Goals for the week of 8/4

I finished off last week strong: yesterday we drove out to Port Angeles and did the Ride the Hurricane event. As much fun as I had biking up Hurricane Ridge a couple weeks ago, it didn’t even compare to getting to do the ride with no cars. It was also nice to have someone to drive back with afterwards and talk about how great the ride was.

And now for this week… I continue to have real life intrude with work and some house projects. Also, as amazing as rides on Rainier and Hurricane Ridge are, they are a full-day commitment of travel and energy. I think that this week I’d like to do some rides that I don’t have to drive to.

So, this week’s goals, which are imprecise and a little underwhelming:

Monday and Tuesday, house stuff.

Wednesday, work stuff and a daytime baseball game, but I can at least bike to the work stuff and game, and perhaps do some scenic route wandering to and from.

Thursday, work stuff in the AM, but then I think I’ll either bike to and around Mercer Island, or maybe Bainbridge Island.

Friday, either a bigger ride, or take dance class in the morning and a smaller ride.

Saturday, a decent ride should be possible–hopefully Ian and I can get out for a ride together, so we’ll just have to see what we’re interested in.

Sunday, ditto.

That’s all folks, time to get to work!

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Goals for the week of 7/28, miscellany

So I have completed the Tenth of the Tour (woo hoo!), and the Rapha Rising challenge (that one was a push…)–now what?

So: goals for the week of 7/28. First off, it turns out there are other things in my life–projects and chores–that need to get done, so some of that is in order for this week.

Secondly, I did a lot of riding in the last three weeks, and a lot of climbing in the last week, and my legs are tired! Today and tomorrow are rest days, and for doing non-strenuous projects and chores…

Though a computer crisis (I’m very unimpressed with Sony and their laptop quality control) has somewhat derailed the first goal, it has abetted the second, as I have been sitting around waiting on computer stuff. It wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my time, but I’ll count it towards my rest goal I guess, and call it good.

Thirdly, Wednesday I’ll be riding my bike on Mt Rainier again!!!! I enjoyed myself so much last time, and I’m really looking forward to being back there. Then I’m staying overnight and volunteering for RAMROD Thursday morning. Despite having to get up incredibly early for this (I’m not even willing to type the numbers of the o’ clock I’ll be starting at…), I’m looking forward to it also. I have been the beneficiary of fabulous volunteers at a number of events, and it will be good to give back a bit.

Lastly, on Sunday, depending on weather and life, as mentioned before we might do Ride the Hurricane.

And some navel-gazing miscellany:

Kicking around in my head is the awareness that, as much as this blog has already been really useful for me in setting goals and holding myself accountable, there are also much more systematic training programs that I could be following. I could have a professional cycling coach draw up a plan for me. I could get a power meter, and do targeted intervals. I could push myself harder more often.

Kicking around in my head also is that I have the tendency to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Just because I could be training better, could be improving more, doesn’t mean that what I am doing is worthless. (And this is a concept that I sometimes have a hard time with.)

I have gotten a lot stronger this year. I can see this both in absolute results, with steadily improving times on roads I do often, and in my attitude. I’m not having as much energy sapped by the worry that I can’t do something.

I really enjoy getting better on the bike, and I also enjoy enjoying myself on the bike. Sometimes those things intersect, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it’s fun to push myself as hard as I can up a hill, sometimes it just isn’t. And when it isn’t, I usually don’t. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit up and admire the scenery.

This summer hasn’t been as methodical as it could have been, but it’s been a lot of fun so far. I was looking back at my to-do rides of the summer post, and realized that I’ve done most of them, and had a blast in the process! Despite growing up here, there are a number of amazing places I had never been until I biked their roads in the last couple months. (And that includes some in-city nooks and crannies…)

Even though it’s important to me to get better, nothing is depending on it. It’s not my job. And even though I have a lot invested in this Italy trip, if I’m not feeling it, I can stay in the hotel for the day, or hop in the follow van, or turn around and  head back down the mountain. So why suffer more than I find entertaining to suffer?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that on the bike I’d rather do a mediocre job of getting better than do a mediocre job of having fun. So far, so good.

PS: our house has too many stairs. By which I mean it has stairs.

Got ‘er done! (And goals for the week of 7/21)

Whoops, I’m supposed to be writing this post at the end of the week, so that I can tailor my goals to what I actually did during the week. Oh well. Too late now.

Yesterday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday’s ride, except I went all the way out to Squak Mountain, and then biked up Zoo Hill on the way back. And I made a bargain with myself that I only had to do Zoo Hill as far as the bus stop–many consider that the top of the climb (1000′ of elevation gain is enough, some think), but if you like, at that point you can turn left to get another 250′ higher in the air. Usually the rule is that I have to do the left turn also and ride until the road turns to gravel. Then I get to go back down (the rule says I have to do uphill, but I don’t have to do gravel uphill.)

No, I don’t know who makes these horrible rules.

Anyway, I bent the rules a bit, and continued straight at the bus stop, and it was awesome. I’m such a rebel!

The rain overnight had really cleared out the air, and going through wooded parts of the ride, there was a delicious green, growing freshness that was almost as much a taste as a smell. On parts of Zoo Hill, when my head wasn’t hanging down, eyes fixated on the pavement 3 feet in front of me, it was really great to look into the woods on either side and enjoy the lush growth creating the delicious fresh air. The woods are even more impressive for the nearly vertical hillside they’re managing to cling to and thrive on–the steep road seems flat in comparison.

Also notable was the guy who cheered me on from his car at the beginning of the hill, and again when I went past him working in his yard towards the top of the hill. Thanks dude!

I’m especially proud of myself for bringing my phone/cards/cash with me and actually knowing that I had them with me. I’m also very thankful that the under-renovation-Leschi-Starbucks is open all day long on the weekends. I even checked that info ahead of time, so that I wouldn’t have a repeat of last month’s sadness. Though now I know I should ask for an extra mondo amount of whipped cream on my mocha if it’s been a tough ride.

Anyway, I rode 100k (that’s 62 miles for those of you who like real numbers) and had 5300 feet of elevation gain. Not insanely hilly, but pretty good considering that too much of the ride is essentially flat.

So, here we go with goals for the week:

Monday, a rest day–I can’t check this off as accomplished quite yet, but I’m getting a good start on it!

Tuesday-Sunday–finish off the Tenth of the Tour challenge, and do some climby rides. I’d like to do Hurricane Ridge, but I’m keeping an eye on the weather forecast (which keeps changing!) because I’m perfectly happy to be a weather wimp… And that is making it hard to be day-to-day specific, as I don’t want to trash myself by committing to a really hard ride the day before trying out Hurricane Ridge. Which, if I started at sea level, would be a full mile up into the air… Climby! But somewhere in there I might head over to Bainbridge Island too.

So I guess this week’s strategy is to be incredibly vague about my goals, and then put my own interpretive spin on whether or not I accomplished them… Tricky!

Stay tuned for next week, which will mark the one-month-before-departure point (I’m sure I won’t be freaking out at all…) and will also feature Mt Rainier!

I really need to be better about taking pictures when I'm riding. But here's a jack o' lantern I make a couple years ago. I was quite entertained by it!

I really need to be better about taking pictures when I’m riding. But here’s a jack o’ lantern I made a couple years ago. I was quite entertained by it!

Accidental genius–goals for the week of 7/14

Because I’m sure that all my readers are astute, observant, and good-looking (right?!?!), you likely will have noticed that I am posting my goals for the week of 7/14 considerably after the 14th. That is my accidental genius. You see, by stating my goals for the week at the end of the week, I can be sure to have accomplished them! Genius!

So, without further ado, my goals for the week of 7/14:

Take a rest day on Tuesday: accomplished!

Recover from STP: accomplished!

Continue getting my Tenth of the Tour miles in: accomplished! (So far.)

Starting Saturday, add more climbing back in, both on general principles, and as part of the Rapha Rising challenge (basically, climb a lot between July 19 and 27): whoops, here’s where the accidental nature of my genius shows, as I am writing this too early to report that I accomplished that goal. (Or to have a completely different goal in its place… Like lie horizontal on the couch for at least an hour…)

Anyway, this week has been a series of pretty piddly rides–getting miles in, but without ambition or extra credit. But what a difference challenging riding followed by an off day can make–I have felt strong and energetic the last couple days, and it’s not just my imagination. On a number of in-city climbs that I do regularly, I have set some personal bests, or been very close to a personal best time, and it has felt easy!

So, it will probably be another piddly day tomorrow, and then pushing myself this weekend and through the week. I think Hurricane Ridge will make an appearance soon…

And because the friendship between Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen is about the awesomest thing ever–

Click to see more photos of them! (Scroll down)

Click to see more photos of them! (Scroll down)

BTW, goals for the week of 7/7–TotT, STP

So the Tenth of the Tour challenge continues this week, with goal mileage each day of around 20 miles, give or take.

Now, 20 miles can mean a lot of things–hill repeats up Squak Mountain for instance, or a relaxed flat spin around Alki with a coffee break in the middle. I’m going to incline towards the latter this week, both as recovery from yesterday (though I felt surprisingly good on this morning’s 25-mile ride for morning coffee and croissant), and to make sure I’m rested and fresh on Saturday, because I intend to spend the evening relaxing over a cold beverage after a little jaunt on my bike down to Portland, aka STP.

The 204 miles for the day will definitely cover my TotT Saturday goal mileage, with a little to spare, even…

Yay! Saturday will be my 4th Seattle-To-Portland ride, and I have had a blast each year. Sure, there are rides that are more scenic, or that are on less trafficked roads, or whatever. But nothing can compare to the delightful craziness of thousands of people sharing your insanity.

It’s also been a fun barometer of my progress on the bike, as each STP marks one more year of cycling under my belt. The first year I was nervous for months in advance, and very carefully following a training schedule (hmmm, sounds like this year re: Italy). I made it to Portland in pretty good shape, but it was definitely A Big Challenge.

The second year, I knew I could do it, wasn’t as rigorous about training, but was just out on my bike a fair amount. I was faster and the ride was easier. (STP is described as a flat route. It definitely helped the second year to know that there are some rolling hills in the second half, and steep ramps up to bridges. They aren’t too bad by any means, but when your mindset is flat, they are a rude surprise…)

Last year, I didn’t specifically train for STP at all, just did a kept riding, and added some new challenges, like the Wenatchee Apple Century that I enjoy so much. Again, I was faster and the ride was easier. The difficulty of a ride like this is mental as well as physical, and though I was definitely in better physical shape, the confidence I had last year was a great help too.

This year? Well, a couple days ago, Ian looked up from what he was doing and asked “STP is next week, right?” I thought for a moment and said “oh, yeah, it is.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for the ride–it’s a blast!!–but I am not anxiously watching the calendar, worrying about my ability to complete it. I have to continue to avoid crashes or ride-ending mechanical problems, as it’s not a sure thing until the ride is over. But it’s a nifty feeling to think “ride to Portland in a day? Sure, I can do that!”

One more goal for the week: sit down with my calendar and figure out how many more times I can get myself to Mt Rainier this summer!

Week done…and next week?

This week was bittersweet. My students on Bainbridge Island had their end-of-year performances, and they did some fabulous work. That part was pretty sweet. And it made me want to be in the studio with them, building on the progress they’ve made. Instead, I had to say goodbye to the graduating seniors, and send the rest of them off on summer break. That’s a bit bitter.

But then again, I’m on summer break!

Amidst the whirlwind of performances, Ian dragged me around on the bike both Saturday morning and this morning–tootling around Bainbridge Island yesterday, then Squak Mountain as promised for today. And as promised, he disappeared off into the distance on Squak Mountain. (And frequently on Bainbridge too). I love being right.

But now, down to business–time to commit to what I’m going to do this week. In writing. And I’m feeling indecisive. Sigh.

So let’s be sensible about this, and go in non-chronological order:

Saturday, the Big Kahuna of the week. Ian and I are planning on going to Mt. Rainier and biking up to Sunrise and then up Chinook Pass. It’ll just be 50 miles or so, but two pretty significant up-a-mountain experiences. Wahoo!

If the print's too small to read, that's over 5,000 feet of elevation gain in less than 50 miles. This won't hurt at all, no siree...

If the print’s too small to read, that’s over 5,000 feet of elevation gain in less than 50 miles. This won’t hurt at all, no siree…

Tuesday, a rest day. I’ll be teaching in the morning, and in the afternoon, in pursuit of the all-important rest and hydration, might find myself sitting down with a beverage and watching USA vs. Belgium. Hey, training requires sacrifices.

Monday, the weather looks good, and I think going up to Camano Island could be pretty spectacular. That means getting in the car for a while, bleh, but I think the alternative is hill repeats up Squak or something similar. So yeah, Camano sounds pretty good.

Wednesday, I think that I’m stuck with hill repeats up Squak. Or to be a little wild and crazy, I could alternate Squak and Zoo a couple times.

That leaves Thursday and Friday, which will probably need to be days of easy, flat riding to keep my legs loose before the Big Kahuna.

So, I think that’s a wrap!

And really, if you’ve made it all the way through this post, which is basically me narcissistically talking to myself, you deserve a prize or something. No prizes here, but there is an awesome joke: “What did the snail say when he got on the turtle’s back?” “Wheeeeee!”

Now aren’t you glad you read all the way through!

Goals for the week of 6/23

This week is going to be a pretty modest week, biking-wise. My students on Bainbridge Island are performing all week, so I’m over there a fair amount teaching warm-up classes and attending performances. It’s a great week, but one that takes a lot of energy, especially mental energy.

So other than biking to work and back (and maybe a little around-the-island biking), we’ll call this a recovery week. Or something.

Still, I should be able to get a bit of a ride in on Thursday afternoon, and Friday is also looking good for riding. So what to do?

Thursday might be another good day to do a Sights of Seattle day.

Friday, if the weather is nice, could be a good day for Camano Island. Or if I wake up and really don’t want to get into the car, I could go around Mercer Island a couple times, perhaps getting there via the south end of Lake Washington. Note to self: the Leschi Starbucks is closed in the afternoons for remodeling.

Then on Sunday, I think I’ve talked Ian into going out and doing Squak Mountain with me. Because nothing boosts one’s morale like struggling up a difficult hill, and watching someone else disappear into the distance with ease.

And, since I feel like this has been a boring post, a kitten:

kitten

Goals for the week of 6/16

If you read my goals post from last week, you’ll note that I’m supposed to be doing a big ride with Ian or something today. (And though I didn’t say it, I was thinking that Monday would be a rest day). But… Ian had stuff going on keeping him from doing a bigger ride, and the first-thing-in-the-morning ride that we planned instead ended up not happening. The alarm went off at 6AM, we listened to the cars splashing on the wet roads outside, and cancelled. Going back to sleep, warm and dry, was awesome…

So instead, I’m having a quiet day at home, resting and taking care of a number of household chores that I had meant to do tomorrow. Because…

No more rest day tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll go around Vashon Island. That should provide some hills and challenges, making the scenery even better for having been earned.

Tuesday I “have” to go to the 12:40 baseball game, so I need to do something that packs a lot into a little. Yup, Zoo Hill again. Sigh.

Wednesday I have to go over to Bainbridge for an evening rehearsal, so it’s the Chilly Hilly commute (though I could do something like bike part or all of the way to Port Townsend. And back. Hmmm…)

I don’t know yet what to do Thursday and Friday. One option would be an easy spin on Thursday, and a big ride on Friday (Camano Island, maybe?). Or the other way around, because I need energy on the weekend for work.

Saturday and Sunday will be bike-lite, as I have to teach and be at dress rehearsals for my students, something that will require a fair amount of physical and mental energy. Hence thinking maybe I should suck it up on Thursday and take what will be pretty tired legs on a big bike ride. After all, part of what I’m training for is to be able to get back on the bike after several days of difficult riding. But then again, I might be better getting a little rest and recovery on Thursday, then going all-out on Friday.

TBD.

So folks, this is why I’m writing this blog, this is what I need your help with–feel free to send me heckling messages here or on FB or email to keep me from wimping out on the week!

(As for the Father’s Day part of today’s plans… Father’s Day has be relocated to a different date, and will be celebrated by my dad making me dinner. Because yup, I’m that fabulous of a daughter.)

And it starts… Goals week of 6/9

Go read “What is this?” for background. If you want to. You don’t have to.

This week’s goals are pretty modest, as I still have some dance stuff getting in the way of my bike training. Anyway.

Tuesday, I intend to ride the Chilly Hilly route on Bainbridge Island before I teach.

Wednesday, out to Issaquah for Zoo Hill. And then teaching modern at Cornish (that should be fun for the legs!)

Thursday seems like a good island day. If the weather is as iffy as the current forecast states, probably just Mercer Island. If it’s looking better, maybe I’ll drive up to Camano Island–the views are fabulous!

Friday, the last ballet class with Alex Dickson before she leaves for Columbus. Ballet and big biking on the same day are not happy things for the legs.

Saturday, just bike commuting to Bainbridge, perhaps taking the scenic way home.

Sunday… Well, Sunday *is* Father’s Day, but I might do a century with Ian and suggest an evening something or Father’s-Day-on-another-day. Because I’m that awesome of a daughter…