Friday, May 30, 2008

60 miles after school and the studio, a pipe dream...30 miles, a possibility, but at 5:30 PM, 20 miles is more of a reality. So we decided to get real and visit Martha (OK it was just a drive by of her massive estate in Katonah). This Griddle Ridge loop was hilly enough, and I was so exhausted when we started, but surprisingly, I was feeling like I could have ridden another 2 hours if we had the time. Every hill that I anticipated was no big deal, I seemed to be keeping a really good cadence and we completed the ride at about a 17 MPH pace.

I found my thoughts wondering from school to the anticipated summer, to the woodfiring, to the conversation I had yesterday on the way home from the glass house about 911. I had never really talked at length with anyone other than Marc about their experiences, and it brought up something that really struck a nerve, the decision to jump from the sky, and the people that watched helplessly.

I also reflect on another conversation, about being alone with my work, putting stock in what other people say...and I find myself wondering what really is important in life? Should I be spending this much time riding, when my studio work is crying to be done? I know I need to exercise, and I know that I definitely need to help Chris achieve his goals. My heart depends on it in both cases.

Chris needs a break, tomorrow, so I am on my own in the early morning. Not sure where I might wonder, or how long I'll be.
Until then, onwards and upwards...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Glass houses!

I think about the irony of what it is to live in a glass house. I am on a tour of the Johnson House in New Canaan with an artist I know and feel like the kid in a candy store that is allowed to have the pick of the place, almost, but is somehow missing out on some of the best parts, the parts we are not allowed to explore, like the climbing structure seen off in the distance (top photo). I am in heaven in this space that I learned so much about in art school. I can't believe I am inside looking out, or outside looking in for that matter. I want to spend time there, sit and sketch, and sketch some more. I think about all of the times I have ridden by the place on my bike and wondered just what I was looking at from the road. Now that I know, I want to experience it again and again and again...I wonder just what type of work will erupt from this experience, will it explode or ooze out? Will it be dynamic or subtle?

More to contemplate while I am riding!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Barely hanging on, Kamikaze squirrel, and rabbits

All day long I was looking forward to my ride to Ridgefield today, only to find out that the meet was switched to Danbury, which meant a 5PM ride would be out of the question, not because of distance, but because of the traffic, so I bailed on the idea. On the way home I came up with the thought of going down past Martha's place and riding up 121 to Bogtown Rd., then I picked up Chris...A tough workout at track, sore legs, he kept rubbing them, trying not to say anything, then he took forever to get ready, and as a coach I took some cues. I suggested we head around the reservoir, which stretching means a shy 11 miles. As we head out I realize how much of the right decision that was. I lead today, 18 MPH pace and feel like I am barely moving only to look back and see Chris barely hanging on. I am now happy that I made the call for a short ride.

Intervals saved my workout, widened the gap to out of the line of sight at times since Chris was just cruising. They actually felt pretty good. I nearly bit the dust coming down from the dam. Cruising speed, 40 MPH and a squirrel decides to dart out under my wheel just as a car is whizzing by on my left, talk about an adrenaline rush. I had to slow it down a bit as this left me a bit shaky, as I did I see a rabbit do the same thing to a car.

Tomorrow, the glass house, until Friday!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My feet hurt - and my passport...

My feet hurt from yesterday's hike to the point that I feel like I spent 8 hours on skates. I think it was the fact that my hikers could and should be replaced. Never-the- less I had passport issues to deal with today and Chris was supposed to run. Thunderstorms took care of that. SO, tomorrow we are off to Ridgefield again this time we will be trying to catch the NCHS girls running at FCIAC's. I figure we'll be a bit late, but it could be a good reason to ride over that way. Maybe I'll even spring Keehler on Chris?
For those of you who don't know about the 116/Keehler/Hilltop loop, its 3 miles of pure hill climbing hell! 12-18% grade in spots and a solid 10% for most of it. Climbing a friggen wall is more pleasant, but you can't beat the views!

I'll let you know how it goes. Onward and upward!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Canopus Lake overlook

Oh I really wanted to pedal today, but I got a much better offer, a hike up the AT to the Canopus Lake overlook. It was only 5 miles round trip, but it was a day out with my husband and my daughter. We traveled the same route that Kenny and I used to take all four kids when they were little, usually Chris in a backpack, Justin, Anna and Mikey walking. We remarked at how challenging that must have been for them. Some of the rock stairs were nearly waist high. No wonder Mikey used to complain so much, the steps were as big as he was.
We encountered a family about 1 mile in. They asked a question about where the trail ended and if it was walkable for lunch. Hmm, this was a hard question to answer. I asked if they had a map, and they produced a paper copy issued by the State Park. I decided to show them where we were and how far the overlook was but then I couldn't resist telling them that the end of the trail (in the northern direction of travel) was in Maine at Mt Katahdin. I'm not sure they digested it. At the overlook a couple asked if we knew of another way down. I was worried that without a map they would get lost but they managed as we spotted them by the river in Cold Spring where we headed post hike for a slice and a cone.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Glacier Erratic? Ridgefield isn't that far...and I really didn't want to ride today!

Ok after yesterdays hilly 60 miles the thought of another 30- 40 today really didn't feel to good in my head, but train we must right? I spent 2-3 hours debating with myself about riding, beating myself to pieces actually, then I just decided to not listen to that monster occupying the space inside my skull, or the one that had taken up residence in Chris's skull and put on my best I am not fatigued and if you believe that... face and got dressed to ride, filled some water bottles, grabbed my gear and headed out the door deciding that White Pond was not in my cards today and that Ridgefield for lunch was more my speed. We headed east.

In the first mile, I was so sore, in the second mile I realized just how chaffed I was, in the third mile my dehydration from yesterday kind of caught up with me and by mile 8 I was contemplating turning around I then thought ok I'll make an attempt to get to Ridgefield and make an excuse to get picked up if I have to. I decided it really was not all that bad and any excuse I would muster up would just be lame, so on I plodded. I REALLY DID NOT WANT TO RIDE TODAY!!!!!!

So on we rode, up the hill past the mill house and approaching the balanced rock and Chris starts going on about the glacial erratic. I was stunned, to me, the person who grew up with a geologist as a father, it was just a balanced rock. I later learned that Chris's teacher has pictures of her Earth Science students standing in front of it all over her room. The decision was made at that point that he would have to add to the collection so we stopped on the way home and took pictures.

So we rode to Ridgefield, it didn't seem all that bad despite my tired and screaming body. It was actually flatter than I remember, and it seemed less of a chore than I thought. When we got there I wasn't hungry, so we ordered one Panini and an iced coffee, Chris downed half of the sandwich and deposited the rest in his back pocket. I just drank my iced coffee remembering the time Bud and I took an 80 mile iced coffee tour.

On the way home I realized just how hungry I really was... YIKES 5 miles to go and nothing but soapy water - yeah the bottle wasn't quite rinsed of the soap when I filled it...Why did it take me until now to realize this 25 miles in? Because despite feeling a bit dehydrated from yesterday, I was feeling that queezy can't drink anything sensation as well. I managed to fly home despite it all. Chris, don't know where he pulls it out from , went the long way up the hill and still beat me home by 200 ft (but my side was much steeper 15% for 1/2 mile to his 7% over 1 mile)

Until next time...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

RIde of the Raiders

Chris and I spent last night getting ready for this ride because we had to leave the house SO early this morning. We had to meet the group at Compo Beach in Westport at 7:30 for this ride, which was a fundraiser for the Westport Historical Society .

The plan was to ride to Danbury and back along the route that the British Army took during the raid on Danbury. I found the concept interesting, as often times I ride along these roads I know have a 200 year old plus history, and often I read the markers, think about the ghosts of the foundations in the woods, the walls that marked pastures, etc. The point of todays ride was to point out all those things I often wonder about, but never get to talk about.

As we headed out of Westport, away from the coast the terrain starts to change. I find myself thinking about several things that my friend Deej had said at the start; the area was deforested as it was all pastureland. Climbing a ridge meant that you could see the sound. There was a comparison made to the contemporary wars in which raids take on a similar format, time changes but history repeats...

As we head out onto the Post Road, Chris takes off riding and misses a turn completely. I give chase, but it was the guy behind me who managed to catch him. He was a bit embarrassed and chose to stay with me a bit until my pace was uncomfortable (5 minutes later). He rode up ahead with the group for awhile again heading to the front of the pack with ease and then I lost sight of him, then I lost sight of the group...then my mothers angst set in and I started to get a bit panicky. I really had to stop and live up to my stump queen name, but I had this thought that Chris took off after some rogue cycling group and would eventually find him lost in CT with no cell service. Oh how the mind wonders, I caught the group at the Bluebird Inn. I relaxed a bit but this would happen several more times over the course of the day. Mostly though, Chris stayed with my little group talking to Deej and Scott. I think he actually liked hearing the stories.

The group as a whole, fell apart before we hit Bethel. Actually, one wrong turn kind of dispelled the group. First we tried recon work, again chasing down the pack, (of course Chris was with them and seemed a bit surprised to see me pretty much right on his tail- my interval training now complete for the day) which worked to some extent. I caught up to them waiting by the park but I wasn't sure the back of the pack had followed me, I wasn't sure what to do. Some of the people wanted to go back, some wanted to go ahead, we decided to that we would get to 302 in Bethel and just wait, as that was a spot on the route that seemed doable from where we were. As we embark on that decision that back of the pack catches up. We gather at a left turn we are supposed to take, discussing the logistics of the route. Some go left, some continue on the route we were on. The group was essentially shattered at this point. We plod on into Bethel and then Danbury. My chain seized up in the middle of an intersection at the Danbury/Bethel line. I could almost hear Mikey going OH OH ... but I managed to clip out before the fall into traffic. As we wind our way through Danbury, we stop at a place for lunch where they had stopped in past years only to find the place no longer making sandwiches. We were only a couple of blocks from Hanna's on Lake Ave so we headed there. At this point I was in home territory so my navigational skills took over for a while to get us back onto the route.

The route itself was a bit hilly, though nothing like last weekend. I found myself almost ready to crack at one point in Ridgefield at the thought of having to climb Barrack Hill Rd. I didn't mean to utter some negative words for the group to hear, they just came out. I was tired, I was near home and my body was wanting to go in that direction; my shoulder starting to twinge, the awesome chicken gyro I ate at Hanna's in Danbury sitting heavy, the thought of 20 more miles... Surprisingly, a stop in town soothed my attitude. Coffee was just the thing I needed. I settled into the rest of the ride quite nicely. I seemed to forget that the route back was mostly downhill so when my body kept rediscovering it, I was thrilled.

I was worried a bit about Chris, who seemed to be wearing thin and not eating well enough to sustain the rest of the miles. The gelato in Ridgefield was probably one of the best choices he could have made at that point. He had some issues with cramping in Wilton, actually I was sure it was something mechanical when he uttered I can't pedal on a hill. His groin muscles were in spasm. We stopped and made him down some E-gel and some water, spin on the downhills and be more conservative on the climbs. He pushed through it and had a wonderful finish to the ride.

The hardest part about training again is dealing with how much speed I have lost. My competitive soul has to deal with this major ego blow. I have only lost a few pounds since I have started this endeavor in January which is a bit disheartening. Here we go again, back to the ride 200 plus miles a week on average and eat right only to loose nothing. I try not to get discouraged, but sometimes I am just so frustrated with myself as I let the stress of a job let me slide back into an seemingly inescapable cravats. I find myself drawing on the real important task at hand, getting Chris ready to ride 800 miles and this time the coach actually gets to participate. I know that intervals will bring my speed back up, and we will start this sometime this week as Chris's track season will finally be over.

40-50 miles tomorrow.... maybe a White Pond visit?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Up Through the Clove

Today we rode from New Paltz, stuffin 30 miles of spiral staircase climbs with John. Now I love to climb, but I really suck at it. The torn Rotator cuff in my right shoulder makes it really tough to rely on pulling to help my legs. I can pull, but when I do it too much the muscles seize up with no warning and wreck me for the next few days, so my legs have been doing the brunt of the work. Anyway, John and Chris were really patient and pleasant. i know Chris had to be patient as I had the car keys and the means to get him back home.

It started to rain shortly after the hairpin turn, TG we were going down. It really picked up to a full pour by the time we hit Libertyville, and I started to get really cold, then a bit bonky with about 5 miles to go (could have been worse I guess). After all that I had a blast!

The image is some sculptures we came across in the clove. Check out Chris's blog