Cycling…the early days

My father visited this weekend.  He, my husband and I went for a long bike ride on Saturday.   When I think of my history with exercise, I typically think of the recent history, the past 4 years or so since my endeavors with the tri girls a the Y and Livfit.  But really, it is my father who inspired me to start exercise and the relationship with the bicycle.  He had been doing some serious touring with a youth and adult group for a few years.  He and the group would take off on these two week trips through the Midwest with their gear in panniers.  My first year, was the year of the big floods on the Mississippi River around St. Louis.  I regrettably didn’t take the idea of the Ozark MOUNTAINS seriously enough because I nearly died from our 70 + mile days.  But in spite of how much I really dreaded the daily cycling miles, spending time with teenagers, sleeping on church floors, 100° days and the hills, something “took”.  Since then, my father and I have had our share of memories and trips on the bikes.  It was nice to pedal away with him and my husband this weekend.  We’ll all hit the road together again for Bike the Drive.  Daddy is retiring in June, I can see many more cycling trips in the future.

Ask and you shall receive

I have been commuting to work on bike this summer.  I wear these bike shorts every day that I commute, they are awesome.  I love the inside leg hem detail…it is a great little feature and reminder of the designer.   The colleague that I ride in with asked me if I was going to continue this adventure through the winter.  I was completely dumbfounded because….hello….I live in Chicago, so the rides in will be quite chilly.  I started to think about how I am going to dress myself for the cold ass weather.  I started to do some reasearch online and remembered the folks from Aero Tech Designs.  I wondered if they might be willing to help a big girl out.  So, I posed a question to the owner to see how she feels about cold weather tights for plus size bikers.  Lo and behold, I get a message back from her, almost immediately asking if I would be willing to sample some clothes, give her feedback and by winter, she’ll have some plus size winter wear.  Gals, guys, I am here to tell you that we need to start asking for things.  This just took a simple e-mail.  I am going to blog about this in the coming weeks to let you know how the experience has been.  In the meantime, if you want some bike wear gear, check them out.

September 2, 2009

Received a great little package from Aerotech to take a look at their tights and try them out.  What fantastic material.  Just as strong and flexible as the shorts that I own.  I love them.  The padding is great and made my hilly weekend ride very comfortable.  Each pair of tights is hemmable so that people like me (shorties) can have them hemmed or hem them on their own.  I gave Cathy some other suggestions for improvement, we’ll see which, if any, were helpful.  I thought the sizing was a tad off, but that could just be that my butt has been getting bigger over the past year.  I couldn’t tell if they were true to the 2X sizing they said they were.  LOVED them though, and loved the idea that there may be some winter wear coming from aerotech for the big girls.  Can’t wait to hear what she says!!

New Lady Ice Cream hits the road

A new bike commuter hit the  road in May.  If it didn’t still feel like winter here, I would be riding in all of the time.  I hadn’t used the bike to get to work since in the 90s.  Pitiful really.  So, this group I biked with has a path that wanders through some interesting neigborhoods.  Various street vendors shout at the group and welcome them on thier daily commute.  As one gave me a high five and cheered me on the way, he called me “new lady ice cream.”  I know he was referring to my skin color, because how could he know about my favorite food group?  Check out my new pannier I bought at Dan’s.  I got one in Maroon.  So far, so good, and it comes with a “waterproof” cover for the rainy days.  Though I must say that they day I got caught in the complete downpour the inner bike was a little damp.

Virginia Eastern Shore Cyclists….there is a GREAT Coffee shop in Pungoteague

What a wonderful day we had cycling today.  The temperature dropped overnight and the sky was completely cloudy.  In fact it sprinkled on and off throughout the 47 mile day.   We started off with a home cooked breakfast at the B & B in Onancock.  We cycled and cycled from Wachaprague to Quinby and then over to Pungoteague.  For those of you who know my father and I, we LOVE coffee.  Imagine our suprise when we start the trip from Harborton to Pungoteague and see a small coffee shop off to the left.  I can’t explain the excitement that we felt.  So, we went in to the shop and met the owner, Amy and her neighbor, little Bridget.  For all of you bikers out there…this is the place to go. 

Here is a photo of the shop:

And a photo of Amy:

This is a place not to miss, the coffee is fantastic and the service…wonderful.

Virginia is frigging hot…but the food rocks…the cycling is good….and the company is awesome.

Well, we’ve biked a couple of days, but we took today off.  A break from the heat.  Tomorrow’s forcast is much cooler which will hopefully aide in some good biking.  Our original 100 mile day will probably not occur this trip, but we’re still having a good time and will get in some good cycling.

I can’t explain to you how hot we were on Sunday.  It was over 90 degrees and we didn’t wake up at the butt crack of dawn to bike either.  No way, we slept in, had a little breakfast buffet, drank some coffee and eventually hit the road (at about 10 a.m.)  The mosquitos are sucking my bones dry.  They swarm to me the minute we stop pedaling so I am forced to keep a movin’.  We biked to a little town on the Chesapeake called Saxis.  I envisioned a Stephen King novel being typed as we peddaled in.  ‘There was nothing in this town and have since learned that the entire town has applied for federal funding to have breakwaters put in because it is quickly being eroded away.  The day before we cycled through Assateague National Seashore, it was beautiful.  Again, I was eaten alive (now don’t get any crazy ideas like telling me to wear bug sprayl….I DID WEAR IT!!  EVERY TIME I LEFT THE HOTEL!!!)  We went to the NASA launch facility where I was breakfast lunch and dinner to the blood suckers.  We were also visiting the island during national bike week, so the roads were packed with Harleys and other tourists.  But all of life was better once we arrived at Mr. Whippy’s.  Man oh man, talk about good soft serve. 

Besides the nasty buffet breakfasts, we have had AMAZING Meals.  Let’s see, we ate at Ray’s Shanty.  This had some of the best seafood I have ever had.  Head on shrimp, crab cakes, scallops–good stuff.  We also at at the Village Restaurant where I had stuffed flounder (broiled) and my dad had tomatoes broiled with cheese and seafood.  I know, it sounds gross, but it was very good.  More to come as our adventure continues.  Stay tuned for my writeup of the odd french, Spanish, Czech restaurant where the owner, Olga, seemed mad at me.

Fat girl blues….

Since the tri a few weeks ago, my mind is filled with sludge or Lake Michigan water or perhaps the web of summer is being cleared out.  Who knows which, but I have struggled to put together any cohesive thoughts.  What I am left with is a lot of random thoughts in my head. 

What things are bouncing around in here are not necessarily positive.  The coolness of fall can either make me excited as the seasons change, or depressed that the summer is gone.  Lately, the later is more prominent.

I am sad that I can’t run….okay, I never could actually RUN, but I could jog.  I love Fall evenings to decompress and go for a jog.  But, injury is prohibiting that. 

I am also dreading the change of clothing.  I believe I tossed most of my fall and winter wear last year because nothing seemed to really fit right.  Now I am reluctant to open the boxes of ill fitted and random clothes from last year.  Why do I struggle so much with my wardrobe?  I need the fat version of Clinton and Stacy on a budget to help me out here.

So, my apologies for not having any witty or insightful banter these days. 

I am off to island biking in Virginia with my dad for a week of cycling which should be fun.  I can’t believe that last year, he was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack and bypass surgery and this year we are off on a cycling adventure.  Hopefully a little sun, sand and spin will shew away the blues I’m feeling.  Here’s to hopes of a renewed spirit. 

What we hope to see at Assateague Island National Seashore

What we hope to see at Assateague Island National Seashore