Billy, I Want a Bike.

“Hey Molly, just wanted to let you know that I was able to find the Contessa Spark for you. They were out, but my rep is a really cool chick and was able to steal it from another shop…”

I awoke and anxiously listened to a message left on my phone. Yes! He found one!

What is soon to be my new baby.

After surviving my first mountain bike ride, I realized there is more to cycling than simply riding on roads, and it was definitely an activity I would like to do again in the future. And, my friend actually did some research about mountain bikes for me (or, women specific bikes to be more exact) and it was love at first sight when he showed me the bike he had found.

“It’s a Scott Contessa Spark,” he said as he navigated through Scott’s website. If you don’t already know, which you probably do because I’ve talked a lot about it in posts in the past, I purchased a Scott road bike in August, and feel a special fondness towards any Scott bike. X went on to tell me all of the specs that the bike had, and compared it to some other mountain bikes. Yes, specs for a bike are important. But, what was more important in my mind, was that the bike was pretty. Furthermore, I could not help but thing of all the new mountain bike clothes I would need, so that I would look like a badass mountain biker.

“Ouuu, it’s blue! It’s so pretty! I want one!” I remember exclaiming.

Ofcourse, me and bikes go hand in hand, and if someone suggests a good bike for me, it’s like inception…It’s an idea that has been planted in my head and now consumes all my thoughts. For the next twenty-four hours, this is all I could think about. My heart was not at ease until I could go to the shop and see if I could get one. Honestly, a time trial bike is what I’ve been thinking of getting recently, but after weighing the pros and cons of a time trial bike versus a mountain bike, I realized I’d get a lot more use out of a mountain bike. I can ride it in the winter and not have to worry about getting my road bike dirty, ride it in the woods (which opens up the world of off-road races/duathlons/ x-terra races up to me), and basically, ride it all the time. Whereas a tri bike I’d only really use in races which are during a certain time of the year. You see, I put a lot of thought into this.

Addiction? Yes. But, really, it could be worse. And, in my mind, you can never have too many bikes.

Saturday I went to the shop to see what Billy could do, and ask for his advice on mountain bikes. If you are looking for a bike shop, I strongly suggest going to Overlook Mountain Bikes. The people who work there are amazing, incredibly knowledgeable about all bikes, are friendly, and out to get you the bike which is good for you. Believe me, I’ve been to most bike shops in the Hudson Valley, too. This place is the best.*

“Billy, I want a mountain bike,” I blurted out after a couple minutes of being inside.

“Nice, do you have any ideas of what you’re looking for…”He went on to mention different mountain bikes or parts (my knowledge of mountain bikes is nothing compared to my knowledge of time trial bikes or road bikes, so I was trudging on unknown grounds. I still have no idea what he was talking about).

“Umm, wellll, I was thinking, a Scott Contessa Spark,” I said.

“Awesome, Scott’s are great,” Billy went on to go over the bike with me, and showed me the men’s model that they had on the floor. Even the men’s model was pretty.

“This is actually a great bike– lock out suspension, Shimano derailleurs, Rock Shox…You really did your homework, this is a nice bike.” Well, technically, I didn’t do my homework, X did.

“And, I have a jersey that matches!” I stated, a bit too enthusiastically.

Billy chuckled, “That’s important, too….Well, Monday I’ll give them a call and see what I can do for you!”

Alas, it is Monday, and my baby is on it’s way from Arizona, thanks to miracle bike finder Billy.

I’m very sorry, Plasma. I still have very strong feelings of affection towards you, but you’ll just need to wait for now. Spark is more important for the time being.

Parents, please keep your small children indoors. Pet owners, hold on to your small animals with your life. This crazy girl will be tearing up dirt very shortly, sporting her matching blue jersey.

* Links below

Scott Bikes

Overlook Mtn Bikes

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The Yellow Deli

“You know, I’m thinking, this place is blog worthy.”

A couple of nights ago I went to  the Yellow Deli in Oak Hill, and even though it is somewhat of a trek for anyone who lives south of the Catskills, I am telling you now, it’s worthy of a trip up just for the atmosphere alone. Not only that, the food was exceptional, and I have not found too many places in the area of which I can say that.

After a very nice hike and being introduced to new trails I never knew existed and being famished, I was taken to this restaurant. On that note, if you like to trail run, there’s a new-ish network of trails that are awesome which you should check out in Greene County. A word of caution though, they are also mountain bike trails, so you need to be careful of speeding, but very friendly, mountain bikers. But I was told people are allowed to run on them and after doing my share of trail running in the past, these are perfect for that type of running.Especially this type of year–the paths are soft and forgiving for to your joints, wide enough for a couple runners to be out at the same time, and very well kept. If you need directions, want to see a possible trail loop, wish to partake in the last NYSMTB race of the season, or enjoy mountain biking (they have trails that range from beginners to expert levels) the directions to Riedlbauer’s Resort in Round Top can be found here.

The Yellow Deli is actually a chain of small restaurants started by the Twelve Communities, and used to be called the Oak Hill Kitchen. Going in, I was warned that the people there are different. I will refer to them as members, and you never feel uneasy, like you are trying to be converted, or pressured at all, so don’t worry.

You notice something is different when you first enter the restaurant, which is open all hours. Honestly, I felt like I was in Disneyland (there are many places which remind me of Disney, if you have not noticed reading other posts.) The music was composed of fiddles and guitars, and everything is made out of wood, from the stairs to the tables to the ceilings. It’s peaceful and relaxing–nothing is rushed. Everything is made fresh, is organic, and farmed by hand. They bake their own bread. And, they don’t toast the bread…They steam it.

I ordered their veggie burger and Yerba Mate tea. The meal was awesome to say the least. I’m pretty sure there was half an avocado on my burger, and it was actually ripe (some restaurants do not know what a ripe avocado is, which drives me nuts.) I usually shy away from fried foods, but their homemade chips were addicting. I’m somewhat of a tea lover, and their tea selection was quite impressive. I tried some of their Community tea as well, which had hints of Peppermint and Carob–delish–and not only to vegans. Their chunky tomato soup was “life-changing good.” It came with two, one-inch thick slices of their steamed bread. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it. Whether you are vegetarian, an omnivore, or meat-eater–there are options for everyones taste buds.

As I mentioned above, there are a few of these restaurants around, where the Twelve Communities reside (I think there’s one in VT, CA, NC, and another one further upstate). This is a place you definitely need to check out!

Song of the day.

Me? On a Mountain Bike?

I think spring has finally sprung in the Hudson valley! My knowledge of Dutchess County continues to increase by the minute the more time I spend on the east side of the Hudson River, and it was only a matter of time before I actually tried this mountain biking activity. This afternoon a friend of mine, an avid mountain biker(who is amazing on a mountain bike) brought me over to the Taconic Hereford (909) off of the Taconic for an “easy” ride. I told him I wanted the Bunny Slopes of mountain biking. Haha, lets just say 1) it wasn’t a bunny slope and 2) it was easy for someone who knows what they are doing.

Picture me on two wheels going over roots, rocks, through streams, and weaving through trees. See it? Now add blood, and scratches.Et voila, that’s me on a mountain bike.

So, here’s my parallel: mountain biking is to road cycling as trail running is to…Normal running. Mentally, you need to switch gears when you are biking on a mountain(like that play on words? I’m laughing). It is very different than biking on a road. Very.You are in a completely different frame of mind when you are on a mountain bike compared to a normal bike–constantly weaving through trees, riding over large roots and fallen trees, maneuvering through mud and slick leaves. Just like trail running–running over roots, scrambling up rocks, going up and down…Major fun!

On a road bike, all you need to worry is about moving cars, your cadence, HR, etc. Not so much in mountain biking. You are too focused on the path straight ahead of you, and need to think in technical turns….”Can I make it down that sheet of rock? Over the branches?Can I make that sharp turn that I’m coming up to? Can I make it over that fallen tree?” (The jumping over the tree was unsucessful, as when I road up to meet X he took a look at me and said, “umm, your bleeding.” I looked down at my jersey, “oh sh-t.”)

Another major difference between the two types of biking is the attire. Mountain biking you can wear baggy shorts. Before a couple weeks ago, I thought mountain biking was simply, mountain biking. Alas, there are different types of mountain biking (hence why there are different type of mountain bikes).

Yet another difference is, you ride for a shorter distance (like 8 miles), but since it is so technical, it take hours to ride (well, for me). Similar to trail running, where 8 miles on a trail run might take longer for you to complete, because you added the element of rocky terrain, ups and dips and your mental energy is all concentrated on not toppling over (which happened…a lot. Bless him for waiting for me.)

Just like train running, and what I mentioned above, all your mental energy is spend focusing on the piece of trail ahead of you, and your immediate surroundings. You are always on your feet, prepared for the sharp left or sharp right turn. The time goes very quickly, and it’s great to get your thigh muscles to work with all the short steep inclines (over branches and rocks). I can’t wait to go train running again.

It took awhile, about the first half of the route, for me to become comfortable with riding such a different bike than my scott (the bike I was using was a Giant dual suspension women’s mountain bike… Kona and Cannondale make good  mountain bikes if you are interested). Throughout the ride as I was following my leader, whose daring abilities and “no-fear” attitude of logs, I could not help but wish I had the same no-fear attitude, and also the ability to make it up hills with a tiny bit of speed. Thankfully, my leader would wait for me to catch up to him and didn’t comment on all my “ouches” and “crappppppps” and “eeeeeeeks” as I went speeding down trails.

In all honesty, as difficult as it was maneuvering and zig zagging through trees, riding through streams, speeding up and (attempting) to make quick turns, I had a blast and cannot wait to get on it again…Billy, from Overlook Mountain Bikes, watch out. I’ll be headed your way shortly.

All in all, it was awesome, and I cannot wait to do it again. Yes, the beginning was nerve wrenching, but at the end of the 8 mile loop, I could not help but laugh at all the wounds I had afflicted on one mountain ride. It was so much fun. I will continue on my Scott for the time being but cannot wait to be on thicker wheels again.

Fuel for rides/runs

Remember a long time ago when I first started training for this race, and my coach said that the hardest part would come in April/May? Well, it’s April, and the training is harder than its ever been. And, the thought of mooseman in less than two months might actually make me cry

Today was my long ride/20min run, and it was a beautiful day for it. I did a new and I love riding places I’ve never been. It seems to make the time go by quicker. How was the ride, you ask? Nice for the first five miles.

At mile 40, I think I did have some tears in my eyes. How do people who compete in Ironman races actually ride more than 100 miles? The route I did (I attached the link to the map below) had some pretty nasty hills, and was suggested by my coach because, apparently, I need more hill work. I hate hills. You could not pay me ten dollars to ride up and down Turkey Hill Road more than once in a row…..Maybe if it was a thousand dollars, taxfree, I might.  I never realized that Dutchess/Columbia counties actually had hills. But, boy, do they have hills. And. for some odd reason, at the bottom of each hill when you would be speeding up to get as much speed to help in getting up the hill, there were workers at the bottoms directing traffic. So, I was never able to speed up on the decline before the incline. I had to STOP. Ugh. Slightly annoying.

It was  perfect riding weather–a little chilly at times when the sun disappeared behind the clouds, but it was nice. And my lungs and thighs ceased to be on fire for small amounts of time on the ride.

looking at the catskills- view from the church must be amazing.

At mile 50, I started getting hungry. So hungry that I began to fantasize about eating macaroni salad–you know the kind–with all the mayo and black olives and pieces of peppers. I have no idea why that food was what I was craving, because I hate mayonnaise, and do not eat pasta. But after 50 miles of hills and rolling hills and gradual inclines, that is what I wanted. And that’s all I could think about.

Mmmm Macaroni Salad

I’ve talked about this before, and I am going to say it again–the importance of supplemental energy when you are on long rides/long runs that last more than 60  minutes. Now, after trying my one shot of Gu last year and detesting it, I swore off any gu- containing products until I had a Shot Blok which I actually loved the night before the half marathon, especially the lemon flavored.

Gu is gross, but a life safer for sure.

After Turkey hill and other hills, after not eating anything before the ride except for consuming coffee, my stomach was starting to talk to me. Not talk, beg me for food. I stopped and searched my backpack for something…anything….because I had over 10miles left to go, only to find a Gu Energy shot–a Gu tirberry flavored shot- it was one of those free-be’s from another race I’ve done in the past. I was hesitant  to eat it, because the last one made me feel sick to my stomach. But I needed that extra boost.And since I was no where close to any place that would have macaroni salad, the shot would have to do. I think the drivers who passed me on Country route 6 headed to Nevis might have thought I was crazy, leaning over my handle bars and trying to eat the gu whist making faces because it was so odd tasting. As much as I hate it, it was a life saver for me because I needed something to eat as I was starting to tear up from so much hunger, and exhaustion (I have no idea how people complete full ironmans. Honestly, Moosman scares me. It’s so close and I don’t feel as prepared as I should.

I’ve talked about this before, and I am going to say it again–the importance of supplemental energy when you are on long rides/long runs that last more than 60  minutes. Now, after trying my one shot of Gu last year and detesting it, I swore off any gu- containing products until I had a Shot Blok which I actually loved the night before the half marathon, which I actually liked and then learned that they came be somewhat appetising, quick energy (preferable with caffeine).If you are going for a workout longer than 1 hr you should always bring something to eat or drink or chew that has some supplemental energy in it, esp sugars and sodium, because even if it is cold, you sweat, and can lose lots of sodium through that sweat. I wrote a post about this subject, so will not be redundant. But since you lose so much energy while working out, you need something, especially if it is longer than 60 miles.

56.68 mile route u p Turkey hill down to linthigo over to germantown, to Bard and home

Feeling  like you're the only one in the world

Feels like you are the only one in the world....

The below song was my motivating song to get me up and OOB to do this ride at 0900 when I usually am sleeping (man, working night shifts with being on your feet for 13hrs and training don’t really go well together. My feet do not really like 50 mile bike rides or any of that, or any of my training at the moment….) If you are a member of my family, you know I have every soundtrack known to man.

And now, off for my 11miler. Yes, it’s 0300. But no one will be on the roads.

How do you fuel up during rides/runs?

When was the last crazy post written?

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