Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Tribute to TORI the EXPLORER: 1997-2012

It was a dark and rainy early morning in Houston in 1999 when Tori came into my life quite by accident. She was approximately 2 years old. After 13 years of adventures together, she left this life at 2:41am as we held her on a dark and rainy Leap Day morning at the age of 15.

Tori was a peace loving, adventure seeking , gentle soul who gave and received love without effort and made everyone smile who had the joy of meeting her. Despite a dislocated patella, diabetes, one eye, blindness and colitis, she was always ready for the next adventure. As soon as it seemed that we were preparing to leave for anywhere other than work, you could find her sitting facing the door, lying on our shoes, or next to the car outside so we would be sure not to forget her.  How did she always know exactly where the car door was when she was blind??

Tori was the most forgiving and patient being I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  Two and a half years ago, Tori nearly died when she lost her eye in a remote area of Canada. She survived that crazy incident like the stubborn girl she always was and in the process developed an incredible bond with Lorrie that can only come out of a shared trauma. They were soul mates.

She has left a hole in our lives that can only be filled with the incredible memories we have of her and the life lessons only she has been able to teach us. I feel so incredibly blessed that she came into my life and that she was willing to spend 13 years claiming me as her Human!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vacaville Winters Loop - Training Ride 3

Distance - 37.31
Time Riding - 2.54.34
Actual Time - 3.38.22 (or a little less because I forgot to stop my watch)
Max Speed - 31.5mph

There were about 12 of us today. We started out from Three Oaks Community Center around 10:30am or so. That seemed really late to me. But then I also don't like getting up too early! lol

I'm starting to get a better picture of the area. From Vacaville we were on Pleasants Valley Rd, which is also the road I turned right on out of Winters during my Training Ride 1. The headwind was against us this direction so that was another great training opportunity. The hills were low rollers. So they rolled but there wasn't a lot of elevation gain for them. There was an "possible stop" at Lake Solano Park that everyone was at when I got there. But when I came out of the bathroom, everyone but one of the ride leaders was gone. That's a weird feeling! I wish I had just kept rolling to Winters, which was only about 3 miles away, for our main rest stop. They would have caught me anyway.

After Winters, the wind was mostly at our backs or not a factor as we headed back toward Vacaville. There were more rollers on this side of the loop. They seemed little higher in elevation... or perhaps I was more tired. Either way, it was a nice ride. Car drivers were mainly courteous. One pickup truck driver actually drove behind me up a hill since he couldn't see what might be coming his way down. I appreciated that one in particular!

During one of the climbs on the way back, I finally heard my heart in my ears! This seems significant to me because it meant that my legs were able to go fast enough to get my heart working a little harder. That's what I'm going for right now. Both the cardio and the muscular need work! (=

Good training ride! It'll feel better when I'm not spending quite so much time alone. But, for now, if I'm going to listen to my body, that's where I am.

Here's the route:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Folsom Cycling - Training Ride 2

Distance: 34.3 miles
Time Riding: 3.13.04
Time Overall: 4.32.05
Avg: 12.2
Max: 37.5 mph

To see the map of the ride:
Folsom Cycling - Road biking trip - Spot | SpotAdventures

This was my first "Official" AIDS/Life Cycle Training ride with a group, mainly Team Sacramento, and where we had to follow the rules... helmet, stopping at stop signs, using turn signals, etc.

Started at Folsom Bike in Folsom where everything seems to be named "Folsom _______" lol We started out riding along Lake Folsom where there is a huge dam called, guess? Folsom Dam! This was the hillier section of the ride. I prefer to start out with the hills first so this worked for me. I can also tell that I'm doing better regarding wind because there was a head wind going uphill and not one cuss word came out of my mouth. Maybe that was why I needed to live in Minnesota for a little while... get used to flat and wind.

You can see from the map where else we went. Mainly rolling hills after the initial incline. But those were pretty challenging for me at this stage of my training.

In the ride description, it read, "Say Hello to the chickens." I figured that meant we were going rural. Turns out there's a village called Fair Oaks that has chickens just wandering around on the streets. Urban free range? I read a flyer on the window where we ate that indicated the chickens are becoming a problem and that no one is taking care of them. The main problem is their lack of access to water.

In Fair Oaks, we stopped at Sunflower Drive-In Restaurant, which is where we saw most of the chickens. But it's a vegetarian place so at least they aren't serving up the chickens. I had a Peanut Butter Banana and Honey sandwich that I shared with Samantha, one of the ride leaders.

After that there was no major climbing but many more rolling hills. I dropped my chain not long after we left the restaurant so Connie and I got pretty far behind. She did a good job dragging me back up to the group. Good patience on her part!

With about 5 miles left, I started with the pre-cramping. That is a difficult feeling to deal with. One wrong move and there's the cramp. But if I don't push on the pedals hard enough, I won't get anywhere. I used a Gu and kept drinking my Camelbak Elixir, which generally works in those situations. But I just kept pedaling, which miraculously gets me closer to the finish! And that I did.

What I did well: I rode my ride. I was at the back the entire time and way off the back much of the time. But I know my current fitness level and how much I could push myself and I listened to that without letting my ego get involved.

What I'm happy about: Though my legs need quite a bit more work, my cardiovascular fitness is much more advanced than I thought. My heart rate went above "the zone" a few times in the climbs but I didn't hear it in my ears and I didn't feel it trying to beat out of my chest. And when we had a rest stop, I never felt fatigued aside from my legs. Because I was farther back, a couple of the leaders kept asking me how I was doing in that tone that says they can tell I'm in pain. But I always felt really good. So I'm happy about that!

Looking forward to: I'm looking forward to my legs being stronger and continuing to build my fitness so I can rock those climbs!

To work on: I still need to lose some weight to make climbing that much easier. Definitely not going overboard with that but I need to be realistic about getting down to "fightin' weight."

Go Team Sacramento!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

First Cali Hill - Training Ride 1

So I've started training for the AIDS/Life Cycle Charity Ride. And because there is a lot of climbing during that week, I thought it might be a good idea to ride a hill or two before I start the ride in June. So off I went to Monticello Dam and a little beyond to the Marina. It was a great day! Seemed much colder when I started out than it actually was so I quickly took off my jacket. The hill was also a little more manageable than I expected. So a good entre into some climbing for the season. And by season, I'm not sure what I mean since it's still winter in Minnesota and I wouldn't be able to think about cycling at this time usually.

Distance: 26.82
Time: 2.12.07
Max: 32mph
Avg: 12.1mph