Ah, is there anything more wonderful than the return of the warm, sunny weather after an unusually long, snowy, cold winter? Well, you people down in CA wouldn't understand but there are some other folks around here who know what I'm talking about.
The thermometer is soaring here, the sun is out, there are guys building a new deck in my backyard as we speak, I did a 55km (34 mile) bike ride on Sunday, and my husband had my kids out skateboarding yesterday - all is right with the world.
Are my kids cool or what?
I have a question for all you uber-experienced riders out there. During my ride on Sunday the toes on my left foot kept going totally numb. It was really uncomfortable and made the ride less enjoyable than it otherwise would have been. I did a post on numb toes over at PinkMTB when I was writing for them and I remember people telling me then that it could be due to shoes being too tight, improper bike fit or a whole host of other things. Any suggestions out there? I don't think my shoes were too tight and I know my bike fits. Maybe my socks were too thick? I wasn't wearing cycling socks. Or maybe because the temperature was a little higher on Sunday than on my previous rides this season?
I have to say that I'm truly overwhelmed by the messages that I've received since my post earlier this week about pulling the plug on the First 100 Miles. I'm honestly touched by how much so many of you enjoy this place. It's been hard for me too because, as much time as this thing takes up, I also have had a lot of fun here and was sad at the thought of that part of my life being finished.
So, here's my plan. We're leavin' the lights on as Darren (RipCurl) so eloquently put it in an email earlier. I've already paid for the Typepad account for the rest of the year and I think that in my line of work it's probably not a bad idea to maintain some sort of web presence where people can find me, read my work and contact me if need be.
I can't put the time into it that I used to. I won't be scanning CN and VeloNews and other cycling news sites every morning to get the news and come up with topics to write about. I won't be looking through picture archives to find good photos. I may do some of that sometimes, but it won't be a regular thing. You guys can visit as often as you like and chat about whatever you like - as always. I'll post when I can about whatever I can. I'll keep you up to date on my progress towards that century and the rides with the new clipless pedals. I'll let you know how the book's going and if it ever gets published. I'll post links to any other writing that I do and I'm sure I'll have something to say here and there about Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen and whoever wins AI.
This will give the IA regulars a place to chat. It gives me a place to write and promote other writing that I do. And it means that our little family can stay in touch.
So the porch light will stay on. I hope you'll swing by every now and then to stop and talk a while.
Well, I suppose we all knew this day was coming but now here it is. I'm sorry to say that I've decided to pull the plug on the blog.
As most of you know, I started this blog as a kind of shelter for myself and some great people who were told that they didn't really make the grade when it came to quality comments over at another cycling-related blog. We came together here, out of the elements, and formed a little community - a family if you will - where we could talk about everything from cycling to spandex to American Idol without fear of being judged.
The blog took on a life of its own just as I was making some pretty huge changes in my own life by finally getting up the nerve to call myself a Writer and taking the plunge of quitting my job and starting up my own business. It was an exciting and terrifying move but the support and encouragement that I received here made it so much easier to survive those early weeks and months.
The business has been up and running for almost a year now and so far, so good. But, running my own business is just one of the things that make demands on my time these days. I also have a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old who often enjoy it when I leave the computer every now and then. I'm working on my first novel - something that brings me enormous joy and what I hope to one day make my living doing. And, I'm also trying to work on my own fitness level by riding and running as much as I can now that the warm weather is here. That's a lot of stuff and they still only put 24 hours into each day - some of which I need to use for sleep.
I've been burning myself out and so I've come to the point where I've had to take a long, hard look at how I spend each hour of my day. I can't do everything so I need to cut out what I can. As much as I've enjoyed the blog, and as grateful as I am to have been able to meet so many wonderful people through it, I just can't keep giving it the time that it needs.
I don't want to leave everyone homeless so the site itself will stay up for a while in case anyone has any ideas about a new home - maybe there's a blogger amongst us who would like to take over the torch?
And I'll still be doing some writing about cycling here and there. I've already talked to Cathy about helping out with US Cycling Report and I'll still do some stuff for Ride-Strong.com.
I want you all to know that, as much as I've given to this blog, I've gotten ten times that back in the friendship, laughter, education, and support that you all have given me along the way.
Trek confirmed on Tuesday that they are going to court to try to end their contract with Greg LeMond and stop manufacturing the LeMond line of bikes.
Trek President, John Burke, said that the reason for the decision was two-fold. First Trek doesn't want to be associated with the negative comments and continuous doping allegations by LeMond about Lance Armstrong. And, second, they didn't feel that LeMond was committed enough to promoting the bikes.
According to VeloNews Burke said, "Greg's public comments hurt the LeMond brand and the Trek brand. Despite our repeated efforts to persuade Greg to focus on selling his bikes, he continued his personal attacks."
The funniest part of the story is the response from the LeMond camp which came from LeMond's attorney Denise Rahne who said she was "surprised at the company’s public response to what had been a private dispute." Wow, if that's what LeMond considers private, imagine if he wanted to go public!
My question about all of this is how much of this move was a decision by Trek and how much was a demand from Lance?
Well, I survived my first ride of the season. Not only survived but I had a fabulous time! The weather was warm and sunny and we did a nice 40km (25 miles) with a stop halfway for snacks. It was just the perfect day for a ride and my new cycling club is full of the nicest, most laid-back folks. It was a real pleasure to ride with them and I'm looking forward to many more group rides this season. This club does a century ride in early August and I'm feeling like I might just be able to do it this year. Maybe this is the year that I finally achieve that goal.
And, it was also my first ride with the new clipless pedals (I'm sure you were all losing sleep wondering how I did) - I didn't fall off!!! Now, in the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that I did go out the day before the ride, just for about 10 minutes down to the park, to try them out before I used them on the longer ride and I did, in fact, fall off. I was doing fine, clipping in and out with no problem. Then, at one point, I came to a stop with my right foot clipped out and safely on the ground. I then decided to turn left and head back down the path the way I'd come and as I turned the bike left to push off again I forgot that my left foot was attached to the bike and I went down on my left side. I bruised up my elbow a bit and put a little tear in my bike seat but otherwise I was just embarrassed. The next day I was fine for the whole ride so, I'm hoping that was my first and last fall. And, the falling and the nervousness aside, I just LOVED riding with the clipless pedals. It made the ride so much smoother and I was able to be so much more efficient on the bike. Hills were easier than they've ever been before. I really understand now why everyone tells me they would never go back. I feel the same way.
And yes Cat, today is my 33rd birthday. Thank you for the good wishes. And yes, happy birthday to Paula too, I think hers was over the weekend.
A great ride and a birthday, what more could I ask for?
Planning to get out for my first ride with my new cycling club this Sunday. I can't wait. The forecast is for beautiful, warm, sunny weather. It's just a 38km (24 mile) easy ride to shake off the cobwebs and get the bike going again but I'm still counting the sleeps.
I'm really looking forward to riding with this new cycling club as well. It was such a pleasant evening last Monday when I went to their first Meet and Greet of the season to introduce myself and sign up. Is there anything more inviting than a group of cyclists sitting around a table with some cold drinks and hot munchies? Over the course of the evening, as I met and chatted with the veteren members sitting at my table, I loved that the discussion was all about riding; funny stories about rides gone bad, fantasies about new bikes and gear, and good-natured ribbing about the quirks and habits of other riders. No one asked anyone, "so, what do you do?", we all knew the answer - we ride bikes!
This will be my first ride with the new clipless pedals so wish me luck! I'm going to head out on my own on Saturday and try them out so that I can hopefully save myself a little of the humiliation of using them for the first time in front of a group. I'll humiliate myself in front of the geese down at the park.
Thank you to everyone who sent me tips and their own stories about switching to clipless. So far I've learned that I must clip out BEFORE I stop, I have to start out with the pedals as loose as possible so that it's easier to clip out quickly, and that I WILL fall over at least once or twice. I can't tell you how helpful it was to hear that everyone had a hard time when they first started out with these things.
I'll let you know on Monday how my first clipless ride went. Hopefully I'll be posting from here at my desk and not from a hospital room ;)
I love April. It's the month of my birthday (April 7th) and, even though Spring officially started in March, it just feels like winter is finally coming to an end when April arrives. It's warm here today with a lovely Spring rain melting the last of the snow. I'm filled with excitment for the warm days ahead and I'm going to take my bike into the shop today for a tune-up and hope to get out for my first ride of the season (with the new clipless pedals) later this week.
Last night I went out to a meet and greet for a local bike club in my neighborhood and signed up as a new member. They seem like a really great bunch of folks with riders ranging from beginners all the way up to seriously skilled time-trialists. I think part of the reason that I didn't put a lot of miles in last season was that I just got tired of riding by myself. After a few hours it gets pretty boring and I never really felt 100 per cent safe out there on my own. I like the idea of riding with a group and I think this might be the group for me. No one's out to win the Tour, just having fun on a Sunday morning.
While I love April, I have to say that I hate April Fool's Day. I'm not into practical jokes or surprises of any kind so this day just ends up annoying me. However, CN always does a funny post today (many of you may remember that they totally got me with it last year, but this year I was ready). Check it out. My favorite is the announcement that the Landis decision is now going to be left up to Judge Judy. Now that's actually not a bad idea. She'd have it figured out in about 23 minutes.