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Indiana can get a lot of heat and criticism…especially Muncie. When I was at City Market, I told the bartender I lived in Muncie, who without missing a beat immediately said in all seriousness “I’m sorry.” Talking to people outside of the town, or outside of Indiana, we hear a lot of apologies that we live in Indiana and way too many jokes about corn. (Come on. There has to be a better joke the rest of the country can think of.) But to those who wouldn’t wish Indiana (or Muncie) on anyone – I say, give it a chance, open your eyes to a little more, and give it another try.

I realized Indiana was beautiful all in its own right on one of my very first rides. My friend Christopher had come back to visit Muncie and go on a ride with me as I had recently acquired my first road bike (a KHS). We met up with the Delaware County group ride this time of year, and very early in the morning. When the air was cool, and the sky was clear, we rode past cornfields on the greenway, and I thought to myself “Now this. This is beautiful.” We may not have mountains that take your breath away, or rivers that make your heart beat a little faster, but we do have moments like this. We have families that sell vegetables in front yards, farmland that stretches on and on across very low hills, Amish children playing in their yards who wave as you ride by, and if you’ve been anywhere in Southern Indiana in autumn then, well, yeah.

Most of my time in college was spent missing France, and I understand why I had to spend so much time getting over not being there. It’s still hard sometimes. It’s hard being away from naturally beautiful  and magical places. I’d be overjoyed to be back there, or in Georgia, or North Carolina, but I’m glad that I also have room to love Indiana. I think it’s a pretty great thing, to love where you live. So find a bike, head out into the country and enjoy the ride.

Day 20/100
Bike: Lapierre
Route: Prairie Creek Reservoir roads & Greenway
Total time: 1:26
Distance: 22.3 miles
Mileage to date: 112 miles
Total time on the bike: 8:10 minutes

Love,

Rebs

P.S. It’s a manic Monday, but this may make you smile.

The (very first?) Fountain Square Crit was yesterday afternoon, and while not all of my friends were racing, I still went down to cheer them on and hang out with other buddies in the area. Being my first time in the Fountain Square area, I have to say I was really impressed with how many business there were, the cultural trail, and how bustling the area still was after everything was cleaned and packed up from the race.

Compared to last weekend (Mass Ave) the race didn’t seem huge, but it was still a lot of fun to watch. The course was pretty interesting with a lot of different turns (anywhere from a 90 degree to a sloping right turn), and it was pleasant to walk. The only thing my buddy Christopher and I wished we had brought were chairs. (I wished for a brewery tent). I hadn’t seen Christopher since the beginning of the summer, and we went by City Market for crepes and a drink at Tomlinson Tap Room for my first beer from Fountain Square Brewery. I was really pleased with the Big Nugget IPA, and well, set me down with a crepe, a beer, and Shark Week, and I’m happy.

As a sidenote, the weather driving back and back home was absolutely perfect and was so reminiscent of North Carolina. Did you see that sunset and those clouds? Goodness gracious. When I got back home the ground was cool on my feet, and falling asleep the air smelled so sweet with the windows open – the only way it could have been more perfect would’ve been if I had been in my sleeping bag camping. All in all, it was an extremely charming and delightful day.

Looks like that’s the last race I’ll be seeing until cross season – September 9! Here in Yorktown! Lion of the Den!

Oh and my ride? I just had to fit in a warm up loop before I ran yesterday, but I’m off today for a real one out on the Greenway and to the Reservoir. Let’s finally get some miles in.

Day 19/100
Bike: Lapierre
Route: warm up ride around the neighborhood before a run
Total time: 7:59
Distance: 1.8 miles
Mileage to date: 90 miles
Total time on the bike: 6:41 minutes

Love,

Rebs

P.S. Have you heard We Barbarians’s cover of Strange Overtones?

Today I went to the campus bookstore and bought books for classes for returning to school this fall while I apply to graduate programs.

It was chillingly weird, to say the very least.

It’s strange mainly because my life looks incredibly different than it did when I graduated two years ago. This 70 degree, hint of fall weather, is also throwing me way off. So I just rode the heebeejeebees out. At least for that afternoon.

In great news, I finally hit an average of 15 mph on my ride today. You can go ahead and chuckle, but this is a big accomplishment for me. Every ride since Day 1 has fallen under the 15 mph mark, and I think that I did actually benefit from resting yesterday. Would’ya look at that?!

Day 15/100
Bike: Lapierre
Route: White River Greenway + a small neighborhood loop
Total time: 42:50
Distance: 10.7 miles
Mileage to date: 87 miles
Total time on the bike: 6:25 minutes

Love,

Rebs

P.S. Find a bike to rent from awesome people!

This summer I’ve been riding home from the bars at night, allowing me to (1) ride my bike more and (2) be less stressed out about driving home after having a beer. Except for the one flat tire, I’ve been safe and nothing bad has happened. But nevertheless, I’ve been getting very discouraging messages from my parents about this.

You’re going to get chased down by one of those guys at the park playing basketball, and it’d be so easy for them to knock you off your bike.

You’re going to get hit by a drunk driver.

This fall you’d really be better off buying a parking pass to go to classes. It’s just not practical to ride your bike to and from town. 

It’s frustrating to hear these things, because none of this actually discourages me from riding my bike. All this does is put seeds of doubt and fear in someone’s head. It’s like telling women not to walk home by themselves, don’t wear short skirts or shorts, don’t drink too much. We’re approaching these issues from the wrong direction.

Instead of teaching our boys and men to respect women’s consent, or setting a great example, we place the responsibility on women to stop someone from attacking them. Instead of pushing for more street lights, an extension of a bike path, or more public awareness of cyclists’ rights, we’re saying don’t ride after dark, ride on the sidewalk, or five miles is just too far to ride. Don’t try. There’s a line between self-awareness, precaution, using your senses and letting fear of a random and uncontrollable circumstance paralyze you.

I’ll finish my rant her, but I feel like dissuading someone from riding their bike perpetuates the unsafe conditions and environment you’re scared of. I mentioned the Path Less Pedaled already, but in their post on The Great Fear they put it well,

“The Great Fear is what stops people in their tracks. It is what turns dreams into dust.”

Day 11/100
Bike: Lapierre
Route: Neighborhood loop
Total time: 14:55
Distance: 3.4 miles
Mileage to date: 70 miles
Total time on the bike: 5:09 minutes

Love,

Rebs

P.S.

Photo from Spooky Bikes Facebook. Source unknown. (Let me know if you recognize it so it can get credited properly)

Lately I’ve had some weird mood swings, brought on by the upcoming changes in work, school, life, love, etc etc. None of us can avoid change, so I’m working on my perspective. Everything kind of came together yesterday, for the afternoon at least and for the first time in a long time, I came home at 5:30 p.m. with a smile on my face. I was eager for my ride that evening, excited that my legs weren’t sore, looking forward to the pair of Bontrager commuting pants that are coming in, and while these are all small things, they helped make things okay at least for a little while.

I have to give most of the credit for my positive mood to the Path Less Pedaled. I wanted to wait and write some sort of blog roundup post of outdoorsy, exercise-y blogs I’ve been reading, but I just can’t wait to tell you about these guys. This couple Russ and Laura have been traveling by bike (and sometimes train) for the past few years (with an occasional break) and are an amazing inspiration. I end up with a grin on my face while reading their posts from the road, mainly when they post about camping (I’m having serious camping cravings). But their attitude is incredible! They are great writers, and I can’t get over how much hope and excitement they have for what the world and people have to offer. I’m telling the honest truth when I say that blog has made me more hopeful and eager about having a bike be a bigger part of my life.

Day 10/100
Bike: Lapierre
Route: North on Greenway, south on some county road
Total time: 1:25
Distance: 20.3 miles
Mileage to date: 66 miles
Total time on the bike: 4:54 minutes

Love,

Rebs

P.S. Happy Friday Dancing

Basically: my head got a stupid terrible migraine today yesterday that completely took me out of commission for about ten hours, and I really thought I just wasn’t going to make it on the ride. But three Excedrin, four popsicles (the cold helps), and one epic laying on the bathroom floor session (the cold floor is the only thing that feels right) later it was time to get moving. So at 9:30 with my head down to a manageable pain level, I picked myself up and made it out for just about five miles. It was good to get my body moving again and blood flowing, as after being in bed all day I just couldn’t tell whether it was still truly my head hurting, or I was just feeling strange from laying down that long. But afterward I collapsed right back into bed. Things are back to a dull roar today, so we’re going to see how this goes.

Migraines fail at life.

Day 8/100
Bike: Kona Jake the Snake
Route: White River greenway
Total time: 22:23
Distance: 5.1 miles
Mileage to date: 41 miles
Total time on the bike: 3:06 minutes

Love,

Rebs

No P.S. today. I’m beat and the internet takes too much energy.

Apparently there are two weeks left until school starts…wait what? When did that happen? Have I told you about how I am determined to keep thinking of September as summer, because I just can’t deal if classes signify the end of summer. Nope, can’t handle that.

The fact that classes are starting up is actually a really exciting thing, but it’s taking a bit more emotional effort to adjust. All I’ve been concerned with this summer is pretty much just having fun, and we know that we can’t have too much of a good thing, right? This fall will be great, but life is going to have a very different pace. Work is going to be changing (in a good way, but still changing), the lady I’ve been working side by side with eight hours a day for a year won’t be there anymore, I’ll be studying for the GRE, applying to grad schools, studying for classes….different.

I’m ecstatic about starting my plan toward graduate school, and to be in the academic environment again. To struggle for two years in finding my way, feeling aimless, without direction, then to find that path and start on it – that’s exhilarating. Okay, yeah, it’s going to be awesome. And don’t even get me started on shopping for school supplies.

In other news, my legs are (80%) back! Yesterday I went around the neighborhood once again as I went on another run. That short bike ride was actually a great cool down, and I must have done a good job of stretching afterward as I’m not that sore this morning. Anyways, my goal for today is an actual ride – twenty miles at the least. Stay tuned!

Day 7/100
Bike: Lapierre
Route: neighborhood loop
Total time: 16:19
Distance: 3.6 miles
Mileage to date: 36 miles
Total time on the bike: 2:43 minutes

Love,

Rebs

P.S. Did you see the NYTimes article on track cyclists’ thunder thighs yesterday?