Century Bike Ride

Last Chance

Last chance long bike ride!!

It’s official: Michael and I signed up for our biking event. While I’d hoped to do a full century this summer, so many things go in the way of that. Lots and lots of flat tires, for one. There were a few weeks there where I had a flat tire every day. That sucked. This summer we also traveled more than we’ve ever traveled before. We had a wedding in Dallas, celebrated our anniversary in Austin, had my family reunion, visited my family in Seattle, and went to Hawaii for a week.

We signed up for the Salem Peach of a Century. Instead of the full century, we’re doing the Metric Century–62 miles. The weather is supposed to be nice. The route fairly easy without a ton of elevation. And it was cheap. About $50 less than the Harvest Century coming up in a few weeks (some day I will do that one).

Sunday was our last chance at a long bike ride before tapering. I ate a breakfast of an English muffin with cream cheese on it and about 1/2 cup of leftover couscous and then we set off. We went a little different route to get to the Springwater trail this time, which was good for shaking things up. There was a big hill right off the bat and I did okay on it. That made me feel really good.

Then the route turned into my commute to work. I breezed through that, passed downtown and then we wound our way through North Portland. I was feeling fantastic. Legs were good, body was good, energy was spot-on. Michael was a little slow and said his back was bothering him. It wasn’t bad enough that he wanted to quit, though.

We took the route through North Portland that as great bike lanes. We’d been biking for about an hour and decided to stop at Hopworks BikeBar on North Williams. At this point, we’d probably biked about 15 miles. I burned 536 calories before lunch.

There was some outdoor seating (which was perfect because we didn’t bring the bike lock). It was a hot, sunny day and it was nice to just be outside. I got an iced tea and we both ordered the lunch special: a slice of pizza with a salad and a drink.

I went with the cheese pizza. Pizza is a good option for lunch on these long rides we do because getting a slice is fast and easy and it’s just enough food to be satisfied, but not so much food we have to mess with leftovers or a bloated stomach from too much food. I’m sure the carbs help, too.

Lunch was really nice and hit the spot. Then it was back on the bikes. I was still feeling really good. We took some neighborhood streets through the backroads to get to the bike lanes that lead to Marine Drive. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic. This is the part of town that makes me anxious. I don’t necessarily feel safe on my bike and there aren’t always bike lanes that are sufficient. I’ve also had some negative experiences with aggressive drivers here. But luckily, this didn’t happen Sunday.

We made it to Marine Drive in no time at all and the trail was smooth-sailing. The wind was at my back, my body felt great, and I just zipped through the trail. Michael zipped a little bit faster than me, as per usual. 🙂

The 40-mile loop through Portland is a great way to practice for long biking events. You can add on miles depending on which routes you take. It’s also a pretty ride. We usually go a specific way and this time we went counter-clockwise instead. This meant that we had a really big hill to tackle once we got to the I-205 bike path.

I struggled on a short, steep hill and so did Michael. He had been feeling much better on the bike until that mini-hill. I was slow and felt like my legs would NOT get me to the top. We stopped to rest in a little park before THE BIG HILL. The photo above is new art on the drinking fountain–a dog and a kid. It’s cute in person, the photo didn’t turn out very well.

I drank a bunch of water and Gatorade and had one of my GUs. I bemoaned the upcoming hill and Michael did, too. As it turned out, the anticipation of that hill was worse than actually doing it. I hunkered down, changed my gears and looked down at my front tire as I powered up the hill. Not looking ahead at the climb before me has helped in the past, and it helped again this time! It’s not that it’s necessarily steep; the challenge is that is forever. The hill is such a slow, deliberate, long climb that it’s easy to lose steam mid-way through. This time, I did not!

The rest of the ride was literally downhill from there. It was nice to have a bit of a break and be able to coast a little. Unfortunately, this is also where my lower back started to bother me a bit. I told myself: “you’re almost home, you can do it” a dozen times and the back pain disappeared.

TOTAL STATS:
Calories Burned: 1480
Miles Biked: 37.5
Time:  3 hours 9 minutes

Salem Century: Sunday, September 23rd. I hope I’m ready!!!

When we got home, I  made us protein shakes for recovery. A little while later, a friend came over for dinner. It was a thank you to her for taking care of my cats while we went to Hawaii. Michael made his famous fish n’ chips (this time with tilapia), I made corn on the cob and caprese salads to go with it.

Dinner was delicious. And I could have eaten three more of ’em! 😉

I also made dessert: chocolate pudding. I added some bedazzlers to it, some chocolate chips and chopped cashews to add some texture to the thickness. It was delicious. And less than 200 calories for dessert.

We sat outside on the deck in the warm evening and enjoyed a well-earned dinner. Then I shared the Hawaii photos with my friend before sending her off with lots of goodies from Hawaii.

I’m also now on DailyMile, so friend me–although I don’t know how good I will be about updating it. But I’ll try! Back to biking. I have one more bike commute planned for this week and then I taper. I will swim on Friday night, take Saturday off from working out altogether, and then the Metric Century on Sunday. Wish me luck!

QUESTION: Did you do any events or races this summer? How did they go? 

7 Secrets to Making This Year the Best Year Ever

I read this article and it really spoke to me. The article was well-written and inspiring. While I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, there’s nothing wrong with doing little things to better ourselves.  “Not achieving what you set out to do means you’ll yet again fail to move toward the life you desire, which leads to nothing but regret.”

Following the article’s advice, I can make little improvements in my life to avoid inertia and stagnation.

1. Stay here and now. Focusing on what I can do right now, not getting overwhelmed with a huge goal in the future.

2. Eliminate. I definitely need to simplify my life. Michael and I have started the process to declutter our house and why not declutter our lives too?

3. Discriminate. This means saying no and “learning to respect your own time.” I think I do this pretty well now. My gym time is my time and I’m loyal to that. Staying consistent has helped me maintain my weight and relieve stress. While there are a lot of things I want to do, I need to be picky. And include downtime in my schedule! Something I don’t often have!

4. Goals. The only goal I’ve set for myself in 2012 is to bike a full century. I got pretty close in 2011, biking 72 miles in the Portland Century. I think going to spin class all winter long and hopefully starting to commute to work on bike early this year, I can be ready.

5. Focus on your next step. “Living an extraordinary life takes effort, at least at first, which is why most people turn it down.” What can I do to get closer to my goal? I can continue Spin class once a week and maybe even add a second day at home on the bike trainer during January, February and March.

6. Momentum. Take one step and then another. Maybe in April I add a third day a week on the bike. Adding a second spin class to my week could jump start me.

7. Focus on what matters to you. Write it down. Keep it handy. Put on the a blog where everyone can see it. Accountability! 🙂

I like having a goal to work towards. Having a goal, or specific dates in mind helped me to lose 100 pounds. I had a specific date to lose 50 pounds by and I did it. Signing up for Hood to Coast in 2010 gave me a tangible date to keep in my mind when I was training. I was running towards that goal!

My big goal for 2012 is a Century. I’m not sure which one I’ll do yet. I’m in the researching stage right now. As soon as I find “the one” I’m signing up for it–making a commitment to myself and locking it in! Stay tuned…

QUESTION: What’s your one big goal to make 2012 the best year ever?