Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Never say never; I finally faced my Flanders hill demon head on!!

     Early on in the riding season I took a bike ride in uncharted territory; you might remember, it was a "safe" road with little traffic.  However, I didn't consider the HUGE hill I would be forced to conquer.  In fact, I didn't conquer it; I wimped out, got off my bike and walked it up to the top.  I vowed never to do something that crazy again.

          But then a few months went by and I started to feel a little braver after conquering quite a few milestones and I knew I had to go back to that hill...

     The weather forecast predicted rain and the clouds were rolling in, but it was now or never... If I waited until another day I might change my mind.

     I learned a lot from the months of riding; one being the skill of changing the gears to accommodate for the incline, then I also felt more confident in my balance, not to mention I felt like I had more strength after the many miles building up to this day.

     The thing was, I knew I had to hit my goal this time because it wasn't going to be a long ride; the sky was sure to open up at any moment and I would be forced to cut it short.  If I failed to make it to the top of the hill and then only rode a few short miles I would feel so disappointed.

     Amazingly, when I started up the hill this time it was by no means as scary as it was the first time; I just kept focused and finally made it to the top!

for the record, this was a thumbs-up... in case it looked otherwise;)

     I came back down, and to make sure it wasn't a fluke I did it again and at that point I was flying higher than a kite!  The rain held out just long enough, and as I expected, my ride was cut short, but I didn't care; I did what I set out to do.

     I ask myself why I was able to make it this time when I was unable to do it a few months ago... was it more strength or more skill with the gears??  I really think it was all in my head to begin with.  I had confidence that I could do it and I never felt more proud of my accomplishment.  Next time I might actually keep my eyes open:)

Have a great day!!


Monday, July 28, 2014

I love a good ride but lets throw some yoga into the mix!

   Remember way back when... I was jokingly claiming to be a ninja as I was explaining off the strange contraption on my leg... well, I never did take up Tai Chi, and yes, I now know  Ninjas don't do it either.

     However, we all know by now that I'm totally obsessed with bike riding, and I spend many hours in the day chasing off this crazy monster called "MS" by strength training and getting on the treadmill.  To this long list of proactive measures I just added Physical Therapy and now Yoga... I'll do what ever it takes to fight the fight.

     Most people, when asked what they do for a living reply by saying they're an Accountant, nurse, lawyer, or some specific, interesting, or maybe not so interesting job they do to earn a lucrative living.

     To me, what I do for a living doesn't represent my monetary worth, rather what I do to "live".  If I have to spend countless hours being proactive to fight this never ending battle, then that's what I'll do.

     Most would call what I do discipline; I call it survival.  We all have those demons in our heads telling us to sleep in or skip a workout, but I also have a voice in my head everyday telling me I can't give up, and so I essentially let that little voice do the workout for me and when I'm done I thank that guardian angel for not letting me quit.

     Whenever I have a day that I start out asking "why me?", I take a minute and then tell myself... "lets call it luck".


Have a great day!!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Time to explore a different city

This is the city of Rossford from bike view

     I told you I wanted to explore the whole city and then some... well, I was told that some of the people who ride in the Bike To The Bay have a particular route they like to train on for the ride, and that involves crossing the Maumee River and going through Rossford, then down River Road.  I wanted to give this a try.

     This route can be tricky because you have to blend in with the motor traffic through most of the ride.  I still wanted to test my skills.  It would have been a good idea if my two seasoned riding buddies, Stacy and Robert were there; one to lead, and one behind, making sure I wasn't laying on the side of the road somewhere, but Stacy couldn't make it, so I had to follow and that meant I had to bring my "A game" making sure I wasn't ten car lengths behind when Robert gave the signals.

     If you think I'm crazy riding at sunrise, I was nuts for going through Downtown Toledo on a Saturday afternoon at 5:00, especially after we discovered there was a Mud Hens baseball game and a Dragon Boat Race on the river at that exact time.  The traffic was horrendous!

     We made it through town and across the river where the East side traffic was just as bad, maybe worse.  A couple of times I thought I was going to be the next project of the street cleaners.

                                                 This is east Toledo across the river

     When we finally made it to Rossford it was so cool to be riding my bike past The Hollywood Casino!  I wanted so badly to stop and take a picture, but the traffic and my "riding guru" suggested otherwise, besides you probably already know what it looks like:)

     Here's the Rossford Marina, and the crazy ride was well worth the view.  Of course, the hill going back up was another story...

     The beautiful fluffy white clouds made the torturous ride there totally worth it, but I was absolutely frazzled and I wasn't adventurous enough to try to make it to River road; maybe another time...  I have a whole year to train for the Bike To The Bay:)

     We made it back through the bumper to bumper traffic with everyone driving like lunatics, and when we arrived to International Park I really wanted to get off my bike and kiss the ground, but I thought that might seem a little weird...


      Truth be told, I was kind of proud of myself for giving it a try, but never happier to be back safe and sound in my car.  It was a little strange though driving back home when I would coast to a traffic light hoping not to have to put my feet down...

     So now when I'm questioned about being crazy, and my safety riding at sunrise, lets all think back to this time and tell ourselves... It could be worse;)

Have a great Weekend!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Will Terry be my new best friend?!

Terry Tailwind 650 Women's Road Bike - 2013 -

     So this is the bike I'm researching now.  After the miles and miles I've been clocking over the past year I discovered two things... One: if I want  my crazy leg to go far (remember one leg is great!) then I need a much lighter bike.  It's kind of frustrating when I'm pedaling my butt off only to be passed up by a lady who's ten or fifteen years my senior.  The weight of the bike makes three times the work for the same distance compared to when you're on a much lighter bike.

     A friend mentioned to me that if I'm so concerned with going fast then maybe I should get a motorcycle.  I think he was missing the point; I'm not looking for something to go fast, rather than something to give me a leg up (no pun intended) while using my own energy.  As we all know, we have to move it or lose it.  And right now a bike seems to be the best way for me to move it.

     The second thing is, if I'm going to take this whole bike thing serious then I better get it right the first time and hopefully have no regrets.  

    The Bike I'm doing the extensive research on is designed by a woman, with the features geared for the way a woman's body is built.  Being that I'm "vertically challenged" there aren't a lot of bikes that are short enough to fit my stature precisely, so the Terry is perfect.  I've asked many experts on the subject and at this point I seem to be heading in the right direction.

      Of course, being that I don't anticipate ever being tired of pink, there has to be a pink theme involved in my final decision and this particular bike is white with pink accents; a true bonus!  Switching the white handlebar tape for pink would be the icing on the cake:)

     As a reminder, this is the bike I've been riding; very different from the Terry, but when I got it I only wanted to tool around the neighborhood, and now I want to cover the whole city, and then some, in as little time needed.

I'll keep you posted on what else I find out:)

Have a great day!!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Watching the sunrise over the Maumee River from the Craig Street Bridge is like heaven on earth; Right!?!?

     I know I seem to be focusing a lot on the sunrises, but my best time physically is the wee hours of the morning and I'm just now starting to see all of the benefits of being out the door before the rest of the world is even opening their eyes.

     You have to admit, this sunrise is one of the most beautiful things known to man and it's free! 

Impressive; Stacy can take a picture while riding!

     I'm lucky to have a few friends who are willing to get in a bike ride before work, because at this time of the morning I'll admit there is safety in numbers.

    But when we're done we have the whole day ahead of us and a bike ride at sunrise sure beats a cup of coffee any day!

Have a great day!!


Friday, July 18, 2014

The Green Belt Parkway is no ride in the park... Or is it??

     Though the Greenbelt Parkway has "park" in the name It's not exactly a walk in it to get there.  It is however, a beautiful bike route in the outskirts of downtown Toledo, though it is a bit of a challenge riding through the busy city streets and under the hilly viaducts, under the highway to get there.

     Since the hot humid weather plays real havoc on my body I've realized that my favorite time of day to ride is the wee hours of the morning.  

     This particular morning I got out the door exceptionally early, parked my car by the Erie street market in down town Toledo and went with my riding buddies to watch the sun rise over the river.

     Of course, as you can see, the poor sun had to fight a mound of cumulus clouds before we saw the rays peeking over them. 

     When the sun was finally up in full force we continued on our way, and once in the thick of it the Greenbelt Parkway was in fact a true ride in the park.

Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

International Park

     International Park is another great place to ride; it's just over the Maumee river.  The flocks of geese coupled with the Toledo skyline make this a sight for sore eyes.


          While we were riding we made a quick stop at the Toledo Rowing Club to visit our friend Kristina  who was also on Team Leapfrog in the bike to the bay.


     Then we were back on our way to finish our ride 

     This is where nature and city life finally meet.

Have a great!!


Monday, July 14, 2014

The serenity of 5/3 field at sunrise

     If you've ever been to a Mud Hen's baseball game at Fifth Third Field I'm sure you've experienced all the excitement of the roaring crowds, the hot dogs and the cute baseball players running the bases (not that I'm looking;). But Have you ever wondered what it's like at sun rise, before all the hustle and bustle of the corner to corner traffic and people roaming like ants heading to an ant hill?

     So I was lucky enough to find out, and lucky that I happen to be up with the chickens... 

     My new hobby is riding in all types of conditions, be it in the city or in the country and before the rest of the world is up lends a serenity that you could only imagine.

     Sure, there is a certain rush of adrenalin that passes through you as you join the crowds of people for one of the favorite American pastimes, but there is another rush you get when no one else is there and you feel like you own the city.

     It won't be long before the rest of the city is up and kicking, but for now I'll just enjoy the peace a quiet hanging out with the chickens:)  And a couple of riding buddies helps too...

Have a great day!!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Wildwood; riding beyond the bike trail

   I absolutely loved going to Wildwood Park a million years ago, and the Manor house in all of it's beautiful surroundings was something I loved to see.

     However, About eleven years ago when I got my footdrop from my MS I stopped going there because the walk to the house was exhausting with a leg that weighed a hundred pounds, metaphorically speaking. 

     Now that I began using my bike as my new legs I decided that after my bike ride on the University Parks Trail I would take a ride over to the Manor house.  I was blown away looking at the beauty I had missed for so many years.

        I could ride past this house and all of the flowers and trees over and over.  You can bet it won't be another eleven years before I'm back!

         Now I can't wait to hit the next trail and discover more hidden treasures, and all of this is FREE!!

Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bike riding, my new found love

        I had several people ask me what happens after the Bike To the bay is done... what will keep me going... Yes, the 25th anniversary for the BTTB is over but my passion isn't.  

     After the ride, many of my team members told me they were so glad they rode and they had the best experience ever, making a lot of new friends.

     Yes, the day of the ride was awesome and I was glad to see all of my team having a great time, but my take away was that trying things out side of your comfort zone can open up a whole new world.

     I'll be the first to admit, long walks are not my favorite things to do with my "rubber legs", but riding a bike... I am totally in love!!

     I thought after the ride I would cut back on "training", but now that it's not about testing my speed and endurance I am totally obsessed with discovering new trails and taking the time to enjoy the scenery along the way.

     Right before the ride I went on the Wabash Cannonball trail and I was so focused on how far I could go that I never stopped enjoy the view.


     I never noticed there was a lake off the trail, or the baby deer and her mother that crossed my path.


     And the miles and miles of beautiful woods is something I never would have never noticed noticed if I put my bike away.

     Of course, one more thing I discovered on this 22 mile ride, and not until I was about 12 miles out, was my front tire has definite issues and it's about time to invest in a serious bike if I'm going to take up this new hobby.  That, and it's good to know someone who is an expert with bikes.

     The funny thing is, During the BTTB I felt something was wrong with my tire and I thought it was my breaks because I felt the resistance when I pedaled.  It wasn't my breaks at all, but the way my tire rotated on the bracket.  I learned that I can take my tire off before each ride and adjust it, but I think it's finally time to make the investment for safety and ease all around.

     I know shopping is a tough job, but someone has to do it!!  Wish me luck:)

Have a great day!!


Monday, July 7, 2014

The second day; we did it!!

nobody told me we were wearing do-rags:)

          So now that I've given you the whole story of how my ride went I'll tell you how proud I am that we all made it through this great event.  This is the second day of the ride and though I took that leap of faith that I could ride I wasn't going to be crazy.  I only rode the first day.  The second day I was back to being a "cheerleader" for those who rode back home.  Although anyone who went out of their way to ride is a hero in my book, no matter how far they rode (and some really went out of their way!)

     More than anything, I'm thrilled to say that as of now the 44 riders of our brand new "Team Leapfrog" have raised almost 16,000.00 and I can't thank these people enough for raising this much for the good of all of us with MS. And we're not done!!

Here are the flowers my bff MAM gave me after after the ride:)

     The biggest thing confirmed just recently is that I am certainly not alone in this world, and though I really knew it all along, taking that leap of faith proved that regardless of the challenges I'm faced with, my life is wonderful!

Have a great day!!


Friday, July 4, 2014

Proof I did it!!

          I know you've seen this picture a million times already but it says so much... In this instance it says "I'm the luckiest girl on earth to have so many people ride on my team, and I really don't know when I'll cross the finish line but I know somehow I'll do it!!"

     A few days ago I knew I was ready and until I saw this number on my computer it was only a dream, but this is proof it can be done and a true testimony for all those who said it's too hard.  Of course I had to take a picture to remind myself what 38 miles on the screen looks like so next year I have no excuse for not doing it again.

          When I received that 25th anniversary medal it felt so good to know I didn't quit, and it was a reminder that people have been doing this for me 25 years now and thanks to them we've come so far with MS research.  As I stood there only minutes after I came in, I remember thinking " I can't wait until next year and now I know I have to do the 50!!"

Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Some people just weren't wasting time

     Here I am wondering aimlessly and trying to get a few photos, but some people were not wasting time.

A few more team members to tape to the earlier photos, If I do some cut and pasting I just might have a team photo yet!

While we were in Our amateur pink leap frog shirts scrambling around to take some photos, Team Kingston in their Nicely coordinated red and white  bike jerseys were at the front of the pack and the rest of us were probably hoping to glide in on their draft:)

     Ruth Haye, who was also at the front of the pack and on Team Leapfrog was definitely a girl on a mission.  There was no way we were pulling her off of her bike to get into the team photo and we practically had to lasso her down just to get this photo:) But she was amazing with her fundraising and that was the important thing, we'll just tape her picture to the rest of the team photo later;)

     Steve Rafac, in his super cute pink attire managed to be in our "semi-team photo" before racing up to begin his 75 mile ride.  Believe it or not, when I saw him cross the finish line (remember I only went 38 miles) he was actually still wearing this shirt; how's that for a trooper?!

     We all had different agendas and riders crossed the finish line at many different times, but we all had one big goal and that was to raise money for MS and it really didn't matter how we did it.

have a great day!!