South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.


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Holy Hills-Spellbound Brewing Century Ride

Yesterday was my first official century bike ride. A century is equal to 100, so yes I rode 100 miles on a my Trek road bike! The ride was hosted by Spellbound Brewing in Mount Holly, New Jersey. This was the third year this event took place, but the first time I was able to take part in this event. There are were several distances to chose from; the century (100), metric century (62), 40 miles, and 22 miles. My Mom and I chose this ride to do our first century and as the website read, century riders receive a medal at the finish!

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Prior to the race, the weather on Friday was pretty horrific. Rain! Rain! Rain! Saturday morning felt more like a mid October morning with gusts of winds, rain off and on, and no sunlight in sight. Still we proceeded to pack up the car and drive to the brewery to find out if the ride was still happening. It was! Good thing my Mom had packed windbreakers because the summer riding gear was not going to cut it! We checked in, got our riding numbers, made sure we had plenty of air in our tires, filled our water bottles, and rolled out of the parking lot on our bikes by 7am. The ride was capped at 750 riders and I don’t think many of the riders were following the century route, marked with orange arrows.

Rests stops were about every 20-24 miles apart. At each rest stop as a century rider you had to collect a sticker to claim your medal at the end of the ride. Now this was not a race, you did not win if you finished first. My Mom and I did not encounter many other riders during our time on the road. One thing I usually do love about sports like running, cycling, and triathlon, it brings people of common interest together. At one point doing the ride we came upon two women wearing riding jerseys that said jersey girl strong, with the logos for triathlon. Out of curiosity and being friendly, we asked could they tell us some more about their club, as we are always looking for groups to join. The one lady snapped back in a harsh tone, “what do you want to know!” Wow. I was totally shocked and my Mom and I just looked at each other, ok, so you don’t want to talk to us, got it!

Moving on later in the ride, I almost got hit by a car! As a cyclist and especially during these types of rides, you must follow the rules of the road just like a car. Bikes ride with traffic and obey all traffic signs and lights. As we were riding through the green light a car decided to cut off everyone and turn left in front of us and nearly hit us and caused me to fall off my bike into the middle of the intersection. Not cool dude. Not cool at all! The driver didn’t even stop to see if I was ok. Thankfully my bike and I were both okay. I picked up my bike walked it across the road and back on I went.

One thing I will tell you when riding such a distance; hydration and nutrition is key! Drinking plenty of fluids is so important. I alternate between water and an electrolyte drink-my choice is nuun. For nutrition you have to learn your own body to not over do it, but I really like the honey stinger waffles, honey stinger energy chews, and power bar simple fruit energy food. At the first stop I did have peanut butter and jelly sandwich and later I had a half of a banana.

The course was tough. According to my garmin I had a total elevation climb of 2,108 ft. One climb alone was 181 ft in elevation. Ridiculous. Mind you, when we turned on Hill Road, my Mom said to me I hope this isn’t a sign. Holy hills, you bet your legs it was!!!! With the wind pushing against us, it wasn’t an easy fight. We pushed through and with a steady time we stayed on track. Some where along the way back though, we missed the last turn and with GPS made it back to the brewery and tacked on an extra 5 miles. So really I’m celebrating 105 miles!

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We rolled back in the same parking lot we started and received compliments of not looking like we rode 100 or in our case 105! Even though the conditions were not what I would consider the best, I still felt great and was ready to have a celebratory beer! I was handed a bag with my reward of a shirt and then I was looking for my medal that I worked so hard and stopped at each rest stop to collect those stickers! Only to my dismay to be surprised to be handed a keychain bottle opener that said Spellbound Century. Really? This is the medal I was promised??!?!?? Well, if you know me personally, this really didn’t go over well with me. I had to take a second to regain my thoughts and soon I found someone who I though was an employee, turned out to be one of the owners to listen to my two cents about keychain vs. medal. I was then directed by the owner to talk to the person who ordered these medals (KEYCHAINS) this year and give him my feedback, and surely enough I did. Well some other workers over heard me voicing my concerns and gave me a commemorative coin that was for sale for $20 for free because they said they had the same thoughts of what had happened this year.

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What a day Saturday was! My Mom and I conquered 105 miles, nasty attitudes, crazy drivers, and a disappointing medal. You better believe that keychain is hanging on display with all of my other medals, because I didn’t bike 105 miles to not receive the medal promised. I will always look back and laugh at that silly keychain that can not double as a medal.

Keep calm and bike on!

xo

Leann

 

 


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Flying Fish Brewing-Bikes and Beers

By now you might be noticing a bit of a trend, I like to talk about working out and enjoying good food or drinks! This morning I took part in a 30 mile bike ride hosted through Bikes and Beers at Flying Fish Brewing Company, in Somerdale, NJ. In the price you pay to bike either 15 or 30 miles, a portion of the benefits goes to a local cycling advocacy organization to help improve cycling conditions in your city! (There are rides all across the US) How awesome is that!!!! So for this ride the money went to The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia!

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My Mom and I posing after the ride!

Being that we were riding in Jersey, there were some pot holes at the beginning of the ride that you really had to dodge! Other than that it was a really great ride. I clocked an average speed on my Garmin of 15.5 miles per hour with my max speed being 25.7 mph. The weather was pretty hot though. The only downfall was the ride didn’t start till 9:30am and toward the end temps were reaching close to 88 degrees.

After finishing the ride all participants received a Bike and Beers pint glass, koozie, raffle ticket, and two tickets to redeem for beer. I decided to be the designated driver for this ride, but don’t worry I picked up some beer to bring home. Later in this month I will be riding the Spellbound Brewery Century ride and the tables will be turned and my mom will be the DD. (Please always be responsible and have a DD!) Flying Fish offered four beer for riders to chose from; Daylight Savings IPA, Farmhouse Summer Ale, Bayshore Oyster Stout, or Hogfish IPA. My mom picked to have the Farmhouse Summer Ale and from the sip I tried it was very easy and refreshing to drink. Flying Fish does offer seasonal and other beers on tap in their tasting room. I would definitely recommend checking them out if you are on the East Coast or seeing if you get their beer in your local beer distributor.

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Bike for the Beer!

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” John F Kennedy

xo

Leann


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Biking & Beers

In my quick escape down to LBI I still had to get in some training. Wednesday morning I went out on the bike for about a 17 mile flat and fast ride. With little to no elevation changes I used this time to work on a few sprints here and there. Speed training is helpful to build up power and explosiveness.

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After a great ride it was time to reward ourselves with the finest of beers on the island at Ship Bottom Brewery. Go check it out, get a free tour to drink some great beers! I had a flight. There were about eight different beers available on draft at the time of our visit. In my flight I had the Blueberry Bikini Bottom Wheat, Cerveza, Beach Patrol Hefeweizen, and Barnacle Bottom Stout.

My favorite was between the blueberry wheat and the beach patrol hefeweizen. Getting the miles in to enjoy the beer was well worth it. Ship Bottom Brewery started in 1995 and seems to having major growth. Most, if not all of the names of the beers have something to do with different things or places on Long Beach Island.

Bike for the beers!

xo

Leann


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Pre Race Jitters

I have to be completely honest with you. I usually never get pre race jitters. I am either really excited or anxious to start a race because I’m focused. I know I have trained and I will give each race everything I’ve got. This time is completely different. This is my start of a come back from a injury that has kept me out of work for almost a month. I keep telling myself this run is for me and this is just the start of my comeback.

Tomorrow I will attempt to jog ten miles. The most I have ran/jogged since my injury has been a mile and a half. The distance I’m not so concerned about, but how my ankle will hold up does have me nervous. I’m not only thinking about myself, but the road conditions, the surrounding crowd of runners, and how aware and in tune to myself I honestly need to be. Last weekend I was cleared to ride my bike again. I had planned a metric century, but because this was my first ride post injury I was only able to complete 40 of those miles before pain set in. Even though I was happy to be on my bike once again, it as made me even more determined for what my future rides and racing times should be.74974722159b748e447fdb882090e699

Last weekend’s bike ride has given me hope that I will be able to complete this ten miler. I’m going into this race with a completely different approach and attitude. When I run, its always me trying to beat my previous time, race the best that I can and finish strong. This time, this race is for fun, its for me to prove to myself my true potential. I’m not worried about what time I finish in, it’s about completing this race and finding the joy and passion running gives me that I have been missing. I have whined and complained to my family and friends this past month about how much I miss running and I can’t wait to start running again. Well, slow and steady for the comeback, because this is going to be an awesome start to my new goals I will share with everyone in the (near) future.

I’m going to enjoy this run one mile at a time!

xo

Leann


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Will it be easy? Nope.

Will it be worth it? Absolutely. I hate the saying good things come to those who wait. What the hell are you waiting for? If you want something bad enough you have to go out there and suffer for it. No one especially in this day and age are going to hand you anything (few exceptions, but we are not going there).

As you all know by now if you have been reading my blog I injured myself at work and I’ve been totally bummed out about it. I don’t have any kind of cool story to go along with the boot I’m dragging with me, I didn’t save puppies from a burning plane or run an ultra. But this time in recovery, rest, and healing has given me the time to reflect about what my passions are, what drives me, and my plans for after my ankle has healed.

We all tend to go thru times of trial. While in the middle of something we think to ourselves what the hell am I doing here or why am I doing this to myself? My mother always taught me to stick through it, no matter what it may be because there is always a lesson to be learned. Read Jared’s story of how he didn’t want to go to college, struggled through it, and is now working on his master’s degree at an ivy league school. He also shares his many passions on his website.

Today was my first day of physical therapy and my therapist answered and gave me the straight up facts I needed to know to get myself focused on this road to recovery. It was clarified that I tore ligaments or fibers that connect the bone. This explains why there was so much bruising (blood under the skin, gross). He gave me the ok to bike, but I can’t go to crazy! And he fully support swimming because of the lack of pressure. Running is something we will be working back up to.

Zig Ziglar once said, ” Motivation gets you going and habit gets you there.” This quote is what leads me to my point of this post. Years of running developed into a habit. It was something fun, to keep me in shape and is now a passion. I’ve never really pushed myself until the last two years. I saw with my dedication to running my times were getting better. With more drive to see improvement I started cycling for cross training where eventually I pushed my limits as far as an 80 mile ride. I’ve already got two centuries (100 miles) lined up for this year. My motivation to stay healthy and in shape as turned into a lifestyle with some serious dedication and life changing goals. With my first triathlon coming up in July I already know that I want to train for an Ironman 70.3 and eventually qualify for the Boston Marathon.

None of these goals I have presented myself with appeared over night. Training for my first marathon was intense. After my second marathon I was so thrilled with my time and my comfortable pacing, I knew I could push myself harder. Each time I set new goals  I also have to hurdle new challenges.

The one saying I do like, if it was easy everyone would do it.

xo

Leann


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Clean Sport Athletics

In general we all have heard about performance enhancing drugs. Usually you hear about professional athletes taking them to become bigger, faster, or stronger. As these drugs have become more widely accessible even amateurs have started taking them. You are probably asking yourself, how this topic came up. Since I’m not doing much, I’ve been watching Netflix documentaries. I like to find things of interest to educate myself on. It just so happens the Lance Armstrong documentary, Stop at Nothing was on there. Armstrong was an amazing athlete. I say was because he had an amazing start to his early career. He was super dedicated to the sport of cycling, until he found it necessary to take performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times, before being banned for life!

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So my connection to all of this is just about living a healthy and active life. I workout for the physical, mental, and emotional benefits. I would never even consider taking any kind of performance enhancing drugs. The Clean Sport Collective also supports this. The Clean Sport Collective  believes in athletes, brands, clubs, fans, and communities that abstain from performance enhancing drugs. The Clean Sport Collective allows you to pledge to be and support clean living. You can also donate (if you wish and get some rad gear) and show support by taking a pledge (which is completely free). I also urge you to check out the many companies that are partners with the Clean Sport Collective supporting the cause and do not support any athlete who has tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, these companies are: Nuun, Rabbit, Oiselle, SOS Rehydrate, and the rest of the list can be viewed here.

I urge you to pledge to be a clean athlete and only encourage those who compete clean.

xo

Leann


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Bike MS

It’s that time of the year that I start raising money for a ride I will complete in September-Bike MS. I know its a ways off, but this year I have raised the goal of how much money I will be able to fundraise and the distance I will bike. 14022190_10104324653062473_7834320909764671262_n

Bike MS happens all across the United States. I will take part in the City to Shore ride from Cherry Hill, NJ to Ocean City, NJ. Last year I rode 80 miles and was able to raise $400. This year I have set my goal to 100 miles and $500 to help find a cure for MS. Last year’s ride was the first time I have completed Bike MS. I was riding with my mom, uncle, and a riding group in Jersey I complete weekly rides with. I thought half marathons and marathons had a ton of people show up, but it was amazing how many bikes were on the road for this great cause.

What is MS you ask? MS -multiple sclerosis. MS is a disease that effects information being sent through the central nervous system from the brain to the spinal cord and other parts of the body. The cause of MS is still unknown. It can be difficult to diagnose since there is no single test for MS. It tends to be more common in women then men. I have had a family member that passed away from MS. Through the cycling event I’ve learned how important it is to advocate for change, raise awareness, and be involved by volunteering my time in the cycling event.

My experience from Bike MS last year was amazing. It’s hard to explain how it was without sounding a bit ridiculous. If you have ever taken part in a race you know the excitement when you take the first step over the start line and when you cross the finish, but with the Bike MS ride it was a bit more personal. It’s an all day event, you meet people that are from all over the country, some biking with MS. It’s so encouraging. Bikes take over the roads. Riders are looking out for each other, making sure everyone is feeling ok and not having issues with their bikes. When you ride into Ocean City the crowd of people welcoming you is sensational. Being able to donate money from all of my wonderful friends and ride in their behalf was incredible. It made me so proud to have such a great support group that I call my friends. I can not thank you all enough!

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I can only ask of you once again to please help support my ride for this amazing cause. Help me to bring awareness to MS and help find a cure to end MS. If you would be interested in donating to my ride please click here. If you are interested in riding with me and joining my team click here. Thank you!

Don’t just ride, bike MS.

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xo

Leann