Lack of energy on “energy tour”

This is a follow up to Monday’s post. Although it was a fantastic day and a great ride I was not in top form. The climbs and the wind bothered me more than usual. I was recently diagnosed with low iron and I’m thinking that may have been a contributing factor to my fatigue. Since being diagnosed, I’ve been eating more iron rich foods such as hemp hearts, smoked mussels & oysters and red meat. I’m also taking an iron supplement at bedtime with a glass of apple juice (the vitamin C is said to aid significantly in iron absorption). Unfortunately, from what I’ve read, it can take up to 8 weeks for my new habits to have an impact on my iron levels. To make matters worse, physical activity has been found to reduce iron levels in women so my cycling could be compounding the problem.

If anyone has any ideas or advice for me…please drop me a note in the comment section below.

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Tour of SJ Energy Infrastucture

On Thanksgiving Monday hubby and I set out to tour the city. It just happened that our route took us by (or at least very near) much of our area’s energy installations. Our 75 kilometre ride took us west to the Coleson Cove power generating station. Next we headed east across the causeway and by the East Saint John Marine Terminal. We then rode by the Irving Refinery on our way out to Red Head. We didn’t quite make it out to the Canaport Liquid Natural Gas Terminal before heading back home. It was a beautiful fall day!

energy map

Energy Tour

Major milestone reached together

My husband and I have officially cycled 10,000 km together. This is the mileage we’ve registered since we started keeping track in 2010. When we started biking together we didn’t have the right equipment, the right clothing or the right gadgets for keeping track. It started with a bike ride around the neighbourhood after supper one night and slowly grew from there.

10,000 km translates into 400-500 hour. The bulk of those miles it was just the two of us. It’s safe to say that, individually, we would not be close to that number. When I’m feeling lazy he pushes me and vice versa. Cycling in the middle of nowhere with no distractions is when we talk about work, family, parenting, our health and our dreams. We also plan vacations (around cycling ) and our retirement…which we hope will include a lot more cycling! It’s been good for our relationship!

P.S. This is all the more remarkable when you realize that my husband lost close to a year when he was diagnosed with Leukemia (AML) in June 2011 and had a stem cell transplant in November 2011. The treatment nearly killed him and his recovery took time but cycling made him strong again!

bike date

Cartoon courtesy of www.bikeyface.com

VIDEO: Active Recovery Following Climb

Went out for an 11.4 km ride today. This was one of my shortest tides of the year. To be honest, I was nervous about even attempting it since I can barely walk up and down stairs following a Wednesday climb up Mt Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine. The ride went fairly well and was an important part of recovering.

If anyone’s interested in our climb, I’ve posted a 5 minute video which features the highlights. Make sure you turn up the volume. The soundtrack is called “Follow the Road” by Josh Woodward. Click on the image below to watch video>>>

Sesamoiditis & Cycling

I’ve recently been diagnosed with Sesamoiditis in my left foot. I was experiencing a dull pain in my big toe joint that would come and go. I knew right away that something was wrong and I’m not the type to ignore such things. I want to be active for, at least, the next 30 years… gotta take care of my body!

This is inflammation of the tendons in the ball of the foot under the big toe joint. This is a degenerative problem from years of use and abuse. Goodbye high heeled shoes!  I was fitted for custom orthotics which fit in my Shimano cycling shoes like a glove. They have a ridge just behind the ball of the foot (under the metatarsal bones) which takes the pressure off the ball of the foot. My particular orthotics also have a soft cushiony spot directly under my big toe joint. I’ve cycled with them a couple of times now and they seem to be be taking the pressure off.

I’m off to climb Mount Katahdin in Maine in less than 2 weeks and I was very worried that this was going to become a problem but I’m noticing the pain less and less. Wish me luck…

Sesamoiditis

Gopro caught him stealing a kiss!

I entered the BIKE FOR BREATH Facebook photo contest. My photo is called “Gopro caught him stealing a kiss”. If you’d like to vote for my pic and help me win a cool jersey that would be awesome!

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A great day to reach 2,000 km

It was a beautiful day in Saint John, NB. It also happened to be the day that Marathon-by-the-sea was taking place. We were a little worried setting out as our regular Sunday route intersected with the marathon route in several spots. We were afraid of hold ups and being re-routed. Our worries were all for naught. Not only was the marathon not an issue…it was an advantage! Our timing was perfect. We avoided the runners for the most part and the orange pylons set up all along the route ensured that vehicles gave us a wide berth.

We did our regular Sunday route twice (total of 90 km) to get me to 2,000 km YTD!

photo collage 200 km

A Sappy Sackville Summer Saturday

The New Brunswick Day long weekend took us to Cap-Pele, N.B. to visit friends at their cottage on the shores of the Northumberland strait. The weather was ideal for a ride in to Sackville for lunch (44 km away). We arrived to find the main street of this quaint University town closed to vehicles and crawling with preppies and hipsters setting up booths for their 9th annual SappyFest. Live music from a nearby tent entertained us while we sat at an outdoor patio and enjoyed a brew and some good eats. Oh how easy it would have been to spend the entire afternoon people watching and taking in the events but, alas, the shore was calling to us. We stretched the ride home a little to get the total mileage over 100 km.

cap pele to sackville return

Freakishly small hands?

Wondering if anyone has any advice? I’m 5′ 2″ tall. I have a Giant Avail road bike. It’s specifically designed for women and I love the way it fits me BUT when I place my hands on top of the hood between my thumb and forefingers, my fingers only just reach the brake levers.  I don’t feel that I have good control for braking in this position and often move to the drops when going downhill or anytime I feel I may have to brake quickly. I prefer to ride up top which forces me to press my hands in hard to get better access to the brake levers. This causes pain between my thumb and index finger on long rides.

The problem has recently been exacerbated because I got new gloves  (Louis Garneau One Calory ERGO Air) which don’t seem to provide as much cushioning in that area as my previous ones (Pearl Izumi style #8602, black with white floral stitching on back of hand).

The easy solution is to get another pair of the Pearl Izumi gloves which are still available on Amazon.com.

My question… is there a better long term solution? A brake system designed for smaller hands perhaps?

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The Clifton Royal Photo Project

The top of “gas station” hill in Clifton Royal (Kingston Peninsula, New Brunswick) is one of my favourite places to stop, wipe my brow, catch my breath, have a drink and enjoy the view. The top of the hill provides lovely vistas of the Kennebecasis River, the shade of an apple tree and we get to watch the beautiful horse that lives here for a few minutes.

Hubby took a photo of me last year in this spot and again today. I came up with a great idea…. I’m going to have hubby take a photo of me in this same spot once a year so I can see the changes. Here’s years 1 & 2 to start.

I’ve also created a “page” to chronicle the project. I’m 46 years old now…I hope to keep it going to 20-30 years! To see that page click on the tab or click here

clifton royal first two years

A coffee table book signed by the 2014 winner of the Tour de France!

book

If you are in to art, cycling and/or the Tour de France you might like this crowd funding project. For a $25 pledge plus $22 (shipping to Canada) you would get a copy of the 192 page book full of beautiful & original 2014 Tour de France cycling art (signed by the artist). I purchased a painting from Greig called “A Hard Climb’s Reward” as a gift for my hubby a while back. Greig Leach’s cycling art is awesome! I think this would make a great coffee table book for any home or bike shop!

BUT THERE’S MORE…For a $500 pledge you can get a copy of the booked signed by the winner of the Tour de France 2014 (5 available)! When I read this I wondered how Greig could be so sure that the winner would sign 5 copies of his book so I sent him a quick note on Facebook. (where I first read about the project). Here’s what he said…

“My editor is very connected to the peloton, knows many of the riders personally. She has interviewed all of the major contenders and lives in the Cote d’Azur region of France where most make their homes.” and then also replied with “I wouldn’t offer something that couldn’t happen, it is important to be a man of my word.”  ~ Greig Leach

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1335072134/book-de-tour

Two countries…too hot!

Left yesterday morning for a spur of the moment getaway to the Rossmount Inn in beautiful St. Andrews-by-the-sea, New Brunswick. Arrived at the Rossmount mid-morning, changed in to our cycling clothes and hit the road. Our cycling route took us to St. Stephen, New Brunswick (a.k.a. Chocolate town) and then across the Milltown border crossing in to Calais, Maine. The U.S. part of our tour was brief…we re-entered N.B. at the St. Stephen border approx. 20 minutes later (and that included a very quick cheeseburger and bottle of water at McDonalds). I know…I know… McDonalds? We wanted something quick & cheap just to hold us over until our gourmet meal that evening.

Arrived back at the Inn after a very hot (30 degrees celcius/ 86 degrees fahrenheit) & hilly 65 kilometre ride. A quick shower and we were relaxing in the shade of the veranda with a cold beer!

Since we made our reservation last minute, the dining room could only seat us at 9 p.m. The meal did not disappoint and was worth the wait! Salad and appetizers were perfect. For the entrees I chose the duck and Rob chose the cod…both wonderful! We finished our bottle of Pinot Noir out on the veranda and, not long after, sleep was not hard to find!

I miss the Main Street protected bike lane!

It’s almost Canada Day. The Marigolds on Main are in full bloom but there’s no sign of the Main Street protected bike lane {sad face}. The City of Saint John has been great to install the barriers and bike signals for the last three summers but, alas, it looks like they won’t be doing it this year. Does anyone out there know why?

Does your city install temporary protected bike lanes each year? If not… do you wish they did? Here’s a great article I stumbled on called “‘READY, FIRE, AIM’: HOW TO MAKE A GREAT PROTECTED BIKE LANE PILOT PROJECT”

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Yup, that’s me (in 2013)… using the Main Street dedicated bike lane. Probably heading home after a great brunch at at the Queen’s Square Farmers Market!

 

East of Ordinary

I wanted to share with you this wonderful video called “An East of Ordinary Summer in New Brunswick” done by Saint John firm T4G Limited and featuring the music of David Myles. I love cycling along of the coast and was thrilled to see that cycling made it into the 60 second video (watch for it at 0:17). Seeing our province and city through someone else’s lens is always eye opening!

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enthusiast versus aficionado

en·thu·si·ast     enˈTHo͞ozēˌast/

Definition: a person who is highly interested in a particular activity or subject.


 a·fi·ci·o·na·do   əˌfiSH(ē)əˈnädō,əˌfisyə-/

Definition: a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime.


I’ve always called myself a cycling enthusiast but for some reason I recently used the word aficionado. I love linguistics and always try to use “big words” correctly so I started to question which word describes me best.  I love my bicycle but I don’t know how much it weighs or what type of derailleur it has. I love that it’s comfortable, goes fast, is a pretty colour purple and I like to ride it a lot. Based on that alone, I would say I’m currently an enthusiast. I could become an aficionado but the “nuts & bolts” of cycling really don’t interest me. Besides, I know a few cycling aficionados and it seems it’s often a slippery slope to the next stop… “zealot”


zeal·ot    ˈzelət/

Definition: a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.

Coconut oil for your lady parts

I stumbled on to this great article on 76 uses for coconut oil. I must admit I’m a huge fan of the stuff and came up with several right off the top of my head including getting rid of head lice and blending with coffee but the one that really jumped to mind today was rubbing it on your lady bits (#55 on the list) before heading out for a long ride. I forgot to do that yesterday and I was hardly out of the neighbourhood when I was starting to regret forgetting that part of my pre cycling ritual…lubricate my parts! I’m happy to report that I’m no worse for wear but I will remember today!

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First Ride of 2014

Got a break from the freezing temps. The sun came out and dried the roads enough for us to get out for a short ride. I was dying to try out my new Garmin Edge 200 that “Santa” brought me. I’m very excited to have better stats and my own cool route maps. (I’ve used my hubby’s maps in the past).  11 km down….2,989 km to go!

Giant Night

Giant night, roly night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon cyclist, women with smile
Holy chick so slender and riled,
Ride in safety and peace,
Ride in safety and peace

Giant night, roly night!
Cannodales quake at the sight.
Glorious streamers from ha-an-dle bars fly
Heavenly buns sing Alleluia,
A Giant fanatic is born!
A Giant fanatic is born!

Giant night, roly night!
Gift of God. You’re sure light.
Environmentally green you help set the pace
At early dawn or in evening you race,
You help me reduce my girth!
You help me reduce my girth!

Not exactly what I was looking for but click here to see the “Giant” bicycle Christmas tree.