Category Archives: weather

More to Racing Than Just Winning

The Scarborough Industrial Park Spring Crit Series began today.

This year they added a women’s race and combined them with beginners to get them to try criterium racing.

The women’s race started at 7:30, which was a new addition this year. That meant that my warm-up ride to the event needed to start pretty early, between 6 and 6:15 am. I was thankful that the temperature was in the low 50’s when I started off and was predicted to reach 70 degrees today. Odd for so early in April but happily so. Last year it was very cold and I remember going to watch the previous year and it was just as cold.

Unfortunately there were only a few of us on the line for the first race. However, it’s Easter Sunday so many people had family obligations I’m sure.

The start of the Women’s/Beginner race.

I was happy that another PVC member joined me for the race.

Me and a teammate, Elizabeth Ehrenfeld.

I stayed out of the wind and on a wheel the entire race but couldn’t match the acceleration in the end and finished, unbelievably, DFL. Sheesh!

Then I hit the start line for the B-race.


I managed to hang on for 6 of the 12 laps. I almost got dropped on the 4th or 5th lap and managed to get back onto the back of the group. Then the bell rang for a preme lap and I got dropped. I wasn’t surprised and I just sat up and pulled out.

All things considered I feel pretty good about how I performed. Sure I finished last in af the women’s race. Sure I pulled out of the B-race 1/2 way through after being dropped. Still, I was there and rode some of my best riding. I cornered better than I have ever cornered. When I was getting gapped in the women’s race on the corners I assessed why that was and made adjustments. I was focused and relaxed.

There is more to racing than just winning.

Spring Riding

How does life get to be so busy that I just can’t find the time to blog?

Fortunately my busy life has included some incredible outdoor riding in some unseasonably warm spring temperatures.

Normal temperatures for Maine this time of year is in the 40-degree range. Lately many days have been in the mid 50’s. We even had several days this past week in the 60’s.

Several Portland Velo Club women joined me on rides this week. We even joined another women’s ride Wednesday for a total of 17 riders that night.

This has been a long drought of snow. I think our last significant snow storm was in December or January. But it’s been fine by me because I’ve been able to be outside biking a fair bit this winter. Now the weather has been unseasonably warm, driving more of us out on our bikes.

Today I managed to get out for an early morning group ride with the PVC Women followed by 90-minutes of yoga. I left the house at 6:30 am and managed to return at noon. Two things I love to do but took up half my day. Now, that doesn’t mean that it always take up half my day, it just worked out that way.

The weather is turning cooler next week but with Daylight Savings Time I’ll still be able to be out on the road after work for some training rides as long as we don’t see any snow.

Back to Work

Last week was a very enjoyable rest week. I spent too much time off the bike, that’s for sure. I rode Monday during lunch and then nothing for the remainder of the week. I missed my normal Wednesday night spin class because I got held up at work. Thursday and Friday I was experiencing some muscle spasms in my back.

Now that the week is over it’s time to get back to work on the bike and I did just that Saturday. Temperatures were in the mid 40’s so riding outside was my best option. It was a bit windy but still managed to ride 30 miles.

Today was even windier, making my interval work daunting. Still, it was nicer to ride outside than inside on the trainer.

As is typical after a rest week, and time off, it’s taking me a while to get my legs back under me. I was pedaling squares over the past couple days but should smooth that out by the end of the week.

Tomorrow is an easy day. However, temps are predicted to be in the upper 40’s so I will take advantage of a little sun and warmth to ride easy outside. My plan is to spin early Tuesday and Thursday with yoga in the evenings. Wednesday I’ll be spinning at night with my spin class.

I have my fingers crossed that we’ll dodge some snow later this week to manage to ride outside next weekend again.


Dare I say I’m actually looking forward to a little snow fall tomorrow. The shoveling should be easy since we won’t have to throw it up over any high banks in the yard because they have all melted. Perhaps it will be enough to even warrant a little snow shoeing next weekend.

Outside Riding

The weather has been a bit warmer than normal here in southern Maine recently. Temperatures have been in the mid-30’s. With a significant high pressure system over our region we’ve been spared all the snow that the mid-Atlantic states have received over the past few weeks. In fact, most of our front and back yards are snow free.

I took advantage of the warm weather to get in a few lunch time rides this week, the first on Wednesday and the other Friday. The rides were short – only about 30 minutes each. However, it was a nice way to spend a portion of my lunch and re-energize my training and give me a reason for spending so much time on the bike inside.

Of course that weather continues into the weekend so I rounded up a couple friends for a nice 30+ mile. It was a bit windy but manageable. I’ve ridden in much windier conditions but this time of year, with the wind out of the northwest, it can be quite brisk.

This week starts another rest period. Even though I felt like last week was after no real intense workouts since Monday’s spin class. (Normally on Wednesdays but was moved this week.) Still, I’ll stick to the schedule this week but I won’t take the week off completely. There will be spin class Wednesday and I anticipate some intervals during that session. I’ll also be on the bike to do some active recovery.

If our luck holds out with the lack of snow then I’ll try to get back out on the bike again next weekend.

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.

Yoga Sunday

Waking up to 27 degrees shouldn’t have seemed quite as bad as it did. Temperatures below freezing after a warm day with lots of melting on the roads is a recipe for disaster in the form of black ice.

Since I’m transitioning into my rest week I decided to go to yoga at Yogave instead of taking the bike on the road. I thought that a little yoga would be a lot easier than a 2-hour ride. Boy, was I WRONG! The first pose was rag-doll (basically stand with your head hanging down by your knees and your arms folded to grab each elbow with your hands) and my legs were quivering in short order. Not to mention I could feel how tight my hamstrings were. Most of the class was like that – quivering quads and dripping sweat. (Yes, you sweat a LOT in yoga if you are doing it right.)  Attending yoga on a more regular basis was good for me and I’ve gotten out of the habit and need to get back into it for strength training.

You see, I’m a higher intensity kind of gal. I think the only beneficial kinds of workouts are intense cardio workouts, to the verge of puking, even though I’ve read lots to the contrary. Weight training is very good for cyclists of all levels. Though I’m not one to hit the gym for weights. I find that all pretty boring. Yoga fits that bill for me – building strength while also encouraging some flexibility. Some also call it a “balancing” of the body, especially for those areas that are neglected while cycling, like the core and the upper body.

If I can lift my arms tomorrow it will be a small miracle. Another session of yoga is planned for tomorrow as I promised a friend I’d take him there to check it out. It will probably help flush my arms from the soreness that I can feel building already.

I’m also going to struggle this week with my rest. I know when I get on the bike I’m going to want to push hard but that’s not the goal. It’s going to take a fair bit of discipline to be on the bike and go easy. Being on the bike is still key without taking the week off the bike, which could be detrimental. Gotta keep the legs pedaling in circles ya know.

January Thaw

We are having a bit of a warmup here in the north east. Today’s temps were around 40 degrees. That was reason enough to get out on the bike for a few hours.

I’m actually surprised I didn’t see more riders out on the roads. However, I know of a couple groups that did get out much earlier than my 12:30 departure. Still, I did see a group of 3 and as I went by them I recognized all three. I wish you could sometimes recognize them earlier to you could actually call them by name. Though it is much easier to do that in the summer when most are dressed in the club/team kits.

Before leaving I thought I might be over dressed. I decided to leave the windbreaker I had tucked in my pocket. My husband said I’d probably be fine, pointing out that there would be plenty of shady spots that might feel chilly. He was dead on and I was glad to be dressed as I was in tights, a base layer shirt, and another jersey with wind stopper material. I put on my new Capo wool cap under my helmet because it has flaps I could pull down if my ears were cold. Though at that last minute I exchanged it for the new wool cap my friend, Julie, made for me. It was warm enough where I didn’t need to cover my ears and I really wanted to wear the new cap. (More on this in my next post.)

With the warmer temperatures meant that the roads would be wet from melting and a chance to put the Roadracer fenders to the test. They seemed to work fine. I did try to avoid as many puddles as possible – you never know when a puddle means a crater containing water, which would surely do some damage to the wheels, if not cause a crash. But when I knew it was just a skimming of water on the surface on the road I rode through it. At first I expected to feel that familiar wet feeling seep through to my back side but that didn’t happen. The bike was still a bit filthy when I returned home, though it was nothing that a bucket of water poured over the bike wouldn’t take care of. (I would have used the hose but because it’s been left out there must be ice in it because no water came out when I pulled the trigger on the nozzle.)

Tomorrow won’t be quite as nice – temps are expected to be in the mid-30’s and with a storm moving in later in the day a hefty cloud cover is predicted. There is something to be said for a sunny day this time of year to make a ride outside SO much more enjoyable. I will see if I can get an earlier start for a ride tomorrow. With snow on the horizon it’s best to be out on the road whenever possible. If we were to get hit with some back to back snow storms that could hamper my outside rides for a while.

Next week is a rest week for me. It won’t be completely restful. I am taking a friend to a yoga class Monday and I have spin Wednesday night. There will probably be a light workout in there Tuesday morning. Thursday and Friday I have other things planned so those will be complete days off the bike. Then I’ll spin easy Saturday and Sunday and prepare for more work the following week.

This past week I’ve been feeling a bit brain dead and not sure if it’s because of my 3-week work load. I’ll be thankful for an easy week. I have a friend who trains 2 weeks followed by a rest week every third week. A 4-week block seems to be a bit hard on her. I’m going to make note of how I feel during this next 4 week block, in particular how I feel in that third week, and if I see a repeat of this past week, I just might try the 3-week training block to see if that helps.

A New Low

No, I’m not referring to an aspect of my character, I’m actually referring to the weather. As you are probably aware, most of the nation has been locked into some pretty cold air. I was determined not to let that stop me from getting out on the road for a bike ride today, especially since we haven’t had much in the way of snow in a week so the roads were pretty clear for riding.

My previous low temp I had ridden in was 26-degrees F. Today I managed to surpass that. It was 16 degrees when I left for my ride, but with the wind temp it “felt like” 4 degrees. Ted King, another New Englander,cannot accuse me of being a Sissy Girl. Upon my return it had warmed up to a balmy 22 degrees, feeling like 13.

There were a number of factors that got me out on the road today.

Reason #1: The biggest reason was a chance to ride on the road and not spending 2 hours on the trainer. I can easily do an hour on the trainer but when it comes to doing anything more than that my nether regions get a bit sore and I’m ready to be off the bike.

Reason #2: Capture more video for training on the bike when it’s too snowy to ride. I ended up with 55 minutes of good video and another 40+ minutes where the camera was angled too far to the road making it unusable for my project.

Reason #3: The purchase of a set of Road Racers fenders, made by Crud Products. This came about from a trip to my LBS that told me they really didn’t have any fenders for my bike. They had a basic clip on fender for the rear tire but I wanted something a bit more. So we did some searching and found these. They were extremely easy to install and I wanted to take the bike out on the road to see how they worked. Unfortunately at 15 degrees, it’s too cold for any significant melting to take place so the roads weren’t wet enough to really see how good they are. Still there was plenty of salt on the road to kick up onto the bike and after upon my return there was just a thin layer of salt dust on the bike frame. I suppose it would have been much worse without the fenders.

Here’s a video on attaching them:

The hardest part about preparing for a ride on such a cold day is dressing. My last ride was on 12/28 and it was 45 degrees. I just had on my kit, leg/arm warmers, and a vest. Today was quite a different story and I’ll share with you  how I dressed:

  • Smartwool knee high ski socks under my sidi shoes and booties.
  • Descente wind stopper tights.
  • Descente base layer long sleeved shirt, a Sport Science wool shirt (I recently bought this for cycling and snowshoeing, and it looks good as a casual top, too), and my Castelli jacket.
  • Lobster gloves and a balaclava.

This was the first time I used the balaclava and that might have made a huge difference with my level of comfort. However, since I pulled the front down around my chin for most of the ride, I would probably wear my Capo wool cycling cap next time.

I questioned my tights choice thinking I might be better off with another layer, which isn’t possible with these tights, but they were plenty warm enough. My only issue was that my hind side was a bit cold when it was out of the sun on the way home since that is much thinner than the front that has the windstopper material.

I typically wear two layers of socks but surprisingly didn’t need the extra layer with the Smart Wool socks.

My lobster gloves were a great purchase last spring and I have put them to use on many cool weather rides thus far this year, but they are certainly too warm for anything above freezing because then your hands just sweat too much. A friend of mine recently posted a review of Bar Mitts. They look a bit funky but he says they work really well. I might have considered them if I didn’t already have my lobster gloves.

I stayed primarily to roads I knew were wide and sunny, knowing that there wouldn’t be as much black ice to contend with making for a safer ride. That said, there was a point where I had to ride more into the lane than normal due to some blowing, drifting snow into the road off from a very open field. And I did run into a situation where a guy has shoveled snow from his yard or driveway into the road forcing me to choose my line through it very carefully.

With the ride behind me, I’m so thankful I was able to get out on the road today. Unfortunately my secondary water bottles froze solid making it unusable. I didn’t realize it until I was almost home so I guess I didn’t really need it much. This time of year it’s hard to make yourself drink enough on the bike but I still try to be conscious of it. Next time I might use my insulated Camelbak instead. My other observation about the water bottle was that if you took a drink and then closed the valve it would freeze and make it harder to open. I recommend not closing it if you have the option.

Tomorrow is a day off for me. It’s back on the bike Tuesday and Wednesday. With the upcoming PVC Women’s Clinic Thursday evening, I’ll have to adjust my schedule accordingly to accommodate it. If I can manage an early morning workout I’ll be on the bike. If not, then I’ll take the night off and bike, run or do yoga Friday night.

Restful Vacation

I ended 2009 while on vacation. I didn’t go any place exotic or warm, it was just a long break from work.

Things I did on vacation:

Rode my bike a couple times outside. Once on Christmas Day and again on the 28th. On the 28th it was 46 degrees, partly sunny and I was happily dressed in my kit, leg and arm warmers, with a vest. That’s it! Pretty darn nice for the end of December!

Slept. A Lot! Like 9 hours a day a lot. I rarely sleep that much and during vacation I slept that much every day. I usually end up somewhere between 7 and 8 hours of sleep and I’m very happy with that. Somehow my body felt compelled to sleep more when I was on vacation.

Made some videos for training. I’ve been recording some recent road rides and converting the video with music and instructions for working out. It makes being on the trainer a bit more bearable.

Watched movies. We watched the entire series year to date of 30 Rock on Netflix, in addition to some other regular recordings, the Star Trek movie, and Up.

Worked out. I managed to get on the trainer and the treadmill a few times during that week in an attempt to get back in shape, lose some weight that has been packing on since August, and refocus on the upcoming season.

Entertained. We had guests over to relax in front of the fire on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day evening.

Watched it snow. Yup, it snowed off and on for 4 days from Thursday through Sunday. Luckily we only ended up with about 8 inches for that entire time, which is a bit better than the 2 feet of snow some areas of Maine received. By choice, due to the snow, we decided to hibernate and not go anywhere for a few days. (4 to be exact.)

Shoveled a little snow. Due to the above.

Recharged my battery. Isn’t that what a vacation is all about?

I won’t lie when I say it was nice to be back to work. Not because of the work but because of the routine. Sometimes it’s nice to have a routine. Perhaps I wouldn’t have felt ready to go back to work with a short vacation, but since I started the afternoon before Christmas and went back on January 4th, it felt like a pretty long break.