pamelonian: (Default)
The new school year is starting out well.  It is not my best year ever, but certainly not the worst.  I don't do beginnings and endings very well, but I do a FINE middle.  Once I get started I am pretty good at plugging along.  I still have chances to be creative and brilliant, and if I am not spending energy getting and keeping the students' attention, I will have an even better year.  This year HAD to be better.  Last year kinda sucked a good deal of the time.

I rode 11 miles today to help myself recover from the 66-mile tour on Sunday.  It felt pretty good.  I had to change a tire before I could leave.  Don't be all impressed, that is the only kind of bike maintenance I know how to do...

Sensei has backed off nominating me and some others for sandan testing.  That is fine by me.  The test is only 2 weeks away!  I don't have the time to devote to really shining, which is how I want my last test in aikido to be.  We don't test for any rank above 3rd-degree.  From there it is all political...  Anyway,  I am not on a timeline here.  I have been doing this for 8 years and I hope to do it for 8 more and then some! 

I was planning to go to the dojo to train just in case Sensei taps me for testing, but after my bike ride I don't feel like it.  Will I or won't I?  I know everyone will be just dying to find out so I will edit this later to let you know...

**ETA:  I didn't go to aikido.  Blame Starbuck, Apollo, and Modest Mouse.  No, not my rodent collection, but I still haven't listened to my new cd or even ripped it for my iPod.  Last night I started watching "The Hand of God," which is the final episode of Battlestar Galactica (the original series).  I only got to watch about 10 minutes of it, and I want to finish it.   I practiced weapons forms by the pool.  I must have looked pretty bad-ass swinging around my wooden sword and staff.  Either bad-ass or silly, it's a fine line...
pamelonian: (Default)
I was biking up Michigan about to turn left on 2nd. A FedEX truck was on 2nd about to turn left onto Michigan. I checked behind, I signaled, I waved my arm, I began my turn. So did the FedEX truck. I screamed in a completely terrified, most unbecoming way. The truck was INCHES from hitting me when I ran myself off the road and rolled over into the grass. I popped up like Zoë Bell in "Death Proof" and hollered, "I'm OK!" The driver apologized, asked if I was sure and we went about our routes. I checked the bike over a couple of blocks down before continuing my ride. What else was I going to do? Go back home and shiver the rest of the afternoon in my apartment?

A large, dark shadow flew over me later and I looked up to see a vulture. I yelled up, "Yeah, OK, I get it!" The rest of the ride went without incident, but I couldn't enjoy it as much thinking about death the whole time. Death may seem a welcome break from the hassles of the day-to-day, but really I don't want to die. I am still terrified, and am feeling the "fight or flight" buzz. There is not a scratch on my body, but my spirit is shaky. I didn't take any out-of-the-ordinary risks. I did everything like I am supposed to.

Next time it has to be there overnight, just send it from the Post Office!
pamelonian: (Default)
I rode my bike 16 miles round trip to Clinton Lake. The bike path part was nice, but the riding in traffic and cars pulling out and turning in front of me part sucked. I do still enjoy riding. It still takes me out of my thoughts and into the moment, especially when each one may be my last because people driving do not pay attention to people on bikes.

Clinton Reservoir has overflowed a little into the surrounding park. Check this out!
clinton bike path
pamelonian: (Default)
Today I rode the Life Support Rally, which is a fundraiser for Headquarters, a local counseling hotline.

I rode 5 miles to the event and back and the ride itself was 20. At the rally they had a bluegrass band and a "catapult chicken chucking contest." If I knew anything about catapults, I would totally enter and try to catapult a rubber chicken for distance and accuracy. The trophy is the coveted Pullet Surprise (say it out loud). I have always gotten a kick out of rubber chickens, just ask my family or [livejournal.com profile] shrijani or [livejournal.com profile] piperdawn.

Towards the end of the 20-mile ride, a car I could not see turned left in front of me. I could not see the car because there was a van in the way and I am sure the motorist couldn't see me, either. I gave the brakes everything I had and managed to stop in time, but of course my feet were clipped to the pedals. I went right down, bruised my elbow, skinned my knee and put tiny holes in my bike shorts. Otherwise I'm OK.

I will remember to look out more for motorists.
pamelonian: (Default)
There was, indeed, dust on the bike. The treadmill running has paid off, as today's ride was easy. I only did 7.5 miles because the sun was setting and I was racing it home. It felt good to be back on the bike.

I was listening to a podcast of NPR's This American Life on the way home from work today. One story talked about the bridges in Chicago smelling like chocolate due to the emissions from a chocolate factory. Northwest Lawrence smells like dog food. The Del Monte factory cooks Kibbles and Bits up there. I actually missed the aroma, though I will admit I would prefer that it smelled like chocolate!

This is Spring in Kansas. Today got up to 70 degrees. Tonight there are severe thunderstorms. Tomorrow morning we are supposed to get 1-2 inches of snow. Still, I got to ride my bike and Spring Break is in 2 weeks.
pamelonian: (Me Icon)
It is not all "daisies, daffodils, and butterflies kissing beautiful flowers." In fact, Nature can be quite gross at times. I would still rather experience this than breathe smog or never feel the sun on my skin. My bike ride this evening was lovely. The fall colors are gorgeous and the air was cool, yet still. BUT, nature can be gross at times...

Cut for grossness )
pamelonian: (Default)
I rode my bike on my favorite trip to Lakeview Lake. Lakeview is and oxbow lake, part of the Kaw River that took a sharp turn and eventually got cut off from the river flow. I had no idea how much drought we were having, but it is REALLY low, mostly dry on the east side. The Canada geese and snowy egrets were standing in the middle of the lake where there used to be water at the beginning of summer.

Rain to me is mostly an inconvenience, messing up my hair before work or making it difficult to see while driving. Out there it is a matter of survival. A farmer was harvesting some grain with a combine while his kids were playing with horses and the cattle were watching me from the feed lot. Chickens were wandering around everywhere eating rocks, as chickens will do.

All of this is just 5 miles north of town, 5 miles from anything at home that may be bothering me. Out there I can be entirely in the moment, free of distractions and "stuff" I have to do. It's an 11.5-mile round trip. I so didn't want to go but I feel much better now that I did. I am posting this to remind myself to get out there and ride if I am ever feeling down.

I was reminded of summer of 1998, when I was unceremoniously dumped by this guy I was living with. I would take my bike out every night, ride my 6-mile ride crying in the dark the whole way. After about a month, I didn't feel like crying anymore.

Cycle therapy works for me.
pamelonian: (Default)
I got back on my bike tonight for the first time since Labor Day and the falling-off-the-stage ass injury. I only rode about 7 miles. I don't want to overdo right at first. It felt great! I was so charged with adrenaline. Biking really excites me. I hadn't felt like that since I danced the tango the other night, and I definitely feel less clumsy on the bike.

I feel like I got back a part of myself that was missing. I feel good and all pumped. It was a great ride. The weather was perfect, around 80 degrees and about an hour before sunset.
pamelonian: (Kittymoose)
My bike's chain fell off and hit my foot while pedaling down Tennessee Street this morning. I put it back on and rode right to Sunflower. The guy fixed it in about 2 1/2 minutes. I wish I knew how to fix things...

After that I rode 16 miles. It is much cooler in the mornings. I will not go biking when it is over 100 degrees unless I absolutely have to. I don't have that necessity right now. I will ride with the Lawrence Bike Club once school gets started and I can't go on morning rides anymore.

I will have to cut out a night or two of aikido, but that's been coming for some time. I have aikido-related things 5 days a week. No one else does that much. I am burning out on it big time. Friday night-Advanced class, Saturday morning Kids' class, Sunday morning- My class that I teach, Monday night- Kids again, Wednesday night- My own training (but I usually end up teaching as the most senior student there).

Big ride coming up this Sunday. They have 40, 70, and 100 mile options. I am likely going for the 40 if I wind up going at all. If I had no other obligations, I would do this ride and go with the Bike Club twice a week.

This school year I will have Volleyball games to work and night school to attend, in addition to the above activities. How will I do it all?

The Rattle

Jul. 25th, 2006 08:39 pm
pamelonian: (Twilight is pissed)
Ever since I got my very expensive road bike last year, it has rattled somewhere near the rear wheel. The guys at the bike shop told me I was shifting gears incorrectly. I believed them since I was, after all, a novice.

Last night at the Lawrence Bike Club ride, the other cyclists could hear the rattling and asked me, "What's that rattle? That CAN'T be normal. How annoying! You should have that checked."

Armed with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th opinions, I took the bike to the repair shop. This mechanic actually believed me and found the noise. However, he did not know how to fix it. He called the manufacturer for advice and they did not return his call. He figured they would be familiar with the problem and tell him how to fix it or they could send him replacement parts if necessary. We don't know if the bike is safe to ride or if it is ready to fall apart. I told him to keep the bike and call me back tomorrow.

I don't think I should have to pay for this repair, since I may have got a lemon and they could have fixed it when the bike was new and under warranty. Actually, the warranty may still apply, but it definitely was in effect when I first reported the problem. How they handle this will go a long way with me and my regard for their service and their business.
pamelonian: (Default)
There are only 3 more weeks of summer left for me. I am starting to think about the school year. I see teenagers around town and I bite back the urge to tell them to shut up. It's almost a reflex.

I am thinking about shopping for school clothes (yes, I still do that after all these years). I am thinking about how to start my classes. I want to give them a taste of the world travel adventures that are possible through learning Spanish. I want to make it understood that I have a 2nd degree black belt in aikido.

I hope I can still have fun, go to night classes and keep riding my bike. I must clean my apartment really well before the school year starts because I don't seem to have the time or energy while I am teaching.

Speaking of biking, the Bike Club ride that I went on tonight was the Newcomers Ride. I am not necessarily a newcomer, but riding by myself all these years I have not really learned how to improve my technique. There were experienced bikers giving pointers and helping with maintenance and nutrition issues. Again, it was a ride I have done many times by myself, but it is different with a group of people.

1000 Miles

Sep. 5th, 2005 08:34 pm
pamelonian: (Default)
I did it! Today I hit 1000 miles on my bike. I have worn holes clean through the butt of my cycling shorts. Real, actual holes. I will have to get some new shorts. That is some serious sit-time. The main reason I cut the 100-mile ride short last week was that I could not longer stay seated on the bike...

The ride was to Lakeview Lake, since most of my miles have been from riding there and back. I thought it was appropriate.

Wildlife experiences: A Great Blue Heron, its wing span was easily the length of my bike, and a Snowy Egret, and of course, the usual vultures...
pamelonian: (Default)
I am totally overpacked for a simple overnight stay. I am about to leave for Pittsburg, Kansas so I can go on a 100-mile bike tour tomorrow. I have never attempted a "Century" before and I still don't know if I will do it tomorrow. There is a 60-mile option, which I know I can do. The terrain down south, I am told, is flat, which is a major draw for me. Don't get me started on Kansas being flat! We may not have mountains but the hills can be a bitch, especially on a bike and fighting a wind.

Back to the overpacking. I don't know if there is anything to do down there on a Saturday night, so I brought items to keep me entertained. I brought my mp3 player, my book journal, my camera, and a cooler for beer. I think I also have a book to read in addition to my bike stuff, shower stuff, sleep stuff, and a change or two of clothes. That's a lot of stuff for a simple overnight!

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