Friday, June 24, 2016

It's my last ride before the bike to the bay; I wonder if I have time to get in a quick Triathlon!!

     So the Bike To The Bay is finally here; and I have no choice but to be ready!!  Last weekend I knew I needed to give it one more test run before the ride.  Of course my test runs are always around 20 miles.  Like marathon runners; you train for endurance and then the day of the race you push it harder than you have ever done before.

    Maumee Bay State Park seemed to be a good place for my "last chance workout", because there are many other trails we could continue on to beyond the park it's self.  The bonus was that this park is so pretty, and I was in a site seeing mood this day:) Oh, who am I kidding... I'm always in a sight seeing mood!!

        My three riding buddies for this ride, Robert, Tom and Gary, are also fellow Leapfrogs.  We all knew the heat was supposed to be brutal on this particular day; but we can't control the heat on the day of the ride so this would be a great test.

     It wasn't long before we discovered that they were having a triathlon at Maumee Bay State Park that day.  For a quick second we all thought about joining them... Okay, maybe we didn't... but we at least wanted to be nosy and check it out before we headed out of the park and on to another trail.
     Besides, I didn't bring my bathing suit with me...

       So we were soon on our way to another trail.  Gary was the ring master at this point, and he first took us over to the Laurence-Wassermann Trail; which took us through the Clay High School campus.
    As hot as it was, I was hoping this ginormous fan would cool us off... Then Tom tells me it's a wind tunnel to generate power to the surrounding area...  I guess a giant fan was  too good to be true:)
     I'm sure you know by now, I'm always looking for some cool action pictures; but not unlike the stairs at Side Cut Park, when I offered the guys five bucks to do some stunts with their bikes on these skateboard ramps, sadly, I had no takers:( What's a girl gotta do to find some serious dare devils anyway?!?

Now, this right here is my idea of a real stunt...
     This might not look like any big deal to you; but trying to make those sharp zig zag turns across the railroad tracks without hitting my foot on the front tire was harder than it looks:) But since this was a train track... remember that little engine??  I just told myself (and anyone who was listening...) "I think I can..." :) Oh, common! Tell me you wouldn't do the same, lol.

     Eventually, our ride took us to Pearson Park.  Tom asked if anyone wanted to check out the nature center while we were there.  He didn't have to ask me twice; it was a few minutes of not riding, and you know I live for the scenic part of the ride:) 

     I could have stared at this nature preserve all day; but once again, these bikes weren't gonna ride themselves:)

   So we were soon back on Cedar Point Road, heading back to Maumee Bay State Park; and as luck would have it, we found our selves surrounded by the Triathlon riders.  I told Tom this was the perfect chance for me to tell everyone I actually rode in a Triathlon!!  Of course he told me I shouldn't lie:)  But who's lying?!?!  I was  riding, and I was smack dab in the middle of a Triathlon!! "Tom you tell your story how you want to". :)

     So we may not have done the entire Triathlon that day; but after that ride I still considered us winners!  And I know we are absolutely ready for the Bike to the Bay tomorrow!! Come rain or shine, we got this!!  Wish us luck:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, June 17, 2016

The bike to the bay is almost here!! The million dollar question is... am I ready??

          Over the past couple of months I've been training for the Bike To The Bay; testing my ability on everything from steep hills, heat, wind, traffic and sudden stops.  I'm hopeful that I'll have it all down pat for the bike to the bay, but I still feel the need to test my skills in every situation.

     Last week I went with two of my riding buddies, and fellow leapfrogs, Robert and Gary, to Bay shore, in Oregon.  We started at International Park, which is across the river, outside of downtown Toledo.

We met around 6:45 am to try to beat the heat, and about a million geese were there to greet us.

     Robert, who has been riding with me for what seems like forever, knows the routine, and he always takes a picture of me as I appear to be some sort of Olympic athlete who just jumped on my bike and was ready to hit the trail.

     This time, however, he jumped the gun and decided to take a candid picture as I was not so gracefully getting on my bike.  At first I thought that was a picture I would surely be deleting.  I want people to see me as I pose effortlessly on my bike; not looking like some clumsy  person struggling to get on.
     But then I decided that I needed to be honest, and admit that there are a lot of things about my life that aren't very graceful; but I do what ever it takes to live my best.
     The average person bends their knee effortlessly, and swings their leg over their up right bike, and they take off.  My crazy right leg doesn't like to co operate, and I have to tilt my bike down and pull my straight leg over it.  Not graceful, but it works.
     As we began to ride, I noticed that the wind from west to East was brutal.  I mentioned that at least it will be at our back on the way back.  Robert said not to count on it, because that East/West wind has a mind of it's own, and it shows no mercy to us poor riders.  I had my fingers crossed...

This ride was a little different than most of the others I've been on this spring. In most cases we just follow trail, which is usually adjacent to some railroad track.  In this case we spent more time riding over tracks, then next to them. Not to mention, East Toledo is an area I'm not very familiar with, and I had to trust Robert knew where he was going.  

     Much of the ride was through the industrial area of town.  We passed by power plants and oil refineries, and the biggest challenge was dodging all of the pot holes and of course riding over all of those uneven railroad tracks.  The tracks, for some reason were always crossing the roads on an angle, making it a real challenge. 

     We had to be certain not to let our tires fall between the tracks.  I randomly mentioned to Robert that I'm guessing it wouldn't be fun to get your tires caught between them.  He said he has seen it done before, and it wasn't pretty.  I asked out of curiosity, if my bike got stuck in the tracks if they would come back for me or if it was every man for himself.  Robert said I'm on my own because I would be a mangled up mess at that point and it would take too much time to clean it up, and we're on a schedule.  I guess I needed to be sure that didn't happen...
        This service type road below and to the right of us looked very steep.  I asked Robert where it went, making sure to mention I was in no way going up it...  (did I ever mention how much I hate steep hills?!)  It led to some refinery.  Good to know.  I'll stay on the flat road...

     Eventually we made it to Bay Shore Park, but it was no picnic getting there.  However, it was worth it to see the beautiful view of Lake Erie.

     After our 20 mile ride we made our way back to International park, and there to greet us was that huge gaggle of geese.
   It isn't always easy to get others who are willing to do a 7 am bike ride, but I'm happier than a pig in mud riding at this time.  And I'm one ride closer to being ready for the bike to the bay.  

    I could always sit back and watch life life pass me by, but I think these geese have the right idea.  And you know what they say... What's good for the goose is good for the gander:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, June 10, 2016

Is this a bike ride or a grade school field trip??

    There is absolutely nothing I enjoy more than a good bike ride (well, except maybe chocolate...).  And though I love all the trails I've been on so far, a change of scenery is nice from time to time.

     I heard Side Cut Park finally put in a paved bike trail, and I just had to go check it out.  The trail within the park it's self, I was told, isn't very long, like a traditional bike trail typically is; but I could always lengthen it by riding beyond the park.

     Last weekend, my riding buddy, Mitch, was up for a ride so we both decided to go and scope this new trail out.  Honestly, I think Mitch was more interested in redeeming himself, after missing a lot of great pictures last time:)

     As we were getting ready to head out on the trail, I noticed two awesome looking bike type things heading towards us.  I've only seen this type of bike in advertisements, but always thought they looked like a lot of fun.  They appear to be kind of like cross country skiing and cycling wrapped up in one.

     It turns out, the riders of these unique contraptions were Bob and Pam, who were fellow leapfrogs!  I told them I've seen these a lot, but never in person, and they looked like a blast. Bob asked me if I wanted to try it out...

     I've jumped thirteen thousand feet from an airplane, and you would think I would be all over this.  But then I looked at the logistics of it.  I can barely walk a city block without the threat of kissing the pavement; now I'm going to try to walk and ride at the same time?!? That machine was very expensive, and I just couldn't risk crashing it.  

     I passed... but later that day I was kicking myself for not at least trying it...

     So I got on my "safe" bike and wished them a great ride:)

     Knowing our bikes weren't going to ride themselves, we finally made our way to the bike trail.  After all, Mitch had to get busy on those pictures... being the slave driver that I am:)
     This was a really nice bike trail; without a million cracks, like most of the trails around town.  But it wasn't long before the trail took us out side the park and along the Maumee River.
     Okay Mitch, cool picture...

     As we were riding along River Road we passed this cute little cemetery.  I never did catch the name of it; though Mitch did comment it looked kind of pathetic.  Oh, I'm not so sure... I've heard people are dying to get in there... I know... I'll keep my day job:)

     Take a look at this extremely steep hill.  To give you a perspective of just how steep it was, notice those lines; they were outlining speed bumps that were strategically placed so the cyclists coming back down didn't end up like a run away train. Now, going up over those bumps was another story...

     Interestingly enough, this hill looked vaguely familiar to me.  It was a lot like that hill on the other side of the Wabash Cannonball Trail; the one I once told another riding buddy I would never. ever. ever. go up again...  but we were by Side Cut Park, not Fallen Timbers... Oh, then Mitch says this trail takes us to Fallen Timbers... I've lived in or around Toledo all of my natural life (and then some!).  You would think I would know my way around the surrounding burbs; but obviously not...

     I managed to huff and puff my way to about thirty feet from the top, before I got off of my bike and dragged it the rest of the way up.  Never. again... Where have I heard that before...

     Soon, this ride became a history lesson... Here's the monument of the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

     Directly adjacent to it was this awesome view of some sort of ravine or something. (give me some slack. I didn't bring my note pad...)

     I don't know exactly what he was thinking, but if I didn't know any better, I would guess Mitch was trying to decide if riding off this cliff would be less painful than listening to my idle chit chat....

     He must have decided to tough it out, because he was back on the trail again.

     Next we found ourselves riding over the freeway, which was another chance to jump ship.  Good thing that fence was there:) And before we knew it, we were at the Wabash Cannonball Trail.  We rode on it for a little while, but I've been on it twice already this spring, and I wanted to explore some new territory.  

     So we headed back to Side Cut Park and crossed over the bridge to see if anything interesting was on the other side.
      The paved trail went on for a little while longer, but we would soon come to the point where it was no longer conducive to road bikes.

          I know Mitch had taken a million cool pictures by this time, but when I saw these steps, the wheels in my head started turning... An awesome action picture, maybe involving a double flip, would surely get a million likes on face book! And although I've never actually experienced road rash myself, it would probably be a pretty cool picture as well:)  I offered Mitch five bucks to ride down these steps... 
     Surprisingly, he declined. What happened to taking one for the team??

     I guess those action pictures are going to cost me a little more cash than I'm willing to part with.  oh well...

         By the time this ride was over I was on my way to becoming a real world scholar:)  Notice, no pictures of pink flowers this time; but I did get a History, as well as Geography lesson on this ride.  It was a true ride of exploration. Columbus would be proud!

     And I'm guessing if you spun me in a circle and put me in front of that huge hill, I'd probably climb it all over again.  Just don't tell me where I am!! :)

Please sponsor me in the bike to the bay!!

Have a great day!!


Friday, June 3, 2016

When I'm riding I sure feel normal; so why was my bike in a handicapped parking space??

      Well, as much as I like hitting as many different trails a possible, I got an offer to ride with five others Monday morning, which was Memorial day, and though it was the Wabash the second week in a row, I couldn't be more thrilled.  Most of them were Leapfrog teammates, the rest were being strongly encouraged to join our team (okay, badgered!).

    By now I was a pro at getting my bike ready for the ride, and by the time the others had arrived I had my tires pumped, helmet, glasses, gloves on and I was raring to go.

     Remember, I was telling you about the ride on this same trail the week prior, when a new riding buddy was in charge of the camera... It was a great ride even if the camera thing needed some tweaking... but in his defense, he had no idea what pictures I wanted him to take.  But this time I knew exactly where my points of interest were and I had my camera ready.

     See! I told you there were a million pink flowers lining the trail... well did I lie?!
     They were everywhere; I just had to be ready...

     I was pretty proud of myself; taking the pictures while we were riding.  I never once asked them to stop.  But about seven miles out, I realized that pink little windbreaker jacket I had on was a bad idea, and I noticed Ron had the perfect rack on the back of his bike... 

Incidentally, the pink goes really well with his lime green bike! I'll be sure he gives that back:)

      This almost looks like "drafting", but correct me if I'm wrong... don't you have to be moving to get the full effect?!?

     This was our half way point before we turned around and headed back. Just under ten miles. The whole ride would be just under 20 again. I love a good rest stop:)

    When I'm riding I sure don't feel handicapped, and I don't have a handicap placard on my bike; Do you think it's possible for me to get a ticket?? Relax... I'm moving:)
     This was my second ride for the long holiday weekend.  I just know I'll make it over that finish line at the bike to the bay, even if I have to be carried!  Now I seriously have to focus on raising money!  After all, isn't that why we're doing this!?!  Please help me!

Have a great day!!