Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Bit of Morning Gravel

I got out on my gravel bike for a bit of gravel riding this morning. The ride, though short, was lovely. I saw three pheasants, a bunny on the run (I scared it), a dog and heard a bunch of birds singing. The gravel was wet but solid and fairly easy to ride.


I'm doing 30 Days of Biking once again (for the 6th time with a couple of bonus rounds thrown in) so getting on my bike this morning was motivated by knowing that I needed to get my ride in for the day. I usually end up riding later on in the day, sometimes I even ride in after dark, so it felt especially good to check "ride bike" of my list of things to do early in the day.

My rides for 30 Days of Biking thus far have been short ones - I let myself get all soft, squishy and out of shape over the winter and have been dealing with some medical limitations so I'm taking things slow. That said, I'll be stepping things up as the month goes on and really picking up the pace come May. You see, I've signed up for not just one but two gravel rides this year.

I signed up to ride RiotGRRRavel, a women's gravel race that I did last year, again this year because I had such fun doing it in 2014. The ride is on June 20th and in addition to the 30 mile route they offered last year they are offering a hillier 50 mile route. I'm not yet sure which route I'll be riding, probably the 30 mile route.

As for the second gravel ride/race - I am sending in my postcard entry which says that I will ride the Box of Frogs gravel ride on June 7th. This ride is 60 or 100 miles and it's quite silly that I signed up for this but after doing RiotGRRRavel I know I can ride at least 30 gravel miles so I figure I can go farther. I think. I hope.


I signed up for this ride because  I like the concept behind the ride. Instead of everyone starting all at the same time so the slow riders (like me) straggle in well after everyone else, Box of Frogs is having people "hop on when it's right for you" so that everyone finishes more or less at the same time.

The ride finishes at 2:00 p.m. - I'm guessing I'll start around 6 a.m. to finish at that time. Oh well. I may end up straggling in after everyone else anyway but I want to give it a go - so I will.



Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My new favorite book!

I mentioned a book that I liked in a blog post Read More - Here's my stack of books (from January 2014). The book is The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I loved the book and have read it twice already so I was extremely pleased to hear that that author Rachel Joyce wrote a companion book to the Harold Fry book titled The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.


The book was due to be published in the UK last year but was not coming until February 2015 in the US. I didn't want to wait to read the new book - but I had no choice! I placed a request at my local library to be the first to read the book when it came out - and I waited impatiently for it to arrive.

Well, I got the book from the Northfield Public Library a few weeks ago and read it right away. I loved it! The story is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Fry book. Rather, Quennie's story parallels what is going on in Fry's story. A person can read the Queenie book without having read the Fry book - but I think the new book is richer if you read the Fry book first.

I won't give anything away but this book left me stunned by the end of it. The story is beautiful and so is the writing. I loved the cast of characters - the care staff and residents of the hospice where Queenie is living out her final days. I liked reading about the events of Fry's pilgrimage through Queenie's eyes. I also like that the book is somewhat of a mystery novel as well and that it's set in England and roughly covers the terrain of another book I've been reading, Mud, Sweat and Gears: Cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats (Via the Pub) by Ellie Bennett.

I enjoyed The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy so much I ordered my own copy from my local bookstore, Content. I picked it up today and am looking forward to reading it a second (and third, and fourth) time. I'll likely read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry again first, though, so it's fresh on my mind when I read The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy again.



Friday, March 13, 2015

30 Days of Biking - I can't help it!

I just signed up for yet another round of 30 Days of Biking. I honestly have lost track of how many of these I've done. Thankfully, other people are keeping track - according to this Pioneer Press story by Molly Guthrey, 30 Days of Biking started six years ago. So, if we're in the 6th year and there were a few bonus rounds in September a few years, this will make my 8th 30 Days of Biking - or something like that.

I guess the number of challenges I've done doesn't matter as much as the fact that each April I get out and I ride my bike every day and doing so makes me feel good. If this lovely spring weather we've been having sticks around into April (please! please! please!) then this 30 Days of Biking will be a piece of cake compared to other years when we've had snow, cold, sleet and rain to ride in.

I do have a busy schedule this April because I'm in a musical, Oliver! It's likely my rehearsal and show schedule will be more of an issue for me than the weather.  I've been wondering if, because of my schedule,  it would actually be a good idea to skip doing 30 Days this year. But, well, I just signed up - so here I go again!

It's not even mid-March and 2,261 joyful cyclists have already registered to ride this year. You can sign up, too, just go to: www.30daysofbiking.com



Just for fun, here's a link to a story Molly Guthrey wrote about me and 30 Days of Biking back in 2012. Click to read Turning Point: Northfield mom discovers pedal power during 30-day bike challenge

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Oliver!

My copy of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens - just £1.99!
I've been super busy lately helping out with a Northfield Arts Guild production of August: Osage County as well as getting my daughter, Rose, to and from rehearsals and performances of Northfield High School's Rock 'n' Roll Revival XI. To top things off, I decided to audition for the upcoming NAG production of the musical Oliver!

Well, I got in the show and I'm really excited that I'll be playing Widow Corney. We've already started rehearsals and things are going well.

Just for fun, I decided to pull out my copy of Oliver Twist and start reading through the Dickens story that inspired the musical. I found my paperback copy of Oliver Twist that I purchased when I was in England for a January Term class through University of St. Thomas back in 1996. That visit was life-changing! (click HERE to read my previous post about my host parent, Bob). When I opened Oliver Twist, I found inside a British Rail ticket to Canterbury, England. Oh the memories! I took a day trip to Canterbury on my own one day during my J-Term. It was one of my favorite, certainly one of the most memorable!, days in my month-long trip. I toured the Canterbury Cathedral, had lunch with some lovely ladies who were on the cathedral tour, and purchased a handmade teddy bear from Canterbury Bears. Then I hopped back on the train so I could attend an evening show with the rest of my class. Except the train broke down and was late back into London. I had to run quite a bit but I made it to the theater just on time!

Here's my British Rail Ticket. A perfect bookmark for Oliver Twist!
Earlier in my England trip, I had the fun of seeing Oliver! at the Palladium Theater. Wow! I've wanted to be in Oliver!, and have wanted to be silly Widow Corney, ever since. Dreams do come true.

My Oliver! program from the Palladium Theatre in London
Interested in seeing the Northfield Arts Guild production of Oliver!? We open April 17, 2015 and run through May 2nd. You can find ticket information at this link: http://northfieldartsguild.org/theater/oliver/