Sunday, May 27, 2012

Too tired to sleep

Last night I wanted so desperately to sleep.  I was exhausted from the bike ride and had a splitting migraine (which has carried over to today - a dehydration result I suspect!).  But sleep did not find me until about 6:30a.m.  By the time I got up at 10:00, I was terribly groggy and foggy.  I had the strangest dreams about getting a job with a utility company, and the work environment was so odd.  Full of perks that I would call more indulgences than anything else.  I wasn't even sure what my job was, but I sure felt like things weren't terribly organized and were inefficient.  Anyhow, as to the perks, there was a LOT of food including a whole walk-in freezer the size of a living room that was nothing but ice cream and deserts, and everyone knew they could take one container if they wanted it, and each container was 4-5 quarts, but you weren't to be greedy and take more than one (per day?).  There was another room of food too but I can't remember exactly what it was.  They had a regular kitchen but most people ordered their food in, which I thought was inefficient.  There were also a couple of vending machines, and I didn't understand why some food was so freely given and other food had to be paid for.  I also didn't know if we had time cards or time sheets to fill out, and I never quite got that answer.  Eventually I sat down with someone in human resources who handed me a folder with all kinds of information for me.  One of the weird things was that no matter your credit rating, they would always make sure you were at least at 750 - she said that's where they "started" you.  Yeah, ok. Some information was hand-written on tiny strips of paper (part of the inefficiency).  I did find out that they didn't mind you walking around in socks but barefoot wasn't acceptable.  There was also some kind of car allowance, but I shrugged it off because it was within reasonable biking distance.  I wasn't sure who the receptionist was as again it was all disorganized, and whatever my job was, I had purchase orders on my desk that needed to be processed, and I had no idea who had the authority to sign off on them.  I really had no idea for anything there.  So glad to wake up from that!  Ugh.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ballona Creek Bike Path

I can now say that I have ridden the Ballona Creek Bike Path from one end to the other.  In the past, however, I have always just gone west once I got onto the path and went a short distance to cross the bridge and then down onto the other side.  However, today I decided to take on the adventure of doing the bulk of the bike path which heads east, almost to La Cienega, but you can't access La Cienega from it.  I mapped this out on MapMyRide to be about 25-26 miles.

I headed west on Santa Monica Blvd. so that I could access the bank, and yes, once again I took my bike in.  It's never a problem.

Then I headed south on Doheney until I came to Cashio, which 2 blocks below Pico.  Turned left on Pico and went down to Shenandoah and turned right, staying on Shenandoah until Cadillac where I turned right.  Two blocks to Robertson, left on Robertson and down to National.  Right on National and up a few blocks to Bagley, left on Bagley and down to Venice Blvd. where I made a right and headed towards the beach.

I made one other stop on the way, dropping off 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies, which was part of the reason for the trip anyhow.  The cookie drop off was west of the 405 freeway, so when you're that far down, you might as well just keep going.  One very interesting/dangerous stunt I saw was a cyclist going up the incline just west of the 405, and he grabbed onto the back corner of a pickup and hitched a free ride up the hill.  Very dangerous.  The truck may not have even known he was there, and how lazy was that, btw?

After the cookie delivery I continued west on Venice to Abbot Kinney, then took a left to Washington.  I turned right on Washington and went about a long block down to where the Martin Braude Bike path picks up on the south side of the street.  From there it was an easy ride down and around the marina.  I always find it fascinating that the bike path goes right through the parking areas of the marina.

The Braude bike path dumps you onto Fiji Way where you continue around until you join up with it again.  From there it's only a few feet to the Ballona Creek Bike path.  Go right and you head towards the bridge and the continuation of the Martin Braude Bike path on the beaches south of that, but go left and you head east almost back to La Cienega.  I had studied the bike path very carefully and knew that it dead-ended into a park.  In fact, the map showed a hairpin turn to get back into the park, so I sort of knew what to expect.  Or so I thought.

Beginning the journey east. 6 miles to go.
I was told today that there were "hills" on the bike path, but I kept thinking, what hills?  It's flat and runs along the creek.  Well, it was wonderfully flat for the first couple of miles.  So lovely that I got the bike up to a sustained 16-18 mph, and I got the sensation for a few wonderful moments of what it could possibly be like to be on an open stretch of road.  Just sailing along.  Then the first overpass appeared, and the bike path took a steep down under it and a steep up on the other side.  The first one wasn't so bad, and I tackled it with ease.  The second was a little harder, but the one under Sawtelle nearly forced me off the bike it was so steep.  There were at least a half dozen of these along the bike path.  I lost count as I just began to grit through them, my enthusiasm and speed starting to wane.

I wanted to take more pictures but I encountered a problem.  I was on my menstrual cycle, and although i was prepared, the flow became increasingly heavy and there was no place to stop, nothing.  I just kept hoping a praying that maybe there was a public restroom at the park.  When I finally reached that hairpin turn at the end, I was met with another surprise:  after the turn, you had to dismount because there was a very steep ramp to get up to the park.  Now this compounded my problem because now I felt like I was hemorrhaging uncontrollably, so every step reinforced that feeling.  I kept thinking, well, if I have to get back on the bike and I'm flooding, oh well.  I'll clean up the mess when I get home, but that would have been a miserable several miles.  I couldn't stop for water.  Nothing.  Well, there really was no place to stop anyhow.

Thankfully, there was a large community building for the park with accessible bathrooms.  I went in the handicapped stall and pulled the bike in with me, and I discovered the problem wasn't as severe as I thought.  Praise the Lord!  So then it was back onto the bike and an uneventful ride home.

I stopped a couple of times on the way home to take in as much water as possible, but the damage was done.  I got home exhausted and dehydrated, but I was also elated to have done a new adventure.  One thing for sure, I can't wait to be done with menopause!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

10 milers

I'm feeling beat up.  I'm doing 70 miles per week right now, and I'm feeling it.  I shouldn't be, but I am.  Every night after work when I get home, I just drop, it seems.  However, I know it's just an adjustment period, and it will get better.  I am also well on the way to meeting my goal of being at 850 miles on the bike by the end of May, and I think I might get closer to 900.

It makes me think that a trip across the USA, which I still really want to do, will be even more taxing, and how will I get up day after day for another 60-80 miles.  The interesting thing is that once you get back on the bike, you're in the groove within a few miles.

My biggest intersection on my daily route.  If the crosswalk button doesn't get pushed, the light is very short.
I haven't bought anything new for the bike for a while.  I need to get it into the shop for maintenance.  Needs new brakes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A trunk load

So I've got this goal to do at least 2000 miles on the bike this year, but at the beginning of May was only up to 600, so at that pace it was going to be 1800 for the year.  However, Since May 1 I have put 90+ miles on the bike and am trying to do a minimum of 10 miles per day with some longer rides on the weekend.  I hope to be at 1100-1200 by the end of June.  I'm experiencing a bit of chafing at the moment and need to bring out the Desitin.  I think the chafing is due largely to having too much salt in my diet the last few days.  Well, with little funds for groceries, I'm scrapping at the moment... which means the boxes of over-salted Stove Top Stuffing to make some meals.  Tonight it's broccoli and rice.

My zeal to purchase a trunk rack over the weekend led me to a purchasing mistake, as I didn't examine it carefully enough and it turns out it was broken.... I mean, it still straps to the trunk fine, but the straps for holding the bike are pretty much gone.   It still holds a bike, and I actually strapped it to my car and put the bike on it for a trip around the block, but I'm going to need to invest in some industrial velcro, I think.  So now I'll be looking for another trunk rack, and I need to get it by July.

I've been really having a desire to do a century ride, but I would only do it if there were other hybrids doing it because in no way can I keep up with a road bike and I'm not even going to pretend.  A hybrid is like a Ford truck (perfectly good and reliable and built for endurance) and  road bike is like a Porsche - it's all about speed.  I know I could go the distance on the hybrid, but it isn't like the New York Marathon where people of all abilities do it... and stay with it until the last runner is in.  No, they expect you to get your ride done and get out. Even the Amtrak century ride is one where you'd better be quick to hit the stops and get to San Diego in time to catch the train back.  I don't think the hybrid could make it unless I had minimum sustained speeds of 15-16 mph, and I've only done that for short distances (what else is there in city traffic besides short distances between stop signs and traffic lights?).  But... then I also think I'd really like to have the cycling shorts with the chamois crotch to prevent chafing and also a bona fide cycling jersey.  I want to feel like I belong....or at least look like I belong.

I do have a cycling jersey, but it's a little snug.  Here' a tip for buying cycling clothing - buy 2-3 sizes larger than you normally wear because they're made 2-3 sizes smaller than what you think you wear.  If you're a plus-sized woman like me, don't think a 2X will fit you in cycling clothing because it won't, which is sort of depressing.  Go with a 4X or a 5X.  After all, who really cares what the X is???  Just get some gear and look the part.  Well, I can't get the gear right now, but maybe I can get some shorts at some point during the summer.

I also want to get some different shoes for cycling - ones with velcro straps.  Why?  My shoe laces have come untied more than once and gotten wound on the the pedals.  I don't know if I'm ready to get genuine cycling shoes that clip into the pedals (I'd have to change out the pedals), but velcro shoes would be a nice start.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

600 miles

Today I passed the 600 mile mark for the year.... which I had wanted to do yesterday but somehow I just didn't.  However, I have a new resolve to stick to a minimum of 10+ miles per day or 250 miles this month.  I'd like to be over 1100 miles by July 1.  Can I do it?  I think so.  I'd like to be at 2000 miles at the end of the year.

Well, because I had this new determination for making sure I was doing 10 per day, I thought I'd just trudge through my old route.  However, while out doing errands in a car for my boss, I passed the Bentley dealership by Olympic/Robertson and saw a purple Bentley, which made me think it was a photo opportunity for a friend who likes all things purple.  So after work, instead of doing my regular route home, I trekked towards Beverly Hills to get this shot:

Then, because I've joined a Yahoo group for a cycling group that meets up in Beverly Hills, I thought I'd just ride my bike west on Charleville to the intersection where the Starbucks is that they meet at.  It's on Charleville and Beverly Drive. 

I hadn't ridden my bike into Beverly Hills proper before.  When I say "proper," I mean more of the "downtown" area.  I'd always just skirted the edges of the city (maybe I should ride down Rodeo Drive for some photo opps). Charleville into Beverly Hills is a gradual slope uphill, so going back east to Doheney was an easy gentle downhill.

By the time I got home, I had logged 11 miles for the day, and I was content with that.