Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

Sunday was Mother’s Day, and it started off in the best possible way. I slept in. Seriously, I don’t get to do that very often. Between working most days at 5:30 (yes, that is AM), trying to beat the desert heat, or just getting an early start on the day, my alarm clock generally goes off somewhere between 3:30 and 4:00. So my big deal was no alarm clock and I slept all they way until about 5:30. Woot!

After my coffee, I figured I’d be a good mother and take my furry kids for a run. They love it so much, but sometimes when time is short they miss out on their run. So I took them for a two mile run. The video below is from a different day, but it gives you an idea of how much we all enjoy our run.

Next up..a bike ride with my husband. I am so happy that Alan is finally recovered from his bike crash. Yes, it’s great that he feels good and can get back to training, but, to be honest (and totally selfish), I am much more committed to my training when my training partner is healthy. In any case, we had a nice 35 mile ride with almost perfect weather.
Our timing was so spot on..with high winds forecast and of course, Mother’s Day plans, we chose to cut the ride short, arriving home just as the winds kicked up. The shorter ride allowed me time to have a short nap (oh, yeah!) before getting dressed for the actual “Mother’s Day” part of the day.

We were meeting my youngest son, David, at my favorite restaurant for lunch. Native Foods, is, of course, the only vegan restaurant in the desert, but even if there were competition, it would stand out above the others.

I needed to try their Mother’s Day special. As quoted from the Native Foods Facebook page:

Oh yes, I needed that. I encouraged my son to order the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger, something I always suggest for first-timers, non-vegans (or anyone who is hungry). Alan had the Chicken Run Ranch Burger, which was the daily special and came with a side. My entree was wonderful. Why doesn’t my tofu scramble taste like that?
We had an extra treat during this visit. Chef Tanya was in the house and kindly stopped by the table to chat and let me pose with her! She is always so nice whenever we see her at Native Foods and seems to love to get out and talk with her customers. She suggested I post the photo on Facebook (which I did–Twitter too!).

That's my little boy!

Following my advice…
David gave me, you guessed it, a new cast iron pan for Mother’s Day. I always feel the direct request works pretty well. Nathan, my oldest, and my future daughter-in-law, Sarah, sent flowers.  Very nice.
This post has been a bit of a ramble, but it was obviously an event filled day. After lunch, I resumed being “Debbie” instead of “Mom.” We did a little shopping, then headed home. I did want to mention dinner (since it is in my post title). I made Vegan Mexican Pizza. Follow the link for the recipe, but I did make a slight change. I didn’t have any of the Vegan Queso, so I made my own. I took about a half cup of Daiya Cheddar, added an eighth cup of almond milk and an equal amount of fresh salsa and popped it in the microwave until the cheese melted. Perfect!

I sprinkled some cilantro on top and served with a chopped salad.

Really an excellent day.


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>Had a lovely bike ride this morning before work. Finally, after what seemed like weeks of bad weather: too cold, too rainy, too windy, I’ve been able to ride. If that sounds like whining, well, that’s because it is. That, and having temporarily lost my riding partner (more on that below), have made Debbie a whiny girl. 

Anyway, this morning it was about 70 degrees with no wind. I did wait for daylight, kind of a bummer because of the time change, so I got out to ride about 6:45. It was such a nice ride that there is really nothing to report. No drama makes a great ride, but a boring ride report. So please just enjoy the pictures from the road:

Speaking of my training partner, Alan took his first run in almost five weeks this morning. He ran two miles, woo hoo! He said that his shoulder did not hurt, which is great, but the hamstring still bothered him, which is not great. Especially after all that resting time. But, it didn’t bother him so much that he is not going to try to run three miles tomorrow. Since I’m not sure if I got enough negatives in that last sentence, I will simply state: He plans to run three mile tomorrow!

See you on the road because we’re back!

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>Alan’s Recovery

>For those who have been wondering, Alan finally had his MRI on Wednesday.

I haven’t blogged about it, but since his accident, his shoulder has been giving him a hard time. After the first couple days, it continued to hurt, in fact, seemed to hurt more as time went on. He finally got in to see a doctor several days after his crash. She thought that the shoulder was just bruised, and told him nothing was broken, but agreed to the MRI just to make sure.

After the referral, Alan made the appointment but had to wait another week for his appointment.

On the bike in Ironman Arizona

In the meantime, as we all are prone to do these days, he was on the information highway, ie, the internet, researching his injury. He pretty much self-diagnosed that he had injured his supraspinatus muscle, which is one of the rotator cuff muscles. After several days of reading, he was sure that he had torn the muscle, which would need surgical repair, and he would never return to form as a triathlete. At least, he said, he had completed an Ironman triathlon before he had to call it quits.

Now I say all this lightly, but as any athlete knows, it is hard, really hard, to be injured. In the two weeks since almost getting hit by a car, Alan has not been able to do any type of exercise. That’s enough right there to give anyone the jitters. Then, as he looked ahead to possible surgery, rehab, and the uncertainty of full recovery, Alan felt understandably depressed.

The day of the appointment finally arrived. We had picked out the doctor who we wanted for the surgery. Made sure he accepted our insurance. I stopped saying, let’s wait for the MRI, because I, too, was pretty convinced of the injury.

Well, I am happy to say that we were both wrong. Turns out, Alan has a fractured scapula. Yes, still a pretty serious injury, one that will take some time to heal, then will require some rehab to recover full range of motion. But also an injury that will heal completely and will allow him to return to swimming, return to cycling (and golf, tennis, etc. if he wants).

Don’t get me wrong. He’s still feeling pretty antsy, needing some energy expenditure to feel normal, but antsy with a very positive attitude. Honu may be out for this year (which is a bummer because I was really looking forward to being a triathlon spectator in Hawaii), but lookout triathletes. My hubby will be back!

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>As I fell asleep last night to the sound of steadily falling rain, I figured that my Saturday bike ride would be a wash (so to speak). It rained hard through the night, and sure enough, the morning was wet, the roads were flooded, and it was very cold. Well, it was about 50 degrees, but, hey, I live in the California desert. That is cold!

I probably should have switched plans and went for a run, but instead I decided to enjoy a rare chance to sleep in and laze around. Lovely. Alan had been tempted to try a ride today, but the weather kept him in too, probably a good thing, giving him more time to recover from his crash.

Instead, we hung around the house, did a few chores, went to a movie, then hung around the house some more. Perfect for relaxing, but not worth much for blogging about. We saw The King’s Speech. Really good movie with great performances by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush.

This has nothing to do with this post, but FYI, I finally made the perfect vegan pizza. WooHoo!

Yeah, I know it looks beautiful, like I should have ridden, but this was about 4:00, and it was really, really windy (and cold for this desert rat!)

If you’re looking for a ride or run report, I will leave you with some links to a few fellow bloggers who are crazier braver than I: A, over at VegitariRun doesn’t let sub-zero temps slow her down. Yesterday, George’s Epic Adventures included a six and a half hour ride in the rain. And the Joja Jogger recently headed out in 20 temps at the start of the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile trail race.

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>This is my final view of the Tour de Palm Springs last Saturday. The song “Before the Parade Passes By” kept playing in my head (and yes, I know that dates me). But let’s back up a little, shall we?

As I mentioned in my last post, I had been gearing up for my Brick weekend:  The Tour de Palm Springs century on Saturday, followed by the Palm Springs Half Marathon on Sunday. The two events would equal 116.7 miles of hell fun, for which I was hoping to earn the “Brick Award.” I did both events last year and I wanted to add to my brick collection.

This year I was even more excited because I was going to host my good friend, Mary, visiting from the LA area and riding the century with me (I wasn’t able to convince her that running a half marathon the following day was a fun way to top off the weekend). I don’t get to ride with her very often, so I was thrilled that she would be with me on the ride. She has a great write up over on her blog, “My Dog Party.”

Mary drove over on Friday evening. After meeting and making friends with the family, she was nice enough to take Alan and me out to Native Foods for dinner. We ate like little piggies fueled well for the ride on their delicious vegan fare. We headed home for an early bedtime, knowing that we had a big day ahead of us.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early. The plan was to drive over to our friend Lori’s house, where we’d meet up with other “locals” anxious to avoid the cluster, um, mess that the mass start at 7:00 brings. We left my house about 5:15 (in two cars), made good time to Palm Springs (what a difference driving at that time of the morning!). We arrived at Lori’s house, said our hellos, got ready, then said goodbye to Lori and her friends. Just by looking at them, dressed in their team kits, we knew we’d probably not see them for the rest of the day.

It was pretty chilly, but we dressed fairly lightly, knowing that the day would warm up to about 80 degrees. We left about 6:30, with a goal of bypassing downtown Palm Springs, merging with the bike course at about 6:45, thereby missing the mass start. The traffic was light as we headed west. It was just Mary, Alan, and me excited about the day ahead.

Mary and I were riding together, with Alan a few feet behind us, when all of a sudden we heard a yell. I looked over my shoulder and there is my husband, lying sprawled out, face down on the asphalt, his bike lying next to him and a car pulled over to the side right by him. Even as I write this now, my heart jumps into my throat as I remember how those first seconds felt, not knowing…

I quickly turned around and rode back, Mary right behind me. I dropped my bike to kneel by Alan’s side. Thank God, he was breathing. Conscious, breathing, and extremely pissed off. Mary called 911 as I urged him to stay still. The fact that he listened to me and stayed down actually worried me even more.

Before Mary could even finish dialing, a police car pulled up and two officers got out. One went to the driver, who was yelling, “The sun was in my eyes!” She never even asked how Alan was, just made excuses. The officer took her aside to get her statement.

At about this time, Alan got up. Unbelievably, he got himself walking around, checked his bike, his helmet, the rest of his body. Something felt wrong in the shoulders, his right leg was sore. But he was alive and moving!

Alan’s story: He was riding behind us. The driver of the car pulled across the street right in front of him. He said that she just barely missed Mary and me (we had no idea). He had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting the car, which threw him over the handlebars, full circle, to land flat on his back. At one point, he was perpendicular to the ground! He hit the asphalt so hard that he bounced over onto his front.

The driver’s story: The sun was in my eyes! Not much of an excuse there as far as I’m concerned, although you hear it way too often when there has been a car vs. bicycle accident.

Then, suddenly, she was driving away. I hadn’t yet got her insurance information, but I did snap a photo of her car and license plate. Plus, we have an event number so that we can follow up and get any pertinent information.

Although shaken up, Alan decided to try to ride his bike. Not comfortable, certainly not something he could do for 100 miles, but he did feel able to ride back to Lori’s house to our car. He insisted that we continue on, that he would be okay, that he wanted us to go. After a brief discussion, we decided to do so, but our hearts just weren’t in it anymore.

The time was now 7:10, the ride had officially started and masses of cyclists were out on the road. As Mary and I headed down Indian Ave. we passed and were passed by hundreds of cyclist. This continued on for miles, many riders passing too close, not calling “on your left,” and even passing on the right. One man came so close to hooking my handlebars that the bars actually touched.
As we approached the first sag stop, Alan called to let me know that he’d made it home okay. His shoulder was really hurting, but he was resting and icing.

The sag stop was a mess. Actually, they all are. So many people that you have to dismount and walk your bike. Slow walking. Some people even hoisted their bikes on their shoulders and took a short cut across the field. I’m sure there was food there, but all I needed was the porta-potty, then we were out of there. Finally, after miles up uphill climbing, we had a long, lovely downhill.

As we approached Desert Hot Springs, we had a left turn ahead. Police officers were directing traffic and they had the cyclists stopped while they allowed cross traffic to go by. I noticed to our right a large group of cyclists building up, the riders doing the 55 mile event. They held us stopped for several minutes, while the numbers of cyclist grew to about 200 from each directions. Then, amazingly, when they let us go, cyclists from both directions were sent at the same time! Hundreds of riders, merging together onto a narrow, one lane road that we were already sharing with automobile traffic. I kept one foot unclipped and had to put my foot down several times because we were moving so slow and there were so many bikes.

Here I will insert a quick comment about the Tour de Palm Springs. It is a charity ride which raises thousands of dollars for local charities (last year around $180,000). It attracts many new cyclists because of the wide offering of distances and the flat terrain. This year, there were around 9,000 riders out there. I’m sorry, but that is just too many for the roads, the traffic, and the logistics of the ride. We saw and heard so many ambulances out there! I heard stories of filled emergency rooms and urgent care clinics. I urge the promoters of this event to take a good look and make some changes. A staggered start, a cut off point, something needs to be done. Yes, it is wonderful that so much money is raised, but seriously, at what cost?

Mary and I continued riding, enjoying (mostly) the downhills, suffering (bitching) on the downhills.  We discussed whether we wanted to complete the whole century. Our hearts just weren’t in it, I felt guilty with my husband at home injured, it just wasn’t fun with the crazy riders and the overfull streets. I think neither of us wanted to be the first to say stop.

We had a couple of options. The 55 mile ride turn off was coming up. If we turned, that would make our ride around 65 miles. We like that option, 65 is a pretty good accomplishment. The other choice (besides riding the whole ride) was to stop when we got to my house. Yes, the Tour de Palm Springs passes within a block of my house in La Quinta! I usually stop there, check on the dogs, drop off unneeded clothing, refresh drinks with ice, etc. Today it could be our escape hatch. We couldn’t decide, and put off the decision.

We finally reached the 55 mile turn off. Mary and I pulled over and looked at each other. I think we both wanted to turn. My turning point: I called Alan and he didn’t answer. (He answered a little while later and was fine.)  Mary’s turning point? Check out the picture below:

It had to be a sign. We turned.

Finally, we had the ride we’d hoped for. The pressure was off, we felt good about heading back. The route, down 1000 Palms Canyon Road was not only beautiful, it was downhill. The multitudes of aggressive riders were continuing their century. It was wonderful. For another 10 miles or so.

Then my chain broke. And my day was done. I don’t know how to fix my chain, I don’t have the tools to do so, and there was no bike mechanic in sight. We discussed what to do and decided that Mary would ride back to the car, then come pick me up. My over-tired brain couldn’t figure out how far she had to go, I guessed 10 miles (it turned out closer to 15). I plopped my bottom on the grass, got comfortable, then prepared to wait. Watching the parade pass me by.

I called Alan after a bit to let him know what was going on. He wanted to come pick me up. I hated dragging him out of the house when I knew he was in pain, but appreciated the shorter wait. I let Mary know that when she got to the car, she could just head back to my house.

After Alan picked me up, we decided to head over to Urgent Care. His shoulder was hurting and he knew that it was “just not right.” We arrived and found that there was a two hour wait. No way. We headed home to ice, medicate and rest. Mary finished up the ride, came back to clean up (bringing me a delicious, vegan smoothie!). She headed off to meet friends for dinner and was planning to drive back to LA following her meal. We were invited, but made our excuses.

The weekend was half over.

As you know, it was my plan to run the Palm Springs Half Marathon on Sunday. Even though I didn’t complete the century, I still qualified to win the brick (distances don’t matter, you just have to participate in each event). Most importantly, Alan is the announcer for the race, something he has done for about the last 10 years. He intended to be there, providing, of course that he could get his beat up body out of bed.

Of course, he did get out of bed. Anyone listening to him would not have had a clue that he had almost been hit by a car the previous day. He was full of energy and humor. He worked it, from about six in the morning until almost noon (yes there are people who take almost five hours to complete a half marathon).

And I ran. Slowly, but I ran. My goal was 10 minute miles, something I would have hated to think about a few years ago, but now, older, iffy knees, under trained, and with bike legs, I wasn’t even sure I could sustain those 10 minute miles.

I’m happy to say that I finished the race, kept the pace I wanted finishing in 2:10, about a 9:58 average. One asthma “issue,” but overall a nice steady race.

I did find some inspiration along the way. This group ran the whole race in costume, singing the entire way. I passed them (in opposite directions) a couple time along the way, then waited to take a picture at the finish line. The man with the guitar actually played it the entire time!

When I complain that I’m tire or that my knees or hips hurt, I need to see this woman to make me count my blessings and to stop bitching.

This lady was one of the last finishers, pretty close to 4:20. She was 84 years old, the oldest woman to finish the half marathon. She proudly listed her half marathons that she has completed in the last two years. Then, when the race director handed her the 1st place age group award, and she posed for pictures, she said “And I don’t even have any mascara on.”

Oh, and my brick award? I went over after the race, after I’d recovered a little, taken a few photos, to pick up my prize. And I was told that they were all out, I could put my name on a list and they’d mail me my brick. Sigh. So for now, I am using my imagination:

A final note: After several days and several tries, Alan finally got in to see a doctor on Tuesday. He is feeling much better, but will be getting an MRI on his shoulder just to make sure. In the meantime, we are very thankful.

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>I’m going to be brief with this report. I’ve been blogging almost daily in order to keep up with Vegan MoFo, and I need to work on a new post for tomorrow. I don’t want to let this slip, though, because just knowing that I will be reporting on my training really helps motivate me. Thanks!

Cross Country is over, yay! I love when it starts and I love when it ends. I have my life back. I’ve also lost one of my excuses for not exercising. Wednesday was our last day, the league finals, which means this weekend was all ours! And we made full use (training-wise, anyway). The week in review:

Monday, November 1: Scheduled to do a gym workout and, yes I did. I’m still just doing the basics, but that will improve next week.

Tuesday, November 2: This is not an excuse, but it was my 53rd birthday on Tuesday. I would have run, but cross country practice was on the track, so I did not. After work, we had team photos, I voted, then we went out to dinner. It sounds like exercise! Oh, and I taught my ball class.

Wednesday, November 3: Since I had neglected my dogs’ run on Tuesday, I took them out for a 4-miler in the morning. I took the day off because of our league finals, so I followed up the run with a 30 mile bike ride. It was great, but I was a little pooped at our cross country meet.

Thursday, November 4: I did not make it to the gym (well, I was in the gym, because I work there, but I did not work out). I did teach my Super Ball class, though.

Friday, November 5: I still haven’t got myself into afternoon ride mode. I’m working on it.

Saturday, November 6: I rode my bike 62 miles. Longest ride in a while, and well, it felt like it. Nice weather, though..

Sunday, November 7: I managed to run 11 miles! I had planned for 10, but I ran an extra mile with the dogs. It was very hard. Last week when I ran 9 miles, I had not preceded it with a bike ride. I was pooped by the end, plus I had some tummy trouble, something that is rare for me. I feel good now, though!

Totals for the week:  Running-15 miles/Cycling 92.6 miles. Yeah, baby!

Plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: Gym
Tuesday: Running (at least a few with my dogs), total 5-6 miles
Wednesday: Cycling 30 miles (with the time change should be able to get out early!)
Thursday: Gym
Friday: Riding after work, at least one hour-Really, I will!
Saturday: Cycling, 75 miles
Sunday: Running, I think I’ll run 10 again.

Well that’s it. Thanks for listening. 

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> I strapped on my headlight and got out early for my bike this morning. I was already nine miles into my ride when I got to enjoy this beautiful sunrise.

At about mile 12, the sun was up and reflecting on the hills surrounding La Quinta.

It was a lovely, chilly morning. Arm warms and a windbreaker. Nice. 26 miles, home by 8:00 am.

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