Port Jeff

 

 

 

Every year since 2015 I lead a ride to Port Jefferson. In 2015  it was a mostly flat remote start ride.  We stopped in Port Jeff for a pic and ate in Kings Park.  One of the guys requested to have lunch in Port Jeff when I announced I would do it again.  In 2016 I decided to get creative and added a second starting location as well as a few extra hills.  The first starting location made it an 85 mile ride, those starting from the second (original) location would have a 66 mile ride. 

Prior to doing the ride I sent emails asking who would be there and where they were starting from to see if this was something people were interested in trying.  I had a large response from people opting to do the longer ride and a small amount of people opting for the shorter ride.  We also picked up a couple of people at the lot that didn’t have a ride to go on, their group was at an away ride.

Although the second starting location was 9 miles from the first, I planned it so that we had 45 minutes to get there.  In the first 6 miles someone got a flat.  The guys asked me to call the second lot but I let them know we made time for that.  We got to the second lot exactly on time.

It was a very nice and scenic ride.  The guy that knows all of the roads suggested we avoid a sketchy intersection but, other than that, it was the same route as the previous year.  We stopped in Port Jeff for lunch.  I didn’t buy anything to eat as I was accustomed to carrying a power sandwich in my pocket consisting of PB, Nutella, & banana on organic multigrain bread.  I did get something to drink….. Port Jeff has a brewery that has amazing beer.  I had a Blast IPA.  I didn’t finish it as I had a ride to lead.

After that beer I was in less of a disciplinary mood but the guys were all very well behaved.  I called the turns calmly and we had a nice time.  We stopped to refill our bottles in Kings Park as planned.  On the last major climb one of the guys started to cramp. He barely made it up that hill.  We were less that a mile from the second lot.  He started from the first lot with me.  I arranged for him to get a ride back to the lot from one of the guys on the ride.  The guy that took him back is a really nice guy that sometimes comes across all wrong.  I always told people what a nice guy he is and that day they all saw what I saw.

After that some of the guys started dropping back.  We all knew our way back from there so we kept moving and trickled back to the lot.  When we got back to the lot we only had three people in the main group.  It was me, the only other woman on the ride, and the human navigator.  He said he was the only man strong enough to ride with the women and he was right.

Our friend was waiting for us back at the lot.  He looked defeated so I took a few minutes to speak with him.  I let him in on my little secret. I eat protein, fat, sugar, and carbs for breakfast.  During the ride I eat a half of a cliff bar every hour and keep Cytomax in my bottles.  Proper nutrition during the ride will provide the necessary fuel to make it to the end.

Lately I haven’t been following my own advice about nutrition.  It’s not because I’m trying to lose weight or any logical reason.  I just don’t feel like stuffing my pockets anymore.  I know all of the benefits of fueling my ride but I just don’t feel like it.  I carry gels and blocks but that’s about it.  I don’t even eat them half of the time.  Perhaps now that I’ve admitted it I can take the steps to remedy my shortcomings and practice proper ride nutrition.

This Past Weekend (July 14-15)

 

 

On Friday I started feeling better so I went to the gym before work.  After work I wanted to ride but I was advised against anything strenuous.  My sweetie and I decided to go for a ride.  I wanted to teach him shifting for a while but he wasn’t ready to learn.  This time he asked me how… in not so many words.  I showed him the levers on his right side.  He tried using them but got confused as to which levers made the resistance easier and harder.  That’s when I told him his thumb is up the hill, his finger is down.  That clicked.  Prior to this ride his longest was 12 miles.  I offered him options on shorter distances but he decided to do the full path with me, 17 miles.  We took a break at the turn around point.  We took another break when we were stopped at the drawbridge.  We chatted with people that were also stuck there, it was a lot of fun.  After the bridge he was in the lead and was going faster and shifting gears.  I didn’t say anything.  I rode behind him and let him focus and do his thing.  I’m always surprised by the end of our rides at the progress he’s making in a short period of time.

On Saturday I was feeling good but not completely better.  I decided to do the more moderate group ride.  One of the more experienced race team members led the ride and introduced us to the rotating paceline.  I had seen this in a clip on FB so I was interested in trying it.  It was good because it was a collective group effort rather than one person doing all of the pulling.  I’m riding stronger, making gains, and keeping it together in some of the places I used to fall apart.

After the ride I had my monthly massage.  I would love to do it more often but I can’t afford it.  I was so tense from this past week that my therapist made use of the full session instead of adding in the time to get ready.  Out of respect for the favor, I got ready quickly so the next person wouldn’t be delayed any further.  I feel a lot better.

After the massage my sweetie took me on a nice walk at the Norman J. Levy Park & Preserve.  I had never been there and he really wanted to take me there as he knew I would love it.  I was so excited that I used the Strava app and logged the activity.  We walked 2.6 miles.  The views were amazing.  There were farm animals there and the chicken coop had great music.  I really enjoy staying active.  I never really cared for walking before but I really enjoy walking through nature.

On Sunday I woke up and heard the sound of rain.  It was supposed to end early in the morning but it rained until mid morning.  I wasn’t in the mood to ride on wet roads and even less in the mood to clean my bike.  I had plans in the afternoon so I made the most of my time by doing wind training on the bike path.  A friend met me there.  I explained that I was doing wind training so he didn’t pull me unless I asked but I didn’t ask.  The path was dry.  The headwind was going at 20mph.  I did well though.  I used as much power as I could while keeping my cadence even.  I wound up with an average of 18.1mph over 21 miles.

It was a great weekend.  I feel much better from crashing last week and being sick.  I feel confident that I can resume normal training this week.  I learned new things and saw new places this weekend.  I enjoyed spending time with my friends and my sweetheart.  I surround myself with great people and I’m really enjoying life.

Healthy Living Fridays (vol 11)

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Whole Wheat Penne In Cream Sauce With Sausage & Broccoli

 

What you will need:

  • Organic Italian Chicken Sausage (2 links)
  • Organic Broccoli Florets (about 1/2 cup)
  • Whole Wheat Penne (2 cups uncooked)
  • 98% Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup (10.5oz can)
  • Tomato Sauce (8oz can)
  • Garlic (2 cloves, crushed)
  • Salt
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Parmesan Cheese

How to make it:

Cut the chicken sausage into small pieces and brown them in a frying pan over medium/high heat.

In a medium sauce pan combine the soup, tomato sauce, crushed garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer while stirring occasionally.

Boil the pasta until it’s al dente.  Drain the water and return the pasta to the pan.  Add the cream sauce, sausage, and broccoli and cook for about 5 minutes over low/medium heat. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over it and serve immediately.  Makes two servings.  Prep time is about 5-10 minutes, cook time is about 15-20 minutes.

I Don’t Feel Well

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I think I have some kind of weird summer bug.  I woke up yesterday to go to the gym but I reset my alarm and slept another hour instead.  I thought I was jut tired but no, I’m sick.  I used to push myself to ride when I was sick under the premise that it would make me feel better but it never really did.  I would just succeed in making myself more tired and wear my muscles out more.  These days I listen to what my body is telling me and just rest up.  As soon as I’m up to it, I’ll start working out and riding.  Until I’m well again I’m going to treat myself to something I never do, watch TV.  Listen to your body.  Rest if you need to rest. Workout only if your truly up to it.  It’s perfectly ok and you won’t lose your fitness if you rest for a few days, it may even make you stronger! 

Come Together

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It’s all starting to come together.  All the early morning workouts, every time I chased daylight.  All the times I got dropped, every time I made it to the end.  All the flat roads, each tough climb.  All the core workouts.  Every single squat.  All the sweat I poured on the trainer.  Each and every time I pushed myself and didn’t break.  Every pep talk.  All the times I didn’t give up. Every time I begged my body to go a little further.  All the times I tried and failed.  Every time I succeeded.  All the pounds I lost.  Every new muscle I gained.  I’m not yet where I want to be but I’ll get there with certainty.  I promise myself that when my goal is reached, I won’t sit still and continue to dream.

 

A Brief Lesson

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It’s never too late to learn a valuable lesson. Today I wanted to take the time to talk about good sportsmanship.  Not long ago I went to a sporting event, a bike race.  I went to cheer a friend on.  When I first got there I was only cheering for the people I knew while everyone else was cheering on all of the participants.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was being silly.  

What I came to realize was that all of the participants deserve my respect.  They worked long and hard to get to where they are.  They made the same advances and sacrifices that my friends had made to get there.  I cheer for everyone.  My friends may get the loudest and most vibrant cheers but everyone gets the respect they deserve from me.

Same thing goes during a race.  These women are not my opponents.  I’m happy for each and every one of them.  Yes, I’d love to win, but I’m happy for the winner even if it’s not me.  When I got passed during the time trial, I cheered her on.  I was truly happy for her.  It sucked that I got passed but she worked her ass off to get there.

I went to a high school basketball game.  The other parents looked at me funny because I clapped for every basket.  I was surprised that they weren’t as enthusiastic.  It was a sporting event.  I cheered loud for my team and clapped politely for the other players.  These young men had done nothing wrong, they simply belonged to the opposing team.  All those young men worked very hard and deserved to be cheered on.  

Take the time to appreciate the work that each individual put in to get where they are.  Be happy for them as if it were your own accomplishment.  Cheer them on like you would want them to cheer you on.  Be a true sportsman.

This Past Weekend (July 7-8)

 

This past Thursday my sweetie came out on the hybrid with me.  We went to the Bethpage Park bike path and had a great ride.  We saw so many bunnies.  The path had a couple hills and descents, which he’s never done before.  He did very well once he got more comfortable with the terrain. Our rides together are few and far between and I appreciate each one.

On Saturday I went on the hilly ride with the faster group.  The weather was perfect for riding, a bit breezy with temps in the 70s.  Everyone that attended the ride were all people I enjoy riding with.  There was much time for socializing as there were 3 flats on this ride.  I was on the shoulder of an uneven road that was in the shade.  I was trying to make my way off of the shoulder because it wasn’t very good.  I misjudged a crack in the road, took it all wrong, and went down.  I slid across the road seemingly in slow motion.  I lost feeling where I had impact, my knee and my shoulder.  I didn’t hit my head and I was fully coherent but shocked.  I stayed in the road while everyone surrounded me so I wouldn’t get hit until I regained feeling in my leg.  The guys checked my bike and it was in perfect working order.  The carbon frame wasn’t affected at all. As soon as I could manage standing, the guys helped me up.  I sat on the curb until I got the feeling back in my knee.  The guys checked my shoulder and it was fine.  Aside from road rash I was unharmed.  My wrist was sore and swollen from impact but had full mobility.  I got back on the bike as soon as I was ready and we continued on.  We had about 36 more miles out of 61.  The rest of the ride was hilly but I felt better when I was climbing, I’m guessing because I was putting pressure on my wounds.  It wasn’t a fast ride but we all had a good time despite all the flats and the minor accident.  

My sweetie was so worried when I didn’t get back from the ride.  He knew something had to be wrong because we were out so late. He came out to greet me when I got home.  I was still in the car when he asked me about the ride and noticed my knee right away.  I wasn’t going to mention it.  I didn’t expect him to notice it so quickly.  He helped me inside and then helped me clean my wounds after my shower.

After I got cleaned up we went to the annual family BBQ which I haven’t attended in years and ate so much good food.  I was planning to drink a lot to drown my sorrows but, after nursing two drinks, all I wanted was water.  I had a great time hanging out with family that I haven’t seen in a while. They were very interested in hearing about all the riding I’ve been doing and hearing about what my life is like on the bike.  We spoke about many other things as well.

On Sunday I felt good so I went on the more moderate paced group ride.  About half the group was on the same ride I did on Saturday.  We all were tired from the day before and some of us weren’t sure why.  The ride was good and we went on a challenging hill that I’ve never done before, one that I was afraid of.  I’m glad I finally did it.  It was steep but fairly short.  I want to try it again with fresh legs to see how I do.  

We went to the mall later in the day after relaxing a bit.  I hurt more when I’m resting and walking.  When I’m riding is the only time I’m not in pain.  We looked in a few stores.  I treated myself to some panties at the Victoria’s Secret to make myself feel better from falling off of my bike.  That always makes me feel better.

I’m so lucky to have so many positive people in my life.  The guys took great care of me and my bike when I fell and checked in on me to make sure I was alright.  My sweetie was there to help me after and continues to help me with everything I could possibly need. Life is pretty damn good. 

Healthy Living Fridays (vol 10)

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Whole Wheat White Veggie Pita Pizza

 

What you will need:

  • Whole Wheat Pita
  • Ricotta Cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • Garlic Clove (1, crushed)
  • Shredded Italian Cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  • Sliced Mushrooms
  • Broccoli Florets 
  • Salt & Pepper

How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 350f.  Mix the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic together.  Spread the mixture over the pita leaving a small amount uncovered at the ends  to make a crust.  Add the broccoli florets spaced apart somewhat evenly.  Cover the ricotta and broccoli with the Italian cheese blend.  Place the mushrooms on top spreading them out somewhat evenly.  Bake on a piece of foil or a cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 2-3 minutes before slicing and serving.  Makes one serving.  Prep time is about 5-10 minutes, cook time is about 10-15 minutes.

Please feel free to use any toppings that you like.  That’s just what I had in the fridge.  Put any toppings that you don’t want to dry out under the cheese.  Put any toppings that you want to get crispy over the cheese.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Independence Day 2018

 

 

 

Happy Independence Day everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Thank you so much for reading, I appreciate your support.  Every year I look forward to the annual holiday ride, everyone does.  Some people go all out with the USA jerseys and American flag socks.  It’s nice to be festive and the holiday ride has a nice magic to it.  

Prior to the ride I was a little concerned about riding with a faster group after Sunday.  I knew it would be hot and humid.  I don’t perform well in extreme weather conditions.  I was assured I would be fine on the holiday paced ride this year.  Last year we rode at a very spirited pace but the weather conditions were more agreeable.  

When I got to the lot there were a few people there and the excitement was already in the air.  More and more people came to the lot.  The group was so large we had to split into two groups.  Even with the split our group had about 30 people.  It was a great ride.  It was hilly but there were many chances to regroup.  It was so much fun and everyone had a great time.  Everyone that attended are all people that I enjoy riding with.  I stayed hydrated and had no issues.  Despite the weather I even had PRs and top 10s! 

After the ride we enjoyed a nice afternoon with family.  The holidays are all about spending time with your loved ones and I’m hoping everyone got to spend time with family and friends.  We even did some preparations for the wedding.  I had a nice nap while everyone watched a classic movie together.

When we returned home our neighbors, who are friends of ours, were having a cookout.   The humidity had broke so being outdoors was, once again, enjoyable.  There was so much good food so we ate…. again.  Every year our neighborhood goes all out with their fireworks show.  This year there were a few houses lighting up the sky.  At times there were three houses that immediately surround us going off at once.  It was quite the show.  

The whole day was amazing.  The entire day was spent with great people and everyone had a wonderful time.  I’m truly lucky to be an American and to be able to enjoy a day off to spend it doing everything that I love about being an American.  My parents made great sacrifices so that their children could have a better life and I’m glad that they wound up here, in this country, in New York.  I love the life I have here and the friends I’ve made.  I may not be monetarily rich but I’m rich with love and am very grateful for that.  

 

Brooklyn

 

 

 

Back before the Garmin I used a simple app to map routes.  I didn’t get turn by turn directions but I was able to follow along and look at my phone when I needed help navigating.  

I left my place in Fresh Meadows around 11:00am on a Sunday in the summer of 2014.  Using the bike lanes and greenways I made my way past Flushing Meadow Park, Through Forest Park, Past Highland Park, and through Prospect Park before making my way to the greenway that runs along the Belt Parkway by the water.  It was very pretty.  About half the ride was along that greenway.  It broke up and resumed in a few places but, for the most part, it ran continuously along the water.  I had to look at the map on my phone a lot between Prospect Park and the greenway but I found my way.

I rode miles along the waterfront and it was so nice.  It was a hot day but it was cooler by the water.  There were benches for people to sit on and it was nice and wide so everyone could take advantage of the path.  When that stretch ended I rode on the bike lanes in the streets of Brooklyn.  I passed a guy riding a hybrid.  He caught up to me and was chatting me up.  I rode faster than he did so he couldn’t keep up with me long enough to say much and I wasn’t very interested in his company.  At a stoplight he caught up to me and forgot to unclip. He fell right on me but I was able to stay upright.  He was embarrassed and that was the last I saw of him.  I was confused as to why a guy with a hybrid bike wearing non cycling specific clothing would want clipless pedals but who am I to judge? 

The path resumed behind a cheap hotel by the beach.  Remember that story I told you about how I fell on that guy in the sand? It was right there. That stretch went on for miles.  Eventually I came upon a confusing junction.  I stayed to the right and went over a small pedestrian bridge.  I believe I was in the Rockaways.  I wasn’t sure how I got there and my phone was about to die.  I stopped and asked a guy on a retro road bike with cool leopard bar tape for directions.  He was nice enough to lead me back.  I was about to say goodbye when he requested a kiss for payment.  He was cute and had a nice smile so I gave him a peck.  

A few miles later the greenway came to an end and I made my way up Woodhaven Boulevard back to Forest Park.  From there I took the bike lanes back home.  It was a very fun first adventure that went on for about 55 miles and had me back home by late afternoon.  Every time I see that jersey in my closet, old and discolored from sweat, I think of that adventure when it was vibrant and new.  I went on many adventures after that, including riding through the city, which I will tell you about soon enough.  

I have learned so much by exploring different places and talking to different people.  Sometimes getting lost can be fun.  I’ve met so many interesting people and learned so much about different lifestyles by striking up conversations when I stop to ask for directions.  Go out, get lost, and have a good time!