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It’s been a while since I’ve posted because

1. Work projects involving lots of writing; just didn’t feel like writing more
2. Getting ready for a wedding – mine and John’s!

I’m down to one writing project now and have some time and brainpower for writing about biking.

The wedding took place on September 14th and what a wonderful day it was! We’re honeymooning, with bikes, in Vermont and upstate New York. Our first stop is the lovely Three Mountain Inn, in Jamaica VT.

Yesterday’s ride was just short of 50 miles. The route was beautiful, with 3700 challenging feet of climbing, starting with the first 2 miles out of town. Just under 20 miles were on dirt roads. These were packed firmly enough to ride on but a little bit scary with little potholes and some loose gravel. I should have brought the ANT! My Soma was a little nervous on the rougher terrain, though it’s tires were fine.

The route took us through Londonderry, Grafton, and Townshend. It was one of the toughest – and one of the loveliest- rides I’ve ever done. None of the climbs were particularly steep. Instead, they were long and there were a lot of them. Let’s just say, when John realized we were just .4 miles short of 50, my reaction was “That’s close enough!”

Beforehand we agreed either of us could call a photo-op stop at any time, that we’d stop for lunch and walk around a little. Good decisions. We worked hard on the ride and had a great time. Leaves are just starting to turn, the weather is sunny and cool – perfect for cycling.

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Cycling with Asthma

There’s nothing remarkable about being one of the 26 million or so people in the US who has asthma. Nor is there anything unusual in people with asthma bicycling or doing other athletic things. I’ve had asthma since childhood. It disappeared for a while, then returned as I approached 40. So I’ve been living with it for about 20 years of my adult life. It’s under good enough control that I can kind of forget about it most of the time. My doctor impresses on me to always have a rescue inhaler available. Most of the time I forget, though I do always keep one on my bike. Something about exercise often makes me need a shot of that stuff.

It was remarkable to me that last Tuesday while out for a low-elevation neighborhood ride I could not get enough air. The problem had slowly been building up, seeming at first much more like the leftover of an earlier cold than anything else. But now I could see it was more than just that. The rescue inhaler didn’t help much. So for the second time in 2 decades I needed a prescription for Prednisone. It wasn’t a big asthma attack, just a reminder. It’s an alert to always remember my meds, and a reason to be grateful. Most of the time, asthma or not, I can be as active as I like. That’s a lot to be grateful for!

On the Verge of Warm

Here’s how you know it’s fall. It’s sunny, it’s warm out, but you feel chilly when you first start out.  “Should I have worn a jacket?” you wonder.  A couple of miles into the ride, you’re more than warm enough in your short-sleeved jersey. Delightful.  Here are some other signs of fall:

 

Patapsco River

Patapsco River

 

Grist Mill Path, Patapsco State Park

Grist Mill Path, Patapsco State Park

 

Let’s Talk Seagull Century

Years before I began cycling seriously, I’d see posters for the Seagull Century and think how great it would be to do that ride someday. This past weekend it came to be!  John and I rode in the Seagull Century, and yes, I completed it. Yay!

First Rest Stop

First Rest Stop

It was my first century and probably John’s zillionth. I got pretty nervous as October 5th approached. Things hadn’t worked out as I’d planned  in the weeks leading up to the ride. Between a heavy  workload, a cold, and business travel I rode very little in mid-late September. The weekend before the ride we went out for a hilly 50 miler. I figured if I could do that at a decent pace, I could somehow complete a flat century.

So how did it go? I  maintained an average of 13.9 mph for 101 miles. I started out with 15 mph for the first 43 or so miles, slowing down as fatigue set in and pain started increasing.  And how did I feel? Quite good for the first half, but  the second half was tougher.  The rest stops helped a lot.  There were four of them, about 20 miles apart. By the time we got to the third one (which marked the furthest I’d ever ridden in one day before) I was starting to really feel it, but the brief break and refreshment helped.  I felt pretty good for 10 miles or so. And then all I had to do was keep going for 10 more until the next one.

Assateague Island

Assateague Island

Somewhere around the 80-85  mile mark, a man rode by  with a cheery smile and asked, “How are you feeling?”  “Great,” I said. “My left earlobe doesn’t hurt!” The young woman riding next to me deadpanned, “It will soon, though.”

The  sit-bones hurt the most. That was a long time to be in the saddle and my butt was letting me know it. There were some muscle aches but really no worse than other rides I’ve done. I paid attention to taking in enough water, Nuun and food (small amounts of each, frequently) and I think that helped.

Now that I’ve done one century, would I do another? Well, yes. I think I would.

We made a long weekend of it. This was our least favorite of the restaurants we tried, but it had the best view.

We made a long weekend of it. This was our least favorite of the restaurants we tried, but it had the best view.

Not Bad, Not Great

Sometimes you get out there and realize you might have been better off not riding today. It was a fine day, but the ride was a bit of a struggle. You know, the kind where half way through you’re ready for it to be done. It wasn’t tough, long or anything else. I just felt like my get up and go had gotten lost.  Happens sometimes. Later that evening, I realized I was feeling a cold or something coming on, so that explained it. I’d blame the symptoms on the Steelers being 0-3, but all this happened well before the game.

Besides all that there were an unusual number of potentially dangerous incidents during the ride. We were alert and avoided collisions but that’s never fun. Most oddly, we encountered another cyclist on our side of the road, in the shoulder, huffing up a steep long hill as we rode down it. What the heck?

Here’s a  video worth sharing about cyclists, drivers and road sharing.