It's a new year and time once again to give a new look to this blog. New graphics and colors. Same bike writer!
This blog is created not only to track my own progress on my biking journey but it is intended to also assist others who have either osteo or rheumatoid arthritis or both like I do. I hope as you read about the progress I have made that it gives you inspiration and hope that you can overcome the dibilitating effects of these conditions.
If your doctor agrees that you should be capable of expanding your limits read on and don't be afraid, just listen to your body and give it challenges. Biking is a great non-impact form of exercise and greatly enhances flexibility and range of motion.
It's not a substitute for Doctor visits, taking your meds or otherwise getting off your health plan but it auguments what your Doctor does for you and can give you a better quality of life. Go for it!
Monday, April 2, 2012
Long Catch Up Post Fobiles and Frights
Dear Readers, sorry for the lack of news. Much has transpired and I'll try to catch up here, and I'll try to keep some order;
Campaign for election Weather Work Bike Riding of course Frights, Calimity and near disasters
Campaign news, I had a new photo shoot done for my 2012 Campaign material and here are my two choices from the sitting;
Weather - What an unsual and amazing spring we have had! It is every bit as strange as our extremely mild winter. We had not only mild early spring days but downright hot days. Temps soaring into the upper 70's and 80's F in early March? Never in all my days! And all things green have sprouted and leafed out. Spring flowers that normally spend a few weeks opening and peeking out to make their shy appearence have sprouted, flowered and are near done. With the advanced weather and season we are having all things are flowering and coloring all at once. Usually we have the vibrant yellow forysthia in March followed by the beautiful white buds on the Bradford Pear in April and the array of colorful Azalea's in May. With our accelerated spring this year all of the above are blooming at the same time and mother nature is showing off all of her beauty at once. It's a sight for sore eyes with splendor everywhere you look.
Every time I get behind the wheel of my car or the handlebars of my bike, I feel like I am an accident waiting to happen because I am oggling everything in sight and my head spins like a top, where to look first? Best bet is to stop and take a long look to drink it all in and do a bit of reveling in the glory of a spring that is bursting at the seams!
Work - whew! Of course luck would have it that my busiest time of year which is the March Board of Review which is an appeals session for property tax assessment had me working day and night during some of the best of the weather. I still managed to get in some riding and some riding in downright hot temps, the rides were few and far between but lucky girl that I am some of that long scheduling came during rain and some of the off days in between sessions came with sunny days. All tolled, there were about 10 days where I simply looked out the window and longed for the ability to get out and ride. However, when I did have the chance it made it all the sweeter!
Bike Riding - well despite the volume of work I managed a tad bit over 70 miles in the month of March and it would have been upwards of 100 or more without the board of review. I can't complain at all for riding this early in the season is iffy at best. Today I had a 14.37 mile ride in Dexter and it's been the longest of the season. I managed three trips to Kensington for a loop around the lake, a trip to the Lakeland's trail, several around my neighborhood and a harrowing trip to the Border to Border tail in Ann Arbor.
The B2B trail saw a newley renovated section that contained a small and narrow isthmus of land just below the Argo Dam that connected to a park along the Huron River that leads to the U of M medical center and onward to Gallup Park. The newly renovated section along the Huron River previously had rapid running water on one side and a quiet backwater spillway that ran along the other side. The Huron side would often have rapid water especially in the early spring. The isthmus was a tiny and narrow strip of land that was peaked and had a small little dirt rut for a path. It was the only section of the trail that was not paved. It would often get heavy use as the running teams from the U of M would use it along with bicyclists and people out for a stroll as well. Passage was done carefully as the banks on both sides dropped off steeply into the waters on each side. In places the rutted path was deep with sand and more than once I fishtailed through it and could almost see myself sliding down into the rapid river one one side or the languid backwaters that looked awful mucky on the other side. After the renovation a cascade series of spillways was constructed on the quite side that will make for a kayakers delight. The renovation was about 1.7 million dollars and it included flattening out the peaked isthmus and adding a paved trail over the previous rut that existed. There are some photos below that just don't do justice because the green plantings are not completed yet and the water has not been diverted back into the cascade so it looks like puddle/pools of water instead of a cascading series of small waterfalls.
Frights, Calamity and Near Disasters
Well it so happens that the day that I wandered the B2B trail this spring was a gorgeous day and one of the warmest we had so far. It was a Sunday and a bit late in the afternoon but people were out in droves enjoying the unusual early warm weather. I pedaled along the new hard pack gravel ithmus as the paving is scheduled for spring and who knew it would be this nice in Feb/March. There were several people out and I spied up ahead a grouping of bikes lying on their sides and foks milling about the bank and wondered what was going on until I got close enough to hear someone crying out for help. It was the most chilling scene I had ever come upon. There was a man in the water that I couldn't even see who was yelling "help me, I'm going under and can't hang on anymore." There were two individuals in the rushing water up against a fallen limb up to their chest in water. The person who was seeking help was just beyond their reach in deeper water. He was stuck in the underwater branches of the tree and being swept downstream in the rushing water. Since he was tangled if he lost his grip on the limb he would be swept underwater with no chance to keep his head out. This was frightening to the nth magnitude. I was near certain that I was about to witness someone drowning. The urge to rush into the water was strong but there were already two strong men with a log trying to unlodge him and help him out and with the rushing water I did not believe I could offer more assistance or be of any help. It was awful and I felt helpless and afraid for him. Someone was on the phone with 911 when I arrived and within 3-4 minutes the Fire Department and Police and Medical Rescue were on the scene. The two helpers had managed to get the man disloged and onto a log but he was still trapped out in the river with no way to get to shore. His kayak had capsized and a fellow kayaker and a Good Samaritan passerby were helping him. The fire men arranged a ladder for a bridge and he crawled to safety. Although the weather was mild and sunny the water was frigid and the man was shivvering with chattering teeth when they wheeled him out. There is a link to a news story here with some of the same photos as below.
The fellow in the white shirt with his little girl was the Good Samaritan passerby who had been chest deep in the water and helped to free the fallen man. The Kayaker was lucky this fellow happened by.
On another disaster note the town of Dexter which is our neighbor to the south and west was struck by an EF-3 tornado during our wild and wacky warm early weather. There was a great deal of devestation, over 120 homes were damaged or destroyed and literally 100's if not 1000's of trees were uprooted. Today friends and I took a ride through portions of the town to a metropark and were able to witness the damage that occured two weeks ago. It's one thing to read about it and see it on the news and another thing altogether to see it first hand. The road leading into that town from Pinckney was a several mile long tree canopied beautiful country drive. Trees no more. I could not believe how many were uprooted and blown down. Hundreds and hundreds of them. It was nothing short of miraculous that no one was killed or injured. The landscape in that town has forever changed and so many families are devestated with loss and change. We pedaled along down that road of devastation with sad and heavy hearts. It will be a long time before those folks get over this calamity. We had a long ride today and stopped in a pub on our return to downtown Dexter. Spirits were very high among those effected and it was heartwarming to see and hear. The news has been full of stories of neighboring communities coming to their aide. We sent a fire chief, deputy chief, several firefighters and rescue personnel and two rigs to the community for the duration of the event. Our building offical was on hand for several days to help out as well. Hundreds of people came to their aide, neighbor helping neighbor.