The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Thursday, March 31, 2011

O.M.G. P.E.P.

PEP stands for "Performance Enhancement Program." Last night was my first PEP class. We went down to the gym with towels and water bottles and 2 crazy trainers spend about an hour trying to make us cry or puke. No weights, bars, bands, or any other equipment. All cardio and body weight. It was based on intervals. After a good 15 minutes of cardio to get warmed up and some stretching, we did 2 minutes of cardio followed by 2 minutes of strength. Lunges, squats, planks, pushups with all sorts of variations to make them more difficult. About 3 minutes into the warm-up my heart rate was already at the upper limit of my "zone of YES I CAN." The 2 minute intervals sent my heart rate into the "zone of OMG." The strength intervals had me in the pain cave. But I did not cry or puke (might have been close on the puking option). I survived and if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger, so I guess I am stronger today! I am certainly sore today and my knees are a little unhappy, but I am ready to do it again. The only problem is they need 12 people to run the program and only 4 signed up. So last night was probably my one and only PEP class. But as crazy trainer Sal pointed out, this is all stuff you can do on your own. You don't need a gym or a trainer to do this kind of work-out. Just some determination, and maybe a vomit bag.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Discombobulated, what a great word, and that describes this past week. Just when I thought it was safe to take my bike and get back out on the road, a snowstorm shows up, delivering icy roads, and cranky commuters (me included). Add to that the need to get some things done at work that haven't been getting done, and before you know it, Friday rolls around and I realize I have been eating crappy food all week and I never got to the gym. I was totally discombobulated. On Friday, the anti-discombobulation began, and it continued through the weekend with some success. The discombobulating weather has temps hovering just above freezing for good portions of the day. On Saturday I gave in to Mother Nature and took a spin class, but ironically, it wasn't much different than riding outside. The temp in the spinning studio was 41 degrees when we started (someone turned off the heat, obviously) and then we climbed up and down some big hills. I also decided that since I wasn't going to spend a good chunk of the day on a bike, that it would be a good opportunity to spend most of the day at the mall. That worked out well, but today I decided to be bold and I went for a ride. It wasn't my idea, it was Diane's but I was glad somebody else was just as crazy as me. Chris showed up too. The temp was a balmy 31 when we set off. It really wasn't that bad, but you couldn't stop moving. We were happy we picked a hilly route-- the hills kept us warm. We cut it short when the wind started to pick up, just 20 miles, but we definitely felt like warrior princesses. The hot shower when I got home was fantastic! And now I am pondering how I am going to do the right things this coming week..... Antonyms for discombobulated (and synonyms for anti-discombobulated) .... do well, succeed.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Today I met Martha on my D ride (that's the slowest category, average speed from 9-11 mph, usually between 20 and 30 miles). She is not new to the club, I think she joined last year. She is an older woman (that means older than me), a little plump, with a wonderful European (Dutch) accent. She arrived at the Millwood A&P this morning with her son's mountain bike (because its a little better than her mountain bike), with no biking clothes or gear other than a helmet. As soon as we rolled out, she realized both her tires were flat. I had a floor pump in my car, so we pumped up her tires and they were fine for the entire ride. She was very slow, but she made it up every hill without walking. She would wave to us as soon as she came into view. She arrived at the top of every hill with a big smile, saying, "here I am! I'm a little slow on the hills, ok, off we go!" She never whined, or complained. She was having the best time and her spirit was contagious. Even though we had to wait for her, most of the other riders were happy to have her with us.

When we were done with the ride, we had a snack at the cafe and she told me this story.
Last year, not really understanding what the different levels meant, she showed up for an A ride (A rides average 17-20 mph, over challenging terrain for 40-50 miles). Nobody said a word to her or asked her a question or suggested that maybe she wasn't up for an A ride. They signed her in, gave her a cue sheet and dropped her in the first quarter mile. She never saw any of them again. But she really wanted to ride and she didn't mind being alone. She had the cue sheet so she FINISHED THE ENTIRE RIDE BY HERSELF. Growing up in the Netherlands, I think she can probably ride that mountain bike all day long.

This could have been a disaster, but this story has a happy ending. She is still showing up for rides, and she is still having the best time. She's my hero! I wish more people could have a little bit of Martha inside them!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A New Season

A new tradition-- haiku for today's ride......

To Greenwich Point Park
Rode the hills, wind in my face
Springtime, here at last.

The club's season officially began on March 15. On this first Saturday of the season, the club put up a full roster of rides, something for everyone. I'm sure it's still a little cold for many of our members, but I enjoy riding in this weather (unless it gets windy). Other than full length bike tights, a headband that fits under my helmet, and a pair of full-length gloves, I don't need any special gear. I love riding in the early spring. Trees are budding and their colors are rising on the hillsides. The willow trees are really starting to bloom. Little flowers are beginning to peek out along the roads. Early in the season it's okay to feel slow, and yet I feel like anything is possible, with the whole season ahead. Today I rode with my friends out to Greenwich Point Park. It was great to reconnect, to welcome new members, to push up and then fly down the hills, to visit a new coffee shop, and to finish up knowing I had a workout. Tomorrow I get to do it again. Yay me!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Two More

Today I had 2 new tires put on Dolce, my bike.
Hopefully I am done buying tires!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bah Humbug

I know it's not Christmas.... Can I be a St. Patrick's Day Grinch. I have grown to really dislike St. Patrick's Day. I have nothing against the Irish. It's about all the people who use St. Patrick's Day as an excuse for behaving badly. I work on 42ns St. Between 5th and 6th Avenues, which is prime parade territory, especially for all the folks who come into Grand Central Terminal. When I stepped out at lunch time to grab a sandwich, the sidewalks were jam-packed with Green People, most of whom were just behaving loudly, not necessarily badly. The really bad behavior was much more evident on the train ride home. The train was jam-packed with drunk Green People, and one of them decided to smash a glass bottle over the head of another. There was blood, vomiting, and a prolonged wait at the next station until the police could take the badly behaving people off the train and an ambulance could take the bloody bottle smashed person to the hospital.

My bah humbug kinda day continued when I arrived at Mavis Tires because I got a flat yesterday, probably from driving over one too many potholes. Tis the season for flats.... The roads around here are in BAD shape from all the plowing this winter. Now I knew I was going to need 2 new tires because the 2 front tires needed to be replaced anyway, but that morphed into 4 new tires. Ouch! It's going to take them about 2 hours to get to my car and get this done...... so here I sit at the nearby Panera's, sucking on their free wi-fi, for which I am grateful. Even the grinch can find something for which to be grateful.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

To Greenwich Point Park

One of the classic club rides is from SUNY Purchase to Greenwich Point Park. Purchase NY is on the NY/CT border, and the back roads of Greenwich are our backyard. Greenwich Point Park is open to Greenwich residents only during the season, and the season starts on April 1. So the ride to Greenwich Point with a stop at the Arcadia Coffee shop is a staple of the club's members who ride through the winter. I don't ride much during the winter, and I can't keep up with those winter riders anyway, so I have never ridden out there. I really wanted to do this ride, but I don't know the roads that well, so I asked my husband to ride with me.

My husband does not enjoy riding in cold weather, and yesterday was probably on the cusp of his comfort level. The ride out to the point wasn't too difficult and the park is really beautiful. I didn't really stop to take photos. It would be nice to spend some time there with a camera. We were very surprised to see so many people in the park and out on the beach. They don't allow dogs in the park after April 1 either, so everyone was there with their dog. It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying the great outdoors.

It was windy day, and the wind was really whipping around when we got closer to the water and especially when we got into the park. DH got chilled, and he couldn't get warm for the entire ride back to Purchase. Plus I slowed him down when we hit some hills in the last 5 miles of the ride. I offered to buy him a hot beverages at Starbucks and he accepted.

We don't ride together often, but I do enjoy these opportunities. I know he didn't love being out there on a not very warm March day, but he loves me, so that made him happy. Me too.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Go For It

The morning was misty and the roads were wet. Two riders decided not to come, another called with concerns. But I was confident that the weather was going to improve and I won't have a chance to ride tomorrow. Besides, tomorrow's weather will probably be much worse than today. So I decided to try to make it happen. Worse case scenario, if the weather deteriorated, we could all just go have brunch. But by the time we got rolling, the drizzling had stopped and there were a few patches of blue sky. Six of us set off on another adventure! About 7 miles down the road, Paula got a flat. The others rode ahead and I helped her change the tube. We got rolling again, only to have the same tire go flat again. Changed it again, this time trying to sweep away anything that was causing the flat. Well, she went flat for a third time. Uggh! I left her with her patch kit and a cell phone (in case the patch kit didn't work). By this time my companions were a good ways ahead of me (or so I thought) so I took a shortcut to our rest stop at Tazza Cafe. But when I got there, they hadnt arrived yet. Turns out they had 2 more flats that required multiple tube changes as well. 6 riders, 3 flats, 5 tubes, and a patch. It was just one of those days. We had some refreshments at the cafe and then rode the hills back to our starting place. It felt great to ride these roads with my cycling buddies. Now my knees and legs are a little tired, just enough to know I was out there today doing what I love to do!

Friday, March 04, 2011


Hi Shelly, what's new with you?
What's that, what you been up to?
How are the kids?
And your husband?
Still working in the same place?
How's your mom?
Planning any vacations?
Read any good books lately?
Hey, lets do lunch next week!
Nice to see you, see you next week. We can talk some more!

I seem to have a one track mind lately. Tomorrow I ride.