Tag Archives: Portland

Night Riders

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.

Living in Vacationland – Part 1 – Peaks Island

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.

Photographing flowers.

Stay tuned. I’ll wright more about the other adventures during Dad’s recent visit to Vacationland.

 

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.

A New Year, A New Focus

You know when you’ve been away from something for a while it’s hard to get back to it?

Like exercise. Or smoking. Or chocolate. Okay, not chocolate, but you get the point.

That’s where I am with the blog.

Gosh, I’ve just been so busy that I just haven’t had the time to post anything, especially anything of real value.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ve been on my bike much lately either. Up until last weekend when we received a bit of snow Saturday night, I was still out riding on the roads on the weekends. I’d ride a couple hours Saturday and a couple hours Sunday, followed by 90 minutes of yoga after the Sunday morning ride. But my efforts during the week haven’t amounted to much with other obligations during the week. Though I have managed to get into a routine of yoga on Thursday evenings.

Sometimes I feel like Twitter is my blog these days. It’s a quick easy way I can update “everyone” without having to put much time and energy into a meaningful blog posting.

I suppose the biggest thing that has been consuming my time has been my involvement with the newly formed Portland Velo Club (PVC) Women’s Club.

This is very exciting news. It’s been a passion of mine for a while now to get more women involved. Luckily, I think David and Eddie of Cyclemania also recognized a need for this in the Greater Portland area. I think this group is going to have tremendous success for the simple reason that it is advertised to all women from all different backgrounds who participate in triathlons, road races, and charity events.

The goal is to have women participate in 6 events throughout the season and can be a mixture of the disciplines listed. We will also be a organizing women’s ride in the Greater Portland are, open to all women, that will be a moderately paced 30-mile ride on Monday evenings in the summer months. There is also interest of forming a morning ride for women only.

At the initial meeting in October we had 30+ women show up all excited about the prospect of a women’s team/club. It was proposed that the women, working with the current PVC kit template, be allowed to redesign the kit with colors of their choice. So a couple were created and voted on and the winner was:

There have been a few meetings to try to keep organized with the orders for the new kit and the memberships, as well as coming up with ideas to keep the members informed and keep the momentum going even though the season has pretty much come to a close. Among communication methods such as a Google Group and Facebook Group, I”ve started a new blog for the PVC Women. However, I have solicited some help in the form of multiple authors to keep it fresh and updated. We are also working on some training events after the first of the year.

Now the holidays are here and I’m feeling totally unprepared. I haven’t had time to even think about it, to the point where this is nothing in my home to even give you the impression that it’s Christmas.

With a new year almost upon us, it’s time to refocus, start training again for the upcoming season, and try to keep my blog up to date with interesting content. Some of it might involve my endeavors with the PVC women’s group as this will become a significant focus for me. I also hope that, if you are a woman, you’ll want to check out the new PVC women’s blog once in a while.

Saying Goodbye

Today was Robert Anderson’s memorial service on Long Island. 15 of us made the trip to Long Island on the 11:00 am ferry for the service.

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(Richard Hutchins, Kris Clark, John Tabb, Spencer Reed, and Don McEwan.)

It was a lovely outside service on a beautiful late summer day. The eulogy was delivered by Robert’s best friend, Joey, who I had the pleasure of meeting on the Trek Across Maine in 2007. His eulogy included a story from that event whereby they brought the bare minimum for the three days, but a necessity item was a small espresso maker from a bunsen burner. Incidentally, Joey, unknowing that Robert has packed the espresso making item, had packed demitasse cups. I laughed during this story because I remembered hearing it during the Trek.

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There was an organized bike ride at noon right before the service and they pulled in around 12:30, which was a very fitting tribute.

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I don’t think I have cried to much at a funeral as I have since my father’s funeral almost 17 years ago. It just felt like we shouldn’t be having a funeral for such a young guy that was otherwise healthy. Just such a tragic accident.

Instead of waiting around for the ferry to depart at almost 5pm, we had a friend that gave us a ride on his boat that he usually uses for a water taxi.

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It was a beautiful ride back to the mainland.

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(Spencer Reed and John Tabb.)

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(Don McEwan and Richard Hutchins.)

It was a lovely afternoon and a great day to say farewell to a dear friend. However, it made me realize that there will be reminders of our loss for months to come, causing a few more tears to be shed as well.


Busy Week with a Cycling Finish

It’s been a very hectic week thus far. Not only is it crazy busy at work but I’m also preparing to depart for the Trek Across Maine, which is a 180-mile bike ride over three days from Sunday River Ski Resort in the western mountains to the coastal town of Belfast, Maine.

I’ve managed a couple rides in over the past couple days, which has only put me behind in my packing and preparations. I like to lay everything out to make sure I have what I need then pack them all up. Unfortunately the weather is looking dreary with chances of rain for all three days so my clothing choices will have to be adjusted.

The bright side, literally and figuratively, to my trip is that I’m biking with a few friends to Sunday River from our home town of Portland. That will be a nice 80-mile warmup for the miles to come.

If you were considering donating to this worthy cause, you can still do so by clicking HERE. Last year we raised over 1 million dollars for the American Lung Association.

I participate in this event in honor of my father. Even though he died of heart disease, his health problems started from smoking. My father had his first heart attack at 36, a quin-bypass at 38, and dead at 49. I miss him every day, even though he has been gone almost 17 years. So cycling keeps me healthy in addition to raising money to hopefully prevent others from the same fate as my father. But the American Lung Associate is more than just smoking prevention. They are also fighting for clean air. That’s something we ALL benefit from!

I might not be posting much on the blog until I return but you can follow me on Twitter, if you are so inclined.

Is it Spring Yet?

Is this April or March? I’m just a little confused by the weather, and certainly the temperatures.

We have had more gray days than sunny days over the past month. Now, that might not actually be true but it sure as heck feels like it.

It was 40 degrees on my ride today at 11am. My friend Scotty and I joked that it felt a lot like Belgium, which is notorious for it’s cold, damp springs.

Surprisingly I was over dressed. I wondered how that could be when I had ridden in 40 degress with the same layers earlier this year. But alas, there is no snow pack on the ground now and therefore it feels warmer at 40 degrees.

I will need to remember this tomorrow when the temps will be about the same for the race. Being over dressed can be as bad, or even worse, than being under dressed.

This definitely doesn’t feel like spring, dispite the date on the calendar! I don’t think I remember it being this cold the past few springs.

I keep saying it has to warm up soon but we never seem to get there. Perhaps soon.