Archive for May, 2012

I just realized …

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Monday is a holiday!

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

I’m looking forward to getting some good riding in this weekend! I’ll be training for my June 24th TEAM LIVESTRONG Challenge Davis event.

If anyone would like to donate, I will match you dollar for dollar, up to a total of $250. To make a donation, go here:http://laf.livestrong.org/site/TR?pg=pfind&fr_id=1181 and type in my name, scroll down and click on my name. That should take you to my page.

Team Livestrong Challenge Davis

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

I did it!

I registered!

June 24th I will be riding the TEAM LIVESTRONG Challenge Davis event.

If anyone would like to donate, I will match you dollar for dollar, up to a total of $250.

To make a donation, go here:http://laf.livestrong.org/site/TR?pg=pfind&fr_id=1181 and type in my name. That should take you to my page.

Tour de Cure 2012 – the fruit, oh the fruit

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

I’m not sure why, but I can’t get these pictures to post correctly in my Tour de Cure post, so I’ll try in a separate post …

These strawberries were as sweet and delicious as they are bright and beautiful!

Icy cold and refreshing watermelon

Succulent, sweet honeydew melon

Lively and sweet canteloupe

 

2012 Napa Valley Tour de Cure

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I had the pleasure of riding the Napa Valley Tour de Cure.

2012 First Rest Stop, about 25 miles into the ride

The first rest stop was about 25 miles into the 50-80-100 mile rides, at the entrance to Sterling Winery. Believe it or not, I was the first rider to arrive! I am certain that it had more to do with there not being a sign up yet on Highway 29 when I rode past than anything else. I missed this one last year, so I made sure to stop this year. I wanted to refill on water and write on the board. I wrote my note on the board and one of the volunteers told me that she saw my note from last year, and that she had just erased the board from last year and remembered my note.

I headed back out up Valley to Calistoga on Highway 29, then 128 to Healdsburg. Last year  the hills between Calistoga and Healdsburg, felt more challenging. They were still a challenge this year, but I don’t think I struggled as much. There are a couple of decent hills on 128 and I got passed about as often as I passed other rides going up the hill. Overall, I think I rode stronger and more steadily this year than last. I know a lot of that is technique; I’ve been getting some great training tips and advice lately, and have been working on hills more. That gave me the confidence and strength to climb more effectively.

Second rest stop, at Fieldstone Winery

Between Calistoga and Healdsburg, there are a few good climbs for a rider of my level, balanced with some nice flat stretches. There is one area that follows a climb, a downhill, followed by another uphill. If you hit this just right, you can crest the hill, gather speed on the downhill and keep the momentum going on the uphill for a while. There were a few spots on this ride where I really hit my stride and rode very strong. This was one of them, and it was exciting because on this uphill I passed a few riders who had passed me on the previous climb. Then, the road leveled out and they passed me again on the flat. Oh, well. It was fun in the moment. Actually, what slowed me down was that I ate a few nuts at the first rest stop, and they didn’t sit so well in my stomach. I know better than to eat anything high fat during the ride, but I thought I might be OK with just a few. Lesson learned. Thankfully, I had some Tums in my pack, chomped on a few, and was right back on the road, and was feeling fine within a few minutes.

I got to the second rest stop, and ran into some familiar faces there. One thing I really love about these rides is getting to meet other cyclists.

I refreshed my water and electrolyte drink, and grabbed a little snack before heading out to do the 20 mile loop from Fieldstone Winery off Highway 128 into Healdsburg, Dry Creek Valley Road, Lytton Springs Road, and back to Fieldstone. Last year I really struggled with this section of the ride; I expected it to be flat. It is actually relatively flat, a few gentle rolling hills, and really nothing like the area between Calistoga and Fieldstone. I think my struggle last year was mostly mental; it was my first century ride and those 20 miles seemed like the longest 20 miles I had every cycled in my life. I kept getting passed and at one point I convinced myself that I was the very last rider and that by the time I got back to the rest stop it would be closed and I would be out of water and food and energy and … I think I just psyched myself out for a while.

This year, that 20 mile loop seemed to be a breeze.

Second stop at Fieldstone, about 68 miles into the ride.

I got back to the rest stop, refreshed my water, and was a little bummed they were out of Cytomax powder (http://www.cytomax.com/). I still had some in one of my bottles, so I would have been fine just adding water to it. Another cyclist came up and offered me a tablet; I think it was a Gu Brew. This is what I’m talking about when I say that the cycling community is awesome!

This year, I discovered the potatoes. Every year at the Tour de Cure, they have boiled red potatoes, served cold, and I always thought that was kind of weird. But, this year I overheard one of the volunteers talking to a rider about the potatoes. She said that the potatoes were easily digested, provided quick energy, and were easy on the stomach.  I wondered why I had not tried them in previous years?

I got there just in time to sample the last of the potatoes!

Feeling refreshed and nourished, I headed back out towards Calistoga. I was dreading the one big climb I knew was coming. I cruised steadily along, waiting for this big climb that I remembered from last year, but the climbs didn’t seem as challenging this year. I was gearing better, spinning at a higher cadence, and had been climbing more in the couple of months prior to this year’s Tour de Cure. Thanks to some great cycling training tips and advice I have been receiving, I was better prepared this year.

When I crested that last hill, heading back into Calistoga, the sky was so incredibly beautiful it was nearly impossible to resist stopping for a photo. It wasn’t a safe place to stop, and I was on a mission to complete this year’s century ride in less time than last year’s, so I continued on. I did let out a “wooooooooo!” on the downhill, but I don’t think anyone was around to hear it. That was one of those rare moments of perfection in this life and it felt amazing. The big climb I had dreaded I conquered (almost) effortlessly.

I stopped very briefly at the Sterling Winery rest stop again briefly on the way back, then headed back towards Yountville on the Silverado Trail. This was about 72 miles into the ride. I was not mentally prepared for what was about to happen.

The whole ride up the Valley was into the wind. I think it’s fair to say that most riders expected to have a tailwind on our way back Silverado Trail. When I turned right onto Silverado Trail, I was surprised to find myself riding into the wind. Nooooooooo!  I struggled from mile 72 to about mile 75. I got passed. Over and over and over again. Ugh! I didn’t understand at first what was going on; I had been riding so strong. What happened?  I was well hydrated. I was well nourished. I had just had a quick rest stop. What happened? I realized that it was attitude. I was not mentally prepared to ride into the wind. I wanted to give up and just piddle back to rest of the way. Who cared if I beat my time from last year; I just needed to finish., right?

I started to think about all of the challenges my brother faced in his life. How could I dedicate this ride to him if I was whining about a little wind? I had to do this. At mile 75, I hit stride again and was suddenly passing those riders who had blown past me just a few miles before. I was able to maintain a good pace for the next 10+ miles to the last rest stop. I stopped briefly, got water, a little snack, and headed back out.  I kept a good pace for the rest of the ride.

Still smiling at 95+ miles!!

 

Done! 101.5 miles

Chicken Marsala, Caesar Salad, Fresh Fruit ...

After the ride, there is always a great lunch. This year it was provided by Trancas Steak House.  They had a wonderful menu, but I have to admit that for me the best part was the abundance of fresh fruit – honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon, and strawberries.

I am trying to post pictures of this fruit, but for some reason I can’t figure out, WordPress is not allowing me to do so … rather than keep delaying posting this, I’ll just post this for now and try again later.

Sorry for the delay …

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Sorry for the delay – I will post about the Tour de Cure soon!

Why Do I Ride?

Coming Soon!! 2012 Napa Valley Tour de Cure

Monday, May 7th, 2012

That was AWESOME!!!

Details and photos coming soon …

Three Hours From Now …

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

I’ll be riding my fourth Napa Valley Tour de Cure.

 

Always Have a Great Dinner the Night Before …

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Recipe for a Great Pre-Ride Dinner

Grilled Rocky Chicken Breast
Sticky Brown Rice
Fresh Steamed Vegetables
Good Company 

 

In Just 18 1/2 Hours I’ll Be Checking In …

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

… not that I’m counting down, or anything …

24 Hours From Now …

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

I will be lining up to start my fourth Napa Valley Tour de Cure.

I sure hope it’s not as windy in the Napa Valley tomorrow as it is in Davis this morning. Yikes!