Dear friends and family,
What a soggy month February was! I was desperate to squeeze in bike rides on the weekend, but Mother Nature had some different ideas.
- 126.128 miles this month: As I typed that tiny number, it occurred to me that my total miles for the entire month of February barely even adds up to one century ride. Rain, rain go away. Or at least leave me a dry Sunday or two.
- 2 deer: On my way to Shasta Dam, I saw two deer stopped in the middle of the road. I looked at them. They looked at me. I imagine we were all thinking the same thing “I’ll wait and see what you do so we don’t get all tangled up in each other.” I slowed from a snail’s pace to a sloth-like cadence and the deer bounded into the brush right in front of me. It was so cool.
- 42 miles: My longest distance this month. Next month I’m hoping to be up to 60 miles in one shot.
- 35 MPH: My fastest speed this season
- 3.7 MPH: My slowest speed this season. On Feb. 28th, in a last ditch effort to get some miles in this month, I decided to cram in a 42 mile ride. Due to rain, I hadn’t ridden my bike a single time in the two weeks prior to that ride. I mean, why not dust the cobwebs off The Rocket and toss in a long ride with lots of climbing? Obviously my plan was flawless. At mile 40 I faced the last climb home. It was a relatively short, but steep climb. I dropped The Rocket into granny gear and tried not to look other cyclists in the eye as they passed me. There weren’t any walkers on the trail which was good, because I’m confident they would have passed me, too!
- 1 time I yelled at a colleague: When riding the River Trail, I looked ahead and saw one of my co-workers and his wife enjoying a peaceful walk with their dog. My colleague was wearing a sweatshirt with his last name on it. Perfect. In the past, I’ve mistaken strangers for people I know. It’s not nearly as much fun yelling at strangers. Since he was wearing that handy name sweatshirt, I was 100% sure I knew this person, so I didn’t call out my usual chipper “On your left!” Instead I yelled “Move it or lose it, McMahon!” Seeing it was me, he yelled back that he was moving far, far out of my way. He even ushered his wife to the edge of the trail and held up his arms to protect her. It’s a given that my superpower is crashing when there is absolutely nothing to warrant said crash. He recognized, nay respected, my superpower and responded with the appropriate measure of caution. Awesome.
- 0 crashes this month: That could be because I was hardly ever in the saddle. On another note, I’m pretty sure I tripped at least six times this month, but I since I never ate pavement, I’m calling it zero.
- 1 case of bicycling jealousy: My friend, That Laura, and her father are currently on a cycling tour of Vietnam. She is posting updates regularly and each time I read her posts, I am equal parts excited for her and riddled with jealousy that she gets to do such an awesome thing. She also gets to ride an elephant while she’s there. The jealousy is starting to outweigh the excitement.
- 1 photo: Redding’s best ride is the Shasta Wheelman. Being the awesome cyclist that I am, they sent me this year’s ride brochure. Ok, they might have just sent it to me because I’m on their mailing list. Either way, I am now a super famous cyclist because they included a picture of some of last year’s team, including me, on the inside of the brochure. So what if the photo is only two inches big? So what if I am smaller than the size of a dime within that two inch picture? I am officially a Big Time Cyclist. No, I do not have time to sign autographs. I am too big and important. And I am very busy trying not to crash on my bike.
- 1 “CLANK!”: On February first, I headed up to Shasta Dam. It’s so pretty this time of year, but the headwind was wicked that day. I passed several flags sticking straight out in the air towards me, mocking me for heading into such an unforgiving wind. Up, up, up to the Dam I went. And what goes up must come down. The last part of the downhill curved around so that I was again riding into the wind and had to continuously pedal in order to even inch forward. So unfair. There I was pedaling downhill, trying not to be bullied by the wind, when I heard a distinct “Clank!” from The Rocket. I looked down. Brakes intact. Chainring intact. Wheels intact. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, I continued to the Dam. At the Dam I stopped for a slug of water. Removing my water bottle, I saw that my metal waterbottle cage had spontaneously broken itself. I removed it and took it to Sports Ltd. for a stronger replacement. I showed it to the salesboy. He pointed me in the direction of new ones and uttered “I’ve never seen that before.” I replied “I know, I wasn’t even touching it at the time. I was riding downhill.” Salesboy said “I assumed you crashed. I’ve never even heard of a waterbottle cage breaking like that on it’s own.” I just smiled and nodded at innocent Salesboy because my life is full of “I’ve never seen that before. I’ve never even heard of that before.”
- $500 donated so far: Thank you Jean P., Amy & Steve P., Tracy H., Jeff W., Anita J., Carmen L., Chris F., and That Unicycling Guy. I appreciate your support and generosity.
- $1,500 until I reach my fundraising goal: If you’d like to make a donation, click here to donate online. You can also write a check to The Lance Armstrong Foundation and I’ll make sure it gets to the right place.