Down the road

•June 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Oh, where to start, where to start? Hmmm. So much has happened since I last posted about cycling. I was doing so well, gradually increasing my mileage and had gotten up to 20 miles, which, for me, was huge! After that ride, I hadn’t been able to ride as much due to work and such but I thought that because I was getting up there in the miles, I wanted to increase my efficiency. To do this, I changed out my pedals to the clip-less, which I still don’t really understand why they call them that as you have to clip your shoe into the pedal. Anyway…for those of you who don’t know how these work: you have a cycling shoe that has a special cleat on the bottom that “clips in” to the pedal and locks in your feet. So, to get out of these pedals, you just have to swing your heel outwards. Simple enough, right? Right! Just after you re-train your brain the order of events that must happen for your feet to touch the ground! Can you see where this is going? This is so embarrassing…five days after I hit my high mile mark, I fell off my bike…three times. Not once…but THREE friggen times! All of which were really stupid falls that really could have been prevented. First: I was taking a drink and didn’t un clip my right foot and bike started to tilt right. Toast. Down I went, just standing there! So’kay, you can laugh! Second: I tried to start off going up hill. Don’t do that. I didn’t have enough ummpf to get going. Over I went. Third: I was trying to do a U turn on the trail and mis-judged how much room I had. This was a hard fall, directly on my left hand causing an injury that still is yet to be determined, not to mention multiple bruises on my upper right thigh. Right now it is diagnosed as a sprain, but I had an MRI on it yesterday and I will get the results tomorrow to know if its broken.

Needless to say, I haven’t been riding 20 miles lately. However, I have still been riding, against better judgment all the while my wrist was screaming at me. I couldn’t just stop riding. That is just craziness! So I have been taking short, sweet rides to keep me content until I heal completely and can get back in the saddle for longer periods of time.

Which brings me to a bit of excitement from tonights ride!!! I remember the first time I went out for a “real ride” (more than just around the block a few times) and going 8 miles. Do you know how long it took me to go 8 miles? It took me an hour and fifteen minutes! Gah…thats horrible! Tonight….I knew that I couldn’t go far, so I decided to try and keep a steady pace and increase my speed to get a good workout. I did that 8 miles in 42.5 minutes!!! W00T!! I know that is probably still slow, but I know that I am getting better each time I go out and that makes me happy! I am proving to progress….

Until next time….Pedal Hard!!

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“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr

The Culmination

•May 20, 2008 • 1 Comment

So I have “sort of” been following along with American Idol this season, but this year just wasn’t as good. At least not good enough to keep my attention week after week. Maybe I am just getting tired of it, or tired of the repetitiveness. It’s the same thing every year, just different contestants.

Even the judges are the same. Not just their person, but their comments sometimes seem so redundant. Randy is pretty true and up front with everyone and if you’re bad, he will tell you, but in a nice way and if you’re great, he will give you awesome props! Paula makes me cringe. She is so sweet she is sickening. I am not sure how she benefits the contestants if she sugar coats everything. Constructive criticism is a must, I feel. Then there is Simon. I like Simon, even though he can be a bit brash sometimes. He states the truth, difficult as it may be to hear, and if the contestants are wise, they will take his advice as he is usually right.

With that said, I usually choose a few of my favorites once they narrow the group down to the top 24 hoping they make it to the top 12, and follow them when I can to the end. I found that this year, the two that made it to the very end, were the two that I have been following.

David Archuleta has got to be one of the sweetest kids alive. He is a 17 year old America’s Sweetheart with a golden voice, as he once again, proved tonight. He caught my ear from very early on. There is just something soothing about listening to him that makes me want to hear more. Tonight, as he performed his last three songs before the competition is considered “over”, he still won my heart over. He is so true and genuine and that shows in his music. He will go far in this industry as long as he wants it bad enough. I can only hope that he continues to stay sincere. He is so young and has so much to learn.

David Cook is another kind soul. He won over America in the very early stages as well. Not only because he has an amazing vocal, but he took chances and leaps of faith to progress him further into the competition that others just couldn’t do. One of my favorite things about David Cook was that he changed it up, he tried to be different and stand out and he wasn’t afraid to do it. He has a very unique voice and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with after this is all over. Even if he doesn’t win, he will go far and have a faithful listener in me!

I have always preferred David Cook over David Archuleta, but after tonights performance, I think Archuleta has it hands down. Either way, America chose wisely this season and we have found two more amazing artists. I will leave you with a video from each….

David Cook – Billy Jean (Michael Jackson) – Top 10 Week—> I really love this song! The video is a bit choppy but it shows an interview with him at the beginning to give you a taste of his personality and the end where the judges tell him he could win it!!

David Archuleta – Stand By Me (Ben E. King) – Top 4 Week —> When I see this and his interview before the song, I just wanna grab him up and hug him! He is just adorable! A true insight into him and again the judges critique, basically telling him he could win it too!

Tomorrow will tell….there is not a loser in this competition, in my opinion!

I swearz..

•May 15, 2008 • 1 Comment

This is only a quick post. I had…no I HAD to share this photo as it tickled me pink!! LOL!! I hope it will at least get you to laugh, or maybe bring a smile to your face!! Is important to smile, remember that!

Proper Credits

Mother’s Day

•May 11, 2008 • Leave a Comment

My kids came home from school on Friday and each of them had a bag in their hands and a huge smile on their face. The bags were decorated ever so sweetly and you could see the anxiousness in their eyes as they handed them over to me. I told them that it wasn’t Mother’s Day yet but they said I HAD to open them now because one of them was “alive”. OK. So side with me here. A six year old boy tells you that his gift is “alive”, what comes to your mind? Is it a snake, a toad, a worm, a spider? Granted he did bring it home from school but you just never know. I carefully opened the bag, sneaking in a peek as the corner hole previewed what was inside. I saw pink and felt a TON better (who ever saw a pink snake or spider, right?)! In the bag was a clay pot that he had decorated with puffy paint and inside of that was planted a sweet pink (one of my favorite colors) flower. Along with that was a coupon book. This was a fill in the blank book where the children had to finish the sentence: “Redeem this coupon and I’ll……” His coupons said this: vacuum, do dishes, do laundry, dust, pick up sticks (remember his fascination with sticks now…lol), and the one that made me laugh so hard….15 minutes of peace and quiet!! What a kid! Thank you Bug! Love you so much!! Click HERE to see Bug’s Gift!

My daughter then hands over a pretty bag that she also decorated her self that said “Don’t touch until Mother’s Day!!” So I teased her for a bit saying, “Nope, I have to do what the bag says.” and she retorts, “I meant to write, Don’t touch until Mother’s Day unless I say otherwise”…funny girl. The bag really was adorable, besides the writing she took her time to draw flowers and butterflies and say I love you many times. She loves to draw and when she draws something for me, its special! Inside she had made a flower pot and a flower. The pot was a Styrofoam cup that she painted and decorated and a hand made flower she made out of pipe cleaners and tissue paper. Absolutely adorable! Then she wrote a poem on a Post It Note and stuck it to the inside of the flower. It read: “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, I haven’t met a mom as sweet as you! Love you!” She also told me she is taking me out to dinner! LOL. Thank you Freckles!! Love you so much! Click HERE to see Freckle’s gift.

I also received a nice surprise yesterday. A flower delivery! They were from my dad. Thanks Dad….it means a lot to me! Aren’t they pretty? Click HERE to see.

There is so much joy in today, being a mom to my kids. Today also brings sadness though. It makes me think of my mom and how I wish I could call her and hear her voice, tell her to have a great day and that I love her. I miss that. I miss her voice. I miss her.

It broke my heart earlier today when Bug came up to me and just gave me a hug. No reason, per say, he just hugged me and when we broke apart he had tears in his eyes. I asked him what was the matter and he said, “I miss grandma and I love you”. Even writing this brings tears to my eyes. He has such a tender heart. He understands what I am missing today and he shouldn’t have to. I pulled him up in my lap and hugged him close and we cried together for a while. The thing about kids is that they recover from things much faster than we do. What I mean by that is, he pulled away from the hug and asked for a kleenex, blew his nose and started laughing. I knew better, but I asked why he was laughing and he replies, “When you cry it makes lots of snot!!”. Boys!! Gotta love ’em!

Happy Mother’s Day, and even if you are not a mother, Have a fantabulous day anyway!!

For You Mom…

Win!

•May 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment

When we begin reading blogs, we generally chose the ones to read based on similar interests that we have with the other blogger. Granted, that is not always the case, but we are usually going to chose something that is of interest to us or maybe something that we can learn from. I have found a lot that fall into both of those categories for me.

One very recent interest, cycling, has brought me to a few blogs that I never would have otherwise visited and I can say that I am so glad to have found the few that I have so far. However, I never really imagined how one particular blog could affect me so much. I began reading this blog because a friend had shared it with me because I started riding. I loved the way he wrote. He was honest, sincere, forthright, and just plain funny. So I began reading Fat Cyclist on a regular basis, even added it to my Google reader. As I read the current writings, I began going back and reading past posts, but even doing that, could not have prepared me for the post that made me sob, the post that so painfully described his wife’s battle with cancer. The attachment to his blog now, was not because I found him funny. It was because my heart went out to him and his family and friends. The attachment is on a much more personal level than I could ever imagine it to be for someone, for a family, that I have never known.

I write today in an effort to help out this family, to honor a request from a dear friend of “Fat Cyclist”. He posted a comment in his blog indicating that he is starting up a fund for Susan and to pass the word along by posting it in our own blogs. Please take a moment and read their story and if you so feel inclined, please give and if you can’t give, please keep their family in your thoughts.

How to donate: You can go to Kenny’s Website and follow the donation link there or you can donate through your Pay-Pal Account (if you don’t have one, the set up is easy and safe). The Pay Pal account is under winsusannelson@gmail.com.

Another way to help out if you are into cycling or know of someone that is, would be to purchase one of the jerseys specially made for Fat Cyclist and Susan from Twin Six. ALL of the proceeds for these jerseys will go toward the needs of the family and friends giving support. They will be offered on Monday May 19th on the Twin Six website at Noon, Central Time! I will be there, will you?

Click HERE to see what the men’s and women’s jersey will look like and to read about the proceeds.

Click HERE to purchase one on May 19th!!

The day she came home….

•May 3, 2008 • Leave a Comment

For the past 4 weeks I have been riding an el cheapo bike from Target, which has gotten me what I have needed to start so far. It has helped me to realize that I really enjoy cycling and that I can actually do it, and not just for leisure. My goal is to keep increasing my distance and speed and from what I have read up on, the bike I have will not assist me in that goal. What I have now is a mountain bike with those big fat tires and the crank gear shifts on the handles. Hate those things. It makes going up hills difficult when the gears change on you when you don’t mean for them to. So I got the idea in my head to go shopping for a starter road bike.

It was raining when I woke up today. I wasn’t very happy about that because today was the day I was going to go “looking” and see what I could find. I had already been doing some research on line so I sort of knew what I was looking for but I wanted more input from the pros at the shop. I stuck around home for a little while and then decided to just go. I was only going to look anyway so it didn’t really matter if it was raining, except for the fact I could not test ride the bikes, which could prove to make or break my decision. I went anyway.

I went to my local shop, Rockford Bicycle Co., and enjoyed every minute I was there. The girl that helped me, her name is Chelsea, was very knowledgeable and patient. I say patient because I had A LOT of questions and I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted. I told her that up front and she was very willing to help and answered all of my questions. I was there for almost two hours!

We looked at three types of bikes: a hybrid, a road bike, and an FX. I knew from the start I did not want a hybrid as she made it sound like that was more for comfort. Well, I am all for comfort but that was not my only reason for getting a bike. I wasn’t going to ride it for a leisurely ride through the park, so that clearly was not my choice. I couldn’t decide between the FX and the road bike. I wanted to be able to go the distance as well as use it for fitness. I don’t plan to race anytime soon, but eventually I’d like to group ride for events and such, but not race. The other concern I had was that some of the trails around here are not all completely paved. So, if I were on a road bike and happened upon these sections, it would not be good. However, the FX came with road tires…but…I could have them switched out for what I think she called “slick” tires. Correct me if I am wrong, please! These are a bit larger than a road tire with more traction for when I would come across those gravel or packed sand patches, but nothing as large as mountain bike tires. I could not get these kinds of replacement tires for the road bike. Overall, the FX seemed to be what I was looking for right now. So that is what I chose, the Trek 7.3 FX WSD in a pretty gold color. I had them switch out the tires for the slick tires, but also kept the road tires in case i needed them. It seemed to be perfect!

I had to get pedal cages to make my work more efficient, so they put those on for me. Once I am used to those, I am going to change pedals and get the clip in shoes. I already know which ones I want, but I want to get used to the cages first. We went over oiling the chain, what the psi for the tires should be, maintenance (oh yeah, I get this free for life because I got the bike from them..YAY!) So much to know and learn, but I feel I am off to a great start, thanks to Chelsea and Ryan. Ryan was the mechanic, he did all the changes for me.

I can tell you that it was a great experience going into Rockford Bicycle. Everyone there is great and they really want to make sure you understand and have all your questions answered! That is very important to me, being new and all. I need a reliable source to be able to go to.

After all that I needed a way to get her home! So, I purchased the Saris Bones RS trunk rack. Very easy to use, even for me and I took her home with me. Lucky enough for me, it quit raining long enough for me to get her home.

When I got home, I rode around the block a few times, about a mile, because I knew it was going to rain again. Sure enough…down pour! Good thing I had gotten home already.

So other than not being able to ride much, I am a happy camper. Wait. No. That’s not right. I am a happy cyclist! I can’t wait to go for a real ride and see how she handles.

Keep on pedalin’……..

Fortune Cookie Friday #1

•May 2, 2008 • 1 Comment

The impossible is often untried. How true is that? So many times we say, “that’s impossible!” whether it be in regards to ourselves or something larger than that. How can we really say that something is impossible if we have never tried it? Sure, it might be difficult because its either new, or maybe you set your “goal” to high to start off, but if you work at it and try, it could most certainly be possible. The saying “anything is possible” goes along with this. If you put your mind to it, and you really want to achieve it, you can.

I am going to use an example here that references cycling, since I am seriously loving it right now. A friend shared this with me and I was out of my mind amazed!! This just goes to show you what really IS possible when you want it bad enough.

A man by the name of Scott Cutshall was 38 years old, married and with children. He was afraid that he wouldn’t live to see the age of 40. How terrifying is that? So he made a choice to change his life. At 501 pounds and determined as hell to lose the weight, he got on a bike and rode 1.9 miles every day (along with changing his diet)! This was in 2004. After continuing to ride and push on, now he weighs 232 pounds!! Talk about amazing!! I encourage you to read the article that tells more about it HERE (make sure you go to page 2 as well, it shows what he looks like today). If you enjoyed that and were inspired by it, you can read more about Scott on his BLOG.

So, remember, the next time you say, “that’s impossible”…think of Scott and his story and press on =) Imagine where he may have been had he said that it was impossible for him to lose the weight…..!!

Scott, you are a true inspiration and your success just makes me want to ride even more!! Thank you for sharing your story and being so open about it. Many will triumph with the inspiration you have provided!