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!


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.