Monday, December 15, 2014

The One With All The Stuff!

Rounding out the edges of my 2014 year has been exciting!

Slowly transitioning my bike miles to running has brought on new ways to experience the same old routes.

I used to think that biking places allowed you to take in the scenery...and then...I started running again!

Talk about watching paint dry!


So the pace comparison and accumulated miles may be dramatically different between my biking and running...but...

One similarity, errands in tights, whether for biking or running brings the same looks of surprise from other shoppers :-).

So how did I whittle away the last few weeks?

First, I received the best email ever!  I have been asked to participate in the Vanderkitten VKVIP program again in 2015!

As if that wasn't amazing enough on its own, I also found out there will be three other kittens within cycling distance in Michigan.  How stoked am I that there are now enough kittens here to create our very own mountain bike pelaton!

Then, while out Christmas shopping, I came across a new pair of thermal socks and joyous bells rang through the air! 

2015 is going to be the cats pajamas!

Now, onward to great technology!

While spending some quality time on Pinterest I came across this product from

They're little stretch bracelets you can hide your house key and money in when you go out for a run!

I haven't had a chance to try them out on the road yet, but my in house test of shaking my arm like a crazed person while walking from room to room provided positive results!

Here's hoping I don't drop a key while out and about in the upcoming weeks!

Last but not least, while diligently Christmas shopping for others at REI, I came across another Brooks running apparel clearance item (insert look of extreme happiness here).

This item is the Brooks Nightlife Hoodie.  Recommended temperature range is 40 degree and above runs (Which is perfect since it's been in the 40 and 50's over the past week!).

Honestly, I was sold on this shirt as soon as I touched the sleeve.   This shirt feels like it was spun from the same material they reserve for royalty.  I really cannot get over how soft it is...

This past Sunday was the annual Anchor Bay Jingle Bell run and the perfect opportunity to take it on a test run.  

The thumb hole sleeves were perfect for the temperatures (just enough coverage for the 50 degree temp) and the silky feel of the material allowed me to layer it under my vanderkitten running shirt without having it roll up while I was running.

Really, really pleased with this shirt!

Check out my awesome layering techniques!

And for now, that's a wrap!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wings and Things

This weekend we saw our first snow flurries and the promise of winter being right around the corner is officially here!

To celebrate, husband and I decided to do something that is not bicycling, but just as much fun! 

We went to see the Detroit Red Wings on Halloween.

As it turns out, it was a great game and we even had the opportunity to sign the "Get Well" board for Gordie Howe.

As the evening came to a close, we arrived back at our car only to realize we had lost our car keys somewhere in Joe Louis.


Our trip back through Cobo over to the Joe was expedient and fortunately we ran into a member of the event staff, "Andrew", on his way to his car.

We explained our predicament and he graciously escorted us into the VIP entrance of Joe Louis where we met a jovial man named "Pete".  Pete was directing rowdy fans out of the building, but halted his actions to make a few radio calls into the depths of the Joe on our behalf.

And amazingly, our keys were resurrected from some where within.

I wanted to hug Pete, Andrew and all of the staff within reach.

What are the chances?!!

I am not only impressed by the kindness that they showed us but also in the ability for a facility of that size to procure one small key upon request!

Thank you to the Joe Louis Event team!

The remainder of the weekend didn't hold as much excitement, but it was still fun!

I made a trip out on the Fatbike to shop for an "ugly" sweater to wear at the "Hideous Sweater 5k" coming up next weekend.

Who knew that fatbikes can make something as annoying as shopping fun!

There was even enough time to squeeze in some trail riding and two decent, yet somewhat slow runs.

Plus, we had just enough time to perform some animal shaming by dressing Dooder up in a turtle Halloween costume...haha..poor Dooder.

Next weekend will have big shoes to fill after this weekends adventures!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Hustle

Captain America, Thor, The Wicked Witch, The Good Witch, Superman and a hot dog all ran with me yesterday.

How often do you get to say that?

The 3rd annual Halloween Hustle 5K was held at Stony Creek Metropark and thanks to the event organizers and volunteers, this event went off like an Olympic marathon.

Everything from the the costume contest to the race results were handled smoothly and in a timely fashion.  Which was important since the winds were whipping over the lake and causing quite a chill after the race.

I completely forgot how terrible running feels in the first mile of a 5k event, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that all of my biking has paid off when it comes to blocking out pain and discomfort.

No sooner had it started and I was finished with an Asiago bagel in hand!

Woot! Woot!

My favorite part of the race was watching all the little kids that were racing alongside the adults.  

The unboundless energy and gait kids have make running seem so easy.  They do it purely because it's fun and without all of the mental prep adults attach to the simple act of running.

It reminds me of "Phoebe" running on Friends.  

All arms, legs and smiles.

Pure joy!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Finding All The Stuff

Fall has arrived and it's sent me scrambling pleasantly for all of the gear I tucked away in the spring.

It's funny how big of a surprise it is the first few times you head out to ride and you find yourself slightly under dressed for the temperature.

Suddenly, a thirty minute commute becomes a thirty minute ice bath!

In my ongoing attempt to perfect my fall/winter apparel, I've been haunting my favorite websites and keeping my eyes peeled for deals.

I've become a bit rabid about checking Steep and Cheaps site for their daily closeouts.

In addition, I've meandered through REI several times, purely just to "see" what was on the rack.

My last jaunt through the aisles scored me a Brooks Playground Jacket on closeout.

I have to say that after running and riding in it, I absolutely love it!

I'm looking forward to layering it with some of my merino wool tops for this winter.

Plus it has an internal pocket for your phone that keeps it safe and dry (it was even big enough for my Galaxy Note II's huge "data" a$$!).

My biggest like with this jacket is that it feels like you're wearing a hoodie, but it has the wind protection of a jacket.

Now that I feel a bit more confident about my jacket layering system, I'm moving back to footwear.

I've had the opportunity to try on and smell 45nrth's Fasterkatt's,  in addition to the Vasque Paw Paw.

I really felt like a flat peddle and standard winter boot worked well for me last year, but the appeal of clipping in is seductive.

It's been long enough that I've forgotten how frustrating it can be to have ice packed into your cleats after a hike a bike section.

I think I have at least three weeks before threat of snowfall will be in the air, so I have more time to deliberate!

In the meantime, my pup "Danni" and I have been getting out and running through the leaves.  He loves crunching leaves like a little hellion!

This weekend I will be running in my first official Halloween 5k, possibly with Danni if he feels up to the costume challenge, it should be interesting to say the least!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One of Those Days

Maybe the headwinds were pushing you down or you felt like freshly misted produce all afternoon as dark clouds followed you around.

Either way, we've all had one of those days where it feels like everyone is out to get you and there's no escape.

Something new that I tried today was a visualization technique.  After assembling all my favorite things (book, tea, etc.) I ran a bath (well first I had to scrub the bathtub because of the cats and their fecal feet prints (okay scrub the bathtub twice)) and then I took a bath...

Which was great, but my brain was still combating the calm and not quite shutting up.

So I pulled the cork and let the tub start to drain and pictured in my mind each of the days issues spiraling down out of my brain and down the drain.

I stayed until I felt confident every issue had left the premise.

And good gravy did my perceived attitude feel uplifted!

I'm going to repeat this on particularly bad days since baths aren't practical for every day and typically reserved as a "luxury", but I've got to say it was extremely helpful in centering amidst the toxic mind garbage of the day! 

Not quite as calming as a long bike ride...but pretty darn close :-).

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sleepy Time Tea!

And now my diligent studies, aimed at figuring out what makes us tick, proves I don't need to feel guilty for drinking my sleepy time tea at 8:00 p.m. (thank you 


Sunday, September 28, 2014


"It's not what you look at that matters, but what you see." -Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, September 27, 2014

2014 Titanium Spork Poker Cider Mill Ride

The inaugural Titanium Spork Cider Mill Poker Ride is in the books!  It was a beautiful day filled with donuts, coffee,  cider and lots of pedaling!

Part one departed from the area nearest River Bend Park and followed the Macomb Orchard Trail thru the woods to Blake's Big Apple.

Since Blake's is quite a large venue, knocking it out of the park early in the day prevented exposure to immense traffic and the treat of short lines and extra warm donuts.

The first set of cards was dealt and onward marched the brave donut consuming soldiers to stop two, Hy's Cider Mill just off of 37 mile road.

Hy's seemed to be a hidden treasure as far as cider mills go, there were no lines and the donuts were so fresh they set your finger tips on fire!

At this stop, I also stumbled upon some licorice and seedless jelly, perfect for storing as a potential winter delicacy as the colder months approach!

Wasting no time, the next set of cards were dealt and the riders took off towards the Stoney Creek Orchard & Cider Mill.

It's amazing how almost overnight the leaves turned and even though the temperatures didn't indicate fall in any way, the roadside colors screamed it's arrival everywhere you looked.

The Stoney Creek Orchard & Cider Mill hosted a nice set of real toilets, no port a johns for the sugared up poker players this time around! 

In addition, there were shaded picnic tables to bask in the glow of car-ra-mel (you have to say it like Nathaniel from "Enchanted") apples and granola bars.

Strong in their donut eating principles, the riders selected their cards and returned to the pavement for the fourth destination, the Paint Creek Trail Cider Mill.

As luck would have it, the fourth installment sported some enticing lunch options and a passionate one man band.

Declaring their need for something protein based, the riders ate solid foods, selected their fourth cards and then closed in on the final destination...Yates Cider Mill.

This time, the crowds were bountiful and wait times in line were estimated from 30-45 minutes.  However, the fudge line was non-existent and riders who chose to indulge, were treated to the Frankenmuth Fudge, just like those that attend the Emmy Awards!

As the fifth and final cards were pulled, the coveted Titanium Spork was awarded to the rider that managed to squeak out a decent albeit random hand that was collected throughout the day.

And so, the inaugural Titanium Spork Cider Mill Poker Ride came to an end. 

It had all the ingredients of a spectacular fall ride and will leave large footsteps for next years event to follow!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Watermelon Lemonade & Goodbye to Summer

Upon exiting work and pedaling my way home, I tried to take in the scents of fall that have been lacing the airwaves over the past few days.

However, today everything was all about the last bits of summer.

According to the bank, it was a high of 87 and if it weren't for the clawing chill lashing free of the shadows, it would seem like we were still in the middle of summer.

To celebrate the passing of the seasons, I'm saying goodbye with the burning down of a watermelon lemonade candle as evening falls.

Over the past few days I've been pedaling to and fro running errands and going to work, so I'm presently stoked to be bringing on the weekend!

There are fun things involving titanium sporks on the horizon and I cannot wait for them to unfold (more on that later).

This particular story is about a story that I just finished.  Given my curiosity about adventure, I have been making my way through quite a few tales and stumbled upon this book by chance at the library.

It is a true story about a man, his tiny but brave dog and some 4,000 footers (mountains).

I was wary we were getting into a "Marley and Me" situation, but "Atticus" and "Tom" have their own unique tale to tell and even if you can't delve into the story, the pictures are amazing!

I would recommend it for one of the upcoming crisp fall nights!

Now if I lost you at the mention of a spork in the road,  stay tuned because that little story will be coming this weekend!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Long Awaited Day 3

The wind picked up considerably as we approached the shore of Milwaukee.  In fact, I started gripping my helmet to my chest in an effort to create some sort of warmth as the air pierced through my riding clothes.

On the bow of the ship, a young family clambered up to the railing and the kids squealed as the shore grew near.

The proud father picked up their toddler and held him up into the air his left hand resting just under his belly and his right sandwiched against his bum.

For a fleeting moment I feared the wind would catch him and send him flying through the air, but from below the captain sounded the horn and it sent them scattering away from the railing so all was good again.

The ferry slid into port and I clambered down to the lower deck to collect my bicycle.  She seemed to have suffered no sea sickness and even made a friend in the form of a ladies steel framed cruiser.

As the four of us waited our turn to exit the belly of the ship, we discussed our travels.  The lady and her cruiser were headed towards Osh Kosh to visit family and I towards Chicago.

When I told her my route, she chuckled and said I wouldn't be seeing the greenery of Michigan over here as it would be cityscape all along the shore.

That bummed me out considerably, but I figured she just misunderstood my route.  Wisconsin is green and full of cheese...right?

Finally, feet and wheels on Wisconsin soil, I began my final quest towards Schaumburg.  There were 82 miles between the hotel and I and not a lot of daylight to burn.

And as my route began to unfold, I realized the nice lady had been right. 

There was a lot of flat, dusty blah and some dry meh and then some more dusty blah as I flew along the county bike paths heading south.

I could not see the lake or any real shrubbery.

As the miles progressed, I started feeling a bit wary as I passed through certain sections.  It was a little sketchy and I kind of wanted to take my whistle out.

However, getting to my whistle meant stopping and I really didn't want to stop and stand around.  So I kept pedaling with all of my might.

About this time, I felt a little forlorn and lonely and decided to bust into the Katy Perry playlist I had downloaded for free from Google Play Store.

There's just something about bubble gum pop that makes something sketchy appear comical.  Add in a little disorientation from lack of proper hydration and you create the hybrid monster that I morphed into as the miles flew past.

Then, somewhere between "Fireworks" and "Double Rainbow", I ran out of water and my panic started clawing it's way back in.

There hadn't been a water fountain along any of the county pathways and I still had a good forty miles ahead. 

I started bobble necking at each crossroads, looking for a gas station or convenience store, but there was little in way of convenience decorating those streets.

And then....

From out of nowhere...

A gorgeous dog park appeared on my right just off the path, complete with a fully functioning water fountain!!!

So happy was I!

I pulled over and quickly filled my bottle (from the people fountain, not the puppy fountain (the puppy fountain totally had a "scent")).

Elated by my sheer luck I bounced back into my "Katy Coma" and worked it into a new gear all the way to the Illinois border.

Where suprisingly, things shifted into an "everything is green & pretty" environment.  My spirits were lifted and I began to enjoy the route again as I zig and zagged from subdivision to subdivision, side street to main road.

There were even some road cyclists out and I waved at them like they were long lost compadres.

They just nodded politely or ignored me, which I didn't take personally, I knew I was just really excited to see someone else in bike apparel!

And as the sun began to plummet towards the horizon, I found that I was just a mile away from the Renaissance Schaumburg.

I had made it! I was at my destination and it felt amazing!

As I rolled up to the driveway, I jumped off of my bike and gave an internal fist pump into the air.  This had truly been an adventure and I was deeply satisfied with all that I saw and encountered.

It would take a few days to be able to come off of my "natural" high of arriving in Schaumburg.  Which worked out perfectly because by the time I came down from my high it was time to ride into downtown Chicago to catch the train.

And then I was elated all over again as I rode in the "real" bike lanes and visited all the picture perfect landmarks that make up the downtown area.

In truth, on my way back on the train, it felt like it had been weeks ago that I departed on my trip.  Each segment had  so much to offer that it had made the entire adventure seem so enriched.

And so, on the train ride home, I pulled out the amtrak route map and began highlighting all the places my bike could go

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Disney Princess? Day 2.5

Last night, I had a nightmare that someone stole my bicycle right out from under my nose. 

I was at the movie theatre with my parents and had rolled my bike into the lobby while we purchased our tickets.  For a moment, I turned my back to pay and when I turned around she was gone.

Panicked, I tried to move towards the spot I had left my bike, but everything was moving in slow motion and I couldn't move my feet from where they were glued to the floor.

Then, suddenly there were all of these other bicycles being pushed around the lobby.  I kept trying to seek out my bike, but none of these other bikes fit the bill.

I awoke panic stricken, ready to discuss with husband, how best to go about rebuilding my fat bike for transport.

Thankfully, it was only a vivid nightmare, which I believe is a direct result of sleeping so many nights with my bicycle at the foot of my bed.  

Not having it at arms reach since arriving home has to be the only explanation for such a bizarre dream.


So where did I leave off?

Oh yes...getting into the elevator at the Shoreline Inn.

I stepped into the elevator and dragged my bicycle in with me.  We rode to the top floor and with a cheery "bing", the doors receded.

The hallway was richly decorated in ornate wallpaper, antique light fixtures and thickly padded chairs with claw shaped feet.

I felt slightly guilty rolling my dirty bicycle down the hall and double checked to make sure I wasn't leaving a trail of dirt behind me.

I found my room and slid the key card into the door handle.

As the door slowly swung open, I was dumbstruck by the beauty of my room.  For the next twelve hours, this would be my temporary home.

A short hallway led into the main sleeping quarters.  Upon the wall an oil painting hung, rich with swirls of color, accented by a thick golden frame.

The sleeping quarters held a king size bed made up in white linens and an army of fluffy down pillows across the back.  The bed frame was a black wrought iron affair that matched the theme of the hotel.

Against the north wall was a mini kitchen complete with microwave, keurig coffee maker, refrigerator and sink.

The southern wall was made up of floor length curtains that partially blocked a sliding door. 

Setting my bike delicately against the wall, I moved to the curtains and pulled them back to reveal a view of the harbor.

Sliding the glass doors open, the sounds of the live band playing below drifted up on the warm breeze.

Everything about this room was the perfect end to my long day in the saddle.

I quickly sent out an array of "arrived safetly" text messages and then went about the process of cleaning up.

Originally,  my intent for this night in Muskegon involved going for a walk along the lake and enjoying the sunset.  However, as I made my way through the tasks of washing my clothes, showering and reapplying clothing, I decided on a less adventurous path.

According to the website, "Hotel Chatter", the third most common item people do while staying in a hotel room (that they don't admit to) is "walking around nude".

Now, I prefer to always be ready to vacate the premises in case of fire or emergency, so I'm not going to declare that I was walking around nude.  I will admit that in my relaxed status, I did enjoy the freedom of breaking out my new merino wool "dainties" and spiderman t-shirt for lounging around in in my uber fancy suite.

This was a vacation afterall...

With a fresh cup of tea in hand, I sat upon my giant bed and reviewed my route maps for the following day.  I really had no idea what the last portion of my travels would have in store for me, but I was really excited about the ferry ride.

As the music became more lively downstairs and the evening air chilled, I slowly gave in to sleep and passed out on my giant bed.

The next morning, I awoke and rushed down to see what kind of breakfast the Shoreline Inn had in store for me.

As soon as the elevator doors opened, the smell of bacon and waffles overcame me.

I walked over to the breakfast nook and removed the lid off of each silver serving tray to find eggs, bacon, biscuits, waffles and fresh syrup.

My stomach let out an appreciative growl.

Loading up my dish, I retreated to my room and ate breakfast perched like a princess on my delicate white wrought iron chair.

As the sun rose outside, I gathered my gear and bid my fairy tale room adieu.

Downstairs,  the morning concierge bid me a good day with a wave and I rolled out of the parking lot to make my way along the lake.

Following the shoreline, I grew more and more excited as I neared the port for the Lake Express.

Years ago, I traveled to California with my Aunt  Maureen to visit my Aunt Roxanne and Uncle Danny.  We went on an excursion to see whales in Mexico and while I knew this ferry ride would not involve any whale sightings, I was still excited to be out on the open water cruising along.

The check in process was quick and painless, I declared my pepper spray and emergency knife,  but wasn't detained for either and then they slowly started the boarding process.

After tucking my bike in downstairs, I shot straight up to the sun deck and staked out territory overlooking the stern of the ship.

The sky was clear, the water smooth as silk and I was bubbling over with joy at being there at that moment.

As the ship pulled away from the coast, I marveled at the endless sandy beaches and the beauty of Michigan.

After we cleared the canal, we started to pick up speed and the wind began picking up as well.  I hunkered down on the deck and laid on my back to watch the sky overhead, half napping as we plugged along towards Milwaukee.

This is about when I realized I left my lunch, leftover pizza from last night, strapped to my rear rack.  I wondered how it was fairing down below and hoped it would still be edible when we hit the shore...