Photo by Jason DeVarennes



Monday, June 20, 2016


Dirt Roads of Vermont with Exceptional Scenery (DROVES) is our annual celebration of the beginning of summer. We head up to the Bike Barn in East Burke, VT and spend the weekend talking and laughing and cooking and cycling and sharing good wine and good beer. East Burke is well known for its mountain bike trails, but it is also in the middle of an amazing network of quiet scenic dirt roads.

Over the years, we have mapped out many challenging rides that help to whet our appetites and leave us primed for a good night of sleep, awaking refreshed and hungry and ready to do it all again.

Thanks to Cristine Lamoureux for the photos and slideshow from DROVES. BTW, you'll need a computer to view the slideshow. It won't play on your mobile device.

We had a couple of groups out on the road this year, with some opting for big climby rides, while others took on more modest distances.

Our friends also showed off their gourmet cooking skills, each seemingly trying to outdo the other. After dinner, a chain gang formed to clean up and wash dishes before the night owls gathered around the fire and told tall tales of cycling exploits-past.

Sadly it was over too soon. But before we headed home, we all made plans to meet as the same place and do it all again at the end of the summer. Looking forward to seeing everyone again at ANVILS - Ascending Northern Vermont in Late Summer.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sorry for the Interruption. Now we return you to normal programming!

It seems that I need to update to our about page to include some more recent history. A few weeks ago, someone posted a comment on the about page asking why I hadn't done any randonneuring events since 2014. Apparently this fellow must have blindly stumbled upon that page without reading any of the blog, because I feel like I keep repeating myself and it should be quite obvious why the word brevet hasn't been a regular part of my vocabulary lately. However, I promise to stop repeating myself right after this post!

Today I bring you the story of Pixie-Past, Pixie-Present and a preview of Pixie-Future!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mother Nature is BiPolar and Off her Medication!

OK, I admit I stole that title from a meme I saw on Facebook! But I'm convinced it is true. The weather this year has been all over the place. In my last post on the Festive 500, I talked about having all the seasons in one week. We started out with mild temperatures where knees and elbows were exposed. Throughout the week it got colder, then it rained and finally it snowed. Well, this pattern has repeated itself throughout the winter and into spring. Over the past few months, we've had some amazingly mild days as well as a short spell of days below 0 Fahrenheit! BiPolar!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Festive 500 - 2015

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, one definition of déjà vu is "something overly or unpleasantly familiar."

I have really struggled to write about my recent Festive 500 experience, in part because I keep coming back to this idea of déjà vu.

Something overly or unpleasantly familiar, eh? 

Why does it seem like I've written this before? Is there a new twist? Is this really a different post? 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Time Flies

Light at the end of the tunnel - or is it another oncoming train? 

I started writing this post in October... Time got away from me!
John and I got up early on September 8, and walked the four miles down the Charles River Path from our house in Watertown to Mt Auburn Hospital. I knew I wouldn't be able to get much in the way of exercise in the coming days, so I wanted to squeeze in this one last walk.

Upon arrival, I checked into the surgical clinic where I had my killer boobs replaced with some tiny silicone ones. For those just tuning in, on March 24, I was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer. Because HER2+ is such an aggressive breast cancer, I underwent 6 rounds of chemo and other targeted therapies (every three weeks) before surgery. I will continue receiving Herceptin, the miracle drug for treating HER2+ breast cancer, until March 3.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

On the Path to Recovery

A while back, I published a blog entry where I challenged myself to a personal bik-a-thon, starting the day of the last chemo and ending the day of my surgery. I asked my friends and readers to make contributions to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, either by kilometer or as a set amount.

How did I do?  I rode every day except one, where I did get out for a walk. I logged 2924 kms with 41,219 meters of climbing! It's the climbing figure of which I am most proud. I didn't set any speed records and the folks who rode with me on my last long ride can absolutely confirm that. I did my best to wear myself out so the enforced rest and recovery time after surgery would be welcome. As a final kick, I walked to the hospital the morning of surgery.

Sorry this update has been so slow in being posted. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Getting strong for surgery

After my last chemo treatment, I published a blog entry where I challenged myself to a personal bik-a-thon, starting the day of the last chemo and ending the day of my surgery. I asked my friends and readers to make contributions to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, either by kilometer or as a set amount.

Maybe friends and readers know me too well, because so far only one was willing to risk going broke with a pledge by kilometer. But Dena's pledge has truly inspired me to get on the bike every day so far. Admittedly I have taken some recovery days, only riding to the coffee shop, but I've still gotten out every day, and I'm accumulating some kilometers as well as some meters of climbing (since Dena added that as a bonus challenge).

I want to thank everyone who has already made a contribution, and ask those of you who haven't yet, please consider BCRF for your 2015 charitable tax credit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Green River Riding

I still can't believe I live here! This is what I have to put up with...

on every ride...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Raising Money for Breast Cancer Research

The distant rumble of thunder just stirred me from my slumber. The laptop is feeling toasty on my legs. The cat hops up to get in on the action of a warm lap. I try to jog myself awake and resume my editing of the most recent blog post. I switch tabs to wikipedia and look up the definition of tired. I see my own reflection in a mirror. Ah... the new definition of tired!

This kitten is a bundle of energy in comparison to me!

Monday, July 6, 2015

D2R2 inspires our move to the Pioneer Valley

For 20 years now, the Pioneer Valley and the Berkshires having been enticing us to come out and ride our bikes. Western Massachusetts is an amazing place to ride with a labyrinth of lovely quiet scenic roads with plenty of climbing providing endless breathtaking scenic mountaintop vistas. 

In 2005, Sandy Whittlesley ran the first Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee, more commonly known as D2R2, taking in some of his favorite dirt roads north of Deerfield, MA. With more than 16,000 feet of climbing and just over 100 miles, with 70% dirt roads, it was guaranteed to have great views and spectacularly fast and fun descents. This was our type of ride, and it did not disappoint. Now, this event makes our must-do calendar every year. And with so many roads to choose from, Sandy has created a variety of routes of different lengths, giving folks a chance to see even more of the area. At this stage, we've ridden most of the courses, exploring as many different routes as we can, riding a variety of bikes, including simple road bike, dedicated dirt road machine, single speed and tandem bike. Over the years, D2R2 has become the primary fundraiser for the Franklin Land Trust, an organization whose goal is to preserve this special place. Every year, veterans return and new riders come and see for themselves what a magnificent area it is and as a result become supporters of the Franklin Land Trust. In return, the Franklin Land Trust continues its efforts to buy and preserve more land, so Franklin County can continue to be this pedalers paradise. Thank you to Sandy and D2R2 for this showing us heaven on earth.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

DROVES 2015 - Day 3

DROVES - Day 3 - 1 Trapped Cat, 1 Vertical Mile and Lots of Tulips

First let me say that if you want an awesome campfire, invite Ted to your event. Ted builds the best fires. He's a pro, coming prepared with his own special fire starting kit, which he conveniently keeps in the trunk of his car at all times for the spontaneous campfire. 

Sadly for the curious cat, Megatron, open trunks must be explored, and while we were enjoying tall tells, strange music and great beer, Megatron was getting cozy inside Ted's car.

But then, without realizing he had a visitor, Ted closed up the car, and once the beer was gone and fire died down, we all headed off to bed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

DROVES 2015 - Day 2

DROVES - Day 2 arrived with bright sunshine and much warmer temperatures. However, most folks seemed cautious and arm warmers and vests were still prominent as we gathered around the picnic table, getting ready for our attempt on Radar Road. It seemed that fresh memories from a very chilly descent to Lake Willoughby just couldn't be shaken. Nevertheless, as we mingled about pumping up tires and checking brakes, there was no denying that it was indeed significantly warmer. Some people even threw caution to the wind and stripped down to just shorts and short sleeve jersey. Still, being sensitive to cold, I traded leg warmers for knee warmers and kept my arm warmers on. I also carried my wind vest, just in case sanity left me and I climbed up to Radar and needed it for the descent.

As a special treat, Dave and Nancy came down from Waitsfield to join us for the day. We'd met them serendipitously at a Luka Bloom concert last year. While awaiting the start of the show, we discovered that we had more than musical taste in common, as Dave runs many of the Vermont brevets, and his sister and brother-in-law run Red Hen Baking Company, a bakery/cafe in Waitsfield that we love. We've kept in touch and when I sent out FB invites to come join us for rides and dinner, they decided to do just that.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

DROVES 2015 - Day 1

For many years now, we have spent Memorial Day weekend ascending and descending the many exquisite dirt roads of Vermont. This year would be no exception.

Megatron, The Barn cat, has to inspect everything.

We've been staying at the Burke Bike Barn since it opened in 2011. The first time we stayed, we fell in love with the place. So much so, that I booked it for Memorial Day and Labor Day for life. I'm not sure that Doug, the owner, thought I was serious at first, but we've been going up for these dirty climb-fest weekends at the beginning and end of summer ever since, and we aren't about to give up our reservation for the future.

The Bike Barn is exactly what it says it is. It's a big old barn that's been converted to comfortable accommodation for cyclists in the center of one of the best biking locations on the planet. We usually have a dozen folks staying at the barn, with frequent drop-ins for rides by folks who live or are staying nearby. At this stage, it all works like clockwork. We have a few routes, covering a variety of distances. Depending on weather, mood and other arbitrary factors, we will decide which route to do. The one thing all the routes have in common is lots of smooth-packed, quiet dirt roads and maximal climbing per mile. These are quality miles, such that even a 30 mile ride will not leave any sane person wanting more.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hanging with Dwan from Co-Motion

Dwan Shepard's title on the Co-Motion Cycles website is co-conspirator. Dwan, along with his fellow co-conspirator, Dan Vrijmoet, founded Co-Motion back in 1988. Dan seems to be the shy one, and we've only seen him once, ducking behind a frame jig, while Dwan was taking us on a tour of the factory. Dwan is more of the public face, representing Co-Motion on various social media sites and at bike shows and such. This is how we've been lucky enough to get to know him.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dear Cancer, You may slow me down, but you won't stop me from riding my bike!

This post was mostly written in my recliner at Mount Auburn Hospital Medical Oncology Department. I have treatments every three weeks, and treatment day is the one day where I sit still long enough to write a blog post!

The shirt is to support a fellow cyclist battling cancer along with being run over by a car. Read about Lynn here http://www.caringbridge.org/.../id/55005bf9ca16b44f0761bc73. And support Lynn's PT here http://onetoughbitch.com/

Biking to/from chemo!
For the chemo treatments, I like to imagine that we are battling my tumor, Davros, by pumping miniature Daleks into my veins. It is fitting that the exterminating obsessed Daleks are Davros' own creation, who have ironically turned on him because he isn't pure Dalek. So they now focus all their exterminating rage onto Davros himself.  As his current host and life support system, I will suffer some side effects from the battle, but I will live on, long after Davros is exterminated! Their attack is focused on exterminating him while saving me.