Wednesday, December 31

New Years Eve workout struggles

Today the Universe seemed to throw every obstacle in my workout path. It started out well enough, I got my body out the door and off to the gym. However, when I arrived I looked into my bag and realized that I didn't have my spd bike shoes. I didn't even have my sneakers. Just some snowboots. I did have my Speedplay bike shoes still in the car, and I guess I could have used them in the toe straps, but I didn't think about that and I went to work instead of the gym.

K had a friend over this afternoon and I was planning to ride the trainer while those guys kept each other entertained. But then I couldn't find the trainer. I thought it was at the shop but eventually, while cleaning up some junk, I found it in a corner and set it up for a ride.

One hour. That's as long as I could make it. The trainer is too loud to hear the audio on the computer and so it's pretty mind-numbingly boring. I only had to stop twice to check on the boys/mediate.

I put the Van Dessel on there because it had pedals. The plan is that the Soma will live on the trainer with a trainer tire in the back. But I only have two pair of pedals, one on the SS and the other on the VD. I don't want to constantly switch them (laziness) and Santa didn't bring me another pair but I hope he does cause i want to be able to ride the cross bike on the road outside this winter while still having an indoor set-up ready to go in a pinch.

This set-up is in our basement which I am actively working on tidying up to make it more conducive for kids/adults.

Tuesday, December 30

Christmas Day Ski

This is a bit out of order. But i'm finally home and have access to the shots from our Christmas day ski. My cousin and her husband came up to VT from VA for a skiing holiday. Unfortunately for them, we had a big warm up and the snow conditions were less than optimal.

But these folks are tough and fit and I wasn't about to let them come all the way up here without a quality outing. Off we went to the Waterbury Resevoir where we embarked on a 4 hour tour.

The temperature was pleasant. The sun was pale and soft in the sky. The trails largely untracked and the snow mostly crap. We had a tough, steep climb followed by a less steep slog. The lead person had quite a job laying tracks and the fun of the whole thing was compounded by numerous open water bars. 

Finally, after a couple of hours we made it to the 'road.' For some reason, no snowmobiles had been by recently which meant that the snow was SOLID. Rock hard. I'm not a good skier. It's fine on anything that goes up or stays flat, but if i start descending i'm a mess. No idea why. I skied downhill very proficiently for 12 years. I snowboard well. I like snow. Just can't do the downhills on cross country skis. Anyway, this is where we started going downhill and I started to go down.

We took a turn that I was familiar with and cruised down a wide open fire road. All was well and good until we discovered that the bridge was out. This led to an amusing stream crossing. When we finally skied up to the car, 4 hours after starting out, we were all happy to be done. And I was pretty stoked that I managed to tucker those guys out and give them way more of a ski than they were expecting.

Sunday, December 28

Down in PA

It's the end of the year, a few vacation days left, daycare is closed and the ski pass is not valid between christmas and new years. So I headed on down to my parents in PA with K in hopes that I'd be able to get some good riding done.

Doesn't it just figure that this is the year that PA gets a white christmas. It was 38 degrees on Saturday when George and I attempted a singlespeed ride in Jim Thorpe. It was also very snowy. 4-6" of wet, slushy snow. We got a nice hill climb up a road, but as soon as we turned onto the fireroad it was a nightmare. Running low tire pressure with my easy gearing allowed me to ride fairly smoothly, but George was really having a rough time. In a way it was making me laugh, all those lectures he's given me about tire pressure and tire selection and weight balance and riding in the snow - all those things that I was actually doing (and have been doing for weeks) and they were working for me. He hadn't even followed his own advice and it showed.

Today I went out on the cross bike and was hoping for several hours of fun riding. However, about an hour into the ride the wind picked up. Gusts were pushing me off the bike, the sky was getting dark and I was not stoked to be out on those roads in that weather. I'm just not used to riding with all this traffic. More intimidating than the volume of cars is the fact that people don't get over. In VT cars give you wide berth if no one is coming opposite, and if someone is coming they still give you as much room as possible and pass with great care. Not here. No shoulders, no space, no respect. So hard to feel comfortable on these roads.

Wednesday, December 24

Christmas Eve Ride

December 24
29 degrees
Singlespeed - one hour

Gear - 2 polypro layers on top, all winter gear, with the addition of my softshell Cloudveil pants that I normally wear x-country skiing, balaclava.

I played fast and loose with my plan today and swapped the Wednesday and Thursday schedules. And then, instead of riding inside - I rode my SS outside. And instead of following it up with a weight workout - I started my day with some pilates. crazy, absolutely crazy.

I stood in the garage doing eeny-meeny-miney-moe to pick what bike to ride. In the end, I went with the SS for two reasons. #1 - I missed it and wanted to ride it. #2 - I felt the tires might be a better choice for today.

It was snowing pretty hard. I would have been happy to have goggles for this ride. The climb part was sloppy and I found myself riding in the middle of the road for optimal traction. Good thing the traffic was light to non-existent. Still, I wasn't breaking any speed records today. The bike picked up a lot of extra weight. See what I mean:

Today's ride was a blast, I wish I had more time and some goggles as it would have been a great day for a longer ride.

Tuesday, December 23

Diversions - December 23

Today the plan was to head up to the mountain and grab a few runs before work in the fresh snow that fell Sunday/Monday. Monday was a super windy day, so generally the day after you can still find stashes of powder seemingly untouched.

However, turns out that today was bitterly cold. On the walk back from the bus stop those old frost bite patches were twinging and we weren't outside for longer than 15 minutes. Come to find out that it's -15 degrees outside. No wonder the face was cold. It was totally calm, so windchill wasn't the issue. Just the temp being so low. I thought about going up anyway, but really I'm not that into getting more frostbite so it was off to work.

Today was the office holiday pot luck - and it was full of lucky pots. I ate way too much food followed by too many sweets. So it was off to the gym for me. Another hour on the inside bike and honestly it was a good ride today. I pushed the pace and kept the legs moving fast and the hour flew by. Then I had to get back to the office to finish up a few things. I can't seem to find a way to fit these weight workouts into the schedule. Just have to make time I suppose and be a more dedicated to making the workouts happen.

Anyway, I get back to the office and find this set up outside my office:

It's like a rumpus room up here right now.
Oh - and the best news? I booked our flights to SSAZ today. We are going to AZ for some warm weather biking and I can't wait.

Monday, December 22

oh the snow

We all knew it was coming. Winter. And it's here.

Sunday dawned grey and gloomy, the forecast was no good. George headed up to the mountain and I got K ready to go up and do a few runs on the bunny slope. Between starting the car up and actually leaving the driveway the snow started to fall hard and fast. By the time we were coming off the mountain at noon it was piling up significantly and we were far from the rumored high temps in the mid 20's.

it was at this point that i knew that my planned afternoon ride was going to be a bust. the road conditions were pitiful and plow trucks were out in force, not a good time for a cyclist. Temps were only 15 degrees, my feet just aren't equipped for that low. I thought about the gym, but honestly driving back to Stowe was not sounding like a wise choice.

So i just laid low. Oh well. And to top off Sunday, today I didn't want to go to yoga. We're getting a new instructor on Monday nights and I'm just not that into her style. It'll be fine, i just need to mourn the loss of the old instructor.

I did however go to the gym and sit on that damn bike for over an hour and pretended like I was riding over my favorite hills on my singlespeed. The glimmer of hope in my future? Looks like 50's for the mid-atlantic region later this week. I'm looking forward to riding outside and not totally freezing.

Friday, December 19

December 19 - hiking

December 19
19 degrees

so, my goal was to hike for an hour. I debated where to go and whether or not I should trail run instead or ski or what-have-you. I ended up choosing the Stowe Pinnacle Trail which is in general, one of the most accommodating trails around. It's not nearly as steep as most and it's only 1.6 miles to the top.

What i wasn't sure about was the conditions. And sure enough, they sucked. 6-8 inches of fresh, fluffy snow on top of shear ice. It wasn't all ice. Just the parts with an incline. Which is 90% of the trail. In the beginning it wasn't too bad. A few people had been there and the trail was tamped down enough to be passable.

But after a certain point I was breaking trail. At this point i needed to watch for the blazes and watch my footing.

This is where it started to get really treacherous. All of the rocks, of which there are many, were covered in a layer of thick, slick ice. There was nothing for traction. So, after 40 minutes of up, i gave up and turned around. Good thing, cause it took me 30 minutes to get down (about 15 minutes more than it should have). There were a few crashes and there were lots of feet skiddering out from under me at totally random moments.

Right now I'm feeling stoked that I got out without breaking a wrist or a femur or something like that. The positive side is that it was beautiful in the woods and the snow was just starting. Very quiet and calm and nice to get outside for a little while. And really a good workout. Despite the tricky footing, my heartrate was up the whole time.

Thursday, December 18

12/16 and 12/17

On Tuesday - I won.  It was a nutty day with lunch out and a work dinner and I didn't know where I was going to fit in my ride. But I ended up having some time in the early evening and I slipped over to the gym. Those 45 minutes on the bike flew by, I didn't want them to end.

But yesterday - I lost. I had a meeting scheduled for 10:30 with my boss's boss. He was running late, it got pushed and pushed and pushed. And I kept thinking that any moment it was my time. It finally happened at 4:50. For ten minutes. 

Meanwhile, George has K on Wed and I could tell that it just wasn't going that well for him and me going to the gym for 2+ hours after work wasn't going to be an option. I hadn't been home for two nights at this point, and that's just not right. So, I sucked it up and went home and had no workout.

Today, my plan is to do yesterday's long ride. And lift when I get home. It's warm enough that I could ride outside this afternoon, but pulling all the gear together for a 25 degree ride from work seems really daunting. So i think i'll just throw a movie in and ride this afternoon inside.

Tuesday, December 16

12/16 Fitting it all in

I woke up today determined to have my butt to the gym directly after loading K on the bus. But then I realized, that I don't get done with bus duty until 7. By the time I got to the gym, rode for an hour and got to work that'd i'd be later than I should be.

But - my salad was made and I was feeling pretty organized. So I took care of some business and did a 20 minute weight workout and aimed to get to work early to make my afternoon workout less guilty.

Then - I realized that I have a holiday lunch date today. And I have a dinner with the boss of my boss.

I believe that I can fit my ride in directly after work and before dinner. Or, I'll sneak out mid-afternoon and just work until dinner. The hard part about doing this training is not the workouts, that's the fun part. The hard part is arranging schedules and owing favors and managing guilty feelings to get it done.

Sunday, December 14

December 14 - long ride

26 degrees. cloudy. windy.
3 hour singlespeed ride
all winter gear + balaclava

it was another one of those days. George needed to go snowboarding this morning and we needed to get our tree before i could head out to get my ride in. my goal was to be on the road by 12:30 so that i could be sure and be home before it started to get dark - well, it was about 1 when i got on the road.

at first i was freezing, which is generally a sign that you've chosen your layers well. the paved roads were messy with slush and ice. the dirt roads had a layer of ice under the slush and grit on top. for the most part traction was fine, but going up anything steep i often found myself spinning out on ice just as I was most committed into a standing climb.

with a big climb at the beginning and end of today's ride, i spent the middle portion enjoying a nice spin down River Road - the closest thing we have around here to flat. Once I was going, and especially the sheltered parts of the ride, the temperature wasn't too bad. Only the last 45 minutes were the feet really cold. and there was no tingling when i got home so they didn't even actually freeze today. that's a good thing.
it was a balaclava sort of day. it gave me a nice coccoon and with my ipod i happily hummed along the frozen roads.
between the slush that built up on the bike, and these damn 2.55 tires (which were filled with cement that last hour) i had a devil of a time getting up the last hills. it was just so heavy. and there was only one gear, which was not the right one for this suddenly 45 pound bike. it wasn't a proud moment when a runner passed me as i walked up a hill. but hey, i passed her much faster a few moments later.

not quite sure how exactly to clean this mess up. i know i shouldn't leave it - this is a steel frame. but since it's so cold outside i don't exactly know the best way to tackle it.

December 11, 12 and 13

A quick update on the past few days. Thursday the 11th was one of those crazy days that you get at this time of year. I ran three miles first thing in the morning and it was a good run, nicely paced with good energy. Then I went into work, had a hair appointment and our company holiday party - hence no weights at the gym. But at least I got the run done.

Friday dawned with 8" of new snow on the ground and rain falling from the sky. Then it was snow again. Then rain. Then sleet. The roads were a mess and I just couldn't see any wisdom in trying to ride on any roads. So I broke out the skis and went to cottonbrook. No one had really skied yet, so i made my own tracks through the crust for 1.25 hours. At the end my legs were worked and my upper body as well. I took some photos, but the camera apparently didn't want to hang on to them.

Saturday I totally missed my workout due to this:
This is the sole craft show that I did this year for Hug-a-dub-dub. Actually, it was on the 2nd floor, so my workout was lugging all the stuff up and down two flights of stairs and then standing all day. The show was good, it's always fun to talk about my hobby to people and I was happy to sell a lot of soap which will go a long way to subsidize my training and our christmas this year.

Preparing for 3 hours of riding today. trying to figure out how to keep my feet warm, i think it will be in the high 20's.

Wednesday, December 10

December 10

Inside again.

I haven't done it yet. But i'm supposed to get a nice 2 hour ride in today. At the moment it's 34 degrees and raining very hard. Two hours ago it was 53 degrees and raining. 24 hours ago it was -6 degrees and snowing sideways. Within the next hour they predict that this rain will turn to snow and we'll have 4-8 inches on the ground by the end of the day.

It's just wild. My window to ride outside would have been daybreak, but unfortunately I've got to do this job thing.

So, I have am movie to watch on the bike this afternoon. I forgot my ipod as it's charging in the basement. This will definitely be a test. I know that there are plenty of people out there who can cycle indoors for long periods of time. Let's hope that i'm able to channel some of their persistance today.

I promise, more photos later this week.

Sunday, December 7

December 7

December 7
2 hour singlespeed ride
stowe town loops and outer loops
28 degrees to start, 33 degrees at finish
light snow falling
gear: oakley baggies, wool knee warmers, tall and thin snowboard socks, shoe covers, one poly pro top layer, merino wool sweater, thick softshell jacket, snowboard gloves, helmet liner

todays ride went well despite a couple of challenges. I forgot my inhaler, so there was a lot of wheezing going on and I could feel that I hadn't done a good job stretching and rolling my back lately - it was killing me by the end of the ride.

most of the trails had just a light snow layer which was pretty good for traction. Parts of the trail had seepage that had frozen into a wicked slippery layer and some sections had 3-6 inches of snow. 

i had george swap out my tires, bye bye 1.9 and hello 2.55. These gave me a lot of extra traction without taking out a lot of air. But - I could really feel the extra 1.5 pounds. Felt more like 8 extra pounds. It was a lot more challenging pedaling uphill through snow. Funny, i didn't think i would feel the difference as much as I did.

Also note that my feet did not get frozen today, they were fine the whole way through. I would have ridden a bit longer if not for the combo of the back and trying to get home so we could take the kiddo to see santa at the park. I made it home in time for family duties, so it was worth it.

Saturday, December 6

December 6 - in the gym

saturday is supposed to be my day to go to the mountain - but it seemed so cold. the snow seemed to hard. that i just ended up doing everything quick at the gym first thing in the morning. Maybe I'll take K up later this afternoon.

Pilates - done
One hour on the spin bike - done

I thought that the workout looked easy today, but once i was doing it I realized that it was a lot harder than i anticipated. The worst part though, was I wasn't organized with my clothes ahead of time and couldn't find my bike shorts this morning in the dark. So i wore running shorts and there was a screw from the seat digging into my leg the whole time. If I had longer shorts, I don't think it would have been a problem.

December 5 Ride

December 5
One hour gravel/road ride
28 degrees
skull cap, snowboard gloves, 2 layers of poly-pro, big burly softshell jacket, fleece tights, wool socks, shoe covers.

My feet froze today, but all in all it wasn't too bad of a ride. I would have gone longer if it wasn't for the cold feet and the need to get into the shop to tidy and get ready for the open house party. The timing ended up working quite well.

The dirt roads had a confidence-evaporating layer of ice on them, but there were no mishaps although i think i backed off a bit so as not to skitter out unexpectedly.
Best thing was the view coming off Ripley road. I love seeing Camel's Hump in the distance.

Thursday, December 4

Changing gears

I haven't been very good at posting crafty things on this blog, mainly because since i've gone back to work full time and have been trying to work for the bike shop - there's hardly time for crafty things.

It's time to change gears around here. I'm working on a new project, getting myself in kick-ass shape for riding bikes.

Last summer was awful for me. I had some sort of nervous breakdown which resulted in me having terrible heart palpitations whenever I tried to run or bike or do anything aerobic. By fall I was 15 pounds overweight and really unhappy with myself.

Luckily, I know better than to sit back and wallow. So i'm training. I need someplace to prove to myself that I'm doing what I'm doing, so this blog is to take that place. It will allow me to make a record of what I've done and hopefully inspire me along the way.

sorry if you came here looking for cool knitting stuff. my patterns are still here, and who knows what I might post along the way. For now, enjoy the training ride.