Tag Archives: Maine

Entertaining Guests

We had guests visiting from Atlanta and Germany this weekend. They all flew in for a long weekend of sightseeing and seafood eating.

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Portland Head Light

The gang about to warm up with some food at Gilbert's Chowder House.

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Alex from Germany tackling a lobster at J’s Oyster Bar

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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.

Today’s Commute

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.

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.

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The start of the Women’s/Beginner race.

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

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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.

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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.

Snow Predictions

Last night I looked at the snow predictions for Portland. 3 to 6 inches. I hoped we’d be on the 3 side of that prediction.

I woke up to my alarm at 5:30. Since I hadn’t heard the snow plow during my in-and-out of sleep over the past 1 1/2 hours I figured we might only have received a dusting of snow. So I got out of bed to peer out the window. No such luck! We had at LEAST 6 inches and it was still snowing.

So out the door we went to start shoveling. We started shoveling as we went out the door and worked out way down the driveway, which is about 2 car lengths long an just over one car width wide. Just as we reached the end of the driveway the snow plow came by to pile what was left to about 50% higher than it was. I hate when that happens but it’s MUCH worse when they come through when you have finished shoveling.

With the storm that continued for a good part of the day, accumulating to 13+ inches, my friend decided to bag the yoga debut for the evening with a goal to make it to a class next week. So my day turned into the complete rest day that it should have been.

Good thing too, because my body hurt from my shoulders to my knees from yesterday’s yoga. Not to mention that my back was a little tight and my last chiropractic visit was scheduled today. (Again, I’m not one to go the chiropractic route but he’s made all the difference in the world for me and my back – no more pain on the bike. He also worked some active release on my adductor muscles which tend to give me fits with some intense cramps during and after rides. Turns out I have some pretty massive adhesions built up in there so hopefully with the AR therapy and some stretching I’ll get them back to somewhat normal before some of the intense activities to come.)

But back to the snow…. and my wish of 3 inches of snow. Fat chance!

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(That’s a lot of snow from one storm!)

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(Note the height of the snow on the sides of the path. Most of the previous snow had melted so this is all from this storm.)

There is also more snow on the way for tomorrow night. How much is still to be predicted. I hope they predict this one a little more accurately.

My outside rides just came to a screeching halt. It means many hours on the trainer in the near future. Perhaps we’ll have a chance to break in the snow shoes this weekend!

Late December Riding

Sometimes the weather surprises us this time of year, allowing for a really nice ride. Such was the case today.

The temperatures were predicted to be around 40 but it was 46 at last check when starting out around 11:00am.

With high thin clouds it was warm enough to go out in my kit, arm/leg warmers and a vest.

My timing was very good as it clouded up immensely soon after my return 3 hours later followed by cold rain that turned into a bit of snow.

I relish rides such as these throughout the winter months. They are certainly far and few between but I’ll be very grateful for each and every one. Though they usually don’t feel as warm as today’s once we build a significant snow pack.

Tomorrow it turns significantly colder with temps in the 20s and very windy, then finishing off the week with a Nor’easter, or so they say. Looks like I’ll be back on the trainer and treadmill later this week.

At least today provided me a chance to capture more video for indoor training purposes. More on this later.

Saco Bay Criterium

Early this spring my husband and I took the class/exam to receive our USA Cycling Class C Officials license. Normally you’d work on shadowing some officials to see how the duties are done and then start working some races as assistant officials. However, my husband and I never got around to doing that.

Recently I was asked by the Southern Maine Cycling Club to work as an official on a volunteer basis at the Saco Bay Criterium to keep the expenses down. Of course they wouldn’t  just ask this unless we had offered to do that, which we did earlier in the year. I was happy to oblige!

Unfortunately my husband came down with a bug late in the week and was not able to go but I still attended.

It was fun and definitely a learning experience. I was very nervous at first with the scoring but finally got the hang of it. Luckily the first few races had pretty small fields so scoring was easy.

It was a pretty cool day with some gusty wind. Unfortunately the officials’ table was in the shade all day. A couple cups of coffee helped to warm me up a bit but there were time it was pretty chilly and my hands didn’t want to write much but I managed. Luckily the wind died down toward the end of the day.

Of course being at the race I wasn’t able to take photos but I did snap this at the start of the Pro/1/2 start:

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One of the best moments of the race was during the Men’s 4/5 when Chris Esposito was in a break with another guy (sorry, I don’t have the name) after the first two laps.  On the final lap we saw Chris come around the last corner completely alone. I thought, “wow, he seriously dropped that other rider.” But it seems that the guy clipped a pedal on the last conner, somehow causing his chain to come off. He was about 200+ meters away when Chris crossed the line. The guy stopped to try to get the chain back on when the announcer yelled to him to make a run for it. (They were so far in front of the rest of the field that he’d still finish 2nd.) So he did as the crowd cheered him on while clip-clopping up the hill in his cycling shoes. He indeed finished second, well ahead of the rest of the field.

I should also tell you that Chris Esposito is a junior racer so by USA Cycling regulations he must race with junior gears. They are much lower than normal gearing. I can only imagine what Chris will do when he is able to race with standard gear ratios. (Chris also won the junior 15-18 race.)

The other rather memorable moment was when the winner of the Cat 3 race lapped the main field with 2 laps to go after riding at least 1/2 the race on the front in a solo break. That’s just something you don’t see very often. As you can imagine he won the race.

Local pro cyclist Dan Vaillancourt also cleaned up on the premes though he lost the race, also to a solo breakaway. There were a lot of those today! Incidentally, the man who won the Pro1/2 race is a young man from the Portsmouth area with aspirations to win that criterium too.

One disappointing part of the race was the women’s field. There were 11 women on the line – 6 for the Cat 1/2/3 field and 5 for the Cat 4. It often looked like a time trial out there instead of a criterium. The men’s 55+ was equally as disappointing with only a handful of guys on the line. I suppose the timing of the race was a little tough, conflicting with a few other races/events happening in the area, including a cyclocross race. Tomorrow’s Portsmouth Criterium should include much larger fields.

It was a great learning experience and I enjoyed working with Paula, Mark and Jim very much. I’m sure I’ll be helping out with this one again next year!