Tag Archives: Snohomish County

The robin’s egg blue fondo

I’ve got two words to describe my very first fondo: No pressure.

Unlike my running races, I wasn’t filled with nerves souring my belly, there weren’t anxious butterflies keeping me up all night, no stresses, no worries, nothing. The only goal I had going into the Living the Dream Fondo was to not be the last person to cross the finish line.

Sure, I hadn’t ridden 56 km in nearly two years, and sure, my butt would likely suffer as a result. Sure, I had never ridden in a pack before, and sure, I’d seen the nasty mash-ups on big-time races. Sure, I had absolutely no confidence in changing a flat tire, even with the Tire Repair session I recently attended. And sure, maybe the concern in Big Ring’s eyes should have struck a flurry of worry in me when he handed me his patch kit and I, with my own bewildered look, replied: What the heck do you expect me to do with that? But no, there was none of that.

This fondo was all about having fun!

130516start3“I don’t know mama, you might want to rethink this 56 km business.”

I arrived at the start about a half hour early to send off my favourite hill-training hero for the 100 km distance. This chick is freaking amazing. Not only does she kill hills, she’s also Queen of the Bike too. Pretty sure she was the first of her group to cross the finish with a 3 hour 10 minute time!!!

130511hillhero1Holy super speed legs!!!

130516start1All smiles!

For the first few kilometres of the ride, I held back. I wasn’t sure how this whole grouping thing would go and I wanted to gauge the other riders before I started making any moves. I soon hooked up with two other girls around the same pace. I figured, seeing as how I don’t know how to read maps, had no cell phone access, no idea where this course was going, and was sure, knowing my history, I would get lost, it better to have three sets of eyes checking the signs to ensure I get to the finish line.

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Photo (mid clip-out) courtesy www.livingthedreamride.org 

At about 15 km, we approached the first rest stop. This was not your typical rest stop. Yes there were bananas and bagels, but there was also pineapple and chocolate, hand sanitizer, Advil, and even, ahem, feminine products. There was a red carpet upon approach with the sign You are Oscar worthy 😀 And in the port-a-potties, a huge bouquet of flowers in the urinal, and on the door … GEORGE!!!

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Sure George, I’ll go for a swim with you… but, uhm, maybe not here!

The 25 km distance from the first rest stop to the next one was where the hills came out to play. And while I love hills for running, I’ve never been a huge fan of them for cycling. I always feel like I’m going super slow, and that it takes forever, and that my lungs are going to heave right out of my chest! And so, when I saw the long, winding hill on approach, I was like, okay, here we go, see you later girls, hopefully I’ll be able to catch up…

But wait, just hold on a second here, my legs were moving at a good clip, my Garmin speed wasn’t dropping down to a near standstill, I was climbing that hill, I was passing a couple of the cyclists ahead of me (two of them dudes!), I still had my lungs intact, so much so, I was able to encourage a girl who had paused halfway up the hill and was trying to get started again. (Never do that!) I felt great. And you better believe I gave Holly Goquickly a loving pat, knowing her carbon-fibre goodness was hugely responsible!

When I crested that hill, I felt like I was on top of the world. All around me was a spectacular view of trees, mountains and luscious farm pastures. And I so wished I was more courageous on the bike, brave enough to pull out my camera and snap a photo of that beauty, but alas, with the wheels still moving I knew there was no way my shaky confidence would attempt such a thing 😦

130511viewPhoto courtesy www.livingthedreamride.org

Coming out of the second rest stop, I got caught behind a super long line of vehicles making a right turn. And because there was no shoulder, and I’d already seen a jerk-face driver, I felt more comfortable holding back. Unfortunately, because of doing so, I lost my cycling companions. I thought for sure I’d hook up with them again shortly, given that it wasn’t that long of a wait, but I never did. At the time I thought, holy hell, they must have majorly jacked up their speed, but I later learned they made a wrong turn and significantly cut short their distance! And so, for the remainder of the ride, I was alone.

It wouldn’t have been a huge deal had there been more signage, and for that matter, more volunteers, but there were not. The signs of earlier, which seemed to be positioned every mile or so had pretty much fallen off the map. I saw one sign on a long country road (Keep on moovin’!) and that was pretty much it.

When I spotted the third rest stop, I figured I’d keep going. I felt great and I was pretty sure I only had about 10 more kilometres to go. Big mistake. HUGE mistake. Remember that statement about my tendency for getting lost? I got lost! I ended up at the approach for a highway and started to think I hadn’t seen a sign in a really long time, and surely they wouldn’t want me to get on a highway would they… would they? I pulled out the map for the course, that I thankfully had packed at the last minute, which listed all the street names on the back. And yep, sure enough, I was on the wrong bloody street! Apparently I was to loop around the rest stop – not go straight through! Oh crud.

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The straight line just past the No. 5 sign is where I went wrong.

My confidence was now shattered, and with the lack of signage, the lack of cross roads, the lack of any other cyclists around, and just a long lonely road ahead, I kept stopping every two seconds to pull out the map, which did me absolutely no good without any cross roads for reference. After what seemed an eternity, I finally came to the end of the road, and discovered that I had been going the right direction after all. I turned left and seconds later I was making a hairpin turn – where my bestest cheerleaders were waiting for me!!! – down into the finishing corral.

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A ‘ring’ sandwich 😀

Another red carpet welcomed me at the finish, with a group of firefighters, who were actually in uniform (this is where NWM goes wrong) handing me a pretty, white ribboned, robin’s egg blue box!!! Best medal EVER!!!

130516Tiffany

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Prettier than my NWM necklace 😀

FONDO DETAILS:

  • 7:50 a.m. BG before: 10.8
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: none; had breakfast one hour prior
  • Distance: 59.90 km
  • Average speed: 23.5 km/h
  • Time: 2:27:38
  • 11 a.m. BG after: 7.9

Stay tuned for my next post on the diabetes aspect of the fondo.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: And then there were two

Remember a month ago, when I teased you all with a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT on the horizon, and then I pretty much didn’t say a word of it since. Well folks, we just needed to make sure all our ducks were in a row, tests were done, no false alarms, everyone healthy. And now, our news is finally ready to be revealed (eeeeeeeeeee!!!) and I am so stinkin’ excited! Are you ready for it? Like really, really ready? Okay, here goes 😀

Just when Big Ring, Little Ring and I were starting to get into a groove, we were hit with a pleasant surprise. The dynamics of our family, dear friends, is again changing.

Little Ring is getting a Little Sister!!!

130408ultrasoundbikeYup, that’s my belly with a bike inside. Hehe 🙂

In late February, The Rings and I went to the Vancouver Bike Show, which was a huge game changer for me. Not only did I enter my very first fondo there – Women’s Living the Dream Ride – which finishes with a Tiffany’s necklace (I seem to have a history with these, hey ;)), I also fell head over heels in lust with a sleekly styled black and purple carbon-fibre Giant bike.

The ride home, I kept thinking about this bike. I had wanted a new bike for some time; the relationship my Zing and I had was no longer the love it once was. Could this beauty of a Giant be my new ride? She had a good price, a pretty spectacular price. But she wasn’t a Bianchi, and I’d been drooling over Bianchis for ages. Could I possibly be happy with something other than Lady Bianchi? She was, however, carbon fibre. She was way lighter than Zing’s aluminum frame. Did I mention she was a good price, like a really good price? But why was she such a good price? Was there something wrong with her?

All evening my brain battled back and forth about this bike. The next day, with my mind still full of lust and uncertainty, I posted both my Zing and my foldy on Craigslist and Kijiji, and figured I’d let fate be the decider. Within two days, they were both sold! Seriously, who signs up for a fondo and then sells both her bikes???

I needed a new bike!

Big Ring looked more into the Giant’s specs, and did further research into other comparable bikes. We looked at Trek, Felt, Specialized, Scott, Devinci, and Fuji. (Women’s Bianchis (my first choice) are not sold in Canada 😦 ) While I had fallen in love with Felt four years ago, and Scott two years ago, this year’s models didn’t have the pizazz I was looking for. And my issue with Trek is that everyone has Trek, which was also one of the issues I had with Giant.

I looked at the bikes, I rode the bikes, but nothing, in my opinion, was comparing to that Gorgeous Giant – and yet, I still had reservations about her. I didn’t want to be getting into a bike that I would want to replace the very next day. I didn’t want to continue pining for Lady Bianchi. I wanted a bike that was more than just lust. I wanted a bike that was baby love. I wanted a bike that would be my forever bike. And as much as I lusted after the Giant, I just wasn’t 100 per cent sure she could be that.

And then, my eye caught the twinkle of a Tiffany blue and white bike, one fateful Sunday afternoon, and my heart instantly leaped. Ohhh, she was a beauty. Her Shimano 105 components were more upper class than the other bikes I’d looked at. Her colours – TIFFANY BLUE!!! – were perfect for my complexion. Her price, a sale price at that, was a bit higher than I had intended, but my goodness, the moment I saw her, there was NO thought of Lady Bianchi. None.

I want, I gushed.

The only problem: she was last year’s model, and a frame far too small for my build. The shop had no others. Oh man, I felt like crying. How could the universe be so cruel to tempt me with such a love and then just stomp down on my heart so easily like that. Big Ring tried comforting me, but I was left silent with despair.

But, hours later, hope was back on the horizon.

Big Ring knew of a local dealer for the brand and went on their website, hit the link for the closeout bikes, and found my beauty. There were two listed – and one in my size! Eeeeeeeee!!!

Big Ring practically had to tie me down to prevent me from throwing my jacket and shoes on and rushing out there. It was Sunday evening, he reminded me, the shop was closed. So, we fired them an email stating our interest and asking them to hold the beauty until the following Friday when we could both go.

Big Ring warned me not to get my hopes up; she still might not be the perfect fit for me, he said. He suggested I ride both Gorgeous Giant and the new girl on the same day and decide from there.

First up: Gorgeous Giant. Oh she was smooth alright. I felt good riding around West Van with her under me, she looked good, I looked good. Could this be such an easy decision after all, I wondered. Could I be in just as much love with Gorgeous as I was with new girl?

No. The moment I saw my girl, it was bike motherly love like no other. And the second I got on her, I knew she was mine. We rode the streets of False Creek, I gripped her bars, hugged her frame, patted her bottom. I told her she was a beauty. I told her all the places we would go. I told her she was my girl.

And now, I present to you, my dear, sweet, beautiful baby girl: Holly Goquickly!!!

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2012 Women’s Cannondale Synapse 5

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Love. Love. Love.

Any guesses why I named her Holly Goquickly?