Monday, November 12, 2012

100 Miles...

... is a long time to ride on a bike!

or when asked this week, "How was the ride?" My line was, "Well...the first 90 miles were easy..."

In truth, it felt pretty self-indulgent to do a century on the beautiful SoCal coast when so many on the east coast were without power and were (and still are) trying to have patience while getting their lives back into something that more closely resembles order. As I am now a very, very, very part time blogger at best, I have sorta lost contact with some (many) of my east coast blogger friends. Some blog regularly, some less so, some maybe have stopped all together, but luckily due to the magic that is Facebook, I still keep in touch with more than a few of you

In any event, as I cruised up and down the SoCal coast last weekend, on a particularly brilliant and perfect day, I couldn't help but think how blessed I am to live in this part of the world, how lucky I am to be able to do the things I love to do, and even while I write this, I am struck by how enviable my life may be, if only for the fact that our home has electricity and I have the power, literally, to use my computer.

100 miles gives you a LOT of time to think about things...

Yeah... I know, a brutal day to be in SoCal...
The herd (well...three of us) completed our first Century, and Wilma completed a 50 miler. The course for the century was one that we have been on, in shorter segments, plenty of times. Up and down the coast, from the Oceanside Pier through Del Mar, then a short loop around Carmel Valley, then back up to Oceanside...Twice for the Century, once (obviously) for the 50 mile route.

There you have it... back and forth...four times
On the way south, there was a nice tailwind and so we flew, as we headed north, it was into the wind, so we formed our pace line and pulled each other along.
Seven...pulling the herd along...about 85 miles into the ride.
So, here's a photo recap.
It was still darkish when we pulled into a parking structure near the Oceanside Pier. We were pretty efficient in getting our stuff together and organized for the morning. The biggest question was how many layers of clothing to wear. The morning was a little cool
At the start. The Century riders started at 6:50...we started at 7:05. Don't we look snazzy with our alternating lime-green and black sleeves?
The first 25 miles of the ride was crowded, which led to some frustrations along the way, especially through Carlsbad and Encinitas where there is lots of stopping and starting due to traffic lights, but for the most part, everyone was polite. Before the ride, Mik said she was going to say hello to everyone who we passed, so I followed suit.
Mik and I at the 25 mile SAG stop. The morning wasn't cloudy, but it was so darn early when we started, and it was before the time change, so it was sorta dawn-y, so I wore the yellow lenses. They worked out really well.
I just love this photo because it illustrates my extraordinary photography skills and how I NEVER pay attention to anything in the background whenI decide to take a shot!
At the 25 mile SAG, we we caught up to Wilma (or she caught up to us). She'd left before we did, but had stopped at a 13 mile SAG. I was (and still am) so proud of her. We chatted for a little bit and decided to leave together, but we lost her at a stoplight.

The second 25 miles were back up the coast, and into the coast winds...and it was windy last Saturday. We headed back out onto the route which took a little loop up El Camino Real and then toward Villa De La Valle, the Del Mar Race Track, and the back to the coast. As we headed toward El Camino Real, we saw probably one of the scariest things of the day, a cyclist down on the road with paramedics around her. I could see the blood on the road and a VERY still body lying face up. It didn't look good. There's a post on Facebook from the ride that she's OK, but it definitely gave everyone something to think about. Being safe.

The ride up El Camino Real was probably the longest assent in the whole ride...maybe a 5 or 6% grade, but it's longish (maybe about 2 miles) But the good thing about going UPhill is getting to go down!

Wheeeeee. I got up to about 39mph on the first descent.

From there it was around the racetrack and then to the coast where we immediately felt the headwind. Despite the wind, we still maintained about a 15mph pace.

After the previous week's fall, I was a little concerned that I'd end up feeling an ache or two as the ride progressed. I was pleased that at 50 miles, I still felt pretty good.
Ah... 50 miles!
The 50 mile SAG offered us Subway Sandwiches (which I took), and both a view of the ocean AND the finish line. Note to self: don't sign up for another century that is a double loop. I felt fine, but I really wanted to stop and have a beer. I'm not gonna lie. But we had a century to do, so off we went!

Stopped at a light in We followed Arrogant Bastard Ale guy for awhile. Here's nice view of the backs of the Heffer jerseys on Seven and Betty. The day became sufficiently warm enough to take off the arm-warmer sleeves. 
Again... I have NO IDEA what i was taking a picture of...and I only add this photo now because I had noticed that Mik kept adjusting her "seat." She told us later that she'd gone "butterless" for the ride, something that we all found amazing and EXTREMELY AMUSING!!!
As we headed south, we saw Wilma again headed into Oceanside. She said she was done for the day. Big thumbs up to her!

Miles 50 - 75 miles were the same as the first, back down the coast, only warmer and THANKFULLY, less crowded. With the wind at our backs, we cruised down the coast. I turned off the 1 mile "lap" timer on my Garmin, so I have no idea what our pace was for Miles 50-75, but they certainly FELT faster. Before we knew it, we were back at SAG 1, which was now SAG 3.
At 75 miles, we took pix of our feet. And yes, we have matching cow socks.
Somehow Betty thought everyone needed to put their hands on my leg....

Also... no we don't know JM, nor do we know anything about JMs specialty parts (Clarence asked).
Just like we did in this shot (from the Nike Women's 1/2 LAST October) ... I have no idea how she remembers these things..
As you might guess, the last 25 miles were the toughest. Although to be honest, it was really the last 10 that were the worst. It was hot; I was tired (not so much physically, but mentally); AND because I was tired of PB&J or cookies or Powerbars or Sandwiches, I didn't eat anything at the 75 mile SAG, just some GU, I was HUNGRY! Betty pulled us up El Camino Real and out to the coast (2nd descent wasn't as fast as the first, but I think I got caught at a light...still I topped out at about 34mph); Seven did a masterful pull into the coastal headwinds (see below); then Mik pulled us along for awhile. I think she may have been frustrated (or hungry) because we kept asking her to slow down.
See how you can't see Seven in this shot...that's because Betty and Mik are in such a kick-ass pace line. 
I noticed along the way that Mik waved at all the trains. She's a kinder-teacher through and through. I love her!

With about 8 miles to go, it was my turn to pull. I do think this is where my "runners mentality" really helped because I just put my head down and pedaled as hard as I could. I felt how I usually feel in teh last mile of a half marathon, where I tell myself that it's only a mile, that I've run plenty of MILES, and that if I run really fast, I will be done SOONER, and then I can STOP.

Really. I was DONE! My legs at that point actually started burning (has NEVER happened to me on a ride before).

The BEST thing of all happened on the way back with about 2 miles to go, as we were headed back into Oceanside, there was an uphill left turn on PCH. I've made this left LOTS of times. Sometimes we get lucky and there's no oncoming traffic so that we don't have to stop on a hill; sometimes we don't. And it's tricky because we can't always see the oncoming traffic because it's a little rolling hill, so there's no way to really time it. 

We (and by we, I mean me, Mik, Seven, Betty, and a few other century riders who we'd been clumped with) crossed over to the left turn lane and as we neared the street where we needed to turn, a car appeared over the hill...which meant we HAD TO STOP...ON A HILL... AT 98.5 MILES... GAH!!!!!

But this guy is going to heaven because he actually STOPPED and let us go ahead! 

I screamed out I LOVE YOU!!! because at that moment, I did!

Within two miles, we were DONE!

Riders received one "free" photo. Here's my finishing photo. I almost missed the guy as I we neared the finish...also, do you think my seat should be higher? It looks like I'm squatting...hmmmmm. 
and DONE!
And we were done... 6:53 riding time. About 8:20 total time. One of the HUGE differences between a century and a marathon is the time. Riding takes just a heck of a lot longer!
Bike the coast had a lovely bike valet, and the race organizer, coordinator person met us at the finish line and literally almost walked us to the bike valet and made sure we knew where the food was, where the first aid was, where are medals were. I am hoping that they did this with ALL the riders and not just us because we looked as if we needed the extra help.

Truth is, we did. I think we walked around pretty aimlessly for about 20 minutes before we figured out where the food was (they gave us $5 in vouchers to use at a number of food truck/tent type places. I was thrilled to find a Tin Fish on the Oceanside Pier because they have THE BEST FISH TACO...or at least they do at their location that is next to PETCO (the ballpark where the Padres play in downtown San Diego, not the pet store...that's just wrong). 

Afterwards... We used an upsidedown trash can for a table and had some food and beverages  You'll have to take my word on the bevvies because Betty told me it was the new rule to not be photographed with bevvies any more.... we'll see....
Once we ate, we were fueled and ready for some laughs... This was Seven's first even with us, so she needed to experience a full Heffer Event.

It started with Betty, who convinced the race announcer that we had won the "Best Jersey Contest," which, until Betty decided we'd won, there wasn't one.
Here we are... winning our awards! 
We also had some fun, posing for photos in front of the Green Screen.
Since the green in our shirts matched the green screen, the photographer had some difficulty getting us to
"stand out."
Apparently, that wasn't silly enough...
Mik thought Betty would be doing the other side of a "heffer-bump" but Betty was having none of it.
A random "Heffer Fan" took this shot and sent it to Betty. People did seem to really like the Heffer jerseys. They definitely make a statement, about what I'm not sure, but a statement nonetheless.
Seven was feeling strong, and probably ready for another 100...right then and right there.
Fabulous... it sucks living here. I know. I know. 
All in all it was a great ride, and while I don't see myself doing a Century in the near future (sorry Seven...the weeks of training leading up to the Century just ate a bit too much into family time on weekends), I am glad I did it. Once again, we Heffers proved to ourselves that we can do anything we put our minds to, and (perhaps most importantly) have fun while we are at it!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

When the Nice Guy turns into a Bad Boy...

A long time ago (after all...aren't all my posts from a long time ago), I wrote about how running was the bad boy in my life, and cycling was the nice guy.

Basically my thesis was that running, for the most part, beat me up, caused injuries, and could be downright difficult; whereas cycling treated me well, didn't hurt me, and for the most part was relatively easy...I mean cycling became easy once I figured out how to not fall over in the clip-ins...but overall, cycling treated me well, really well, spoiled me even with kindness and injury free riding.

So here's how to make a nice guy turn bad; that is, here's how you take a nice guy, push him to his limits, and cause him to hurt you and abuse you.

Train for a Century.

Yep, that did it.

I'm here to say that my name is Alice, and I'm in an abusive relationship with cycling. In the last three or four weeks, I've been letting the nice guy abuse me. It's my fault really. I let him do it. I could have walked away. Really, I could have. But let's not kid ourselves. I've always been a glutton for punishment.

I've always been the kind of girl who thinks she can tame the wild ones.

The problem really started about two months ago. As the mileage in our training together increased, as did the elevation of the hills, so did the abuse. It started off with some little things. After some training rides, when I typically feel pretty good, I started to notice that my hamstrings actually ached. I noticed that I was going through a fair amount of Chamois Butter. I didn't take it seriously though. I was kinda happy that the nice guy was taking charge. In fact I probably encouraged the situation by taking on longer rides and trying to tackle more hills.

But I also started to notice that the nice guy was taking on more and ore of my time.
Five plus hours to ride 74 miles...and that's just riding time! My Garmin stops when I do at stoplights and SAG stops. That particular ride probably started around 7:00... 
and those looooooooooooooong-ass rides left me really, really, really tired.

Yep, Betty, Seven*, and I are a chipper looking bunch after 74 miles
I barely made it through the Aztec game the following weekend...or the KGB Sky Show that followed...
Even still... I came back the next weekend for more of the nice guy and for more abuse, and he served it up the following weekend, but with a cruel twist.
Halfway through the longest training ride. San Diego to San Clemente and back... we were looking pretty spry at that point. My goal that day was to finish the ride in about six hours so that Walter and I could make it to an Aztec tailgate party
Not more than ten minutes after that last shot was taken, I hit a divot pretty hard and blew out my back tire....
It took three guys, three tubes, four C02 cartridges, two C02 cartridge inflation devices, and almost an hour to change one tire...causing a 6 hour ride to become a 7 hour ride (which made me really late for an Aztec game, and the subsequent sky show...see above)
In addition, I think the nice guy was jealous of the herd's typical after-ride festivities and celebrations! All those loooooooooooooong-ass, multiple-hour, tire-changing rides, resulted in rides ending so late on Saturdays, and because The Herd has families, and other events to eventually get to on Saturday nights, we DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TIME FOR MIMOSAS!!!!


I should have seen the signs, the nice guy was taking over my life!
I scrolled through three months of photos, and the closest I could come to a photo of a mimosa is this...the two beers Betty and I had after the 74 mile ride...and we only stopped for those because we needed food and luckily Rubios has both food AND beer!

But the ultimate hurt came yesterday, on our last training ride before next week's century. First of all, I broke almost all the rules of being prepared for a long ride. I stayed up too late the night before. I didn't eat anything before riding. I didn't eat enough during the ride. I figured it was ONLY 50 MILES... I mean, after the 60+, 70+, and 80+ rides I'd been doing, I didn't really need to take a measly little 50 miler, very seriously right?

I was wrong.

It was HOT yesterday. AGAIN!!! I don't like to complain about the weather because I know that the east coast is about to batten down for the storm of the century, but let's just say that it is NOVEMBER HERE PEOPLE...ENOUGH WITH THE HEAT ALREADY!!!!

Seriously, we have not seen fall yet. It's been HOT, DAMN HOT, since about JUNE. Almost all of our training rides have occurred with the temperature generally in upper 80 to lower 90 FREEKIN' SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER!

Yesterday topped out at about 95F...maybe it was hotter. I would also add that when we started riding, it was about 46F. It's tough to prepare for a 50F swing in temperatures. Typical Santa Ana conditons...cold and dry turning to hot and dry. Miserable.

But for the most part, I ignored all of what I've learned about riding yesterday.

Which resulted in this

I crashed...while riding. Now I've tipped over a few times because I didn't get out of the clip-ins fast enough, but this is the first time that I actually crashed while riding, and I can pretty much attribute all of it bonking.

Bonking while running means that you sit down. Bonking while riding means that you fall down.

The best that I can describe it is that I we were coming to the last hill of our roughly 56 mile ride. On the left was traffic coming off a freeway offramp, and it was moving pretty quickly. On the right traffic merges from Camino Del Rio South (not a very busy street, but still). 

See...can't you visualize the situation much better now?
As I was looking over my right shoulder to make sure there was no traffic, I must have turned my tire sharply to the left (oops), a lazy, tired, move, and then, because there were probably cars zooming by on the left, I over corrected and (probably complicated by the fact that I was tired and hot) went BOOM!

Again, don't you appreciate my mad illustration skillz? 
And because I have nowhere else to post this...I screamed...
I carved this on Thursday night, I didn't know at the time it would be foreshadowing...
In any event, today, today my elbow looks like this... My right leg and right shoulder look about the same...
You never know how much you lean on your elbows, until it hurts to lean on your elbow...
I'll be honest, my thoughts as I was falling were: 
  1. Fall on the dirt and not the street, it'll hurt less
  2. Fall on your butt, there's lots of padding there (I do think that my butt hit the ground shortly after my elbow. I call it my ski fall. When you learn to ski, you first learn to not fight the fall. Betty told me afterward that my fall looked quite graceful!)
  3. And most importantly DON'T TEAR THE NEW HEFFER JERSEY!!!!

The unveiling taken earlier that morning in Poway. No florescent, day-glo- neon, lime green, but they do look pretty sharp!

So...can I call the police and report cycling for assault and battery? I think I have a pretty good case.

Or should I wait until after next week's Bike the Coast Century? Maybe he'll be nice to me next week...

* Seven has seven children, thus the nickname. We also call her Nascar because she got hit by a car on one ride with Betty (she's OK of course, but it was scary....yet another way the nice guy can hurt you). We also call her BIMP, because she rode one day with a "Burrito in my pocket" from a breakfast burrito that she decided to eat "later." On the 85 mile ride, she brought a potato...which means, of course, that she has ANOTHER nickname!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Turning 50 - Turning 17

You may have come to believe by reading my blog that my entire life is one big party...

Truth is, I try to think of life as a party, punctuated perhaps by bits of work and other tasks that I prefer to not write about (Laundry...which is piling up as I write comes to mind).

To paraphrase a college professor who told us that the secret to his happiness was based on this premise: In life, there's 1/3 of what you do that you love, 1/3 that you really prefer to not do, and 1/3 that is in the middle. The trick to a successful and happy life, is to make the 1/3 in the middle, part of what you love, and not what you just endure. He was talking about work, but I think it applies to life in general as well.

It took me a pretty long time to figure out how to put those words into action. Some of it has happened out of sheer luck (I met Walter at just the right time. I ended up working at the same school as Betty, and thus ended up hanging out with some pretty fabulous women); some of it through work (I am starting my 23 year in teaching, working in profession that I just love...but some of that was luck too); and some of it through design (Over the years, I've tried to train myself to see life as a series of blessings).

Which brings me back to the Hefferblog... I keep it going because it makes me happy, and also because through the Hefferblog, I've been really able to see how much of  my life is truly amazing. I think that before the blog (BB), I probably too often wallowed in a bit of self-pity (Oh poor me.... I'm fat... I'm ugly... I don't have this or that). What a sucky way to go through life...

The blog and running are probably the best things I ever did for myself.

I have no idea how to transition out of those musings into the things that actually make up the title of this particular entry...So I'll just switch gears.

Last month I turned 50. Today DramaGirl turned 17.

Wow. Just. Wow.

I'm not sure which has me more wigged turning another decade, or my daughter sitting on the precipice of adulthood.

I so want her to already know the life lessons it's taken me years to learn... that it is important to believe in yourself yes, but it's more important to like yourself. That it's important to have friends, but it's essential to be friends with people who genuinely like you for you, not because you have a pool and a full refrigerator.

These are tough lessons to learn in life. Most of them I didn't learn until I was far older than 17.

I am ever so grateful I know them now. search of a fluid transition, but none seems for the herd, a series of one-liners from my birthday weekend celebration. Thank you to all of you who came to surprise me. You are my bestest friends and I love all of you. I know I sent this to all of you, but since emails get lost or eventually deleted, and somehow this blog seems so much more permanent, I'm reposting this one has photos!

Here's to a weekend of surprises!
  • "You have five minutes to pack" (it took me 20)
  • After run omelet at Elsie's casa (Geez that seems like a long time ago!)
  • Packing the car for an overnight and wondering why Mik, Elsie, and Betty brought so much wine!
  • Are you taking me to the Wild Animal Park?
  • "The tasting room closes at 2:00 for grape stomping."
  • Mik's limerick for me. Absolutely fabulous!
  • Taking a wrong turn at Valley View Casino, and then a correct turn at Harrah's Rincon (still having no idea why we were there). I actually thought it might be a pit-stop and we were going to put a bet on black at a roulette table. Udderly Surprised!
  • "Do you know why we are here yet?" 
  • The voice in the elevator
  • Watching "The boys in the band" and The Cougars play... what a show!
  • Wig girl putting a choke hold on a 9-year old, and mama bear's growl.
  • Betty's Three 7's
  • Dancing by the fire
  • "Look, I have a big wad"
  • Texting Lazz that Mik couldn't fight that feeling anymore, and that she was with the band.
  • "He was all speed and no wagon"
  • Picking out Momma's birthday card (kitten in a tiara or a smoking iguana...which is better?)
  • Waking up at 6:30am to ride.
  • 30 miles on Del Dios Highway - and the way back being much easier than any of us thought it would be.
  • "Someone is kicking my chair!" 
  • Our waitress Sandra chatting it up with Betty. Sandra telling us to hide our wine so that her boss wouldn't catch us!
  • Looking up and seeing Clarence walking toward me (oh, are you and Jeff staying here too? I'm so dense sometimes!)
  • Blueberry Mojitos
  • Rearranging pool deck furniture
  • Mona, Alberta, and Daisy arrive!!!
  • Working a deal with the housekeeper
  • As I live and breathe...It's Judy "effing" Kirk, Wilma and Momma!
  • Sitting on the pool deck and enjoying the view.
  • Classic Mona
  • "Hit Me!"
  • Fried pickles
  • Tater tots
  • Shirley Temples
  • Primping in the ladies room
  • Video of Judy taking pix with the iPhone
  • Snuggling with Betty & Mona
  • Mona shoving a boda bag down her shorts (sorta like a freedom flask)
  • Nicest porta potty I've ever been in
  • Rushing the stage. Ignoring ex-student security guards. (You have to sit down...uh yeah...we will)
  • Take Off Your Shirt! Take Off Your Shirt! (and then Rick Springfield did!)
  • Dr. Noah Drake walking down our empty seats (someone has to send me a photo of this)
  • "My husband likes it when you bounce"
  • Take it on the run baby
  • Dancing with male-Elaine
  • Rushing the stage for the REO Speedwagon Finale
  • Getting bonked in the head with a pick and Mona diving under the chairs to get it for me (I didn't lose it!)
And so much more... 

As for DramaGirl? Happy Birthday baby... I wish for you that you eventually have the best friends in the world. It took me a long time to find my herd, but it was worth the wait. Hang in there Sweetie. You'll find yours too because you are fabulous and wonderful and very, very, very worth it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My summer vacation

So...the other day I was riding and I started thinking about all the adventures I've had this summer, and how so very, very, very few of them have been recorded here.

So here's what I did this past month.
Wore a cowboy hat and flip flops in two airports (BTW... people look at you funny when you do this, no matter where you are)
Celebrated with Betty and her sis after they successfully jumped out of a plane. I am forever indebted to Betty's sis for doing this with her, so now I don't have to!
Went to the Salinas Rodeo (with Betty), thus the need for cowboy hats 
Learned that at said ROE-DE-OH, parents will put their children on sheep and let them hang on for their dear lives in an event called "mutton-busting." (see that small bump on the side of the sheep? That is a small child!)
Reconnected with my wonderful cousins Mary and Barbara 
Drank wine with my Aunt Rosa and Uncle Emilio
Took pictures of Elsie's Dad and his roping partner and their BIG BELT BUCKLES! 
Celebrated Elsie's Dad's last rodeo with her and her family
Took a 7 day road-trip with Betty...and laughed the whole time
Learned that oxygen is essential to running well...and that at 5000 ft, there is decidedly less oxygen (Along the Truckee River, between Alpine Meadows and Tahoe City)
Hiked a mountain with Clarence, her hubby Jeff, and Betty.
Rafted down the Truckee River with Betty and Jeff (I love this picture because Betty and Jeff were working so hard, paddling to get us to the job was to take pictures)
Went to the Del Mar Racetrack and got to sit in the chi-chi Turf club... 
...where Walter picked three I think we should go back the last month I've logged
  • 40 miles: Running
  • 150 miles: Cycling
  • 10 hours: Worked out with my trainer
I go back to school on Monday (a week's worth of meetings...then classes start the following Monday). It has been a glorious summer, and it's not quite over yet, but whenever school starts, it's certainly a time for transitioning. Both Turbo and DramaGirl started school yesterday (yes, I know it's early). I have two high schoolers now. YIKES!

Hope ya'all are having a fine summer too!