Sunday, June 6, 2010

Take Me to the Limit

The North Carolina Bicycle Winery Tour ended a week ago and I'm finally rested enough to write about it. Don't was two days before I was able to drive home. But the important thing is...I did it. I was able to ride 84 miles over two days and I swear it was all uphill.

In fact, I remember on Sunday being asked if we wanted to ride the van to the next vineyard which was only about three miles away. Of course I said, "No!" only to find out that the reason they were asking was because it was indeed a continual uphill grade. As we approached yet another little crest a woman rode up beside me and said, "This better be the last of it!" Of course it wasn't and of course we just kept pedaling until we made it to the top...several crests later.

But for me that was the purpose of the trip...really it wasn't about the wine. It was about proving to myself that I am capable of doing more than I do on a regular basis. That I'm stronger than I think I am. And that on some level I can ride with the big boys...of course they were riding the long versions of the route and still beat me to the destination...but it didn't matter. I did it...and I've never been more proud of an accomplishment.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pumping it Up!

When I first started riding, I thought all there was to it was to get on, pedal forward and remember to brake with my hands instead of pedaling backwards. Yeah, that's the kind of bike I learned to ride on in the dark ages. The term 'maintenance' never crossed my mind.

So one day I notice that it is taking all my energy to pedal and I'm really not getting very far. I turned to an expert (my biker daughter) for advice. It came glibly...have you checked the tires? Well, I knew they were still there...what did she mean. Mom! You have to put air in the tires...they leak!

And so they do. Bike tires leak even when you aren't riding them. I mean, think about it. They are very small and don't hold a lot of air so it doesn't take much leaking out to make a difference. You can even get a 'pinch' flat if they get low. Not something you want to do when out on a backroad by yourself.

I immediately bought a bicycle pump (seems that's why they are called that) and checked the sidewall of the tire for the correct pressure then pumped away. Now, I pump it up before every ride.

You know, biking pumps up my life, much like I do my tires. And when I don't get a chance to life gets flat...hmm...

Friday, May 7, 2010


I did it...I finally broke 13mph! I know that sounds fast if you aren't an avid biker but in truth to an experienced's still snail pace and they probably wouldn't want to ride with me. But you know, that's okay. It's my personal best and I'm proud of it.

I started riding just over two years ago in hopes of losing weight without any real goals other than that and honestly...I thought I would hate it. Those first rides...2/10 mile...left me wobbly kneed and panting. Gradually my distance increased to about half a mile but I always turned around at the foot of this little hill because I was afraid that I couldn't make it to the top. Finally one day it hit'll never get to the top if you keep turning around at the bottom. So...I tried...and I made it...up one side and down the other. Quite an accomplishment. A milestone. A personal best. And others followed.

The first time I rode 5 miles I thought I was the Queen of the Road...last spring...I rode 70...I also rode my Townie on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, NC. Both solo!

So...I've come a long way...and now...I have a fancy carbon road bike...with clipless pedals...and a healing broken arm...hey...we all fall when we're learning...

Now I'm preparing for a bicycle winery tour in North Carolina at the end of May. I've found a cycling group near by and I'm having a blast and I'm getting faster. My goal is to average 15mph by the end of the summer.