Sunday, May 22, 2011

First 50+ Miler of the Season

The weather forecast for the whole weekend was thunderstorms with lots of rain. I decided to take Friday off, thinking a rest day would be a good idea, and I swam yesterday due to the forecast. The storms never materialized Friday or Saturday, so I decided last night that if I woke up to sun, I was going to take off and ride. I plotted a 50 mile route before bed, checked the weather one last time, which showed storms moving in around 4 a.m., then nodded off with hopes the storms went north or south of us. At 7 a.m., I looked out my window to see sunny skies. Not a cloud floating by. Just after 7:30, I was on my way.

For the next three hours and twenty-five minutes, I was riding through the countryside. By the time I reached the lake, the winds had come up, and they came up with a vengeance. Going north was the easy ride. Going any other direction put me in a battle against 20 mph winds, with gusts to 25. Part of the ride had the wind pushing me from the right side. With a light bike, this means little waverings here and there. My right arm became very fatigued trying to keep the bike steady. The last part of the ride, about 12 miles or so, the wind was full force in my face. I started out keeping the speed right around 14. The farther I went, the slower I got. By the time I reached the last little town before hitting the city limits, I was down to 10 mph. I.Was.Tired. In the end, I finished with 54 miles, and my overall pace was 15.5, which isn't bad considering the wind.

A few hours after I arrived home, the storms moved in, bringing the lightning and rain.

On a side note, my daughter wrote me this email a couple of days ago. I asked her if I could post it, and she said yes. I hope you enjoy.

Hey Mama!
So I know it has been a few days since we last talked, but I'm thinking that the whole cell phone thing doesn't work too well for communication anyways. It turns out that it cost a lot more than we thought per minutes, so I ran out of minutes pretty quickly between talking to you and Joshua just once each! I had a few texts in there as well, and I also used it to call within China, so my minutes were eaten up pretty fast. We figured out how to get the internet to work on Chen Min's laptop, but we still haven't gotten mine to accept the ethernet cable. :( If you guys have any ideas on how to fix that please let me know! I want my computer to work so badly!
The past few days have been pretty eventful. On Wednesday we had the "dance" that by our standard was like being back in Jr. High with line dances lol. On Thursday we didn't really go anywhere, but we had a tour/lecture of the School of Music and Tai Chi lessons. James and Joey really aren't the athletic type, so they had a really hard time remembering the steps to the Tai Chi that we learned. I, on the other hand due to my awesomeness, picked it up pretty fast and it was fun! The tour guide for the School of Music was very nice, and at one point they taught us the first few lines to Mo Li Hua, the song that we danced to for the Chinese New Year. The teacher thought I had a beautiful voice and kept telling me to sing for the other teachers we went to visit, but I got out of it because I really only know the first two lines without a pinyin sheet! Yesterday we left Zibo for the day and went to the hometown of Confucious to visit some famous sites there. Everything was really neat, but I thought walking through the forest of tombs was the best part. Everything was so beautiful there and peaceful since it was secluded from the usual hustle and bustle of the streets.
Today we went to Mount Tai, a very famous mountain here in the Shandong province. At the very top are temples of worship, and along the way up the mountain are gates that mark how close you are to heaven. We didn't really climb the mountain, because there were stairs that lead to the top, but man was it tiring! These stairs were vicious! Some were super steep towards the top, and others were very narrow, but Joey and I beat James and Chen Min to the top! We rode the bus to a starting point about half way up the mountain, because otherwise we would have been climbing for 7-9 hours! It took us about 5 total from where we started to get to the top, eat some lunch, and take a cable car back down!
Tonight I am staying with Chen Min's aunt and uncle because tomorrow is the "homestay experience" day for us three and they are my host family. They have three houses (what we would more consider large apartments) and the one that we are staying in tonight is about an hour away from Zibo, so we came here this evening instead of in the morning. I was fed, as usual, but I'm pretty tired from the past two days. So since they have a computer with internet in my room I finally get to talk to Josh a little while I write you this e-mail and that makes me pretty darn happy! It's been very frustrating to be told one thing about means of communication, only for things to fall through completely. I still don't have internet at the campus and probably won't ever unless we go to a nice hotel. And then there's the phone thing yeah I'm a little fed up with it but I guess I have no choice but to work with what I can. 
Well, tell the boys I love them and give Max a good belly rub for me! I love you a lot Mama, and I will write again as soon as I can!

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