Sunday, March 30, 2008

Trying to get back to an exercise routine

Okay, this winter has got to stop! My plan was to be enjoying the longer days by getting in some rides outside by this time. Spin classes were on hiatus for 2 weeks due to Spring Break, Easter holiday, indoor track meets etc. They resume this week but I will be working in the big city of Sioux Falls for the next few weeks starting on Tuesday.

I was hoping to sign up for the Outdoor Boot Camp that starts later in April but that filled right away and there is a long waiting list.

This means I must motivate myself to get in some good training, after all, the Bunyan’s to Bob’s Ride is right around the corner!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What do you read while on the trainer?

On our way to the Bicycle Summit meeting in Chamberlain a few weeks back, we were all talking about how miles and time put on the trainer this winter. Jack had an interesting method of measuring his training; he goes by the number of books read while on the trainer since he doesn’t have a computer on his bike while on the trainer.
Since we seem to be permanently stuck in winter and the bike is still on the trainer, I need to find more and more creative ways to entice myself to go to my basement and ride the bike. After having watched all of the 6th and final season of Northern Exposure on DVD (that gives me a ~45 minute workout), I decided to try Jack’s method and do some reading on the trainer.
I believe I had a good workout, racking up some base miles, while keeping my heart rate in a decent range. And since I was towards the end of the book and wanted to finish, I rode longer than I normally would (1 hour) and the time went fairly fast!
If you’re looking for a good book, I would recommend Water for Elephants, it was an excellent read!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Watch out for me little doggies

For those who know me this is no surprise; I have a fear of dogs when I’m riding bike. Although I love dogs and have had several over my life time, I still don’t trust anyone else’s dog.

My justification for being paranoid:

  • I put 2,700 + miles on my road bike a year. I’m guessing I ride about half of those miles solo. I feel more secure carrying some type of self defense product.

  • We’ve had mountain lion sightings in our area and I think I caught a glimpse of one two summers ago. I doubt if mountain lions like pepper spray any better than dogs.

  • I feel I’m protecting the dog from some day being run over by a car/truck by teaching them that it is not a good idea for them to be on the road.

Various pepper sprays I have used:

  • Bear spray – I purchased my first can of “dog spray” at Cabella’s. When I described to the salesman what I needed, he suggested a pistol. Not what I had in mind, so he sold me a giant canister of bear spray. It was awesome; it would shoot a stream out several feet, I felt like I was packing some real heat.

  • Halt dog spray – I switched to Halt because it was hard to get the bear spray where I live and because of the teasing I had to endure about the bear spray. I wasn’t as happy with the Halt, the mist versus the stream of spray made me a little nervous, especially if the wind was behind me when I used it. And it just seemed wimpy compared to the bear spray.

  • Fox pepper spray – Recommended on the Crazy Guy on a Bike Touring forum. This shoots s out in a stream and is the hottest pepper spray sold by law. I clicked on the link in the forum and went directly to the website and ordered.

Will my name now appear on a list as a risk to national security?
Received the Fox pepper spray very promptly, happy with the service. However, the catalog that accompanied my order makes me wonder about what type of people order from this company. The products range from corny James Bond like products (pepper spray hidden in a ring) to lock picking kits, scary looking knives and videos on “how to get even.” If I get hauled away from the FBI/CIA it’s all because I ordered my spring supply of dog spray from this J&L Self Defense Company!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finally a date to have my twin (lipoma) removed!

From the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” remember this scene?

Aunt Voula: [to Ian's parents] Now, you are family. Okay. All my life, I had a lump at the back of my neck, right here. Always, a lump. Then it got bigger and started to grow. So I go to the doctor, and he did the bio... the b... the... the bios... the... b... the "bobopsy." Inside the lump he found teeth and a spinal cord. Yes. Inside the lump was my twin.

Just like Aunt Voula I’ve had this lump on the back of my neck practically my whole life; since 1978! I remember how alarmed I was to find it and of course thought the worst immediately. Being a nursing student at the time, I thought for sure I had a new form of a brain tumor or some other rare and deadly condition. It’s actually a common lipoma or “fatty tumor;” not a brain tumor, not my twin.

It’s has grown quite large and it is finally coming out – yeah! The surgery, requiring a general anesthesia because of the size, has been approved by the insurance company and the date is set for March 19th.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


My oldest daughter and I plan to ride RAGBRAI this year. We are signed up with the ShuttleGuy group. This is the only way to camp!

Why are we doing RAGBRAI? Many have advised us not to. But when you talk with people and they find out you ride bike, the first question always seems to be "so have you done RAGBRAI?" I need to experience the RAGBRAI craziness at least once!

And I'm so lucky that my daughter will ride with me (and she is lucky her old Mom pays for the luxury camping service, complete with sauna showers). Plus I think she feels she owes me, afterall, she planned her wedding for June 14th which means I'm only riding the first couple of days of Tour deKota this year. Can't believe my baby is getting married!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Late Recap of the Weekend

Reading other’s blog can be such a comfort, knowing that even though we’ve never met we share common experiences. Thanks to Snakebite for sharing his frustration……I am wondering if this is the same person who tried to put a black cloud over my weekend. Love the picture……it is perfect for the situation.
I really did have a wonderful weekend that involved good food with good friends and spending time with my youngest daughter attending the same play as Tez. It is a small world after all.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Trading in a horse saddle for a bike saddle

My Dad had a dream of seeing me be a great equestrian, or at the least maybe participating in local rodeos. Unfortunately I didn’t love horseback riding the way my Dad and brother did. I loved my horse, Lightening, but more as a pet. Lightening was the colt of my brother’s horse and it was hard to separate the two. So when my brother was goofing off racing his horse with a friend, my horse decided we needed to join in the race too (she was named Lightening for a good reason). I hung on for dear life as my horse took the “short cut” through the gulley and over the creek and through the woods. That incident and others where my life flashed before my eyes made me quite guarded when I was in the saddle.

Nonetheless I was devastated when Lightening was struck and killed by lightening. Sadly her name turned out to be her prophecy.

And this is how it came about that I got my first new bike….a John Deere ten-speed men’s racing bike. With part of the insurance claim my Dad took me to the John Deere implement dealer in Irene and I got my bike! I’m sure my Dad thought anything with the John Deere name on it had to be high quality and at the time I thought it was the best bike ever made. The year was 1971 and I had that bike for probably 20 years but with marriage, work, raising a family, somehow my husband and I lost track of the bike.

Since I started riding bike again I have said so many times….I wonder what ever happened to my John Deere bike?

Then this past August my husband surprised me with a John Deere bike exactly like the one I had growing up. He found it on EBay and probably paid too much (seeing John Deere goofed up and put their name on a not-so-good bike made in Taiwan, probably why they sold them only for 2-3 years in the early 70’s), but it is one of my favorite gifts I have ever received. It brings back a lot of great memories and it is an example of what a great guy my hubby is.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thoughts on the Bike Summit

It’s been a few days since the Bicycle Summit held last Saturday (Mar. 1) and I’m still processing all the information presented. The number one take home point for me was that advocating for cycling starts by getting the current generation on bikes and ensuring they are safe through programs like Safe Routes to School. After all there is a percentage of the population in South Dakota, luckily a small percentage, who would rather see a middle-age spandex-clad cyclist as road kill than to give him/her 3 feet of space when passing. They could care less about us, but I don’t know who would deny kids the opportunity to experience the joys of riding bike and to be able to do so safely without fear of being run down.

What I heard Gary Sjoquist, Director of Advocacy For Quality Bicycle Products, say was that adults who cycle today most likely do so in part because of their fond nostalgic memories of riding bike when they were a kid. I was surprised to hear that statistics indicate a sharp decline in the number of kids riding bike. At the same time childhood obesity rates have increased. While it would be dangerous to assume a direct correlation, these statistics are reason for concern.

Since I rediscovered the joy of biking a few years back at age 40-something, I’ve had ample opportunity on long solitary rides to reflect on how my current obsession with cycling connects me with so many happy childhood memories of riding about the country side on my John Deere 10-speed men’s racing bike. Yes, I’m proud to be a country girl! And riding bike is like discovering a fountain of youth for the soul.

I believe passionately that we need to advocate for the current generation of kids so that they can enjoy the lifelong benefits of biking. That is why I’m happy to see the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition form and start to discuss this and other important issues. These are exciting times for cyclists/bikers of all ages in our state!

Next installation of my blog…..more about my John Deere bike!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Stories of Tour deKota 2007

Went to the South Dakota Bicycle Summit today with Biking Brady, Craig of Ride Vermillion, and Jack. With a 3 hour drive stories are bound to be told.

It started with the story of day 5 of Tour deKota; the ride between Madison and Dell Rapids. By day 5 those of us from the Vermillion LaneHogs were ready to draw straws to see who had to ride with Biking Brady and endure his pace. Luckily it nevercame to that as Jim, the youngest member of our group at age 15, elected himself to ride with Kevin that day. Jim did an excellent job of keeping with Kevin and it sounds like Kevin really punished him on the hills. But obviously the ride took its toll on Jim as we were sitting around camp that afternoon enjoyng a cold beverage and we look over and Jim is dead to the world in a deep sleep sitting up in his lawn chair with his head rolled over to one side and the biggest string of drool you have ever seen escaping from a corner of his mouth.

If this wasn't funny enough, I see Craig snacking on a Cliff bar along with his Smirnoff Ice. Most people will have some pretzels or a some mixed nuts with their cocktail, but a true cyclist like Craig chooses a Cliff bar. The secret to his training has been revealed.

Maybe this is one of those times you just had to be there to see the humor in it.....and also I noted there seems to be a direct correlation with the number of miles covered with the humor we saw in these simple moments. TDK memories......priceless.