Tuesday, December 16, 2008


December in the Outer Banks is great. Most businesses are closed for the season because no one is around. This is great for bikers, very little traffic on the road and great hotel prices!

The ride from Nags Head up to Corolla and back was very quiet and relaxing.

Next we rode down to Hatteras and took the free ferry to Ocracoke. It was a long beautiful beach ride.

Never tie a scarf around your handlebars. It might get caught in the front wheel and your face would end up looking like this! Doesn't look too bad, but it hurt for quite some time. =) I face planted within the first 5 miles of our ride, but had to finish the 68 miles we scheduled for that day. I caught up on Jill's blog last night and was pumped for a long ride!

This was our final ride for 2008. We finished with 2,276 miles! What a fun year!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Weight of Snow

Trin got up many times throughout the night to the sound of footsteps all around the house. The sound of slamming doors was disconcerting, for him anyway, I slept through most of it.We woke up to six inches of white – our first snow fall of the year. The trees are crying from the weight of heavy wet clinging snow. They are relieved only by the occasional breeze that releases the weighted white coating. It hits the ground sounding like running heavy weights.

I stood on our back porch listening to the thunder of trees breaking followed by the waterfall of snow pounding the ground leaving a cloud of white mist to settle.A tree in the back yard was doing a back bend over the house. Trin donned a helmet and planned his attack. He used a log to hit the lower trunk of the tree, giving it enough vibration to loosen some of the snow. Each ram brought the tree up about an inch. It is now upright; I think it will make it through this storm.The road is closed, so we can not drive to work and our internet connection is not working so we can not work from home. Vacation day! Trin can enjoy his new heated toilet seat - he just installed it last night. And I’ll finish my book! Every hour or so we check out the latest crash to see what tree nearly missed our house. So far huge branches have fallen on every side; some have shaken the house, but no major damage yet. More firewood for the winter! =)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Finger Lake Tour

I hope he doesn’t point right I thought as we climbed the hill at mile 69. The right turn looked like a steep hill. Trin and I parked yesterday morning near Watkins Glen. He carried the cue sheet and navigated. I followed along and enjoyed the scenery as we rode up along the east side of Seneca Lake to camp at the top in Waterloo. It was a gorgeous day with beautiful views the entire way.We started this morning with a nice pancake breakfast donned our jackets and headed for the west side of Seneca Lake down to the Keuka Outlet trail. The Keuka outlet trail is a beautiful single track along the outlet connecting Kauka Lake to Seneca Lake.

Keauka Lake is shaped like a snake’s tongue. When we reached it we followed the bluff (the land mass between the fork) along the lakeside. There was very little traffic, the trees provided shade, and the view of the lake was prominent. At the bottom of the bluff – where the lake forks we encountered our first large climb of the day. In a little over half a mile we gained 200 ft elevation. The benefit was a gradual coast almost the entire way back out of the bluff to the top of the West fork.

Next we turned south again to follow the outer west side of the lake down to Hammondsport. It was at Hammondsport when we cut east back to Watkins glen that we encountered our largest hills of the ride. Yes, he signaled right. The first hill at the tip of Kauka bluff looked small in comparison. Each time I thought we were almost to the top it was just a turn in the road, a turn that took us higher, 500 feet higher in one and a half miles. The view was beautiful from the top. The next 17 miles would take us up and down in elevation. At mile 80 the road again seemed to stretch to heaven, our legs felt like they were in hell and our pace had slowed to the point where a snail could fly by. We stopped at the top out of exhaustion. We both drank all our water and ate the rest of our food as we gazed at the sunset reflecting off the lakes way off in a distance down on the valley floor. We still had six miles to go and it was getting dark. If the hills continued like this it could be very dark by the time we reached our car.
We hopped back on our bikes feeling refreshed. The rest of the hills didn’t seem so bad. The last three and half miles were all descent. The wind was cold as we coasted between 30 and 40 mph, but we reached Watkins Glen just after dusk. The once totaled maxima gleamed under the Wal-Mart parking light – what a beautiful sight.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cake on a bike blog? I need a goal!

Trin and I reached our summer biking goal and haven't ridden since. Instead I've been working 14 hr days and spending time on other hobbies like this baby shower cake.

We decided today that we needed another goal to give us that extra ump to get us out the door doing something. A number of times we got out and rode just because we needed to rack up some miles. Almost every time, once we were on the road we loved it. It turned out to be a great summer.

A few of us at the lunch table decided we would have a walking/ running contest. Whoever books the most mileage by the end of each month wins. This should help get me off my butt since I love competition.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Steroid Happy!

My rotator cuff has been bothering me since the mishap on Mt Washburn. So today my doctor gave my shoulder a steroid shot. I've never had any type of steroid before. I wasn't aware of any of the side effects (except big muscles).

I got back to work and just started smiling. I wanted to skip - and on a Monday! Since normally Monday's are just so so I found this odd. So I googled "steroid happy" and found that steroid users are often happy while using.

I hope to not need another shot for a very long time - never would be fine with me, but I might as well enjoy this one.

These are the things that crossed my mind on the way back to work, my favorite things.
  • A good downhill tuck
  • Trinity singing in the shower
  • Starting down a technical hill scared shitless, realizing I could make it halfway down, and whooping at the end if I'm still on the bike with no injuries
  • Exploring nature on a bike far from civilization
  • Finding a way to cut the time of a process in half
  • Drinking with my friends
  • Finding new features in Excel - actually anything in Excel
  • New cool widgets get me excited
  • Talking to my sister
  • Saturday mornings
  • Seeing new places
Oh so many more things. Next Monday when I have a normal humdrum Monday I'll read this again. Maybe it will bring the smile back.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

We reached our BHAG!!!

Last year we decided to set a goal to ride a century (100 miles in one day) by Aug 2007. We set up a training schedule to get us ready, stuck to it, and did it! In total we biked 1,000 miles for that summer. This year we decided to set a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) of doubling last year’s mileage.

We started this three day weekend only 65 miles short of our summer goal and hoped to finish before going back to work on Tuesday.

This morning it rained and thunder showers were forecasted intermittently through out the day. When the sky cleared around Noon we decided to get at least 15 miles in. The weather held out and on mile 30 Trin looked at me and said, ”Want to make it a metric century and finish our goal today?" All I could think at the time was that I was hungry, but I did want to finish. We stopped at a nearby convenient store to get some food. I got a turkey sandwich, which for some reason I have been craving all year, and continued our ride. We climbed a few hills, got in a number of great downhill tucks - up to 50mph today, and completed our miles!

Tonight we CELEBRATE riding 2,000 miles for the summer of 2008!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Finishing our Ride around Lake Champlain

Day 5:

By early Tuesday morning our one man pup tent was sagging very close to us. Movement was a coordinated effort as it was, even more so now. Puddles had also collected along the sides of the tent, but did not soak the sleeping bag (yes, to save on weight on the bike we just brought one). The downpour started as soon as we got into the tent the night before and rain continued till morning, but we stayed dry. In the morning as soon as we heard the rain taper off we quickly took everything into the campgrounds laundromat so we would have room to roll up the sleeping bag, tent, and tarp, and get packed up and ready for a rainy day. Providence/Luck (I don’t know which to say these days) was with us, not another drop of rain fell during our ride. The trip turned out to be perfect, we had the excitement of a thunderstorm in a tent, while staying dry and not having to ride through a bit of rain the entire trip.

Our five day route ended on mile 244.

City Ride

Day 4:

Monday morning we headed out of Adult Camp through Burlington toward Shelburne camp. Burlington had some nice bike paths through town making travel through the city a bit more enjoyable and a lot safer. I could tell we were in a city by the demeanor of the other cyclists. Normally all cyclist wave, smile or nod to each other. On the city trails they all ignore each other, just like pedestrians in New York City. I guess I understand, after all it would be exhausting to acknowledge everyone you passed on the street in NY City. This is why I would rather be on back roads or in the woods any day.

Monday was hot as soon as we checked into the camp we rode our bikes out to the deserted pool and jumped it. It felt so good. I love to bike, and I love to swim, this is a perfect day.

The wind had been blowing hard all day; we thought it might be blowing in a storm. Soon after we were in our tent a huge thunderstorm ensued along with a torrential downpour. Thankfully we had a tarp over the bikes and tent, but torrential rain on a tarp is very loud. The rain continued all night.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Peace by the Lake

Day 3:
Sunday morning, we headed out early. Our neighbor on the left, evidently noticing our bikes for the first time watched us pack up and seemed intrigued. He never said anything but seemed to enjoy watching, maybe remembering trips he had taken when he was young. To our right a boy emerged from a camper with his dog. He proceeded across the road to the lake looking for his raft. When he didn’t find it he proceeded to throw a fit, screaming at the world flaying his arms. His neglected dog then ran out into the road and nearly got hit, when the car slowed down the boy ran across the road as well. Trin said “Prime Time television.” The boy then called his dog stupid, Trin whispered, “nope, its not the dog” We looked at the neighbor to the left and we all rolled our eyes.

Today our destination was Champlain Adult Campground. When Trin first told me he booked a night at Adult camp I was a little concerned and asked what we would be expected to do there. I soon found out that “Adult camp” meant a camp ground only for Adults, no kids (no flailing kids) allowed. This would make a great mid-way stop, and hopefully a great night of sleep with little noise. Don’t get me wrong I like kids, and like this morning they can be very entertaining, but this would be a night off.

Sunday was supposed to be the shortest ride of our trip. After getting our camp site we decided to head out to the local store to get food for our next few meals. The friendly Frenchman who owned the camp directed us to a store “1 mile down the road.” Five miles later we found it, so we still ended up riding 50 miles just like the past two days.

The camp site was perfect, secluded and right next to the lake. We set up camp and went for a nice long swim in Lake Champlain. Our tent rested at the crest of a rock cliff and high winds drove the waves hard all night. So much for "quiet", but we really enjoyed the site; it was a great chance to relax.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We eat Spam, not dog

Day 2:
Saturday morning after loading up the bikes again we hung our laundry from the bungee cords that were securing our tent and sleeping bag hoping they would air dry during the day. Unfortunately they did come out a little musty smelling from the bit of rain Friday night, but at least they didn’t smell like skunk! We continued up the New York side of Lake Champlain crossing the Rt 2 bridge over to Vermont just before the Canadian border. Saturday evening we stayed at Goose Point Camp ground. I was concerned when we pedaled in as all the tents in the camp ground seemed to be very close together. When we got to our lot we found it might not be that bad. There was a nice weeping willows overhead that hopefully would shield our laundry that evening from the dew.

We stopped at the store to see what we could get for dinner. The woman running the store had a group of visitor sitting around at the entrance making it very difficult to get to the actual isles and their kids were running all over screaming – not just making noise, but actually coming close to splitting the ear drums. When we found a few items we had to interrupt to purchase them. If there were any other stores in the vicinity they would not have gotten our business.

With no stove (we had decided to keep our load as light as possible,) we ended up with spam, after getting frustrated with the peal back lid doubling as a spoon we decided to use our fingers. With the close quarters we could hear the entire conversation of our neighbors that seemingly recently came out of a box. One of the kids had been reading a book during their time at this camp and was amazed at things she was finding out. The statements like “did you know Filipinos eat dogs?!” kept intruding our slumber. Trin of course was raised in the Philippines, and he has never eaten dog.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Preparation Aches

I learned about the Lake Champlain Bikeways when I was looking for some Vermont biking. It seemed like a good choice for a first bike tour so I ordered up the maps from their website and could not wait to surprise Bonnie about my excellent find. As it turned out she of course had already ordered a set of maps several days before I did. Which came as no surprise to me.
A quick google search yielded a cue sheet that begins from the bottom of the lake, goes up through the New York side to Canada then goes down through Vermont. I mapped it out in Mapsource and modified it so that it began from Crown Point state park and then crossed over to Vermont right before reaching the Canadian border.
Bonnie gave me a list of camgrounds in the general Lake Champlain area and I waymarked them in with the route map. We then chose the campgrounds based on a 50-mile max daily mileage. We ended up charting rides just below 50 miles for each day.
The first campground I called to make reservations was Crown Point. We were told that the park was flooded due to several days of continuous rain. This was unwelcome news and we worried that it may be a preview of how the tour would come down.
Undettered, I proceeded to check the other campgrounds and found out that they did not share Crown Point's predicament. I simply rotated the route and found a different starting point near Port Henry. We decided to make reservations on campgrounds for each night to ensure we would not be riding around looking for another campground should the one we chose was full.
For the first night we decided we'd stay in a motel since we would be driving to the lake right off from work and would arrive at a late hour, way past quiet time in most campgrounds. We found a mom-and-pop motel called Family Fun Cabins and Motel. The owner sounded very pleasant over the phone and was very accommodating about us leaving the car at their place for five days.
All the campgrounds we chose had available sites and we had no problems placing reservations.
Another tool that helped in choosing daily mileages was the terrain view of Google Maps. If the terrain showed a hilly profile, we reduced some miles from it.

Five Days with the bike and tent

Getting Ready:
Trin and I took a 5 day bike tour around Lake Champlain, so I’m very behind on blogging. We are currently on our way home and internet connection is slow from the road so I’ll post a bit and attempt to catch up over the next few days.

We prepared and over prepared over the last few weeks. Trin mapped out the route and printed the cue sheets. I started packing then rethinking everything that was packed since we would have to carry it all on our bikes. Maybe we over prepared, but this was going to be our first “real” bike tour. We left our office building around 5PM Thursday night but I continued to work on the way to Lake Champlain, till around 10PM when we lost all cell coverage. It’s the time of year budget for 2009 need to set up, this means many late nights to be able to take a few days off. Our first night we stayed in a cabin where we would park our car during the 5 days that we would be biking.

Day 1

Friday morning we loaded up the panniers and said goodbye to work and all other electrical devices. No Google for 5 days!! Well, we did take our cell phones in case of emergency, but left them powered off the entire time so that we would have batteries if we did need them, OK so I turned mine on 3 times to check the time. The first mile was all decent and a bit chilly but as soon as we started climbing the next mountain we warmed up and the weather stayed beautiful. Friday evening we stayed at Au Sable Camp grounds. We rode around the area for a bit to view the Au Sable Chasm and bought a “stuffed crust pizza” from the local store, but I think it was stuffed with particle board instead of cheese. After we got in our tents it rained a bit giving our clothes no chance to dry. To save on luggage we only brought two sets of clothes, washing them out each evening. The camp was quiet except for occasional noises from nearby camps. The honking of the camp near us as someone blew their nose a number of times and a nasal Wanka Wanka Wanka from a kid on the other side of the grounds. The only other disturbance was a skunk that kept coming over and making lots of noise near us. At one point he came right over to my side of the tent. I yelled at him to “GET”, surprisingly and thankfully he did. We slept till dawn woke us up.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Downhill Tuck

Being on a bike is freedom. Sure I could see some of the same scenery from my car window, but on a bike all the senses are engaged, the world is experienced. I love to bike, most of all the downhill tuck. Hugging the core of my bike as close as possible minimizing wind resistance, racing down a hill till the wind pushes all moisture out of the eyes as tear drops straight back to the ears. This never fails to make me smile big enough to get bugs in my teeth.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Long Island, Orient Point

Sunday we rode the ferry out to Shelter Island. It was scenic, the traffic was low, and the people were very friendly.
On our way back to Sag Harbor we jumped in the ocean to cool off.

Sunday night we decided to stay at the Silver Sands Motel, right on the beach, beautiful and relaxing. The next morning we road out to Orient point. On our way we stopped at a deli to buy lunch. For some reason I have been craving Turkey sandwiches this year. Since Trin is more coordinated on the bike, and pretty much on anything, he carried our lunch, in a spectacular display of one-handed riding, out to the beach at the end of Orient Point.

It was very hot again so we stopped at Goldsmith Inlet for a quick swim. The water felt great so we swam to the other side. As we approached the far shore, ouch, ouCH, OUCH! We swam up on shore and got out, then looked back to see a bunch of little jellyfish. We were glad to be out of the water, but now we needed to swim back. We waited for a break in the line of Jellyfish, jumped in and swam back as fast as we could.

We ended our long weekend sitting on lawn chairs on the beach, listening to the waves lap the shore, enjoying the breeze.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Officers Flashlight

We parked at Hither Hills state park and biked out to the Montauk Light house today, winding around all the roads on the north side of the fork. The weather was perfect.

Since the campgrounds were full we decided to stay in our car overnight. Around 10Pm a security guard came by, shined his light on Trin, and then came over to my side and told us we couldn't park there overnight. We went further down the road and found a church with a huge parking lot. We parked in the far corner and set our alarm for 6AM wanting to be out of there before anyone arrived for church the next morning. Around 4:30AM a police officer came around. He pointed his flashlight on Trin, then came over to my side to let us know we had to leave. He was very nice, and I wasn't sure how to answer the question "where are you staying?" so I told the truth, "here." He smiled and told us about a park just down the road that would be private and we wouldn't be bothered there. We ended up just driving to Sag Harbor to start our biking early.

Later at the beach a little girl was merrily running down a ramp, but stopped short when she saw Trin. She cowered to the side till her mom came to get her. Now our joke is that Trin is scary! Both officers came over to talk to me after taking one look at him, and a little girl cowers at the sight of him!! LOL! Now does this look like a scary face?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Biking NYC

Since I had to be in New York City for business this week, why not take advantage of the bike routes!

We rode from SkyTown down around Battery Park, then up to Central Park.
The Central Park loop was especially fun. The road was closed to vehicles and pedestrians stayed on the side of the road. This left it wide open for the bikes! We could race around the park, and there were plenty of other bikers to give us incentives to push harder.

Three and a half weeks after the mishap on Mt. Washburn I can finally breathe without pain and get through most of our rides with very little pain. Most importantly I feel like I'm getting my confidence back.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Michigan, Kal-Haven Rail Trail

Our last stop on the Pennsylvania to Yellowstone, Wyoming road trip.

We hopped on a rail trail this morning intending to put in maybe 50 miles. Around mile 10 we asked each other how much further we wanted to go. We were enjoying the trail and had thoroughly enjoyed our trip, but we were ready to go home. On mile 11 we looked at each other and said, "lets just go home" We turned around and headed back for the car, then drove straight home. We got in around 2AM. I'm a bit anal about having the house spotless before leaving for vacation, but what a wonderful feeling to walk in to a clean house after a long trip! This worked out perfectly giving us Sunday to relax and do laundry before going back to work.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Dark Wisconsin Tunnel

The rail trail we choose today boasted 3 old train tunnels. Just before entering the first one we passed a big sign advertising flashlights, ice cream, and soda. A home owner along the trail was taking full advantage of his location. We smiled and rode on. Just a little way into the first tunnel there was a turn. From there for half a mile there was no light whatsoever, not even a speck at the end of the tunnel. A distant drone slowly became louder and a small light appeared to be getting closer. Trin said, "A ghost train!" We decided to turn around and did our best not to run. We went back to the small ice cream stand and paid $5 for a flashlight. The "train" turned out to be a park truck doing maintenance on the trail.

The tunnel was damp and eerie. The only sound was that of dripping water and our bike tires on the old rail mound. This was the kind of darkness that makes every horror movie ever seen flash back into memory. This 3/4 mi tunnel was quite an experience.Before leaving Wisconsin we stopped at "The house on the rock" a house built around a pinnacle rock

It features an infinity room. The room narrows as it looms further over the valley below. The windows angle outward, giving a good view of the forest floor below. A number of people walked to the end with feet spread far apart and hands reaching out on either side as if they were going to suddenly fall out of the room.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Greenway, Minnesota

Of all the cities we have biked in, we vote Minnesota to be the best!! At times we felt like the city could be miles away.

Normally on our rides I'm the one that will take inspiration from a slow car or another rider going by to speed up and pass, or race them. Trin is always saying, "Oh, no here we go." Today as we stopped for a red light a road bike (we are on our mountain bikes) pulled up beside us and gave us a superior look. When the light turned green he took off with Trin right behind. I laughed, "Oh no I've rubbed off on him!!" We paced him for a few miles till the road biker turned off the greenway. Next time we stopped, nothing had to be said I just gave Trin a look and we both started laughing.

Thank you to Olga for giving me the wonderful bike map of the Twin Cities last time you visited PA!

Best quote of the day: "uhh, uhh, uhh, (a kind of gut/guttural sound) Come on dude!" On part of the commuter bike trail we came across a small "traffic jam" the inline skaters behind us felt a little angst at our sudden stop. We jumped off the trail giving them more time to stop before hitting the jam. We have now taken to saying this to each other whenever we see someone getting frustrated.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Maa Daah Hey

The day after our attempt up Mt. Washburn we stopped at Mammoth springs then drove across Montana, skipping biking for the day.

North Dakota and we are back in the saddle. The Maa Daah Hey Trail is reported to be one of the best single tracks, something we definitely didn't want to miss. The Dr. said that it would be painful to ride the next few weeks but that it would not cause further injury, so here we go!

I didn't clip my left foot in the entire time; I'll leave that for the ride tomorrow. =)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wyoming, Yellowstone

Yellowstone Natl Park
I have longed to see Yellowstone National Park since I can remember ever knowing about it. It's thrilling to think of walking atop a live volcano. Steam whistles out of small fissures as if a tea pot were forgotten on the burner. Deep blue pools beckon the observer to wade forward and swim as if in the Caribbean. This surface beauty gives only glimpses of the raw power lying just beneath its thin crust.

We rode a few of the bike trails. It was a great way to see some of the park away from the crowds. Still no grizzly sightings, but the bison were in abundance. They owned the park, meandering down the highway as they pleased, glancing at the cars with a look that says, "hey haven't you seen a bison before?" We could have reached out the window and touched them as they walked around our car. Mt. Washburn
Our last ride in Yellowstone was up Mount Washburn, well almost up to the summit. We started at the base of Chittenden road. It was a steady climb, we were moving slow, but steady. The higher we got the more snow we were running into, but the view was gorgeous. Then we came to the fateful snow patch. Evidently I didn't get all the mud out of my clip when we carried the bikes through the last snow patch, or at least this is my excuse. When I hit the new patch of ice I didn't unclip in time. Instead I planted my bike handle bars directly onto the trail and tried to impale my chest on the other end. With the combination of high elevation, climbing, and then this blunt force impact I couldn't catch my breath. After getting up out of the ice cold mud puddle I was quite dizzy, and the pain was excruciating. We failed to make the top. I was extremely disappointed. Someday we will go back and finish it.
The staff at the hospital in Montana was very nice and thankfully the X-rays showed no broken ribs. The impact hit the cartilage between my ribs and sternum. Within a few days I had a nice large purple lump and a number of wonderful memories of Yellowstone.