Monday, May 28, 2018

Pigtails II Ride - 51 miles on a bicycle...


Hello Blog!  It has been so long!  I have missed you!

There are a lot of pictures in this blog entry (from myself, Erica and Sue) and some of them are out of order... Me and two friends from our Women's Ride Wednesday group went to Ankeny, Iowa for the Pigtails II ride and WE HAD A BLAST!!!
http://pigtailsride.com/
I highly recommend this ride!  Put it on your calendar...May 18, 2019!  It is a women's ride and after the ride the after party is for everyone.  There were some guys that rode with their gals on the ride but not very many. 

The ride is noted as 48 miles long and is a 'there and back' ride.  I wanted to ride over 50 miles so between the ride from the parking lot to the check-in spot and going a little farther at the bridge, we got 51 miles!  Woo hoo!  We would have ridden to the next small town but the weather was a concern...as it was we only had to ride 1 1/2 miles in pouring rain on our way back. 
The ride is on a paved trail the whole way with no real hills.  When I got tired I could tell when I was going on an uphill grade but it was not bad at all.  And when you ride with friends and meet a lot of new people the distance is not as long as you would think.  The update e-mails we received said there were over 800 women signed up for this ride and I was a bit nervous.  I was picturing a big pack of riders taking off at the same time like a race.  Not like this at all!  Whew!  The start time was from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. so everyone was leaving when it suited them.  So if you are a newbie and/or nervous about big groups, this really is a great ride to get your feet wet!     

The big adventure started with our hotel....the hotel I saw on hotels.com is NOT the hotel we pulled up to!  Well, it was, but the picture I saw was not a current one and the receipt was under a different name...it was a rental name. (I will contact hotels.com with the update...it is more of a 'housing' rental place versus a hotel/motel for out of towners)  We will just say it was disgusting and did not give a feeling of safety....We did not stay and the guy who ran the place did not seem surprised or hesitate to refund our $$$.  He was so nice and the best thing about the place!  We found a place much closer and much more expensive, but the feeling of safety was worth every penny!  I have used hotels.com several times and this is the first time a place was not what it was supposed to be.  Anyways, after we found our new place we laughed about the old place...Sue said when we walked in the guy probably thought we were in the wrong place.  :-)

The adventures continued from here...and wow!  So much fun and this place was amazing!  We got into town Friday evening and went to the High Trestle Trail Bridge...we found a parking lot and a dirt trail that went to the paved trail.  The dirt trail was another adventure!  It was narrow and curvy, and there were bike signs with a picture of a bike on a steep down hill line to warn us of hills.  Yikes!  It was pitch dark so with the curves and ups & downs I got disoriented with our headlights moving so much.  It was fun but scary at the same time!  On our way back we stayed on the paved path to the road, then rode the bikes to the parking lot.  (The next day in the daylight we saw a closer parking lot)

Welcome to the High Trestle Trail Bridge!  It is lit up in neon blue and it was breathtaking!  My bright yellow wind jacket glowed under the lights...




Riding over the bridge...





The awesome trio!  Erica, Sue and myself. 




Our bikes lined up on the bridge...





Sue and I at the entrance of the bridge.  Actually it could be the entrance or the exit.  These huge pillars are at each end.




The next morning we showed up at Jethro's.  A breakfast buffet with BACON was included in the fee.  We also got lunch and a jersey along with some freebies at a couple of stops along the way. 
https://jethrosdesmoines.com/jethros-lakehouse/


BACON!!!!!!





Here we are, getting ready for ride day!  (Sue, Erica, Me)




We are heading out of town...Sue had Percy, her cute stuffed pig, riding in her back pocket.  Percy did great the whole ride! 





Out of town and riding on the trail...





Our first 'out of order' picture.  At the opposite side of the bridge there is a 'lookout' area.
This is approx 24 miles in to the ride...and we felt great!





AAAHHHHHH, riding over the bridge in the daylight!  Eric stopping for the view...
Both day and night are equally as beautiful on the bridge! 





One of the stops giving away some freebies...





Getting my fruit group!  And it was quite yummy if I say so myself! 
I don't normally drink and ride (anything..bikes, horses, motorcycles....) but it was warm and I was sweating so I was sure it would not stick around long.  Plus the trail was wide and smooth and not packed full of people or obstacles - yeah, it would be just fine.  And it was.  My first time drinking this stuff and it was GOOD!!!





Me and Sue over the bridge...




The Madrid Tigers had this painted on the wall of one of the tunnels. 





Hello!  Me riding and loving every minute of it!  Sure can't tell that rain is on the way, eh?





Just rode thorough the tunnel...I love tunnels and bridges!





Me and the pillars that are at each end of the big bridge...





Sue and Erica riding down the trail...





Sue heading towards one of the small tunnels...
She is wearing her jersey they gave us for the ride.  I got that style and Erica got the Mountain Bike style. 




Hey!  Who are those good looking ladies on the bridge?  Oh, us of course!  :-)





The freebie tent set up outside of the Nite Hawk Bar and Lounge.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of all the bikes parked outside in front and around the side of the building.  I have never seen so many bikes in one place before!  FUN!







Yes, a buffalo.  It was sharing a small grassy area with some cows.  Are they growing Beefalo?  I think they might be.





Heading in to one of the towns...






Erica riding on the High Trail Trestle Bridge.  I love this picture!  She is a member of the Big Tree Cycling Team and is wearing her jersey...she represents well!  :-)





This is where I got my fruit group.  I decided to have my fruit group because this day was full of new things for me, and since I have never had a Bud Light fruit group I might as well add to the 'new things' and give it a try.  Glad I did!  This picnic table was very long on and on wheels.  It is a rental!  Very cool!




Sometimes we did the passing...and sometimes we got passed...





We rode several miles and I saw trails signs about horseback riding.  We finally saw two riders!






This canoe is hanging inside Jethro's BBQ place.  We have bees so I was drawn to the paint job.  :-)
Brian on the other hand knew the brand that was painted on the side and he even knew how to pronounce it.  :-)





A view from the lookout spot at the end of the bridge.




Riding across the bridge with Sue behind me...





There were a lot of riders out but it didn't feel like it.  Even though we would come across some bigger groups we had to get around, most of the time it was like this.  We would see people but there was plenty of room in between.





Sue and Percy Pig passing the BBQ sign...





I am still in awe of this unique bridge!





This scroll was painted in the tunnel with the painted tiger.  Short version - have respect for the trail and others.




The opposite side of the tunnel (same side as Scroll) there was the Trestle Trail painting. 
Sue taking a picture of me taking a picture of her...ha ha!






Outside the Nite Hawk...





The view from the bridge...





There was a photographer taking pictures of the groups and individuals going over the bridge.  These are out pictures...




What a fun time!  On our way back we caught a tail wind and rode a few miles at over 20 mph!  My fastest ride speed ever!  We were watching the big storm cloud and rain heading our way.  We almost made it back....the last 1 1/2 miles we got wet!  I was scared of the wet pavement but we kept on going!  More to laugh about!

There were a lot of laughs, two of us rode farther than we have before, the weather was mostly great, the friendship is even stronger....yeah!  Great times!!!!  There were all kinds of bikes!  Road, gravel, mountain, fatty's, recumbent, and not sure what the other ones were but they were like an elliptical machine.  These ladies had to stand up and ride their elliptical the whole way - and they did!  There were young ladies, middle aged ladies, a little bit past middle aged and some way past middle aged.  The one thing we all had in common besides being women on bikes is the smiles!  SMILES SMILES SMILES!!!! 

Thanks Erica and Sue for going with me and for a great time!  And thanks to our guys for holding down the forts so us gals can go ride for the weekend!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

What? Mid 50's in January?


This calls for playing hookey from work!

This is also my third ride on the new bike.  Woo hoo!

Brian and I took 1/2 day vacation to go ride bikes.  I have been telling him about the route we take on our Wednesday Women's Ride so we rode most of that.  We skipped the ride through town and started at Stephens Lake.  There is a paved trail right next to the lake and another that goes around the park...very nice place to walk or ride bikes.

Stephens Lake area is in a Riparian Forest Buffer Zone.   The short version of what this is:  an area that is either left natural or is re-established with trees, shrubs, grasses, etc. along a stream or river.  It helps with water quality & habitat.  The 'You are Here' marker on the second picture down is at the bottom of the hill and there is a lot of tall grasses along the trail, then it goes to woods.







It has been quite a while since Brian has ridden.  He got sick and that lasted a very long time!  (I was worried...but that is the same 'bug' that a lot of people are getting and it just has to run it's course...ugh!)  He also did something to his back and the idea of riding bikes did not give him warm fuzzies....so happy he is better and wanted to ride with me today!  :-)

He surprised me and himself on this ride!  He rode farther than we both thought he would!  Yes, he was sore!  Hee hee!  Hey, it happens...even to people who ride a lot.


As we got a ways down the trail we decided I was going to ride to our Wednesday night turn around point then head back and catch up with Brian.  My first selfie at the turn around point without the girls.  I miss you gals!  :-)
I headed back and made the sharp turn into the tunnel under the road and guess who is there?  YES!  IT WAS BRIAN WITH A BIG SMILE!  No picture because I had no idea he would there and I was not prepared!
I turned back around to catch him; when I came out of the tunnel I saw him at the top of the switchback (turn around point) waving at me...still with a big grin!  If you look close (or click on the picture to make it bigger) you can see him waving.  My position is just outside of the tunnel.





On our way back I decided to take my first pictures from the seat of this bike.  AAAHHHH!!!!!  Exciting for me!  Brian was zooming up behind me....(we love down hills)...and I now know I can take pictures while riding this bike!  My position on this bike is different and I am riding with the drop bars so up until now I did not take pictures while riding.  But now...Yay me!!!


Brian was making silly faces as he blasted past me!  I wish I was quick enough to get the one of him right by me...it was too funny!

A couple pictures of us in the Riparian Buffer Zone.  :-)


The day was gorgeous!  Temps were perfect, it was overcast most of the time, the wind was not too bad, and I was with my best friend!  Priceless!

Brian test rode my bike around the parking lot when we got back and he loves it!  A much different ride than his Mtn Bike.  We are learning that bikes are like horses...you can't have just one.  Ha ha!  So we will budget for a gravel bike for Brian in the near future.

We had to go to the bike shop because I am embarrassed to say (but I will say it anyways...) that I could not check the air in my tires.  I had to count on the 'feel' test.  I have presta valves and I thought our pump/gauge combo were for schrader and presta valves both.  I didn't think to You Tube it before we left...I have learned a lot from You Tube!  Anyways, I asked Brian if he was okay me riding to the bike shop and he can meet me there in the car (he did 9 miles and said that was enough for the day).
Made it to the shop and they showed me how presta valves work, then I You Tubed it so I remember.  :-)

My first solo ride across town....AAAHHHH.....the excitement!  The nerves!  The excitement again!  AAAHHHH!!!!  So, it was the first time I got to push the button at the cross-walk at Stephens Lake, then wait to make sure traffic really was going to stop at the flashing yellows.  I don't like walking across a street on foot so RIDING across one during the busy time of the day was a big deal for me.
And it was my first time riding through town by myself!  I feel like a little kid who is allowed to ride her bike to school for the first time all by herself!  I was so excited and proud of myself!
All other rides through town have been with our Wednesday group.
I know this would not be a big deal to a lot of people but for me?  BIG DEAL!  EPIC!  AWESOME!  I DID IT!

BIKE REPORT....oh, I don't think I have ever told what I am riding.  It is a 2018 Specialized Diverge E5 Comp - women's version.  It is called a gravel bike...what I call between a hybrid and a road bike.  At first glance it looks like a road bike and it can be ridden on gravel and paved roads and does great on both.  I needed something that could handle dirt trails (and our dirt roads) and also be great on the paved roads and trails and this bike fit the bill.  I will do a better report about the bike itself later.

Back to the report....This was the best ride so far!  I know it is only the third one but it was amazing!  Here is how my rides have played out so far:
1. Took bike to town (it was cold) to test ride...I rode 8 miles just tooling around, practicing clipping in and out of my pedals, trying to figure out my gearing etc.  So my mind was on everything all at once.  It was a great ride but not relaxing.
2. It was colder than heck!  11 degrees!  But I wanted to ride the first day of the year.  We took me and the bike to a small town close by....I rode 3 miles and my finger tips were frozen.  They hurt so bad so between that and still getting used to clipping in and out of my pedals and riding on town streets and having my face wrapped up to keep warm I was still concentrating on a lot of things at one time.  Still a great ride and was so happy I did it!  But not relaxing.
3. Then we have this ride...AWESOME!  The temps were perfect!  Mid 50's and not too windy.  I was very comfortable temp wise and I am getting more comfortable with clipping my shoes in and out of my pedals.  I was able to relax and enjoy the ride more while practicing and experimenting.  So yeah, this was the best ride so far!  And I know they will get better every time I get out there.

As I write this, it is snowing...the ground is covered....so I don't think I will be riding today.  I will fix the flat on my Mountain Bike...it is the back tire.  It would have been much easier for my first tire repair to be on the front.  I want to have the Mtn bike ready to hit the trails at the Conservation Area AND to try out my new pogies!  (Pogies are covers that go on the handle bars...will block wind and help keep hands warm).

Until later...