Healthy Living Fridays (vol 17)

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Raw Energy Balls

 

I had never thought to make my own riding snacks.  I always bought Cliff bars.  Lately I haven’t been eating on the bike, possibly because Cliff bars aren’t very appetizing or convenient to eat.  My friend, Affluent Lady Cyclist, showed me her balls and I immediately asked her for the recipe.  She also gave me permission to share it with all of you.

What you will need:

  • Organic Dates (1 cup)
  • Organic Whole Grain Rolled Oats (3/4 cup, I prefer the quick rolled oats)
  • Salt (a dash, I prefer pink Himalayan salt)
  • Organic Cacao or Cocoa Powder (4 tsp)

How to make it:

Put the rolled oats and cacao powder in the food processor and mix until its a powder.  Add the dates and the salt and mix everything until its a huge ball.  Take small amounts from that ball and roll them into smaller balls.  If you desire, roll your balls in dry ingredients like coconut or minced nuts for a nice coating.  They can be consumed immediately.  Put them in the freezer so they can become more firm.  When you remove them from the freezer, they don’t take much time to soften up.  Enjoy your balls as a snack or take them on the ride with you.  They hold up well in your jersey pocket. 

This Past Weekend (Labor Day Weekend)

 

 

This past week was good.  I’m making gains at the gym and feeling great.  I’m at the point where I’m looking forward to my gym workouts.  With the help of my friends, I found apps that I can search through different weight training exercises.   I’ve been mixing my routine up a bit and having fun trying different things.  I’ve been making gains on Zwift and I was advised to do an FTP test since it has clearly increased.  I plan to do that this week.  I was looking into the benefits of doing planks every day and I found a 5 minute planking workout. I was loosely thinking about it so I showed my friend, Affluent Lady Cyclist, and she said she would join me!  We are now 5 days in.  ALC has given me lots of useful tips over the past week.

On Saturday I decided to challenge myself and do the faster ride.  I surprised myself by hanging in there on the climb that I normally fall behind on.  It felt so nice to stay with the group.  I assumed that the group was going slow but, when I uploaded my stats, I saw that I had a PR there.  That means I climbed faster that I had when I was pushed up that hill.  I stayed with the group for more than half of the ride when I started to fall behind.  I eventually got dropped but my friend was nice enough to stay with me.  I really am lucky to have great friends.  There were a couple of mechanicals early on and some drama but it was a very nice ride despite all of that.  

On Sunday I led my wild ride to Centre Island.  My friend that stayed with me the day before came and pulled the group.  A lot of the people that I normally ride with went with the faster group.  The group just below mine had no leader so they came on my ride.  They complained about the pace and I was quick to tell them they came on my ride and would do it at that pace.  Then these guys tried to go in the bushes in a very affluent neighborhood known for their increased surveillance.  I had to tell them no while wagging my finger, as if they were dogs.  There was a bathroom about 2 miles up the road that we were going to stop at.  After the rest stop I got tired.  These guys, after sitting in the whole ride, took off and left me behind.  Those dirty dogs!  My men waited up for me and escorted me back to the shop.  At one point some random guys mingled in with us and wouldn’t let me in behind one of my guys.  I demanded to be let in.  It should be obvious, if we’re all wearing the same jersey, that I belong on that ride behind my guy.  I’m not sure why some cyclists have no class but it makes us all look bad.  Please be courteous when mixing in with other groups and give them their right of way.  

On a sad note, I learned of the passing of a fellow cyclist when I returned from the ride.  It wasn’t just any cyclist but the most supportive Strava friend I’ve ever had.  He was truly a great person and was loved by many.  After years of Strava friendship I had the pleasure of meeting him and he was just as enchanting in person as he was on my computer.  I’m not going into any details but his death was a tragedy that could have been prevented.  I can only pray that this never happens to anyone ever again.  RIP my friend, you really were one of a kind and will be missed by so many.  

On Monday, even though my legs were toast, I decided to race.  It wasn’t the best idea I ever had but it certainly wasn’t the worst.  I decided to go out there and get some more experience.  I will get stronger and, when I’m ready, I’d like to have enough races to upgrade.  I hung in for about half of a lap.  The wheel I was holding pulled off and I couldn’t catch the main group.  I was toast from the weekend rides and wasn’t putting out the power.  At one point I let out a primal scream that powered me up a little but not enough to get me anywhere.  My average normalized power was so low, even for a group ride.  It’s all a learning experience.  From now on I’m only going to attempt to race when my legs are fresh.  

Thank you to my friends who are always there for me and thank you all for reading!  I appreciate your support and, after the wedding, I will resume posting more regularly.  I hope you’re enjoying reading from the Archives tab on the sidebar.  Have a great week! 

 

This Past Weekend (8/25-8/26)

 

This past week was good.  I’ve really been enjoying living life by TSS values instead of feeling obligated to ride just because it’s nice out.  I don’t feel the perpetual soreness I felt last year.  I’ve truly been enjoying this entire season.

On Saturday I made the trip to Floyd Bennett Field and met up with my teammates for some racing.  It was an open field of cat 4/5 men and women combined.  As always I felt like throwing up and, as always, I didn’t.  We set our bikes up and did a warmup lap which I used to reacquaint myself with the course.  The officials had just arrived and set up while we were warming up.  After the warmup we got our #s and put them on.  I popped my special race gel (Cliff Shot w/ 100mg of caffeine).  We did another warmup lap after.  When we returned from that lap the national anthem was played and we would be lining up five minutes from then.  At the starting line my girl and I introduced ourselves to the only other women there, a very nice lady from further up north.  The officials went over the rules and shortly after that the first field was dispatched and we approached the line.  I positioned myself behind my teammates.  We were dispatched and as soon as I clipped in I stood to keep my position in the group.  The race started at a moderate pace and I hung in…… for a little more than a lap.  I dropped from the group at the second turn of the second lap. It was the tightest turn there but it wasn’t very sharp.  There was a bit of sand and gravel on the turn but I couldn’t nail it.  I was on my own.  Shortly after that I saw my teammate had dropped off but I couldn’t catch up to him.  I went as hard as I could but I did get lapped.  I tried to hang on but I dropped off on the same turn.  On what I thought was the second to last lap turned out to be the last and the race ended early.  The officials told me I was done.  I was the first to cross the finish line but was in last place.  I cheered everyone on as they came in.  Being that there were only three women there, I had my day in the sun on the podium.  My girl told me that however I made it there, I deserved to stand on that podium and that I did earn it.  I still long to truly earn it and will train hard to get there.  

On Sunday I decided to do the more moderate ride.  I really liked the group that showed up and I was slightly discouraged from doing the faster ride.  It was a very nice ride although it was annoying to stop at certain stop signs for fear of an expensive ticket.  At one point I was in the wrong gear for the hill after the stop sign and had trouble getting going.  At another climb that I would normally get dropped on, the group was taking it slow and I climbed with the rest of them.  It was nice to make it the whole way up the climb with the group.  I’ve noticed improvements in my climbing over the past few rides.  There were certain climbs that I always fell back on no matter what that I’ve been keeping up on.  I’m also noticing that I no longer feel like hell on earth when I climb and there are even some climbs that I look forward to doing to see how I’ve improved.  This is a very welcomed change.  After the ride I headed over to the park for the picnic that my old crew was having.  It was nice to see everyone and talk about all the fun we had back in the day.  Thanks for reading guys, I really appreciate your support!

After the race we were told that in the next couple of weeks, if enough ladies show up, we can have a separate field from the men.  I encourage all the ladies to come out and race.  Try it out.  It’s not about winning but about coming out and trying to see if you like it.  I hope to see more ladies racing so come on out and give it a go.

On The Waterfront

 

On a weekday holiday in October of 2014 I decided to go on an adventure through the city.  I had never been on any of the greenways in the city so I thought it might be fun.  I mapped a route that would take me on the greenways around the city and I put it in my Garmin.

It was a nice fall day, the perfect weather for riding.  I left my apartment in Fresh Meadows and I took the bike lanes and greenways through Forest Park, around Highland Park, and through Prospect Park before arriving at the Brooklyn Bridge.  I had always wanted to ride over the Brooklyn Bridge but that’s actually nearly impossible with all the foot traffic there.  I nearly missed the pedestrian entrance, I had to ask for directions and backtrack to find it.  

Once I crossed over the bridge I made my way to the Hudson River Greenway.  I rode along the water and took in the waterfront views.    Of course I stopped at the Little Red Lighthouse.  I’ve always enjoyed stories about the “little guy” persevering.  Our city has lots of interesting history and, if you look around, you can learn a lot.

From there I took the bike lanes and hooked up to the Harlem River Greenway which led to the FDR Greenway for more scenic waterfront views.  I crossed over a tiny pedestrian bridge into Randalls Island.  Randalls Island was very pretty.  It’s a nice little getaway from the city with it’s green grass and small rolling hills.  Shortly after that was when my scenic ride turned scary.

I got on the pedestrian path of the RFK Bridge.  I was scared out of my mind.  There were small sections of the path that had ramps to walk the bike down a level, but, other than that I rode across.  At one point I even said I was scared aloud although there was nobody there to hear me.  That bridge seemed to have gone on forever.  I was overjoyed when I reached the other side.

I started on the bike lanes in Long Island City and took them all the way into Corona.  Once in Corona I went through Flushing Meadow Park, around Meadow Lake, and hooked up to the bike lanes that I started on that would bring me back home.

The ride was 55 miles but it took all day with all the stoplights and slow riding.  I was out for six hours.  Although it took all day it was nice to get out and do something out of the ordinary.  I’ve been meaning to do it again just because it’s a fun and scenic ride but I never did.

The Slow Approach

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It’s a really nice day for a ride.  The weather is breezy, warm, and dry.  I’m going along with the flow, I could care less where we go.  We’ve made the turn towards the hill, I’m looking forward to testing my skills.  I’m quite surprised by how I feel, I no longer cower in fear.  Is this what it’s like to feel strong? I feel like nothing could go wrong.  I don’t remember it ever being like this, every part of the ride spent in bliss.  We are slowly approaching the base, this time I will not speed up to it in haste.  If I get dropped it will be alright, I won’t give up without a fight.  We’re on our way up and I’m still right there, I’m quickly breathing in the warm and dry air.  Here it is, I see the top, and somehow I managed not to get dropped.  I’m simply ecstatic that I hung in, I feel inside like I had a win.  Improving my climbing skills will give me some grit, I look forward to each new summit.

This Past Weekend (8/18-8/19)

 

 

This past week was good.  I did my first group ride on Zwift.  It was, surprisingly, a lot of fun.  I’m looking forward to trying some Zwift races as well.  I tried a Zwift race back in 2016 and I was quickly discouraged from virtual racing.  I was dropped as soon as the race started.  I didn’t realize that I should’ve got up to speed before the start of the race.  To be fair the first lap was called a warmup lap.  I was also on my old trainer, my new trainer has a completely different feel.  It’s also very responsive and way more accurate.  I’m willing to try it again and see how long I can hang in.

The weekend weather was looking iffy but Saturday had no rain predicted until the afternoon.  The roads were wet and it was very humid but rideable.  There was no assigned route but a couple of the guys from my group said that they would lead a ride.  For such an iffy day we had a nice sized group.  Everyone that showed up were people that I enjoy riding with.  The ride was very nice.  We went down roads that we don’t normally ride on.  It was nice to mix things up.  I surprised myself when I stayed with the group, even through my normal drop spots.  I felt really good and strong.  One of the guys I haven’t seen in a while made it a point to mention how strong I’ve become and how I look more muscular but in a feminine way.  That really made my day, that and the QOM I managed to snag! 

The weather for Sunday was also iffy but, again, there was no rain predicted until the afternoon.  There were periods of light drizzle but the roads were much drier than Saturday.  There was no ride posted and one of the group rides were cancelled but there were people that wanted to ride so I took my chances to see if anyone was at the lot.  Slowly but surely people trickled to the lot to form another decent sized group and, once again, it was all people that I enjoy riding with.  I had another strong day of riding.  I did get dropped in a couple of places but I was never very far behind, except for when I got stuck at a stoplight.  The group was nice enough to wait up for me.  I got some more good pointers and one of the guys was nice enough to explain something in a way that made sense to me.  It put things in a new perspective and I’m going to make a conscious effort to follow his advice.  I know I always say it, but I’m really lucky to ride with the people that I do.  They’re very helpful, supportive, and encouraging.  The cycling community itself is based on looking out for one another and I’m so happy that I became a cyclist and surround myself with such positivity.  

Speaking of positive things in my life…… In less than one month Cheap Accountant and I are getting married!  I have to devote some time and energy on planning the wedding.  I will do my best to keep up with my writing but I may do so more sporadically than regularly until after the wedding and honeymoon.  Please take some time to catch up with my older posts in the newly installed Archives tab on the sidebar.  Thank you for  your understanding and patience during this positive transition in my life.  I appreciate you all taking the time out to read and support me!

Healthy Living Fridays (vol 16)

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Puerto Rican “Rice” & Beans

 

What you will need: 

  • Pidgeon Peas 
  • Cauliflower
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Garlic (crushed)
  • Organic Tomato Sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Onion Powder
  • Salt & Pepper

How to make it:

Rice the cauliflower in a blender or food processor with the cilantro.  Preheat a frying pan over med/high heat.  Add the olive oil and stir in the riced cauliflower/cilantro mix.  Add a few spoons of the tomato sauce and stir it in until it looks orange.  Add a few spoons of the pigeon peas and then also add the garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper.  Cook over medium/high heat stirring occasionally until it turns a brown color and its slightly golden from frying.  When it looks and smells like rice and beans, remove it from the heat and serve immediately.  Prep time is about 5-10 minutes, cooking time is about 10 minutes.

The Bear

 

I’ve only been up Bear Mountain about three times but the first time was tough.  A few guys from the club were going so I decided to join them.  I had been up the more challenging mountains upstate so I knew it would be ok to do this ride.

It was an unseasonably cool fall morning.  The air was very crisp and cold.  We met up in Nyack for the hilly 66 mile ride.  The climbs before and after the mountain would be more challenging than the mountain itself.  

We started the ride and were making our way out of town and we got to the first hill.  I took the hill hard to warm up as I always did.  I breathed the air a bit too deep and it choked me.  I started coughing and wouldn’t stop. I had to pull over.  I was a mess.  I was blowing snot in the street, spitting, and coughing.  I rode in with someone else so going back wasn’t much of an option. A couple of the guys hung out with me until I regained my composure.  They asked me if I was ready to continue so I rode on.  We dialed back the pace a bit until we were sure I was ok.  

We went up hill after hill until we were finally at the base of the mountain.  The climb really wasn’t bad.   I kept an even cadence and pace.  When we reached the corkscrew of the climb my ass was on fire and I couldn’t wait to get out of the saddle and stretch a bit.  I finally made it up the damn thing and was greeted with a beautiful view.  I took a few pics and then a few group pics.  The colorful leaves made the view a breathtaking one.  Once we were all done with taking the pics and stretching out we continued on our ride.

After the mountain we were about halfway done with our ride. We went up more hills before we stopped for lunch a few miles after the mountain.  We had a very ghetto lunch experience at the pizza restaurant/deli.  There weren’t any tables so we ate our lunch using a dumpster as a table.  I know I’m broke but that was the most ghetto meal I’ve ever eaten.  

After lunch we rode up more hills, some very challenging. That had to be the longest ride.  We were out all day and took a few breaks besides the lunch break.  You can probably understand how enthusiastically I counted down the miles to the end of the ride.  I looked forward to changing out of my riding clothing and into something warm and dry.  I longed for my hard earned protein shake.  It was absolutely heavenly.  The guys all congratulated me for finishing the ride under my circumstances.  They all agreed I did very well.  It felt really good to compete that challenging ride under any circumstances.  

It was evening when I finally made it home.  I enjoyed a nice evening in and even watched a bit of TV.  The other times I went up the bear were also eventful for different reasons.  We had a great time but there was always something going on.  You never knew how it was gonna go with the group I used to roll with.  I haven’t been up the bear since 2016.  I’ve been meaning to go but I just haven’t.  Maybe one day soon………

The Key

 

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I’m having a great time whether it be inside or out.  Who knew that fitness could be such a blast.  

It used to resemble a prison like sentence.  Now I look forward to each form of fitness.  

I love being social but solo workouts have their appeal.  Mixing it up is the ideal.  

If there were more time in a day I’d be quite ripped.  Instead of crying my woes I make use of every single minute.  

If time is a luxury not to be had I’ll figure it out so I don’t feel bad.  

Exercise is the key to an amazing life, although, sometimes it can feel like being sliced by a knife.  

The body has an expiration date and fitness is the only preservative that will prevent it’s early decay.

In the long run being on a healthy journey can keep your sweet ass off of a gurney.  

Zwift

 

In the summer of 2016 I followed these guys on Strava who were playing video games early in the morning.  They had these cool avatars cycling in a virtual world.  It looked really cool.  I was cycling outside at the time so I didn’t think much of it other than that it looked cool.  Until the days started getting shorter…….

In late August I started working late and not being able to chase daylight.  I was burnt out of spin and was looking for a great way to stay motivated.  I looked into Zwift.  It seemed really cool.  There were levels to unlock with virtual prizes.  There were races and workouts.  There was basically something for everyone.  Then there was the social aspect.  At any time of the day there were people to ride with from all over the world.  My personal favorite is giving people the “Ride On”.

I looked into the requirements.  For the most immersive experience, it required a smart trainer.  These ran between $500-$1500.  I didn’t have it.  I also didn’t want to pour money into something I may not even like.  I read reviews on the best entry level smart trainers and found a Tacx Vortex on eBay for $450.  I had my computer hooked up to my 46″ TV in the living room of my 1BR apartment and I set my Zwift station up next to the couch.

I fell in love with Zwift.  It’s a fun and challenging way to stay in shape.  I’ve since tried other smart trainer programs but Zwift is my favorite.  I know I wrote about Trainerroad and it’s a great program, but I absolutely love Zwift.  If you’re thinking about Zwift and don’t yet have a smart trainer, try one out to see if you like it.  Most bike shops have it set up for you to demo and they really don’t mind if you spend an hour on it.

Ride on my friends!  I hope to see you all personally as well as virtually…..