Sunday, June 30, 2013

A July Challenge

I know, I know. I never wrote a recap on the last day of my MS 150 ride. It will write it in the next couple of days.

Tomorrow is the first day of July.  I am starting up a challenge for my husband and me.  We have both noticed somethings over the past few months.  Two things mostly: our wallet has gotten a little tighter over the summer months and so have our belts. 

I came up with a great way to overcome this. For the month of July, we are going to be eating at home.  That means not going out...as much. We both currently spend our lunch hours going out and, about 3 times a week, we end up going out for dinner.  I often stop for breakfast on my way to work.  This is a lot of money AND a lot of calories.  Just like all the diet gurus say, you should have a cheat day.  So I am allowing us to go out for one dinner, or one lunch, each week.  There are of course exceptions.  If Pat is traveling, he doesn't have the opportunity to eat at home.

My little part of this will be to take on clean eating.  I won't go completely clean.  I will allow myself some leeway such as store bought whole wheat bread and Greek yogurt.  When I focused on clean eating last October, I noticed major differences in how I felt, my weight and even things as increased sense of smell.  Mainly really excited about eliminating soda and sugar. 

I plan on tracking via MyFitnessPal and also using SparkPeople.com. 

I know my main challenge will be planning ahead. Sometimes I just get lazy and I don't feel like making anything after a long day at work.  I will also have to find ways to keep lunches from getting boring. I usually do pretty well with leftovers.   

I have yet to come up with something to reward myself with at the end of this challenge.  Any ideas?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

From Proctor to Hinckley: A Tale of Two Crashes



I was spending this evening staring at the TV until a thunderstorm rolled through that killed our satellite signal. So I decided to turn off the tube, turn on some music, and write while I listen to the thunder and the rain outside my windows.

I promised to write part II of my cycling adventure this past weekend so hear it is.

We were so lucky with the weather on Friday night into Saturday morning.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the temp only dropped into the lower 50s. Wow, such a change from prior years when the tent and grass surrounding it were covered in frost.  It was definitely a welcomed change.  We were awake and up by 4:30 when everyone else around us started rustling in their tents. I never sleep well on the ground so I did not get a full night's rest but I was up anyway.  Dad and I assessed the weather and dressed appropriately.  There was a chance for rain so we had our rain gear in tow.  We got our teeth brushed and broke down the tent, packing things away. The MS 150 organizers allow each rider two pieces of luggage, which we both utilized. Camping gear sure does take up a ton of room.  The other great thing the organizers do is transport your luggage from Proctor to Hinckley, and then again from Hinckley to our final destination in White Bear Lake.  After we got our baggage on the truck, we decided to skip the lines for the complementary pancake breakfast and get on the road.  The ride didn't officially start until 6:30 but we departed right around 6:00 to beat the crowds.  There were 3,800 riders this year!  That's a lot of people to share the road with.

We were off! The air was a little chilly and the side roads we certainly bumpy.  Because of last year's flooding in Duluth (pictures) we had to delay our entrance onto the Willard Munger State Trail.  This year's high rains still made some of the rivers a sight to be seen.  We finally hopped on the trail in the town of Carlton where our first rest stop was located. Ride organizers place rest stops every 10-15 miles along the route. It's helpful to break down the ride into smaller segments; it doesn't seem so daunting.

The ride was going smoothly until we got to a curvy part in the trail.  Most of the trail is an old rail line so, as you can guess, the trail is pretty flat and very straight. These curvy hills really snuck up on us with no warning.  They were fast and fun. That is until we came up on a group of people stopping us at the top of a hill.  A rider was on the ground off to the side of the trail. Another man was holding his head still and blood was dripping heavily from his nose.  A few other riders were stopped on their cell phones.  We jumped off our bikes and started walking, along with the other cyclists that had been riding near us.  We were told an ambulance had been called and was coming.  That was true.  We were forced off our bikes again, happily, when we encountered the emergency vehicle a few miles up the trail.  We later heard that he was passing another cyclist on one of the uphill climbs and the person he was passing lost control of his bike and swung out in front of him, hitting his tire and causing him to crash.  As far as we heard, he broke his collar bone but was going to be alright. 

At the last rest stop, Dad and I slipped in with a group of riders that said they average about 15-16 mph, just a little faster than our 14mph averages we typically ride.  We were keeping good pace with them for the last 12 mile leg of the ride into Hinckley until we came up on the second crash of the day.  This time though the trail had been shut down with a SAG vehicle blocking the path at an intersection.  We were told there was a multi-rider crash about a mile up the trail and they were not letting us through until it was cleared.  Understandable.  Dad and I waited for about ten minutes before we decided there had to be a detour around the crash.  We asked some of the support volunteers where the highway was.  We found out it was just half a mile from where we were.  We were warned by the SAG that we would not be supported.  I dont think they realized that we never ride supported and that we would be fine.  Dad, another rider from our team, and myself set out on a great adventure down the highway.  We soon found that a lot of the rest of the stuck crowd followed us. We were sure glad we did that. We later heard that riders that stayed waited another hour and a half after we left. The crash made the local news.   We also found out that one of the members of our team was involved but was deemed alright with a concussion.

We soon found our way into Hinckley.  Saturday's festivities were being held on Grand Casino's grounds.  Our team tent was set up with tables, chairs, pig roast and beer.  Oh! That beer certainly tasted wonderful!  I had one as we were walking to the shower trucks (semi trailers set up with shower stalls) and another soon after my shower.  There is nothing as good as a hot shower and a cold beer after riding 73 miles on a bike in one day.  Mom and Alyssa drove to Hinckley to join us for dinner in the tent. There were awards given, more beer drank, and a team picture taken.  Since it was supposed to rain early in the morning, Dad and I opted to set up our tend under the big top.  After the tables and chairs were broken down in the team tent, we set up shop, along with 5-6 other campers that didn't want to brave the rain in the morning.

Join me next time for Part 3.  "From Hinckley to White Bear Lake: Mostly Rain and a SAG Wagon

Monday, June 10, 2013

C.H. Robinson MN MS 150 2013: Part I

Well, I did it! I completed the 2013 MS 150 mile bike ride.  I'm a little achy and a little stiff but it was so worth it AND I had a great time with my dad.   I don't have many pictures from the weekend so I'll just recap the ride.

I drove to the Twin Cities on Thursday afternoon.  I wanted to make sure I didn't feel rushed getting to Century College on Friday afternoon.  After running some last minute errands on Friday morning, Dad and I loaded up the car with our bikes and gear and set off. 
Sporting Team Donaldson jerseys.
This is the first year I rode with a team.  I chose to ride with Team Donaldson because my dad works for Donaldson.  This year, Team Donaldson was the largest team with 278 team members and we raised over $220,000.  I will tell you my individual results at the end of my post. 

My dad and I were lucky enough to get on the first bus to Duluth.  It was great to get to Proctor early so that we could pick any camp site we wanted for our tent.  There are tons of hotel options in Duluth, which is just down the interstate, but we always choose to camp out. There is something about freezing in the cold June air with other strangers snoring around you.  We end up camping in Hinckley too.  We realized while we were setting up our tent that we managed to forget the tent stakes at home.  We figured there was a hardware store in town that might have some that they would sell us. Our camping neighbors had some extras they lent to us so our tent wouldn't blow away in the mean time.  We did find some stakes at the store and, since we were in town, we ventured out to find some dinner. We found that most of the eating establishments in Proctor were shut down, probably due to poor economic times.  We ended up at the Moose Lodge where they had some great people serving amazing hamburger baskets for $5.

On the way back to camp, we picked up our bikes from the corral and stopped to talk to the guys at the Erik's Bike Shop tent about getting my aero bars taped up (which I had forgotten to do before we left.) Since they were so bored (not many riders had gotten into town yet), we decided to have them fit both of us for bike seats for future purchases, as well as adjust our bikes to make sure they will ride great in the morning.  Thanks Erik's!  We were soon back in our tent, all staked down so it wouldn't blow away in the dark.  We settled down for the night at 9pm knowing we would have to get up around 4:30 to start packing to make a 6:00 start.

Stop by tomorrow for the first leg of the ride, "From Proctor to Hinckley: A Tale of Two Crashes".