Who says you have to stop riding just because the sun has gone down?
Well, that’s what I used to think. Once we reached the point where we didn’t have enough evening daylight for our mid-week afternoon/evening rides they came to an end. Unfortunately so did the fitness until you started hitting the trainer.
This year a club member who grew up in Philly and used to do “night riding” with her club there has organized a night ride with our group.
Last week was the first one but I didn’t go. It was dark and windy. I had gotten home early enough to settle in for the evening and I would be damned if I was going back out on the bike.
This week was different. I had bike commuted to work so my return trip got me home a little later than driving. I was dressed and ready for biking so I didn’t change. The ride departure was also a little earlier, which meant there was less time to settle in. It was also warmer – in the mid 50’s.
I was excited and a little apprehensive, not ridden in the dark much. However, two days earlier I was out on a club ride and heading back when it was getting pretty dark. Surprisingly I felt pretty comfortable with it so I was ready for a full-on night ride.
A small group met at 6:10 to head north to rendezvous with another group 15-20 minutes away and then we headed off as a larger group. There were 11 of us total with a nice mix of men and women. Everyone had at least one head and tail light on. Some of us had two, like me who had a bike mounted front/rear light in addition to a head lamp and rear light on my helmet. Many of us also had reflective clothing on, or additional items for reflection. In short, we were highly visible and I was really surprised at how much we lit up the road.
I found the drivers seemed more courteous as well. I’m sure many of them were more than a little surprised to see a group of hearty, and perhaps a little crazy, cyclists out on an evening ride well after sunset.
We ended up with a 30-mile route and the pace was such that we all stayed together. That’s key so no one gets dropped or left behind in the dark.
Two hours later I arrived back home and thrilled about my first successful night ride and looking forward to next week’s ride with my fellow night riders.
Posted in Bike, Commuting, Cycling, cycling apparel, Exercise, Friends, Group Rides, Maine, Observations, Portland, Portland Velo Club, training, weather, Women's Rides
Tagged Biking after dark, Cycling, Group Rides, Maine, Portland, Portland Velo Club, PVC
We finally turned the corner on the weather. The sun has finally come out and it’s been a great few days!
I managed to commute by bike three days in a row this week – Wednesday through Friday.
Sometimes it seems like so much work to prep a bag, decide what’s best to pack in a messenger bag without getting too wrinkled, and get to work early enough to change, freshen, etc and look presentable for work. I don’t work in an office where it’s casual and being a woman doesn’t make it any easier. Still, I prevailed quite nicely.
My husband even bought a cute commuter bike and also commuted to work by bike this week.
It has felt so good to be back on the bike. I feel like I’ve been off it forever. Many of my fellow cyclists feel the same. It’s been a very dreary spring and hopefully this sunny weather continues for a long stretch.
It has been a really crappy spring. I suppose this is payback for an incredibly warm, sunny, and early spring last year.
Due to all the wet weather I’m way behind in my fitness for this time of year. So much so that I’m probably going to be driving the support vehicle for an annual Memorial Day Ride that I have participated in for the past 3 years. Oh, I could probably do it, and it would jump-start my season for sure, but it would be a long day in the saddle without many miles in my legs. My longest ride, and only one at that, has been 55 miles, a far cry from the hilly 85-miles planned on Memorial Day. But there is still a chance I might ride it.
I’m not one to go out riding in the rain. If I get caught in the rain that’s one thing – but to start out in the rain to train is another. I’m not a pro. I don’t get paid to ride my bike so you won’t see me out slogging away in inclement weather. Unfortunately I’m also one that’s not willing to put the bike back on the trainer after March like others I know. Though I must say I’m seriously considering it lately.
To make matters worse, it’s been terribly windy, too. I’ve bagged a few group rides to do some gusty winds in the 35-40+ mph range. I think it’s just going to be one of those years when we wind just blows a lot, much like a few years ago.
I’m sure all this crappy spring weather will disappear only to be blessed with some warm weather eventually. It’s just a long time getting here.
The 2011 cycling season is in full swing. Or at least as much as the weather will allow. A fair bit of rain has prevented a few weekly rides but we are still managing others.
Spring weather in Maine can be hit or miss. I’ve seen 70-80 degree days in early April and also full on snow storms. Such was the case on April first this year with a good 6-inches of heavy wet snow. The up-side, if there is an up-side, to those types of storms is that the snow is virtually gone the following day.
Last week we gathered for a Wednesday night ride. The afternoon was filled with glorious sun and blue sky. By the time we gathered to ride it was overcast, windy, and snow falling from the sky. But that didn’t stop the 16 or so women who showed up to ride. The adage, “If you don’t like the weather in Maine, just wait a minute” held true because about 20 minutes into the ride it was sunny and warm again.
Regardless of the up and down temps and precipitation, we are officially on the road. Most of the roads have seen at least one pass of a street sweeper, so it was time to pull the Aegis off the trainer, swapping out the trainer tire for a road tire, and prepare it for the road.
Yup, it’s officially spring and the biking season is upon us. We’ll still be faced with cool weather wardrobe decisions for a few weeks yet. You’ll hear no complaints from me – I’ll be outside on my bike.
Posted in Bike, Cycling, Group Rides, Maine, Observations, Portland, Portland Velo Club, weather, Women's Rides
Tagged biking, Cycling, Group Rides, Maine, Spring, weather, Women's Rides
Today was my first velo commute of the year. It was 27 degrees with clear skies and happy, singing birds. I was surprised it didn’t feel very cold.
I love the early morning commute. There is very little traffic so I can enjoy the ride and the beauty of the morning. The ride home will be a bit more hectic but manageable.
It’s amazing how great I feel when I bike to work. I arrive awake and very upbeat.
With gas prices creeping higher and higher, my goal is to commute more by bike this year. Planning it out and setting specific days to commute might help me achieve this goal. It’s too easy to be lazy and drive to work so I need to make an effort to make bike commuting part of my routine.
We had guests visiting from Atlanta and Germany this weekend. They all flew in for a long weekend of sightseeing and seafood eating.
Portland Head Light
The gang about to warm up with some food at Gilbert's Chowder House.
Alex from Germany tackling a lobster at J’s Oyster Bar
Joel showing how it’s done.
The temperatures were pretty cool but we made the most of what sun we had. We managed to see some coastline and lighthouses, with a little shopping thrown in for good measure at the outlets in Freeport. We laughed, drank, and took tons of photos.
Alex and Sabine at "The Big Boot" in front of LL Bean
We made our new friends from Germany, Alex and Sabine, and Joel from Atlanta promise to come back in the summer when the temperatures are warmer and they can enjoy more Maine has to offer.
Posted in Entertainment, Friends, Maine, Observations, People, Portland, Travel, weather
Tagged Freeport, Friends, Lobster, Maine, Portland, Sightseeing
With a prediction of sunny skies, temps hovering around 50-degrees, and longer evening daylight, we put the word out about a mid-week ride. I expected 10 or so women. We had 17!! How freaking awesome!
Thank goodness I went for that bike ride last Sunday. Looks like I probably won’t be out this weekend. Especially since we are in for another storm on Saturday. We have to get through this one first before we talk about Saturday’s storm:
My office announced today that the plan was not to open tomorrow. That NEVER happens. Though if the weather takes a turn and we don’t get as much as predicted the office will open as normal.
Even with an unexpected day off mid-week, I’d take working over more snow any day.
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.)
Last year I remember hitting the summer doldrums pretty hard. We had a lot of rain during the summer months so I spent a fair bit of time off my bike after the Trek Across Maine.
This year I found myself in the same position. Though this year I couldn’t attribute my doldrums to the rain.
In talking with some of my other riding friends, they also feel the summer doldrums. I’m not saying that people are bored with summer, but some are bored with riding. Unless you have clear goals or events to keep you focused on training and riding, it’s pretty easy to slip into a general sense of malaise when it comes to riding.
The weather has also been pretty hot lately. We have bouts of pretty high heat and humidity – that’s usually a good reason for me to be off the bike a fair bit as I don’t do so well in heat and humidity.
Still, with the heat I managed to make it on the bike a couple times a week during our normal women’s rides to keep me generally riding. That also gave me some pretty decent recovery time in between rides.
I was afraid that too much time off the bike would cause me to feel a bit flat legged and not be able to keep up with our groups as others’ fitness continued to improve. However, it seems to have worked out okay since over the past week or so I’ve actually been feeling a little stronger on the bike and pushed my heart rate a bit higher than I’ve seen all season, a definite sign of improved fitness this season.
Another thing that might be attributing to me feeling slightly stronger is getting back into yoga classes. I went about a month without participating and now that I’m back to it I feel better on the bike. I even finally participated in a restorative yoga session designed for athletes to help them recover. It was more passive than I thought it was going to be but I found I had great legs the following day for my ride.
Now that summer is winding down I feel like I’m ready to spend a bit more time on the bike – not a ton, but perhaps an extra ride or two mid-week. We’ll still continue to have some hot days but the weather should be decent and not so oppressive. Let’s hope it turns out to be a good fall with continued improved fitness until the end of the season.