What the heart likes to do

I am so happy about the opportunity I had to give an old bike away to a friend who needed it.  My friend’s son is interested in bike riding and actually rides to school (college) from home.   My friend told me the current bike was not functioning and how much her son enjoyed biking.  They needed a functioning bike and I happened to have my husband’s bike that has been sitting in our garage for far too long.  It’s really old (1993) and it’s a Schwinn when Schwinn was good.  Before I was married my soon to be husband had me believe that he would adventure on bikes, canoes, camping, etc.  That lasted maybe a handful of times.

I had to get new tubes and a chain for the bike (about $50) to get in into working condition.  The gear shift doesn’t work anymore, despite the attempt to flush the lines.  I was told they may start working, although admonished not to get my hopes up.  Still the bike is stuck on a comfortable riding gear.  With Houston being so flat, you don’t really need to shift gears anyway.  It will cost $40 to get new shifts and $20 to install on each. For this bike as old as it is, the $50 spent to get it functioning was well worth it.  A new bike now-a-days is at least $400 at the bike store.  Of course they have the latest and the greatest options.  This bike is steel and heavier than the carbon frames.

schwinn

My friend arrived with her son.  Which warmed my heart.  Now a days it seems that kids just aren’t as appreciative.  Not this kid.   My kids would never ride a bike to and from work or school.   I would ride to work back in the day, not to save gas, just for the exercise.   My friend’s son was so appreciative and told me about his riding paths.  Again, warming my heart that he has found exercise he enjoys.  It is so special to me that I can contribute something that fosters the desire to keep going on this path.  There is just not a better feeling.  I hate throwing things away.  Finding a purpose provides meaning.

Cycling has so many good purposes, traveling from here to there, good for your knees, exploring beautiful scenery, physical challenge, etc.  There are so many places to travel in the USA and ride.  Back in the day, I almost planned a trip alone to Martha’s Vineyard to cycle the island.  I may someday go back to that plan.  Just listening to the bike shop chatter, there are trails in the blue ridge mountains and in many other places that you can ride for miles. I can’t wait for retirement.  I can definitely see me on these trails.

What the heart likes to do

Exploring the Buffalo Bayou

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” — John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”

Once a month Bike Houston a non profit organization holds a bike ride to explore the Bayous.  They meet at Market Square in downtown Houston on the first Sunday of the month at 8am.  This ride only maxes out at 40 people usually and they go about 25 miles. The website suggested that wider tires were necessary because the path would be about 60% paved.  I had to get mountain bike tires and discovered a hybrid tire.  It’s wide, smooth in the middle and nobby on the outside.  The cost is about $20/per tire and $6 for new tubes.

A storm was coming and looking at the radar I saw red and even heard thunder.  The group decided to head out and deal with getting wet.  If it got really bad the plan was to sit under a bridge until the storm passed.  As we headed out the rain started.  I thought, I’m doing this for fun and to me it’s not fun or safe in the rain.  I made the decision to turn back because I really thought the storm was coming and conditions would be worse.  After getting the bike in the car, the sky became clear.  I’m so mad I didn’t stick with it.  I was really looking forward to this ride.  You can ride the bayou anytime, no need to go with a group. However, because I am unfamiliar with the trails, I really wanted to go with a “guide”.

It looks like there is a north and south side of the Buffalo Bayou trail.  And they don’t look like the connect.  Further to the west is White Oak Bayou that is to connect eventually as a part of the  Bayou Greenways 2020 project.  If you live between the city loops on the north side, you can potentially ride your bike all of the way to downtown along the bayou.

So, on my own, I may decide to explore the White Oak Bayou trail and the Heights bike trail.  It’s not easy to get this info on the internet.  However for the Heights trail, I think you can park at 2799 Moy St, Houston, TX 77007.  Which seems to be in the middle of the trail.  I really can’t tell how long it is.  (Between 4 and 10 miles).  I’m not sure how safe it is either.  This is why it’s a good idea to ride with a group!

buffalo bayou ride

 

Exploring the Buffalo Bayou

Moving on

After raising two kids, life has impeccable timing of changing things up.  My husband’s workplace is moving far enough to make the commute too long.  Plenty of people make an hour commute and think nothing of it.  We have talked a while about moving into a home with a more efficient use of space, just couldn’t decide where.  The job narrowed the decision for us.   To me it’s stressful uprooting from one place to another.  The logistics of selling and buying makes it almost impossible to time both perfectly.  We have looked at homes for sale and decided it works better to build.  Maybe if we could get Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer upper or the Property Brothers to transform a home for us, that would work.  However, that is unlikely.

We sold our first house to move into our current one and found success in selling then moving into an apartment during the build of the new house.  So this is the plan once again.  Searching for communities was the first step.  Where would you start?  We have plenty experience with what we like and don’t like about living in a community.  My first thought is space!  We have 4 cars now with two adult kids and parking is painful right now.  To top that off our neighbor across from us has 8 cars in their single narrow driveway.  In Texas you can really stretch out.  Maybe too much.  We found some home sites that are away from it all and on septic tank systems for waste.  We’ve experienced that and any problem with a septic tank to me is too much!  We’ve never had a problem being on a sewer system.  Next, an affordable master planned community.  Living in one has it’s pros and cons.  For one if you have deed restrictions, your property values should stay up. Sure it’s annoying to get a letter about your weeds in your flower beds.  However you won’t have to live next to someone who let’s it go too far.   Lastly, surroundings,  we narrowed the search to a few communities and the real deciding factor came down to the surroundings of the community.  One was a community that was buried in other communities.  It felt like an endless drive through communities to get to it.  And the other had a long road to it, you know sometimes you just like it or don’t and we just didn’t like it.  Maybe because there was no real business amenities that you need to get things done (grocery stores, restaurants, medical facilities, mechanics, do – it – yourself places, nurseries, etc.).  We found a nice community.  I’m concerned about it being close to a freeway, however it will make it convenient to get to all of the places we need to get things done.  Once in the community, you wouldn’t know there is a freeway close by.

We have picked a plan and a lot.  It’s hard to get exactly what you want, hence the compromise.  We will make it into something great!   To new beginnings!

lot

Moving on

Happy Mother’s Day

Wishing everyone a wonderful Mother’s Day.  Mom’s are pretty special.  I’m lucky to be one.  On a day like today when I can’t be with mom, the family planned something nice for me.  Which is special.  I do enjoy my time to myself in the mornings with a cup of coffee to get the day started.  The weather is so nice outside, I decided to go for a bike ride around the lake.  It was fantastic! The water was still, so nice not to have to deal with the head wind.  Saw other momma’s with their ducklings in tow.  And all of the people out there getting some exercise.

The plan for today was to go to brunch.  With no reservations, I thought my group would struggle with waiting.  I picked Dish Society which is a farm to table restaurant in a nice area called La Centerra.  They have a few shopping/dinning areas like this around Houston, another one is called City Centre and there is yet another called the Vintage. They have lots of restaurants and shops and it’s all out doors.  La Centerra even has a Trader Joe’s which is a pretty cool grocery store.  Dish Society was very smart about recognizing the crowd they would draw.  It’s a small place on the inside, but they had added a lot more tables outside to accommodate everyone.  We had a 15 minute wait to place our order then found a table.  I had steak tacos and a mimosa!  They were to die for.  With lots of cabbage on top!    They limited the menu to brunch so that helped as well.

dish

My handsome son dressed up for me!  My daughter who was out late the night before brought me flowers and had no time to get ready before brunch.  She looked a little rough.  I debated if I should dress up because I knew I would be right back outside sweating.  It was worth it though!  It was great to talk about summer plans and spend time together.

A mother’s job is never done!  I got off easy making dinner for the boys.  They had hot dogs.  My daughter and I had fish.  I made a coconut steel head trout with mango salsa and served it with brussel sprouts coated in garlic, olive oil, honey and sriracha sauce.  I think I went a little heavy on the salsa, it turned out really good.

mango fish

mdayflowers

 

Happy Mother’s Day

FINISHER Day Two

Day two of the MS150 starts early!  We get up at 5:00 AM. What-a-Burger delivered at 4:30 am breakfast.  I’m a breakfast person, I don’t think I ate enough the night before and was starving.  So I get up, pack my cot and sleeping bag and go eat.  Our ride marshall said to put your bike at the start so you can be as close to the start as possible.  I did.  Our start was delayed to 8:00am.  After a breakfast taco and some coffee, I put my luggage on the team truck and chatted with the team.  Around 7:30 I went to the start and talked with the people around me.  It was cold and it rained a little, 50 degrees and I had my rash guard on that was keeping me warm.  They finally let us go, I was in the third wave. Leaving LaGrange we began on Hwy 71.  There were two options the challenge route which normally goes through state parks or the express route.  Being that it is my first time, I opted for the express route.

The hills were challenging.  The head wind rough!  It made for a slow ride.  Day two is 66 miles with a lot of hills.  Lunch was in Bastrop where my in-laws live.  I rolled into the stop and enjoyed a turkey tortilla roll up and had lunch with a few team mates.  I took off with one of the guys and stayed with him for a while. The road was familiar because I’ve been on it so many times with my family.  After lunch their were two rest stops that were at least 1/4 mile off the road which was not worth it!  Most rest stops are right off the road. After riding for so long, my thought is that there is no way I’m doing more.  I needed to stop to stretch.   So stretching I did.

At the last rest stop I knew I needed water, but it was only 15 more miles.  I’m like, yeah I can do that.  As I approached the finish, our team ride marshal was with me.  He is an amazing guy, so positive, uplifting.  I’m like please tell me this is the last hill, he says well maybe there is one more, but it’s a baby hill.   Any hill at this point is too big.  I admire his positivity.  As we round a corner I see the city and the capital.  At this point it was a couple of miles and my heart was like, yeah this is it!  We turned many times and finally hit the finish.  There is a bubble bistro at the finish and it horse shoes around to dismount.  The biggest deal is the picture of you and your bike in front of the capital.  I had to work for this picture.  My team tent wasn’t in front of the capital, but I took my bike there anyway and got a pic thanks to a stranger willing to take it with my phone.

ms150capital

I went to the bubble bistro and met Jeff.  His story was amazing . He was diagnosed in 2008. Wheelchair bound and at the time all of the 4 available medicines didn’t work for him . Now one of the fourteen meds work.
He is not only out of his wheelchair , he did the ms150 full for the first time ! He said he was so inspired by the cyclists ! He told me that they are working on meds to repair nerve damage , this will help others as well. Ms is the number one neurological disease that receives fund raising and that benefit can help other neurological issues ! That is my hope for people like my mom!!!  I encourage you to never give up!

jeff

FINISHER Day Two

FINISHER – Day One

What a weekend!  What an experience!   At sunrise my team began the MS150 start at the Wood Group.  The biggest concern was the weather later in the day.  We had a ride marshall on our team who said we would have a tail wind the entire first day.   The sky was overcast and the temperature comfortable in the 70s.

ms150 start

I cycled with one of the ladies for most of the approximate 9 miles it takes to get to less traffic congestion.  As we started to get out of town, which was really suburbia and near my house, the scenery around the two lane road is pretty.  It’s lush and green and there are still many beautiful wild flowers out.  The cycle traffic merged in from Rhodes stadium.  We were on the Tully stadium route, and must have been slightly in front of most of that group. Along the side of the road and into the small towns like Fayetteville, people were on the side of the road cheering, ringing cow bells and playing music.  The first rest stop was about 20 miles in and then stops were spaced 8 to 12 miles apart. Lunch was in Bellville at 47 miles, by the time you reach Bellville, it’s more like brunch time.  The wind wasn’t really a tail wind, it was more like a cross wind.  Houston is pretty flat, however as soon as you get outside, there are some rolling hills.  I clinched and held on tightly going down the hills because the cross wind was powerful and it would blow in short swift bursts.  It was nice meeting up with the team and chatting at the lunch stop and with them at rest stops as well as meeting other people.  That coconut water from Goya is the best.  It’s the one in a small can with bits of coconut in it.

After lunch the wind really picked up and the sun came out, temperature and humidity rose and the hills were a little more steep.  The last two rest stops were tough getting out of, my toes were numb.  I’m pretty sure because of the tightening to hold on for the wicked cross wind.  As I rolled into La Grange I couldn’t feel my toes.  As soon as I got off it was better.  I looked at the mileage…94 miles for day one!

I found our tent and they had my bedding setup.  I went to the shower trucks.  The women’s line was much shorter than the men’s.  After a short wait, I went into a steaming hot truck where there are lines of individual showers with curtains.  There is a hook on the outside where I hooked my plastic bag and towel.

tent

After the shower, I went back to be with the team, eat, drink and rest.  The Wood Group had the best bathrooms ever!  They were portable, flushed, had a sink and were even air conditioned.  We had a band right in front of us that was playing great music.  I would have loved to dance, however I had no more energy.   The storm rolled in around 9-10PM.  We had an emergency plan, but didn’t need it.  The wind really blew in and cooled the temperatures 30 degrees.  The sleeping bag was perfect!  I turned down ear plugs only to regret it later.  I had “the motor” behind me snoring all night!

No neighbors behind us!

lagrange

 

 

FINISHER – Day One

MS150 RIDE DAY!!!!!!!!

I am so excited!  Tomorrow is the highly anticipated 2-day ride 150 miles bike ride from Houston to Austin with 10,500 people!  Part of the excitement is the weather.  This whole week everyone is watching the weather.  And it looks like we are going to have strong storms come through Saturday night.  Not a big deal unless you are in a TENT!  Some of my team are like well, we might call it a no go for camping over night and you’ll have to figure out what you are going to do. And one guy is like, no problem, it’s gonna rain and we’ll handle it.  After all of this training and fund raising, I’m like, we better freaking do this.  I put the family on standby, in case I have to be picked up.  The MS society says that they have some shelter in a nearby school, I’m guessing we’ll figure it out, so this is it.  I have not a clue how this is going to work out.

Forget about the concern about packing.  A note on that, I am allowed 2 bags.  My cot is one.  The other bag which is like a duffel bag has in it my sleeping bag and a full size pillow.  Squeezed in the pockets are shower shoes (one change of clothes), a towel, shower gel, tooth brush, tooth paste and a brush.  That is it!  I plan to carry on me my water, a rash guard in case it gets cold, sunscreen and lip balm.

Today I had a tennis match, I thought it best to sit myself out, but instead played for someone who couldn’t make it.  I’m thinking, no problem no one is going to get injured, and then my opponent had to retire because of some kind of calf muscle pull/sprain.  She had to be wheel chaired off the court.  I am so lucky this didn’t happen to me.

I’m ready, I don’t know anyone on my team.  I’ve tried three times, still no real connection.  It’s ok, I would have done this by myself.  Instead, there are a bunch of strangers to me in the same suit.  I will eat with them and sleep with them and endure whatever night adventure comes my way.

When I was twenty I talked about doing my own adventures.  Now twice that age, I’m doing it.  I’m pretty sure I was capable back then, and am thrilled that at an older age not only am I physically able, the mental part is 100% there.   The mental component is the one part that I was missing in my youth that is so strong now.   It’s funny because, mentally we might be there and then are body gives out!  Hopefully not this time.

I’m going to bed.  I will be up at 5AM and start my bike journey at 6:55AM.  Whoo Hoo!!!!luggage2.jpg

MS150 RIDE DAY!!!!!!!!