Monday, July 20, 2009

Biking with Beanzie

On Sunday I completed 105 miles of riding during the "Biking with Beanzie" organized bike ride. The ride started at the DeKalb High School and offered course options of 23, 46, 64 or 105 miles. The 105 mile route took us through Lake Shabbona State Park and the Lee County windmill farm. It also took us over many gently rolling hills. I've learned that gently rolling in cycling terms has about as much credibility as marathon courses that are described as fast and flat.

A couple of highlights from the ride: I purchased two adorable little rubber ducks (one for Madison and one for Ella) with the Beanzie beanie hat w/ propeller on top of their heads. I figured it would be good luck to carry these lucky ducks with me on the ride, so they went into the bag under my seat. Poor little ducks had to pedal those little legs like crazy!

Each participant also received a lovely bright pink shirt with the "Biking with Beanzie" logo in neon green. You can't miss me in that shirt.

At the first rest stop, I put my sunglasses on top of my helmet (which remained on my head), so that I could refill my fluid bottles. As Renee and I started riding again, I commented on how much brighter it seemed to be. I was thinking that the overcast skies were beginning to open up a bit. About 1 mile down the road I realized the sky was brighter, because, well the sky was brighter without my sunglasses. Just then a female came riding alongside of me and reported that my sunglasses had flown off the top of my helmet. I was about to turn around to go fetch them, when she said another rider was bringing them up to me. And sure enough, there he was, sunglasses in hand and passed off to me. I felt like I had a Team Car with me like the riders in the Tour de France.

And then, the peleton went flying by me. Ah yes, just like the Tour de France.

I also learned that a scenic tour through a state park means HILLS. Scenic? Yes. Flat? No!

After we exited the state park, we eventually faced a decision-making point. We could either turn right for the 46 or 64 mile routes, or go straight for the 105 mile course. We elected to go for the century ride. Game on!

One of the sections (between rest stops) was particularly difficult. It seemed to be one series of hills after another. Each turn would bring the hopeful anticipation that this new road would not be so hilly. Each turn greeted us with even more gently rolling hills. We were very glad to have that section over with and start heading back towards DeKalb.

On to the important information - SNACKS! Primarily I ate bagels with PB and jelly, with a few handfuls of trail mix and a few chips (for the salt). I tried to primarily eat the food I had with me on my bike, and just refill my bottles with Gatorade and water.

At our second to last rest stop we were at approximately mile 86. We were closing in on the 90 mile mark, but 100+ miles still seemed very far away. It didn't help to see a male rider declare that he was done for the day. We watched as he put his bike in the back of the pickup truck, and settled in the passenger seat for a ride back to the high school. There was only one thing to do - get back on those bikes and start riding.

My treat to myself after completing the ride? Starbuck's of course! Followed by a 2 hour drive home. It was a good day and a very well organized ride. I'll be back next year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What's Most Important is Invisible

Yesterday I found myself drawn into part of Michael Jackson's memorial service. I didn't expect to find myself engaged in watching it, but I was captured first by Brooke Shield's eulogy. She talked about the commonality she and Michael had as a result of being performers at a very young age. She talked about how they shared the experience of needing to be mature, focused, and constantly perform well. During the moments they spent together as friends (apparently they also dated for a short time) they most enjoyed laughing, being silly and not be so adult for a brief respite from their life as a performer.

Then Brooke shared a quote from the children's book "The Little Prince". I know I've read that book before although I don't recall being enthralled by it. The quote she shared was quite profound: "Eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart. What's most important is invisible."