30 June 2011

858

Ponder Point
Coming up just short of goal, but June's mileage is still a great fete for me.

After 150 weekend miles, I woke Monday morning to discover I felt pretty darned good. I could ride again. If I commuted to work three days before the end of the month, I'd have my 1,000 miles, plus four. I'd previously planned to take Tuesday off to (a) recover from the weekend or (b) attempt Mount Evans again. (As it turned out, I was unable to ride any of the other final days of the month, due to other commitments and responsibilities... oh, well...)

Monday SunriseI opted not to ride Monday to give my body a break so I could hit Mount Evans fresh. It meant likely sacrificing my 1,000-mile month, but being ready for Pikes Peak seems more important than the number of miles I ride in June.

That choice enabled me to shoot a phenomenal sunrise Monday morning without worrying about being late to work. Shooting a dramatic sunrise not only starts my day with a rich burst of adrenaline, it also renews and refreshes my soul.

Tuesday morning I shot yet another wonderful sunrise atop Mount Evans (via my car) before finding a trio of mountain goats who willingly posed for portraits. I also reconned road conditions and came within an inch or two of chickening out and doing Vail Pass instead. The Mount Evans road gets worse every year. Every year, I tell myself I'm not going to do it unless I have someone to shuttle me down from the summit, yet every year, I have to be reminded why I keep telling myself that.

Tuesday I would be riding alone, or, well, as alone as one can get at a popular tourist destination. I wouldn't have support if something went awry, and up to 28 miles is a long, long way to walk.

After a carb-loaded breakfast, I decided to go ahead and give Mount Evans one more try. I felt strong. I rode strong. Even though I hate the road, I still have this uncontrollable itch to make it to the summit from Idaho Springs, and that's where I began the day's ride.

Echo LakeBefore reaching Echo Lake, my normal start in a successful summit attempt, I ran out of water. I stopped at the Lodge to refill my bottles and contemplate continuing. I didn't know the Lodge refills cyclist bottles for free, so I used the change I'd planned to spend on water for an herbal tea to enjoy while I literally pondered going up or going down. The tea turned out to be a real motivator. After draining the bottle, I felt refreshed and continued riding up without a second thought.

I knew from before the start I might not make it all the way up, so I set substitute goals I felt comfortable seeking. The first, of course, would be Summit Lake, where the road is the absolute worst. I would have no remorse whatsoever turning back just before the highest lake and skipping the lumpy, bumpy, broken and gnarly pavement.

My second goal was double the mileage I'd attained the last attempt, which seemed awful easy, as I made it only seven miles the previous try. I could easily go 14. Just getting to Echo Lake was 13 miles.

Echo Lake was my third goal, for if I wasn't doing well. And I'd made that. Reaching the Lodge empowered me not only with tea, but confidence as well.

I couldn't have picked a more beautiful morning. If the road didn't make me so squeamish and if I could pedal faster, I'd have had no problem on this gorgeous day reaching the summit before potential afternoon storms hit.

thunder in the makingUnfortunately, I'm a turtle, and the wind picked up by the time I hit the first curve above Echo Lake. It wasn't as bad as my last attempt or Pikes Peak last year, but a headwind nonetheless. Yet I was riding strong, and the sky was still fairly clear. I thought I could push on for the next mile, which would get me to a switchback leading to a mile of tailwind, and I knew I could finish that section.

After the tailwind, I would have maybe a quarter mile of wind protection, then a crosswind leading onto the tundra, above treeline, and into the full blast of the wind. I pedaled as far as the Mount Goliath nature center and took a rest to watch the clouds and consider the freeze cracks I'd be up against if I continued on.

The cloud directly above Goliath was black and growing. Clouds were consolidating much too fast for my comfort. Ultimately, though, the freeze cracks were the decision-maker. I'd just endured three miles at a very slow speed, and it was tortuous. Going back down, I'd be hitting them hard enough to damage my wheels. Or me! Some road damage could throw a inattentive cyclist over the edge, and it's a long, long way down.

Initially, I was disappointed I didn't go further, but after the first three freeze cracks on the rapid but brakes-applied descent, I knew I'd made the right decision for me. The weather could have held, and I may have been strong enough to keep going. But I wasn't willing to subject my bike or my joints to the jolts of the buckled pavement.

At the end of the ride, I had successfully climbed 17 of the 28 miles (for a round trip of 34, more than half my regular work commute), and I reached a higher elevation than Vail Pass would have afforded. I can't help but feel happy about Tuesday's training ride.

Marmot CuriosityWhile I was still climbing, and doing so in seemingly slow motion, I realized this trip would not be enough to get me up Pikes. I would have to continue to do this at least once a week, and the prospect was frightening. I dreaded the training.

That's where sanity finally began to sink in, I think. I know I must do long and high altitude climbs frequently for the next two months in order to maintain current abilities and to make it successfully up Pikes Peak. Vail Pass isn't as high, but it is good training, and the bike path makes for protected and smooth riding. Some of the mountain bike rides The Lizard and I discussed last winter would be good training, too, even though they don't approach 14,000 feet.

Before I ever decided to turn back, I'd already made up my mind I wouldn't attempt Mount Evans again without someone to shuttle me back down after the climb. I want to live to see another day. I don't want to have to replace my bike or even just a wheel or two.

If I can keep the fitness level I have right now for two more months, I think I can make it up Pikes Peak, even if I don't climb any 14ers between now and then. I wasn't this strong last year, and I made it to within half a mile of the summit. My attitude is much healthier this year, too. I'm fueling better, and I'm hydrating properly. I think I can do it. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

I wish I had one more day in June so I could grab that 1,000-mile month notch in my belt again. But 858 is still pretty darned good, and I did it without the help of Ride the Rockies this year.

Sometimes, sacrifices are necessary. And sometimes, joy is still within reach even when sacrifices are made.

May I please brush your hair???

28 June 2011

Wordless Wednesday

time to roll
so I don't forget...
start line
on your mark...
get set...
2nd rest stop
cheerleader
the best rest stop
I like 'em just like that.
Raw Hiney on Ice
Day 1 team tent
chillin'
aaaaaaaaah...
happy feet
relaxing in the team tent
cycling crocheter
waiting for the bus
team photo
tandem couple

Good People

High Roller Jerseys Past
One of my co-workers learned the day before the MS-150 I was only $55 away from becoming a High Roller for the first time ever. She wasted no time bringing a check to push me over the hump so I could ride this year's event knowing next year, I won't have to wait in line at the rest stop outhouses! (Just look at that cool thermometer on the sidebar!!!)

Two days before the ride, one of my treasured readers put The Lizard at his goal, so he was able to ride knowing next year he will be a Premium Pedaler for the first time ever. Have you ever seen a Lizard's tail wag?!? Boy, was he ever one happy camper!

High Roller Jersey of the PastEach MS-150 participant has the entire year to raise money, but riders must raise at least $400 before the event in order to participate. Riders who raise $1,000 (Premium Pedalers) get to register early for the next year's ride, a blue bike number (instead of white) and a discount on registration fees. Riders who raise $2,000 (High Rollers) get the same reward PLUS a special blue room at each rest stop, a yellow bike number, a parking pass for the event AND a High Roller jersey.

Each spring, I host an ice cream social at my work to raise money for the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Some of my co-workers have MS, and some of my co-workers have friends or family with MS. As a result, my co-workers have been supportive and generous year after year. We always scheduled my ice cream social in May so I could raise enough money by the event deadline.

This year, both The Lizard and I had already raised the minimum required amount prior to the ride, thanks to snowflake crocheters literally all over the world. Last May, it was still snowing in Colorado! My co-workers suggested I wait until July to host the ice cream social because more people would be in the mood to enjoy cold ice cream then, and I might be able to raise even more money than normal.

Past High Roller JerseySo next month, in July, I will spend about $90 of my own money on ice cream and toppings (including fresh fruit and sugar-free offerings so I and a few diabetic co-workers can enjoy treats, too), and typically, during a good year, I will raise between $400 and $800 in the office. A very worthwhile investment, in my opinion.

The year the economy bottomed out, no one had anything extra to give, and all charities suffered. The Lizard was unable to ride the MS-150 that year because we couldn't raise enough money for both of us to participate, and I ended up putting in some of my own cash to bring mine up to the required amount before the ride.

For some people, the economy still isn't very good, and yet, they still find ways to help charitable causes such as the MS-150. Many of my own supporters have confided circumstances that should have prevented them from contributing, but that didn't stop them. I am surrounded by amazing people on every front.

I don't know yet when I will receive my EARNED High Roller jersey. Once I do receive it, it likely will be one of my top two favorite jerseys of all time. (Pikes Peak will be THE favorite if I make it to the summit this year.) Each time I wear the High Roller jersey, it will be a reminder, as well as a showy demonstration, that the world is full of good people. No matter what the news says.

5 NOV 2013 UPDATE: I'm now registered for the 2014 ride. My new fund-raising page is located here.

Past High Roller Jersey
High Roller jersey photos by The Lizard

27 June 2011

Snowflake Monday

100 Miles!!!

A couple of weeks ago, The Lizard asked when I am going to start making white snowflakes again.

"You don't like them in color?"

"Yes, but snowflakes are white," he answered.

"What about when they sparkle in the sunlight?"

He tipped his head thoughtfully and agreed some snowflakes should be colorful. Yet, I get the message. White will be making a comeback here.

I liked the little hearts on last week's snowflake so much, I stole them and used them again in this snowflake. This pattern is designed with all the same emotions and purpose of last week's snowflake. Freedom, independence, courage, generosity, gratitude, achievement, success and pure joy. I hope you will feel some of what I was feeling when I designed this late Friday night, on the eve before my big ride.

Because this is my 100th snowflake pattern, I'm going to call it my Century Snowflake. It also celebrates me successfully completely 150 miles Saturday and Sunday in the annual BikeMS event (and The Lizard completing the century option Sunday) and hopefully, if my legs hold out, 1,000 miles this month. It commemorates my generous contributors pushing me up and over the High Roller mark and making The Lizard a Premium Pedaler in raising money for multiple sclerosis. And, I couldn't resist making an additional flake in a star shape (pattern included; this one does have adjustments) from Valdani's "Americana" colorway. Because, after all, next week is yet another holiday, and I'll still be celebrating!

My stars are not perfectly shaped. I haven't had time to search for a star blocking template or design one of my own. So please forgive my uneven points... I'm no eyeball engineer, sadly.

Also, I've FINALLY finished coding a snowflake pattern directory. (Whew, did that ever take an hour or eight...) I'll try to keep it updated in a timely manner, but there may be times when it gets a week or two behind. Hopefully there are enough snowflakes to keep your interest even when I'm slow alphabetizing the list. (The copyright notice is prominently displayed in an attempt to prevent blatant plagiarism readers have been kindly bringing to my attention; my readers may continue to print out individual patterns to make snowflakes.)

12 NOV 2014 UPDATE: I'm now registered for the 2015 ride, and I've signed up for the Century Option on Day 1. !!! This will be my third century ever if I am able to complete it!!! My new fund-raising page is located here.

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Century Starflake

Finished Size: 8.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, glue, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Century Snowflake and Starflake Instructions, American Terminology

Century Starflake

Five-Point Century Starflake

Ch 3, sl st into 1st ch OR make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 9 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 2); *1 dc in next dc, ch 2; repeat from * around 8 times; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 4.

Round 3: Sl st in next ch 2 sp, ch 1, 3 sc in same sp, *ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 4, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in next ch, 1 dc in top half of next dc, 1 sc in same ch as dc just worked into, ch 1, 3 sc in next ch 2 sp, 3 sc in next ch 2 sp; repeat from * around 4 times, ending with 1st 3/sc in next ch 2 sp on final repeat; sl st in starting sc.

If you are having trouble with the heart tips, here is a photo tutorial I hope will help.

Round 4: Ch 20 (counts as 1 dc and ch 17), *1 dc over sc of Round 3 into next Round 2 dc (ch looping over heart), ch 17; repeat from * around 3 times; 1 dc over sc of Round 3 into next Round 2 dc, ch 14, 1 dc in 3rd ch of starting ch 20.

Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc) *16 dc in next ch 17 sp; repeat from * around 3 times; 15 dc in next ch 17 sp; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 6: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), *sk 2 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 2, sk 1 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 2, sk 1 dc, 1 dc in next dc, [ch 2, 1 dc in next dc] 4 times, ch 2, sk 1 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 2, sk 1 dc, 1 dc in next dc, sk 2 dc, 1 dc in opening between this and next 16/dc group; repeat from * around 4 times, ending with sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 instead of last 1dc of final repeat.

Round 7: *Ch 5, sk 1 dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, 1 sc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in next ch 2 sp, ch 7, 1 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, sk 1 dc, 1 sc in next dc; repeat from * around 4 times, 1 sc in same st as final sl st of Round 6.

Round 8: * 5 sc in each of next 3 ch 5 sp, 5 sc in next ch 3 sp, 2 sc in next ch 7 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 dc in same sp, ch 3, 2 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 6, 1 sc in 6th ch from hook, ch 6, sl st in sc, ch 5, sl st in sc, ch 3, 2 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 2 dc in same ch 7 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.

Century Snowflake

Six-Point Century Snowflake

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 11 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 2); *1 dc in next dc, ch 2; repeat from * around 10 times; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 4.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: Sl st in next ch 2 sp, ch 1, 3 sc in same sp, *ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 4, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in next ch, 1 dc in top half of next dc, 1 sc in same ch as dc just worked into, ch 1, 3 sc in next ch 2 sp, 3 sc in next ch 2 sp; repeat from * around 5 times, ending with 1st 3/sc in next ch 2 sp on final repeat; sl st in starting sc.

If you are having trouble with the hearts, here is a photo tutorial I hope will help.

Round 4: Ch 20 (counts as 1 dc and ch 17), *1 dc over sc of Round 3 into next Round 2 dc (ch looping over heart), ch 17; repeat from * around 4 times; 1 dc over sc of Round 3 into next Round 2 dc, ch 14, 1 dc in 3rd ch of starting ch 20.

Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc) *16 dc in next ch 17 sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 15 dc in next ch 17 sp; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 6: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), *sk 2 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 2, sk 2 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 2, sk 1 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 2, 1 dc in next dc, ch 2, sk 1 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 2, sk 2 dc, 1 dc in next dc, sk 2 dc, 1 dc in opening between this and next 16/dc group; repeat from * around 5 times, ending with sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 instead of last dc of final repeat.

Round 7: *Ch 5, sk 1 dc, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, 1 sc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in next ch 2 sp, ch 7, 1 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, 1 sc in next dc, ch 5, sk 1 dc, 1 sc in next dc; repeat from * around 5 times, 1 sc in same st as final sl st of Round 6.

Round 8: * 5 sc in each of next 2 ch 5 sp, 5 sc in next ch 3 sp, 2 sc in next ch 7 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 dc in same sp, ch 3, 2 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 6, 1 sc in 6th ch from hook, ch 6, sl st in sc, ch 5, sl st in sc, ch 3, 2 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 2 dc in same ch 7 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 sc in same sp, 5 sc in next ch 3 sp, 5 sc in each of next 2 ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 5 times, sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.

Century

The same pattern in British terminology below has been graciously provided by sugarcrystal2002 on Ravelry.

Six-Point Century Snowflake, British Terminology

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 tr), 11 tr in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr and ch 2); * 1 tr in next tr, ch 2; repeat from * around 10 times; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 4.

Round 3: Sl st in next ch 2 sp, ch 1, 3 dc in same sp, * ch 6, 1 tr in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 4, 1 tr in 3rd ch from hook and in next ch, 1 tr in top half of next tr, 1 dc in same ch as tr just worked into, ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 2 sp, 3 dc in next ch 2 sp; repeat from * around 5 times, ending with 1st 3/dc in next ch 2 sp on final repeat; sl st in starting dc.

Round 4: Ch 20 (counts as 1 tr and ch 17), * 1 tr over dc of Round 3 into next Round 2 tr (ch looping over heart), ch 17; repeat from * around 4 times; 1 tr over dc of Round 3 into next Round 2 tr, ch 14, 1 tr in 3rd ch of starting ch 20.

Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 tr) * 16 tr in next ch 17 sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 15 tr in next ch 17 sp; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 6: Ch 2 (counts as 1 tr), * sk 2 tr, 1 tr in next tr, ch 2, sk 2 tr, 1 tr in next tr, ch 2, sk 1 tr, 1 tr in next tr, ch 2, 1 tr in next tr, ch 2, sk 1 tr, 1 tr in next tr, ch 2, sk 2 tr, 1 tr in next tr, sk 2 tr, 1 tr in opening between this and next 16/tr group; repeat from * around 5 times, ending with sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 instead of last tr of final repeat.

Round 7: * Ch 5, sk 1 tr, 1 dc in next tr, ch 5, 1 dc in next tr, ch 3, 1 tr in next ch 2 sp, ch 7, 1 tr in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in next tr, ch 5, 1 dc in next tr, ch 5, sk 1 tr, 1 dc in next tr; repeat from * around 5 times, 1 dc in same st as final sl st of Round 6.

Round 8: * 5 dc in each of next 2 ch 5 sp, 5 dc in next ch 3 sp, 2 dc in next ch 7 sp, 2 htr in same sp, 2 tr in same sp, ch 3, 2 tr in 3rd ch from hook, ch 6, 1 dc in 6th ch from hook, ch 6, sl st in dc, ch 5, sl st in dc, ch 3, 2 tr in 3rd ch from hook, 2 tr in same ch 7 sp, 2 htr in same sp, 2 dc in same sp, 5 dc in next ch 3 sp, 5 dc in each of next 2 ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 5 times, sl st in starting dc; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

Mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

Century Sunrise

26 June 2011

Done!



Almost done...


Sittin' in the shade for a minute cuz it's so hot. 14 more miles to go. Thanks for your comments on my posts yesterday! Just the adrenaline boost I need to get back on the bike...

25 June 2011

Afterthoughts


One iPhone charge lasts for 33 photos and three blog posts. And no music.

Deer Creek Canyon and Vail Pass have done their jobs. Today's climbs, which are much lower in altitude, didn't seem as hard as in the past.

I was able to ride with my team for 11 miles. !!! I've never been able to hold their pace more than 2 or 3 miles in the past.

Now it's time to catch some Zzzs. Nite, nite!





Lunch!




At 9:28! Making good time! More than halfway there. The Lizard's probably already in Fort Collins...

Riding...




Mile 32. Hungry. Chocolate chip bars with no high fructose corn syrup. And plums!

Yums!
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