Category Archives: Scenery

Living in Vacationland – Part 3A – Whale Watching

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on a whale watching trip. We thought it would be fun to do with my visiting father-in-law. We drove to Boothbay Harbor for an excursion on Captain Fish’s Whale Watching Trips.

Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales but we did see some dolphins.



A video of the dolphins – the loved surfing in the wake of the boat.

Fall Fitness Fade

A friend of mine from high school, who now lives in Colorado and also huge into cycling, dubbed this time of year as Fall Fitness Fade. Boy is it ever!

I’m always amazed at how busy the summers are. Though when I look at it, in reality it’s busy because of so much biking. Then the heat sets in and I find it’s too hot to bike and we (hubby and me) tend to find shelter in the coolness of the house, in front of the fan.

As crazy busy as the summers are, the fall season is much worse. I know I’m not alone when I say this. We always think that when fall rolls around we’ll be back into an easier routine, with many having kids back in school, and everyone gets back on a schedule. But ask anyone that has kids and running to school open houses, shuffling them off to soccer, football or various other activities, and you’ll learn that fall is even crazier than summer! Many of my friends find it hard to fit in any decent ride time after Labor Day.

Fall also marks cyclocross season! I think I actually spend more time at cyclocross races than on my bike this time of year. It’s wicked fun and it allows me and my husband to do something together. It also provides a great opportunity for my husband to hone his photography skills.

Between days spent at various ‘cross races and fading daylight in the evening to prohibit long mid-week rides, it’s no wonder my fitness fades. I just wish it wouldn’t fade quite as quickly as it does.

It took advantage of some beautiful, warm days this week by taking my bike to the office to catch some lunchtime rides to help keep my legs going a bit. Though it didn’t seem to make much of a difference during the ride with the ladies this morning. I really struggled to keep up in a few places and when I did get dropped I couldn’t push to catch back on. My top power is just gone. I do realize that it’s a normal progression and it’s time to back off in order to rebuild but it’s extremely frustrating to me, given the competitive type of person I am.

I take comfort in knowing that this was the best season I’ve ever had on the bike. My fitness greatly improved and I rode faster and stronger than I have in the past. I anticipate a proper base building period this off season in hopes of being stronger yet again next season. I just need to embrace the Fall Fitness Fade, enjoy being on the bike when I can and enjoy the cool, crisp air and the bright foliage, knowing that it’s all part of the process.

(View during a recent lunch time ride.)

Snow Shoeing

We finally had a chance to use our snow shoes today at a local golf course a few miles from our home. It was a beautiful day with temps in the mid-30’s and not a cloud in the sky. There are lots of groomed areas for skiers and plenty of pure powder to trudge in.

(Husband Don and friend Tracey.)

(Groomed trails with bright blue sky.)

(Lots of virgin snow.)

(A genuine smile on my face.)

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be equally as nice. As tempting as a bike ride would be, I might head out on the snow shoes again instead. I’ll dress with fewer layers if I do – I was highly over dressed today.

November Riding

At 52 degrees at 7:30 this morning, it certainly didn’t feel like November. However, is still looked like November.

Nov 01, 2009

Due to the temperatures I was able to ride in shorts today with a little embrocation on my legs. I’m using the Mad Alchemy Cold Weather Mellow.

I managed a nice 2-hour ride this morning before a 1.5 hour yoga class. It felt good to dedicate my entire morning to my fitness.

It’s officially the off season for me so time to refocus, think about my goals for 2010, and set a plan in motion to achieve them. They won’t be lofty goals – nothing like making a podium at a given race. But more along the lines of which races I’d like to participate in, what areas in my fitness I need to work on, and whatnot.

Yoga will play a big part of my off season this year. What are some of the things you are going to do in your off season?


A Quick and Chilly Ride

It’s been over a week since I was on the bike. Feeling particularly rested and frisky I thought I’d try to eek out a quick ride after work before the sun set. I won’t lie – it felt awesome to be on the bike!

It certainly was chilly and I should have worn a base layer. But I survived just fine and saw this beautiful view on my way back home – the last few minutes of light for the day.

(The view from the Falmouth Bridge as I was riding back to Portland.)

Dempsey Challenge Recap

Today was the Dempsey Challenge, a 100, 50, 25 or 10 mile bike ride with also a 5k run/walk in Lewiston, Maine. It was a large fundraiser for the The Patrick Dempsey Center at Central Maine Medical Center that “provides free support, education and wellness services to cancer patients and caregivers”.

I had heard about it on a local news program during the off season and my friend encouraged me to sign up when the registration opened so I did. Good thing because they capped registration at 3500 participants and actually filled it weeks before the event!

This summer the call had gone out to the club I race for, PVC, looking for ride ambassadors. I figured since I was going to be there I might as well ride as an ambassador so I volunteered. Luckily I was selected as an ambassador for the 50-mile ride. Whew! The century that I originally registered for, I found out later, was extremely hilly. I was thankful to be required to ride the shorter route.

Duties as a ride ambassador include chatting with people to make them feel good about the ride, especially if it was raining, helping with any mechanicals, and calling for a SAG wagon if needed. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with people throughout the ride, asking everyone stopped along the road if they were okay or needed assistance, and changing one flat tire.

It also gave me an opportunity to chat with local cyclist, OA/Cyclemania and PVC member, and fellow ambassador, Bob Baiguy. Super nice guy and I enjoyed riding with him for a few miles.

The weather was predicting rain all week. As we got closer to the weekend it started looking up a bit with only showers in the forecast, instead of heavy rains. I’m happy to report there was no rain whatsoever. Just some wet roads that dried by mid-day, and only some heavy fog to contend with on one descent.

Before the start of the ride I had seen George Hincapie and Ted King go by me towards the start line. I had a couple friends hold my bike as I made my way through the ever growing crowd to snap some pictures of them. Since they were standing around with no one with them, I asked if I could have my photo taken with them. They were gracious enough to oblige:


Ted King, me, and George Hincapie. I felt like I had won the lottery!

Unfortunately I missed seeing Dave Zabriskie but managed to snap a photo as he was leaving and I was settling in for a lobster after the ride. (Yup, you ride the Dempsey Challenge and they give you a lobster dinner at the end of the event.)


Lobster dinner

Photo by my friend, Spencer Reed.

I was questioning my fitness going into the event and spent a couple days on the trainer to loosen the legs a bit prior to the ride. Even though I didn’t ride the loop fast, due to my duties, I felt pretty good and didn’t struggle over the climbs like I thought I might. ¬†I did, however, start to cramp after 45 miles, despite a Cliff Shot and some margarita shot bloks, Accelerade and water. I also experienced a bit of intestinal discomfort a few miles from the finish. I probably should have taken an almond butter & jelly sandwich with me for some “real” food.

It was nice to be on the Scott again. I know I’ve said it before, but this bike rocks! The Scott has my climbing cassette (12/27) on it so it was the one I wanted for the hills.

The course was a nice one, winding through great country roads in central Maine during foliage season. The sun would have made the foliage a bit more vibrant but it was a relatively mild day for this time of year.




I think the event was probably successful enough that it will become an annual event. You might add it to your cycling event calendar in the future!

Cadillac Mountain Sunrise – 9/1/2009

The last time we ventured to Cadillac Mountain for sunrise it was all fogged in. This time we were hoping for a better result.

We got up at 4:45 to hit the road from our rooms by 5am. It was a chilly morning but nothing compared to the top of the mountain with a stiff northerly breeze. Brrrrrrr.

I wasn’t sure that we were going to see the sunrise with the cloud cover on the horizon but it finally happened and we caught some of it on camera.


I can’t believe that there were more out of state plates on most of the vehicles; I only saw a couple of Maine plates.

After sunrise we decided to ride around the Park Loop Road for a little sight seeing:


(This is actually a photo we took. It looks just like some of the postcards or promo pictures you might see of Acadia.)

Then it was off to our favorite place for breakfast:


On our way home we detoured down Somes Sound:

Somes Sound

Acadia National Park

Last week during vacation we took our guest to Acadia National Park. He’s an avid hiker so we figured he’d love seeing the scenery and all that Acadia offers to hikers. However, we didn’t have time for him to do any hiking himself – it was a quick up and back kind of trip.

The first on the agenda was a carriage ride. This time we took the 2-hour bridges tour. It was just the right length and we were able to see some beautiful sights, including the Jordan Pond Stream, which was 1/2 way through the tour and we were let out while the horses were turned around.


This was our team of horses:


After the ride it was time for dinner at one of our favorite places – Getty’s:


Followed by a walk around town:




Finally, I Had a Long Ride!

Yippee, not only did I have time for a long ride today, but I have time to blog about it!

First let me start by saying that we’ve had company this week. Our friend, Joel, is visiting from Atlanta. You’ll remember him from my postings about the Tour de Georgia – we stayed with him in Atlanta and he was kind enough to shuttle us around the entire week.

So it was our time to return the favor. We spent most of the week running around playing tour guide. And I think we also ate our way across Maine. Which maked me think I’d be a miserable foodie on The Food Network because I’m feeling like a bloated pig right about now. I’ll post more about our adventures later.

Today, of course, was the Friday Morning Coffee Ride, which is a casual ride to a favorite coffee spot and back. Round trip is about 25 miles and the pace is usually around 17mph. My husband knows how much I love this ride so it was a no brainer – regardless of what they did today, I would be on the coffee ride. Seems everyone else had the same idea because we had a pretty large crowd of about 25 of us.

Now there is a side story here as well that I must tell you. Joel’s friend, Frank, flew up from Atlanta last night. It’s a two-fold purpose. One being that he’ll keep Joel company on the return drive back to Atlanta. The other purpose was so that Frank, who is German, could go to Manchester, Maine to visit a man who was in Germany at the beginning of WWII. At the start of the war this young man was unable to get out and return to the United States so Frank’s Grandmother harbored him in her basement for three years. Cool story, huh??

Okay, now back to my ride. After the coffee ride I swung by the house to make a few minor adjustments to my bike because it was slipping gears a bit and set off for another ride. I decided to do the popular Prout’s Neck loop because 1.) it’s relatively flat and I haven’t done 50 miles since the Trek Across Maine 2 1/2 months ago and 2.) I haven’t done that loop in a long while.

It was such a beautiful day for a ride. I had a pretty high average mile per hour the first half. I think I probably had a tail wind. Then the second half I slowed it down a bit and just enjoyed being on the bike.

I also managed to stop and take a few photos.

The view from the Prout’s Neck Yacht Club:


The view from the turnaround at Prout’s Neck:


Overlooking Old Orchard Beach:


I felt good after a total ove 50+ miles for the day. It had been a long time since I spent so much time on the bike and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

The remainder of the day was mine to rest and relax while Don, Joel and Frank were visiting the man I mentioned above. Now it’s off to, what else, dinner. We’ll start with drinks at Gritty’s then dinner at DiMillo’s.

Tempo Turned to Time Trial

The plan was to ride tempo tonight. Just a steady effort for a 90-minute loop. That plan was shot all to hell about 5 miles into it.

I warmed up and started feeling good. The average mph started coming up so I wanted to see how high I could keep it. With that came an all out effort, or time trial effort, for most of the ride. (Steph warned of this sort of thing when doing an opener ride – you start feeling good and start riding harder than what is planned.)

My max average mph was 16.7 but finished with a 16.4mph average. That’s not all that great but for this early in the season, that’s pretty good for me.

Three things I saw on this ride made me really smile:

  1. A small group of cyclists, two of which I know from some local group rides, out on the roads, training.
  2. A herd of 5 deer on the road about 500 feet in front of me when I crested a hill. As I slowed, they just looked at me. I tried to get a shot with my camera phone but two oncoming cars forced them into the woods, followed by two more that bound across the road into the woods behind them.
  3. A father and son out in the yard tossing a baseball.

I needed these smiles in between the suffering. Unfortunately my heart rate strap is not working – I would have liked to see these numbers tonight.

Tomorrow is a night off, and it will be much needed. I’ll join hubby at a local wine tasting as a reward.