Bike MS Training: Rapha Women’s 100 Ride

For the third year running Rapha invited women the world over to join the challenge of riding 100km on the same day. Last year over 8,000 cyclists participated in the Rapha Women’s 100 either by joining Rapha or ambassador-led rides, organizing or participating in one of over 350 Women’s 100 rides run locally, or riding solo to complete the distance. This past weekend, Mellow Johnny’s hosted a 68 mile ride in Austin on Sunday that hundreds of women turned out for. I’ve never seen so many women cyclists at once before!

The ride started out in a giant group which was a little tricky and felt somewhat dangerous to ride in. At the first rest stop, I broke away with a small group of other women who felt the same way that I did. After about 10 miles we got sucked up in the larger group again, but then at the second rest stop we again broke away and stayed out in front for the rest of the ride.

The route was on many roads that I’ve been on before so I didn’t get as many photos, but I did make some new friends!

On Saturday I road 4o miles as part of my training plan.

If you missed my first post about Bike MS Training, this is my 9th year riding in Bike MS and this year I’ve chosen to ride Bike MS: The Road Divided. The ride takes place in Oklahoma on September 24 – 25, 2016 and goes from Norman to Guthrie to Stillwater. Can you support my participation in Bike MS by donating to the National MS Society?

The Rapha  100 started from Mellow Johnny’s:

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Lots of women had “Team Snacks” kits on, which I now know is a local cycling club.

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We rode on many of the roads that I often ride on weekends, so I didn’t actually take that many photos, especially when part of the large group.

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My breakaway group after the first rest stop:

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Pausing at the second rest stop:

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Another Independent Fabrication bike!

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After the third rest stop, we got on the Southern Walnut Creek Trail to make our way downtown. Thank goodness for the shady parts, because it was HOT by then.

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Bike Training August 1 & 2: El Diablo Ride and a Birthday run

 

 

Only 5 more training weekends until the Bike MS Rock’n Hot Ride. The ride goes from Little Rock, AR to Hot Springs and back over two days. This year, I’m riding in memory of my godmother Barbara Hoffman who died of MS in December 2014. Please consider supporting my participation in the ride by donating to the National MS Society.

On August 1st, Bicycle Sport Shop hosted the El Diablo poker ride, which visited all 3 of their shops. At each shop and the finish we collected a card. Later that evening at the benefit party for the Texas High School Mountain Bike League we got the final card. My hand was definitely not a winner, but at least I got a pair of 8s. I rode 12 miles down to Bicycle Sport Shop before the ride started and then rode 58 miles on the El Diablo ride for a total of 70 for the day.

I started out from home as the sun was coming up. Good morning, moon!

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I checked in with the small crowd at BSS Lamar.

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The route took me on a number of roads I haven’t been on before and had a good amount of climbing. Spicewood Springs road west of 360 has nice shady curves, but a decent amount of traffic and no shoulder. Also, a cemetery.

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Cool cliffs sometime before making it to the Parmer store.

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After the Parmer store, we rode some big hills in the Spicewood / Balcones neighborhoods and went by the golf course:

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Riding along a ridge:

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Pretty neighborhood:

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You can’t really tell, but this was after making it up a giant hill on Rain Creek Parkway:

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Stopping at the Research Store:

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Going back downtown we crossed the pedestrian bridge:

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At the end of that ride Carl met me downtown and we had lunch before he drove me and my bike back home.

Sunday, August 2nd was our friend Jordan’s birthday. He runs his age in miles each year for his birthday. Since he’s approximately my age you can assume that this is quite an impressive feat. I decided to ride part of his route with him so I set out from our house early.

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I met him on the Southern Walnut Creek Trail. Carl met up with us on his bike shortly thereafter and we rode together and chatted with Jordan while he ran.

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We rode down to the end of the trail with him where Hannah was waiting to run the rest of the way with him (about 8 miles).

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From there Carl and I rode back to his car and joined the runners at Barton Springs Pool for a quick swim before lunch. I rode 30 miles for the day.

Bike training on the Dam(n) Loop: July 18 & 19

It’s official! I’ve set up my fundraising page for the Rock’n Hot Bike MS Ride and made the first donation, so now you can too! I’ve been training for this ride for most of this summer and I’ve got 6 weeks left until I ride from Little Rock to Hot Springs, Arkansas and back. The ride is an out and back with the Saturday overnight in Hot Springs. 70 miles each direction with 3800 ft of climbing.

This year I’m riding in memory of my godmother Barbara Hoffman who passed away from Multiple Sclerosis in December 2014.

On the weekend of July 18 & 19 I rode a total of 93 training miles. On Saturday, I rode a particularly hilly 60 mile route known locally as the Dam Loop although this time I modified it to take Southwest Parkway instead of Bee Caves road to add some miles.

Me and my shadow on Loop 360:

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The cliffs are stained from all of the rain this spring:

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Bridge over Lake Austin:

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Such a pretty day:

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Nice fountain and view from 620:

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The lighthouse:

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You can just barely make out the lake in the distance. It’s so nice to see it so full!

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Crossing in front of Mansfield Dam:

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On Sunday I rode a route south from home and picked up the Southern Walnut Creek Trail. First I was greeted by a terribly torn up road, miserable to ride on:

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View of Decker Lake in the distance:

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The trail:

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Handful of sunflowers:

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A bit overgrown in places:

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Very modern house next to a very run down house in east Austin:

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Sunday’s ride was 33 miles.

Check back soon for my latest ride update!

Bike training, March 1st: North to Bertram

It’s that time of year when my schedule gets crazy, so I sometimes have to be creative to work in my Bike MS training. This weekend, we had plans to head out to Enchanted Rock State Park with some friends on Saturday. The weather forecast for Sunday was cold and rainy so I devised a plan to ride from home, north on Parmer Lane, and then west to Bertram where my husband would pick me up along our route to Enchanted Rock.

Saturday morning started out foggy and misty. Can you see the droplets on my glasses in my selfie?

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Five miles from home, my rear tire flatted for the first time on this bike. It happened on a bridge and I walked my bike down to the bottom. I changed the tube, which was surprisingly easier to do than changing the tube on my other bike. Unfortunately, I quickly realized that I couldn’t inflate the new tube. One cyclist pulled over and tried to help me with the CO2 cartridge, which I couldn’t get to work. He let me try his hand pump, but that didn’t work either. I called my husband to come help me. Right after I made the call, a very nice woman pulled over who was on her way to a ride that was delayed because of the weather. After trying her floor pump, I knew for certain my new tube was shot. I found a giant hole in it when I removed it. It was definitely a manufacturing defect. The woman gave me a new tube, I put it in and pumped it up. My husband pulled up and I no longer needed his help. Thank you stranger!

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I continued along my route, 45 minutes delayed. Around Andice, the skies finally started to clear. I passed a number of cemeteries with colorful flowers.

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In Andice I went by the General Store and a new church building.

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Along the route, I came to the end of a road where I had to turn and these cows were intently watching me.

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Big sky!

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After not seeing other cyclists for quite a while, I was coming close to Bertram. The last few miles had more car traffic than I’d seen in a while and I happened across this group of recreational cyclists.

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A very long, straight road.

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Creek crossing.

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Putting my bike on the car in Bertram – work my yellow Alaska jersey that has a bear, mountains, and flowers on it.

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What a change in weather I experienced during those four hours!

Bike training, February 16: Exploring east Austin

For week 2 of my Bike MS training, I planned a 40 mile route out into east Austin from my house. I wanted to go east / south at the beginning of the ride and then come back north because of the wind pattern. And boy was it windy by the time I was finished! It was a dreary and humid day.

 

The route started by going due east. I soon went by what I thought was a reservoir, but turned out to be the city landfill. I had know idea where the landfill was, apparently.

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Of course, out in the countryside, near the landfill, a bunch of really close together houses were being built.

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I rode down to Loyola Lane, near the Expo center, a place I hadn’t ridden in quite a while:

 

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The view down the hill from near the Expo center:

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Wait, what? Smoke or fog ahead (I saw neither)

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Old Manor Road, and the old bridge:

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Old water tower in Manor:

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Old town Manor:

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Random bar and grill in the country side:

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Riding next to 130, the toll road, with an abandoned toll plaza in the center. Why did we build so many unused toll booths?

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Horse stable – there were riders, but I didn’t get the camera out in time.

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New bike facilities in north Austin!

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Eventually, I rode through a neighborhood adjacent to mine. It was pretty cool. Can you see the black and white kitty?

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Best mailbox ever. A T-rex holding up the mailbox with its mouth, with three T-rex babies in front.

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New feature: what jersey did I wear? This weekend it was my Texas 4000 jersey from 2009 (acquired in a silent auction) along with my yellow visibility vest.

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Well hello bike training!

Over the last two weekends, I’ve officially started bike training for Bike MS: Sam’s Club Round Up, the Bike MS event I’m choosing to ride in for this year. The two day ride will be up in the DFW area. I haven’t set up my fundraising page, but don’t worry, I’ll share that soon. For now, I just wanted to share a few photos from my 35 mile training ride today because it was such a gorgeous day. I mean, look at the blue sky! I tried out a few new roads up in NW Austin. They weren’t even just new to me, but they also seemed to have been recently constructed or resurfaced.

Are you ready for my ride recap?

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My ride started by passing the new paved trail the city is building that connects Walnut Creek Metro Park with Balcones District Park, west of Mopac. The trail is behind the orange fence on the left:

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Just earlier today I read an article about the new Apple campus in Austin, looked at some photos, and then rode right by it. It’s just one building and a parking garage on Parmer Lane, but I believe they are planning to build more:

 

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A nice smooth road and a lovely sky:

 

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An old farmhouse along a new road:

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Repaved road with a new bike lane, headed east off of Parmer Lane, north of 1431.

 

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Lovely, big sky:

 

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There were 3 back to back churches along Sam Bass Road:

 

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The Dog House, an off leash dog park plus bar in Cedar Park!

 

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On the way back, I got a picture of the Apple sign:

 

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A little propeller plane!

 

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Bike MS training update: Riding the Big Dam(n) Loop

Last weekend was Memorial day. I had plans to ride on Saturday, which were rained out, then to ride on Sunday, and it rained again, so luckily Monday was dry so I could get in my training ride (yay, three day weekend). Because the group ride I had originally planned to participate in was cancelled, I decided to head out on a relatively hilly route that the locals call the Dam Loop because it crosses over the Mansfield Dam. I had to add some miles to the normal loop to bring my total route up to 73 miles for the day. While riding my big dam loop I usually change it to big damn loop in my head. This day was no exception, since it started out windy from the beginning. Check out the photos below for the summary of my ride.

Why do I ride 73 miles on a super windy day? Well, I do love to ride, but right now I’m three training weekends away from the Bike MS event Ride the Rim that I will participate in out in Canyon, TX on June 22nd. The ride is a 105 mile loop around the Palo Duro Canyon and I can’t wait to finally get to see that part of Texas. This is my 6th Bike MS event. I choose to fundraise for these events in honor of the many people in my life that I know that have been affected by Multiple Sclerosis. Please consider making a donation to the MS Society in support of my participation and to help the MS Society support those living with MS as well as fund valuable research so that someday (soon I hope) a cure is found.

First time riding on Lakeline Blvd - It was wide, relatively flat and low traffic early on Memorial day morning. Oh, and a nasty headwind bad enough to make me wonder if I would make the entire ride.

First time riding on Lakeline Blvd – It was wide, relatively flat and had low traffic early on Memorial day morning. Oh, and a nasty headwind bad enough to make me wonder if I would make the entire ride.

See the flag? Windy!

See the flag? Windy!

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Out in the ‘burbs, you see lots of wide boulevards, green grass and signs listing about 20 builders in the area. That’s the sign you see in this picture.

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After making the turn onto 620, I was surprised that it was windy, but not quite as terrible as I thought. The stretch of Lakeline that I pedaled ended up being the worst wind of the day. Here you can see a few food trailers on the right.

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Hippy Hollow! Windy Point! Such great views when you ride 620, I think you basically ride along the ridge that goes along the lake.

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You can almost see the lake on the right. Love the views out here.

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Now you can definitely see our poor, low Lake Travis.

Coming up to Mansfield Dam.

Coming up to Mansfield Dam.

Just about to cross the dam.

Just about to cross the dam.

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A tiny bit of blue sky!

Iguana gill... a tex mex restaurant with decent food and a great view, without the long waits of the Oasis.

Iguana gill… a tex mex restaurant with decent food and a great view, without the long waits of the Oasis.

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This picture is for my Dad – a golf course AND a water tower that looks like a golf ball on a tee!

Lakeway has these signs everywhere. Fancy.

Lakeway has these signs everywhere. Fancy.

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Some little flags on the corner in honor of Memorial Day.

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Bee Caves Parkway connects 620 to 2244 (Bee Caves Rd) and is nice and wide. Wide enough for bike lanes actually, but instead they just put up share the road and bikes may use full lane signs a few places along this short road.

Bee Caves road, recently repaved apparently.

Bee Caves road, recently repaved apparently. It’s a pretty hilly road, but many hills are rollers.

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The on ramp to loop 360.

360 has some great views and the cloud cover gave way to some blue skies.

360 has some great views and the cloud cover gave way to some blue skies.

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I love looking at these small cliffs.

Coming up on the Pennybacker bridge. The approach from the south to this bridge is an awesomely fast downhill.

Coming up on the Pennybacker bridge. The approach from the south to this bridge is an awesomely fast downhill.

 

Crossing the bridge.

Crossing the bridge.

 

The turn off of 360 into the Arboretum is always disheartening after a long ride. That's a nasty little hill to climb!

The turn off of 360 into the Arboretum is always disheartening after a long ride. That’s a nasty little hill to climb!

 

Almost home... riding past Tacodeli is usually torture, but I often come back there for a special lunch treat after making it home.

Almost home… riding past Tacodeli is usually torture, but I often come back there for a special lunch treat after making it home.

Finally crossing Metric into my neighborhood!

Finally crossing Metric into my neighborhood!

 

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