As a very independent woman (sometimes this causes some scuttle in our household), I enjoy celebrating Independence Day!! In honor of Independence Day falling on Thursday of this last week, I decided to do a week long celebration and document my Red, White and Blue week through photography.
Monday, July 1, 2013: Today was a day in red…
Tuesday, July 2, 2013: I went for white and blue today…
Wednesday, July 3, 2013: My day in Blue
Thursday, July 4, 2013: Today was a rest day…we had a very fun and busy day to celebrate Independence Day!!
Friday, July 5, 2013: Our Century Ride…I’m in white and blue today
Saturday, July 6, 2013: Today was a day in blue (and black) while donning my red and white Mojo…
This last weekend, the Iron Hippie and I went to Okoboji to visit my parents. We had an AMAZING run on Saturday and followed it up with an AWESOME bike ride on Sunday. The Iron Hippie was scheduled to ride for 60 miles and I was scheduled to ride for 2-3 hours. I knew that I would not be able to ride 60 miles in that 2-3 hour time window, but figured I would come close, so we mapped out a route.
Living in central Iowa, we rarely get the opportunity to ride in two states in one day, but since Okoboji is only about 15 miles from the Minnesota border, we decided to map a ride that would take us into Minnesota. We have also never had the opportunity to completely circle the Iowa Great Lakes region by bike, so we decided that we would accomplish this goal on this bike ride!! In order to completely circle the Iowa Great Lakes area AND bike in Iowa and Minnesota (safely), we had to make our route a little longer than 60 miles…it ended up being 70.5 miles. We definitely could have made the route shorter, but we would have had to ride our bikes on some roads with really heavy traffic and decided to opt out of that option.
We donned our bikes at 6 am and headed out in perfect weather…low 60s, less than 5 mph winds, full sun…couldn’t be better for cycling!! The 6 am start time would allow us to get most of our ride done before the Iowa Great Lakes region woke up 🙂
On the north edge of the Iowa Great Lakes area, there is a stretch of road that is right on the Iowa/Minnesota border. Since we were the only ones on the road, we decided to take a picture of us riding down the road…my husband was in Iowa, while I was in Minnesota!! Not everyday you can zig zag across the road and switch the state you are in so quickly 🙂
During this ride, I could definitely tell that I had raced hard the week before. My legs were a bit sluggish, but I just kept pushing forward!! We finished our 70.5 mile route in 3:55:00…giving us an average speed of 18.0 mph…I have become stronger and gotten faster on the bike and I am super stoked about it!!
We LOVED this route, the smooth surfaces and the little vehicle traffic that we encountered!! This is definitely a ride we will be doing again in the future!!
Wednesday I went out for what was to be a 90-120 minute bike ride, but Mojo was a little angry with me. I had changed her wheels (from race ready to training ready), which required a few minor adjustments. The derailleur was rubbing on the chain, so I made some adjustments…oops…I just made it worse…Let’s try this…oops…now she won’t shift into the big ring…I’m sorry Mojo…she went from frustrated to angry to irate in a matter of a few minutes.
What does one do when she is on the road and has a VERY angry bike…call a bike savvy friend…PLEASE HELP ME!!!
Lucky for me, this bike savvy friend was home and able to get Mojo to sing a much happier song. He had to readjust many of the things I had changed back to the way they were before fixing the initial problem…the derailleur rubbing on the chain.
I learned a few lessons:
Lesson 1: Have a bike mechanic or bike savvy friend on speed dial and don’t be afraid to call them!!
Lesson 2: Don’t adjust anything if you don’t know what it will change or what is going to happen if it is adjusted…especially when you are out on the road. Take your bike to a knowledgable individual or bike shop to get the bike in working order.
Lesson 3: An angry bike makes for a much more challenging bike ride. Happy bikes make happy riders.
To my bike savvy friend…THANK YOU for making Mojo much happier and getting me back out on the road!! Mojo thanks you too!!
The alarm clock went off at 3 am Saturday morning for what was going to be a very long day!! We loaded the car and headed to Des Moines for the Dam to Dam races (I wasn’t running the race because of my upcoming half Ironman, but went down to spectate and cheer on MANY friends who were running)…what an early morning…we are use to early mornings, but it seemed really early this morning!!
We arrived at the parking ramp in downtown Des Moines at 4:40 am. I got organized and went for a 50 minute run around Des Moines while the Dam runners loaded buses and were transported out to the race start at Saylorville Dam. I thought I would run over to Gray’s Lake and loop the lake before running back to the downtown area to give me a near perfect run distance/time…well…Mother Nature had a few other plans…
Luckily I have run around Des Moines enough that I was comfortable with a creative route adjustment to get my distance/time in. As I was heading back toward downtown Des Moines and the parking ramp, the sun began to rise…BEAUTIFUL!!
I made it back to the parking ramp in time to change clothes, rehydrate, hop on my bike and meet Robin at the corner of 6th Ave and High Street at 6 am for our bike ride out to Saylorville Dam to see the race start. We wanted to allow ourselves plenty of time to ride the 12.4 miles out to the dam and not get trampled by the Dam runners running back to downtown!!
We were stopped by a very rude and unhappy state trooper at mile 1 telling us we could not go any further…he wasn’t even letting registered runners enter the race start from that side of the dam…thank you Boston Bombers!! I may have had a few choice words for the officer and told the runners how to get around him and to the race start from that side of the dam…
Mile 1 turned out to be a pretty sweet location for us to watch all of the Dam runners come by!! With 8000 participants registered for the 20K, there was a pretty steady stream of runners for nearly 30 minutes. We then donned our bikes and rode back toward downtown Des Moines (via a different route to avoid the congestion of the runners). We stopped at the mile 9+ point of the race course to watch and cheer for the runners for a while. Most of the runners we saw were doing AWESOME!! It was a beautiful morning for a run!!
We waited until about 8:35 am and then headed back toward downtown Des Moines. Robin was running the 5K event at 9:15 am and we wanted to get her back, changed and to the race start in plenty of time!! I headed to the finish area and cheered on/waited for many friends to finish. I am so proud of my dear friend Tonja for finding mental focus and pushing herself to a PR of 1:45:10 today!! Congratulations T you are a ROCKSTAR and I am so proud of you!!
After a very full morning and some lunch, we made it back home by about 1 pm, showered, took a nap and then decided to go for an open water swim. In the last couple of weeks, every time I have tried to get into open water we have had severe thunderstorms prohibiting me from swimming, so I had yet to be in open water this year. What started out as a beautiful morning turned into a rainy afternoon, but it was not storming, so we decided to go to The Pits for a swim. The water was not nearly as cold as I thought it would be…I’m guessing mid 60s…it was near perfect water temperatures for the wetsuit. I didn’t swim for long as the skies started to darken and I was struggling to get my breathing under control. With a few more open water swim sessions this week, I will be race ready for Sunday!!
As I emerged from the water, a rainbow had recently formed off to the east…what a perfect end to my reverse triathlon!!
We have had some ridiculous weather in Central Iowa in the last couple of weeks that has not cooperated with my triathlon training. A few weeks ago we had drought conditions, but that has quickly changed to flooding. In the intermittent weeks, there were MANY windy days…Oh, the relentless wind. Some people may not pay as much attention to the weather and scoff at the relentless wind, but as a triathlete, I enjoy the opportunity to get outside and complete my workouts safely.
When every bike ride I do pounds wind in my face, I have one of two choices…gain mental strength from the challenge I’m faced with or mentally break down. I choose to accept the wind as a challenge that is going to make me stronger. This relentless wind has helped me improve my physical strength and mental strength. I have had to alter how I’ve completed some of my workouts due to the extreme weather, but that has only added to the mental strength I have gained.
Some of the more memorable Central Iowa weather days for me include the following:
Sunday, May 19, 2013:
I knew there were storms in the forecast for later in the day, so I got out early to complete my triple brick. Those storms did eventually show up and boy was I glad to have my workout complete when they did!!
Saturday, May 25, 2013:
I was suppose to complete a dress rehearsal for my upcoming race, but I pushed it back to Sunday due to the severe weather. Instead, I did Sunday’s workouts…swim in the pool and run on the treadmill.
Sunday, May 26, 2013:
I had to go to the gym to swim in the pool for my race day dress rehearsal since there was thunder and lightening in the area. I was hoping that the weather would clear up enough for me to ride outside while I was swimming indoors, but no such luck!! 😦 Instead I had to hook my bicycle up to the trainer in the basement and ride in my own head for 2 hours at race pace. While I rode in the basement, the weather did clear up enough for me to complete my dress rehearsal with an outdoor run. I ran for one hour at an average pace of 8:42…I felt really good and strong 🙂 This was a huge mental boost for race day!!
The weather over the weekend did lead to some flooding in Ames…so much for that drought from a couple of weeks ago!!
Wednesday, May 30, 2013:
I was suppose to swim outdoors after work, but due to severe storms, I was unable to do my open water swim. 😦
I am hoping that this ridiculous weather is nearing an end and that I have near perfect conditions for race day!!
Cyclists should follow the rules of the road just like all other vehicles on the road. For those individuals who are unaware of the Iowa Rules of the Road for Bicyclists, here they are:
On Monday’s bike ride, I had a few encounters with motorists that made me really aware of just how many motorists are not fans of cyclists riding on the roads. As cyclists, we do have every right to be on the roads just like motor vehicles. Please don’t mistake us for the commuter who doesn’t abide by the traffic laws and irritates you to the point you decide to take it out on anyone who rides a bicycle.
Encounter #1: I was sitting at a red light in Ames, following the traffic laws, when a motorcyclist went around me on the left to turn right on red. I said to him, “You need to follow the rules of the road just like I do.” He responded with vulgar, inappropriate language and drove off.
Encounter #2: As I was coming down a hill toward an intersection (that had NO stop signs for anyone in either direction), a vehicle to my left approached the intersection at the same time and we nearly collided (I left a skid mark on the pavement from my rear tire as I cam to an abrupt stop). We both came to a complete stop and I waited for the vehicle to pass before continuing forward. In this encounter, neither party was really in the wrong since the intersection is void of stop signs. I decided to play it safe and wait for the vehicle to pass through the intersection since I don’t have the vehicle protecting me.
Encounter #3: I was getting ready to make a left hand turn, which I signaled with my left arm extended straight out, after having looked behind me for approaching traffic. Since the nearest vehicle was quite a ways back, I moved far enough to the left in my lane to prevent people from passing me, so I was ready to make that left hand turn. Seconds before turning left, a motorcycle passed me on my left and proceeded to turn left (heading the same direction I was getting ready to go). While I’m not sure if this maneuver was illegal, it was definitely inconsiderate.
When motorists put my life in danger because of poor decisions on their part and maneuvers which are illegal, I get frustrated. I have no protection…other than my thick skin, which is really thick, but not thick enough to save my life when I encounter a motorist while on my bicycle. I respect motorists and follow all of the rules of the road while cycling…the same that I do while driving. As a cyclist on the roads, I would appreciate motorists showing me the same respect and also follow the rules of the road. To those motorists and cyclists who are respectful and do follow the rules of the road…Thank you!!