Category Archives: Girl Power

Mid Week Hike with Mei Ling

Mid Week Hike

I had the opportunity and luck to meet up with a Buckeye Trail Thru Hiker, Mei-Ling today. She was hiking well, and I caught up with her right before the off-road section at Salt Fork State Park.

Thru Hiker

A thru hiker is a hiker who is planning on finishing an entire trail with one continous hike. This would be opposite of a hiker who might get out on the weekend and hike a section of the Buckeye Trail, and keep working on adding completed sections of trail hiked.

Warrior Expeditions

Mei Ling and Preston are the two Buckeye Trail Warrior Expeditions hikers for 2017. Warrior Expeditions provides veterans with everything they need to complete a long distance outdoor expedition at no cost to the veteran.

Buckeye Trail Sat Fork Section

I’ve hike this section of the Buckeye Trail. I parked at the Group Campground end and hiked in to meet Mei-Ling, who was coming from the other direction.

Oh my! This section needs some serious maintenance. I hiked this section in May. It was overgrown then-but MY it’s overgrown now.

Salt Fork State Park Group Camp

Even though it is an off-road section, it’s no fun in its present form.

Buckeye Trail

The trails needs to be mowed at least yearly to beat back the multi-flower rose.

Buckeye Trail

There is one section where I believe the rose bush is getting so big you can’t mow it down.

Buckeye Trail Sign

I’d like to get back there sooner and later and see if maybe there could be an easier passage in the woods beside the trail..

Hosting

Mei-Ling Jules

It was fun to host Mei-Ling as she continues with her Buckeye Trail south. 2 of my 3 dogs really liked her visiting!

 

Day Four CO GAP Bike Tour

C&O Towpath Last Day

Last Day on the C&O Canal Towpath Trail

Day Four was my last day on the C&O Canal Towpath Trail.

My miles were shorter. I only had to go twenty four miles, from mile 160 to mile 184.5. I did not need to be in any hurry on this day.

Turtles

There was quite a bit of water in the canal. Turtles have become my new spirit animal. I just love to see the turtles sunning themselves on logs.  But the turtles were thwarting me. Every time I stopped for a photo op, they would slide off their log back into the water!

Campground and Water on the C&O Canal Trail

I wanted to mention the campgrounds and water available on the C&O Canal Trail. One great feature on the C&O Canal Towpath Trail are the free campgrounds, which are spaced out about every five miles. There is a port-a-potty and a water supply at each campground. There is a good sign that tells you how far to the next campground, which made it very easy to gauge whether I needed to refill on my water supply.

Campground Sign C&O Towpath

Huckleberry Hill C&O Towpath

Pump C&O Canal Towpath

 

Flat Number Three!

All was going well until around mile 173. My tire…was going flat. I stopped and pumped air. The gauge would not go above 40 PSI. I actually found the hole where the air was going out.

I did not want to change the tire. I put a plastic candy wrapper on the hole, then wrapped cloth athletic tape around it.  I biked a bit. This didn’t work. I was going to have to change the tire. On the trail.

Know how to change your tire. I have now changed my rear tire five times. It really hasn’t gotten that much easier. I can now get the flat tire off the rim much quicker.

If you are going on a bike tour, you need to know how to change a tire.

I got the tire off, and inner tube out. I knew where the hole was. Sitting on the side of the trail, I carefully looked inside the tire.  I inspected the entire outside tire. I knew where the hole was. But was the problem?

There, in a tread, was a little quartz pebble. Which I knew was the problem. This little quartz pebble was penetrating the inner tube. Since I had not removed the little pebble the day before, this was caused Flat #3.

Pebble removed. Inner tube installed. Now time to put wheel on bike and chain back on derailleur.

This took…quite some time. I had no cell phone signal on the trail and could not consult You Tube. I kept trying. I know it is very simple..but when you can’t get the chain on, and don’t know how to do it, and it’s 2 pm and hot and humid and sweat is pouring down your face,  it’s a big deal.

But I did it. It took me an hour to change the tire. (Which is not bad, my fastest time is 40 minutes in my driveway at home). I load the bike up with my stuff, and the rear wheel doesn’t move.

I still don’t have the rear axle aligned correctly. I take the pannier off the bike AGAIN, and fix this.

Mile 174 C&O Towpath

Now I can continue, my last ten miles on the C&O Trail!

I am so filthy. Triumphant but filthy.

It was cool, to see my first view of the mountains as I pedaled westward.

I’m so ready to be done. I’ve been dreaming about a gin and tonic for miles. I know the towpath trail comes out of the woods not far from mile 184.5. When  I see the iconic spires of Cumberland for the first time, I let out a WOOHOO! I am almost there. Almost done.

I have been less filthy finishing a 100 mile foot race and biking this section of trail. I am a mess.

A finish and straight off to the bike shop I go. My brakes have been messed up since Flat #2, meaning I haven’t had brakes that worked.  Flat #3 hasn’t changed that.  The Bike shop fixes my brakes-meaning they tell me I need new brake and install them.  I am good with that. Perhaps I will have a new bike by the end of this bike tour.

My gin and tonic taste amazing and we have oysters and crab cakes at The Crabby Pig in Cumberland. I have now completed the C&O Canal Trail, and it is on to the Great Allegheny Passage Trail in the morning!

Do you know how to change your flat with the kit you have available on your bike ride?

My Longest Bike Ride Ever

First Long Ride

Longest Bike Ride Ever

I have changed the date of my 335 mile bike tour from October to August. Yikes! That’s coming soon. It is time to hop onto the bike and start getting some miles under my butt.

Bike Trail Route

Route: Park in Fort Laurens Park, Bolivar, Ohio. Ride two miles over the road to pick up the Towpath Trail.  Ride through the cornfields for about 1/2 mile, Bike Ridethen jump Rt 212 for about a 1/4 mile of sketchy road,  stop signthen pick up the Towpath Trail again.

Deer on Bike Trail

The Towpath Trail, in the south, is mostly crushed limestone, gravel in a few areas, pleasant to ride on. Nobody was out at 9 am on this cool spring May morning but me and the chipmunks, geese, and a few deer.

Towpath Trail Tunnel

Torture

The Towpath Trail grows through the small town of Navarre Ohio. Do you know what is also located in Navarre? Nickles Bakery! Baking bread since 1909 and in seven midwestern states. Do you know what smells sooo good riding through town? Baking bread!

Bakery Trucks on Trail

I continued north past all the great smells.

Trail under railroad track

Buckeye Trail on Traill noticed the familiar blue blazes of the Buckeye Trail on the Towpath Trail. These would be some pleasant non-road miles to hike on.

First Clipped in Fall

It happened! My first fall. It was a doozy. I was about two miles from Massilion, when a rock caught my eye. Yes, one of those painted rocks that is going around the internet. While I was thinking, “oh I should stop and pick that up” I didn’t compensate for the little slope I was starting up. I tried to shift, but already had lost momentum BOOM down I went.

First Clipped In Fall

I got a handlebar straight into my sternum. I heard my head hit the ground-thwock! OOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW! Somehow I was unclipped and stumbled away. Knees were a bit skinned but the pain was in my chest. I walked it off for a few minutes.  I seemed to be okay, other than every time I took a big breath-it hurt!

Oh yeah, here’s the rock I picked up! 😳 Rock on Trail

Turnaround

I kept trying to decide where to turn around.

I knew there was a break in the trail. I was hoping the bike shop was on this side of the trail. (It wasn’t). I made the logical decision to turn where the Sippo Trail started.

Turn Around Trail

 

Conclusions

The bike ride went well. I carried my running pack, since I have yet to figure out how to attach the water bottle cage to the bike.  My private parts only got a bit sore, and I had less numbness in my hands. I think I need to move my handlebars slightly. The next day, nothing is sore except my STERNUM which is hugely painful.

I forgot snacks. I was tired near the finish. I thought I had left some gels in the back, nope!

 

The  Towpath Trail will be good training grounds for the C&O Canal Trail. I am going to have to download audiobooks and podcasts to deal with the long green tunnel on this for August.

What’s your longest bike ride?

Take A Break

Take a Break

I have returned from my longest vacation break ever, 18 days off work. Most of that was spent out of the country in New Zealand.  Take a break in New Zealand I’m so glad I was able to take a break.

Running

I ran and DNF’d my swan song race,  the TUM 62K.  Tarawera Falls KimbaBeing under trained and overweight and not being in any sort of a running mindset did not help me power through the race. The knee hurting and leg cramps after about 15K didn’t help either. Perhaps I will write a race report sometime. This break helped me come back as “not a runner”.  It was more of a clean break.

Social Media

I was very happy to be away from the vitriol and negativity spewing from the interwebs. We did not use our phones in NZ (we did have internet access in the evenings) and I really did not miss picking up my phone and looking at it too many times in one day!

Clean Break as new Me= Kimba 2.0

While I was running the TUM several times my thoughts went to “I used to be able to bomb downhills” ” I used to be able to do that”.  That was one of the things I had to put out of my head. I’m no longer that person, no longer that runner. I might WISH to be, but it is not going to happen.  next chapterIt’s time for me to EMBRACE the new Me. As Popeye says “I am what I am”.

New Focus

The Guidebook for biking the Great Allegheny Passage/C&O Canal Trail was waiting for me when I returned home. I immediately picked it up and got intrigued with starting to plan out this new adventure.

New Free Time

Socrates Quote

I’m no longer experiencing “guilt” for not being out there running. I have oodles of time back.  I’m looking forward to more mini adventures-exploring areas around Ohio, hiking, trail time, volunteering, work on my gardens and my home.  I have a small barn that I intend to turn into a writing retreat.New project

Embrace Volunteerism


Embrace Volunteerism

 

Looking over my 2017 weekends, I have discovered it  is my year to embrace volunteerism. I am volunteering six months this year!

Forget the PR 50K Loudonville Ohio April 17-Covered Bridge Aid Station Captain

Massanutten Trail Run May 6  Massanutten  Mountains, Virginia

Laurel Highlands 50K & 70 Mile June 10 Laurel Highlands, Ohiopyle, PA-working the Mile 12 Aid Station

Canal Corridor 100 Mile Race  July 8  Akron Ohio-Working the Lock 3 Aid Station

Camp Tuscazoar Adventure Race August 16

Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic  Sept 16-Captain of the Start/Finish Line Aid Station

Whew! I think that it is for now. I don’t know my specific duties for Massanutten or the Adventure Race yet. The other races I will be working an aid station. We can always use more help at each of these events!  Give me a shout out if you have a few hours to volunteer. It is always fun to be on the other side of the table to help the runners out!

Volunteering this year at a running event? 

Volunteerism

Embrace The Bike: My BHAG 2017

 

Embrace the Bike

BHAG is Big Hairy Audacious Goal. I need to have something BIG to do, something new, something fun, something outside. Since I’m not supposed to run with my arthritic knee, I’m turning to biking. Since I’ve never been fast but have endurance, I’ve become interested in long distance biking.  I first set the goal of a century ride (100 miles) in 2017, but as that idea percolated, more ideas came to mind.

Great Allegheny Passage

The Great Allegheny Passage is 150 mile trail from Pittsburgh PA to Cumberland Maryland. I thought this would be a good goal. There are no motorized vehicles on it, and this would fulfill my goal of a century ride-plus some!

Great Allegheny Passage  AND the C&O Trail

Where the GAP Trail ends in Cumberland, Maryland, the C&O Towpath Trail takes over. The C&O Trail goes from Cumberland to Washington DC. You can ride your bike from Pittsburgh PA to Washington DC.  This is 335 miles.  As I thought about this, it seemed like riding just “half” the trail would only be half complete.  I’m sure I would want to complete the whole trail-so why not do that from the start?

Amtrak is the key

Getting to one end of the trail could be tricky except there is Amtrak! It is a single train ride from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. They now have a new service where you just wheel your bike onboard for a small fee of twenty bucks-easy peasy!

Training Trails

I have a close bike trail to train on. It is the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Full length is 73 miles, which would give me great opportunities for long mileage off roads.

So here’s to my BHAG for 2017, embrace the bike!

Happy Birthday to ME

Happy Birthday to ME

Happy Birthday to MEIt’s my 51st birthday.  No nice Caribbean trip this year, but I am not working today and just enjoying MY day.

4th Birthday

My 4th Birthday

Cake

I did get a cake again this year. The candles were not my idea.

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Horoscope

The only day of the year I read horoscopes is on my birthday. Pretty happy with scopes I gathered around the internet:

“..Build up your strength to support your rock-hard frame. A little extra work on the quads will do wonders to protect your knees from the wear and tear of constantly climbing the mountain…”  (ah, the knees of the Capricorn)

“…The period ahead favors dancing, swimming, photography, arts, and entertainment. If you are an artist, this could be an especially inspired, imaginative, and productive year…”  (swimming is mentioned!!)

“…Change isn’t always fun… but it can turn out fantastic. It can make room for true progress. It can set your life off in a new, improved direction. All this and more is the case for 2017..”

“…You will need to be bold this year and face some transitions and challenges with courage and a positive attitude. These have been hovering for a long time. Have no illusions – 2017 may not be an easy year, but then not much worth having comes easy…”
(I know I am evolving into a different athlete this year!)

I am off to clean up my office, hang a Christmas gift, probably ride my bike trainer, and maybe go swimming.  Eat more cake.  After all it’s my birthday and I will celebrate with whatever I want to do!  Have a great day!