Yesterday was gorgeous!! But it certainly didn't start that way!
When I looked outside, after waking up, the weather looked fine, just cloudy. I thought the predicted storms might have passed during the night and didn't turn on the news because I was running late.
I finished getting ready and then loaded up the car. As soon as I got out of the garage tiny drops of water started hitting the windshield. Then the drops started getting bigger and, as I was heading west towards Bellville, the clouds were DARK! Then the downpour began. And it didn't stop until 45 minutes to an hour later!!
I kept slowing down due to hydroplaning, but some not so fortunate people didn't. I saw two one-car accidents on my side of the highway and after the rain let up I witnessed a car spin out on an off-ramp.
By the time I reached the parking lot the rain had pretty much stopped, but it was still wet and overcast.
We were riding.
And after the first mile I knew I wasn't that thrilled about being out there. Not sure why, but being on the bike was not my idea of fun. So I made a lot of picture stops!!
Here is a field of yellow wild flowers.
And here is close up of another field of yellow wild flowers.
And here is a field of yellow wild flowers with a tree and a horse.
And here is a vulture. I have a feeling his wing was a little out of whack - because he didn't try and fly away.
I finally made it to Fayetteville (the place sure did look familiar - probably because I had just been there last week!!). We all gathered in the town square and had lunch in the gazebo. I should have taken a picture of that, I do not know what I was thinking.
Anyway, one of my mentees, Shawn, tire had blown apart. Not the tube - the tire! So he couldn't ride anymore. Coach Alan tried to fix it, but the hole was just too big. I asked if he was disappointed to not have to finish the 70 miles (thinking he wouldn't be), and he was!! He had trouble with his tires the week before (4 flats!!) and was looking forward to the long ride today. So, being the gracious person that I am, let him use my front wheel to finish up the last 30 miles! Which meant I got to SAG!! Such hardship!!
I was just hoping that nothing happened with my tire. You see, the night before the MS150 as I was cleaning my bike I noticed a small bubble on my tire. It was the tube bulging out of a small hole on the side of my tire!! Freaked me out! It is 9:00 at night, no bike shops are open and the MS150 is the next day. I think about what to do, and finally decide to patch the hole with duct tape! It worked! I had no problems with it (much to my relief). I told my coach and some other people about it - and they said a dollar bill is a good thing to use, too. These are good things to know!
Shawn had no problems with the tire and finished the ride successfully.
Once we arrived back in Bellville, we waited for the final riders and then headed home. The rest of the day (or evening - because I didn't get until just before 6:00) was spent relaxing. Because you KNOW I needed it after that very vigorous ride!!
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Yesterday was gorgeous!! But it certainly didn't start that way!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Once at the team tent – I laid down for a bit, had some dinner and then headed off for the showers. After getting cleaned up, I went back to the tent, prepared my cot and enjoyed the rest of the evening. I admired the beautiful sunset, wandered around the fair grounds, etc.
I tried to get in contact with some of the people I knew also doing the ride, but was not able. Come to find out one of the individuals I called, Joe, electrolytes were out of whack. He was not feeling very good and was not able to ride on Day 2. That sucks!
Finally it was time for bed. I put in some earplugs and fell asleep.
Team UT Tent
Then it was time to wake up and prepare for Day 2. I dressed, cleaned up, had some breakfast, packed, took my luggage to the drop off and then grabbed my bike. Start line here I come!
I ended up in one line way in the back. Then someone said there was another start line for people who were going through the park (the longer, more challenging route) so I headed over there. Stood in line. Found out that this line was an unofficial line, so I went back to the other line!! Good grief!!
Well, I finally crossed the start line!! Yee Haw!!
Riders crossing the Start Line in La Grange
I pedaled along thinking this isn't so bad. Yeah, there are some hills but they aren’t any big deal. There was even this GREAT downhill that I got up to 38.7 mph on – and I was using my brakes!! Some guy next to me said he made it passed 43 mph!! Crazy! I am not ready to go over 40 – maybe one of these days.
Then up ahead some people were turning and others were going straight. I was thinking it was RS#2. But no – it is The Park. Beuscher State Park. The park with the infamous hills where people fall over in front of you because they are going so slow.
I pull over. I didn't realize I would have the opportunity to bow out and take the "less challenging" route. I contemplate my ability. I ask a gentleman how bad it is. He says the hills are steep, but relatively short. He encourages me to try it. So I do!! Off I go!
I have been trying to do what Coach Eric told me to when it comes to shifting gears. Get in the big chain ring in the front and find a comfortable gear in the rear. Then when going up the hills try and stay at the same cadence while shifting into easier gears. I had been doing something similar to this before, but just not quite right. Well his technique had been working for me up until that point, but on one of the first hills in the park I started doubting my ability. I had passed someone earlier who fell over going up a hill, and then on the next hill some lady started zig zagging from one side of the hill to the other to try and make it up. I avoided hitting her, but lost momentum so I pulled over and walked the rest of the way up. I was disappointed. But I dealt. I was just hoping I wouldn't have to do it again.
At the top of another hill was a scenic overlook where I stopped and took a couple pictures. I wish the sky had been clear, but you can get the idea of the view.
Scenic overlook in the park
After that it was time to tackle more hills. And I made it up them all on my bike. Even the hill that wouldn't end. It went up and up, and then when I thought the top was near I saw another hill, but even worse. I mumbled "I can’t make that," and the guy behind me said "Yes, you can." And he was right!! I made it!
After that it was pretty much smooth sailing with only one major glitch. A rider had an accident. Not good. We were told to get off our bikes and move to the side of the road. We walked along for a quarter mile or so until we passed the scene. The rider was laying face down on the pavement and not moving. As soon as I passed, the ambulance showed up, and from what I understand the people behind me had a long wait until the rider was taken to hospital (someone said he was Life Flighted out, but I am not sure). I hope he is okay.
I stopped for lunch and saw a couple friends and even one of my coaches (Coach Alan) who was with his daughter. They were riding tandem and it sounded like they were having a good time.
After lunch I stopped at a couple rest stops but the best break was when I pulled off the side of the road to take some pictures of flowering cacti! Aren’t they pretty?!
Eventually Austin was in sight. But then the cops kept stopping us at the major intersections. So we would get all bunched up then have to try and tackle a hill with limited space to pass the slower riders. Frustrating! And the most frustrating part – when they tried to make us stay in the bike lane!! Yeah – 3 feet of asphalt for 12,000+ riders! STUPID!!!
I made it out of that mess and entered the UT campus. The end was near!
Then I heard the crowd. And as I rounded the last corner I sat up on my bike, raised my arms in victory and applauded with the crowd as I crossed the finish line. I had done it!! I had traveled 175 miles under my own power!!
A couple kids crossing the finish line
State Capitol - the view as you are riding along the last stretch of the finish line
I dropped off my bike for transport back to Houston, found my luggage, had a shower, attained my rider reward (a certificate and pin), had some dinner then headed for the bus for the ride home.
Overall I felt great. It took my 6.5 hours to reach Austin, and just over 5 of those hours were on the bike. My legs and back were a little sore, but not so bad that I looked funny when I walked! And the best part - my butt and other parts did not hurt one bit!! That new seat worked wonders!!
This weekend is another training ride with TNT. We are scheduled for 75, but I am thinking that might change. Then the next weekend is the Shiner BASH which is 95 miles. Piece of cake!!
Another rambling by Jill on Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
The time was 4:15 am on Saturday morning and it was time to get up. I jumped in the shower (didn't want to smell any worse than I knew I would), dressed, finished packing then headed out to the car with all my stuff. And lo and behold another Team UT training jersey was out there! This was someone I had never met before so we introduced ourselves (her name was Elizabeth) and chatted a bit. She was taking the short route (leaving from Rhodes Stadium) and I was going long (Tully Stadium). We wished each other luck and took off for our respective starting points.
I arrived at Tully and had no problems getting in or finding a parking spot. It was great because I was expecting tons of traffic. As I was taking my bike off the rack Elizabeth came over and said I had talked her into doing the long route. Funny! SHE talked herself into it, not me!
One of the air balloons at the start.
Anyway, I finished getting ready and made it to the start line where I met up with Elizabeth and we waited for the start. Eventually our time came and we crossed the starting line at 7:20 am. The adventure begins!!
The starting line.
The weather at the start was overcast and 66 degrees. And over the course of the day the sun came out, the clouds went away and the temperature rose to 88 (that is what weather.com says, anyway!).
RS#1 looms ahead and gets passed. I am feeling great. But then I have to pee! A Walgreens is at one of the corners we turn at so I make a pit stop. Then it is back on the road.
We are doing great. RS#2 appears and we pull over to replenish the water bottles and get some snacks. Then back on the bike and into the throng of riders (the Houston Chronicle said about 7,000 riders started from Tully).
Rest Stop #2
Then RS#3 appears and is passed. We are pedaling right along. The wind has been out our backs virtually the whole way. And will be at our backs pretty much the whole way to Austin! This is awesome. Next stop Bellville and lunch!
Up to this point it has been flat, but at around mile 42 we encounter our first hills. I lose Elizabeth, but wait for her at the lunch stop. A sandwich, some boiled potatoes and 2 small ice cream bars later it is back on the road!
I lose Elizabeth just outside of Bellville at the first hill and will not ride with her again. I am now solo, but not really. How can you be solo with 12,000 + riders on the road with you?!!
The sun had made its appearance by now and the temperature is rising. And I am thinking maybe I shouldn't have had the ice cream. I am starting to feel a little nauseous and at one point really want to throw up. But it passes. I drink my water and Gatorade, stop passing the rest stops and actually stop. The heat is intense. My temperature gauge was reading 90 degrees in the shade, but out in the sun while riding on that black top it reached 106. I know this is not accurate, but when the sun's rays are beating down on you from above and the heat is radiating up from the pavement – you feel HOT!
I passed two riders pulled off the side of the road, riding tandem. The man was helping the women up so she could get on the bus. And that is when I realized she had MS. What a brave women! I am sure the heat was really aggravating her disease. I saw her partner several more times along the route, riding solo on his specially designed tandem. I sure hope he was able to pick her up just before the finish line so they could cross together.
By mile 80 I was more than tired. I could not wait to get to La Grange. I was so incredibly thankful to the volunteers I wanted to cry! But I kept getting back on the bike and pedaling.
Around mile 95 my chain came off halfway up a hill. After putting it back on I seriously consider walking up it. But no, I am not walking up this measly hill!! So I get back on and ride it to the top. The rest of the way is smooth sailing and I finally make it to La Grange and to the team tent. It is 4:20 pm. It took me 9 hours to travel the 99 miles to get there. And of those 9 hours – 6.5 of them were spent on my bike. I sure did take some long breaks!!
The view from the back of the team tent.
Another rambling by Jill on Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Monday, April 24, 2006
I have never appreciated volunteers as much as I did on this ride. They are wonderful, caring and generous people. They didn’t have to take time out from their lives to help us. Some of them might have been paid, yes. But they didn’t back away from the responsibility, take vacation or decline the shift. All the individuals out there on the sidelines, behind the table, standing in the streets, driving SAG vehicles were all there to help us – and ultimately to help the cause. They were all out there to help raise $10 million for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
And each and every single one of those volunteers did an amazing job.
They didn't care if we were blue or orange, curly or straight, tattooed or pierced, heavy or light, novices or the most conditioned athlete. They Helped Us All. They Took Care Of Us All. They Cheered Us All.
They rubbed Bio-Freeze on our aching muscles and sunscreen on our tender skin. They fed us chilled oranges and bananas. They filled our water bottles with ice, water and/or Gatorade. They doled out pretzels, cookies, and trail mix. They handed us sandwiches, boiled potatoes and ice cream. They cooked us chicken for dinner and pancakes and sausage for breakfast. They set up cots for us to sleep on and tents to sleep under. They provided us with showers to clean up in and clean toilets to potty in. They provided us with entertainment all along the course. They helped fix our bikes – be it a flat or a broken chain. They picked us up when we were suffering from heat exhaustion, dehydration, cramping muscles or fatigue. They drove out to remote areas and cheered us on. They encouraged us when we were getting tired. They loaded our bikes on trucks for the ride home. They directed traffic and made sure that we were safe. They comforted us when we had fallen. They patched us up when we were hurt. The list is endless. It could go on forever all the big and little things all these volunteers did for us.
But you know what the most amazing thing was?
When I said "thank you," they said
"No, Thank You!!"
Another rambling by Jill on Monday, April 24, 2006
Thursday, April 20, 2006
My mother was searching the Internet and found a couple of articles that she thought would interest me.
Boy, did they bring back memories!!
Back in 8th and 9th grade (age 13-15) I lived in Bahrain (an island off the coast of Saudi Arabia). I really enjoyed living there and was devastated when we came back to the States.
I played a lot of sports when I was there – softball, volleyball, basketball – and was involved in other activities. One of those was the Cherry Tree Trot. It was put on by the American Women's Auxillary and consisted of running/walking (or in a friend's case - skating) a designated course (can’t remember the distance now!! Age has its downfalls!!). I chose to push someone in their wheelchair the whole way. That was hard! But I did it and I also raised the most money and won a trip to the Phillipines!! (wasn’t able to go – we moved instead)
Here is a link to article one and article two about the event as it is today, along with a picture. That is me in the purple sweats and pig tails! The man next to me in blue and white is the gentleman I pushed virtually (he helped a couple times) the entire way.
Another event I participated in was the Muharraq raft race (link 1 and link 2). I had a blast!! It consisted of paddling 8 oil barrels welded together with metal rods out into the ocean, around a buoy and then back to shore!!
Not sure the company we represented, but there were two teams that I remember practicing with – one girls, one boys. And the boys team consisted of some of the guys from the high school and some of the guys from the Navy base, which I was pretty happy about because I had a major crush on one of the Navy guys!! (Very much to my mother and step-dad's chagrin!)
Here is a picture of me after one of the heats. I look pretty tired.
Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me!!
Another rambling by Jill on Thursday, April 20, 2006
Sunday was a pretty boring day. Watched a movie - History of Violence. I thought it was pretty good, but I could have done without the gratuitous sex scenes. I fell asleep after the movie, so I was late leaving for the b-day party at a friends house. Not good, because no one was there when I arrived. They had all taken off for the pool. Oh well, I wasn't really that enthused about going.
Monday was tax day. I do not know why I left it to the last minute, but I did. I am getting some money back, though!!
Tuesday I went for a run after work. 4 miles in this wonderful heat! But you know what? All was good. Actually, it was pretty darn great! I took my fuel belt with me so I wasn't dying of thirst. I had no pains during or after. I didn't get sore or stiff. The only thing was when I got back home - my toe was in need of a good crack. I am finally getting my running groove back. Maybe I can tackle the Tejas Tri!!
Today I went out with some of my MS150 team members for a 20 mile bike ride along the bayou. Then it was home for a quick shower before I headed out to the sports shop to spend some of my tax return! I bought a new pair of bike shorts and a new jersey - gotta look pretty for the MS150!! Then it was off to Target for some other little things for my trip (like ear plugs). Once I was home I had some dinner and watched "Crash." Great movie. But then I do have a thing for Terrence Howard. Love his eyes!
Tomorrow I will pack everything up and drop it off with the team leader so it can get bussed to La Grange. Then I will take Beazer to the ferret sitter.
Friday I will make sure the bike is lubed and prepare everything for Saturday morning - which is going to start around 4:30 am.
Time is getting short, and I am getting nervous!! Why, oh why did I sign up for this? I know, because I wanted to prove to myself that I could!! Whatever!
Another rambling by Jill on Thursday, April 20, 2006
Monday, April 17, 2006
Saturday was a great ride. The route was 70 miles, but the coaches told us 10 of those miles were optional. Well, I was already mentally prepared for 70 so I didn’t want to wimp out and just do 60!!
We took off a little after 7:30 and headed through Montgomery and made our way through Sam Houston National Forest. Coach Eric, Coach Rich, Juan, Dave and I eventually made it to I-45 where we would either take the feeder up to Huntsville for the extra 10 miles or cross over and do 60. I wanted to do 70, coaches didn’t care, Dave said no, Juan caved and said yes. So it was off to Huntsville where I was hoping to get a picture of the Sam Houston statue:
"A statue as big as his legend, a 67-foot replica of the statesman and first President of the Republic of Texas on a 10-foot granite base. Texas-size Sam is the world's tallest statue of an American hero located on I-45 between Dallas and Houston in Huntsville, Texas. David Adickes, sculptor."
We made it to the entrance of Huntsville State Park and if we put in some more bonus miles we might have made it to the statue, but Juan was not going for it so back we went, over to New Waverly, back through the forest then on to Montgomery and a strawberry daiquiri!!
I felt pretty good the whole way and Coach Eric gave me some pointers on how I was attacking the hills. He suggested I change the way I was shifting my gears so I would conserve my energy. I keep going at these rides like I have to get done as fast as possible. But "this is an endurance event, not a race!!" Okay, Coach Eric, I will change my mindset!!
I am still wondering if I will survive this coming weekend, but thousands of others do it every year – so I should be able to do it!!
Another rambling by Jill on Monday, April 17, 2006
Sunday, April 16, 2006
I have been playing with my new camera!! So here is a pic of my ferret, Beazer. I wanted him to be in the pile of eggs and not on top, but do you know how hard it is to get a ferret to sit still for a picture, let alone get him to pose?
Hope you all had a Happy Easter!!
Another rambling by Jill on Sunday, April 16, 2006
Friday, April 14, 2006
I bought a digital camera!! An Olympus Stylus 720 SW! Yeah! Now I can take lots of pictures on my bike rides and runs! This will be fun. Might lead to some slower times, though. Oh well. BFD. That is what speed drills are for.
When I arrived back home I put the camera battery on the charger and headed for the rec center for some swimming. I think I will have to start swimming on Fridays because they have the lanes running the length of the pool vs. the width. I enjoy being able to swim the longer distances before having to turn around. Less opportunity to rest! I did 100 free, 100 pulls, 100 kicks, repeat x 1, 2 sets of 400 free, then 100 breast for a total of 1500 meters. I had three bad foot cramps and the last one didn't want to go away. Need to buy some more bananas!
After that it was home to play with the camera!
Another rambling by Jill on Friday, April 14, 2006
I now have a bike rack!! Yeah!!
Next is a camera. I have been looking at the Canon SD450, but I went on the Internet and checked out Olympus and I saw the Stylus 720 SW. I am liking that one! Only one problem - it doesn't have a view finder. On bright days that could make viewing the screen rather difficult. But it is shock proof (great for those bumpy roads and my falls!), water proof and has image stabilization (for when you are finished with a long run or ride and the hands are not very steady).
I didn't make it running last night. After figuring out how to put the rack on my car I went to look at cameras.
Tomorrow is 70 miles out in Montgomery. Wonder how hilly this course will be?! Sunday I will be heading over to a friends for a surprise b-day party - and I would think some Easter happenings.
Have a wonderful Good Friday and happy Easter!!
Another rambling by Jill on Friday, April 14, 2006
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Yesterday I went and had my bike inspected for the MS150. Now I am entitled to free labor along the course if needed. That can be very helpful.
I also picked up a couple gels and some socks
Back when I was at university in Washington I spent a couple summers with my mom in Wyoming. Christine would come over from Idaho and we would have some wild times!! The things we did back then!! Anyway, I have had a couple nicknames in my lifetime. The first was "Bunny" because I LOVE rabbits. My mother used to call me this when I was lots younger! The second was one Michele gave me back when we were getting to know each other (my dad doesn't like that name!!). And the final one (pretty much) was one that Christine gave me during one of those summer vacations. She made a sign for me with the new nickname and then decorated it by drawing lots of colored jellybeans on it. Can you guess? Yep, it is JillyBean.
So when I saw these socks yesterday I had to have them!!
BTW – Chris, I still have the sign!!
After the trip to the store I rode back home and put on my new socks and other cycling gear and headed to the med center to meet up with some of the members of my MS150 team. We rode along Braes Bayou for 19 miles (total miles for the day was 29). It wasn't as casual of a ride as I thought it was going to be. Which is a good thing!
After that it was home for a quick shower and then off to Two Rows where I shared some quesadillas and drank a couple Barking Fish Porters. So much for sticking to water or iced tea!!
Not sure what is in store tonight. I would like to go running, but I need to pick up my bike rack and buy a digital camera. Maybe I will buy the camera tomorrow and go running after picking up the bike rack. We'll see.
Another rambling by Jill on Thursday, April 13, 2006
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Last night I headed to the Picnic Loop, out at Memorial Park, for a short ride with some tri friends. It was a great night for it, too. I did some speed work and completed a total of 14 miles. Would liked to have done more, but people wanted food! SHOCK!! So we all headed off to Cova for some tapas and wine. I had a wilted spinach and portabella mushroom salad and ordered an Italian Lover flight (3 taste glasses of wine). The food and wine was great, but a tad expensive. And the service was a little slow. But it was worth it. We had a grand time and laughed a lot!!
Tonight I am going to ride with my MS150 team around the bayou. We will be doing 20 miles. Should be a nice, casual ride. After that it is off to The Village for some “cool-down beverages.” I will try and be a good girl and just have water or iced-tea!! We’ll see if I am successful!!
My fortune cookie quote from lunch today was: “You have a potential urge and the ability for accomplishment.” I sure hope so!!
Another rambling by Jill on Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
I didn’t get much sleep on Saturday night because of my lovely upstairs neighbor. I have had issues with this woman before but Saturday was the last straw and after the ride on Sunday I put in a complaint. So far so good. Hope it stays that way.
Needless to say I was rather tired for the Space Race, but the course was flat so all was good.
I met up with another TNT tri participant (Casey) and we started the ride at 8:16 am. We were late so we had a lot of passing to do on the way out. At first it was just the two of us, but as the miles progressed we ended up with a pace line of five individuals trying to get by all the slower and less experienced riders. Did I just say that?! Less experienced? Slower? WOW!!
Riding in those conditions did give me a little insight as to what the MS150 will be like. But the MS150 will consist of 13,000 riders not just 3,500!! It is going to be CRAZY!!
Anyway, back to the ride. It was so so. A few of the roads were really rough and I thought there should have been more police out directing traffic. There was lots of SAG support though (cars and motorcycles). The route was marked okay. At one point – around mile 50 – some kids out on their BMX bikes kept asking us if we wanted to trade bikes. Typical kids, no harm right? Then one of the cyclists in front of me commented "Hope they didn’t decide to move the route markers!" Had me wondering for a little while until I saw another set and knew we were on the right path! Thank goodness, I did not need any bonus miles!
My only real complaint about the ride was one of the rest stops. Couldn’t find it! Casey and I passed up RS1 at mile 10 to get away from the crowds, plus we didn’t really need it. RS2 would be good. Well, never saw RS2! By mile 27 I was getting peeved. By mile 30 I was out of water and Gatorade and getting really ticked off and starting to swear!! At mile 32 was the RS! It wasn't just us, lots of people had missed the second stop – you had to make a turn and go down a little street to get to it and it was obviously not well marked that you needed to do this! At least I now know I can make it 32 miles without stopping! Thank goodness it wasn't hot out (temps in the high 60's low 70's), there might have been some serious problems then.
After we refilled our bottles, had a banana, cookie and part of an orange it was back on the bike. That is when Casey told me his knee was hurting. So we stopped at the next RS (mile 37) to get some pain reliever. He drafted off me for a while until the drugs kicked in then he was gone!! I was pretty tired by then and not able to keep up with his aero pace (have to get me some of those aero bars!!). So for the last 15 miles or so I was pretty much by myself. And at mile 55 I took a break to answer my phone!! Then it was on to the finish line!
Sorry to disappoint you, Cagey – but Sunday was not a good day for after ride food. They had water, oranges and luke warm Mickey D hamburgers. There were a lot of fun toys for the kids to play on though. I am sure it was a great time for them! Casey and I wandered around a bit while I choked down a hamburger and then it was time for home where I did absolutely nothing for the rest of the day!
I was a little sore from the rides and fall this weekend – my butt knows that I did hills on Saturday!! But overall I feel okay. I am starting to feel like I can actually do the MS150 and survive. I might even do the Bechtel Challenge Route on day 2!
Another rambling by Jill on Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Monday, April 10, 2006
Friday I was supposed to have my new bike rack. Didn't get it. They were confused and told me mine was in, but actually it was someone else's. Guess that is what happens when you special order and do not just buy what they have in the store. I will hopefully get it sometime in the next couple of days.
Back to the more important stuff – my bike ride!
Saturday it was out to Chappell Hill for 50 miles of hill country. And there were a lot of them. It is always wonderful getting to a top of a hill and then seeing the tops of several more you have climb!
The first indication that the day was not going to be perfect was waking up at 6:20 with the ride start planned for 7:30, and it is an hour drive to Chappell Hill. I thought I had slept through my alarm, but come to find out I set it for 5:30 PM not AM!! Ditz! I jumped out of bed and quickly got ready and left the apartment 20 minutes later. I called one of the coaches to let them know I would be late and they waited for me. I arrived just in time for the group picture!!
We set out and all was good. We were headed into the wind which was a good thing because that would mean it would be at our backs on the way back. The day was gorgeous, a little chilly at first but I put on a t-shirt which helped. The country side was beautiful and there were fields and fields of bluebonnets. An awesome day for riding.
Somewhere around mile 30 was our second rest stop. I refilled my bottles, used the "loo", and rested a bit before I took off for the return trip. Eventually I headed back and after a couple miles I notice a tad too much road noise coming from my front wheel – my second indication that my day wasn't going to be the greatest. It wasn't quite a flat, but the tire pressure was going down. I thought I might be able to make it a bit further before I had to change it so I pedaled on. Then something happened – not sure what – but I went off the shoulder – all five inches of it – lost control because of the tire and fell. OUCH!! Might not have been so bad if I fell on the grass, but I fell on my left side instead. On the blacktop. Skinned my elbow, scraped up my calf a little and hit my left hip pretty hard. I am a bit sore and bruised, but I will survive. Not much damage to the bike – just a few scrapes and the left gear/brake lever got knocked out of place, which was easy enough to fix.
I proceeded to change my tire and was eventually on my way. One of the coaches rode with me for awhile to make sure I was okay, which I appreciated because I was feeling pretty sorry for myself at that point! Whoa is me!! One of my team mates said I deserved the most bumps and bruises award! What is it with me and falling?!!
Anyway, the ride back was great and with the wind at my back I was able to get up to 37.5 mph on a downhill!! THRILLING!!
Chappell Hill was holding its annual Bluebonnet Festival this past weekend so there were tons of people and cars when we got back into town. The riding was a little tough watching for everyone, but we eventually made it back to the parking lot. I quickly put my stuff away, changed shirts and shoes and walked into town to check it out. Tons of booths had been set up with all sorts of things for sale. Some junk, some interesting. I walked out of there with an extra lemony, fresh squeezed lemonade – YUM YUM YUM – and a bag of kettle corn – just a so so yum – I have had better!
After that it was back to the parking lot to wait for the other riders. Then it was off to the Chappell Hill Sausage Company for lunch where I had a jalapeno sausage on a bun!! Scrumpdillyicious!! After that it was home where I rested up for the Space Race on Sunday. I will blog about that later. This post is a tad long!
Another rambling by Jill on Monday, April 10, 2006
Friday, April 07, 2006
Several months ago I went to a bachelor/bachelorette auction put on by some of my TNT friends. The auction went great – they made somewhere around $20,000 auctioning off many single guys and gals, silent auction items, cover charge, percentage of the bar tab, etc!! It was tons of fun and I got a little tipsy which helped when it came time to pimp out as many people as possible!! I bid on a couple items (yes, one was a bachelor!!) and won a couple things (yes, one was a bachelor!!).
The date I "won" was supposed to consist of the bachelor flying me to New York and then him escorting me to dinner and drinks. Well, come to find out the guy has a jealous girlfriend. So things changed. Now I am waiting to hear if the guy will give me his airline miles so I can at least get a free trip out of the deal! If only I hadn’t had one too many vodka tonics that night! Oh well, live and learn!!
The other item I bid on and won that night was a cut and color from a local salon. Well, yesterday was my appointment. The colorist put in blond highlights and the stylist went wild! I now have a shaggy do. My hair still has length but now I have "fringe" and tons of layers. And the best part - it is not that hard to maintain. Because I have a little natural curl everything does not just lie there and it takes on a curly/shaggy look. So far I am liking it!
After the salon I went and picked up my packet for the Space Race and then it was off to the 59 Diner for dinner with the ferret folks. Then it was home and bed.
Tonight I am going to pick up my new bike rack for the trunk of my car. Now I will not have to cram my bike into my car every time I want to take it somewhere. You know – one of these days I am going to be a real biker!
Another rambling by Jill on Friday, April 07, 2006
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
I have done it again. I have signed up for another bike ride. I do not know what my problem is. Why can't I just say no?! Oh well, it is all for a good cause. The money supports the Ronald McDonald House charity and the biking helps me get in better shape. See, all for a good cause!!
This means that I will be riding at least 50 miles in good hill country (Chappell Hill) on Saturday and then another 60 in flat country (north Houston towards Galveston) on Sunday!
Wondering about myself again!!
My mother's response when I told her I signed up – "you will do anything to get out of housework!" You’re damn right I will!! Hate the stuff. A 60 mile bike ride is soooooo much easier than getting the vacuum out or cleaning the toilet.
Okay, workout report….
Didn’t do anything yesterday. I fell asleep at 6:30. That darn day light savings thing. I went running today, though. 4 miles. Not too bad. You know what is interesting? I can do 62 miles of hill training on the bike and not be sore, but I run 4 miles and I feel it. Crazy!
Today's weather was beautiful, but after the first loop I wasn’t thinking that anymore. The reason – temps in the low 80's along with the humidity. Time to dust off the fuel belt, it is going to be a long and very warm summer.
Another rambling by Jill on Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
I finally did it. I went to the gym and lifted some weights. Did some legs, back and shoulders. Nothing major, but my shoulders might be a little sore tomorrow. With the biking and running my legs are in okay shape, but my upper body is lacking. I think in future workouts I will try and build up my upper body and go easy on the legs. I do not want too much bulk, I would rather have definition.
I wanted to go swimming, but it started raining and they usually shut down the pool for bad weather. So I didn't take my swim gear with me. Maybe tomorrow.
On a side note - I like daylight savings time because of the extra light to go riding or running. But it sure is hard to adjust my sleeping habits. I should be in bed right now, but no - wide awake!
Less than three weeks to the MS150. The first day shouldn't be too bad, it is the second day that I am worried about. I would like to take the route through the park, but from what I understand the hills are brutal and I will still be tired from the day before. But it would be great training for Tahoe and it is supposed to be really great scenery. Decisions, decisions.
Another rambling by Jill on Monday, April 03, 2006
Friday after work I put my bike in my car (figured it would be faster driving in traffic vs. riding in it!) and went back to the bike shop I bought the new seat from. The original sales guy was not there, so I talked with someone else. He wanted me to give the saddle another chance and fitted me correctly this time around – raised the seat post about a centimeter (that surprised me) and repositioned the saddle. Things felt better, but I told him he would hear from me on Sunday if things didn’t work out.
Well, they worked out.
Besides the saddle, I tried another new thing on Saturday. To those of you who do not bike, don’t be too grossed out. I didn’t wear panties with my bike shorts. Yes, bikers, I do know that it is not recommended to wear regular underwear with your bike shorts!! The thought of not has always kind of grossed me out! Well, I have to say it made a world of difference! Needless to say – my bum was feeling just fine after getting off that seat after 62 miles of hill training!
Now for some details on the ride. We met up at the high school in Magnolia and headed out around 7:30. The day was MUGGY. It was hot and humid when I left my apartment at 6:15 and it never got any better. At one point my temperature gauge read 100 degrees!! The day started out overcast, but after a couple hours the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful, sunny day. Tons of wild flowers and great countryside. We rode through Sam Houston National Forest and a couple small towns. Saw goats, cattle, horses, vultures and hawks. Saw a gorgeous bull – he was huge and gray in color. But his horns were what made him stand out. They covered the entire top of his head. I wish I had a camera (note to self – buy digital camera). I was hit by several very large bumblebees and numerous other bugs. But I didn’t eat any!! That is always a good thing! I only flipped off one driver (yeah, I know, bad girl), but I swore at many!! You just gotta love rednecks! I mooed at a lot of cows and made Juan laugh (my riding buddy for several miles). And one of the best parts was getting up to 34.3 mph on a down hill! WooHoo!!! I just love speed!
After the ride, quite a few of us waited in the parking lot drinking beers (or in my case Smirnoff Ices) and having a grand time. Thank goodness no cops came by. We could have gotten into some trouble!! Open containers, government property – that wouldn’t have been pretty!
After the final riders made it in we headed for lunch. Chimichanga this time with iced tea (the city we were in was dry, so no margarita – probably for the best).
After that I headed back to Houston. Stopped off at Memorial Park and joined the Houston Area Road Runner’s Association (HARRA) and after that it was home for a shower and change of clothes. Then it was off to a friend’s birthday party. Great way to end the day – good friends, more good food, and to top it off – cake!
Today, I got up, reset all my clocks, and eventually took off for a crawfish boil put on by one of my mentees from TNT. It was held at the picnic loop at Memorial park. The picnic loop consists of a 1.1-1.2 mile paved loop where lots of bikers come to ride. It is closed to vehicular traffic during the week, but on the weekends it is open so people can hold gatherings or just have a family picnic.
Anyway, there was crawfish (of course), shrimp, crab, sausage, corn, potatoes, mushrooms and assorted beverages (I was good and drank water). YUMMY!!
Midway through the meal we heard a crash and then screaming. A lady had been walking along the loop pushing a stroller. She stopped to check one of the front wheels and a biker hit her from behind. She was knocked to the ground, the stroller landed on its side and the biker crashed. The biker was fine, the baby was fine, but the lady was banged up quite a bit. The left side of her face was scratched up, her mouth was bleeding, but the worst was her shoulder and arm. She either broke her arm or dislocated her shoulder. Eventually the ambulance arrived and took her to the hospital, and she was able to get hold of her husband who came and comforted her and picked up the baby. Hope everything turns out okay.
I went back to the picnic and finished chatting and visiting with people then came back home and pretty much lazed around the rest of the day. But tomorrow I will be good and go to the gym to work off all these calories I consumed this weekend!!
Another rambling by Jill on Monday, April 03, 2006