Posted in Bikes, Dog Life, Fairbanks Cycle Club, Mountain Biking, Road Biking, Running, Summer Training, Trail Riding

A Pandemic Can’t Stop National Bike Month

The hardest part about training in 2020 is maintaining motivation. Group rides in Fairbanks are cancelled until June. Races are cancelled or have gone virtual like the Tour of Fairbanks, which is cool though I miss the competitive rush at the start line with the pack. A normal routine doesn’t exist no matter how hard I try to create one. Some days I want to abandon training all together.

Deep down I know the real struggle. I don’t do anything unless there’s a reason. I bike to get somewhere. I run to socialize. And I swim to escape the world.

There is no swimming since the pandemic. Sure our pools are open to a limited capacity, but you have to pre-register online, come already dressed to swim and leave wet because you can’t use the locker rooms. I haven’t run with my friends since my last major injury because I simply can’t keep up, and I can’t expect them to sacrifice the quality of their training. And the trails are still soft, so Java and I stick to our neighborhood dirt road. I have added road biking in the mix. Biking the Old Nenana Hwy that runs by our house is a 1,300-foot killer out and back.

I hate to admit the truth. I am not a competitive athlete. I’m not even an enthusiast. I’m a commuter who feels lost because there is nowhere to commute. Since I hate uselessly burning gas, I tie all my errands into the workday, mostly after I take Java to the dog park. I occasionally workout in the evenings, but not like I used to when I lived 2 minutes from the office and right next to a bird refuge with trails. Now I drive twenty minutes, which is mentally exhausting when half the people can’t at least drive the speed limit.

Most of my National Bike Month Miles come from morning rides with Java. However, I’ve started taking the road bike out for a couple climbs on a highway near our house.

Thankfully, 1 annual event in my life is not cancelled! I don’t even know how I first heard of National Bike Month. Maybe working at Goldstream Sports? Or when I took over as Fairbanks Cycle Club president? Either way, it is a reminder to get out and ride simply because I love biking.

National Bike Month simply celebrates cycling. The League of American Bicyclists established the event in 1956 to showcase the benefits of biking while encouraging new people to give it a try. The month usually includes Bike To Work Week, but that event has been moved to September when hopefully the pandemic eases and less people are working from home. National Bike Month is part of the National Bike Challenge that runs from May 1 to September 31, and includes several other events including Cycle September and National Bike to Work Day. Participation is free and cyclists can sign up on the Love to Ride USA website and start to log their miles, set goals, form groups and invite their friends to join. This year, the site is focused on using the event to create solidarity among cyclists during the pandemic. This include posting safe riding recommendations and encouraging people to post photos of their rides using the hashtag #BikesUnite. As we know I hate to stop when I ride, and so pictures don’t exist in my profile.

As of today, I’ve ridden 58 miles in the 8 rides I’ve done this month, mostly mountain biking with Java. If the weather holds, I will go out tonight on the road bike to bump that closer to the 75 mile mark. If this were an Ironman training year, my mileage would have been in the hundreds by now.

Last year we created a group for Fairbanks Cycle Club. Five people joined the first year. This year we got 6 more. Maybe someday we can get our entire membership and even our community to take part. As far as my personal rides, it’s just me and Java and the mountain bike, or me on the road bike for now. Hopefully, I do a better job with biking than last year when I quit road riding after June. Yeah, I could blame a heavy fire season, or the emergency dog watching gig, or our move to a new house. Yet, none of those things stopped me from finding time to ride with Java because those rides have a purpose.

Maybe this year I’ll learn that my personal enjoyment is reason enough to Love to Ride USA.

Posted in Bikes, Birthdays, Coronavirus, Dog Life, Ester Alaska, Fall Training, Fat Biking, Mountain Biking, Road Biking, Spring Training, Summer Training, Winter Training

Happy 2nd Birthday, Java!

We have a trend in my family. A majority of people are either born on the 2nd or the 28th.

  • My dad: May 2nd
  • Me: October 28th
  • Ivan (son): March 28th
  • Alex (brother): April 2nd
  • Java (pup pup): April 2nd

You read right. Java fell in line and was born on the 2nd, not like my rebel husband, mother, and son’s fiance who were born on some other day we can’t remember.

Two years has past really fast! Year 1 had a lot of stressful moment when Java visited the emergency vet for all sorts of reasons. This year was better even though we still had to stop into the vets twice for potential emergencies. Otherwise, we shared a lot of good bike rides, runs, and recovery walks. She adapted to the new house, even though she is very aware when we drive up to the old one where my son now lives. And we have teamed up to survive the COVID-19 scare. I told my husband as much as I love him, I’m really glad we have Java. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would be so sane through this period of isolation.

On that note, here is a small video highlighting the last two years. We hope you are staying safe during this time of crisis.

Posted in Bikes, Dog Life, Mountain Biking, Summer Training

Where We Ride

In a lot of these posts, we feature pics from our favorite riding spot Tanana Lakes Recreation Area. It’s a fairly new park that is flat with a number of trails, a swim beach, and gun range. Before Java joined our family, I practiced my open water swims down at the beach. Later I joined my husband at the gun range. Now I mostly ride with Java . Funny how our use of an area evolves.

Recently, I started capturing video of places that Java and I ride and run. There are a lot of beautiful areas we go all year around with old friends and meet new people. Before I started hanging out with Java, I would run and ride well-known areas since I’m prone to getting lost. Now I am open to explore areas because the only thing worse than an unexercised dog, is a bored one.

Below is a minute long video from my ride with Java a week ago. It was a sunny morning between the smokey days, and there were so many people. This is just a clip from our 30 minute ride. Enjoy! And see you on the trails!!

Java and I exploring Tanana Lakes Rec Area a week ago. Look at her go!

Posted in Bikes, Dog Life, Mountain Biking, Running, Summer Training

The Paw Recovery Ride

Java is back! After a week on the doggie injury list, Java is back to running with the bike. We had an intense ride on Gilmore Trail picking up race signs on Sunday, and it was the first time she ever ran with a skilled mountain biker. Forrest is about 3Xs as fast as I am even with a backpack of stakes and signs and so Java went full out for 13 miles trying to keep up with him. Prior to that ride, the most miles she ever ran was a 6.2 miles and that was at my jog speed.

No surprise that she was sore and stiff on Monday and Tuesday. Unfortunately, she also wore down her paw pads. No bleeding. Thank goodness. So a lot of gentle walking for most of the week. Yesterday, we slogged through a 5 mile rainy run on campus. She seemed fine afterwards. So today we tried an easy trail on the bike.

After a week on the doggie injury list, Java is back to running.

She was slow. Maybe she was tired though she sure seemed able to sprint after stuff she really wanted. My guess is that she was being gentle on her paws since they bother her worse when she pushes her full power.

Honestly, I was in worse shape. I started weightlifting again after a year off. Though I posted faster race times this year, I haven’t had the strength or the power to train all three disciplines needed for another Ironman. Weightlifting has always been the answer, and I know this. Unfortunately, it leaves me extremely sore and my brain has a hard time accepting that I am benefiting from a half hour session. Even when the proof shows in the stats.

Java will spend one more week on light duty before we head up Gilmore Trail again. This time we will either have someone drop us off at top and ride down (8 miles), or do an out and back that’s about the same distance. I need to get back into winter riding shape, which includes way more hills than I’ve been riding this summer.

Posted in Bikes, Dog Life, Mountain Biking, Running, Summer Training, Uncategorized

Fueling for the Weekend

Enjoying the last relaxing day until the weekend. Tomorrow I kick into high gear finalizing the last details for the 54th Annual Gold Discovery Run on Sunday. For the most part, I’ve been on top of things. For the most part. I did almost forget to pick up the medals. I haven’t yet seen the new part of the course up by the gold mine. And no matter how prepared I am on race day, I always seem to forget something. Even something as simple as trash bags.

This race is pretty unique in that the first 8 miles are on a trail the drops from the Kinross mine down to a paved neighborhood that continues across the highway to a brewery. The trail part is a multi-use trail and so you have both motorized and non-motorized traffic. No cars, but ATVs like four-wheelers and side-by-sides. And since we only half a day to mark all 16.8 miles, we take both a fourwheeler and side-by-side up the trail.

Originally, just Java and I were going to ride the 13-mile out and back of Gilmore trail on Sunday afternoon to pick up signs, but my friend Forrest volunteered to help. Two years ago he picked them up by himself because I was too tired to go. Last year Felipe and his friend too ATVs out. This will be Java’s first time going that distance. I told her she needed to start carb loading. She wisely chose raspberries growing in our yard.

Java has a small addiction to raspberries. Luckily we have have several growing in the yard.

It’s gonna be a tougher ride for me. I spend less time riding steep hills in the summer than I do in winter. And though I haven’t seen the new trail yet, the old one was already hilly. I anticipate a lot of pushing and some sore muscles Monday morning.

Posted in Dog Life, Summer Training

Week 3: We Sleep When She Sleeps

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This is advice I didn’t take with my human child. As an unusually energetic 19-year-old, I thought I don’t need to sleep when Ivan naps. At 43, this is a whole different story. I napped regularly before Java. I nap more so now.

I have reduced my regular triathlon training to spend time with Java. This was the plan going into this whole puppy parenthood gig.  I knew that having an obedient dog required a lot of consistent work. And with my schedule being unpredictable and often full, I knew I was going to have to say no to a lot of things until we got her trained.

Training a dog is mentally hard. So when she sleeps I sleep.

Other than that she seems to be happy living here. We try to keep her busy and introduce her to new experiences. Of course, we live in Fairbanks, Alaska so the experiences are seasonal and there are limited places to explore nearby.  But fall and then winter will be here soon and she will get to learn about snow!

Posted in Dog Life, Summer Training

Week 2: This Looks Familiar

20180615_155526.jpgSomewhere exists a picture of my human son dragging toilet paper from the bathroom some 20 years ago. So when Java came running out of the exact same bathroom wrapped in a fresh roll, I had to stifle inappropriate parent laughter to take a quick picture and then pull it from her and tuck it away where she couldn’t reach it. Since then she has pulled down everything from backpacks to tool bags to blankets and jackets. I have my “Mom Ears” on all the time.

We are adapting so much better now. Java is starting to use the bathroom outside on a much more regular basis.  She is adapting to her kennel though I would never say that she loves it exactly. We have decided to get her a kennel for the outside where we will designate a place for her to use the bathroom.  We are also planning on getting a new style kennel for the house, moving the one my friend gave me outside. Honestly, my puppy doesn’t really need new kennels, but she definitely has my husband wrapped around her paw. So new kennels it is.

Puppy training class is going okay.  Java would rather play with the dogs then go through drills. It is kinda hard because they are 11 other dogs and owners, which means there is a lot of wait time between demonstrating/practicing skills. I find the wait time boring and I’m sure Java does too. We keep going though and practicing at home and on the trail. Having a well-behaved dog will be worth it.

Posted in Bikes, Dog Life, Road Biking, Summer Training

Java Meet The RichieDammit

I finally got to bring home my new road bike–Trek’s Emonda SL7 Disc. I named her RichieDammit, which is a nickname given by my highschool friends. Richie was a nickname that started when I was in Japan prior to highschool and followed me back to the U.S. For the longest time, my friends started their sentences with ‘Richie’ and ended them with ‘Dammit’. For example, “Richie, you need to get to class before Mr. Harrington gives you detention again, dammit.”  Eventually, it just got shortened to “RichieDammit.” And since this bike has some attitude to it, I passed on my old nickname.

So along with the drama of trying to get my puppy from South Dakota to Fairbanks, I was also trying to get my new road bike from Wisconsin.  This was also some drama TNT style (We Know Drama).

  • I order the bike via Trek’s awesome Employee VIP program. They tell me the bike will be shipped at the end of the week.
  • The bike tech at the store I work (Goldstream Sports) tells me that the bike is on back order because customer orders have priority over employee orders. I will now have to wait until the end of the month. Okay, May 30th. I have a Mountain Bike. I can deal.

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  • The bike ships on May 28th. Cool.
  • The bike is turned around on May 29th at Kentucky for a shipping violation.  No notice from Trek. My bike tech has no idea. The store owner thinks it has to do with the lithium battery that powers the Di2 shifters.
  • I exchange a lot of emails with Trek. They confirm that it is the lithium battery.  Someone forgot to put a sticker on the box needed for air shipment.  This is after they tell me they don’t think they can ship the bike to Alaska because of the battery, which made no sense because we had two shipped up here for our customers and have e-bikes shipped up here all the time. This was about the time we were having trouble getting Java flown to Alaska too.  There were a lot of tears that week. A LOT.
  • No more information for a week. I exchange emails with Trek again. They tell me it is on the shipping dock and will arrive in Alaska at the end of the week.
  • Minutes later I get this image texted to me from my inside connection at UPS:

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  • I check UPS Tracking. Sure enough it had been shipped from Wisconsin last week.
  • The bike is delivered. The store is swamped with repairs, but the bike techs have mercy on me and get it put together quickly. I finally got to take it for a solid test ride. Tomorrow the store owner will do a thorough computerized bike fitting.

Okay summer, we can now begin.

Posted in Dog Life, Summer Training

Tomorrow She Arrives

dog bowlIt’s been a weekend wait to confirm Java’s flight, but this morning I got the news: She is indeed flying tomorrow morning out of South Dakota.  After a transfer in Minneapolis, she will fly direct to Fairbanks, Alaska.  We will pick her up around 8:30 pm and bring her home for what will probably be a very long night. Or maybe she will adjust just fine. Either way, I have a recovery  day on Friday, so we can have a calm morning getting used to her new home. Thankfully, I only live about a quarter mile from work and will be able to make frequent visits.

New pics when she gets here. I am so excited. I picked out a dog tag today. She will visit the vet on Monday for her vaccinations. Then the fun begins!