Tuesday, August 12, 2014

So....it is getting a little better....

I've set out many times to write the "I now love my bike" blog, and inevitably each time something ridiculous would happen and I'd go back to hating my bike.  I think I've realized, both through my own experiences and listening to others, that bike riding just means weird and uncomfortable things are going to happen.

Since I started riding my bike in June I've ridden almost 500 miles.  Let that sink in.  500 miles.  I don't even like to sit in a car for 500 miles.  The app I use says I've burned 36,000 calories.  It seems a little inflated, but whatever the number is, it is more than sitting on a couch.  I fell once.  I tried to stop too fast and the bike stopped, but I didn't.  The best part of it was a car across the road that got to see the whole thing!  I've stopped getting lost. Admittedly, I take almost the same route every ride, but at least I'm not taking the same route and getting lost!

During the week I'll ride 10-25 miles after work a couple days a week.  Saturday mornings are for the l-o-n-g rides.  A couple Saturday's ago I did just a little bit over 50 miles.  It is crazy.  I never would have thought this would be something I could do.  I still get a little panicked thinking about the weekend of the event I have to do 75 miles the first day....and get up the next day (after camping for the night!) and do it again.  There is still time though and my body has stepped up to the task by giving a little bit more with each ride.

I no longer take it personally when the wind blows and slows me down!  In the beginning I was certain the wind was following me personally, changing directions as I changed directions with the sole intent to slow me down.

I see so much more around me and the area I live.  Experiencing the world on two wheels gives you time to see, feel, smell and absorb what is around you.  I notice streams, and barns, and the smells of farms, and swamps and flowers I never paid attention to before.  The absolute worst is being at the end of a long ride.  Tired.  Thirsty.  Hungry.  And driving by a house that is grilling meat.  Is always smells so good.  I wonder how amused the homeowners would be if I rode in and asked for one of whatever they are grilling.

And I'm fast.  So fast.  So very fast that I worry every time I see one of these,

I wonder what happens if I exceed that speed and there happens to be a cop in the area?  I worry a lot that I'll get a speeding ticket on my bike.  I'm kidding of course.  I'm not fast.  Going up hills I almost manage negative speed ;-) 

The very best though is to struggle up a hill and think you do not have one more pedal stroke in you, and cross the top to the point where you can coast for a bit.  Every time it is magic.  You settle into you bike, feel your tired muscles recover and enjoy the reward of the hard work getting up the hill.  It never gets old.

The joys of the ride though are not the point.  Raising funds for cancer research is.  Thanks to all who have read so far.  Thanks to those who have generously donated.  Please keep reading and if you are comfortably able, please consider donating to cancer research.  Copy and paste the link below.  It feeds right into my page for the event.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

How many ways can I get lost on a bike?

I decided to throw caution to the wind tonight.  I did the route from Saturday backwards.  I still wrote all of the roads on my arm to make sure I didn't get lost.  My reasoning was that the route felt uphill the ENTIRE way, so if I rode it backwards it might be downhill the whole way.  I found out quickly that was stupid.

I'm carefully watching road signs and making my turns. I have one more to hit before I know I won't get lost.  I'm riding.  And riding.  And riding.  I start thinking, "Wow.  I didn't notice that pond the first time."  "Never saw that house."  "That fence looks new".  For a person who has spent most of her life being lost you'd think that should be a sign to start asking questions.  Nope.  I made it a full THREE miles past my turn before I noticed the sign on the road went from 600 S to 650 S.  I needed 350 S.  So I turn around.  When you are on a bike and three miles past your turn there is nothing else to do. I found my turn.  I can see now why I had trouble with it the first time.  It is fairly hidden, and covered.  Here is the sign.  You can see why I missed it.

Maybe I was just going to fast I couldn't see it. 

So I make it the rest of the way home and am within a quarter mile of being able to stop.  The part I love because I can coast most of the way.  My reward for the rest of the ride.  I see this:

No problem I think.  I'll just ride up to it and lift my bike over it and keep going.  Nope.  The tree is laced with live electrical wires. For a moment I think, "If I'm really careful I can lift around it."  I decide not to be foolish.  My reward for not being foolish is two more hills.

I'm beginning to think I'm too stupid to ride a bike.

The bike and my struggles though are not the point.  Raising funds for cancer research is.  Thanks to all who have read so far.  Please keep reading and if you are comfortably able, please consider donating to cancer research.  Copy and paste the link below.  It feeds right into my page for the event.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

On getting home.....

The last two rides have been rough.  Thirty five miles between the two days.  In order to avoid getting lost again I did this before leaving.

It did the trick.  These were the road I had to turn on.  I take great pride in the fact that I risked not writing a R or L by each road and still made it home.  Thankfully the direction part of the ride was early because part way through it rained and washed off all the ink.

At about the last 2 miles I decided that I didn't want to be on the bike another minute.  If I thought I could have walked home I would have thrown the bike in the ditch and done it.  I was so tired that I knew I couldn't.  Everything hurt.  I was hungry.  I was done.

I set out today to on an easy, flat stretch and was just going to do 10 miles or so.  The first half was perfect.  I was composing my blog in my head as I rode.   I was going to force myself to look at the positive and write a blog entry about only positive things.  I was foolishly optimistic.  Then I turned around to come home and realized I was riding straight into the wind.  Wind strong enough at times to feel like I was going backwards.  I struggled through it talking myself into being content with the slower ride. The very end of this route ends in a pretty steep hill, but I know once I get past it the last mile is fairly flat with a couple of spots where I can coast.  I got past the hill and did something wrong with shifting into a lower gear.  All of the sudden I was pedaling but the pedals were just spinning.  The chain had slipped off.  I have no idea how to fix a chain so I got to walk the bike the last mile or so home.  So.  A trip to the bike shop tomorrow, and a request to teach me how to maintain the my new toy.

Not going to sugar coat it.  Right now I hate the bike.  :-)  Later I won't.  Later I will like it again.

The bike and my struggles though are not the point.  Raising funds for cancer research is.  Thanks to all who have read so far.  Please keep reading and if you are comfortably able, please consider donating to cancer research.  Copy and paste the link below.  It feeds right into my page for the event.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

And then there was wind....

I wanted to just do a normal, low drama ride.  Ten miles or so without getting lost or running into a gigantic dog.  I accomplished it for the most part.  Went to a road I knew and just went straight.  One thing I discovered was that the only time you encounter a car on an abandoned country road is when you come to a stop sign.  There can be no cars for miles, but pull up to a stop sign and suddenly there are three or four.

The first part of the ride seemed nice and low key. I enjoyed the gentle breeze.  Rode past a patch of pine trees and loved instant smell of pine.  Then I turned around to head home and realized the gentle breeze was no longer at my back.  I was riding into it.  I know that for most folks who have ridden a bike in the last 30 years, this comes as no shock.  Not me.  I'm new and learning each day.  Apparently wind is a factor

At one point on the ride I saw a bug coming towards me.  Keep in mind that I ride at such a blistering pace that I can hardly avoid bugs every so often. Kind of like windshield on a car, that is how fast I pedal.  (Note the sarcasm)  So I see this bug and since it isn't heading toward my face or mouth I ignore it. It runs straight into my arm and I felt it hit and bounce off, but didn't think anything of it.  I'm still not sure what it was, but now my arm looks like this:

Strange.  It kind of looks like teeth marks from a human bite.  (Well, a human with no upper teeth).  Perhaps Luis Suarez was out on the road and I was going too fast too notice ;-)

11 miles tonight.

Please join my journey by following my blog, and please consider donating for cancer research.  All money raised goes to benefit cancer research.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sometimes you can't go forward and you can't go backwards

I did not mean to ride 15 miles tonight.  I had a rough idea of where I was going, but in true Marti style got myself so turned around I might as well have been in Michigan.  A lot of bizarre things happened on the ride.

I discovered there are actual DIRT county roads.  When you look on a map it does not reveal the dirt-ness of the road.  Dirt roads are hard to bike on.  There was also a hill that went up at about 90 degrees.  I may have been able to get up it, if it had been pavement  but the muddy dirt was making it too hard to ride.  So I thought, "I'm in the middle of nowhere.  No one is going to see me.  I may as well walk the bike up the hill."  As I get near the top, OUT OF NO WHERE, the two most incredibly fit men breeze right past me.  One is on a bike.  One is jogging.  I had to let go of my idea that it was not physically possible to ride up the hill.  Up until that point it was what I had been telling myself.

Then, I see this:

An entire flock.  In Indiana.  How have I lived here for 15 years and not know there was a peacock farm down the road from me?  This guy was showing off for me.

I finally got off the dirt road and crossed state road 15, which is a busy road.  I realized I had no idea how far the next road I needed was.  And there were 50 more hills, and oddly they never seemed to go down hill. I just got the UP hill part. I soon realized I really didn't know where I was or the best way to get home, but that going back would have been longer so I kept going forward, turning at what I was hoping was the general direction to get me home. 

I was coming up another hill and rounding a corner and I heard it before I saw it.  The deepest, lowest bark you ever want to hear while on a bike, going up a hill with no steam left.  I look to my left and there is a gigantic German shepherd.  I'm not kidding.  His head was almost as high as my handle bars.  The only reason I'm not dead is that he chose not to kill me.

Then.  It started to rain.

I finally came to a road I knew, which was state road 15 again by the high school.  To go back on the country roads would have been 13 miles.  I knew home was about 2, but on a busy state road.  I didn't care.  I took state road 15 home and road as close to the edge as I could.

Here is one of the reasons I'm doing this:

A dear friend, Tracy, just lost her sister Allison to pancreatic cancer.  While Tracy was helping Allison in her last weeks, my friend Sue asked me if I wanted to do the ride.  Cancer is terrible.  Cancer has invaded all of our lives.  We've all lost someone.  Please join my journey by following my blog, and please consider donating for cancer research.


Monday, June 23, 2014

What do I do with this?

A few weeks ago a friend in Baltimore sent me an email asking if I wanted to join her team on a ride against cancer. I laughed. I Thanked her for thinking of me and said, "I'm pretty sure I cannot do that, but appreciate that you thought I could". Now. I own a bike, and I ride it. There is a lot that happened from that moment to this moment and in time I'll catch up on all of the good stories. For now, here is the boiled down version. I haven't been on a bike since high school. When I pass people riding bikes I think, "Poor biker. I wonder if their car doesn't work." I did not own a bike. The only thing I had going for me was that I knew HOW to ride a bike.

So here I am. I have a bike. I'm going to join my friends mid-September on a 2 day, 150 mile bike ride. This is a ride to raise awareness and money in the fight against cancer. Please join me by following my blog. Have you ever wondered what it takes to go from couch potato without a bike, to being able to ride 150 miles on a bike, in 2 days? Wonder no more! Just follow my blog and I'll update from time to time.

 The ride is September 13-14, and on the 13th before the event begins there is a ceremony to pay tribute to those we've lost to cancer, those who are currently battling cancer, and those who have conquered cancer. I know too many people who fall into those categories and will pay tribute to them in the ceremony. If you want me to add a name to my list, please let me know.

 There are 8 people on my team, and together we've pledged to raise a minimum of $20,000 that will go towards cancer research at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. My individual goal is $2,500. If you are comfortably able to donate, please consider visiting my home page and donating. No amount is too small. Any donations will be appreciated. 


 When I purchased the bike I set out to send a text to my two friends that I'm riding with. I took a picture and excitedly sent a text. I wasn't paying attention and sent it to a different friend, who was not aware of what was going on. She wasn't able to pull in the picture so all she received was a cryptic message from me that said, "Oh my goodness! What do I do with this thing? It is now in the back of my car and coming home with me after work!" When I told her it was just a bike she was a little disappointed that it wasn't more interesting. On Saturday I took my first big ride--20 miles. I even had a pair of wild turkeys come out to cheer me on. By cheer me on I mean they came to the road and one ran at me with his wings flapping and beak open as if to kill me. Turkeys are funny in how they emote. As soon as he saw I was 10 times bigger than he was, he backed off. I just thought....who gets attacked by a wild turkey while riding a bike? Just another day in the heartland.

Join me! Cheer me on! (not like the turkey) Support my cause!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A very special Father's Day.

I called my dad to wish him a happy Father's Day today and this is how the conversation went.

 Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

 Dad: Hello?

 Me: Happy Father's Day! What have you done today?

 Dad: Your mom and I went to Famous Dave's for lunch, and then dropped the van off to have some work done on it and now we're on the way home.

 chit chat.

chit chat.

chit chat.

 Dad: We had an awful lot of rain yesterday, I think your mom told you that right?

Me: Yeah, she told me. We really need some here. Too bad it didn't make it as far as here.

 Dad: Yeah, that is what Marti has been saying. Indiana is really dry.

Me: I am Marti. Do you mean Jami?

 Dad: (pause) Who am I talking to? Oh, this is Marti?

Mom: (overheard in background) That's not Jami?

 Me: Yes, this is Marti. The older one. The one who lives in Warsaw.  Dad, you have caller ID to prevent this kind of thing!

 awkward conversation fumbling.

 more chit chat.

Me: (joking now) Well, nice to talk with you. Can you give the phone to Dad so I can talk to him also?

 Dad: (handing the phone to mom) Here's your Dad.

One of our more poignant conversations!