Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

After a little bit of snow on Friday morning, which melted away quickly, we had some great weather again this weekend.  I was absolutely delighted to go for a run on both Saturday and Sunday.  On Sunday, I worked a trip to the drug store into my loop.  It was fun to get an errand done without driving anywhere.

We've been lucky so far this fall with such mild weather in Michigan.  I know it's only a matter of time before it turns for the worse.  I'm planning to use any money that I get for my birthday and Christmas to buy a new pair of running shoes and a bike trainer, so I can continue to work out indoors.  I'm planning to do a tri probably in June, so I'll have to start training in February or March.  I've been doing a little research on the lower priced trainers - under $300 - but I'd love to try one out before I buy since I've never really used one before.

The Rapid Wheelmen are going to have trainer days at two of the local bike shops during the winter.  I think I'll go to one and see if I can try out some different models.

Does anyone have experience with a trainer that they like in my price range?  What are the pros and cons of the model?

Monday, November 23, 2009


We've had relatively lovely weather this week.  Not that it hasn't rained at all, but the sun has come through a noticably large amount and the temperatures have stayed around 50 degrees F.  Really nice for fall outdoor riding and running.

Unfortunately, I've spent the last several days recovering from a stomach flu and haven't been outside for more than a walk around the block.

I'm all better now and seriously itching to get out for some kind of exercise.  I've got to claw out of the grey sky feeling and get back into a routine.  I welcome the approaching long weekend and will surely delight in working off some of the many calories I eat on Thanksgiving day.

Bring on the turkey...and the bike!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Indian Summer

What a beautiful weekend here in Grand Rapids.  After an unusually cold spell in early November, we had an unusually warm spell this weekend.  Even though I had many tasks that I could have done around the house, I just had to take the opportunity to hop on my bike and enjoy some miles in the sun.

Friday night I rode about 10.5 miles before it got too dark.  Then I got up early Saturday morning to ride 25 miles before going to my niece's 4th birthday party.

As I rode, I discovered that the entire Kent Trail system has been repaved since I rode it last.  Wow!  That is some nice smooth asphault.  No more bumps from sub-pavement tree roots or wheel swallowing pot holes.  In my rush to get outside, I forgot to take my camera with me, so sorry I don't have any photos.  But picture gray twiggy trees arching over a brown leaf covered path.  Despite the lifelessness of the trees, the scene was still kind of pretty.  Just wait until all the tree branches have a dusting of fresh, sparkling snow on them.  Not that I'm in a hurry for the snow to arrive.

In fact, I have a friend who recently moved to Michigan from California.  She keeps hearing about the cold and snowy winters and wondering what that will be like.  I honestly wouldn't mind if this type of weather continued until spring and she never found out!

Monday, November 9, 2009


In.  Workout.  Withdrawl.  Must find time to exercise.  Tonight.  Must be tonight.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Biking in St. Louis

The hubby and I travelled to St. Louis this weekend for a friend's wedding.  The trip on Friday was under clouds and rain.  Despite the weather, after several hours sitting on planes, the hubby and I decided to take a walk in Forest Park before getting ready for a wedding rehearsal in the evening.  The fall colors were still beautiful.  We discovered a little nook called Turtle Park.

Pondering the life of a giant turtle.

It was a fierce battle, and in the end...

...the hubby conquered...

...but I was eaten.

We awoke Saturday morning to a lovely, sunny day in our Old English style hotel called the Cheshire Lodge.

The bear makes an effective security guard, don't you think?

One of the rooms contained a display of photographs from St. Louis history.  I was particularly excited about this one.

The caption reads: "1932 6-day bicycle race at the Coliseum"

After exploring the hotel, I left the hubby to prepare for his best man duties and met the bride and bridesmaids for breakfast.  While they were getting their hair and makeup done at the salon, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful day.  I found a bike shop next door to the salon that rented bikes for $5/hour.  I got myself a road bike and headed to Forest Park.

After about 20 glorious minutes of coasting down leaf-covered, curving trails, I realized that my rental car key had fallen out of my coat pocket.  Oh no!  I turned around and began back tracking to look for it.  After the first pass, I hadn't spotted it.  I was beginning to wonder how much Alamo would charge to bail me out.  But on the second pass, I saw that precious little white key tag at the side of the trail and did a little dance of relief.

The park was wonderful to ride through!  It seems like St. Louis has a pretty strong cycling community - at least in the area of the park.  There were lycra-clad roadies, families with kids, young people on mountain bikes...a great mix of folks getting outside and active.

The Jewel Box

At The Muny opera

I didn't have time to see the zoo, the museums, the Worlds Fair pavillion and the many other fun sites of Forest Park.  But the hour and a half on the bike made me feel so good!  Except next time, I'll rent a bike with a more jeans-friendly saddle. ;)

After that, I returned my rental bike to the shop and headed downtown to the Hilton on the Ballpark to help the wedding party get ready for photographs.  There were some great backdrops for pictures.

The Old Courthouse and the Arch

The hubby and I under the Arch, glowing in the sun

The wedding ceremony was very nice and the reception was fun as always.

Finally, this morning we left the Cheshire, filled up our rental car and headed for the airport.

This has to be the biggest AMOCO sign in the world.  At a BP station.

I thought that St. Louis was a cool city with what appears to be a growing cycling community.  I'll have to read more about it.  It was fun to visit, but now it's good to be home in Grand Rapids.