Notes From The Edge

on Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Hello. How are you? Not a lot to report from these neck of the woods. I'm deep in tax season. Deep, deep, deep. It is the part of the year that I get up, go to work, work, go home well after dark, eat and promptly go to bed. I'm not fun to be around because I can't stop thinking about what needs to be done, or what I forgot to do, or anticipating the next day. You never finish your To Do list so you just try to aim at a  stopping point.

This has been my busiest tax season that I can remember! It is also my 15th tax season. So just when I think I have things mastered and under control is all breaks loose.

Anyway, I just popped in to say that I am not dead, but possibly brain dead. I haven't ridden my bike since the first week in Feb. I'm reminding myself everyday that I take a lot of time off the rest of the year and work is not stressful (much) after April. I've got several Sub 24 Overnights planned (in my head), the Cottonwood 200 to ride in May, Hawaii, & BAK in June.

One month and 10 days to go!

Enough Already

on Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Riding just a few miles a day to and from work, even if it is in the frigid winter isn't blog worthy. Although, I feel like everyday I could post a picture of this saying "I made it!"

"It's me again, all bundled up riding to work in single degree temps."

I took 2 days off commuting this week and last night I was feeling like a caged animal. It's interesting how things sneak up on you. One day your a get-everyone-where-they-need-to-be-mom & the next you are a bike commuter with no one to be responsible for but yourself. Your habit & routine changes and pretty soon you realize it's more than just the routine that's changed. You have too. I crave outside if I go without too long. I'm trying to figure out when 2 days became too long. Must be the cold!

Determination

on Thursday, January 23, 2014
I woke up this morning with relief that I had a ride to work. We have 3 vehicles, 4 drivers, & 2 of the cars have been in the shop this week. Normally, it is not a big deal since Lance & I both commute by bike.
The weather has been hovering around 20-30° F. Not warm but a temperature we have gotten used to.
The kids would just have to work their schedules out & share a car. Today our fleet was back up to 2. Getting a ride would be easy.

Then I jumped on Twitter & I saw many posts from Chicago cyclist talking about girding their loins & riding to work. There were links to blog posts that discussed layers & how to not freeze. I've read all these before & this time I felt like they were laying down a challenge. "I have mastered the layered look", I thought. I bet I could ride to work and be just fine.

And so I did. Lance has the day off so I was going it alone. He tried to talk me out of it but gave up pretty quickly. Instead he went out and started up the van, just in case I changed my mind.

As I was heading out my neighbor (who rides) came over and showed me the temperature and tried to talk me out of it. Lance quickly cut him off by saying, "No amount of facts will deter her!"

So how was the ride? It wasn't bad. The wind froze my forehead but other than that I stayed very warm. I was doubly layered with wool & fur. A full face mask would be nice but I already struggle looking both directions with my face covered like it is. And let's face it. Riding in single digits is not my norm. I love a self-imposed challenge. Now that I've done it I will feel no shame if I decide to get a ride home from work!
Frost on the scarf from my breath

A Warm, Sunny Day in January

on Monday, January 20, 2014
Yesterday we had an unexpected warm January day. And by warm I mean 60F. It is possible that we normally warm up for a day or two in January but I have not kept record of the weather. This year that has changed thanks to winter commuting. I'm trying to stay aware of temperature & how to dress for it. I never thought much beyond general warmth commuting by car. Anyway, back to unexpected warm days. We did what any cyclist does on a freebie,  warm day. We planned to go for a ride.

Lance has been bitten by the gravel grinding bug. He was bit last year around Dirty Kansa time and he hasn't shaken it. Now the guys around the shop have been bitten too and so gravel grinding has been on his mind. He built up a bike to take out on some dirt roads and yesterday was a shake down run.

I was game and we both agreed that we would just take a leisure ride in the county. Neither one of us has done anything other than commute over the past 2 months. No need to go out there and kill ourselves riding 40 miles on gravel!

So here's the thing...we both had a great time. We headed west of town and hit gravel roads pretty quickly, within 2 miles! Then we followed them until we thought we'd gone far enough. Some of the roads were super rocky& sketchy while others were pretty mellow. We climbed giant hills, some so steep that I was going about 3 miles an hr, eventually having to push my bike to the top.  The strange thing about our ride was that I had no idea where I was. I knew the general direction we were in relation to our house & town but it was strange riding up & down roads that I have never been on before and they were within 5 miles of my house! The scenery was beautiful, dead January. No snow and all greenery has been killed off so you can see throughout the countryside. I told Lance that if it had been greener I'd swear we were in Northern Ireland. Lots of rocky hillside.

Once again, my own town-area-neck of the woods has surprised me. I'm beginning to really believe that wonder & adventure can be found outside your own front door. We found it on a random Sunday.



Goals Challenges

on Tuesday, December 31, 2013
While I didn't begin the year with any kind of intentions, I feel like I have grown anyways. When I was young I used to write New Year's resolutions on a nice white piece of paper and tie it with a red ribbon. I used the same ribbon year after year.  I was writing down things I wished I could do or would like to accomplish. I think I wrote "Stop biting finger nails." every year for about 5 years. I continued this tradition until I was in my teens. Then, I realized that it was futile. I wrote what I wanted and then didn't look at it again until the next NYE.

I gave up resolutions all together after that. In 2012, I wrote out my intentions for the year. I thought using the word intentions would make them softer, more flexible. Once again I wrote them out and never thought much about them. I realize now that even though I am super goal oriented. When you write out resolutions they are usually good ideas but not super important. Real stuff I get done. Good ideas happen if the mood/time/money works out just right.

So let me indulge myself in reflecting on some things I feel like I've become better at over the past year. They weren't resolutions but things that I've found joy in.

  • Bike Touring. I feel like I became a real cycle tourist in 2013.  We hit the road several times with our gear on our bikes and a map. 5 days of self supported touring across KS were some of the best days I had.Our trips in 2013 validated that we have what it takes to be vagabonds and enjoy it!
  • Commuting. I've been commuting for a few years & each year I extend my commuting season a little bit longer. This year I've commuted in every month. Some years I give up at the end of October. Allergies & cold shut me down. I owe my blogroll to keeping me motivated to cycling in the winter. Seeing people all over, in all kinds of weather & gear riding to work has been inspiring. I've become SO MUCH better at layering that I can get to work without freezing to death! 
  • The Great Outdoors. I feel like my husband has opened up the great outdoors to me. Before we met I was a single parent who was doing everything and had little time to go adventuring. Now that the kids are older (21 & 16!) and I have more time and someone to explore with that has changed. I find that I crave the outside. I didn't see that one coming! I've always enjoyed nature but to actually lose my mind because I needed to go outside was a new one for me.
  •  
I don't have 2014 all planned out nor do I have a list of intentions that I'd like to perfect. I do know it will be full of family, good times, bad times, & hopefully a ride or two around Leavenworth, Hawaii, Spain, or Germany!

Happy New Year!




Holidays

on Friday, December 27, 2013
Our holidays have been full of food & family.

We not only celebrate Christmas but 3 birthdays in December! Mine on the 10th, Lance's on the 24th, & Janai's on the 25th.

So our Christmas is full! There has been little cycling because of the ice but we did walk to Christmas dinner at Gran & Papas. Today promises to be a great day for a ride but we will pass because we don't want to miss out on visiting with family. We hope that you have as much fun celebrating the ones you love.

Lighted Holiday Parade

on Monday, December 9, 2013
 This weekend we participated in the Lighted Holiday Parade. We decorated our bikes and road a few blocks in the freezing cold. Our bike club was supposed to participate but they all chickened out! It was about 19 F and dropping. It's hard to get good pictures when you're frozen waiting for the parade to start and when it's dark.
Lance road the Unicycle
Bundled up!!

Lighted bike. Super hard to capture.
We ate out afterwards and our pile of coats & warm gear was almost as tall as Quentin who is 6'6.