Friday, December 21, 2012

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Shortly after my wife and I were married nearly 25 years ago, we decided that when it came time to retire, we would like to spend the summers in Vermont and the winters in a warm weather climate somewhere. We took several vacations investigating possible winter retirement destinations. The life of a “snowbird” didn’t sound so bad to us. We already had a summer place in northern Vermont on the shores of Lake Champlain. About 10 years ago, we found a place in southwest Florida that we fell in love with. It’s on a salt water canal that has direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. All that was left was for us to save up enough money so that we could actually retire.
We have spent almost every summer weekend driving from our home in Massachusetts to our summer camp in Vermont. As you can imagine, the weekends flew by. We would also try to spend at least one full week there, usually over the 4th of July week. We have been doing this for more than 25 years and never regretted any of it. For the last 10 years, we have also tried to get down to Florida as often as possible so that we could spend time there. My wife would usually manage to get down there 5 or 6 times each year. I would get there less often. We tried to spend a week or more there each year during January. We love it there too.
Earlier this year my wife was given the opportunity to retire at the end of this month. We are thrilled! However, I’m not ready to retire yet, so I needed to figure out how I was going to manage that. About 2 months ago, I decided that I would start my own consulting business. I have been doing this on and off for the last several years. But turning this into a full time thing is a little different. So now it’s real. We will be making the transition to “snowbird” status this winter.
Even though this has been our plan for many years, now that it is becoming real it’s a little scary. The new life style, the new business, etc. are all cause for some anxiety. We’re figuring things out and I know we will be fine. Since this is a cycling blog, I wanted to talk about the good, bad and ugly the impact this has on my cycling. Please understand that I know most of these things are trivial matters. Having said that, I am still surprised by the amount time I’ve spent worrying (needlessly I’m sure!) about these issues.
This move will do a lot of really good things as it relates to my cycling. But it will also create some challenges for me personally. Part of my reasons for writing this blog are cathartic. It helps to “talk this out” even if it’s only through a blog post. So here goes.
The Good – The weather.
The vast majority of my rides will be in warm temperatures. One of the reasons that I have not been willing to ride in cold and rainy weather here is because I didn’t really have the proper clothes for it. Knowing that this move was imminent, it was very difficult to justify the expense of good winter riding gear. It pained me to have to get rid of most of my winter running gear when I had to give up running many years ago. I didn’t want to go through that again if I could help it.
The Good – Time to ride.
For the most part, having my own business will allow me to ride when it’s convenient. There will be times when this isn’t possible but for the most part, I will be able to control my calendar. I love that!
The Good – Group rides.
Our lifestyle of being in Massachusetts during the week and Vermont on the weekends has made it senseless to join a cycling club. I have been riding with an informal riding group in Vermont. I love the people and enjoy riding with them but I have only been able to join them a few times. Living there all summer will allow me to plan weekday rides with them as well as justify a full Saturday or Sunday riding with them.
I have already joined a cycling club in southwest Florida, The Caloosa Riders ( Last year I attended one of their meetings to see what the people were like and what kind of a group it is. Although it’s hard to tell from one meeting, they seemed to be a good group. I’m looking forward to getting to know them and riding with them in the future.
I am also interested in becoming a Randonneur. Although there isn’t a club exactly in my area, there are two that have events in my area. The Central Florida Randonneurs ( are located in the Orlando area. I have spoken with one of their members so I have the right contact there. The other group is The South Florida Randonneurs ( They are located in the Miami area. Both groups have rides that would be accessible to my area in southwest Florida. I haven’t been in touch with anyone in that group yet but I suspect I will be. Again, I look forward to more group rides.
The Good – There is a new road bike in my future
Our plans are to drive back and forth some years, and fly back and forth other years. As a result, I decided it made sense to have a road bike at each location. (Doesn’t it always make more sense to justify another bike when possible?) I will be driving my boat down to Florida in late February. Shortly after I arrive, I will be looking for my new bike. I never bought a new bike so this will be fun … and a little nerve racking! There are so many good choices. My budget will get me into the low end of carbon fiber bikes. As such, my short list includes Felt Z3, SCOTT CR1, Cervelo R3 and Specialized Roubaix. I’m not sure these will all be in my budget, but they will be close. I’ve only ridden the Felt, so I have some test rides to complete too! Now there is something to look forward to.
The Bad – Lack of hills
I love riding the hills I have in Eastern Massachusetts. I’m not particularly good at them, but I’m getting better. Regardless, I love them!! I love the challenge of climbing the hills and the reward of the downhill afterwards. And what could be better than riding quickly along rolling hills through wooded and winding roadways! Sometimes I even notice the smile on my face as I am riding along roads like this. Granted, I will still have some beautiful hills when we are in Vermont, but I’m afraid my Florida rides might be a little boring. I’m hopeful that my new riding club will introduce me to some nicer routes than what I’m aware of now.
The Ugly – Transition to the hills of Vermont
I would imagine that the first few weeks riding in Vermont each spring will be difficult. After spending 6 or 7 months riding mostly flats, the hills will be tough! The first few hilly rides might get pretty ugly!!
We are very lucky to be able to move into this new phase of our lives. Although I am a bit anxious about many of these issues, I am looking forward to making this transition to “snow bird” status. We have a lot to do over the next several months, but a good part of the enjoyment comes from the journey.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yes, but will you WIN?

In my running days, I ran somewhere between 25 and 35 races each year. Most of my races were between 10 miles and the full marathon. Some of these races were more important to me than others, but I tried to do my best in all of them. One question I used to get from time to time was, will you win? Granted, this question came from my non-running friends.

I was in the Open division. The winner of almost every race came from the Open division. So the chances of me actually winning a race was somewhere between slim and none. Actually, my chances were much closer to none. I really didn’t stand a chance of winning an age group either. So when answering the question, I used to answer “no”, and then go to great explaining that I had certain goals for each race and that meeting or achieving those goals was my “win”. Their eyes would usually glaze over somewhere right after the “no”.
Then one Saturday, I found myself at the starting line of a small 10k that I thought I might actually win. Recovering from 2 stress fractures in my foot, I was not yet running my best. I was improving and still had hopes of running Boston. The qualifying time for the Men’s Open category was 2:50:00. Since I managed to qualify, I hated to waste it. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to run my best there, I thought I should be able to do okay. I digress.
The race was sponsored by the good people at Make a Wish Foundation. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, they are a large charity raising money through a lot of different ventures so that they can grant a last wish to a terminally ill child. This was a first year event so I expected the turnout to be small. That’s one of the reasons I chose this race. No pressure. I did expect it to be very well organized since they had many resources at their disposal.
I showed up about an hour before race time. I am the first one there. No one is there except me. I figured I must have screwed up and went to the wrong place. As I was trying to decide what to do, a pickup truck pulls up and starts setting up a table. I ask them if they are there for the 10k. They are. Whew! So maybe this won’t be the best organized race going, but I don’t really care. This was really a test of my foot and my recovery. People start to show up and they are slowly getting their act together.
As race time draws near, it’s clear that we are not going to start on time. My car was not close to the starting line. It was a cold, March morning so I didn’t want to take off my sweats until the last possible moment. But they are running much later than even I thought. There were 25 or 30 of us kind of bouncing up and down in an effort to keep warm while they went into great detail about what it is they do. They tell us that the course is an out and back. There is a barrel in the road at the turn-around point. They remind us that this is a marathon. What?! All the runners look at each other with great concern. This is supposed to be a 10k! Finally someone points this out to the race director who responds with a “yes, a 10k marathon”.
I guess they’re new at this. All the runners got a good laugh out of this description but were quite relieved that it was in fact a 10k. Like I said earlier, I was sizing up the runners and I only saw one guy that I thought was certain to beat me. Of course I’ve been wrong before. So I tried not to get too excited. The race director asks us all to step up to the starting line. The race was to go off in 1 minute. Just then, a full-fledged press truck pulls out in front of the starting line. No kidding!! The truck was loaded up with photographers and a video crew. Really!! It was quite what you’d see for the Boston Marathon, but still!
The gun sounds and we’re off. My race strategy was that my first mile was my slowest with subsequently faster miles as I ran the race. When I say slower, I mean only a few seconds slower. This seemed to allow me to stay relaxed and get into a nice rhythm for the race. I was hoping to run 6 minute miles so my goal was to run the race right around 37 minutes. I felt like I was doing a good job of running my pace. I had the one guy I thought would give me a run for my money running next to me. For the first ½ mile, we had to run to the side of the press truck because they were moving too slow. We did share a laugh with each other that they would even have a press truck for this race.
We got to the first mile split and I checked my time. 6 minutes on the dot. Perfect. I guess it wasn’t so perfect for my new found running friend though. He said something like I can’t hold this pace or this is too fast or some such thing. At any rate, I immediately found myself running alone. Well, me and the press truck. (Was I supposed to wave to them?) I thought I might not ever win a race, but at least I’m leading for a while.
It was really cool being in the lead, even if this was a very small race. Around 2.5 miles a guy catches up to me and starts chatting. I’m wondering who this guy is.  He just caught me and wants to have a conversation. Clearly I don’t stand a chance. Then he asks me if this is a race or something. I answer his question along with a few others and then he peels off. Again, I am alone in front. I have no idea how big my lead is, but I’m in front.
We get to the turn-around point barrel and I start heading back. I was amazed to find that I had a huge lead! The person in second place was 800 meters or more behind. I thought I might actually win! I was feeling good and was certain I could maintain this pace if not actually get a little quicker. I didn’t dare turn-around for fear someone would be on my shoulder. I ran assuming someone was on my shoulder. I was running 6 minute miles, which felt easy. After all, this race was like a sprint to me.
I managed to extend my lead during the second half of the race and was shocked to find that I won my very first race! Although my time was slow compared to my marathon-ready times, it wasn’t bad. Although I am certain that I ran very close to 6 minute miles. My finishing time was 35:50, which would be something like a 5:48 pace. I really don’t think I was in that kind of shape so I suspect this was really closer to 6 miles even.
I had my first win. I was hoping that I might get a ribbon or a little medal or some remembrance of my first and probably only win. After everyone finished, they made the announced the male and female winners. They said that they could give us our plaques when they held their annual awards dinner in November. Don’t worry though. We would each receive 2 complimentary tickets to the dinner.
At this point, I wasn’t too sure this was going to happen. But as November rolled around, we did in fact receive our 2 tickets. We showed up at the dinner. It was huge!! There must have been 500 people there! It turns out that this dinner was for everything they did the previous year. It was a very nice, upscale event. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres followed by a very nice dinner. As people were finishing up dinner they began with the awards.
They went through a lot of awards for many very deserving people receiving recognition for their hard work over the past year. At long last, they got to the 10k Marathon! (They were still calling it this.) They started off by running clips form the video they made during the race. It seemed to go on forever. I was so embarrassed!! The video seemed to run long to me so I can only imagine how boring it must have been to everyone else there.
Following the video, they announced the female and male winners and had both of us come up to receive our plaques. I was shocked! They made up beautiful plaques engraved with our names and of course, the 10k Marathon Winner. We then stood to have our pictures taken with everyone there who was anyone. Even though I was highly embarrassed by the extent of their recognition, I was thrilled to have such a beautiful commemoration for what did in fact turn out to be my only win.
Yes, but will you win? Maybe.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Faith-based Training - You Gotta Believe


I used to be a runner. I used to be a marathoner. I used to love training. I used to love racing. It all seemed so simple. It all seemed so black & white. It all seemed so natural. But was it really? Or was I remembering what it was like towards the end of my running career and forgetting what it was like when I first started?
To me, the formula was pretty simple. Build a solid base of miles in the “off season”. That meant running about 45 miles per week. Marathon training required that I up the mileage to a base of 70 miles 12 weeks before my target marathon. 8 weeks would do in a pinch. 2 days each week of track intervals. 2 days each week of tempo runs. 1 day each week for a 20 miler. And 2 days where I let my body tell me what I should to do. Simple.
Due to a running injury, I had to have knee surgery to repair a simple tear. The expectation was that I would be grounded for a week, maybe two. I never would have guessed that my short run the morning of my scheduled surgery would be my last run. The surgery was a complete success. In fact, I was walking 9 holes of golf and carrying my golf clubs on a hilly course only 6 days after my surgery.
The problem was that my surgeon found a different problem once he got a look inside my knee. I have no lubrication in my knees. The result is bone on bone scraping with every step I take. The wear and tear from running is anywhere from 20 to 30 times worse than it is from walking. My surgeon estimated that I would like need replacement surgery in 3 to 5 years if I kept running. That was more than 13 years ago.
Return to Rookie-hood
I tried many exercise routines to replace running. It was 10 or 11 years before I finally tried road cycling. The initial investment just to try cycling was a bit steep. I didn’t want to make that initial investment only to discover I really didn’t care for road cycling. But once I tried it, I fell in love with it immediately. I didn’t really know what I was doing.
My only goal early on was to ride as often as I could and build a solid base of miles. I knew from marathon running that anything I would want to try later on would require a solid base of miles. It seemed logical to me that the same thing would be true of road cycling. I didn’t know anything about the sport, not even from a spectator perspective. But I knew it would take some time to build that solid base of miles.
Organized Event
When I first started riding I thought I wanted to participate in bike races. I thought bike racing would be comparable to road racing. I was very disappointed to learn that I could not be more wrong. I think of the two kind of like this. RUNNER: I finished my first marathon in 5 hours. REACTION FROM OTHER RUNNERS: Fantastic!! Congratulations!! You are now a marathoner!!! And on and on it goes. Compare that to Cycling races. CYCLIST: I finished my first Century bike race and I didn’t get dropped from the peloton until the 80 mile mark. REACTION FROM OTHER CYCLISTS: So, are you going to throw your bike in the dump and burn the cycling kit? Okay, maybe a little bit of an exaggeration, but not too much.
A little over a year ago I participated in my first century ride. With no previous long distance cycling experience, I wanted to be sure that my training was going to be enough for me to achieve my primary goal, to finish. At the time, I only knew one person who had completed a century ride. Even he had only one century ride under his belt so his ability to help me was limited.
I was very fortunate to find a few long distance cyclists on dailymile ( who were able to provide some great information. I should take this opportunity to specifically thank dailymile friend Richard C. for patiently answering all my questions, sending me detailed information on hydration and calorie requirements, Heart Rate profiles and pacing recommendations along with a large number of other great bits of information.
I knew what I had to do as a marathon running to be successful. I had no idea what I needed to be successful as a Century cyclist. In fact, I wasn’t really sure what success was. Talk about operating at a deficit! But I knew I needed to have a training plan. Instead of being able to turn the information I was getting and turning it into a solid training plan, I was becoming overwhelmed. I really just wanted a training plan. How many days should I ride each week? How far should I ride each day? What kind of intensity should I be putting into each ride? If I can ride x miles in y time, how fast will my century ride be?
Clearly it wasn’t going to be that easy.
I did numerous searches for century ride training programs for century rides. I found plans that talked about how many days each week I should ride. I found training plans that told me what my heart rate should be on each ride. I found training plans that told me how many watts I should be pushing on each ride.
Not that it was part of the training per se, but complicating all this was getting amazing, detailed information about how many calories I should be taking in each hour, how much water and electrolyte replacement drink I should be taking in each hour, and the most critical of all, my bum hurt seemingly all the time!
Training plans seemed to go from the ridiculously simple, very low mileage plans designed to get someone across the century finish line. Eventually. Not that I knew what that would be for me, but there was no emphasis whatsoever on time. Other plans were so ridiculously complex and detailed, that I was completely lost on how I could possibly participate in such a plan on my own.
Even though I had no previous experience riding century rides, I knew none of what I found would be right for me. What was wrong with these plans? Some of them were written by highly respected cycling coaches. Some were designed by cycling teams and proven over time. Some were far too conservative, or at least I thought they were. I wasn’t really sold on tracking my training according to an HR monitor, so that wasn’t going to work for me. I wasn’t going to buy a Power Tap, so using WATTS wasn’t an option.
That got me thinking back to my marathon training. Why did I feel so confident in that? Well the bottom line was experience, sure. But it was more than that. The real difference was that I believed in what I was doing. It wasn’t even a question. It was a simple fact. Talk about faith!! So I do I use this concept of “faith-based” training. That’s what I needed.
So what is “faith-based” training? I think it’s pretty simple really. The components are:
·         Believable
·         Manageable
·         Flexible
·         Enjoyable
Believable: I honestly believe there are any number of training plans that will help me be successful. No matter which plan you choose, it has to be a plan that you believe in. If this plan is coming from your coach, then you have to first believe in the coach. If you don’t, it’s going to be difficult to buy into any plan that s/he is proposing. Believing in the coach can go a long way, but you still have to believe in the plan. That means that specific plan for YOU. Sure, that plan got elite athletes to achieve their goals, but I’m not an elite athlete. So it has to be believable … for you.
Manageable: The training plan has to fit your schedule and your life. We all give up certain things when we are training. Expect to make sacrifices. Most of us have families and jobs that require a certain amount of our time. Maybe drinks with the gang after work, or you need to get your spouse to help get the kids on the bus in the morning. But it can’t be such a drastic departure from our normal lives that we simply can’t stick to it.
Flexible: The plan should be specific enough to be clear on what needs to be done on any given day. But it should be general enough to provide overall goals for the week. For example, I used to plan my track workouts Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sometimes I had to travel out of town. I could almost always get a run in while I was away. But to get a long run or a track workout done was much more difficult. So I might have to do my track intervals on Monday one week and skip the second one. I might even do a little more since I would only be doing that workout once that particular week. But I was confident that the plan still gave me plenty of quality to achieve my goals.
Enjoyable: You might have thought this last item to be a bit odd. But I think this is essential to faith-based training. Whether your goal is to run a 5k, complete a century ride or complete an ironman, training is hard! That’s part of why these goals are important to us. Because it’s hard! If you don’t enjoy the training that’s required to get you there, it will be very difficult if not impossible to stick with it over a period of many weeks. First of all, I competed in events that I enjoyed the most. I did run the occasional 5k, but I much preferred longer distances. As a result, almost all of my races were 10 miles or more. That’s what I enjoyed.
Does that mean I always enjoyed my track workouts? Absolutely not. Did I always enjoy my 20 mile runs? Usually, but not always. I found that I preferred running 400’s on the track over fartlek on the roads. I found I liked to compete against myself and the track would allow me to do that. I found I enjoyed running with other people, so I worked it out so I could run track intervals on days when others would also be running intervals. On weekends, I would sometimes drive 15 or 20 miles to meet friends who were also running 20 miles that day. Even though it was hard, I can honestly say I looked forward to almost every workout.
So what did I do for my training before my first century ride? I used faith-based training to develop a plan I could believe in. It might not have been the most efficient plan or be the best plan and it might not have allowed me to get the most out of my abilities. But it did allow me to achieve my goals for my first century and have fun training for it.
Specifically, I “talked” to as many people as I could find. I read as many articles as I could get my hands on. I tried to ride as much as I could. And in the end, I believed I would be able to complete my first century ride, complete it within a self-imposed time frame and enjoy the experience.
Looking back a year and a half at that first century ride, it remains a very special event for me. It is not my fastest. But it is my favorite. I learned a lot from that first ride. I learned that I was not doing enough high intensity rides. I learned that I needed to incorporate more hills into my training, at least if I planned on riding hilly century rides. And I learned that I loved it, all because I relied on faith-based training. You gotta believe.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Vermont Cycling Pictures

Vermont Cycling Pictures - I was reviewing some of my cycling pictures over the weekend. I decided to put together a slide show for a nice summary from my weekend rides in Vermont. The video can be found on YouTube at I hope you enjoy the photos.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Thank You Notes from a Cyclist

The following is my attempt at some dark cycling humor. The style is based on the "Thank You Notes" seen on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Enjoy!

  • Thank you The Law’s the Law, for allowing me to clean your side mirror, because you refuse to cross the center line as you drive past, even when there is no oncoming traffic.
  • Thank you Accident Free, for giving me the entire lane, as you pass by me drifting into oncoming traffic leaving a wake of destruction in your path.
  • Thank you Right is Right, for giving me the opportunity to test my brakes, as you zoom by me immediately prior to making a sudden right turn directly in front of me.
  • Thank you The Lane’s All Mine, for letting me showoff my ability to ride the “high wire”, as you hug the shoulder at intersections.
  • Thank you 2 Wrongs Don’t Make a Right, but 3 Left’s Do, for helping me demonstrate my quick reflexes, as you make your left turn in front of me as I enter the intersection.
  • Thank you Horn Blower, for help me attain my maximum heart rate, by honking your horn as you begin to pass.
  • Thank you Share the Roads – NOT!, for motivating and inspiring me to have the best ride possible, as you scream and yell as you drive by.
  • Thank you Noise Maker, for helping me to go deaf, creating a serine and peaceful riding experience, by installing excruciatingly load mufflers on your tin can of a car and gunning the engine as you pull up next to me.
  • Thank you Quick Stop, for constantly testing the maximum braking power of your vehicle, just before you enter the road I am riding.

Monday, September 24, 2012

1,000 Days

September 26, 2012 will be my 1,000th consecutive day of cycling. (Coincidentally, this is my mother’s birthday.) It wasn’t always easy. It wasn’t always sensible. But it did always happen, at least for the last 1,000 days. I have ridden a minimum of 10 miles on each ride. I’ve ridden the road bike, the mountain bike, my Florida commuter bike, the stationary bike, the Cycle Ops trainer and even my wife’s bike in order to get a ride in every day.

I’ve also had my share of mechanicals along the way. Most of these were flat tires that I managed to patch or replace the tubes and make it safely home. A few times, I had to stop several times to pump more air into the tire in order to make it home. During a Florida ride, I took 3 nails in the same tire and had to call my wife to rescue me. And once I had to call a taxi to get me home after discovering the unopened glue in my patch kit was dry as a bone and my spare tube already had a puncture.

I have enjoyed the beauty that is New England by riding many of the roads in Northwest Vermont, Eastern Massachusetts, touches of Rhode Island and New Hampshire, some of Southwest Florida and even a little smidgen of Quebec. My trips have taken me past Walden Pond, Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, Little Women and the Lexington Battle Green. I have seen ospreys, great blue herons, great white herons, burrowing owls and egrets to name a few. I have also met new cycling friends from Massachusetts, Florida and Massachusetts as well as my numerous friends from around the globe on dailymile (

I managed to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol, drop 25 pounds and all but eliminate the severe pain in my surgically repaired knees. To be honest, I’ve still got more gut to cut. Along the way, I have had a few scrapes, bumps and bruises but no worse than what the average child gets on the playground. I have had to work through extreme wrist tenderness and butt pain. A focus on cycling form has done wonders for the wrists.  And thanks to several dailymile friends, the discovery of Chamois Buttr’ has proven to be a miracle ointment for the bum!!

Most if not all of these things could have been achieved without riding every single day. So why do I do it? Honestly, there is one simple reason. When I miss one day of cycling, too often that turns into a week or more before I’m back on the bike. By asking the question: “WHEN will I get my ride in today?” instead of: “Will I get my ride in today?”, I can maintain the consistency I desire and need in order to improve as a cyclist. Although I am still a novice at this sport and not really very good at it, I have improved and learned a lot. Although like many things, the more you learn about something, the more you realize you don’t know.

Although I am very pleased with my cycling streak, I wish I had the discipline of many of my dailymile friends to take rest days, recovery days and incorporate a great variety of cross training into their workouts. I know that would be much healthier and in fact, help me improve more quickly. But for me, it doesn’t work that way. I spend too much time restarting my training. For me, that isn’t the fun part. I love heading out for a ride on a beautiful day where I feel like there are no limits to where I can go or how long I can ride.

 During the winter months, I spend a lot of time on the indoor trainer or the Cycle Ops trainer. It’s not always easy to sit in the same place while pedaling 20, 30, 40 miles or more. What motivates me to sit there and get the miles in during those cold and dreary months is the thought of that first springtime ride. There’s nothing like heading out in March or April for a long ride and feel good doing it!

I’ve had a lot of help keeping this streak alive. Family and friends have been mostly supportive, even if they don’t necessarily understand it. My dailymile friends have been very supportive, motivating and inspiring through thick and thin. My family also thanks the dailymile community for providing me with an outlet for my cycling commentaries and providing me with an ear so they don’t have to.

I know the streak will end one day. I’ll be disappointed when it does, but I know it’s bound to happen. Until then, I’ll keep cycling and counting the days.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hollistion - Wayland Loop w/ Side Trip to S. Natick
42.25 mi 02:26 17.4mph pace
Another perfect day!! 85 degrees, sunny and virtually no breeze!! Even with that, I didn't feel very motivated to do anything more than go for an enjoyable ride. So that's what I did.

I felt pretty good today. The only left over effect from yesterday's ride was that my hamstrings were a little tired. That is unusual for me. It is usually my quads that are tired or even sore when I have been riding hard or riding a lot. Yesterday I was working on a better pedal stroke. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think I am still pushing down rather a balance between pushing and pulling. The exercise I have been doing is to imagine I am pulling my foot towards the rear derailleur. This usually causes a cramp in my hammys after only a short while. As a result, it is difficult to practice this for very long. I was able to work on this much longer yesterday than I have in the past.

Today was mostly about enjoying the time in the saddle. The ride through downtown Framingham was better than average. I still caught some red traffic lights but it seemed to me that drivers were much more courteous than usual. With heavy traffic, tricky intersections and pedestrians darting across the road, this made the trip through that section much more enjoyable.

I had a very nice ride through Ashland, Holliston, Sherborn and into Natick. I got a phone call in South Natick so I stopped to take the call. I still had another mile to go before I headed back to my standard loop. After the call, I made a right turn on a road I have never been on. As it turned out, most of the mile was a gradual uphill leading to Lookout Farm. I pulled into their driveway. Despite the climb, I failed to find a decent view from there. Maybe you have to go onto the farm in order to see where they got the name for the farm.

The return ride home was somewhat uneventful. "Uneventful" is something I strive for when traveling by air. It's not always a bad thing with cycling either. :-) The section through downtown Natick and Wayland has a lot of traffic lights. I managed to catch most of them! Ugh!! I also had to come to a stop because some idiot ... I mean impatient driver ... was across the lane waiting for traffic to clear so that he could make a left turn. I gave him my best glare, but he didn't really seem to care. But at least he was also on the phone. SCREAM!!!!

I started pressing a little more during the last 6 miles. I was getting tired and a little low on fuel. I had planned on leaving for my ride earlier than I did, so it had been quite awhile since I had eaten. It wasn't as bad as an all out bonk, but I was clearly feeling a little low on fuel.

This ride was just what I needed. An easy, no pressure ride. Just enjoy the time in the saddle. Check!