Where The Bike Takes Me

Continuing this journey of cycling in efforts to get into shape, lose weight, enjoy the outdoors, and save my knees from their arthritic state at 28 years of age.

Velog.com April 30, 2008

Filed under: cycling — f8th637 @ 8:32 pm
Tags: ,

Like Twitter but for people who ride:  http://velog.com

Come find me!


Non-Emergency Numbers in the DC Metro Area April 24, 2008

Filed under: Cycling in the DC Metro Area — f8th637 @ 1:05 pm

Shared by one of the members of Babes on Bikes:

Arlington (703) 558-2222
DC 311
Fairfax County (703) 691-2131
Fairfax City (703) 385-7924 or 7933
Falls Church (703) 241-5053
Montgomery County, MD (301) 279-8000

Keep them handy in your cell phone to report any non-emergency you’d like to notify them about.


Check Your Bike April 23, 2008

Filed under: bike,cycling — f8th637 @ 2:43 pm

I had another good lesson a couple of weekends ago while on a 25-mile ride in the area with my husband. I had ridden three times since falling on the office club ride a few weeks ago.  I had noticed that the last few rides were fairly unpleasant; my knees hurt when I got off and I just didn’t feel like the ride was strong.  My thighs burned like the dickens.  As the husband and I started our ride that morning, I still felt like I was so off.  We were barely out of the neighborhood and my legs burned so bad already.  I was like, “What is UP?!”  Once we got on the trail, I realized that I was wobbling side to side in my seat.  My seat was loose!  When I fell on that club ride a few weeks ago, I remember that my seat had become misaligned.  Steve had pounded it back in place for me and I didn’t give it a second thought.  It all made sense when I realized that.  Earlier that morning while getting the bikes ready I had a REALLY hard time getting to the seat bag as it was squished quite tightly between the seat and the rear rack.  Over time, I had slowly pushed the seat all the way to the seat post and didn’t even realize it.

THAT explained the knee soreness, the burning in my thighs, the crappy rides.  There was a bike shop in the direction we were heading right on the trail so I decided to be a trooper and just make it there and then we’d make adjustments since my seat post is not quick-release and I can’t find my mini multi-tool.  I bought a folding Park multi-tool from them and it is now a permanent fixture in my seat bag.  Once we made the adjustment and hopped back on the bike, I IMMEDIATELY felt a difference.  All was right with the world again.  I felt like a new person.  I heard the birds singing and could’ve swore someone was playing the “Allelulia” chorus somewhere.  It was utterly amazing!

So, the lesson is, folks, to check your bike after a fall or crash or whatever.   Make sure things are not loose!  I was lucky for me that it was just my seat and not something critical like a wheel or something but I could have saved myself some pain and confusion at the very least.  Bike fit is SOOO important.  I know you see that everywhere but it really does make SUCH a difference.  Maybe if everyone rode a bike that fit them properly, we’d have more people riding regularly.  A girl can dream, right?


Cyclefest 2008 & My Win! April 8, 2008

I made my way out to Wakefield Park for Cyclefest 2008 sponsored by the good people at The Bike Lane despite the fact that it was drizzly and cold with the temps around the 40s (Fahrenheit).  (Check the pictures they have posted!)  Good thing I went for that bike ride on Saturday with the husband instead.  (He’s more in shape than me and that was his first ride of the season!)

Anyway, I digress.  So it was darned cold and fairly miserable but imagine my surprise to see the parking lots fairly full with cars and bike racks. I got there a little before 11 AM and believe that most people were out on the race that started earlier that morning. You can’t keep BMXers and MTBers out of the mud, you know!  There was no coffee but there was Baja Fresh to keep us warm.  Yum!

I had signed up for some workshops ahead of time:

  • Heart Rate Training 101 with Melissa Dalio from Sport and Spine Athletics at 11 AM
  • Road Bike Handling 101 with Adam & Joanne from Synergy Fitness at 12:30 PM
  • Core Training for Cyclists with the same Joanne from Synergy Fitness

I learned a lot at each session I went to.  For instance, at Melissa’s I learned that I was INDEED training in too high of a zone.  This means I will need to learn to crawl before I can walk, etc.  So it’s not in the cards for me this year to be breaking any speed records.  😉  Not that I had intended on doing so anyway.  With Road Bike Handling I learned three methods of Cornering: turning, counter-steering, and steering.  I have read about these but to actually see them and do them is a whole other thing.  We also learned to look behind right/left and over and under the shoulder.  I totally suck at under the shoulder.  They had wanted to show us more but the wet conditions were not the most conducive.   At Core Training, I was inspired by Joanne’s core strength as she was probably about my parents’ age and in great shape.  I didn’t need a whole lot of convincing that core work makes you a stronger rider.  That makes sense to me.  I didn’t need to learn a whole lot of new exercises either as a lot of the ones she talked about I knew about.  What I DID need though apparently was a core workout.  I didn’t think I worked THAT hard but here it is Day 2 from Sunday and my abs are still fairly sore.  I’ve realized it was January or February when I last worked out my core.

I made a new friend (Hi Bach!) and we pal-led around all day as he had pretty much signed up for the same sessions I had.  Together we checked out some of the other booths and we stopped at the Fairfax Connector booth who was giving away a pink bike trainer.  They also had Oreos on their table.  I was more interested in those at the moment.  I put my name and my office phone number on a slip of paper and they put it in the bowl underneath the Oreos (they were in their own bowl.)  I am pretty sure that it was the pink Saris Breast Cancer Awareness Bones rack.

Everyone knows that the Saris Bones is a great rack.  I got a voice message on Monday left on Sunday telling me that I had won!  I finally spoke with Charlie from Fairfax Connector today and he said the bike rack retailed for $110 but all the pink Saris Bones I see retail for more than that.  Maybe it isn’t a Bones after all.  He did say that it was a really nice rack though.  Charlie is keeping it for me in his cubicle while we figure the best way to get it to me.  He offered to drop it off at my house but I can always pick it up to near work.  It’s a bit out of the way but not terribly so.  I told him I didn’t want to have it taking up valuable space in his cubicle but today didn’t work out for him as he was off to drop off some data via bike!  A man after my own heart, I tell ya!

So that was my experience at Cyclefest.  It was great and I really enjoyed myself.  Can’t wait for next year’s!


CycleFest 2008 at Wakefield Today! April 6, 2008

Filed under: Cycling in the DC Metro Area,Event — f8th637 @ 12:02 am
Cyclefest at Wakefield
Park.  Enjoy a day completely dedicated to the sport of cycling.   You will be able to demo the latest Trek, Lemond, Gary Fisher mountain and road bikes.  Attend  seminars including yoga for cyclists, core training for the cyclist, commuting basics, adventure racing 101, road and mountain bike clinics, bike fit and maintenance sessions, bike travel trips, and much more. We are adding more seminars everyday.  Local experts and cycling’s top of the line manufacturers will be on hand to show you everything you want to know about the latest and greatest in cycling.


And I’m Spent! April 2, 2008

Filed under: cycling — f8th637 @ 9:21 pm

I work for a big company here in the DC Metro area with several offices all over the place.  We have a bike club within the company that’ll do events and it’s nice because the company will go-in on a lot of your fund-raising requirements.  I believe they’ll do up to 6 events a year too.  With the season starting up the listserv has been busy, busy.

Some of us in my office got together today.  There ended up being 4 of us, one of which is my own personal biking buddy, Steve.  I met Steve last year first at the kick-off happy hour to the bike club.  He was newer to the company and all.  Later, Steve and I met up again at the Arlington/Alexandria Community bike ride.  Steve is great because he always hangs back with me and never makes me feel bad for it.  I think Steve doesn’t mind hanging back with me because he likes to be social and he told me that he doesn’t like being dropped so he doesn’t like to drop people.  He’s been such a great source of encouragement and has done RAGBRAI every year for the past 5 years but told me today he isn’t doing it this year.

Today’s ride pretty much had the other two dropping us fairly quickly on.  Before this though I couldn’t get my foot down and down I went on my left side.  Of course, it hurt at the time but once I got going I totally forgot about it until I got in the car as I was driving home and could feel the pain.  Definitely had a bruise and some road rash on my knee and I was wearing tights!  Then I started feeling the pain in my hamstring.  I felt around and sure enough found a hole.  Turns out I have a lovely 3-inch gash back there.

Steve and I did 21 miles today at a pace of 13.2 mph which has been my highest to date that I have record of.  Towards the end he knew I was really hurting and I looked down at the bike computer and realized that we were now going under 10 mph.  The other two were not too far ahead of us but probably ended up doing at least 5 miles more than us.  Steve promised that next week he’d bring his fixie so that he could ride with me and really get a good workout.

If you had a tough workout like I just did make sure you eat something after your ride.  I had some SERIOUS nausea until I forced myself to have some string cheese and peanuts.  Then my tummy started moving again and all was good.

I wish that all people just starting out could have a Steve like I do: always positive, great company, and more experienced than me.  I know some of you out there are intimidated by group rides but you know they say that you get better when you ride with people faster and more experienced than you.  More than that though, if you never get out there you may never find your Steve.


Too Beautiful Not to Ride! April 1, 2008

Filed under: cycling — f8th637 @ 9:19 pm

I had full intentions of taking a nap on the couch when I got home from the office but the 70+ degree weather was just too beautiful to ignore.  I had intended on visiting a local gift store to buy presents for this weekend later in the week but decided I might as well do it today and ride my bike there.  Hubby was too tired to make dinner so I offered to pick up something at the Whole Foods in the same shopping center.

I didn’t wear cycling clothes except the shoes and my helmet, of course.  I didn’t bring the Garmin.  I didn’t wear the heart rate monitor.  I just put the grocery basket pannier on the rack and donned my AE bike tote and was out the door.

The shopping center is less than a mile away and is at the bottom of the hill so it’s pretty fun on the way down there.  This is the first time I’ve taken the big hill up on the Sutra and I LOVE having all the gears that I do on my bike.  But I still have a nice burn in my thighs right now.  I totally felt urban chic.  My husband even said as much when I came home.  I’m a dork I know but it was a great outing and the blooming trees were absolutely beautiful on my way back up the hill.

Tomorrow is the first “club” ride with folks at my office.