Tag Archives: stamina


If you would like to donate to Liz’s Bike to Build Fund at NBSS, click here

My one yoga pose Ready Set Go Trying to be Haley Typical smile

Mother Nature could not have cooked up a better offering for the 100 riders and volunteers who participated in the 8th annual Ride for Habitat on June 21st. The weather was absolutely perfect, and the scenery along the coastline towns of Scituate, Cohasset, and Hull was exquisite. The ride started in Wompatuck State Park, and that is where about 25 riders who were doing the 50 mile route began at about 7:30 a.m. Once we exited Wompatuck in Hingham, we biked by the cows at Hornstra Farms and crossed into Norwell passing dozens of “non-affordable” but beautiful houses. Our first pass through Norwell was short because we headed directly towards Hanover, where we stopped to see one of the Habitat for Humanity homes being built. We were greeted by volunteers, some who served us fruit, snacks, and beverages, while others told us a little about their building progress. All in all, it was a poignant moment which captured the spirit of what this ride is all about.

Because there were not a lot of riders, I tried to stay close to a few that looked like they were riding at a good clip, but weren’t training for Tour de France trials. Overall, I was able to stay close to the lead pack of six or seven riders during the first couple of hours, that is, until my bike started getting a little attitude. Having one or more beacons ahead is very helpful during long rides like this because they serve as pace setters and they provide you with the inspiration to keep pedaling.  My beacon was in a yellow, orange and red Pan Mass Challenge shirt (pictured below). I figured I was doing okay if I was trailing close behind Mr. Yellow, Orange, and Red (YOR) because his shirt demonstrated his cycling stamina and prowess, having ridden the Pan Mass Challenge before. I kept within eye shot of Mr. YOR and crew for the first 30 miles or so, until my wheel decided it was time to negotiate the roads alone somewhere in Scituate. This is where the lessons from the road began…

My guide

My CATEYE Astrale 8 was doing its job for the last thousand miles or so before this ride, tracking my speed, cadence, miles per hour, etc. However, somewhere in my drive over to Wampatuck, the bike got shuffled around in the car and MISS CATEYE would only tell me the time. I could do without knowing my distance and speed, (even though I would miss the cheap thrill I get from seeing how fast I can go on the downhills), but I could not overcome MISS CATEYE’s wheel interference without an intervention. I noticed at the first pit stop that my wheel was rubbing against something, so I did a quick wheel adjustment and went on my way, still holding pace with others. Now, in a thickly settled area of Scituate with nobody around, my chain came off when down shifting too quickly; and when I put my wheel back on, it was chafing against the rubber barrier underneath one of MISS CATEYE’S SENSORS. In the fundraising rides I have done in the past, I was accustomed to a steady pack of volunteers driving in vans by the cyclists, catering to our every need. If we needed medical, sagging, or bike repair assistance, they would stop and help. As I looked at MISS CATEYE and my chain hanging off, I realized I was on my own. After getting my hands very greasy, the chain was back in business; and after using a sharp tool from my seatbag to cut away the rubber barrier, the wheel stopped rubbing and I was back on the road again…with Mr. YOR now hidden by the miles in between us.

In hindsight, I am very grateful for this first lesson from the road, which was: Have a basic toolkit to repair minor bicycle problems. It was no accident that I was separated from Mr. YOR and pack because these are exactly the situations I need to be prepared for when riding solo to NYC. I need to be able to handle quick bike emergencies (flat tires, fallen chains, rubbing break pads) like the wanna-be-bike tech that I am.

After jumping back on my bike, lesson #2 smacked me in the face because there were no beacons ahead to mindlessly follow while I took in the lovely scenic route. LESSON 2…Don’t rely on GPS technology because you may have no signal in rural areas, so use your Girls Scouts 101 map reading skillsI actually wasn’t a Girls Scout, but I can read maps. It became abundantly clear to me at this point that I have my work cut out for me in terms of mapping my route to New York City, especially because there will be no signs like these to follow:


As an adult who possesses a fair percentage of ADHD symptoms, I tend to love big challenges, I overestimate my ability to do tasks and underestimate the time the tasks will take, and I have “minor difficulty” with prioritizing tasks. So when the bolt of insight struck me three months ago, telling me to ride my bike 300 miles from Quincy to NYC as a fundraiser, I committed to this without hesitation…as easily as I would agree to taking my dog on a mile walk to Wollaston Beach. I didn’t think about the hundreds of hours I would need to train (cycling and weight lifting); how hard it would be to teach myself how to administer a blog or learn the ins and outs of Twitter; the time it would take to write dozens of fundraising letters, follow-up emails, Facebook status updates, thank you notes, blog posts, and tweets, and take way too many selfies; and/or exactly how I was going to safely map out every twist and turn along the 300 mile route through hundreds of New England cities and towns. I did not think about the supplies I would need, where I would stay, where I would stop for nourishment if needed, where the public restrooms are located, where the closest bike shops are if repairs are called for, and God forbid…where the nearest hospitals are located should injuries occur. No, when the bolt came, I welcomed it with open arms and thought only of the remarkable feelings of freedom, accomplishment, and connection with nature and with my bicycle, which I had felt many years ago when doing interstate bike rides.

Thankfully though, Miss CATEYE gave me problems and I was separated from Mr. YOR at about mile 30 because I had 20 more miles to think about all the lessons from the road, which had not been so glaringly obvious before. Now I am much better prepared for my ride…or at least I know how to prepare for my ride over the next 42 days. Happy Prioritizing!

And most thankfully, I have the best athletic supporter that anyone could ask for, who will be my volunteer crew in a Honda Accord…Thank you Justine!

Support team

More shots from the Ride for Habitat 2014:Helmet is on

Lovely poseHingham farmNorwell pond

Hanover house


tree farm too    tree farmCoastal Riding Scituate harbor Glorious day    Hull harbor boats Hull   Sailboats    Carnival in HullFishing at end of peninsulaSelfie

If you would like to donate to Liz’s Bike to Build Fund at NBSS, click here