And We’re Off!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”      – Mark Twain

I didn’t want to wake up twenty years from now and say “I should have done that ride across America. So with that, we’re off!

Time to leave the comforts and conveniences of the Napa Valley behind.

Cyclists Prayer

Let’s do this!

The Prologue

We are readers in my family. My daughter (the girl) is the voracious one. She reads one to two books daily and can smell a book store from miles away! Books/stories usually have a prologue. It is an opening of a story that establishes the setting and gives background details. It can also be an introductory act or event like in the Tour de France. So…fittingly, today was my prologue.

The big adventure began today. Baker Beach in San Francisco to Napa. 72.8 miles in the bag! Only 3500 more to go. Plymouth, here we come. Look out America!

The plan was changed too, of course. Most cycling mapping aps navigate from San Fran to Napa via Vallejo. To get to Vallejo, you have to take a ferry across the bay. I decided that I just couldn’t take the ferry. I had to ride! Therefore, new route.IMG_4072

Most of the route was new to me as you’ll see from the quick little backtracks at times but it was really nice when I hit Sonoma and the roads were the ones I ride all the time. I usually try to stay away from Sonoma, though, because the roads feel like you are riding the Paris-Roubaix.

The ride:

I even got a welcome home from Aaron Comfort Dog and Team Aaron!

Song of the day:

I grew up, musically speaking, in the 70’s and 80’s. My favorite band was Journey. I knew they were from San Francisco, but I didn’t know anything about that city by the bay. When I first got to California (1990), I even met Neal Schon (lead guitar)! He was just hanging out at the Sweetwater Saloon in Mill Valley. Some friends and I had gone there to listen to some local band. He chatted with us for over an hour. Cool guy!

So when I was dropped off at Baker Beach to begin the ride across America, Journey songs started going through my head. Journey. How appropriate!

Ride on!

Lessons Learned While Training

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Training has been good not only for improving fitness. It has also taught me many things in preparation for my long adventure.

In no particular order…

  • Shift to a lower gear BEFORE stopping – especially on an incline (makes starting up again, much easier).
  • Turn lights on before heading out.
  • Turn lights off once you are home for the day.
  • Check your tire psi before every ride.
  • Fill your water bottles – and remember to take them with you.
  • Keep Spare cash/ATM card in your bag.
  • I don’t like being cold!
  • Layers are good things!
  • My face dries out much quicker/easier at age 54 than it did at age 25. Sunscreen and moisturizers are good things.
  • Heat, hills, and headwind are still a B–ch! (Did I say I don’t like being cold? Really?)
  • I can change a flat tire.
  • Riding 100 miles isn’t so hard.
  • Ride your own ride! Always!
  • Spinning at a high cadence is a good thing (helps for climbing, moving against the wind, and endurance).
  • Sometimes the mapping aps get it wrong!
  • Photos do not fully capture what you experience out there.
  • Chamois is a good thing.
  • If you want to use technology, charge your batteries!
  • Brifters – who knew? Didn’t have those when I rode in the ’80’s.
  • Use the built in snot rag part of the gloves, not the scratchy mesh! (Unless of course, you have an itch.)
  • Close your mouth if you don’t want to eat bugs.
  • If I never swallow another bug, it will be too soon!
  • Tailwinds are good only if you are NOT returning home on the same route.
  • Headwinds are good ONLY if you are returning home on the same route.
  • Wear sunscreen even if it’s overcast.
  • Cars do not see you – you must keep aware of them.
  • Self discipline – get out there and ride – even when it’s cold, even when it’s raining, even when it’s hot, even when it’s windy, but only if it’s fun.
  • I can still do this!

God is good! Ride on!

The Route

DSC00435To plan or not to plan. That is the question. My husband is a planner. I am not. If you ask me what route I am taking across the country, I point to the east and say “that way.” Mr. Sag, however, has us well planned out and I am thankful for his efforts. I hope I make it to his waypoints! The plan as it stands, is on Memorial Day, 5/29/17, I will do a “prologue ride” from Baker Beach in San Francisco to our home in Napa. I have to start at the coast, after all! We pick up the rental RV (aka. sag wagon) on the 30th, and then I will head east bright and early on Wednesday morning, 5/31/17.

The PrologueUntitled

The route across AmericaThe Route

Eight days till prologue! Tick Tock!

Ride on!

 

 

 

 

What’s With the Jerseys and T’s?

Most of the jerseys and t-shirts I wear are for a reason. There’s either a story behind them, or they just say something to capture the mood. Some are for safety. Some are just comfortable. And some are just fun. Here are a few you’ll probably catch me wearing across America. Continue reading “What’s With the Jerseys and T’s?”

Anticipation

DSC00433Anticipation is a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen. : the act of preparing for something. Anticipation is a thing in the Napa Valley because when the grapes start appearing on the vines every year, there is anticipation about what the vintage will be like.

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin’ me late
Is keepin’ me waitin’

Carly Simon sang those words and they keep running through my head as I ride past all the vineyards awaiting my start date. My anticipation has more to do with being excited about the adventure that is fast approaching. So what do I do in the meantime? Continue training/preparing, of course. People wonder what my training looks like. How do ride a bunch of miles without really going anywhere? Well, I have several loops/routes that I know every inch of by now. I repeat them as many times as I need for the miles I want. Take a look…

My 1-mile loop. I sometimes do several of these when the weather is lousy. I did 20 of them New Years eve morning to help rack up the miles for my Rapha Festive 500.

My 4-mile route. I’ve done so many of these, I’ve lost count.

My 5-mile loop. I did this one 24 times for my 24-hour challenge.

Picture taken mid ride every hour for 24…

This one is my typical 20 mile out and back.

The next one shows some of the hill repeats I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks. It’s about 9.5 to 10.5% for about a half mile. I do 3 to 5 of them and then finish off with my 4-mile loop. There is a small spot at the bottom that gives your belly a tickle that I love. We used to say the back roads of upstate NY had tickle belly hills on them because that’s what it felt like if you drove over them fast. And don’t tell the husband, but I usually get over 40 mph coming down the hill. What a rush!! 🙂

And last but not least, there’s Partrick Road. It was when I climbed this road back in September that I started thinking I could ride across the country. It gets up to about a 13% grade in spots and stays over 9% for 3 miles. I rode it today – probably the last time before I launch – and saw lots of improvement! I think I’m ready! Happy Mother’s Day!

17 days now! Tick Tock!

Ride on!