Tag Archives: Reach the Beach

Newbie Bikers

A reader of mine recently posted on her own blog about her struggle with cycling. It sounds like she is new to biking and I commented with some tips. That inspired me to write my own post about biking.

I sometimes assume my readers know everything that I know. I’m finding that knowing how to ride a bike isn’t just a given. I’ve met several people lately that have told me they never learned! Same with swimming!

I learned how to ride a bike as a little kid and sort of always did it. I had a mountain bike though, and this year was the first time I’ve ever been on a road bike.

First, the big difference between a mountain bike and a road bike are the tires. Mountain Bikes have thick tires, road bikes have skinny tires.

The next difference is the handlebars. Mountain bikes usually have flat handlebars. Road bikes have drop bars like this:

That means instead of sitting upright on the bike, you are hunched over. This can cause a lot of back pain for new riders–I know I suffered from this. The tip to overcome it? Keep practicing and STRETCH A LOT! Stand up on the bike every few miles to stretch out; get off the bike and stretch. After practicing for awhile, you’ll get used to it.

Here is a picture of time trial handlebars. I’ve yet to try these:

2010 was a huge Cycling Learning Curve for me. I learned how to change a tire, I learned how to ride better and smarter, and it all helped me complete Reach the Beach (55 mile bike ride). It was a fun experience I want to do again!

If you are new to cycling for fitness or competition, here are some recommendations I have:

  1. Get Fitted: It makes all the difference in the world to get properly fitted for a bike.
  2. Padded Shorts: I cannot stress this enough. Padded Shorts are awesome for a reason. They are worth the money spent too. Don’t wear underwear under the shorts either because the shorts are made to wick moisture from the body. I got my shorts at an outlet store for less money.
  3. Chafing Cream: Chamois Butter, Lanacane…whatever brand you use, it can help a lot with discomfort.
  4. Be Safe: wear a helmet. Cycling glasses that wrap around the face are good and keep wind and dirt from irritating your eyes. Wear a RoadID. Tell people where you are riding. Have lights on your bike. Wear reflective clothes, stickers, etc.
  5. Gloves: Padded gloves can range from $10-100. They are worth it for the safety issue (road rash prevention) and also the padding for long rides is nice.
  6. Work up to Mileage: No one can bike 100 miles their first day. Start with 10. Then next time, bike 20 miles and so on.
  7. Work up to Hills: Nothing says you have to try to tackle insane hills right away. Learn how to use your gears, practice, and slowly attempt hills.
  8. GUs: I highly recommend GUs for energy on long rides. They really do help prevent blood sugar and energy crashes.
  9. Learn how to change a tire.

When Michael and I were training for Reach the Beach, we practiced riding for about two months before the Big Day. Every weekend we built up our mileage. The first weekend we did about 25 miles. The next weekend was about 30 miles, the following was 40 or so, and finally we made it to 52 miles. We took a bike maintenance class, Michael commuted to work whenever he could to add mileage. I practiced on the Bike Trainer in the living room whenever I could. It was all about prepping our bodies for the big day. And it worked!

  • Reach the Beach was a success.
  • We both recovered FAST! There was no crippling the next day.
  • My running speed increased a great deal from all the bike training!

QUESTION: Do you have any other tips I forgot to add?

Hello New Readers!

I’ve been seeing a lot of new people visiting my blog lately and I wanted to say “hello” and give new readers a short recap of what’s been going on and who I am.

First, the basics. I’m Lisa, 30 years old. I live in Portland, Oregon with my boyfriend Michael and my two kitties (Maya and Fat Kitty–not his real name, of course).

April 2009

I grew up in Seattle and when I was 19 I moved to Portland, Oregon. I’ve been here ever since.

Seattle, stock photo

Oregon is a pretty good place to live if you enjoy the outdoors. We are an hours drive from the desert, the mountains, farmlands, wine country, and 2 hours from the Oregon Coast. There are always fun outdoorsy things like hiking, biking, camping, etc.

Portland, stock photo

I also have a younger brother, Andrew. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and their cat. One of the motivating factors for my weight loss was the fact that I was going to be in my brother’s wedding. I did not want to be 250 pounds in those wedding pictures! I lost 50 pounds before his wedding.

My Fat History Page has more history on my weight gain and How I Lost 100 Pounds details how I lost the weight.

My weight loss journey took me just under two years. I lost 110 pounds and was 143 pounds at my lowest. Then I started taking Celexa. In the 10 months I took it, I managed to gain about 15 pounds! I decided in January of this year to stop taking the drugs and since February, I’ve lost almost 9 of those 15 pounds.

On May 15th, Michael and I participated in the Reach the Beach bike ride for the American Lung Association. We’d raised money for the charity and had been training for months. Many weekends were spent biking all day long–30, 40, and finally 50 miles. Michael rode 80 miles in Reach the Beach and I rode 55. Check out the recaps for the full story. It was quite the exciting adventure and I’d do again in a heartbeat!

I’ve previously mentioned that I am now training for Hood to Coast. I am really excited and nervous about the endeavor. It takes place at the end of August. Basically, each team has 12 members on it and we rent 2 vans and the vans leap-frog each other during the course. The first runner in the first van will run their FIRST leg of the course–between 4 and 8 miles, then they get back in the van and the next person (I think in Van #2) takes over and does their first leg and so on. By the end of the 200 miles, I will have run 3 separate legs of the course for about a total of 15-18 miles.

*Not My Pic

My team captain, Leslie, is a very experienced runner and she’s done Hood to Coast for 8 years. I’m confident in her abilities to lead the team. She’s given me pointers and tried to tell me what to expect. But still, I really have no idea what to expect. I know that my first leg is somewhere in Portland. My second leg will be in the middle of the night — in the middle of NOWHERE–and my last leg will be towards the end of the course. The course goes from Mt. Hood to Seaside (200 miles).

Most of my summer will be training for Hood to Coast. After that, I hope to participate in another bike ride–possibly a Century.

Another goal I have been toying with is the Las Vegas Half Marathon in December. I haven’t fully decided yet if I’m going to do it. I want to. But I’m also apprehensive about whether or not I can actually run 13 miles at once! I decided that I’d make the decision after Hood to Coast.

So that’s the recap of what’s been going on lately. Thanks for reading!

The Naked Post

I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve been in a funk lately. This weekend was a bit of an emotional roller coaster and I’m trying to dig myself out of the hole I dug. There’s nothing beneficial about having a pity party!

I don’t want my blog to just be a “diary” of the food I eat.  I don’t think that’s interesting and I want this blog to be of more value to people who are struggling to lose weight and be healthy. Because of the blahs lately, my blog has become a “food diary.” It was easy.

Lately I’ve had a touch of the Post Race Blues. Reach the Beach was awesome and fun. I had a great time training for it. Every weekend revolved around long bike rides.  I’ve had nothing to train for since May 15th. The easy, logical solution would be to pick some event that’s sooner than Hood To Coast (end of August) and train for that. Unfortunately, our schedule is pretty packed for the summer. We have weddings, family reunions, our anniversary weekend, friends visiting from out of town, and family visiting. There’s just no time!

Reach the Beach

Another factor has been the weather. It’s been solid rain since May 15th. Seriously–the most depressing weather! This is the time of year we start hiking on a regular basis, plan camping trips, and BBQ. I am so sick of this weather!

My body image issues of late are stupid, I know. I shouldn’t be down on myself. I’ve come a LONG way and I should be proud of what I’ve accomplished. I should focus on the positive things and loving my body the way it is.

-Loving the few extra pounds because they are a part of me.

-Loving the layer of fat on my stomach because it protects my vital organs.

-Loving my curves because that makes me a woman.

-Loving my large hips and breasts because some day when I had kids, I’ll need them!

-Loving my big thighs because they are strong and powerful and as a result I swim a mile in 40 minutes.

A lot of “I shoulds”. Despite reminding myself of these things and trying to think positive, it’s been really hard lately.

QUESTION: How do you get out of a “funk”? And how is your body/self image right now?

The Post Race Blues

I Had Junk Food for Lunch

I drank this:

And ate this:


Okay, I didn’t really just eat junk food for lunch. I had a cup of Garden Vegetable Soup (90 calories) and some Rice crackers too (about 100 calories). I also went for a brisk walk outside in between rain showers. It was a nice temperature outside, even if it was gloomy.

While I was out, I stopped in a liquor store to buy a lottery ticket and a raffle ticket. :) Oregon has a state raffle a few times a year and I actually know someone that won the last one! She won $20k! Talk about exciting. So I broke down and spent the $10 on a ticket. If I win, I’m paying off my car, buying a whole new workout wardrobe, and entering EVERY race I can! :) What would you do if you won the lottery?

Speaking of Races…

I definitely have a touch of the Post-Race Blues. I’m sure everyone has heard of this phenomenon. Even if you’ve never run a race, or biked a race, it can happen with any “BIG” event that takes up a lot of your time. For example: planning a wedding. You can spend all your waking moments eating, breathing, and thinking wedding plans. You put everything else aside for that time period. Then the wedding comes, everything’s grand, but what happens after the wedding? When all of a sudden you have tons of free time and no focused goal?

That’s when the sadness, boredom, depression, blues, disappointment–whatever you want to call it, can come into play. It might be subtle, it might be severe depending on what you trained for. Was it a marathon? Did you spend 6 months doing nothing but running?

I didn’t think the Post-Ride Blues would happen to me. First, I knew I’d immediately start training for running Hood To Coast this August. Second, I figured Michael and I would continue to do long bike rides on the weekend but instead of training it would be for fun.

Well, the weather is clearly preventing that from happening. The next 10 days look like solid rain. Blah.

And to be honest, Hood to Coast feels like a million years away for me. It’s the last weekend of August and it certainly does NOT feel like summer yet. I think I need to have a mid-summer event to plan for.

So how do you prevent/overcome those Blahs?

1. Make some plans/goals for after the race. Maybe a smaller 5k run, or less strenuous ride. Or a vacation!

2. Hang out with friends. You probably neglected happy hours, dinners with friends, or just girl time while you were training. Or maybe you neglected having “special time” with your significant other. How many times have we said, “Can we see the movie next weekend honey? I need to train.”

3. Let your body rest after the big event–but don’t stop exercising. Keep doing a lighter version of your workout routine to stay in the “groove” and routine of exercising.

4. Try cross-training. It may inspire you to start training for a triathlon!

5. Be prepared for how you’ll feel after the race, and don’t beat yourself up for it!

6. Change your workout. Maybe start working on speed work, try distance running. If you bike, try mountain biking. Swimmer? What about switching to open water swimming instead?

QUESTION: Can you relate to this? Are there any other tips or tricks you’ve discovered to cure Post-Race Blues?

Low Key Dinner

I felt sucked of all energy yesterday. By the time I got home from work, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on cooking. First, I made a salad using the fresh greens from our friends.

Fresh Greens

I used green and red leaf lettuce and spinach. I realized the leftover chickpeas I wanted to use were bad. :( Tossed those! The salad entailed:




-Blue Cheese

-Orange Peppers

-Sliced black olives

-Fresh pepper and oil and balsamic vinegar

The salad was good. I also cooked some spinach ravioli from Costco and topped it with pesto. It may look ugly, but it’s delicious!

While I was making dinner, the skies seemed to explode. There was an intense downpour, thunder, and hail! Fat Kitty was fascinated by the hail.


We watched this week’s episode of “Lost,” “The Middle” and “Modern Family.” I was so exhausted, I don’t even remember falling asleep!

I’ve been doing the Foam Roller every night and I did it this morning too. I can’t remember the last time I was this sore from a run! I so don’t understand it. And using the Foam Roller on my IT Band is brutal.

I don’t know what is in store for me this weekend. It’s the first weekend in months that we weren’t training for Reach the Beach. I suppose I have a touch of the “After Race Blues.”

QUESTION: Where you live are you actually experiencing spring weather? Or is it crazy weather like it is in the Northwest?

What I’d Do Differently

Today I went back to work after taking Monday off to relax. Of course, I am wearing my medal. :)

Breakfast Time

Yes, I am eating breakfast with my medal. :)

After some reflection, I know now what I would do differently next year if I do Reach the Beach.

1. Use sunscreen lip gloss. I realized too late that the Burt’s Bees chapstick I grabbed was NOT the one with sunscreen in it. Ooops.

2. I would start earlier so that I can enjoy the finish line festivities.

3. Drink more water. I refilled my water bottles at every rest stop, but I still feel like I didn’t drink enough water during the day.

4. Reapply sunscreen throughout the day. For some reason I did not reapply. I didn’t get sunburned thankfully but I need to be better about that.

5. Check a bag with a change of clothes, snacks and a blanket for the finish line. We realized this was a possibility after the fact, of course, and a change of clothes would have REALLY made a huge difference.

6. Don’t spit into the wind while biking. Even if you swallowed a bug. :P

On another note, I decided not to run today at lunch. Besides the ugly weather (downpour, then clear skies, then more rain), I think I should rest my body. I haven’t taken a rest day since Reach the Beach.

Sunday Recovery

I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a million bucks! I had no idea what to expect after Reach the Beach. Would I be sore? Would I be crippled? Would I have to spend the day in bed? Nope! I woke up feeling absolutely refreshed and not sore at all! I was shocked. I made us breakfast of scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and toast. I used Dave’s Killer Bread (which is now my new obsession):

Dave's Killer Bread

It tastes so much better than any other bread I’ve had.


After breakfast, I headed to the pool to stretch my legs. It felt great to swim. I was wondering if my tightness/soreness would show up when I started to swim but it didn’t! I didn’t feel any soreness. I also swam as fast as I’ve ever swam with ease. I was confused. I thought I’d be a wreck after RTB. After swimming, I sat in the hot tub for awhile and relaxed. It felt wonderful. Once I got home, I worked on organizing and labeling all the pictures from Reach the Beach and started to write Recap 1 and Recap 2.

Michael got on the bike trainer for 15 minutes and did an easy recovery ride to loosen up his legs. He was feeling pretty sore. Poor guy! Sunday afternoon we took off and went to Pizza Schmizza for lunch. I was famished! I got a slice of the “Don Ho” aka Hawaiian pizza, and a pepperoni slice with peppers, onions and olives.


I only had a few bites of the second slice and decided to save it. We headed to the theatre to see Ironman 2! It was pretty good. Dinner last night was the leftover pizza slice and 1 beer.


I also steamed some veggies and topped them with a little Goddess dressing.

The rest of Sunday was pretty low-key. We got caught up on some TV shows and relaxed. It was a good day!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that when we got home on Saturday night from Reach the Beach, we both used the Foam Roller. I also used it Sunday too. It made a WORLD of difference!

Reach the Beach – Part 3

Part 3- The Last 10 Miles

Last Rest Stop

The last place I left off was…oh yeah, my bike when kablooey and I had to ride the last 10 miles of the route without any gears. Fun times! I got back on my bike and luckily the majority of the ride was flat or downhill, or with only a slight incline. No more crazy hills to attempt (and without any gears). The chain sounded awful and I was afraid to stop for fear of my bike just imploding. I wanted to cross that finish line with Michael at my side, ON MY BIKE. I came this far, I certainly wasn’t going to walk across that finish line.

And besides…I had signed up for Reach the Beach for the challenge…Right? Right! What could be more challenging than completing it without gears?

I sucked down another GU, not sure how those last 10 miles would be. We rode through more forest, next to a river and it was FREEZING. I was starting to shiver. We rode out of the forested area and into more rolling hills and countryside.We were in the sunshine at that point so it was teeny bit warmer but not by much.

I was really struggling on my bike. I just kept pedaling.

Then I saw it.

Though the trees, in the distance, was the very tip of Haystack Rock. I knew we had to be close!

Haystack Rock

That picture was not the sight I saw, what I saw was much further away and through the trees. I put my ALL into those last 10 miles. I pedaled and pedaled. Michael was awesome and kept telling me I could do it and that we were almost there. We turned off the old highway and onto 101. I knew we were even closer when I saw a sign that said Pelican Pub Next Left! Next Left! We were almost there!

But we weren’t. :P It was just more trickery! Up ahead, I could see police lights in the middle of Highway 101. They were stopping all traffic to allow the riders to turn left off Hwy 101 and onto the road that would take us to the beach. They closed off the left lane to all traffic and allowed the riders to have that entire lane. I passed a lot of people–even with just one gear. Michael stayed by my side and we got closer and closer to town. There were big yellow signs that said “Finish in 3 Miles!” and “2 Miles Left!” I could do this!

We came to an intersection where we had to stop and wait to be directed. I took this moment to take a photo of Michael. The guy next to us was joking and chatting us up. He had started at the First Start and did the 100 miles. He tried to Photobomb my photo (which was funny) but my camera was too slow to catch it.

Almost There

The last 10 miles of Reach the Beach were the hardest ten miles I’ve ever done.

The lady directed us to turn left and said we were almost there. We rode on. And then I started to see SAND! I saw BEACH! We really WERE almost there! It was complete chaos. People leaving were riding the opposite directions, cars were moving at snail’s pace to find parking, people were even sitting on top of vans and trucks to watch!

Then I looked up and saw a big white banner with the red letters on it. FINISH!! Oh my god! We were almost there!



When we crossed the finish line, they took pictures and someone handed us medals! I had no idea we’d get medals! Michael gave me a big kiss (awww) and said he was proud of me. I was proud of him! He did 80 Miles!!!

The medal is awesome! (And it should be noted that Michael wore his medal almost all day today. :) )

I DID IT!!!!

Michael Did It!!

Here are photos of our Heart Rate Monitors:

My Stats

Michael's Stats

So technically I did the 55 miles in 5 hours (It took me a few minutes after the finish line to remember to turn off the HRM). But I really think I did it in 4 hours of riding. I didn’t pause or stop the HRM at any rest stops, or during the 20 minutes my bike was broken. I think I had good time. Michael said our heart rate average was so low because of the wind. Which is weird because I feel like I had been working pretty hard!

We were shaky, freezing and it was chaotic at the finish line. But we parked our bikes in the bike lot and got in line for food.

*Not My Photo

It was buffet style and the line moved pretty quickly considering there were over 3,000 riders! I got a little bit of the pasta, a chicken fajita with rice, 2 breadsticks, salad, and a huge chocolate chip brownie. The line for the beer was too long and it was too freezing. We found a spot inside a tent to eat our food. Unfortunately, I was freezing and shivering so badly I couldn’t really enjoy any of the finish-line festivities. Michael was concerned I was getting hypothermia so we got out of there pretty fast. I’m okay with that because we still had a 2 hour drive home.


I got home, took a hot bath and had a snack of raising bran cereal, then collapsed into bed. I don’t remember falling asleep. I slept like the dead and woke up Sunday morning feeling like a million bucks!

Reach The Beach Stats:

Time: 5 hours

Calories Burned: 2,538

Distance: 55 Miles

Number of Broken Chains: 1

Number of Tears: A few

Number of Times I walked: ZERO

Would I do it again? For sure! It was such an amazing, fun experience. Even with the drama of the bike chain. I loved the camaraderie. I loved how nice everyone was. It was like I was with “my people”… people who like the outdoors, people who like fitness and challenging themselves. I saw a lot of the same people on the ride. People that I passed many many times, then they passed me. We drafted off a couple on a tandem bike many times, passed them numerous times, then they passed us. It was the experience of a lifetime and something I definitely want to experience again. :)

This Bike is Heavy!

Reach the Beach Recap – Part 2

Part 2

Now for the exciting part of the ride….

Single Lane Bridges

There were a lot of single lane bridges that we rode across. They were very cool. We rode along the Little Nestucca River for a lot of the ride.

Little Nestucca River

You can sort of see the river through the trees in the above picture. The temperature yesterday was 75 degrees and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky! We couldn’t have asked for a better day to ride. Before I started, I applied sunscreen liberally. I still got a bit of color though.

After another rest stop, I went over some Railroad Tracks and my camera bounced out of my bag and fell! We were on the road in some random town and a truck was driving by me. I almost fell off my bike when I stopped but I didn’t–I caught myself. My camera broke a little when it fell on the pavement and the truck ALMOST shattered the camera. :( Luckily that didn’t happen. Michael grabbed the camera and the semi-crushed batteries and I tested it to see if it would still work. It did. We continued on.

I didn’t feel hungry at all during the ride and my energy level was pretty high. I wasn’t sure I “needed” the GUs but I wanted to take them to maintain the high energy I had. So I ate them to prevent any future energy crashes and it worked.

During the entire ride, I saw a lot of people on the side of the road fixing flat tires. YIKES. For the first 15 miles or so, I thought for sure my back tire was flat and I was pretty worried. Of course it was just my own paranoia getting the better of me (after last weekend’s debacle). I never got a flat. Good! This part of the ride was quite hilly.

Resting at the Top

We got to the top of a particularly long hill and decided to rest and have some GU. I’d been eating the GUs about every hour and it really helped a lot. All the rest stops had energy powder and water so I was also drinking that. There were occasional cars, vans, and motorcycles with “Event Support” signs on them that would drive the route. They made sure everyone was okay and helped people if they needed assistance. I saw some people had fallen or crashed and needed first aid but nothing too serious. There were also Event Support riding with the rest of us. At the top of this hill, one of them rode by and asked if we were okay. I gave him the thumbs up sign and he said, “See you at the Beach!” as he went on.

One thing I didn’t account for was the temperature drop the closer we got to the beach. Like I said earlier, it was sunny, hot, and 75 degrees. Well, there’s some steep elevation before the beach and it’s all old growth forest in the Suislaw Forest. That means it’s shaded, cold, and windy. :(


Cape Perpetua

I was in short sleeves and I was starting to get goosebumps. We stopped at the last Rest Stop before the beach and I was pretty cold at this point.

Last Rest Stop


Last Rest Stop

Michael said he overheard some other riders talking about some insane hill coming up. I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I was in the zone all day and I felt confident in my abilities. We headed out. I was too cold to stand around for very long. My toes and fingers were going a little numb. We rode down the hill a bit and rode along the river some more. Then we were riding through more countryside. Lots of farms, old barns, fields full of cows (and their aromas) and horses.

There are no pictures for the next few miles and you’ll understand why in a bit.


So we’re pedaling along, feeling really good. It’s mostly downhill. Then we turn a corner and I see the hill.

Oh. My. God.

OH MY GOD. I groaned loudly and said “What the HELL?” Seriously. The hill was short but it was STRAIGHT UP. The bike teams that had passed us at the speed of light were ALL STANDING UP ON THEIR BIKES and barely moving. No one was sitting in their seats for this hill. I thought to myself, that’s okay, I can do this. I can do this. I am MAKING IT UP THIS HILL ON THE BIKE. I shifted my gears and powered down. Michael left me in the dust. The whole way, I had been crushing the hills and going as fast as I could because I knew if I went slow, I’d never make it up. This time, Michael did the same. I was fairly close behind him. I realized immediately that this hill could kill me.

I pedaled as fast and as hard as I could.

I stood up.

My quads were burning but I was making it. I passed people struggling to make it up the hill. I kept breathing hard and just pedaling.

Then it got hard to pedal. I was struggling to even make a full rotation on my pedals. I decided to do what I dreaded the most: using the left gears. I hate using them because they aren’t smooth and my chain has fallen off as a result in the past. But I did it. And I made it up that KILLER hill. I made it to the top!!! I was so happy. I was smiling and feeling very proud of myself.

The hill at the top leveled out a bit and I pedaled slowly to recover. Then it went down hill. And this is where the trouble started. My chain locked up. I couldn’t shift. I couldn’t pedal. I couldn’t do anything. Michael was way ahead of me and already going down the other side of the Killer Hill. Another rider asked if I was okay and I said my chain locked up and I couldn’t shift. He said to coast down the hill and try shifting. I got to the bottom of the hill and pulled off to the side. My bike was EFFED. Sorry to swear but it was majorly screwed.

The chain was wound into itself on something. I started to panic. Michael was no where to be seen. No other riders were stopping. I tried to see if I could lift the chain and force it back onto the gears. Nope. I started to cry a little bit. I was so close! There was literally 10 miles left! I couldn’t believe this.

I flagged down another rider and he pulled over. He was an older gentleman named Russell and he saved me! He did his best to help. He said my chain was a goner. A few minutes of him trying to get it to work, and Michael showed up! He gave me a hug and tried to calm me down. Another guy stopped (he had a French accent) and I didn’t catch his name but he did something magical and got the chain back on the gears. He took off and Russell put my tire back on and wished me luck. At this point, a guy on a motorcycle with Event Support showed up to see if we were ok. Russell said my chain would sound awful and it would be hard to ride but it would get me to the finish. I thanked him profusely and Michael and I took off.

The chain sounded AWFUL. It was the worst thing I’ve ever heard. And guess what? I had no shifting. I could not shift at all.

I had to finish the rest of the 10 miles with only one gear.

…To be continued….

Reach the Beach Recap Part 1

Time for the REACH THE BEACH RECAP! This will be done in several parts because the story is long and exciting and I have many, many photos I want to share with all of you!

My friend Star was kind enough to help us out yesterday. She came over bright and early and the three of us headed to Newberg to drop off Michael at his start. Last week he had decided not to do the full 100 miles and instead, start in Newberg and do 80. I think that was the right decision. The hills in the first 20 miles of the ride were insane. We arrived at the Newberg Start and Michael got set up. The place was pretty crowded already.

Newberg Start

Michael stretched and used the bathroom. There was a pretty long line.

Bathroom Line

We both had our stash of GUs in our bike cases. I tried to calculate how many I’d need for the day. I packed 6 for the ride.

There were lots of different kinds of people. Mostly serious cyclists, some weirdos like the guy above :), there were even uni-cyclists! But honestly there were all shapes and sizes of people participating. Never NOT do something because you’re 10, 20, 30+ pounds overweight. I saw that yesterday. Anyone can do something like this!

Michael took off to do his 30 miles to Amity where we would meet up later. Star and I left and drove to Salem to have breakfast.  I had scrambled eggs, sausage, an English muffin and kiwi.


We met up in Amity where Michael ate lunch before we got there. It was perfect timing too because the line for lunch was insanely long!

Lunch Line

Getting ready to leave:

The route was very clearly marked the entire way, so that was really good.

Okay, so here goes…Some of yesterday is still a blur but I’ll do my best to recount it. I am glad we met up in Amity and did the last 55 miles together. It made the experience so much better. We headed out of the Amity starting point and looped through the town until we got to the back road. For the next 10 or 15 miles it was light rolling hills through farm country. I can’t get over how gorgeous the entire ride was. I wish I could have had the opportunity to take more scenic pictures but…I was kinda riding a bike. ;)


That’s Michael in front of me. Mr. 118! I was 3017. According to Michael, I was faster than I’ve ever been on the bike. He said I was going at least 15 mph. I attribute that to the Mentality of Race Day. I totally get the “Race Day Bug” and I’m amped, energetic and faster than I normally would be in training. I was shot out of a canon for most of my portion of the ride. I forgot, honestly, that Michael was probably tired from already doing 30 miles before we got together. :( I’m sorry, babes!

Bikes on the Road

Reach the Beach sold out and there were actually 3,000+ bikes on the road yesterday! It was such a cool experience to ride with so many people. I can’t get over how much fun it was. Now the first difficulty: THE WIND. We were eating the wind the entire time. It made the ride more difficult, for sure. It was like nothing I’d experienced before.

On the route, there were many bike teams that passed me. They were usually groups of 4 or 5 people riding together with similar or matching Jerseys. They rode very close to each other in a single file, maintaining the same speed, and they took turns Drafting. It was a very cool thing to see first hand. They seemed to have the routine down to a science. Guy #1 would eat the wind for a few miles, signal the guy behind him and then move to the left side. Guy #1 would slow down while everyone else moved passed him and he’d move to the rear positions. Then Guy #2 was now Guy #1 and the process would continue. When I watched Tour de France with Michael last year, we talked about it a lot but I didn’t quite understand it until I experienced it yesterday.


The cool thing about Drafting is that it doesn’t wear you out as fast. The reason is that all the guys behind Guy #1 aren’t getting the brute force of the wind. They are able to pedal with almost EASE until it’s their turn to be up front. I learned this in the first 5 miles when the wind was a shocking wake-up call to me. I quickly started riding with the other groups and drafting off of them. It helped a lot and I was able to go as fast as I did.

After about 15 miles, I came to my first Rest Stop. I used the bathroom, refilled my water, and got some snacks.

My First Rest Stop

I ate a few lemon cookies.

Rest Stop Snacks

Some people were stretching and enjoying the sunshine.

We didn’t stay at any of the Rest Stops for very long. I’d say about 10-15 minutes each time. We were determined to keep riding!

There were lots of hills in the second part of my ride. More to come later!


Too Much Food!

Ugh, I feel vile. Let’s just get that out of the way. So “The Big Dinner” tonight was packed full of carby-goodness. Even though I had a catastrophic-feeling end to today’s work day, I muddled my way to New Seasons to buy a loaf of french bread. Michael was in charge of getting ground turkey and making his fabulous turkey meatballs to go with dinner. While I was at New Seasons, I decided to pick up some beer. Great minds think alike, because when I walked in the door Michael had a cold beer open for me. :)

I got an Olive Ciabatta. Mmmm carbs and more carbs.

I made the whole wheat spaghetti while Michael did the meatballs.

Mixed the half-cooked meatballs into the red sauce to cook the rest of the way.

The finished product was delicious. But way too much food. I feel too full and am so over carb-loading!

I drank 2 beers and cut myself off. Packed the bag, charged the camera. Everything is ready for tomorrow! Goodnight!


Reach the Beach is this Saturday. Today is Thursday. I am so excited!

Reach the Beach

After months of training, flat tires, bike crashes, sore butts, sore bodies, one sunburn, and fund-raising….the ride is almost here!

This is where we will be sometime Saturday evening:

Haystack Rock

Feet sunk into the sand, bodies tired but happy, and stomachs full of food. YAY! The weather is predicted to be sunny and 75 degrees. I couldn’t be happier!

In preparation of the ride, I will not be exercising today or tomorrow. I got a massage last night to loosen up my legs. Tomorrow night I will clean my bike and pack my GUs.

During lunch today I took a slow stroll to Northwest Portland to get some new biking gloves. It’s absolutely gorgeous outside and HOT. I walked by Powell’s Books.

Powell's City of Books

And Deschutes Brewery Pub:

I Want Beer

I wonder why Portland is named the #2 Biking City in America?

Typical Downtown Corner

I made it to REI in Northwest to do some shopping.


After trying on a bunch of different brands, I settled on this:

Padded Cycling Gloves

I’ve never heard of this brand but they felt good and had decent padding. They were $25. More expensive than I’d planned to spend, but we’re down to the wire now. I headed back to the office.


QUESTION: What is something you are anticipating?

100 Miles to Nowhere

Among the “internets” there’s something going around called the “100 Miles to Nowhere”. Fat Cyclist has been posting photos of people around the world participating in the 100 Miles to Nowhere ride. It’s an unorganized, unofficial, epic ride that ANYONE can participate in. Basically, you just ride 100 miles on your own–apparently on a bike trainer. Your own pace, no support, no money to enter (unless you want to donate to Livestrong.com). It’s a very cool idea and in fact Michael and I were discussing it last night. It would be a fun thing to plan! But I’d rather actually cycle outside somewhere instead of doing 100 miles on a trainer!


Would you participate in something like this? I’m thinking about it!

Okay, back to reality. For my morning snack, I ate a Chobani Greek yogurt. This time I tried the peach flavor. I love Chobani! It’s by far my favorite of the Greek yogurts. It’s not as sweet as the other ones.

140 Calories

Tonight we are getting much needed massages! I’m going to ask my masseuse to focus on my lower body to prepare for Saturday’s ride. We also have another massage scheduled for Monday after the ride.

Awesome Run

Today’s lunchtime run was great! First, the sun was out and it was hot. 60 Degrees out and not a cloud in the sky.


There were a lot of people out on the Waterfront too.  I run by this sight :):

I most definitely put on sunscreen before heading out on my run. It’s now become part of my routine. I took the “long way” and ran over the Hawthorne Bridge on the far side and turned around near OMSI.

Sunny Day

Today’s Stats:

Time: 33:14

Nike+ Pace: 9’17”

Calories Burned: 437

Distance: About 3.5 miles

I feel really good about today’s run. I felt like my pace was consistent and fairly fast. I keep forgetting to pause my Nike+ when I’m waiting at stop lights. I need to do that.

Lunch was a quickie frozen meal from Trader Joe’s.

TJ's Indian Food

It’s tasty and 330 calories.

QUESTION: Are you making any fun plans for this summer?

Half Way There

Last night we made chicken tacos for dinner.  First ingredient: Vodka!

I only had one drink last night. I mixed a little vodka with sparkling lemon water. I try not to drink too much during the week, nothing beyond one glass of wine once in awhile. But last night we both felt like an Adult Beverage was in order!

I prepped the things we’d need for the tacos: shredded Colby Jack cheese, sliced black olives. Michael baked the chicken breast at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Then I chopped the chicken breast into small pieces to mix in with the Taco Seasoning.

The taco seasoning packet really did make the meal. Usually we just use our own spices but I loved the flavor of this! I also got to use my new Trader Joe’s Chipotle Salsa. It was delicious:  spicy and smokey.

Michael mixed half of the packet with half of the water it called for. Let the chicken pieces simmer in the mixture until the liquid is gone.

I used some beans in my soft taco and topped it with the cheese, chicken, olives, salsa and light sour cream.

It was wonderful! Since we didn’t make guacamole this time I didn’t feel like I overate either.

All week I’ve felt off. I could have sworn yesterday was Wednesday and today was Thursday! Imagine my disappointment when I realized I was only half way to the weekend! Reach the Beach is 3 days away!

Last night Michael and I took turns using the Foam Roller. I really do love that thing. It feels so good! I used it on my quads, shins, and especially my hamstrings. I woke up this morning feeling much better!

QUESTION: Did you participate in the #fitblog chat on Twitter last night?

One of the questions was about whether or not our family and friends are supportive of our healthy lifestyle change. I want to pose that question here because it’s a really important topic. Do you have the full support from your significant other/family/friends/coworkers? Or do you find that it’s a struggle or fight?

I was lucky to have supportive family members in my journey. They supported me, made food changes in their own lives to accommodate me (my aunt who throws great parties would ask me to bring healthy food to include in buffets, etc), and praised me left and right. It helped!

Most of my friends supported me as well. There were a few that couldn’t deal with my new life and I lost some friends along the way. It’s sad and I still wish that hadn’t happened; but if they were really friends, there wouldn’t be conditions.

As for my significant other, Michael is very supportive. We’re both very active and like hiking and biking together. That’s something we can enjoy together and I think training for Reach the Beach has made our relationship even stronger. (Studies do say sharing common activities keeps couples together.)

What about you?

Pizza and Pedals

Part Two of Today’s Adventures…

After the flat tire extravaganza, we headed to Mississippi Pizza in North Portland. It’s by far one of my favorite pizza places in town. We were close (at the bike store on Alberta) so we decided to go there. The patio for the Amnesia Brewery was PACKED. It was such a nice day out! We sat at a table with the window open so we could enjoy the fresh air but be in the shade for a bit.


Michael got a slice of pepperoni and I got my FAVORITE pizza: feta cheese, onion, garlic and spinach. So good! Sometimes, I dream about that pizza.


After resting for a bit, hitting the bathroom, and refilling our water bottles we hit the road.

Spandex is Never Flattering

My tire seemed to be doing alright. I, on the other hand, was still struggling. We rode through residential neighborhoods in North Portland until we got back to NE 33rd and followed that back to Marine Drive. We rode East on Marine Drive and got to enjoy the beautiful view of the river and Mt. Hood.

Marine Drive

Mt. Hood

As you can see, there was hardly a cloud in the sky. It was a gorgeous day! Crossing fingers next weekend is the same!

After we are done with all this training and are back to riding bikes for FUN,  I totally want to come back to that beach and have a picnic and relax.

The ride home was hard. I was tired. I was slow. At one point, my hero suggested we stop in a park and rest. So that’s what we did.

Resting in the Park

I had seriously hit the wall at this point. I wanted to cry. I was so tired and I felt like a failure every time we came to a hill and it felt like my legs were going to give out. I just didn’t understand! I’m in great shape! We go on these long bike rides a lot! I have stamina! What the hell??? THIS GUY said to stop being a victim:


Basically, stop feeling sorry for myself, get back on the bike and finish it. I could do it. So I did. I got back on the bike and we rode home the rest of the way without much incident and very few tears. :) I almost cried on the KILLER hill on the way back, but I was good. I almost cried when I pinched my leg in the bike gears. That effing hurt! But I didn’t cry.


Today’s Stats:

Miles Biked: 52

Calories Burned: 2,505

I showered, put on REAL clothes (not spandex) and we are making dinner: turkey burgers, asparagus, BEER, and ice cream for dessert. Hell, even after dinner I will still have 2,000 calories for the day!!!

QUESTION: When was the last time something REALLY tested who you were as a person?