Things Happen……

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Sometimes things happen on the ride, things way beyond our control.  Every now and then the ambulance has to come and take our friends off of the road.  We do what we have to do to get through it.  We make arrangements for their bike to remain in a safe location until it’s retrieved later, find out which hospital they’re going to, and make sure their car is brought somewhere it won’t be towed.  These are all things we do for our friends when they need us.  

In my first couple of months on the road, I was on a ride that Señor was leading.  We were on a commonly used road and one of the guys on the ride fell.  He was ok, he got back up and continued on.  A couple of minutes later, on the same road, another guy went down.  He didn’t get back up.  He was thrown so hard from his bike that his shoe was still on the pedal.  He was taken away in an ambulance.  None of us felt much like riding after that so we went to lunch and took the very short way back back to the lot.  I went with The Señor to the hospital after.  Not only could The Señor use the company but I really wanted to see how this guy was doing. He was in his 70s and I was worried.  He broke some bones but was doing alright.  He recovered and, after a few months, he came back to ride with us.  He went down again after a few rides and that was the last I heard about him.   

I led a ride to Target Rock a few years back. It was a cold fall day. We were 28 miles into the ride when it happened. My friend fell off of her bike and went sliding across the road. The person behind her fell on top of her. I was behind him and I went into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid it, another guy followed suit. It all seemingly took place in slow motion.

When all was said and done, she wanted to get back on her bike. I ordered her not to on the grounds that the ride leader makes that call. After the guys checked her bike we determined she couldn’t ride it. She refused an ambulance so I called her a taxi. I specified that it was a passenger with a bicycle so they knew to come with a larger vehicle. I gave our approximate location being that we weren’t in front of a physical address but on the side of the road.

The car service told me it would be $60. I accepted the fee but my heart sank. That was a lot of money and she was already having a really bad day. I looked into my plastic wallet. I had a $10 bill on me and a couple of other bills. I took the $10 bill out and went up to each member on the ride to collect money from them to get her back home. There were 6 of us and we all pitched in.  In my neighborhood that was just the sort of thing that we did for each other but I guess it was different on the island.  She later told me that I made that situation not as horrible for her but, in my eyes, that’s just the sort of thing we should have done.

The car took a long time but it did eventually come.  A guy had passed by in a luxury SUV and I mentioned we were waiting on a cab.  He said he saw it up the road looking for us.  We thanked him and he drove off.  I joked around saying I was sorry that we couldn’t get her back in style. When the cab came we helped her into the car and put her bike in the large trunk.  After that nobody felt much like riding and, at the suggestion of the other members, we went to lunch.  We took the shortest way back to the lot.  A couple of the other guys on the ride got her car back to her house while she was at the hospital.  After months of physical therapy she came back stronger than ever and is out there killing it.

On another ride, a remote start ride, a friend of ours was hit by a car. The driver stayed but they put us at fault and she wasn’t charged with anything.  We all got fined.  As we waited for the ambulance to come I stayed with our friend and made small talk.  He was so worried so I hung out with him on the side of the road and talked about things to distract him.  We arranged for the police officers to take his bike back to the staton.  I was supposed to go to a funeral after the ride but I was commander in chief so I sent the guys home.  One of the guys that had a large car with a bike rack stayed with me.  We picked him up from the hospital and got his bike back from the police station.  It took a couple hours but we got him and his bike back to his car.  It took months to recover but he also came back strong and is doing very well these days.  

Last summer my friends and I were on a ride and had been dropped.  We were still trying to catch up when we saw some riders on the side of the road with the police.  As we got closer to them, we saw that they were friends of ours.  We turned around and stayed with them.  There wasn’t much we could do but offer our company as we waited for the ambulance to come.  After he got picked up and we said our goodbyes, the rest of us rode back together.  We came from different lots so we said our goodbyes when we made the split to go back to our starting points.  He had surgery and came back after a few months.  He’s getting stronger every day and is very much enjoying life.

Sometimes bad things happen and the best thing we can do is to be there for our friends however we can.  A little bit of kindness goes a long way…..

 

How Chasing Daylight Became My Thing

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When I first started riding with the bike club on Long Island I had no idea where I was half the time.  I used to just go along with the group.  Every now and again I would ask where I was and someone would tell me. I tracked my distance, time, temperature, and speed with a simple bike computer.  I wanted to buy a Garmin so I could follow a route and not get lost but I couldn’t afford it.  I also knew that I’m a control freak and following people around wouldn’t suffice for very long.  

One day I got an email from my credit card company.  It said that, if I updated my income, I could qualify for a limit increase.  I was interested so I logged into my account and did the update.  I did qualify and was approved for a 100% increase.  I decided right then and there that I would get a Garmin.  I did my research and read the reviews to decide which one I should get.  I settled on the Garmin Edge 810.  

I started riding by myself on Sundays.  I followed routes and started learning the roads.  I turned when that little device told me to.  I was having a great time.  During the week, if I left work early, I was still riding around queens so I didn’t ned the Garmin because I knew those roads.  Eventually the winter came and I was no longer riding after work.

I’ll eventually get into how I got into spin but after the winter I was still spinning in the morning at 5am.  That was tough.  I noticed that, with very passing day, the sun started rising earlier and the days were getting longer.  I was so over spinning in the morning.

I was speaking with The Señor and he suggested that I start taking my bike with me to work and start riding afterwards.  That was a great idea.  I starting making routes with different mileage to accommodate whatever amount of time I had.  I would load the route that I had the time to do.  I rode after work every chance I got.  It looked like I was living out of my car but I didn’t care.  I was living, I was alive.

I eventually learned the roads to the point that I no longer need the routes.  My Garmin became a training tool full of useful information that I upload and analyze.  I load routes when I’m away in an area that I’m not familiar with or when I’m with a fast group. I had no idea that, when I bought my Garmin, that I was buying my freedom.  Yes, it can be an infuriating little device but when you learn all of it’s little quirks it’s a great tool.  I’ve since upgraded to the Garmin Edge 1000 after the 810 got fried.  I got a great deal on it because, at that time, I had a hookup and got it at cost. 

 You will find me out there every chance I get chasing daylight on the roads I’ve learned so well. I mostly decide where I’m going as I go along.  I have a great time mixing things up.  I know how many miles I can do with the amount of daylight that’s remaining and, for the most part, I make it back before its dark.  I get a rush out of chasing the sun.  There’s nothing in the world like pressing the pause button of life and spending quality time with my bike.  

The Dreaded Flat

 

 

 

Whether on a group ride or a solo jaunt there is nothing more dreaded than the flat tire.  Sometimes they fizzle, sometimes they pop.  One time it was so loud that I thought it was a gunshot.  Sometimes it’s a pinch, and other times it’s a puncture. 

I don’t mind the ones that the tube must be changed but it’s those blowouts that I hate the absolute most.  They leave you stranded without a care but if it was just the tube all you would need is some air.

When it’s with a group it’s never when you could use a breather, but rather in the beginning or just after the break.  Why oh why must these things occur.  It’s such a drag, we all concur.

If you have gone for months with no incidents of flats, just know that streak of luck will be paid right back.  My group and I have just paid dearly, we had four flats in minutes.  That’s more than we should have had yearly!

Just know that, when you least suspect, that tire demon will be around to collect……

How I Wound Up Here

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One of the guys we rode with at the club does a hilly ride to Lake Ronkonkoma at least once a year.  It’s a long but challenging ride.  It’s an all day event because there’s bathroom stops and a lunch stop.  At that time I didn’t know that rides weren’t supposed to take all day.  Another friend of mine rode with another club that rides in the morning but I didn’t think I was fast enough to ride with that group.  I knew there were young sexy cyclists on Long Island but I had no clue where they were and who they rode with.

I was getting ready for the ride when a young guy showed up at the lot.  I’d been riding with these guys for a couple years and I’ve never seen him before.  They all knew him and were very happy to see him.  

We started riding and I was riding behind him while he was talking to one of the guys.  I joked around saying “You haven’t introduced me to your friend”. They didn’t realize that we’ve never met.  It was my responsibility to know who everyone on the ride was as I was the chairperson of my group.  We started taking and this guy was so funny.  I really enjoyed speaking with him.

Him and I rode together most of the ride.  We stopped to regroup a few times and chatted it up while we did.  He told me about the group he rides with, he said I should come.  I was reluctant to ride outside of my group, I never rode with anyone else before.  I was on call on Sundays until 11:00am so I only really had Saturdays.  

We became friends on Facebook and he invited me to the ride he was leading the following Sunday.  I spoke with my employers and we agreed to change the way we do Sunday emergencies.  Instead of being on call in the morning we agreed that the cutoff for emergencies was Saturday night.  We’ve evolved even further in the past couple of years and we no longer have weekend hours.

I informed him on Saturday evening that I would attend his ride.  I was bringing another friend of ours from my club who didn’t want to do the remote start ride that my club was planning.  

I showed up to their lot and there were many young people there.  This was where the young sexy people were!  The ride was fast paced and challenging but I managed to keep up with the group.  It was a great ride.  I rode strong through to the end.  Everyone was very nice and welcoming.  After the ride there were snacks and water being served that everyone was welcomed to have.

I showed up there to ride with them a few more times.  I really enjoyed these rides.  I returned in the spring and became an official member.  I passed on my responsibilities as the chairperson of my group to someone else and continued riding with them.  Although I also rode with other groups, I came back to the Mineola Bicycle Club every weekend.  It’s now my home club.

I recently received the high honor of being the first ever winner of the monthly club drawing!  There’s a new Loyalty Program.  Every ride is an entry into the drawing giving BrokeLadyCyclists an opportunity to win cool stuff.  I won an awesome Bike Care package of goodies to clean and lube my bike with as well as a new tube.  This is the perfect prize for me.  I take care of my bikes and they take care of me!

This Past Weekend (June 9-10)

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This past week I worked a lot of hours but I did get a couple of rides in.  I skipped a recovery ride on Monday because I read in an article that a sign of overtraining is when the thought of putting on your riding kit makes you tired.  I was there, I was tired just thinking about dressing for a ride.  I’ve also started riding 4 days instead of 5 and I noticed I’m riding a lot better. I’m riding faster and I feel a lot less sore. 

Saturday’s ride was great.  It was very nice out, warm and sunny.  We were on roads I haven’t been on in a long time.  We had a great group of riders and I laughed a whole lot.  It was a fun yet challenging ride.  I had a nice massage later in the afternoon, which is very important for athletes to have.

Sunday’s ride was a very interesting ride.  It was a lot of fun.  We had a high attendance of ladies and, despite being sore, I rode strong.  My climbing is also improving.  I’m trying different techniques which are working for me.  I went up the same hill on both days and got PRs on both occasions.  Sunday’s PR was 11 seconds faster than Saturday’s.  I’m doing something right.  We had 4 flats and 1 minor mechanical issue.  We had to cut the ride short because of time constraints among the group.  Instead of doing 53 miles, we did 40.  A very funny police officer reprimanded us for an outdoor restroom stop during one of the flat tire changes.  It was a very memorable, funny ride.

I’m going to keep on keeping on.  I think I’ll try a faster ride in the next couple of weeks and see how I do.  At some point I should take an FTP test and see where I stand.  I had a great weekend and I’m looking forward to more great riding.

Healthy Living Fridays (vol 6)

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Hash Brown Cups

What you will need:

  • Peeled Potatoes (2)
  • Organic Turkey Sausage (about 3 large links or more if the links are smaller)
  • Eggs (4)
  • Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • Salt & Pepper

How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 425f.  Shred the potatoes with the fine shredding disc in the food processor or use the cheese grater.  Drain the moisture from the potatoes. 

Spray a muffin pan with non stick cooking spray.  Put the potatoes in the muffin pan shaping them to the cups.  Cook about 15-20 minutes until they’re a light golden brown. 

Cook the turkey sausage according to package instructions and cut them into small pieces.

Beat the eggs and add the salt and pepper.  Fill the cups about 3/4 with the eggs, turkey sausage, and sharp cheddar cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until the eggs are cooked thoroughly.  Let them cool for about 5 minutes before removing them from the pan.  Serve immediately.  Makes about 10-12 cups

The Mountains

 

 

 

There was an email circulating about a ride that starts in Goshen. I had been there once.  There was a lot of farmland and rolling hills. It was very pretty and I thought this ride would be similar but I was wrong.

We met in the morning in Goshen and had breakfast at the diner.  I ate a big meal to fuel the ride.  It was 76 miles with about 5,000 ft of elevation.  After breakfast, at the lot, the ride leader handed us all a cliff bar which was very sweet of him.

The first 35 miles were somewhat flat with no major hills.  The scenery was gorgeous.  There were lots of farms, ponds, and open spaces.  About 30 miles into the ride someone pointed to the mountains to our left and said that was where we were headed.  I asked if they were messing with me.  They assured me that they weren’t and that we were really going up that mountain.  I told them I couldn’t go up the mountain because I’m afraid of heights.  They assured me that it wasn’t at all scary.

We stopped to refill our bottles and eat the last minute gel before going up the mountain.  It was a four mile climb.  It was tough but doable. I kept my cadence and breathing as even as I could while riding my mentor’s wheel.  Towards the top there were a couple rollers and then we climbed a short distance to the top.  It was gorgeous! I made it!  The guys were pretty impressed because they knew I’d never climbed long distances before and I did well.  We took some pictures and then they announced that they were ready for the next mountain.  I asked if they were messing with me. They assured me they weren’t messing with me and that we were climbing a second mountain.

We rode into Ellenville and stopped to eat lunch at a bakery.  The choices were chicken salad or tuna. I chose the chicken salad on marble rye with a water and a cookie.  I also scarfed down a gel.  What made this bakery special was that we could bring our bikes in with us.  Our leader had made the arrangements beforehand.  I asked them what the second climb was like and they said it was pretty much like the first one.  It wasn’t….

Almost immediately after the lunch stop we started up the second climb.  It was straight up in the hot sun for four miles with no shade at all.  There were no flats or rollers, just climbing.  I had to stop towards the top under the premise of taking a picture but, really, I was cooked.  I stopped again for a few seconds at some point.  When we reached the top was where the shade was, go figure.  I enjoyed the way down as the wind from the descent dried some of my sweat.  

The rest of the ride was fairly hilly.  I made to to the end having ridden strong the whole way.  It was late afternoon at that point, we’d been out all day.  After we got changed, we went for ice cream at an old fashioned place in town.  One of the guys treated me because I did so well.  

Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I went on that ride the following year.  There  were only three of us.  I cramped up through half of that ride but finished and had the ice cream.  Last year I did my absolute best.  It was just the three of us again. I went up the second mountain in one shot, no stopping.  I had a killer average speed of 16mph for the whole ride.  Our hill climbing friend rode my wheel for half the ride which made me feel strong although I don’t think he was feeling well.  We were done by mid afternoon.

 Every time I go on this ride I wonder why I do this to myself.  I wonder if there’s something wrong with us. I wonder if I’ll do it again this season……..

The Ten Commandments

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I recently went into my parents attic looking for something I had in storage.  I didn’t find it but I came across an ancient scroll.  When I saw what it was I realized that I had a great responsibility to share the knowledge that the elders passed onto us. So here it is:

  1. Thou shall keep thy bicycle clean and lubed.
  2. Thou shall call out hazards in the road so that thou friends behindeth be fairly warned.
  3. Thou shall not wear thy undies with thy chamois.
  4. Thou shall inflate thy tires prior to each ride.
  5. Thou shall remain hydrated throughout thy ride.
  6. Thou shall not go hard on thy recovery ride.
  7. Thou shall look behind you before blowing thy snot rocket or hocking thy lugie so as to not hit the person behind you.
  8. Thou shall not half wheel the person in fronteth you.
  9. Thou shall not cheat on thy Strava segment.
  10. Thou shall not take the name of Eddie Merckx in vain.

There had to be a reason that I came across it so please don’t let this important message be written in vain.  Live by the wisdom of our elders and may all of your miles be merry and bright!

Lakeville CT

 

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The annual trip to Lakeville, CT was coming up and, although it was pretty cheap, I couldn’t afford it.  I really wanted to go because I heard it was super pretty. That trip is unique in that you can ride in three different states in one ride.  Lakeville, CT is in very close proximity to both New York and Massachusetts.   

It was also too late to request off from work, at that time I was on call on Sunday. I could’ve gone up for the day on Saturday but its two hours away so it would’ve been too much to drive two hours, ride for a few hours, and then drive back.

The Señor was going.  I convinced him to let me crash in his room on Friday night. I drove up from NY straight after work.  It was a nice room with a king sized bed.  We were both mature adults so it was cool.  I put the extra pillows down the middle of the bed and claimed the right side.  He agreed to the arrangement and we settled in for the night.  We went to the breakfast buffet the next morning (which I wasn’t paid up for) and used the courtesy computer afterwards to put the route in our Garmins.

The ride was beautiful and challenging.  Although it was very hilly, it was absolutely beautiful.  The small towns were adorable.  There were lots of rolling hills and open land.  The area was very historic looking.  We rolled through the pine barrens, which were gorgeous.  We ate at a little diner/bakery.  The food was very good.  With the water refill stops and the food stop, we were out all day.  We came back to the hotel in the mid afternoon and I was very tired.

I had to go to work the next morning.  The Señor saw how tired I was and invited me to stay the night and leave early in the morning to go to work.  He also knew I like the experience of being away with the group and the company over dinner.  I had another free meal and stayed the night.  I left very the next morning and went to work.

The following year I was doing better financially and was able to pay The Señor for my share of the room as well as stay the whole weekend.  That was also a very fun trip which I may tell you all about at some point in time……

 

This Past Weekend (June 2-3)

 

 

The weekend forecast was, again, unsettled.  I decided to take Lita out on Friday for a quick ride on the path just in case the weekend weather didn’t cooperate.  It was nice.  It wasn’t very windy but it was quite foggy.  I ended up with an average of 18.8mph which is my fastest solo on the path.  It was a nice way to spend an hour.

On Saturday I wasn’t really sure which ride to go on.  I didn’t want to go too hard because I was planning on doing a century on Sunday.  I also didn’t want to impose on faster riders that day.  Someone was very vague with me about a ride on social media recently and made me feel very unwelcomed.  I got to the lot and started sniffing around and the group I wanted to join made me feel very welcomed so I joined them. They’re always a pleasure to ride with.  It was very hot and humid so it was hard to ride but we all hung in there and had a great time.  During a flat change that turned into two, I looked down and there was a noticeable puddle of my sweat beneath me! Despite the elements, it was a great ride with great people and I’m glad I joined them.

Sunday was Bike Boat Bike.  I look forward to this event every year.  It usually has a kind of magic to it.  This ride was very different.  I made plans to ride with a group, the same group I rolled with last year.  Last year we all had a great time and rolled together until the last few miles.  This time they went out hard and I could barely hang on. I got my legs about me a few miles in and was good to go.  At a confusing junction my Garmin got confused and wasn’t functioning at all.  I needed to fix it and we were still miles from the ferry.  I called out that I was stopping and they just kept on going. I got to the ferry seconds too late and they were on their way.  I called a friend and he connected me to the group.  They agreed to wait.  When we reached the rest stop half of them were gone.  By then I was pretty mad that they didn’t stop to begin with and lost interest in being in their company.  I went ahead and got picked up by another group.  

I was growing weary so I decided not to do the full century.  Last year the food truck ran out of French fries and I wasn’t having any of that this time.  Shorty after the next rest stop I had a flat.  The guys I was with were nice enough to change it.  They were running short on time and needed to pick up the pace so we parted ways in a very classy way.  Shorty after that I had a rock stuck in my brake and a really nice guy paid the rock out with a twenty dollar bill!

I was on my own for about half of this ride.  I enjoy my own company but when I plan to ride with a group, it would be nice to ride as a group.  That group can even do sub groups based on ability.  I’ve noticed over the past year that these organized rides have people dropping ther friends like crazy.  I rode the Gran Fondo alone for many miles, as did many others.  If you say go ahead without me that’s very different.  On the Brands Annual ride, not only did I ride alone for many miles, but nobody asked me if I needed help with my flat.  The tire was new and I had a hard time getting it off.  Many groups passed me until friends of mine finally stopped, helped me, and then rode with me about 10 miles to the end.

I just want to remind everyone that sometimes things happen on the road and we need to accommodate for these situations.  Cyclists have always been courteous to each other and that’s always made me feel like the road is my second home.  We’ve always looked out for one another. Thats part of what makes me proud to be a cyclist.  Please don’t stop that age old tradition. 

As for the food truck, I had a delicious “pulled chicken” sandwich with my coveted French Fries which were a beautiful golden brown color.  I dipped those bad boys in the house hot sauce.  It was well earned and heavenly.