Thursday, October 4, 2012

Off Day

I would be tempted to call today an "off day," but it's early and I hate to write the whole thing off. And really, it's just my own lack of planning and preparation that threw everything off.

Last night, I decided I was going to ride my bike to work. Well, I quickly talked myself out of riding all the way to work, because a) I don't know the way via the bike path; b) I am still a ninny about riding in traffic; c) I work at the top of some pretty freaking steep hills.

But, I wanted to ride as far as the Mercer Island Park & Ride. I am struggling to get mid-week rides/workouts in, and it is making me twitchy. I've decided the smartest thing to do is start working out in the morning, but that will require a big mindshift for me, as my warm bed is one of my favorite places in teh world to be. The Mercer Island P&R is only 5 miles or so from my house, it's a nice ride, and it's good practice for me to start thinking about biking to work. Bike to the P&R, lock up the bike, hop my bus and go to work.

However. There is so much more to biking to work than you would think. I don't have a backpack. I had one, but Alli took it over for school. What can I wear to bike that I can wear at work all day? (I can pretty much wear what I want to work, so this isn't a big concern.) I resolved the backpack issue: I'd just take my wallet and leave my purse at home. Figured out what I'd wear. Rolled out of bed this morning and hit the shower, got ready to go. Oops, I better have something to eat and drink, I am learning that I need a little something in my belly or that light-headedness kicks in.

Couldn't find any earbuds. I know I probably shouldn't wear them while biking, but I do. Just in one ear. Plus, over a lot of this ride there is a ton of traffic noise - headphones help. Okay, found some. Reid has been taking the squishy rubber ends off all the earbuds in the house, but I got lucky and found some replacements.

Get the bike ready to go, and fortunately I remembered to grab the bike lock. I should probably have one of those fancy u-bolt locks, but mine is a big long cable. Boy, it wraps around the seat 1000 times, I hope it doesn't bug me while I ride. Okay, bike is ready to go...just need to turn on the lamps.

ARGH!!! The lamps are on my old bike, which is now Alli's bike! Grrr. Okay, I'll swap out the lamps really quickly.

I cannot figure out how to get the headlamp mount off Alli's bike. It's too dark to ride without the lights. I try, and I try, but I can't figure it out. Plus, it's too dark to really see what I'm doing. My garage has suck lighting. I half-heartedly think of riding Alli's bike but decide not to. What a bummer.

I did switch the back light over, but it took me forever to figure that out, too, and there was a lot of little-tiny-washer dropping. This had me thinking "off day," but really, I decided it's "You need reading glasses and you should just start owning that reality." biking in, but I'll leave here early enough today that if I move with great purpose, I'll have time to grab my bike and repeat my I-90 bridge lookout ride from the other day. Now that I have the Strava cycling app, I am a woman obsessed. I am just about the slowest person on there, but Strava tracks your time along certain segments of road compared to other cyclists. *Lots* of other cyclists. Plus, it tracks your time against your own previous rides, and you get PR "Achievements" when you beat them! Ohhhhhhh,  I am all about the gold stars. I need to get out and ride, ride, ride.

This evening, though, I have my youngest's curriculum night at school. For the record, all school activities take place on my "kid-free" nights. So in September and October, especially, it feels like my free evenings are completely booked with school events. I can get whiny about this at times.

Anyway, this afternoon I'll bolt home, grab my bike, do my ride and still hopefully make it on time to Reid's school event. Today, I am dressed badly, I'm disgruntled that I didn't get to ride, I got to SBUX and the girl twice overcharged me for my drink and then they didn't put soy milk in it, as usual. For this SBUX location, that sort of thing is crazy unusual! Really, it's like going to your mom's house, if your mom is someone who spoils you to death. They know what you want, they know your name, they know just how you like everything. I guess they're preparing me for our break-up later this month. I miss them already. There will be tears, but once the free-refill program changes, I just can't justify spending the kind of cash on tea that will be required if I kept up my normal drinking habits. Sob.

It's a good hair day, though. :)

The cycling plan for the rest of this week and this weekend is an exciting one!

- Today: hurry home, repeat I-90 lookout ride. Strava cycling app says it's 18.8 miles round-trip, that sounds about right. Should take me about 1:40.
- Tomorrow: maybe possibly try to ride to Mercer Island P&R again in the morning.
- Saturday: up early, I am riding around the south end of Lake Washington for the first time, that's about 25 miles. This is a big move for me, because I'm starting to branch out into longer rides that aren't exclusively on bike paths. This route is a very popular route. I am soooooo lucky to live where I do, the Seattle area in general and my neighborhood specifically is a very, very big bicycling town. That makes it so easy to get started!
- Sunday: up early again, I am meeting two people (Justin and Michelle) that I met on my first group ride a couple weeks ago. I am finally going on my Iron Horse Trail ride! I asked these two if they wanted to join me, and they were all for it. YAY FOR NEW BICYCLING FRIENDS!! This is the one that is about 22 miles  and includes a 2 mile trip through an old railroad tunnel through the mountain pass. I am so excited! Here's a little description from someone's web page:
The Iron Horse Trail (a.k.a. the John Wayne Pioneer Trail) is an old railroad line converted to a trail. The ride features a 2.5 mile long tunnel and several high trestle bridges. The long tunnel and the bridges help make the ride especially fun. Near Olallie State Park you may see some rock climbers climbing on the cliffs above the trail. The tunnel is very dark. It has a type of darkness that swallows photons. There is no ambient moonlight or starlight in the tunnel so it is darker than what you would experience on a normal night ride. A standard handheld flashlight will not put out enough light to ride. A powerful special purpose cycling light is highly recommended. I use a 15 watt NiteRider light mounted on my helmet and it seems barely adequate. If you try riding the tunnel with an inadequate light you will likely end up walking most of the tunnel instead of riding it. The tunnel is one of the best parts of the ride so bring a good light so you can enjoy it.
Here's the best video I can find on youtube. Do like I did and just fast forward through bunches of it (seriously, why did he film the whole process of taking off his sunglasses inside a dark tunnel???). The best parts are after the tunnel - but you can get an idea of how *dark* that thing will be . The scenery of the trail is awesome -  I am sooooooooo looking forward to this ride!!


  1. Hooray for a good hair day! Was I wrong to chuckle a bit about the rest of the challenges you faced? If so, I blame it on your writing style. You made it funny. Yep. That's it.

  2. Didn't anyone ever tell you to lay out your workout stuff the night before (and check out your bike)? So close...

    I can feel your excitement and am happy for you and your biking and your new friends...

    Are you still running the half in 3 weeks?

  3. have fun on the group ride - I think they have a marathon that runs that route!

  4. HA HA HA!! That sounds exactly how I would be trying to ride my bike to work. As it is I can only manage to get to curves once a week because it involves a lot of extra planning so that I'm sitting in my desk by 7am. Oy.

    You remember Susanne right? She and you would have a good old time talking biking (Or at lease I imagine you!

  5. Julie, you had me slightly panicked about Starbucks Rewards. I didn't remember seeing anything about free refills going away, and sure enough, they haven't. I realize that the no free soy thing is a bummer for you, but at least you can still keep getting your refills!