bike rides

Sunshine and Vino

I had a fantastic time off last week. Michael and I went for a few bike rides, I saw a great concert and went on a fun road trip through the desert. It was a good break from reality.

Did you enjoy the guest posts I had lined up? Thank you so much to the bloggers that shared their stories!

  • Sugar Magnolia wrote a very informative post about how to train for a Triathlon. The more I read about other people’s triathlon experiences the more I want to try it for myself.
  • Lori shared her story about losing 100 pounds. Her blog has always been one of my favorites because she lost so much weight and she’s also a cyclist too.
  • Becky’s post on How (Not to Train for a Half Marathon got lots of hits! I’m glad it was so popular.

Thanks again ladies for writing these awesome posts for me!  I have a few more good ones coming up soon.

When we were in Yakima we had a chance to do a little wine tasting, too. We didn’t have time to do much but a little bit is better than nothing. There isn’t a whole helluva lot to do in Eastern Washington but there are some fun fitness related things to do (bike rides, hiking) plus wine tasting. There are tons of vineyards and tasting rooms in Yakima. We were short on time so we stuck with two tasting rooms in downtown.

The first was Kana, which is a Native word for “spirit or fire within a mountain.” We arrived at the Kana tasting room and it was packed with people. That was to be expected since there wasn’t much else to do in Yakima, but I later discovered there were a few big wine tours going on too.

It was $5 to taste and Michael and I split the tasting. They waived the tasting fee with a bottle purchase. I enjoyed the first few tastings, disliked the Dark Star, and LOVED the Syrah. The Syrah was fantastic: light and creamy and not too sweet. It was a smooth wine and had the bottle not been $30 I would have bought one. It was a little out of my budget for this trip. Usually when I go wine tasting I will splurge on one more expensive bottle if it really stands out, and then buy a few other average priced ones.

The bottle we did end up buying was the Workingman’s Red. The blend was well balanced, the Tempranillo and Syrah parts being the most noticeable. The bottle was in my budget ($15) so we left with one.

The staff was very knowledgeable about Washington wines, which I am less knowledgeable of simply because I do most of my tasting in Oregon.

We finished up the tasting at Kana and headed across the street to the second tasting room.

The Gilbert Cellars tasting room was very stylish and hip in decor.  It was completely packed when we first got there, but the group touring left shortly thereafter.

The first wine we tasted was the 2010 UNOAKED CHARDONNAY.  I loved it. It was my favorite that we tried but unfortunately Michael did not like it at all. We try to stick with buying bottles of wine we both agree on, since we will be drinking them together. So instead of buying a bottle of the crisp chardonnay I had to just enjoy it there.

It was light and very crisp–like a blend of Granny Smith apples and limes. I loved how dry and refreshing it was. Sometimes Chardonnay can be too heavy on sweetness and butter.

Hands down the most interesting of their wines was the 2007 PETIT VERDOT : “Scorched earth, wildflowers and blueberries lead into a saturated palate of sweet fruit and firm tannins as this wine shows off the potential of Petit Verdot on the Wahluke Slope.”

It was a big, strong wine with intense tannins. The manager, Laura, impressed me with her knowledge of everything wine and she said that the Petit Verdot is usually a blending wine–meaning it’s added to something else (like a Bordeaux) to even out the tastes.  I can tell why someone would prefer this wine in a blend because it was very strong.

We chatted with Laura for a bit and she said she was going to Portland for her weekend. I gave her a few restaurant recommendations for her to try (I hope she liked them!). She waived the tasting fee and it was time for us to leave–unfortunately empty handed. If we’re ever back in that area I might just buy that chardonnay anyway!

QUESTION: What is something you are blessed to have in your life right now?


Newbie Bikers

A reader of mine recently posted on her own blog about her struggle with cycling. It sounds like she is new to biking and I commented with some tips. That inspired me to write my own post about biking.

I sometimes assume my readers know everything that I know. I’m finding that knowing how to ride a bike isn’t just a given. I’ve met several people lately that have told me they never learned! Same with swimming!

I learned how to ride a bike as a little kid and sort of always did it. I had a mountain bike though, and this year was the first time I’ve ever been on a road bike.

First, the big difference between a mountain bike and a road bike are the tires. Mountain Bikes have thick tires, road bikes have skinny tires.

The next difference is the handlebars. Mountain bikes usually have flat handlebars. Road bikes have drop bars like this:

That means instead of sitting upright on the bike, you are hunched over. This can cause a lot of back pain for new riders–I know I suffered from this. The tip to overcome it? Keep practicing and STRETCH A LOT! Stand up on the bike every few miles to stretch out; get off the bike and stretch. After practicing for awhile, you’ll get used to it.

Here is a picture of time trial handlebars. I’ve yet to try these:

2010 was a huge Cycling Learning Curve for me. I learned how to change a tire, I learned how to ride better and smarter, and it all helped me complete Reach the Beach (55 mile bike ride). It was a fun experience I want to do again!

If you are new to cycling for fitness or competition, here are some recommendations I have:

  1. Get Fitted: It makes all the difference in the world to get properly fitted for a bike.
  2. Padded Shorts: I cannot stress this enough. Padded Shorts are awesome for a reason. They are worth the money spent too. Don’t wear underwear under the shorts either because the shorts are made to wick moisture from the body. I got my shorts at an outlet store for less money.
  3. Chafing Cream: Chamois Butter, Lanacane…whatever brand you use, it can help a lot with discomfort.
  4. Be Safe: wear a helmet. Cycling glasses that wrap around the face are good and keep wind and dirt from irritating your eyes. Wear a RoadID. Tell people where you are riding. Have lights on your bike. Wear reflective clothes, stickers, etc.
  5. Gloves: Padded gloves can range from $10-100. They are worth it for the safety issue (road rash prevention) and also the padding for long rides is nice.
  6. Work up to Mileage: No one can bike 100 miles their first day. Start with 10. Then next time, bike 20 miles and so on.
  7. Work up to Hills: Nothing says you have to try to tackle insane hills right away. Learn how to use your gears, practice, and slowly attempt hills.
  8. GUs: I highly recommend GUs for energy on long rides. They really do help prevent blood sugar and energy crashes.
  9. Learn how to change a tire.

When Michael and I were training for Reach the Beach, we practiced riding for about two months before the Big Day. Every weekend we built up our mileage. The first weekend we did about 25 miles. The next weekend was about 30 miles, the following was 40 or so, and finally we made it to 52 miles. We took a bike maintenance class, Michael commuted to work whenever he could to add mileage. I practiced on the Bike Trainer in the living room whenever I could. It was all about prepping our bodies for the big day. And it worked!

  • Reach the Beach was a success.
  • We both recovered FAST! There was no crippling the next day.
  • My running speed increased a great deal from all the bike training!

QUESTION: Do you have any other tips I forgot to add?