The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Getting better, getting back into synch, making better choices.

I still have some "issues," most notably my left hand. I probably injured the ligament that runs between the wrist and the thumb. Just about everything makes it hurt, still taking 2 advil every morning. It's going to take a long time to heal. Last week I had the giant butt hematoma "aspirated." I will spare you the details, but it involved lidocaine and a needle. The hematoma is much smaller and I am able to move about much more without any discomfort..... but I'm beginning to think my butt may never return to its pre-smash dimensions.

I have been more active, both indoors and outdoors. Some of my friends have been hiking, but I worry about keeping up for 7 or 8 miles, so I have been doing my own walking thing. I contemplated taking Nirvana (my hybrid bike) to the bike path, but it was a little too cold to be riding that slow! So I opted for a spin class. I haven't done any weight lifting because of my hand, but I think I might try using stretchy strength bands.

Being more active has definitely made want to make better food choices as well. It's still difficult to avoid all the holiday "extras" but at least I'm not having pumpkin pie for breakfast. I've been putting more time into cooking and food prep.

So things are getting better. My body is healing and my mind is thinking better thoughts. Looking forward to the next 2 weeks, visiting with friends and family, getting ready to move into the new year.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Two Weeks Out

Its been 2 weeks since Shelly v. Truck. Overall I am doing well. The black and blues are receding, as are the scabs. The extra ass on my ass is definitely smaller, but still worthy of an identity (I wonder if the left half of my butt will ever return to pre-truck dimensions). The soreness and pain is much less, but I still have some issues, mostly my left thumb and hand. Luckily, I am right-handed, but there are so many "activities of daily living" that require use of both hands. These hurt. I can walk, but even little jumps send shock waves that seem to end at that left butt place of pain. I also have some difficulty sleeping.

I only took a half day off from work. But I have been doing some heavy duty resting. I have been spending most of my time at home, watching TV, reading, writing.....I think it was time well-spent. My body definitely needed and benefited from that down time. But I think it is time to start getting back in the game. I'm not ready to get back on my bike, or even spin. I can't do yoga, and I'm not sure if I can lift weights. It is time to start figuring out what I can do, because I'm sure I can do something, and something is way better than what I have been doing.

My spaceship is about to reenter the atmosphere. Time to get off the couch.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Whole Lot of Nothing Going On

It's been a tough week in our house. On Wednesday, DH went to LaGuardia Airport to pick up son #2. He called from the Bronx..... he drove over a big chunk of something and ripped out his transmission. So while he got towed, I drove to the airport and then picked up DH. His car spent Thanksgiving weekend in the Bronx. Tomorrow, DH will figure out the logistics of getting the transmission replaced.

Like DH's Mistubishi, I spent most of Thanksgiving weekend doing nothing. Unless giving yourself time to heal counts as something. Well, I did a few things, but nothing active.

Yesterday my cycling friends celebrated a birthday with a bunch of rides that all started at a nearby park.. After the rides, we gathered in the "pavilion," where they have a fireplace, electric outlets and picnic tables. I didn't ride, but I did make guacamole and get the fire started. We plugged in a couple of crockpots and had a giant pot luck after Thanksgiving party. At least I can participate in partying.

Today I did some cooking, and it wore me out. My left thumb/hand is still quite sore and all the food prep really made my hand (and some other body parts) hurt. Advil. I do feel like I am I am getting impatient. The scabs, the bruises, the discomfort.....I know I need to cut myself some slack and just give my body the time it's going to need, however long that might be. I keep having to remind myself that I got hit by a truck a week ago. I will re-evaluate next weekend. Maybe I can start doing something, even if it's just going for a walk.

I did enjoy spending time with friends and family. My mom came up from Florida and we went to lunch and the movies together on Tuesday. Son #2 flew home from North Dakota. How wonderful to see him beaming and sharing his adventures as a student pilot. So proud of him. He exudes professionalism and responsibility for the lifestyle he has chosen. Son #1 met us at my brother's house on Thanksgiving. So proud of him, my working boy, also a responsible professional. And now its just DH and I. Trying to stay awake through the football game. Trying not to think about going back to work tomorrow after the long weekend. Business as usual in the empty nest.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Atercrash Aftermath

I'm doing well, all things considered. I am moving slower, but I went to work on Monday. I have had some interesting conversations with friends and colleagues. "Hi Shelly, how was your weekend.". "Uh, I got hit by a truck on Saturday and spent a few hours in the ER but nothing is broken.". A few friends are encouraging me to rethink this whole cycling thing. One suggested sticking to the bike trails, another suggested hiking as an alternative. I reminded her that I was attacked by bees while hiking. Son #2 suggested spinning classes. I know several others were thinking similar thoughts but didn't verbalized them. On the other hand, my DH went for a ride on Sunday, alone (after I assured him that I didn't need him to stay home with me).

I expected this. After all, I have had 2 serious accidents in the past 1.5 years. I've never thought about cycling as a dangerous sport, despite numerous accidents to club members every year. Most of those people are back on their bikes as soon as they are able. Right now I feel like one of those people. If I had a body and a bike in working order, I would be out there this weekend. Am I crazy?

The bike is fine, the back wheel needed to be trued, and she has a few new scratches. My favorite outdoor fitness jacket got a bit ripped up, I think I can patch it. I was wearing a pair of nice (unpadded) bike shorts over my very nice (padded) tights. The shorts are ripped up but the tights are fine. I may try to sew the shorts up with some bright colored embroidery thread, and make them my good luck bike shorts. As for me, it is going to take time. The bruising on my arm and butt are extreme. I hurt. The soreness has actually gotten a little worse over the last few days. It is the end of the season, so I don't feel like I am missing out on very much. This could take several months to really heal. So I will have time to think it all through but come spring, I hope Dolce and I are back on the road.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Truck 1, Shelly 0

I have attended 4 meetings in the last 5 weeks: Boston, White Plains, Las Vegas, and Washington DC. It's been tough to do the right thing, with much less control over food and limited opportunities to work out. Plus I seemed to remain in sloth-mode even when I was home and had choices...... I was having difficulty getting turned around; I was not making good decisions.

This weekend was a good opportunity to make good things happen. Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful November day, and I went on a club ride, riding past many beautiful horse farms and reservoirs in northern Westchester County. I was having some difficulty keeping up (use it or lose it) and found myself at the very back of the ride with my friend Rick. We were at mile 21 of a 26 mile ride when I got hit by a truck. I got hit by a big fu*&^%n truck! As soon as he started to pass me, I realized he wasn't leaving me a lot of room. Then BAM, I got slammed on my left side. My next thought included the words violent and die. I really don't know what I looked like as I bounced off the truck into the woods. Luckily no guardrail or rocks. I landed hard on my butt and saw Rick riding toward me. At this point cars stopped in both directions and people were getting out to help me. I realized I was alive and although there was pain, I wasn't broken in half and my head hadn't hit the road. I was able to stand, legs and pelvis intact. I didn't need an ambulance. A very nice man named Tom offered to put me and Rick and our bikes in his truck and take me the remaining 5 miles to my car. When we got back and talked with our friends, we realized this asshole almost hit 4 or 5 other riders. Unfortunately, nobody got a plate number or even a good description of the truck.

My left arm was starting to really swell and it really hurt so I called my husband and he picked me up and took me to the emergency room. By the time I got into a treatment room and took off my clothes, I had a bruise on the left side of my butt the size of a dinner plate. Left arm wasn't looking too good either. Luckily I was totally covered in multiple layers so the abrasions/road rash were not too bad. The x-rays were negative, nothing is broken.

I am very bruised and very sore. I am very grateful that I am alive and not seriously hurt. A big thank you to my club friends who took care of me. The truck won, but I am not planning on a rematch. One close encounter with a truck per lifetime is one more than anyone should endure.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Big Day for My Boys

I got a phone call from son #2 this morning. He flew solo today. Yes, my son is studying aviation at the University of North Dakota, and today he took off and landed an airplane all by himself. He had told us a week or so ago that this day was coming, and I told him not to tell me when it was going to happen until it was done (I really didn't want to sit around and worry about it). Very exciting. That's my flyboy.

This afternoon we packed up 2 cars. Son #1 is moving to Arlington VA tomorrow. He graduated from the University of Delaware in May and he has a job with Ernst and Young. Also very exciting.

My boys are all grown up..... when did that happen? It seems like just yesterday that I was walking with them to the bus stop...... And now they are flying airplanes and furnishing an apartment.

I am a proud mom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Riding on An Autumn Summer Day

I feel like I have been neglecting my bike for the past 2 weeks, so I made a promise to myself by posting a ride on the club's ride board. I have to show up if I'm the ride leader! During the week, the club's ride board belongs to the retired and self-, un-, under- and part-time employed. Today I had Mary Ellen (self-employed) and Elliott (retired) join me (part-time employed). It was surprisingly hot, it certainly felt like a summer day, but the leaves are starting to change and line the sides of the road. Halloween decorations are starting to show up and the cider mill is open. But I will take a summer day any time of the year. It sure felt good to be rolling down those roads, climbing those hills, and getting a good sweat going. It made me happy!

DH and I are helping son #1 move down to Arlington VA this weekend, so there will be no time-on-bike. Might have to get out there again on Friday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Body Pump

Since my personal trainer got fired, I haven't been focusing on my strength with any kind of consistency. Menopause is associated with muscle loss and I'm really noticing this.... I need to lift weights on a regular basis if I have any hope of reversing this trend. So today I took my first ever Body Pump class.

Body Pump is a weight lifting program done as a group exercise class. In 1 hour, we worked through most of the major muscle groups. The class is broken into several segments, each with its own music. Between segments I was able to change the amount of weight on my barbell to get ready for the next segment. I used very low weights and focused on keeping proper form to avoid injury. I've been lifting weights for years, and there was nothing new or different in Body Pump, other than the group exercise vibe (but I've done that too). The bottom line is that I did a strength workout today, it was tough even though I used very light weights, and I didn't have to pay a personal trainer to get it done. And it was fun.

I'm feeling the soreness setting in..... can't wait to do it again!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vacation part 3

Cycling along the Columbia River Gorge was definitely the hilight of our vacation. The old highway, built in the early 1900, was designed to take advantage of the beautiful landscape. The road makes elegant curves and the grsde never exceeds 5%. The roads climbs to beautiful vistas and overlooks that are 700-800 feet above the river. Although never steep, these ascents (and descents) are 4-5 miles long. I was ready for this! The 2 days we spent riding on the Highway along the gorge was probably the best cycling I have ever experienced. Climbing to those vistas and looking out over the river and the gorge...... it was just awesome.

And when you're done riding, microbreweries are abundant.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vacation Part 2

After gorging ourselves on pad thai and books, we were picked up by Phil, our Lifecycle Adventures guide/chauffeur/Sherpa. A few thoughts about Lifecycle Adventures. DH and I had a window of opportunity to take this vacation. I found this travel company by googling "Oregon cycling vacation" and they had a guided tour that fit our time frame. I found some favorable reviews about them online, but this was a bit of a leap of faith. When we booked it, we were told that 1 other couple had signed up, and they required a minimum of 6 people to have someone riding with you. With just the 4 of us, we would have only van support. Our biggest concern (fear?) was having to spend 6 days with 2 people that we really disliked or 25 year old hammerheads that ride 100 miles before breakfast. So we waited and hoped some more people would book this tour, but in the end it was just the 4 of us. As soon as we got in the van and met Kim and Deb, we knew we didn't have to worry. Roughly the same age, fairly close in cycling abilities, looking for the same kind of experience, friendly, warm...... We lucked out and had a great time sharing our vacation with them. As for not having someone riding with us, that was not a problem either. The van was always close by. We always had access to food, water, tools, guidance, first aid, anything that we needed. We actually did have someone riding with us for 2 of the 6 days, but that was a bonus. That gave us a little more flexibility and another friendly person to chat with, but van support was perfectly fine.

Now, about the cycling......
we got in the van and headed to Carlton where we geared up and began our explorations of the Willamette Valley, the land of pinot noir, where all the hills are covered with vineyards, and blackberry bushes in full bloom, and farms with giant blocks of hay that look like they fell out of the sky in a giant game of tetris. The sun was shining and we rode up and down hills, over country roads, to various tasting rooms and eventually making our way to a beautiful B&B in McMinville. Then of course there was dinner at a fabulous french restaurant with more wine and good company. The next day was more of the same, with more miles down more beautiful country roads with more tasting rooms and a tapas restaurant when we returned to McMinville for dinner. We spent 2 days around Mt. Hood, but it was cool, cloudy and misty. We finally made our way to Hood River, on the Columbia River Gorge. But first enjoy the Willamette Valley.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Vacation Part 1

DH and I have returned from a wonderful vacation in Oregon and Colorado. We built this vacation around a cycling tour in Oregon and a party in Denver. The timing worked perfectly, the cycling tour was awesome and we had time around the edges to explore and visit. Everything came together (except for our luggage which was MIA for the first couple of days).

We started in Bend Oregon because we heard it was a really nice place to visit and potentially live. Bend is in central Oregon, in the high desert. The whole town has an outdoor fitness vibe that I loved, and a vibrant community of retirees that I would probably learn to love. All roads in Bend lead to Mt. Bachelor. We took the chair lift to the summit and spent an hour or two admiring the beautiful mountains. We visited the local bike shop and bookstore and the stuffed french toast at the Alpenglow Cafe was awesome! French toast stuffed with fresh strawberries and crema cheese......... now that's serious breakfast food.

Our luggage arrived just in time to drag it back to the airport for a quick flight over the mountains to Portland. We only had 1 day in Portland but we made the best of it. First we walked a few blocks to a giant collection of food trucks. We finally ordered a giant mountain of pad thai and devoured it! Then we descended upon the bibliophiles place of worship in Portland..... Powell's Books. We managed to spend a few hours there and could have easily spent several more hours there. What an awesome place.

The next morning we were picked up by Lifecycle Adventures and our 6 day/5 night Oregon Cycling Adventure began.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Yesterday I went for a ride in Dutchess County. It was a spectacular summer day and the 40 mile ride took us to the lovely town of Millbrook, where we stopped for lunch at Babette's Kitchen. Everything happened according to plan and it was just about perfect.

So today I opted for imperfection, for the unplanned and the unknown. I put on my purple Keens with orange socks. I pumped up the tires on Nirvana, my hybrid, and headed for the Old Croton Aqueduct. I rode dirt.

Construction of the Croton Aqueduct began in 1837 to bring water to NYC. From 1842-1955, the tunnel carried water from the Croton Dam to NYC's reservoirs. Eventually, as NYC's population grew, the aqueduct was inadequate and was replaced by the New Croton Aqueduct. But the 26 miles footpath atop the old aqueduct, from the Croton Dam to the NYC line has remained, and it became a state historic park in 1968.

This was only my second adventure on the aqueduct. I know where it starts, and that it is one trail, not a network of trails on which you can get lost. But here's the thing-- even though it is one trail, it is not a complete 26 mile straight run. There are places where it runs through private property, so you end up on local streets and you have to wiggle around to get back onto the aqueduct. Hence the map.... and the cue sheet from my friend Deb who rides on the aqueduct much more often and knows how to do these wiggling around parts.

The first time I tried this, I navigated about 5 or 6 miles and got lost twice, even with the map and the cue sheet! Today I made it about 7 miles before I decided to turn around because a big storm seemed imminent (I actually called DH and had him pick me up when I saw the big lightening streaks).

I really enjoyed this adventure but it was VERY HARD WORK. First the machine-- fat tires and much more weight really slow you down. I could not believe how I was huffing and puffing going up even little hills. Then the terrain-- tire sucking mud plus the dirt and rocks and you're going nowhere fast. And this wasn't even difficult terrain. Luckily it was mostly really flat (actually the aqueduct was constructed to drop 13 inches per mile). I did have to push my bike up one short but very steep hill. The trail crosses many roads and I had to dismount often, that was a little annoying. Nirvana's little computer has needed a new battery for quite a while, so I have no idea how fast I was traveling, how long I was out there, or more than a general idea of how far I got. But that suited me just fine.... I was rolling along, taking photos, and contemplating anything that came into my head as long as it wasn't important.

The aqueduct trail is surprisingly diverse. There are parts that are very wide,

other parts are single track,

and even sections that are more like a suggestion of an indentation in the grass.

There are stone structures that are the vents and weir chambers, and big signs that explain what a weir chamber is.

In one of the more urban sections, I traveled over some pavement. I even had to carry my bike down a flight of stairs.

I am determined to navigate the entire 26 miles of the aqueduct. I may have to enlist my friend Deb in this effort. She recently led a ride for the club that traveled down through the Bronx on the aqueduct and came back up on the bike path. But of course it was on a day that I couldn't make it. I may try to do it in sections (kinda like people hiking the entire Appalachian Trail). In fact, I'm already considering where to start further south for my third exploration of the Old Croton Aqueduct.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Ride For Pie

This past weekend was The Farm Ride, in western Massachusetts. The ride "headquarters" was the North Dorm at U Mass Amherst. About 45 cyclists from my club made the trip, and we all stayed at a crappy HoJos, because the hotel had a pool.

Saturday was the main event, and on an absolutely perfect day, all participants (henceforth referred to as Farmers) had a choice of 27, 77, or 100 miles. I opted for the 27 miler, due to recent back issues. Although I had ridden the day before with no pain, I did not want to take a chance. (I wish there had been an option for something between 27 and 77). It was nice to slow down and appreciate the world we were rolling through. And the pie. The routes were fairly flat, and the roads were beautiful, through the farmlands of western Mass. We rolled into the first rest stop and there were fresh fruit pies, with whipped cream! as well as Oreos, Larabar bites, Fig Newtons, mixed nuts, fresh peaches, bananas, peanut butter jelly snadwiches, and other goodies that I just can't remember. But pie works for me. Eventually we were able to separate ourselves from the snacks and we continued on our journey to the site of the feast. This was the real deal.... grilled burgers, sausage and hotdogs, salads, corn on the cob, and pie... ala mode! and free massages!!!!

Eventually all the Farmers made it back to our hotel and gathered around the pool for cocktails.... but that was just to get us in the mood for the dorm party and the Vertigo Martini Lounge. Since most of the Farmers stay in the dorm, that is the logical place for folks to gather and party. Farmers are invited to suggest a theme for a party room in the dorm, and if approved, you receive a "party grant" to fund your extravaganza. My club sponsored the Vertigo Martini Lounge. This is the sign at the door:

Yeah, pants optional. That's why I wore a dress. I can't post any pictures from INSIDE the Vertigo Martini Lounge because most of these people have respectable and high-powered jobs! Besides, what happens in the Vertigo Martini Lounge, stays in the Vertigo Martini Lounge.

When we considered riding on Sunday morning, it was raining. No decisions to be made, other than where to have breakfast before heading home. Since there were no pie options at 9 am on a Sunday at the crappy HoJos, we drove into Northampton to Sylvesters for pancakes. Because if you can't have pie, pancakes are a fantastic 2nd choice, especially with real maple syrup.

Driving home in the torrential downpours was a drag, but it wasn't that far and it was worth it. For the pie.... and the martinis...... and the company of friends.... and even for the 27 mile ride.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Come Ride With Us

This is my first photobook. I was very pleased at how easy this was to put together. Might have to find more reasons to create photobooks, other than laying low because of ouchy back.
p.s back is much better today. I think I will be able to ride on Saturday, although I may have to downgrade to 30 miles. I will take lots of pictures to get started on Vol 2 of Come Ride With Us.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ouch! This Really Sucks

I was at work yesterday. I was sitting. I stood up and had pain in my lower back on the right side. The pain got worse over the next few hours, whenever I stood up and tried to walk.
I have no idea what might have angered my lower back. Is this inflammation or injury?
I have never ever had back pain or back problems.
Having back pain whenever you stand and walk around really sucks. Ouchy!

Chiropractor Naproxen Ice Rest.

This weekend is the Farm Ride in Amherst MA. I'm supposed to be riding 66 miles on Saturday. This really sucks.

Over the last few weeks I have been thinking about the need to do other things, like swimming and yoga. Even if it means less time on my bike? That really sucks.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Solo Photo Safari

I spend a good amount of time on Flickr. One of the many groups I have joined is the "100 Possibilities Project." You take 100 photographs of the same object. I am taking 100 photos of Dolce, my bike.

The weather this morning was drizzly wet yucky. But the skies started to brighten and I decided to take Dolce for a leisurely ride at about 11:00. Although it wasn't raining, it felt like it should have been, because the humidity was at least 100%. Took the elph and my journey turned into a little photo safari, with Dolce as my model. We made stops along the way, whenever the scenery invited a photo. It was fun. I got a few good picturtes that I will add to the Dolce collection. Only need 86 more photos to get to 100.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

The bike club has 6 levels of rides -- A, B+, B, C+, C and D (A is the fastest and D is the slowest). Each level has a ride coordinator. I am the D ride coordinator. That is the level for which it is most difficult to get rides posted because many D riders -- aka D(ivas), without regard to gender-- don't feel secure enough in their skills to lead a ride. Many of them cannot change a flat, and they worry about that, among other things. If nobody else steps up to lead a D ride, then I will usually post one. All my rides are named with song titles (That also gives me the option of posting a link to a music video in the ride description, which is always kinda fun).

Most D ride leaders try to find "easy" rides, relatively flat (which is very difficult in Westchester County), and usually less than 25 miles. My philosophy is different. I find a ride that is challenging for D riders (and there's alot to choose from) and then I just go slow. I try to push my D(ivas) to ride stronger and longer. Last week I did a hill ride for the D(ivas)-- Hot Fun in the Summertime-- 25 miles with 1800 ft elevation (73 ft/mile is hilly), and today I did a long ride, 41 miles but kept it as flat as I could (54 ft/mile). Today's ride was Rolling in the Deep. Many of us had to dig a little deep to get through the last 5 miles, which was more uphill than down.

Not everyone wants to be pushed to ride stronger and longer. I was glad that 9 D(ivas) came out for the challenge today. The speed of the group did vary quite a bit, which means I often had to wait for the slower people, but I promised 41 slow miles, and I was happy to see them complete the ride.

The only way you are going to get stronger is by pushing yourself. After today's ride, I hope these D(ivas) will not be afraid to take on the challenge of a longer or more difficult (hillier) ride. It's worked for me, although I am still "slow twitch."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another Unique NYC Adventure

This adventure did not involve a bicycle! I took the subway to 23rd St. and 8th Ave and visited the High Line. The High Line is an urban park on the west side of Manhattan that used to be an elevated freight train line. It was abandoned many years ago and was going to be demolished until some community activists began a campaign to "save the High Line." The first section of the park was opened in 2009, and the 2nd section was opened this spring. When completed, the High Line will be 1.5 miles long.

It is beautiful. The gardens that flow along the rails are very lush and wild. They definitely evoke a sense of what the High Line looked like before it was "reclaimed." Being above the streets is a unique way to experience the city. There are all kinds of interesting buildings, old and new that are above and alongside the park. The design includes benches and alcoves and even wooden chaise lounges built into the park.

Notably, there are only a few vendors within the park. I did not see 1 Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts for the entire 2 hours I spent there. I did enjoy a delicious blackberry ice pop, perfect on a hot summer day. Chic new cafes and eateries are flourishing beneath the High Line and a "food court" of food trucks can be found at the northern end.

The High Line is a photographic playground.
Between the gardens, the people, the buildings, and the juxtaposition of NYC, it would be easy to take 100 photos while visiting. But I have been experiencing bad camera karma over the past few days..... make that weeks. Yesterday was the pinnacle of bad karma. I could not find my DSLR, so I grabbed my little Elph. I took about 5 photos before the battery ran out of juice. I always bring an extra battery, but not this time.....I was SO frustrated. I will have to return to the High Line with a fully loaded camera bag! DH really wants to get there too, so I will definitely be back, probably more than once.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Little of This, a Little of That

Son #2 saw something about "an afternoon of vintage baseball" that was happening in Hawley PA, a town near the summer camp where he and son #1 are working. DH and I decided to go visit with the kids and watch some vintage baseball-- a great combination for a hot summer Saturday.

The vintage baseball was so interesting. We saw them play with 1898 rules. The most obvious difference is no gloves (the least obvious difference is no steroids). It is MUCH more difficult to field the ball when you don't have a big old glove! Many of their bats were homemade, and they wore vintage uniforms. It was a fun way to spend a few hours, even if the game was a blow out---Brooklyn Atlantics 21, Roxbury Nine 2.

On Sunday, we celebrated the marriage of our friends from the cycling club, Katie and Victor. (These (lunatics) friends were married last month atop Whiteface Mt. after racing to the top. Katie wore a veil under her helmet and a sash that said "The Bride"... Victor wore his best spandex.) Of course the celebration for all their club friends had to include cycling, so.... we scheduled a bunch of rides nearby Katie's parents' home on Roaring Brook Lake (the big hills of Putnam), and when we were done, we gathered there for the party. We do love to find excuses to have parties in conjunction with our rides, but this was no excuse, this was bona fide. It was a great way to spend a good chunk of Sunday.

Somehow we managed to get through the heat wave without too much difficulty. We'll see how we do as the weather heats up again over the next few days.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Unique Cycling Adventure on a Perfect Day

We drove to Palisades Park in Englewood Cliffs and got on our bikes. We rode over the George Washington Bridge

and after a little confusion and a lecture from an NYPD officer (we made a left in front of the no left turn sign, against traffic, and rode up on the sidewalk-- other that we were fine), we found our way to the Greenway which runs along the entire west side of Manhattan.

We rode along the Hudson, and I got a sense of the urban summer, people coming over to the parks along the river to picnic, read, walk their dogs, play tennis and basketball, run. I saw lots of people carrying cargo of all types on their bikes, from lawn chairs to groceries to dogs. We had to navigate through and around the crowds especially in lower Manhattan, and staying on the Greenway/bikepath was tricky. We had to detour around the site of the tower rising at One World Trade Center. We finally arrived at the ferry to take us to Governor's Island...... about 3 minutes too late for the once every hour on the hour ferry. So.... we got ourselves some refreshments and got on the next ferry..... with every school-aged child attending a day camp in the borough of Manhattan. There were hundreds of camp kids on that ferry! The island is only 1/2 mile away, so ferry ride takes about 7 minutes. When we disembarked, we explored the island. As we circumnavigated the island, we had photo ops galore, with fantastic views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan.

After about an hour or so, we got back on the ferry and rode back to and over the GW Bridge.

What a unique adventure that can only be done on a bike. I would have liked to spend more time on the island with my camera. I probably would have liked to spend more time taking photos along the river, too. My husband wasn't able to come on this adventure, and he would like to get to Governor's Island, so maybe I will have another chance on another day...... perhaps after the summer when the crowds thin out.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Da Bomb

Yesterday, my friend Bob invited me to a BBQ at 2:00, knowing that we both wanted to join the Wednesday Night Fling (the Fling is a series of rides of various lengths—11, 14, 22, or 25 miles) that all begin at the same place at 5:30 or 6:00). Yesterday evening was perfect for a beautiful ride through the back roads of Greenwich CT, and I knew many of my riding peeps would be there, ready to roll.

I got to Bob’s place at 2:30, and he announced that he was just about ready to go buy the food!! WTF?? When he returned from the A&P, he lit the charcoals, and we had to wait for the grill to heat up (as much as I appreciate charcoal, I am a propane girl). I didn't want to be rude, after my friend went to all this trouble to have us over for lunch, and by this time I was pretty hungry..... so I finally ate my hamburger at 4:30. And it was delicious. But it was a mistake.

When I got on my bike at 5:30, I realized that the hamburger bomb in my gut was going to explode if I put any effort into turning the cranks. I watched my peeps disappear down Riversville Road and considered my options. I could try to stay with them on tired legs (did I mention I had already ridden 25 miles that morning) and hope I would feel better after throwing up. I could just do what I could do and avoid vomiting and feel sorry for myself for being so slow. I could cut the ride short, sit around and wait for my friends to get back while letting the hamburger digest. I opted for the last option, no sufferfest or pity party. I rode 10 miles and that was that. From now on, the hamburgers will be eaten AFTER the ride.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Just Call Me Slow Twitch

One day last week I left work a little early and when I got home, I jumped on my bike. DH and I are very lucky (and probably a little spoiled). We can open the garage door and go, “where the hills are abundant and all roads lead to the Croton Dam.” That is how I describe riding in our corner of Westchester County. And I have finally taken my husband’s advice and stopped worrying about the hills. It’s futile, anyway. It doesn’t matter which way you go, there will be hills. In fact, I am learning to love the hills…. because if doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. And I’m still here blogging about the hills, so they haven’t killed me.
I have ridden consistently over the last 3 months and I’m definitely stronger, especially when climbing, but stronger has not translated into faster. I can ride longer and it feels easier, but similar to my recent experience in the pool, I have 1 speed—SLOW. I guess I am all slow twitch fibers.

I suppose if I really wanted to I could get myself a coach, start riding intervals and hill repeats, drink protein shakes, and buy a $5,000 bike. That combination might increase my average speed by 1 or 2 mph……But I don’t want to do any of those things.

So I am stuck at slow, slow but strong! I will push myself to ride further and faster, because that’s how you get stronger. I will climb those hills, and take photos when I get to the top. I will ride fewer miles than my faster friends, but we will all meet up at the end for the party. I might even catch them on the way up some of those hills.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Missing Elph and Loving Flowers

My addiction to pocket-sized cameras goes way back. In the early 80s I bought an Olympus XA, which has become a classic camera. That camera was in my pocket on many adventures. I remember being somewhere and thinking, I wish I had my BIG camera, instead of just the XA. Well, when I got the pictures DEVELOPED (remember film? you had to pay to get the pictures developed) I was pleasantly surprised at the wonderfulness of the pictures I had taken with the simplest little Olympus XA that I pulled out of my pocket at perfect photo ops.

Now fast forward to the digital era and the XA has been replaced by a Canon 850, aka the Elph. I love my Elph and take it just about everywhere. One of my new year resolutions was to always have Elph in my pocket. Well, maybe not always, but almost always. I may not always take it out, but I do have it with me. I even have a special "pocket" for it on my bike.

Last weekend, when I packed to go to my niece's wedding, I put the Elph, and an extra battery and the battery charger in my bag. I never saw the extra battery and the charger again. I have no idea what happened to them. But when the I wanted to replace the battery 5 minutes into the wedding, I didn't have it.

I thought about just going into the nearest Best Buy and replacing them...... $40. Then I found the charger and the battery at for under $10 (including shipping). So I am sitting out a few days without my Elph. Actually, I am looking at a very sad powerless Elph and waiting for the magic Elph Juice to revive my pocket wonder.

Not having the Elph has given me the opportunity to share the love. On Friday DH and I went to the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) in the Bronx. The NYBG is my home turf... I grew up nearby and I have spent a decent amount of time there over the years. DH, on the other hand, doesn't ever remember being there, even though he too grew up in the Bronx. We spent a good part of the day there, exploring the Enid Haupt Conservatory, the perennial garden and the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. Out came the Canon Rebel and the macro lens. I took 140 photos! Enjoy a few flowers.