Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What a Shame Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario

It seems I am taking a chance riding my bike on the roads in Riverside.

According to a report released by Transportation for America, the Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario area is ranked 5th in the top 10 most dangerous areas in the US to ride a bike, or walk.
That doesn't make me feel too good.
I am hoping things change in my city.
I would love to be able to ride my bike all over the place in Riverside.
But, I've known for a while that it's not safe.
I don't ride my bike down Central Avenue toward the Riverside Plaza area unless it is before 7 a.m. on a Saturday or Sunday. Any other time it would be just an invitation to get creamed by a car.
I asked our past mayor about getting bike lanes put in on Central and he told me to ride my bike on the sidewalk. Not that I am EVER going to do that, but even if I did, the sidewalk is only on one side of the street and people walk on it.
Our NEW Mayor touts himself as being bicycle friendly.
I haven't seen any changes, except he gets out once every couple of months and rides his mountain bike 10 miles on the Santa Ana River Trail with a bunch of people.
You don't have to deal with cars on the SART.
So I am not impressed Mayor Bailey.
What will impress me is when they clean the glass out of the bike lane at the intersection of Central and Victoria avenues.
It's been there 3 weeks. I have called 3 times and it has not been cleaned up. During my past weekend "alone" ride, I stopped and took a picture of the debris in the bike lane. I sent an email and attached the picture of all the debris in the bike lane. I thought for sure that crap would be cleared up by our ride on Tuesday.
Still nothing.
I know it's hard to see, but there is lots of glass still in the bike lane...even after 3 weeks of cars driving over it.
My fingers are crossed that the glass is ALL gone for tomorrow night's ride.
Crossed Fingers
Tomorrow's ride is along Victoria Avenue in Riverside.
Victoria Avenue is listed on the Register of National Historic Places.
Oh yes, it looks pretty and it is pretty.
EXCEPT for the bike lane.
Most times we don't even ride in the bike lane. I am sure passing vehicles don't understand why we are riding out in the road and not in the bike lane.
question mark
We don't ride in the bike lane on Victoria Avenue for the most part because it is rutty, full of tree branches - on the ground and hanging down to smack us in the face, and full of debris. It is safer for us to ride in the road and take our chances with cars.
And this is the bike lane that the city officials tout as being an asset.
I want to take Mayor Rusty Bailey on a bike ride around town. Maybe if he had to ride in my pedals for a day he would get to work on making our city a better place to ride and we wouldn't be number 5 on the DANGER list.
I'd love for Mayor Bailey to join us on one of Triathlon Connection Riverside's Tuesday or Thursday night rides.
And any other city official who keeps saying they want the city to be bike friendly.
We have bikes and we want to show you and tell you how to make our city bike SAFE!!!!
Come out and ride with us!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ride Alone HILLS Yes!

Sometimes it is good to ride alone.
There was no one to talk to, except myself.
No one to get my mind off my legs, except myself.
No one to push me, except myself.
No one who would know if I didn't go all the way to the top of the hill, except myself.
I rode with myself today.
I rode 30 miles with myself.
I rode 1,700 feet up in those miles.
All by myself.
All alone.
I didn't have music, though I did have the lyrics from the play my kindergarteners just did running through my brain.
"I'm a chef, chef, chef....oolalala"..repeat that a lot of times and it gets your mind off your legs.
I counted the number of times I had to pedal between light posts on one climb.
I tried to keep it in my big ring for the entire ride, but I had to go to the lower ring when I hit Hillsmont and it was 14 percent.
But you'll just have to take my word for that because I was all by myself.
Since it was just me, I only stopped when I wanted to. I didn't have to wait for anyone and no one had to wait for me.
For the first 45 minutes I made my ride a game - ride in the biggest gear I could without pushing my heart rate over 140. I didn't care about speed.

I stopped at this intersection because I wanted to take a picture of the sign.. wish it turned out better.
Also because it was at the top of a 14 percent grade and I just wanted to stop and have a drink and take a bite of my nutrition bar.
My second stop was at the Citrus Heritage Park because I had to go to the bathroom. I was the only one there. It was so peaceful and quiet. I parked myself on a bench for a few minutes and ate some of my bar and placed a few games of "Words with Friends."

Last stop was near the top of Overlook after a climb. I took a picture and had some of my bar. When I took off my chain fell off. It wasn't an easy fix. Somehow it fell off the front rings and the back cassette. I had to find some shade, turn my bike upside down and work on it for a several minutes to get it back on.
Riding alone I didn't have anyone else to depend on but myself.
I like depending on myself.
I liked my alone
Tomorrow I am going to like my ride with FRIENDS.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Am a Duathlete!

For the past few years I have been calling myself a Triathlete!
I even become a USA Triathlon Coach!
 This weekend I changed my game.
I became a Duathlete.
I signed Robert and I up for the Encinitas Triathlon because it was a fabulous deal. When I signed us up it was a two-fer. So for both of us it was $75.
I looked it up and later it was $120 a person.
Anyway, we were in Carlsbad in April for the Carlsbad 5000 and I knew we had the Encinitas Sprint Triathlon coming up and we loved the funky Surf Motel we were staying out, so we booked the Ocean View Suite for the weekend.

This time we brought my son, Darin, and his friend, Dylan.
While Robert and I expo'd, ran and biked, they surfed and swam and ate.

We met up for the eatings.
Man, those boys can eat a lot...

We checked in late Friday and I could hear the surf, but I couldn't see it. But the breeze was nice and I had a great night's sleep.
I woke up early on Saturday and everyone was sleeping so I walked by myself to the coffee shop/hamburger joint/sandwich shop/bakery down the street and got myself a BIG coffee and a bowl of fruit with a pastry.
Okay, so it was a pastry with fruit on it. Yummy!!!
After my people got up, Darin and Dylan took their surfboards to the beach and Robert and I took off in the car for the expo.
At first I was thinking we should just ride our bikes, but then I thought it might be hard to ride back with all the schwag they were going to give us.
As it was, the streets were shut down for the 5k run and we had to park FAR FAR FAR away from the expo.
They didn't give us too many goodies, but I did come away lucky. One booth was having a $25 shoe sale and I felt like Cinderella because the sizes fit me. The salesperson was happy, too. She kept saying how she had been waiting for someone with my size foot to come along and buy the shoes.
Photo: My feet were just the right size for the $25 sale at the expo.
I bought 3 pairs...good thing I got them on Saturday and carried them all the way back to the car because she didn't have her booth on Sunday. I looked. I had my credit card in hand to buy more shoes. Guess I saved some money.
The expo was good. The weather was fabulous and the beach scenery was the best.
The waves looked big, but Robert and I talked about it. He is a great ocean swimmer and I am a newbie ocean swimmer. He assured me that once we got past the breakwater, it would be easy swimming to the buoy and back. Really, the waves were no bigger than ones I had boogied boarded in.
My mistake was to stop in the chiropractor adjustment tent. The doc there was an 5-time Ironman and he told me the next day's waves were going to be BIG with rip currents. He gave me 15 minutes worth of swim advice and then said he felt a lot of tension in my neck and shoulder area.
After talking to him about race day's surf ANYONE would have tension in their neck and shoulders.
After the expo we stopped in the local bike store.
Lesley Patterson use to work here.
They were really nice and helpful.
They had GREAT customer service. Too bad they are so far away because I would switch bike shops if they were closer.
Later that afternoon Robert and I went on a stress-reducing bike ride.
Of course, we rode on Pacific Coast Highway and all I could look at was the waves and how they appeared to be getting bigger and bigger and BIGGER.
We turned around and headed back when everyone started leaving the beach and the traffic was getting a bit crazy. Some people didn't want to share the road, even when the road was a "sharrows".
Back at our hotel, I relaxed on our patio and tried to visualize myself diving under gigantic waves and coming out the other side right by the last buoy.
I had a nice dinner with my guys and went to bed early.
The alarm went off and out the door we went. I couldn't see the surf because it was still dark. We had to park FAR FAR FAR away again, but this time we could ride our bikes to the event. But it's hard riding with a HUGE transition bag on your back when I haven't had a cup of coffee.
Robert and I had signed up as VIPs and were suppose to have assigned spots in transition. I did. He didn't.
They moved us to a special spot.
 Hector loved his spot.
Robert and I quickly set up our transition area and grabbed our wetsuits and made our way out of transition. They were closing down transition at 6:30 a.m. even though our wave wasn't until 7:48 a.m. They let me move my 7:40 a.m. wave back to his 7:48 a.m. wave so we could swim together.
We were in our wetsuits and down by the water when the first wave went off. It was the elites and they easily made it through the pounding surf.
Then the normal people waves started going and it was a different story.
Lots of people never made it.
Several were brought back in by lifeguards.
Every few minutes the announcer would tell where the rip current was....He said stuff like - swim to the right so you get pulled to the left so you can swim to the right.
I watched about 8 waves go off and I knew it wasn't going to happen for me.

Lifeguards riding on seadoos brought a lot of people back to shore.
The breakwater went all the way to the last buoy. It was just pounding wave after pounding wave.
I told Robert I just was not properly trained for these surf conditions. When I had signed up the triathlon was suppose to be at a different place, you know like at a kiddie beach, but they had to move it because of construction on the parking lot.
Even when the tri moved to this surfer beach, I thought I would still give it a try.
But my inner instincts were yelling, "SAVE YOURSELF."
They announced that anyone not making it through the swim, or those who just wanted to, could change to the duathlon.
I was at the timing desk so fast to get my name changed to the duathlon list that you would have thought I was racing.
One girl at the timing desk was crying.
She had been pummeled in the surf.
She was switching to the duathlon.
As we watched the line of soaked triathletes lining up to become duathletes grew.
Lifeguards later said they helped 70 people out of the water.
Glad I wasn't one of them.
I am a!!!
My wetsuit is packed away dry!
The first run was on the beach in the sand.
The bike was pretty flat with a small hill in the middle.
The second run was up a dirt hill, then on the road.
I was just so grateful that I was racing without having to battle the surf. The race was over before I knew it.
We waited a little while for results, then gave up.
Final results are still not posted.
I'll let you know how I did when I find out.
Today I am just going to put on my bike shoes and ride some hills because I love to Train-n-Tri!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

What a Week

What a week...
And it's not over yet.
My week started with my phone on rice.
I think it was all my fault.
I read the directions and thought I had followed them, but apparently not.
My phone was on rice for 3 days and actually it was a nice change of pace. I didn't have anyone calling me (oh, I LOVE your calls....keep calling), no one texted me (I love your texts...keep them coming) and I didn't have anyone nudging me to play words with friends.
I love all those things...but it was nice to have 3 days off where I didn't feel as if I HAD to respond.
I was unresponsive for 3 days.
Except unresponsive is not the right word.
I was responsive to everything going on around me...just not the phone.
I don't have any picture (because my phone was on rice), but I went to a fabulous Mountain Bike Clinic called the Courage Women of Dirt (CWOD) and I became a Trail Angel.
Photo: I am now a Trail Angel. Who wants to ride Sycamore Canyon?
The clinic was fabulous, the lunch was catered by Panera and I won LOTS of stuff at the raffle.
Photo: Courageous Women of Dirt.....I LOVED MY DAY! I spent the day being trained by Julia from Coach Carmichael. Then having all this stuff given to me. (I did win the shoes and the bars) Friends - next year you need to do this with me. It rocked!!! And the lunch was catered by Panera. YEAH!! Best Mother's Day gift to myself EVER!!
The training was awesome also.
Sunday was Mother's Day and it was nice and not nice. The not nice part was my mom is really sick and she was in the hospital, so I couldn't spend it with her.
The nice part was I went and picked up my daughter and spent the morning with her. Then I gardened with my youngest son (he even picked up dog poop all in the name of Mother's Day). I went on the 4th Annual Mom/Dion bike ride.
Photo: 4th Annual Mom/Dion ride...first year it took 1 hour 58 minutes... This year 51 minutes and I did intervals so he could catch up. Love you son!
Dion and me
I really wish I had pictures of our first ride together. I didn't have an iPhone then. How times change. Just like my first annual ride with Dion was on a mountain bike and going SLOOOOW, while Dion sped by me. It's taken me a few years, but this year, Hector (my tri-bike) and I blew by him and had to backpedal to let him catch up.
Monday was AMGEN TOUR OF CAlIFORNIA and I had the great opportunity to be a Course Marshal. They gave us BRIGHT ORANGE shirts to wear and an official hat.
Photo: 106 degrees Amgen/Palm Springs
It was 106 degrees in the shade. How those guys rode their bikes that fast past me, I have no idea.
The Amgen Tour of California Pelaton.
I only had to argue with one guy who insisted that the city had NEVER shut down the road for cyclists before...I tried to explain to him that this was the first time the Tour had come through Palm Springs. He ignored me, pulled into the road and was promptly pulled over by flashing lights and a pissed off cop and given a ticket.
I don't know what his fine is, but I hope it is big!!!
I recovered from my hot, hot, hot and exciting Monday by going to work in a kindergarten class and then taking the Tuesday night TC Riverside group to the Nissan dealership to get our forms signed so we can all get FREE bike jerseys.
Photo: We will all be getting new jerseys. Thanks Nissan.
Oh yeah! The Triathlon Connection Riverside cyclists!
One salesman wanted to know who was going to take the test drive....none of us did. We promised to come back wearing our new jerseys and take a picture with the manager.
Wednesday I swam in the pool and put in a couple of miles on the knee has been acting up from my old laundry injury, so I have been trying to baby it as I do have Vineman 70.3 in July and I am going to be healthy and injury free when that tri comes around.
Thursday - no matter how much stress I have accumulated during the week - you know, mother-in-law living at my house, 23 tattle-telling kindergarteners in my class, knowing I need to clean my house, but I don't have time because I had to fast grocery shop after work for my weekend away triathlon trip.....and then I picked blogging over packing...
All that stress disappears when I climb on my bike and pedal a few miles with friends.
Photo: We've been talking about having a "flat clinic," but Shirley Drachslin Jones is making sure we all learn on her bike.
Even when those friends have flats.
I love how Shirley wanted to change her tire by herself....I know it was hard for my guy to sit on the side of the road and watch her, since he really is a knight reincarnate.
And what is Will doing in the background? Yoga.
I guess I am going to have to start Yoga for Athletes at the end of our bike rides.
 How many yoga mats can fit on my front yard?
I guess as many riders we have at the ride.
I mean, let's all continue to Train-n-Tri.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Phone is in Rice

My phone is in a baggy of rice.
That is not the picture of it. I can't take pictures right now because my phone is (*)(*)(&^^ in rice. I have a camera somewhere. Not sure where. Since I have had my iPhone I have used it for a camera. I would have to search for a long time to find my camera that is only a camera.
If I did find my camera, it would be really strange to use it. I would take a picture and then.....then what? I couldn't post it to facebook or use any cool apps to change the coloring. The image would just sit there in the camera until I could download it into my computer.

I am sure you are wondering how my camera ended up in a bag of rice.
I'd show you pictures, but the pictures of how it happened are in the camera.
Also I am not sure if the fault is mine or if the fault belongs to the contraption my camera was in.
I am not going to point fingers until I know for sure.
Testing is taking place and emails have been sent to the company that sent me the contraption.
I am hoping my phone will come back to life.
I am praying my phone will come back to life.
And I am emailing Andy Potts asking him for a discount code for Lifeproof.
Until then....I'm off the grid.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wildflower - Competitor turned Spectator

I went to Wildflower to compete.
I ended up being a spectator.
And I had a great time.
I hadn't been feeling great the couple of days before we took off for Wildflower.
We left Friday morning at 5 a.m. and pulled our trailer. It was a long haul. After we parked and got organized we headed for the expo and to pick up our packets.

Jeanne, me and Orietta....thanks Robert for taking our picture.

Robert and I by the BIG TRI Girl!!!


Riding the bus to the expo to pick up our chips, numbers and tshirts.
In fact, Friday afternoon when we got to our campsite in the Redondo Vista loop, I even said to a couple of friends, "I am so tired, I feel sick."
And I was....but I thought I would get better before my Sunday race.
Saturday morning I felt kind of crappy, but well enough to get up and coach my friend through her day of racing the mountain bike triathlon.

I took pictures and cheered her on through her 500 yard swim, her 9 mile bike and her 2 mile run.

Jeanne getting ready to head to the swim start.

 Jeanne in the background heading out on the mountain bike.

Orietta, Me and Robert P. being spectators. It's a hard job.

Jeanne at the finish line.

After the first day of Wildflower, I was exhausted from being a spectator.
I managed to attend my tri-club's potluck dinner in the campsite.
I didn't eat a lot for dinner.....but I did eat a cupcake.

Then I packed my tri-bag and set my alarm and went to bed.

When my alarm went off in the morning I knew I wasn't going to make it to the start line.
Just the thought of pulling on my wetsuit made me feel exhausted.
My throat hurt, my head hurt, my body ached and I was coughing.
The fact that the weather was cold, windy and raining only added to my misery.

Really it was not a choice...there was no way I could have competed and made it to the finish line. I would have fallen apart somewhere along the way....most likely in the transition area before the start of the race.

I wanted to pull the covers over my head and go back to bed.

But I couldn't!
My guy was racing and so was a lot of my friends.
So I dragged myself out of bed and spectated.

 Orietta, me and Birgit waiting for Robert to come out of transition.
Orietta was racing, too.
Robert finally came out of transition right before his wave. It was strange not to step foot in transition one time during the entire weekend.
Robert ran up the hill from the lake to transition. Lots of people walked.
We watched Robert ride out of transition on the bike...but the pictures were not good, they showed just the top of his head on the other side of the fence.
Once he was gone we knew we had some time to kill until he rode his bike in from the 26 mile HILLY WINDY ride.
So what do sick spectators do while killing time?
The Wildflower Expo is small compared to some big marathon expos....but it kept us entertained and it was nice to duck into some of the booths just to stay out of the cold wind.
Birgit, Jeanne and me.
I don't know which booth this was, but they were offering wine.
And I was hoping the wine mixed with my antibiotics would make me feel better.
It helped.....but this helped more.
And I bought a couple of shirts and some socks.
We looked up Jeanne's time from her Mountain Bike Tri race and Birgit's time from her Long Course race.
I stopped by the Tri-California booth and thanked them for picking me to be one of their ambassadors.
Finally Robert biked in.
That's Birgit's arm waving at him.
Then we watched Robert run out of transition for the 6.2 mile run.
That's Jeanne's arm waving at him.
I went back to the wine booth. That and holding my Newton bag made Robert's run time pass quicker...or at least it seemed as if it was passing quicker.
Also I was hanging with friends and we entertained each other by pointing out all the rule violations people were making that day. We questioned where the officials were...especially when we saw a guy riding a bike WITHOUT a helmet.
I'm sick, but feeling happy.
Orietta runs into the finish.


Robert runs into the finish chute.

Yeah, he is done.
I can go back to camp and crawl back into my bed.
I didn't even get up for dinner.

I did get up to look out the window at these cute mule deer.
I'll be signing up for next year as I have a Wildflower triathlon course with my name on it.
Orietta and I have decided to try the SQUARE next year...the long course on Saturday and the Olympic on Sunday.
I must have been sick when I agreed to that.