How 100 Miles turned into 100K, Mile 23 and the Sounds of Silence

This gallery contains 24 photos.

My 2013 JDRF Ride to Cure is in the books and I have my medal around my neck. It was, as expected, an incredible experience and it’s hard to put all of the reasons why into words. But I’ll try.  … Continue reading

Gallery | 9 Comments

Here’s a blog that I read regularly

I’m new to the blogging world … and following blogs, but this is a blog that someone posted a link to on Facebook, which I read, followed to his blog and then started following.

This is his latest post.  I think he always has something worthwhile to say.

http://www.drjohnm.org/2013/09/heart-health-is-not-about-telomeres-its-much-simpler-than-that/

All I know is that if I had a cardiac issue, I think I’d want Dr. John M to be my doctor.  I like his writing and his thoughts on hearts, health, life and, oh yeah, cycling.

Posted in health | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dear blog

I haven’t forgotten you. I promise. I’ll be back.

Between the nasty cold from last week, work, last weekend to train pre-JDRF Nashville ride, testing out the GoPro video camera to learn how to use it in Nashville, well, I’ve been a bit busy.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Tahoe on my mind

A year ago today, I boarded a plane to Reno, Nevada for a weekend that rocked my world. Yes, I’m talking about my first (but by no means last) JDRF Ride to Cure. I’m so glad that I made careful notes from start to finish at the time. I shared my thoughts with my forum friends on MFD and I said thank you to donors on Facebook, but I didn’t really take the time to share with them what the weekend was all about and what it meant.

I think the time is right to fix that oversight. I think this is the place to do it. I want my recollections to be recorded somewhere on my permanent record. So, here goes with a bit of updating (sorry for those of you who read through the whole thing on MFD). At the time, I said this:

I went for a bike ride and …how do I even begin to describe the entire weekend surrounding the JDRF/Tour De Tahoe ride? If I could bottle the feeling of the weekend, I could end war and strife, we’d all get along, we could cure cancer and T1D and so much more.

I still feel that way. Here’s how it all went down.

Two years ago, I saw that the JDRF did charity bike rides and I told my sister we had to do THIS ONE. It was in Tahoe, it was a ride to benefit diabetes research and it was … well … in Tahoe. One of my brother’s favorite places on earth. A place I had been to with him.

From last ski trip to Tahoe.  

Mark in Tahoe

I wanted that connection again. I guess I needed it. Plus, it gave me something positive to focus on and would push me harder than I’d been pushed in a very long time. And I had a year to prepare – plenty of time to back out and it be forgotten about, just another wild scheme left undone.

So, to counterbalance my natural inclination to dream big and then slack off, I put it on Facebook that I was going to do it. I thought it would be harder to back out if it was so … out there. In public.  And I really, really wanted to do it. I remembered a Tahoe trip from several years ago, sitting in the back seat and listening to Mark and his then girlfriend make plans to ride around the lake … for fun. FUN? It is 72 miles for crying out loud! Who rides 72 miles for FUN? People who are in shape, that’s who.

I committed.  In truth, my husband thought I probably should have been committed in a much different way. My sister committed. We also committed to raise over $8000 together in Mark’s name. We were going, dammit, we were really doing it! We were two. We grew to four. Dear friends of Mark’s (and now ours) from San Francisco, Harry and Joe S., also committed to come ride with us!

That entire year between saying “let’s go” and “going”, I sweated it out on my bike, and I’d think about the DREADED HILLS OF TAHOE. That’s how I pictured them in my mind. ALL CAPS. BIG. EVIL. MONSTERS. But I kept riding, week in, week out. Whether I wanted to or not. I had to.

Fast forward to September 6, 2012 … by the time I got on that plane, I’d ridden many miles, I’d dropped over 30 lbs. and I’d learned to disassemble my bike and pack it myself. I got grease under my nails.

photo (49)

I owned bike tools. I became a biker chick.

I had custom team jerseys designed … Team Mark Tahoe. They came the day before I was leaving town. Whew.

photo (58) photo (59)

I have to explain the creation of our jerseys. We really wanted a custom jersey with meaning. We started with the colors – the deep blue for Lake Tahoe, of course, and the lighter blue for the sky and the green to represent the beautiful greenery around Tahoe. Plus, they were Mark’s favorite colors. TeamMarkTahoe was also a play off a coaching program Mark had developed called TeamNorthTahoe, since they were based in North Tahoe. And, since his race team was TNT, he had drawn a cartoonish bomb and sticks of dynamite to use as logos – something about blasting off to a new level of performance. So, we took one of his drawings off his Mac and had the designer work it in on the shirts. Let me tell you, we learned a lot about shirt design – first lesson, one big TMT ‘bomb’ on the back looks a lot better than two smaller ones on the front, which hit, you guessed it – boob high. Not a hit with the women we showed it too. Oops, back to the drawing board on that version.

Anyway, colors and the main TMT ‘bomb’ design set, we moved to graphics. The T’s are snowboards and the M is a stylized mountain range. I’ve jokingly said that the spikes of blue and green represent both the hills and a heart monitor graph while riding them.

Then, we started calling ‘sponsors’ – all deeply connected to Mark.  We we got okays to use official graphics from USASA (the US Amateur Snowboarding Association), Volcom, a snowboard/surf/lifestyle clothing manufacturer that was one of his sponsors, Volcano Cones, a local ice cream shop at Government Camp (Mt. Hood) and Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camp, which was where he was the longtime head snowboard coach and where the snowboard terrain park is now Park Stegall. While the irony of having an ice cream shop as a ‘sponsor’ on a diabetes charity ride wasn’t lost on me, Mark and Sally, the owner, were good friends and he had Volcano Cones stickers on all his boards and she has a big framed picture of him in her shop, so we felt it was very appropriate (plus, she has great ice cream).

Checking it out at my office, after they were delivered.

photo (61)

I flew out to Reno to spend an extra night at some elevation.  I think I may have slightly overpacked.  For 4 days.

photo (60)

Saying goodbye to my bike case at check in.

photo (57)

On the way there, I was treated to the most magical clouds I’d ever seen. I really regret that my camera was safely stored in the overhead bin, because it is hard to describe them. I remember they were like the most beautiful snow-scape I’d ever seen and the sky was full of soft and gentle pink light. It was, in short, a veritable heaven for snowboarders. At least, it’s what I want to think that a heaven for snowboarders looks like.

Kinda like this.

_H0G7335_2 (1)

I had some funny encounters on the way: first, waiting for what seemed an eternity for the resort shuttle with a bunch of drunken overgrown frat boys, who commented on every woman’s ass that walked past. Don’t regret not having a picture of them. They were there for golf, football, gambling and drinking, although definitely not in that order. The desk clerk kindly moved me up to a concierge floor after getting a whiff of them (they checked in just ahead of me). I was much obliged to her.

Then, because I couldn’t sleep, I took a walk through the casino floor. Unbeknownst to me, it was full of people from Burning Man. I could have sworn some were straight from the bar scene in the first Star Wars movie. My favorite was a girl wearing a sequin mini that was so mini it was really a sequin band aid. Wish I had a picture of her, but it was awkward since we were sharing a small elevator.

I awoke the next morning to blue skies and a balloon festival in Reno.

photo (62)

Then, I got to meet Sara, one of Mark’s former junior snowboarders.

photo (56)

Sara had written the sweetest things about Mark and his influence on her when she was growing up, I really wanted to meet her. She picked me up and we went for coffee. She brought me some pictures she had of Mark and we talked and talked until she had to get to class. Thank you, Sara, for being there. It was so great to meet you. That, alone, was worth coming out a night early.

I also lucked into an early shuttle from Reno to Tahoe, got a quick check in and deposited my bike case in the bike room, where it was magically reassembled in record time, thanks to the awesome bike room guys. On the left is Mike, head awesome bike dude.

photo (55)

I know this will be hard to believe, but while I was waiting for my sister to arrive, I started making friends. Because I’m so shy and all, it’s tough. You know.

First, I met a group of super cool folks from the JDRF Pacific Northwest Chapter. In fact, they adopted us as part of their PNW team. I guess that makes me the PNWSW chapter. We hung out with them a lot. We made them honorary Team Mark Tahoe members. I love them, even though I thought I was going to die after the ‘easy’ little training ride they took me on (which went straight up the road to Heavenly Resort). When I say up, I mean UP. Heart poundingly, leg searingly, up. To say they induced panic in me about what I was about to get into is putting it lightly. I’ll see most of them again this year in Nashville in two weeks!

At the mandatory pre-ride meeting on Saturday, we learn that the 138 or so JDRF riders are part of a much larger ride, the Tour De Tahoe, with over 1800 riders. We get to start ahead of the main pack of riders, which is nice. I know we will see them soon enough on the course, passing us flatlanders by. But, this discovery makes our ranks grow. My brother-in-law had brought his bike, but had not signed up for the JDRF ride due to the fundraising requirement. But, suddenly, for a $100 entry fee, he was in (and he had a jersey). Then, we added another rider – Mark’s old girlfriend, Angela, who lives in S. Tahoe and had a new road bike. A few texts between us and she was signed up for the Tour de Tahoe as well. And, we had a spare jersey that fit her perfectly.

My sister and I, at one of the giant bikes around town for Tour de Tahoe. Yeah, I know…amazing that as many miles as I rode, I had ZERO tan on my legs. Sunscreen and knickers keep a girl’s dermatologist happy.

578630_3738774024106_1090898406_n

Training meeting – rule number 1: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Then hydrate some more. We’re slurping water. Rule number 2: do not go out and over exert yourself on Saturday because it’s harder to recover at altitude. Do the training ride, which is 3 miles. Don’t do more. It’s really just to make sure your bike is set up. It’s pretty flat. It doesn’t take long.

The afternoon had several workshops for those that want them. My brother-in-law thought it would be a better idea, since they had a rent car, to scope out the route in the car. Well, it’s a beautiful drive, so off we went. I guess there are two schools of thought on this: 1. It’s good to know the course, where the climbs are, where the rest stops are so you will know when to push and when to take it easy; or 2. driving around the course will scare the #@&* out of you. I learned that I sit squarely in the middle on this issue. Because while it was ‘good’ to know, it also scared the #&*(@^( out of me.

Okay, I have driven around Lake Tahoe several times. I had studied the course map. I knew there are two serious climbs. The first is within the first 15 miles – switchbacks up to Emerald Bay. But driving Tahoe is just different than riding it on your bike. In the car, when you aren’t thinking about how you are going to pedal up those switchbacks the next day, the road seems steep, but you aren’t paying attention to that. Instead, you’re marveling at how twisty and windy it is and how fantastic the view is. When you are in the backseat, looking at them with an eye to pedaling up them, they suddenly seem very daunting indeed. The road was narrow, the switchbacks were tight, there would be cars and other riders and virtually no shoulder (or guardrails for that matter). There is one switchback where, as you go up it, you keep looking up and realize that, oh hell, that is, in fact the road that you must get to. In truth, I do not believe that ‘oh hell’ was the word I used at that moment.

This is Emerald Bay. It is beyond words gorgeous.  That’s my sister.  She’s pretty cute too.

2012 JDRF Tahoe-17

And then, you realize that what goes up, must come down. And when you come down, you are coming down fast. More on that later.

The second climb is a bigger elevation change, but it’s not as steep – it’s a long, gradual climb up to Spooner Lake. Honestly, there was nothing even remotely like that to ride in Dallas to train for it. Again, I believe a word starting with F slipped out of my mouth as we drove it.

In between those two monster hills, we stopped in Tahoe City because I really needed to pee (yep, this is an honest account of everything). Remember rule number 1: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. There was a cute little ice cream shop, but we had to buy something to use the restroom, so we’re sitting outside (and it is gorgeous weather) having a little treat when my phone rings and it is Joe, trying to plan where we will meet. It turns out they are, literally, across the street from us. We all hugged and hugged and sat outside and had ice cream and chatted.

I feel like I know them so well, but in truth, I’ve met Joe and Sandy once in person and I never actually met Harry (long story, but he was in an awful snowboard crash right after my brother died and our meeting was in the ER). But, given their connection to Mark and our time together in Colorado, we are forever linked together in some weird cosmic way.

We start discussing options for the ride. For those that wanted to, you could start in S. Tahoe with the whole group, ride about 2 miles and then catch a paddleboat up to Carnelian Bay and ride the 2nd half of the ride, which was only 35 miles. Joe and Harry opt for that. No problem. We can meet halfway and ride to the finish together.

By the time everyone gets settled at the hotel, gets their bikes checked out, etc., we’ve missed the group dinner, so, we all go out together. We had a really lovely dinner, with Joe making a wonderful toast to my brother. Just before dinner, my sister and I gave Harry one of Mark’s watches. It was nothing fancy – a Timex, but it had sentimental value. Honestly, there were tears. And he wore it the whole weekend. That meant so much to us.

Pre-dinner – we did some team pictures in front of the hotel.

Me and my sister.

2012 JDRF Tahoe-42

Me, Joe, Angela, my sister, brother-in-law and Harry, wearing Mark’s watch.

2012 JDRF Tahoe-32

2012 JDRF Tahoe-37

We came back to our room to find the door and window decorated.

photo (54) photo (53)

That was so sweet. Alarms are set for 4:30, 4:45 and 5. AM. No chances we’ll oversleep. No one actually needs an alarm.

And then, we’re at breakfast and then off to the start line.

photo (52)

It is cool, but not as cold as I was led to expect and had prepared for. Nonetheless, I was glad I had the right gear and that I could peel it off in layers as it warmed up. The sun is starting to come up as we head off. The JDRF group is in the front and I’m at the very front of that group. The first 2-3 miles are flat and run through town, but on the edge of the lake and everyone just settles into a rhythm. The ½ route riders split off at about mile 2, to await the paddleboat. I have a moment where I wonder if I should just veer off and join them. But, I don’t.

Outside of town, we start climbing. It’s still cool and shady on this side of the lake, so glad to have jacket at this point.

296865_3738766143909_1854360800_n

Angela, heading up to Emerald Bay.

248413_3738766823926_109244179_n

My sister took this. I was somewhere behind them. They have more mountain miles under their belts than me.

I just keep pedaling along, in my lowest gear, trying to get into a rhythm of breathing and pedaling. I’m actually doing okay, even when I look UP to see the road tilting up above me. I get through that part. It is, to me, the hardest part of the climb. I got all the way to the last switchback and there are a lot of riders around me, a few cars and there was a moment that I thought my legs felt a little wobbly and I was going very slow. Well, you don’t want to go so slow you fall over, so, I stopped. ACK. It’s so hard to start back uphill, so I walked and pushed the bike about 100 feet. I was almost to the top. And then I saw the ‘official’ photographer. Oh, no, I am NOT having my picture taken pushing my bike, so I got back on and pedaled the rest of the way to Emerald Bay.

Atop Emerald Bay. At this point, I’d shed the jacket and full gloves.

photo (51)

The descent from Emerald Bay is scary in places. You are screaming downhill, even if feathering your brakes. Guys passed me in deep tucks, doing over 40. Some of the downhill is sharp turns, and I distinctly heard my brother’s voice in my head …. ‘let your skis run out and finish the turn.’ Okay, that works for cycling too. I did. Somewhere during that downhill from Emerald Bay, my emotions hit me and I just started sobbing as I’m flying downhill. Big, guttural sobs. I was, mercifully, without other riders surrounding me. Later, my sister tells me she did the exact same thing in the exact same place. She is ahead of me on the course.

We meet again at the next rest stop and then we have a nice, relatively flat segment as we come around Tahoe City and the North shore of the lake to the lunch stop at King’s Beach.

We’ve texted Joe and Harry to let them know where we are. Our ideal plan was that they would be waiting for us where the paddleboat disembarks and we would all ride from there together, but, in reality, I never saw where the boat came in. Failing that, we would all meet at King’s Beach and ride from there. It’s about at mile 40. We assume they will be waiting for us at King’s Beach, but that’s not the case. We are waiting on them because the paddle boat is very delayed as winds make it impossible to dock. I’m a bit worried my legs will get stiff while waiting, but it turned out okay AND it allowed Mark’s dear friend, Lyn, to meet up with us. She had flown in from New Zealand on Friday and had driven up from her home in Sonoma the morning of the ride. She found us at King’s Beach and we get the best, deepest, biggest hugs ever.

253519_3738768663972_1291712651_n 293076_3738769263987_115352162_n

Lyn headed off for the finish line in her car as Harry and Joe arrive and we’re off for the last part of the ride.

This is on the climb up Spooner.  It is deceptively hard.

photo (63)

This was not an official rest stop, but it was a scenic vista point and I saw people stopping and taking pictures, so I did too. I love how I’m standing in the shadow of my wheel. Serendipity that it happened that way.

photo (64)

The Spooner climb was hard because it was so long. It wasn’t super steep, just a long, slow uphill up to the highest altitude of the ride. And, by this point, it was warm outside and quite sunny. I was sweating, but not sweating like Texas heat. I loved it.

There was a rest station at Spooner where we all regrouped. ‘They’ said it was downhill all the way from there. ‘They’ lied. The race medical director was there and he gave us all shoulder massages (God, I hope he’s in Nashville). That should be required for all long rides. He also said that after a long ride, put ice in bags and put it under your feet for about 10 minutes and you’ll feel amazing. Just a tip for the future.

Even though we all seemed to separate on the road, we all met up about 2 miles out (just as my Garmin battery died) and rode the last bit together, crossing the finish line together, which was really cool.

2012 JDRF Tahoe-57-2

2012 JDRF Tahoe-51-2

2012 JDRF Tahoe-64-2

I am really proud of what we did. Mark would be proud of us and so stoked we were in Tahoe. My brother-in-law told me that he was impressed I did it. Harry’s mom told us we were good sisters. We all had hugs and tears and laughs at the finish line. Harry and his parents had to go (he had school Monday) and it was so hard to let them and Angela go back to their real lives. Life does, after all, go on.

And, not only was Mark there with us in spirit, but he went along for the ride. I knew this was offbeat, but if you knew Mark, you’d know that doling out the ashes in bits and pieces in cool places is so appropriate. He rode with me, in my bag, and, knowing he never met a finish line he didn’t like, I figured he’d want to be there.

2012 JDRF Tahoe-66

Sunday night was the awards banquet. One of the awards was the Spirit Award, for that rider who captured the spirit of the event. The coaches sort of take notes as they meet people and hear their stories and they vote on who they think will best represent everyone. So, Mike Clark, one of the head coaches, says there were several compelling stories of people they considered but didn’t select. I have to say, my sister and I were named as nominees and they told a little bit about our story.  But we didn’t win it.

Who won? Her name is Rose. I saw her throughout the weekend, but I didn’t know her story. Here she is, on the ride.

photo (50)

Well, let me tell you, this woman is one of the most impressive, inspiring, amazing people I’ve ever met. 

Rose’s daughter was diagnosed with T1D 13 years ago and she did JDRF rides for 8 or 9 years. She was part of the fantastic PNW group. During the 2011 JDRF ride in Wisconsin, she suffered a seizure and learned she had a brain tumor. She knew it was terminal and that she didn’t have a lot of time, but she wanted to ride one more time. She wasn’t bitter, she wasn’t angry, but she was a fighter, with grace and courage. She couldn’t ride by herself any longer, so her coach found a set up that allowed her to ride along behind her coach for part of the ride. Rose got up to speak and what struck me most of all the things she said was that during times of tragedy, special people come into your life for a reason. That is true.

485718_3738775504143_715028940_n

I am so privileged to have met her. Rose died just about two months after the Tahoe ride. I cannot tell you how often I think of her, someone I met once. Her words ring out in my head.

We exceeded our $8000 goal – Susan and I raised around $9000 and Harry and Joe another $4000, so Team Mark Tahoe raised over $13,000 in our inaugural year. We found a way to find something positive out of tragedy. We met special people, who came into our life for a reason.

We wanted to thank everyone for helping Team Mark Tahoe last year.

2012 JDRF Tahoe-73

We wrote everyone’s names on a banner I had printed. The background is that image I posted above.  It’s one of my favorite images of Mark, in his element, up at Mt. Hood.

We had some quiet moments down at the lake on Monday morning. Just me, Susan, Lyn and Mark. It was so still and quiet and peaceful.  It was happy and sad, all at the same time.  I tried to soak it all in.

2012 JDRF Tahoe-69

I made this my screen saver at my office. I do, truly, savor the weekend every time I turn my computer on.

2012 JDRF Tahoe-32

Wishing the 2013 Tahoe riders strong legs, blue skies, sun, no wind and calm blue waters this weekend.

Image | Posted on by | 4 Comments

If your Garmin doesn’t work, does the ride really count?

Heading out to ride yesterday, this was the screen on my Garmin.

20130902-141251.jpg

At the end of the ride, this was the screen on my Garmin.

20130902-141251.jpg

Arrrrrrrggggggggggg.

Last night, I googled “frozen Garmin screen” and figured out how to reset it. So, hopefully, I’m back to logging my mileage and tracking all kinds of data. But, sometimes, it’s just nice to get on a bike and go for a ride, ya know?

So, I joined the Greater Dallas Bicyclists Sunday Roll. We rode somewhere between 0 and 35 miles at a speed between 0 and 30 mph. Without my Garmin data, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Although I do have witnesses who can attest that we were there, sweating it out.

Me: getting ready to unload bike off car.

20130902-141448.jpg

It was fun. It was hot. Really hot. I got my official GDB roadie socks and I met some really interesting people. And learned a valuable riding tip, which I’m happy to share.

First, the VERY IMPORTANT RIDING TIP … from Don … who, trust me, had the legs to back this up. My MFD friends know that, over the past two years, I’ve had bouts of dealing with hot spots on the bottoms of my feet while riding. I’ve gone through 3 different pairs of shoes trying to find the right fit and while I’m convinced I have the right shoes now, every one in awhile, those dang hot spots reappear. Like yesterday, about 2/3 into the ride. I was wearing thicker than normal socks yesterday. Relation to that and hot spot? Hmmmm.

My normal course of action is to stop and stomp around on my feet to get them to go away. Sadly, on a n0-drop ride, that meant that everyone else stopped and waited too because they ignored my pleas to go on ahead since I knew where I was and could find my way back. Embarrassing.

But, thanks to Don, I hope this will be the last time I have to stop like that — when you start feeling the hot spots (or numbness or tingling), really exaggerate your upward pedal stroke … hard. This, of course, assumes you are wearing shoes with clips and are clipped into your pedal. Because it would be pretty hard to do otherwise. But, for some reason, that gets the blood flowing again and helps alleviate the problem. Thanks, Don! That tip, alone, was worth the price of admission.

I also met some really cool people. This is Shar and, I think, Gus (I’m not 100% certain his name is Gus, but we’ll just call him Gus for now).

20130902-141552.jpg

There are two reasons I love Shar, even though I only met her yesterday. The first is that when I told her I had started a blog called FiftyFine, she said, well, I would have thought you were in your early 40’s.

The second is that she told me that she had been the Virginia state women’s time trial champion in her age category. Shar is sixty-damn-fine! She’s my role model. She’s out there, on her bike, having fun.

And then there is Gus. He’s 83. He did the Hotter than Hell ride in Wichita Falls 2 weeks ago. He did the W-H-O-L-E thing. As in, the full 100 miles. He was the oldest finisher. And, I saw him take off and catch the lead group in a flash yesterday. Did I mention he’s 83?

Here is Gus, pretending to be old and decrepit and needing a hand to stand up. I think we all know that’s bull.

20130902-141649.jpg

I left the ride with one nagging question … is there a polite way to let someone know that the once double-ply spandex in their shorts has worn down to the point that it’s single-ply … at best. All I can say is, it was not a pretty picture. It was just one small patch of the shorts, but it was a crucial patch, if you know what I mean. And no, there are no pictures. And yes, you are very welcome!

Although, I was reminded of the old saying about sled dogs and their view … if you aren’t at the front of the pack, they view never changes.

Fashion talk: As usual, when I’m wearing a YMX jersey, I get comments about it….”love the colors/design/it’s so cool, where did you get it?” And yesterday was no exception. What I think is funny is that I got comments from the youngest rider in the group, Emily, a right-out-of-college cute young thing … and Shar. So, I think YMX appeals to everyone. And, what’s not to like about my favorite line of super wicking/great in hot weather/beautiful/sun protective/functional clothing?

COMING ATTRACTIONS: Looking forward to testing out a GoPro Hero 3 camera in the coming weeks. Hope to have fun little videos to go along with some future blogs. Stay tuned.

Links to resources:

Sidi shoes: http://www.sidiamerica.com/sidi/road/genius_5_women.html

Here’s what I have to say about my Sidi Genius 5 Carbon shoes … they are spendy, but don’t waste your time on buying multiple pairs of cheaper shoes. In the end, you’ll come around to these and you’ll have spent way more getting there.

YMX cycling jerseys and sun sleeves. Don’t leave home without ’em.

http://ymxbyyellowman.com

Posted in cycling, cycling tips, fashion, fitness | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calibrating my (inner) gyroscope

Well, that was the promise, anyway.

Last night, I tried out a yoga class called 5 Tibetan Rites Yoga. It is a practice that comes from the daily ritual practiced by Tibetan Lamas for centuries and those guys live well into their 90’s or even their 100’s. Or maybe they are really only 37, but just feel about 97.

Because, I’ve got to say … it was H-A-R-D.

But, it’s supposed to calibrate your inner gyroscope, and who doesn’t need that from time to time? I’m thinking my inner gyroscope was way off kilter and remains so.

The hardest thing was what we started with and its deceptively simple. Standing with our legs apart, feet flat on the ground, arms outstretched and a slight bend in our legs, we whirled around clockwise for, at first, 7 twirls, then stopped suddenly with our hands in front of us in a prayer pose and stare at our fingertips.

Okay, whew. The whirling is intense. At only 7 twirls.

And then, we graduated to doing it for the full 21 twirls.

And I thought I might die. Or at least do something that is probably frowned on in class, like toss cookies.

We also did some new (to me) poses. Tibetan table, for one. And boy, did I feel that in my chest, shoulders and arms. If I am a Tibetan table, then I’m a saggy table in need of some support.

There were more usual poses, bridge or, if you’ve got the strength and flexibility, you come up to a full wheel pose. In between, there was one called laptop. Which, I’m guessing, got added here in the good ole’ US of A. Because I’m having a hard time imagining that “laptop” was a term that came up through the ages.

I felt I got a very good workout. It wasn’t the warm room flow yoga that I’d done years ago, but I definitely worked up a sweat and worked body parts that don’t get worked while pedaling.

I even got to be a human guinea pig and do a tandem pose, where the instructor (a super flexible and highly enthusiastic guy of 53) lifted me in the air on his legs, and then stretched my spine. I’m not doing this justice in describing it, but wow, it was pretty powerful. Thankfully, there is no photographic evidence of this.

This is a once a week class. I need that. More of that. He promised the twirling gets easier. I dunno. I felt whirly-swirly the rest of the evening.

Posted in fitness | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

What’s my number

Well, enough frivolity with new blog and all … let’s just dive right into some meaty topics.

So, today … one of those “F” topics I promised.

FITNESS

How old am I? How old are you? I’m not talking chronological age. I’m talking metabolic age.

What? Whatever do you mean by that metabolic age stuff? And how does it relate to fitness?

First, I digress ….

Last week, in a bit of (depending on whether you ask me or my husband) bravado/idiocy, I joined a new gym. And, despite the fact that, over the years, I’ve been a member of too many gyms to list, I’m so not a gym person. I’ve paid lots of dues and not gotten much in return.

I like being active and I like doing things that I think are fun/active. Like … say … riding my bike. I ride a fair amount, especially if you count mid-week spin classes. And I do. After all, I lost 30 lbs riding my bike. It doesn’t seem like working out to me. Well, okay, spin does, but I tolerate that because, having done that 2012 Tahoe ride I mentioned in the first blog post, I know how much it helped me get up those dang hills, er, gigantic mountains. As in, not sure I could have done it without spinning. So, if I’m going to go do these distance rides in exotic locales (Nashville’s exotic, right????), then I’m gonna keep spinning away. I just picture myself climbing up the switchbacks up to Emerald Bay when the going gets tough and think, well, I did THAT, I can do THIS.

What I don’t like, and have avoided completely in my quest to become fit, is strength training, a/k/a working with weights.

So, in looking at this brand new gym (which is gorgeous, BTW), I focused on the spin studio, the yoga studio, the sweet, light filled indoor pool and the rock climbing/bouldering walls. In other words, stuff I’d find fun. Not the weights. Not me.

Oh, and did I mention that this fitness center is smack dab in the middle of SMU, the center of the universe of beautiful, young, chiseled people. A veritable walking Lululemon or Nike advert.

What was I thinking? Oh yeah, I was thinking that, as an alum, I’d be crazy not to take advantage of the alumni rate for membership.

Okay, back to this whole metabolic age issue …..

So, in looking at the website, they had something called a Polar Age Assessment. A fancy term for is your body older, younger or the same age as your chronological age.

And, as a new member, I could get this done. And I did.

And the envelope, please …I didn’t score what I thought I would.

I wanted a big difference in my actual chronological number and my metabolic number and, in the end, they were neck and neck.

But the good news is that it gives me a road map to make changes to drop a whole 9 years metabolically. Yep, that will make me a virtual teenager. Or teenager’s mom. Or someone who knows teenagers. Whatever.

Stay with me here…

The point is … as we all add candles on our cakes (and isn’t the ultimate goal having a LOT of CANDLES on our cake one day), don’t we want to do what we can NOW to make that happen?

Stay tuned for more specifics on the whole age assessment and what it means.

L

Posted in fitness | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment