Road biking, dirt road riding on Frankenbike, tandem riding, group riding, time trialing, randonneuring - I love to ride, and I love to write. As I've traveled along on two wheels, I've learned one thing: Expect Adventure. Join me on the journey!

Betty Jean Jordan

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Goals have been on my mind a lot this weekend.  It started with this memento I received in the mail yesterday:

It's a Super Randonneur medal from world randonneuring headquarters in Paris.  I'm super excited!  It says 2015 because the medals are produced only in Paris-Brest-Paris years, which are every four years.  This medal represents two goals for me: completing the Super Randonneur Series (a 200K, 300K, 400K, and 600K all in the same calendar year) and aspiring to PBP in 2019!

I enjoy the Strava mileage challenges.  No one in the world except me cares if I meet these challenges, but attaining all of the available electronic badges (25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of 1250 km) motivates me to ride.  I only do the mileage challenges from March through September because the other months don't have enough daylight hours for me to ride 1250 km.  (Besides, I need to give myself a break sometimes, too.)  Here at the end of June, I realized that I need to push it to make 1250 km for the month.  I'm not about to forgo the monthly Strava distance challenge during the month with the longest days of the year!  Therefore, today I rode farther than I would have otherwise.  It was a hot and draining 77 miles today on top of a hot and draining 82 miles for yesterday's annual BBQ Bass Bicycle Ride.  It was worth it, though.  As I told Robert, having built up so much endurance through a number of difficult riding conditions, I'd much rather maintain it than have to build it back.

Goal-setting is very important to me.  I like structure in my life, and working toward goals is part of this structure.  Also, achieving goals is very fulfilling because I tend to set ones that require some effort.  At the same time, while I don't focus on it, I recognize that the possibility exists that I might not reach a goal.  I've been thinking about two of my friends who didn't quite reach theirs.

My friend Chad is an avid, excellent cyclist.  He's like an aircraft carrier; he might not be the zippiest one out there, but he rides at a very high level and can keep up an effort for hours.  That makes him ideally suited for time trialing.  In fact, he's been state champion in his category several times.  Last month Chad was out for a regular Sunday afternoon training ride.  The unthinkable happened; an 18-wheeler hit him.  Chad was life flighted to Grady Hospital's trauma center.  Miraculously and thankfully, Chad survived and eventually will be able to ride again.  In the meantime, he has a long road to recovery.  Right now he's struggling with having to put aside certain plans and goals he had for this cycling season.  Obviously, the most important thing is that he's still alive, but it's certainly understandable that he's grieving for those lost dreams.

This year's Race Across America (RAAM) is just finishing.  I've particularly been following Erik Newsholme, a solo racer from Atlanta.  Erik attempted solo RAAM last year when I raced with the 4-person, women's Sorella team.  Last year Erik made it to Ohio, about 2/3 of the way.  Along with dozens, maybe hundreds, of others, I've really been rooting for Erik this year.  When he passed last year's DNF point looking strong, I had such strong hopes for him.  Unfortunately, he DNFed this year, too.  It was only about 100 miles from the finish.  I can't even imagine what this must be like for him, especially after he has trained so hard for at least the past two years.  He probably hasn't processed it yet.  Regardless, Erik is amazing!  As someone else put it, a DNF is better than a DNS.

I follow an uplifting page on Facebook called A Mighty Girl.  It highlights girls and women who are strong, brave, and smart.  Sometimes famous women are featured.  Yesterday A Mighty Girl highlighted Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on her 62nd birthday.  She has accomplished so much despite challenges ranging from the limited financial means of her family to the death of her father when she was a young child.  This quote from her really resonates with me this weekend:

If you are reading this, I hope you set and reach goals for yourself - achievable but ones that make you stretch.  They might be for cycling, other sports, or nonsporting endeavors.  Whatever they are, ride on!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Why Did the Chicken Ride Across the Road?

This blog entry is for other women cyclists.  Dudes, you’re welcome to continue reading, but be forewarned that it might be a little TMI.

I was gone all weekend, riding the Solstice 300K on Saturday and visiting Daddy yesterday for Father’s Day.  When I got home last night, I got to see the new endurance bike that Robert bought for me!  It’s a Trek Domane.  My sweet husband/soigneur has been switching out my dynamo hub and rack on my Marin Stelvio for my long brevets, and understandably, he’s getting kind of tired of that.  Also, the Domane should be more comfortable on such rides.

When I pulled into the garage and saw my new bicycle hanging on the wall with my other ones, I was struck by the difference in saddles:

L-R: TT bike, cyclocross bike, endurance bike, road/racing bike

I’ll be getting another Adamo Prologue saddle for my endurance bike.  Here’s why.

I rode thousands of miles over many years with a sore bottom, figuring it was just part of the deal in a sport that I otherwise loved.  I don’t know how noticeable it was, but I would ride a little to one side on the saddle.  After literally years of this, I developed a thickened, fleshy callous on the side of my lady parts.  It’s like those fat pads around the cavity of a whole chicken from the grocery store.

I didn’t think it was anything serious, but I figured that during my annual Pap smear, I ought to tell my doctor where it came from.  He didn’t hear me as I started talking about chicken fat pads, but the nurse did.  She and I cackled.

Over the years I had tried a few saddles, but none seemed to make much of a difference.  One day Robert showed me a saddle he had bought, an Adamo Prologue.  It didn’t work for him because it had a wide nose that chafed him.  He asked if I wanted to try it.  I thought, sure, it couldn’t hurt.

Wow!  After 18 years I found a saddle that is truly comfortable!  I determined that I need a saddle with a wider nose because it distributes my weight better.  No longer do I have to ride a little to the side.  I’ve ridden 300, 400, and even a 600K without thinking about that old soreness.  The chicken fat pad has even shrunk.

After I found a solution to my problem simply by chance, someone shared an article with me about this very issue:


Pretty enlightening, huh?  It makes sense that it took me so long to find the right saddle.  I don’t go around looking at my lady parts, much less talking about them, especially to my cycling friends, who are mostly guys.  I hope that by sharing this, I can help a few other women avoid pain and keep pedaling.

I’m really looking forward to trying out the Domane on my next brevet, the Fried Green Tomatoes 200K in July.  (But of course I’ll be riding it lots between now and then – with an Adamo Prologue!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


It's getting to be prime dragonfly season! After seeing a bunch of particularly beautiful ones this morning, I was reminded of one of my most fun entries from my previous cycling blog, A Year of Centuries.  The following post was originally published 6/21/13.
I love dragonflies. Actually, I love insects in general, but dragonflies are especially interesting and colorful. What better reminder of summer?
A few years ago I went to a dragonfly class at Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, a wonderful place right near my house. First, we had a classroom session, and then we went out to one of the ponds on the property to watch and identify dragonflies. I was hooked! Later, I even purchased "Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast," a great reference book.
This past Tuesday, I did my usual group ride, a.k.a. Tuesday Worlds. One of the guys joined us a few miles into the ride. I saw him on a hill ahead of the peloton, his slender silhouette hovering like a dragonfly. All of a sudden it occurred to me just how much cyclists do resemble dragonflies. Darting around in their colorful kits, they both fly. Happy solstice!
Shining Clubtail

Eastern Pondhawk
Red-Veined Pennant
Common Green Darner


Sunday, June 5, 2016

I'd Like to Buy a Vowel, Please

Today I rode to Big O Ranch, Otis Redding's last home before he died.  I had planned to do an out-and-back route, but when I got there, I decided I wanted to do more mileage.  Therefore, I also rode to Hillsboro Lake and back on the way home.  Ironically, this made my route look more like a big E:

On an unrelated note, the Queen Anne's lace growing by the side of the road has been simply beautiful the last few weeks.  I stopped on my ride to snap a photo.  I love this example of fractals in nature: