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.
This is the final installment in this blog series.
We saw some kids at the Portland Observatory that were here on vacation and mentioned they were headed to the Gray Wild Animal Park during their stay here. That reminded me that I hadn’t been there since I was a kid and though Dad might like it.
They are a lot of native Maine animals at this park. Unfortunately it was so hot that many of the animals were trying to stay cool in some of the shade, including the moose so we didn’t really get to see them – they were too far away under the cover of some trees.
Moose hanging out in the shade very far away from us.
This fox was finding a little shade in the scrub.
I think the bears had it the best – a pool to cool off in.
The deer and the bears knew the routine – people meant food. There was a food dispenser not far away that you could buy to throw to the animals. This guy was enjoying the corn we provided him from a nearby dispenser.
Even the albino porcupine was dealing with the heat in his own way. This was the funniest photo we took all day.
There were a fair number of birds at the park. Many of them in cages so taking photos was a challenge but we did get a few:
We hoped he was going to spread his feathers but never did.
A golden eagle. They are always majestic. There was a bald eagle too, but we were not able to get any photos.
During my father-in-law’s visit to Maine, and after out Whale Watching excursion, we grabbed some lunch then headed to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens nearby. I had heard this was a great place and it didn’t disappoint. If you have and opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it.
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, below you’ll find several thousand words. Enjoy!
One of the coolest parts of the garden was this moving sculpture. It mesmerized us all.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my father-in-law came to visit recently. The first day he was here we spent the afternoon on Peaks Island with a picnic lunch.
The next two days, after all that walking, we thought it might make sense to take it easy. We drove to Kennebunkport the day after Peaks Island and then meandered our way back along the coast, which includes views of Walker Point (the Bush residence) and Ferry Beach.
If you live in Maine, chances are you have people that visit from other parts of the country in the summer. It’s usually family but sometimes it’s friends, too.
A couple weeks ago my father-in-law came to visit. He had a break during classes (he just graduated from Eastern Kentucky University this spring and has started classes for his masters in History) so we had him fly up for a week’s visit.
He’s 76-years-old and spry! So we had a lot planned for the week.
One of the first things we did was go to Peaks Island by ferry. It’s approximately 4-5 miles if you walk all the way around, which we did and it was hot! We packed a picnic lunch and found a shady spot on the rocks under a piece of ledge.
A view from Peaks Island
Our lunch spot - a respite from the sun.
A healthy lunch for all of us consisting of fruit, veggies, humus and sweet potato chips.
Me & Dad
One of my favorite photos of the day was this one – I took it of both Don and his Dad taking photos of flowers. It made me chuckle.
Stay tuned. I’ll wright more about the other adventures during Dad’s recent visit to Vacationland.
This is my fifth year at the Trek Across Maine. In recognition of that I received a hat.
A few years ago I decided to do this for at least five years then figure out where I am and if I wanted to do it again. I’m still undecided.
Today is our first leg – Sunday River in Bethel to UMF in Farmington.
The weather today is supposed to be nice. As I lay in the hotel bed I can see clear skies and sun illuminating the morning. Tomorrow could be a little wet and I’m hoping “showers” avoids us for the most part.
I’m Trekker number 14 this year of approximately 2000 cyclists. The low number is the result of registering early, when it opens in May for the following year. Two years ago I had number 10 for the same reason.
There are so many great things about the Trek and one that’s my favorite is seeing all the people that I usually only see at this event. It really has become near and dear to my heart, as it has for many of the other rides. Each one of us has a story for riding. For me, it’s just fun and i’m happy to be able to be here another year.
As I write this, I wonder if I had already decided to be here again next year.
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.
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.
This was how I got to work today. It’s really the first time I’ve been on a MTB. I usually ride my road bike and use a messenger bag for all my “stuff”.
Using a MTB might be easier for a commute because it’s a little more solid especially when using panniers. (It also might give me a way out, into the shoulder, if I’m run off the road by a motorist.)
Last night I decided to take some time to put on the Quattro pedals we bought for it a while back, put the cleats on a spare set of shoes, and also put on the quick release rack. I pumped up the tires so it would be ready to roll.
I think I was a little excited about riding a different bike for my commute because I was up before my alarm. Instead of dawdling, I got up and ready to leave a little earlier, knowing the bike would probably be a bit slower. Also I wanted to stop off at the store on my way to pick up some fruit for snacks. I knew I would be able to manage it easily with the panniers on the bike.
Today was really a test for me in that I want to commute more by bike. Sometimes an errand or the amount of things I need to transport is a limiting factor. If I can manage ways around that with a different bike then there are fewer excuses not to velo-commute.
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.