Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Its all feeling easier

Lovely day!! I keep expecting the high humidity this area is known for in the summer. I'm sure it's coming. Portland has been in the triple digits and the east is drowning in flood waters. Who would have thought Kentucky's weather would be desirable? Watched Roger and Andy win thier second round matches. Roger looks terrific and so focused. What a joy he is to watch.

Helped out with mowing and watering and then went for a bike ride. It was much more comfortable today. Again, I'm seeing people be amused by the trike. Crusty old farmers on thier tractors are smiling and waving at me. I'm sure it is an odd site for these guys. I expanded the ride a bit today. Went to the end of Bridgeport Rd and back, down Sheep Pen Rd and then Smith Rd just into Shelby county before turning around. I heard some thunder and returned just as it stared to rain. The rain only lasted 10 minutes but its hard to know how these things will develop. I'm glad I did because my thighs were really sore when I got off the bike. Funny that I didn't feel it while I was riding. Anyway, I ended up doing 12.5 miles. This is hard riding for me. Its so much hillier than I am used to. The steering and braking is getting easier although I don't think I could trace the white line yet especially at high speed.

12.5 miles
8.7 average speed
31 max speed

Monday, June 26, 2006

Made it to Kentucky

It almost feels unreal being here. I've been thinking about being here and anticipating what it would feel like for a couple of months now.

Ro - at the airport - in the carrier.

I've got to start with Rowena - amazing. She spent 12 hours in a little carrier without meowing or fussing at all. I've always thought of her as very sensitive but she showed me just how tough she is. It felt like she totally trusted me and surrendered to the whole experience. I brought her out of the carrier at both stops - Seattle and Chicago - to let her stretch her legs in the baby changing stations of the women's room. Once we got to Kentucky I expected she would spend 2 days under the bed but no, she started exploring right away. Typically, this is a cat that barely sticks her head out the back door of the condo. Not only has she been outside - she been walking far from the house. I call her in and she kind of 'mosies' back to the house.

The trike - isn't it beautiful!!

I'll get pictures in better settings soon - but I couldn't wait to show it off!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Flying Out

I'm taking off for Kentucky. Boy am I nervous - I hope that Ro handles the whole thing OK. First, I'm dropping of my car at Sunset Auto to be fixed while I'm gone. They will take me and Ro to the airport this morning. Once the car is fixed and detailed they will leave it at Enterprise rental so I can pick it up anytime I return. Good deal!!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Finally!! - A Dry Day

It has been a very wet spring!! I, for one, am tired of it!! Once we get past this time of year it is usually beautiful through October - I am ready. I don't really mind riding in the rain but it's hard to get out there once it has started. Well today I did go riding and it felt really good. The sky was full of very dark clouds but it stayed dry. The roads were pretty quiet - maybe everyone is bbqing and celebrating father's day... I did see more bikes than I think I ever have. I also regret forgetting my camera. There were so many animals out. Big fluffy lambs, cows, pigs, horses and, of course, llamas. So sweet seeing all the animals. Although, just as I'm cresting a big hill there is a pig sty next to road. I'm huffing and puffing and it is really foul.

Nancy had a bbq for us fatherless folk. The food, drink and company was terrific. Here are some pictures with Warren, Jane, Yumi and Nancy.

30 miles ridden
33.4 max speed
11.1 average

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Trip Stuff and Quiet

Boy did I sleep in today. Guess I needed it. Rolled over and saw the time was after 11:00. Yipes!! That's late even for me. I'm sure its all emotional. This trip has me thinkin' about all kinds of things. Everytime I talk to Deborah I try to analyze what she's thinkin' too. I just can't figure out what's going on with her. I'm sure she's happy I'm visiting but so far she hasn't said so. Something else we'll have to talk about when I get there. Took care of more Ro stuff today. Bought a soft carrier so I can take her on board the plane as carry-on. She'll fit under the seat in front. I'll be wearing an old t-shirt for the next few days to get my scent on it and throw that in the carrier too. Hopefully, it will reassure her a little bit. I'm sure she is going to be one really scaredy cat. I got the official health certificate from the vet in the mail today - that was a relief.
Its supposed to be nice weather tomorrow - finally!! Maybe tomorrow I'll go for a bike ride. Its father's day and I don't really have anything to do until evening. Nancy invited a few people over for a bbq.

Walked 2 miles to the store and back

Friday, June 16, 2006

So Much To Do

With just a few days left until I leave for Kentucky I managed to cross off some items from my 'to-do' list. But this had to wait until after some early morning tennis. After chasing a little yellow ball around for almost 1 1/2 hours I drove into Portland for my afternoon of beauty. I've had Johnny at Gigi's on the park blocks cut and color my hair for years now. He has never disappointed me - especially the color. Very nice once again. We went much blonder this time and I think it looks terrific. I also had my toes done. It feels like I am ready for summer and Kentucky. As soon as I left the salon the heavens opened up. Its not unusual for it to rain in Portland but it was been raining so much. Today was no exception - boy did it rain and rain and rain. Luckily I was prepared and my new doo was spared. I went from the salon to the Oregonian to visit with the old cronies. It was good to see everyone and it also reinforced my decision to leave that job. From there I went to have a very late lunch with Shawn. He had agreed to buy all my woodworking equipment that he had been storing and using for the last three plus years. We had originally said he would pay it off over 6 months but today he wrote me a check in full. Nice surprise!! Took that check right to the bank and squirrelled it away in my savings account. Of course, most of this money is going to be spent next week on the new trike. I talked to Deborah and she sounded much better today than last weekend. I'm getting excited about this trip and possibility of moving.

1 1/2 hours tennis doubles

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Lazy Day

I thought it was going to rain all day yesterday and decided to stay inside and take care of the house. Turned out to be a beautiful day with rain forcast for the rest of the week. I already had my heart set on cleaning house and watching the men's French Open finals so I stayed in.

Yumi went to Costco and bought me some cat litter and dropped it off - very thoughtful. Costco has the best litter. Nancy called and asked me to come over to the club to take pictures of the national Mother/Daughter tennis tournament finalists and trophy presentation. Good tennis.

Watched the men's final of the French Open and my man, Roger, couldn't get past Rafa - again. He looked out of sorts through most of the match and I didn't have the feeling he believed he could win even after taking the first set 6-1. He was playing for his first French title and to hold all four grand slam titles at once. What an opportunity - it's difficult to believe this will come around again. I think he can win the French though for a career grand slam. He has got to be really bummed today. I just hope this loss doesn't affect his Wimbledon performance. Nadal was amazing!! He played every point as if it was the most important point of the match. The mental strength to keep that up is staggering. I'll bet he turns that mental toughness into many big wins on other surfaces.

I cleaned the house!! Only been thinking about that for a while - procrastinating as long as possible. It feels good.

So that was yesterday - it's noon now and I've already played tennis twice. Started at 7:30 am. My stomach is giving me some grief so we'll see if I make it to ladies night.

I found a vet for Ro, had her shots and got a certificate of health for the flight next week. The vet didn't think she would need a seditive and suggested a small dose of benadril instead of a presciption medication. She also has some gingivitis on both sides in the back of her mouth. He suggested I wait until we get back from our trip for the dental work. She might lose a tooth. It looks irritated and tender. I think I'll call another vet to get a second opinion. If it was my mouth I'd want it taken care of... Next I have to find a cat carrier - called the airlines and got the dimensions.

3 hours tennis doubles

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Different Ride

I decided against getting up at 4 am and driving 2 hours to ride. Instead I changed the ride I did earlier in the week just a bit. I took another street that turned into a dooser of a hill I ended up walking up. It was so steep my heart rate was almost 170 walking with the bike. These kinds of hills just petrify me. I see them coming and I just freeze. I wonder if I'll ever get past that feeling. After the big hill, I stopped at a market for an ice cream cone. Ice cream will fix just about any situation. Here are some pictures from the ride.

Rode 28 miles
Max speed 35.4
Average speed 10.6

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tennis and Bike Repair

Got to the club at 9 am for ladies day. The head pro feeds balls for about an hour and then we break up for doubles.

Here I am with the gals in red- Yumi and Nancy.

Later, I took my bike to the Community Cycling Center for an adjustment to my shifters. What a great place - Larry the mechanic was able to fix my bike immediately. The cycling center has a volunteer night where you help and learn about bike repair. After putting in 20 hours you can sign up for an 8 week mechanics course. Sounds like a good idea too me.

Larry the mechanic

Then it was back to the public courts for more practice with the senior ladies. It was very windy - good practice.

After that the city league ladies had an after season party. It was at a house that was huge in a beautiful setting. Every room was enormous - even the utility room. It was fun meeting everyone's husbands. I think I was close to 15 years younger than anyone else.

When I got home, I plugged in the address for the ride I was planning on doing tomorrow and found it will take almost 2 hours to get there. I would have to get up at 4 to start riding at 7 am. Suddenly, this ride isn't looking so good. I did this ride last year but I lived about 40 minutes closer. Well, there are other closer rides coming up.

3 hrs tennis

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Grey Day

It was spitting rain most of the day and I didn't feel like going out biking in it. I wanted to take my bike to the shop for a gearing adjustment but the store wasn't open. The gearing is so tight I can't get into the big ring which might be especially nice for Saturday's ride. I'll try again tomorrow.

Spent too much time watching the women's semifinal French Open matches this morning. Vaidisova was up a set and serving at 5-4 for the match but couldn't close it out. Kuznetsova turned it around to win in three. Vaidisova is only 17 and definitely has a big game. It will be interesting to see how she responds to this loss. In the other semifinal Henin-Hardenne took out Kim Clijsters pretty easily. It's hard not to see Henin taking the title for a third time Saturday.

Subbed for someone at the "C" + "B" city league team practice. These are really nice ladies who play a mean game. I always enjoy playing with people who are better than I am. We were playing doubles so my weaknesses weren't too glaring.

Later in the afternoon I met with my women's group. We get together every other week and use a book as a spring board to discuss other issues. Mostly just how we feel about stuff.
We started off reading "Sex and Seasoned Woman" but decided we really didn't like it. Now we are reading "A Highly Sensitive Person's Guide for Survival". This book really feeds into another obsession which is to simply feel better. My endocrine system is a bit of a mess and I'm finding that how I handle myself emotionally can have a real effect on controlling my hormones. I would really like to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. Ideally, I'd like to use it to start my day. I know how to do it, I know it will be good for me but for some reason - I don't do it. Alright - let's say I'm working on it. I always look forward to meeting with these gals.

1 1/2 hours tennis doubles

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Massage and Tennis Day

Started off the day watching a very disappointing French Open match. Djokavic retired, basically gave up, after losing 2 sets to Nadal. The guy is playing in the quarterfinals of a grand slam, no doubt the biggest match of his young career and gives up? Not good!!

After that I went to visit with my buddies at the Marshall Street clinic. Had a very nice massage with Jessica. She's been gone for a couple of weeks so it was nice to see her and get caught up. My body is feeling better than I think it ever has - very nice. Brought my camera and took some pics. Once I get a card reader I'll post them.

All lathered up, I met some of the tennis ladies at the Clark College courts. The super senior team is going to Sun River for playoffs and they need to practice outside in the elements. All the play in Sun River is outdoors. One of the ladies on the team couldn't make it so I was called as a sub. We met at 1:00 to get the sun high in the sky. It was pretty windy out there too. I grew up playing outside on the public courts in Southern California and really enjoy it. Aside from the wind and sun, outside play is always slower. You have to wait longer to hit your shots constantly making adjustments with your feet. If you're not used to moving your feet the matches could be short.

I was thinking about my bike ride yesterday and how well I did on the hills. I climbed far more than I ever have. I must have chugged my way up 10 good hills. Before yesterday, I was worried about climbing 2 hills. Its almost as if I'm getting used to huffing and puffing. Its not worrying me as much as it used to. I did have to stop at the top of one hill that I mistakenly took in the middle chain ring. Tomorrow I'll try that one in the granny gear. I'm thinking about expanding the ride a bit more tomorrow maybe to 35 miles. This time I've got my maps. I've also got a camera to document it. My ride yesterday really helped my confidence. Saturday I'm looking at doing a charity club ride. It starts in Lebanon, Or with 35, 55, 76 or 100 mile options. I'm thinking about doing the 76 mile option. I'll probably make that decision at the 55 mile turn around point.

Its back to watching the French Open tape - hopefully, the matches will be better!!

1 1/2 hours tennis doubles

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Gorgeous Day for a Ride

It was just beautiful today. Low 70's and a light wind. After watching Venus Williams eliminated from the French Open I hit the road. I extended my route today an additional 6 miles. Looking at the map I saw a way to add miles to the loop by a comfortable amount. Instead of taking a map I just wrote down the street names and what direction to turn. Well, I missed writing down 1 street and had to knock on a farm house door for directions. The woman who answered was very helpful. There is so much wildlife on the route that I decided I need to get a camera. I think it will be fun to add images to the blog. This route is very challenging for me with lots of hills. One hill takes me 10 minutes to climb.

I have decided one of my favorite things to do is wave and say 'Hello' to people as I ride. This bike is so fun - I'm riding in a chair looking up and around at everything and everyone.

After the ride and running a bunch of errands, including making a copy of a map and buying a camera, some of the tennis ladies got together for Mah Jongg. We are just learning. This is my second time playing and it is a very confusing game. Even though we are having trouble learning we try to have fun with it. The wine sure helps.

Rode 28 miles
Max speed = 34.4
Average speed = 11.2

Monday, June 05, 2006

Adding to the Stable

After riding the Fold Rush for a year I've discovered it is going to take longer than anticipated for me to be a confident rider. A lot of it is mental. I see a big hill coming up and mentally I just shut down. Sometimes I'm not even my lowest gear before I bail and start walking. It feels like something I'll overecome but it will take time. I'm sure some of it is the extra weight I'm carrying. It's got to be harder to climb hills pulling an extra 60 lbs. I had really hoped that biking would help me lose weight but so far it hasn't. I probably need to ride more to see better results. The weather has been so wet this winter and spring that I haven't been out as much as I would like. My regular riding started in May this year and I've been putting in around 80 miles a week. What I really want is to do more long distance riding. It's turned into an obsession with me but hills have become an obstacle. It would be great if a hill could be just a hill. I don't need to be fast up the hill but I want to get up them without dying or walking. A couple of months ago I was at an organized ride where a guy let me try out his Cat trike. Wow, what fun. I rode it around a gravel parking lot with such confidence. Gravel is something that makes me very nervous riding my Fold Rush or Cannondale. It got me to thinking. I started researching trikes and came to realize this might be just the ticket to get me out more and riding with confidence. The Greenspeed trikes, in particular, caught my fancy. These are trikes built for touring. I test rode one and it was so much fun. Everything about it felt solid. The one I was looking at, the GTO, has 81 gears. Someone once said it has enough gears to ride up a tree. Sounds good to me. I went ahead and ordered it and am really excited about this purchase. Since then I've ridden another cat trike that had a tail sok. It was so cool that I've ordered a tail sok for the GTO. Bright green and so slick. I also ordered a fairing. Most people talk about aerodynamic benefits with a fairing but I think you have to be pretty fast to see that. What I like about a fairing is the protection from the bugs, wind and rain. It really helps to keep my feet dry in wet weather. Overall, this feels like a bike I can ride anywhere. I'm sure I won't be fast but at this point I don't really care - I just want to make it up any hill. With a trike you can stop on a hill, catch your breath, and then carry on up when you are ready without getting off the bike. I'm picking up the trike later this month when I go visit my sister in Kentucky. I'll get lots of practice riding hills there. It should be fun!!

Played 1 1/2 hours of tennis doubles
Rode 22 miles max speed = 33.7
average speed = 11.4

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Milestone

I started biking regularly a little over 2 1/2 years ago. Like lots of things I've tried, I thought this would help me lose weight. After commuting 15 miles round trip to the Oregonian 3-4 times a week I discovered that my wrists, neck and shoulders were sore after every ride. Since my real desire has always been to do long distance riding I knew this set up just wasn't going to work. My bike was a Cannondale hybrid - otherwise known as a "comfort bike". I took it to a bike shop to make sure it fit right. We made some adjustments but it didn't really help minimize the pain. So, after a lot of research I ended up at Coventry Cyclery in Portland purchasing an Easy Racer Fold Rush. A long wheel base recumbent that folds to fit on a car rack for transport. No more pain. The ride on this bike is smooth and stable. I've had the bike just over a year and put in 2,000 miles. I've never been fast and I'm still not. The more miles I put in the faster I get. Right now I'm closing in on 12 mph average. I've also discovered Portland has a rich biking and recumbent community. Last summer I started doing some charity rides and slowly added miles. Some of the rides included the 'Smell the Roses', Spring, Strawberry, Watermelon, Peach and LiveStrong. I also hooked up with the OHPV riders and met some terrific people. Turns out there's a recumbent retreat every year in Astoria. I had my first touring experience by riding from my house to the Fort Stevens campground where the retreat is held. I rode out highway 30 to Scappoose and then to Vernonia and the Big Eddie campground the first night. Met another recumbent rider there who really made that first night of camping easier. First of all, he had food. He also had utensils and tea. I donated a piece of smoked salmon and we had a delicious dinner. The next morning 4 more riders showed up and we all rode to the coast. I had to walk a lot of the hills over the coastal range but one rider was patient enough to wait for me. We ended up having a great time. Over a hundred recumbents were at the retreat and we all rode and partied for 3 days. At the end I decided to get a ride home rather than walk alone over the mountains.

Here I am with my friend Shawn at the beginning of the LiveStrong Ride.

But what does any of this have to do with today's milestone? Well, for all the time I've been riding I have never changed a flat tire. I've always carried everything needed for the job - tire levers, patch kit, pump and tubes. I even took a class to learn how. Both times I had a flat someone was there to help out. Now that I've been riding out in the country alone I started to feel like this was something I needed to know how to do. I could just see myself out there, miles from home, walking and crying with frustration. This was not a pretty picture and so a couple of days ago I decided this was the day I would learn. I took an icepick and punctured a perfectly good tire and set about repairing it. In true form, I had to make every mistake possible before I got it. I started with the tire levers but could only get one under the tire. After 3 trips to 2 different bike shops and many tears I finally got it. I practiced a few more times and now, I am ready for the road!!

Poured down rain all day, slept in, watched the French Open, never got out of my robe.