. I'm glad we got out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Weekend Ride

Here it is Tuesday already! I was so busy these past few days I never posted my Saturday ride. To be honest it wasn't that great of ride. Initially we (Joe, Jackie, and me) were going to ride the John Wayne Trail, a 40 mile ride. 20 miles out and 20 miles back but after thinking it over Joe knew he would not be able to do it. He realized that his massive overtime this summer, which left zero time for riding, has left him completely out of shape for anything longer than 15-20 miles. So we changed our plans I believe on Thursday and decided instead to ride our 25 mile Enumclaw loop.

Well Saturday arrived and Joe got the bikes ready. We started from the Enumclaw High School parking lot. It was overcast and grey but it at least did not rain. We had a headwind for most of the ride but Jackie and I felt great. After 13 miles Joe said he didn't think he could finish. So we turned around and by passed the rest of the ride. We returned to the high school with a total of 16 miles. Joe said his work is cut out for him. He is going to try and rebuild his bike endurance but we are going to have to start slow. So that was my big weekend ride.

On Sunday we went to the Puyallup Fair. We had a good time. We visited the exhibits and displays, saw the animals and ate elephant ears. We got rained on and rode the extreme scream machine. I bought my official fair "mug" which I have been collecting since we moved here in July 1997. So this year makes 11 official Puyallup Fair mugs that I own. Joe's going to have to build a case or cabinet for them one of these days! I'll just add it to his honey do list.

This Saturday we won't be able to ride because Joe, Jackie, and I are driving to Cheney to move Aaron back into his dorm. His last year! He will graduate June 2008! Only one more to go! Jackie graduates winter 2008/2009.

I guess Sunday will be ride day. Depending on the weather . . . either mountain biking or road cycling. Jackie is praying for nice weather because she only rides her road bike.

Well that was my exciting weekend. I am back at work and my days have been draining all my energy. I come home tired and ready to vegetate in front of the boob tube. Hopefully I will adjust and my energy will return.

The weather doesn't help. It looks just the way I feel. Grey, dreary, and chilled. I don't even want to go to the gym. Sigh . . . I hope it gets nice again.

Finally finished my slideshow with pictures of the MS 150 ride from the weekend of September 8th and 9th.

Check it out here:

Slideshow of 2007 MS 150

Monday, September 10, 2007

What a Weekend!

It was the best weekend in many ways. First, the weather was absolutely perfect. A bit chilly in the mornings but by noon it was in the mid to upper 70s. The sun was out on both days and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. It was a typical autumn morning. You know crisp and clear. But the best thing about this weekend was the ride. My daughter and I rode in the annual MS 150 in La Conner, Washington. Our weekend began on Friday afternoon as we left our home for La Conner. A 99 mile drive to the north. The traffic was horrendous but the pay off was worth it.

It was a two day event. The first day, Saturday, Jackie and I woke up at 5:30 AM and had breakfast at our hotel. My hubby Joe and our son Aaron also came with us to La Conner for the weekend. Not to ride but to support Jackie and me. We drove to the MS village where we met our fellow team mates. We had our team photo taken at 7:30 and then we all went over to the start line. The atmosphere was electric! People were cheering and dancing and many of the cyclists were dressed in costumes. Some of the costumes were pretty funny and original. There was music blurring and well wishers gathered along the streets. The teams were going out in waves. An announcer would say the team’s names and then people would cheer and off they would go. Finally, our team approached the start line. I can’t describe how excited I was. It was something you would have to experience for yourself.

Saturday’s ride was very hilly. Did I say it was hilly?! It was HILLY! But the scenery was gorgeous. We pedaled along the water on our way to Anacortes. The views along the sound and of Mount Baker were breath taking. Our first rest stop was only 9 miles into the ride but Jackie and I stopped for water and to chat with our fellow team mates. It was all about having fun too. I took pictures ate a banana and then we were off again. One of my favorite memories of day one’s ride was crossing Deception Pass . . . with a MOTORCYCLE escort! The motorcycles would escort groups of cyclists over the bridge that crossed Deception Pass. I felt like I was in the Tour de France! And the view! It was the best part of the ride.

After we crossed Deception Pass we had a thrilling downhill! Jackie and I were going over 37 mph! At the end of our exhilarating downhill was our lunch stop. They had turkey, tuna salad, and veggie wraps along with assorted fruits, cookies, and power bars. We grabbed lunch and sat down on the grass and ate. We met some of our team mates and they joined us and we talked about Deception Pass. With our stomachs full and legs rested we finally started off on the last leg of our ride. Wouldn’t you know it after lunch and with full bellies we had to CLIMB! Oh yes, awaiting us was a long climb. But Jackie and I made it without stopping! We had one more rest stop about 10 miles later and we finished the last 15 miles with ease! Elated we crossed the finish line a little past noon. Not bad! Joe and Aaron were waiting for us. We drove back to the hotel and showered and rested until 4:30. We left a little before 5:00 to meet some of our team members for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. After dinner we returned to our hotel room and went to sleep ready for tomorrow’s ride!

Again, the alarm went off at 5:30 AM and Jackie, Joe, and I got dressed and headed to the MS 150 village. Aaron stayed in bed! LOL He was tired. We went to the start line again and it was a repeat of yesterday. The excitement and enthusiasm was still there. People were cheering, dancing, and yelling their support. The atmosphere was still electric. Our team approached the start line and again the announcer called our name as we began our ride on day two. Sunday’s ride was not hilly BUT it sure was WINDY! Yes, windy! We had one hellacious head wind on Sunday. When I asked Jackie would she rather climb or pedal with a head wind she said she would take hills any day! I agreed with her. It felt like we were pushing against a wall at times. But the scenery that morning was surreal. The sun streaming through the cyclists as they pedaled along the country roads was just something to see. I don’t think a camera can capture what the eye can see sometimes. It was just beautiful. We started again about the same time as yesterday about 7:45 and finished at 12:07 PM. We stopped at the rest stops and lunch stop. Again they had wraps for us and power bars and breakfast cookies. The cookies were the best! When we crossed the finish line on the second day they presented all riders with a medal! And on both days at the finish line there were people cheering for us as we crossed the line!

We did it! We had fun, we raised money for a good cause, and we met some pretty nice people too. The MS people had a special lunch waiting for us. They had hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, cookies, pudding, fruit, and all kinds of drinks. There was a beer garden and a band playing. But Jackie and I could not stay for the festivities. We had a long drive back home. So we said good bye to our team mates and friends and headed for home exhausted but happy.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Three Day Weekend = One Day Painting and Two Days Riding

The weather here in the pacific northwest this Labor Day weekend was absolutely beautiful. It was perfect for riding AND painting. Yes, painting! After months of putting it off, hubby, our kids, and me finally got the exterior of our house painted on Saturday. It was a family affair. We started early, around 8:00 AM and finished at 5:00 PM. We taped and covered all the windows first then Joe spray painted the entire house. We allowed it to dry over night. The next morning Joe and our son painted the trim while Jackie and I went for a road ride. Jackie and I had to ride because next weekend is our MS 150 event. We had to get some last minute training rides in. So with the house finished, except for the trim, we went for it. Joe did not mind and said to just pick up lunch on our way home.

We left early, around 8:00 AM and cycled throughout Enumclaw. My legs felt tired for some reason but they managed to finish. We were back home by 12:30 with lunch. We stopped at Wendy’s on our drive home. Joe and Aaron were finished with the trim and were cleaning up as we pulled into the drive. Our house looks fabulous. A warm “latte/creamy light brown” color with a cream colored trim. I would describe the trim as lightly burnt marshmallow. I also went to Home Depot with Joe and picked out some new outdoor light fixtures. Joe placed two on each side of the garage door and one by the front door. It was a lot of hard work but in the end it was worth it. But the next time we have to paint our house we are hiring someone. We are getting too old for this manual labor stuff. And by the time it needs to be painted again we will be even older. So yea, we are definitely hiring a painting crew the next time around.

This morning as Jackie and I were drinking our coffee we decide to do another ride. The weather was still beautiful and so another ride was in order. We left around the same time as yesterday and practically retraced yesterday’s route. Our ride was so peaceful and enjoyable with very little traffic that it was like being in cycling heaven. Today my legs felt like their good old selves again. Full of energy and strong. We cruised on the flats at 21-22 mph and ascended the hills pretty quick too. One very steep and long hill did slow us down a tad bit but our average speed was almost 15 mph at the end of the ride. To be exact it was 14.97 mph. And this with all the steep and roller coaster hills! Jackie and I were solid!

Well tomorrow I return to work. It’s the first day of school for my school district. Oh I can picture all the students’ happy faces as they walk through the school doors. My face will have a smile on it too but inside I know where I truly would rather be, outside on my bike with the air, wind, and sun on my face! I guess its back to the gym on the weekdays. But I will certainly be looking forward to my weekends.