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 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 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 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 I don't think I will be riding today.  I will fix the flat on my Mountain 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...

Thursday, January 11, 2018


I rode the last day of 2017 and I wanted to ride the first day of 2018! 
I already knew I could not handle what I did the day I did the next best thing!  I bundled up and pulled the Mountain Bike out and rode around the yard a few times.  The dogs loved running with me and I got in a ride!


Brrrrr......last ride of 2017...

What the heck was I thinking?  I will tell you what!  I was thinking the sun is out and I want to ride on the last day of the year!  Of course it looked warm from inside the house...  I bundled up and Brian took me to Sturgeon.  That way I could practice on the streets and get some fresh air...nice fresh frozen air! 


Do I really want to do this?  Yes I do!


Here I go....heading into town....

Now I am in town....a couple people have driven by and did a double take.  

I am in town and had to fingers were frozen and hurt so bad!  I took off my outer layer glove thinking maybe they were too snug with my fuzzy ones underneath....I was going to head back to my starting point and call it a day...I can do this!

I am almost back....waving and trying to look happy and NOT look like I have frozen fingers!  Did it work?  Ha ha!

Woo hoo!  I made it!  I was beginning to wonder, and why have I never noticed the road out of town is a slight uphill grade? 

We got some snow on December 24th....Mardi wanted his picture taken with the bike in the snow.  Isn't he cute?

Back to the ride...I survived!  I am so glad I did was so much fun even with cold fingers!

The worst part was my frozen finger tips.  They are always very cold sensitive so I am not surprised they hurt as bad as they did.  I was just hoping they would be a normal cold.  I want to find some fabric and make pogies that will fit this bike.  A friend made me a pair for my Mountain Bike.  They are covers that go over the handle bars and there is plenty of room for your hands to slip can shift and use the brakes with room to spare...they should block the wind and are water proof.  They do have bar mitts but I would rather make my own if I can.  If not - Bar Mitts it is! 
My toes were cold but not unbearably cold.  I will want shoe covers if I do this very often...and as of now I am thinking I would at least like it to be in the 20's.   
I was wearing a double layer of pants and my legs were cold but not unbearably cold. 
My torso was in four layers and I stayed very warm...even sweated.
My face....ugh!  I need to work on this...I don't like to cover it up because my frozen breath on the inside of the scarf grosses me out!  But the air was too cold to breathe I went back and forth.  On a while off a while.  I just feel claustrophobic and because my breath was freezing I couldn't get a deep breath...and like I said, it is gross!
I had a headband around my ears so they were fairly comfortable but the top of my head was cold.  I will need to get a thin hat to wear under my helmet.  Again....if I ride in the 20's it isn't that bad.

So there you have last ride of 2017!

Here I come 2018!


My first real ride on my NEW BIKE!

I wanted to get out and ride and also practice clipping in and out of my pedals.  I headed to Flat Branch Park in Columbia....there were not many people out....probably because it was cold and cloudy.  PERFECT!  I didn't have to worry about running in to anybody.

I rode down the trail and back, plus rode a few side trails up and down some small hills to get a feel for the gears.  I ended up riding 8 miles.  :-) 

One of the paintings in a tunnel.  There are a lot of tunnels around town to go under the streets.  I love them! 
Have I mentioned I love bridges?  Why yes I have!

Oh my gosh, trying to get my phone camera propped up to take a picture was a challenge!  I don't know how many pictures I took...a lot!  And only a couple I could use.  Ha!


I had a great ride.  There are a couple small parking lots along the trail so I did circles in them too...just wanted to ride and get used to the feel.  One guy sitting in the park said "You are riding an awful lot of circles" and I I laughed and told him I was practicing.  He said I was doing a good job!  :-) 
I did not get comfortable with the gearing up and down the hills but that might have been because I was also thinking about being clipped in my pedals.  
Well, if I was going up a hill and had to stop to rest, then forgot to unclip my shoes, I would fall over in slow motion....Yep, my glass is half full!  

Until later...

New Bike Nights!!!! Woo Hoo!

Yay!  Finally here!  She was due in November but something happened...don't know what...but she did not make the November shipment.  I looked at other bikes that could be here quicker (I already waited 1 1/2 months for her) but after all the mental "should I or shouldn't I?" back and forth I knew this is the ONE I wanted.  So I would wait one more month...


Angela called me that morning to let me know the bike was here and would be put together the next day.  I was on my way to the airport to pick up my Mom so we stopped by on our way back.  We opened the box to look....I was more curious about the color and IT WAS AMAZING!  It is called Satin Cast Berry and it looks like a dark purple plum with a shimmer of satin over it..with accents of mint.

Angela and I checking her out!

Now to wait until the next day after is going to be along night and day!  :-)

The next night was officially NEW BIKE NIGHT!  AAAHHHH!!!!!  SOOOO EXCITED!!!!
I was also taking the plunge and switching over to clipless pedals.  There are little clips on the bottom of the shoe that clip in to the pedal.  You have to turn your foot sideways to unclip and move your foot to the ground.  If you forget to unclip or you pull straight up or back or sideways, your foot won't come off the pedal.  Yep, you will fall over.  Ha ha!
In the first picture I am concentrating so hard because I was afraid I was going to crash into the row of new bikes.  I really had to think about feet were stuck to the pedals and I was a little freaked out.  At first I felt claustrophobic...
On the way back I was feeling it!
(I am leaving out the part where I didn't get unclipped and I sort of leaned sideways into one of the did not fall but someone got a flat protein bar...oh, I guess I just told about it...ha ha!) 

Here she is, leaning against the counter all clean and pretty. 

NEW BIKE NIGHT IS AWESOME!  When I saw her the first time I was so happy I waited instead of getting something else. 

I laugh at my bike journey...first I was saying "I am not paying $200.00 for a freaking bike!"
Then I find a used one that fit me perfect (did not hurt my wrist) for a little over that.  Okay, fine.
I loved it and was so happy I didn't let my cheapo ways get in the way of this much fun!

Then after a while I thought I wanted a new bike.  I was keeping the Mountain Bike but I wanted something that would travel better on the roads.  So I gave myself an invisible budget....and found something I THOUGHT I would like.  I was excited because it was $300.00 under my invisible budget.  I talked to Angela about it, asking her all kinds of questions that she happily answered.  Then she started asking me questions...starting with why I picked the one I did.  Then she asked if I had ever thought about a drop bar bike.  Nope, had not thought of it.  I am old(er) so figured straight bars would be better for me.  She let me ride one of their drop bar bikes on the Wednesday Women's Ride.  At first I hated it but after almost 11 miles on it I felt comfortable and was rethinking this...I needed to ride it again...and again....and again!  I rode it a few times because I found new things I liked about it and I also had more questions about how things worked. 
After a lot of thought and reading about bikes, components, etc., I finally picked my bike.  Let's just say "What budget?"  HA HA!  I will say I have no regrets!  I only have three rides on her as of this write up but I still have no regrets! 

So, it is safe to say I have JUMPED out of my comfort zone!  Ha ha!  And I am so happy I did!

Until later...Karen and Tripp who still wishes he had his own wheels for his hooves but is happy he gets a break...
Who is Tripp?  He is my mustang horse...yes, a real mustang from out West.  He was wild when I got him at age 4  in 2008 and now he is the sweetest love bug you have ever seen!  Yes, I ride him.  :-) 
Here is a picture of cute little Tripp.  This is from a couple years ago...yep, I rode him in a rope halter and bareback pad a lot. 

The Magic Tree

It was a windy chilly night, but not too chilly for our Wednesday night the Magic Tree!

This ride took a different route than our regular ride.  I wish I could remember exactly how we got there because it was a nice ride!  It was all in the dark when we started....we rode through town, we got to ride down a big paved hill which was so much fun, then we got on the trail.  We rode the trail a while then went up a hill and popped out in a cul de sac...we rode through a neighborhood and saw a lot of pretty lights then there it was....the Magic Tree.
The tree is so pretty and a popular place for locals and visitors both.

The tree is so pretty and was hard to leave but we knew we had to get back.  It was a work night after all.  :-)

The ride back was great BUT there was that big hill we got to zoom down....let's just say for most of us there was no zooming up!  We did not take the road up but we did take the trail next to it up.  I ran out of air about half way and had to stop. I walked a bit, got a nice big deep breath then got back on and finished the hill. The girls were cheering when I made it to the top!  And this my friends is what makes this group so great!  Sure, I did not want to have to walk any of that hill (but air is important) and slow anybody down, but everyone is so encouraging!  When I heard the cheering I laughed, pedaled harder and was just happy!  I love this group! 

This was our last ride of 2017 together...look out 2018!  Here we come!


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Route 66/Elbow Inn Black Friday Gravel Ride

Oh my gosh, what did we get ourselves in to?  Me and one of our Wednesday night riders, Shelly, thought this sounded like fun (it was!).  Neither one of us has every done a gravel ride so why not give it a try?  We heard about a couple big hills but sure, we could do it!

As we were unloading bikes and checking tire pressures, etc., we heard several people talking (they all knew each other) about what rides they have done, the high mileage, the challenge of the trails, how they did on this ride the year before.....Shelly and I looked at each other and thought "Oh oh, what have we done?"  HA HA!  We were so nervous because it was something very new to us!  I had already planned on going by myself but when she said she wanted to go I was ecstatic!  Riding with her made it so much more fun!

Well, the ride was 35'ish miles....we did 15 miles.  We were just shy of 15 so we rode to a bridge and back to get over the 15 mark.  There was another couple who were not riding the whole thing so they told us about the short cut.  While they rode all paved road back, Shelly and I rode a short section of paved road then picked up the gravel road that the other riders would come to.  I am so glad we did!  It was challenging (to us) and fun! 

The first hill of the ride was brutal!  Some people say they ride it all the way up....all I have to say is WOW!  Part of it was almost straight up...yes, we walked most of it.  Once we made it to the top we started riding again.  It is challenging riding on gravel roads.  Part of our challenge is we are what Brian (hubby) calls 'tourists', not competitors.  Ha ha!  Yes we are!  We stopped for a few pictures and stopped to just look around.  When we made it to almost the half way point we did not know if we would make it back before dark (not knowing the trail or roads) so that was when we decided to cut the route in half.
The funny thing was when we were almost back to Devils Elbow, some of the other riders were zooming past us!  We cut the route in half and were getting lapped!  HA HA! 

Shelly and I taking advantage of our first photo op...a railroad less than 5 minutes in to our ride.  :-)

The only thing missing was the train...yes, I would have moved myself and the bike.  :-)

I like taking pictures of my is almost like traveling with a gnome and taking pictures of the gnome everywhere. OH!  I need to get a gnome or a troll to bring with me!  :-)

Part of the ride went off road...this was the easy part.  The hard part (for us) was through the woods with lots of rocks and roots and being so close to trees on a skinny bumpy trail.  It was so scary but also fun...I could not stop laughing and saying "Oh crap!"  "Oh crap!"  :-)

This was the first time I wore a backpack.  I usually don't like anything pulling on my shoulders but this thing was very comfortable!  My only problem was my 2nd water bottle kept shifting so it would feel crooked (because it was) but other than that, it was great!  Carried everything we would need if we had a flat or a wound.  Well, maybe not bone sticking out...I will make a note to add supplies for that. 

This is the bridge we rode to at the end of the ride to get our 15 miles.  It was such a pretty day and we could not have asked for better weather!  The river and the bluffs were beautiful!

We had such a great time....and are planning for next year!  Yay us!

We met some fun people who told us about other rides that we might try sometime.  We are both working on our fitness so the idea of the fun rides sounds like something we would love!

Until later... 

Wednesday Women's Ride on Sunday....for donuts!

Angela put together morning yoga at the shop (it was awesome!) then a ride to the Big Tree for breakfast! 

Donuts...will ride for donuts! 

Oh my, another cold day...but such a great ride! 

Here we are...a group of serious women riding for donuts and coffee!

How can we ride AND get donuts and coffee at a Big Tree you ask?

 Our wonderful delivery guy!!!!  Thank you John!!!

The goodies were set up on the bench...happy girls!

I don't usually eat donuts, but this was a special occasion.  And let me tell was a YUMMY donut!!!!  I am not a coffee drinker so my sweetened (fake sugar) water was sour after eating my YUMMY donut!  It takes more than sour tasting water to take this girl down!  :-)

Fun group!  It was windy and cold out...

Happy girls full of donuts and coffee...time to get started back to town. 

The ride back was pretty bike fitness is improving but my thighs still scream at me sometimes.  I have a feeling they will for a long time...and that is okay with me!  The more they scream the more I scream back.  I might do it standing in one place.....but I get the last word!  :-)

Until later...Karen and Tripp who wants his own wheels on each hoof... 

Monster Bike Bash - October 2017

Wow, this ride was all kinds of special!  In my first biking post I mentioned a Yahoo Group friend who talked about biking and how much fun it was.  After two years of reading her posts about how much fun she was having and how much better her health was is when I finally decided to get a bike!  We were internet friends for a long time...WE GOT TO MEET IN PERSON AT THIS RIDE!  AAAHHHH!!!!!  I was so excited!!!!

Meet my friend Marna! 

I just had to put the uncropped picture here too...check out the colors on this tree!  AAAHHHH!!!  So pretty!

Here is the whole family!  Deron - Marna - Me (yes, I am now family) - Deron's son Orion.  Their pup Teanna is in the crate and made the ride with us.  Everything was decorated and there were puppy treats for other dogs on the trail.  :-)  She is such a good girl!  Deron and Marna ride together a lot and I am serious...they know how to have fun!  A couple of Fat Bikes make up their bike family (left at home this trip) and now I am wanting one of those!  Ha!  They live in snow country so have the perfect playground for them!

Miss Teanna looking all cute!  She was such a good girl and thank goodness she had a coat!  It was cold and damp.   

Brian brought me in to town and helped me get webbed up.  He also wanted to meet my internet friends!  :-)
It was a little colder than what we thought it would be so I had to improvise.  My bendy spider made the trip on my helmet and a couple more medium size ones were hooked to the 'webbing' around my jacket.  We also threw on several smaller black plastic spiders....which is funny because spiders freak me out. 
I forgot my ear cover so a man we met in the parking lot let me use his extra one.  THANK YOU!  I got his address through Facebook after the event and mailed it back to him so he can save someone else on a cold blustery day!  :-)

My pirate friends who let me borrow the headband for my ears...  For some reason my best picture of them is them watching Deron unload a bike.  These two ride a lot and they ride all over the place!  I have met the best people out riding!  (bikes, horses and motorcycles) 

Thank you Kevin Dingman for taking pictures!  Selfies are great but capturing a moment like this is priceless!  I feel like Marna and I have been friends forever and have seen each other on a regular basis....but this is our first ride together!  Thank you Marna for letting our Yahoo group know how much fun cycling is!

Deron and Orion blazing the trail with little Teanna in her crate.  Deron was a beast pulling that trailer!  Orion had not ridden in a long time and came from out of town to ride with us.  I also want to thank CycleX.  Orion needed a bike so we headed over to CycleX and rented one that morning.  They also fixed something on Deron's bike so high five you guys!!!!  You helped make this a fun day for us! 

Thank you Kevin Dingman for taking pictures along the route!  I love this can see my helmet spider and the one hanging off my left shoulder.  HAPPY HAPPY!
(To see more pictures and video of this event check out

There was a lot of fun stuff going on along the trail.  Some folks had a 'rest stop' with adult refreshments, there was music, and it was just FUN!

Here was some entertainment at a shelter along the trail.  He had a neat skeleton sitting on his shoulders.

Orion trying to stay warm while we stopped to listen to the one man band and check out his skeleton friend.  We also people can you not at the Monster Bike Bash?
By the way, when I first met Orion and saw he was wearing tie-dye I knew he was good people!  :-)

The next stop was in Huntsdale at The Station House at Katfish Katy's.  Even though it was cold the band was playing and everyone was having some food, drink, and a good time!

Next Stop:  Rocheport Oktoberfest Music Festival.  Woo hoo!  They had a stage set up with music scheduled all day and into the night, and a couple blow up things.  But at this point the best part was the fire pit!  While we were there only one fire pit was going...and a lot of people trying to scootch in to feel the warmth.

Even dragons think it is fun to photo bomb!  I knew I loved dragons for a reason....other than dragons are cool!  :-)
Check out the nurse behind me.
Me and the blow up guy behind me hovering next to the stage...

Me hanging out with the big blow up guy and some of my new closest friends.  :-)

This group was awesome!  Simply known as The Dorothy's.  Over the years they have dressed up with a Wizard of Oz theme....and yes, the high heels were worn while riding (Sunflower sugar mask girl).  The gal said it was not as bad as what you would think...I saw her on the trail and she was zooming right along! 

You never know what you will see while riding a bike! 

Deron holding a snuggled up Teanna.  She was watching all the silly people with interest.

Marna, Deron & Teanna, and Orion by the fire pit while listening to music. 

The plan was to do a round trip ride but it did not work out that way.  It was a cold day and I stayed warm enough.....and part of the time I felt like I was burning up.  I figured it was crazy lady hormones so didn't think anything about it....until we stopped.  I felt like my clothing was real damp - oh my gosh, can you say SOPPING WET?  Yes, my shirts were sopping wet.  I thought my jacket breathed because on cold windy days I can feel the wind through it....maybe it was not the wind....maybe the fabric was just cold feeling and I thought it was leaking wind.  HA HA!  I said "Leaking wind...."  :-)  Anyways, my coat did NOT breathe and since it was so cold when we stopped I got chilled.  Brian came to the rescue...he brought the truck to pick us up and took us back to town.

We got to listen to music, hang out by the fire ring, visit with some people I used to work with, people watched (cool costumes) and listened to more music. 

This really has been a fun bike year for me!  I have ventured out to do things I would never have done before...and ride a bike for several miles?  Ummm, no!  But now it is "HECK YEAH!!!!"  Even if it is too far and my legs are screaming at me.  I am loving it so much!

And to meet my internet friends for the first time....priceless!  In fact we are already planning to meet up this summer sometime to ride.  We will head their direction and when they come back to visit family we will meet up to ride here. 

Like all my rides so far I have learned a lot, and I like to mention a couple things.....
Making sure my clothing really does breathe and make sure I have a kit put together in each vehicle so I am ready for any weather that comes our way.

What I did right....I SHOWED UP AND RODE MY BIKE!  I talked to people (usually a loner) and I laughed a lot! 

Life is good....