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!

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!

Bike Snob

Am I a bike snob? I think I might be.  It’s definitely not because I have a very high end road bike – I’m certainly not in the class of the Trek Madone or Specialized Venge! And it’s most definitely not because I have the best looking cycling kits or ever judge others for theirs (you can ride in whatever makes you happy!) Maybe it’s because I believe in bike trail and road etiquette. Maybe it’s just because my sag wagoneers think I am, at times, due to my rants post ride.

Some random thoughts that may make me a bike snob.  You be the judge…

  • Can you at least nod or wave to a fellow cyclist on the road? (Unless of course, I recognize the panting and struggle of being in the middle of a steep climb while I am zipping down the hill on the opposite side smiling from ear to ear. In that case, no need.)
  • Roads/Paths are generally two ways. Stop taking up the whole thing riding/walking five abreast and doing a slow weave so you can chit chat with your group while not paying any attention to others coming up behind you.
  • Definitely don’t litter! I can’t believe I even saw you tossing that banana peel on the ground! And don’t leave your punctured tube there either.
  • Keep your dog on a leash!
  • Don’t cut off cars or ride erratically and give all cyclists a bad name.
  • Don’t be a moron and ride in all black without any lights on your bike at dusk.

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By the way, most days now, I actually enjoy riding on the Vine Trail. Tourist filled weekends, not so much, but on week days, it makes for a nice flat 20 mile loop from my house, and regulars on the trail are great!

There! I feel better now!  Thanks.  🙂

Ride on!

 

 

Live Well, Be Well and Thrive!

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I work for a health care organization for which Live Well Be Well and Thrive are taglines, and they take them to heart. Employees are encouraged, not pressured, to have healthy lifestyles. They were part of the reason for me getting my own health and fitness back in line. They offer a variety of programs to help employees learn and take action. For the past few years they have even sponsored a Pound for Pound challenge where for every pound of weight employees lose, they donate a pound of fresh produce to local organizations. We even have Live Well Be Well Coordinators for each of our facilities. DSC00312We have Andie and she’s great! She has infused a ton of enthusiasm, fun, and variety into our program. Today, she organized a bike ride that I was happy to join. I rode 15 miles to get to the start.DSC00309 I rode with the group for 20,

and then rode another 53 to get back home. DSC00338Not too shabby, given the 4700 feet of elevation that went along with it. Untitled

Starting to feel ready. Happy Easter!

Ride on!

 

The Mascot

So…It looks like Scoobert is going along for the ride in June. It seems as though he behaves rather poorly if he is left behind for several days. He really does enjoy car rides and since he LOVES going for walks, he will definitely give the other sag wagoneers something to do during the day. Besides, he knows lots of tricks to keep them busy.

Oh yeah – training – I did get in a few miles this weekend. Saturday was chilly, windy and a bit damp. Sunday was one of those perfect days that we seem to get a lot of in Napa Valley. I sure can’t wait ’till I stop going in circles though!

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Ride on!

If my head wasn’t screwed on, I’d forget that too!

Head On

It’s a weird thing. I am very absent minded. Once something gets to my long term memory banks, though, I never forget it. Ask anyone who really knows me. I never forget birthdays, obscure anniversary dates, phone numbers, names, words that were spoken, treatments rendered, etc. I can still see doodles on pages of my Anatomy class notes. The problem is, it has to get there because my short term memory seems to be for naught. I can’t remember five things I was supposed to pick up at the store. I can’t remember to bring a book to a friend. I can’t remember my purse when we leave a restaurant. A year from now though, I’ll be able to tell you what was on my shopping list, or what page I read something interesting on, or what I ordered in the restaurant.

It’s funny. When I rode my bike in the eighty’s I never worried about remembering anything. We didn’t have cell phones. I had a small, first generation cycle computer that told me my speed and distance and started automatically. I didn’t really think about safety (I was in my twenties after all) so I didn’t have lights or safety vests or reflectors and what not. I did wear a helmet. Today though, is a totally different story. I have a satellite tracker (to keep my husband and friends happy). I have a fancy Garmin cycle computer that has info about everything, including maps. I have lights on the front and back of the bike. I have reflective bands. I have multiple water bottles. I have repair tools/kits. I have a cell phone and ear buds – yes I do occasionally like to listen to low volume music in one ear. I probably have other things that I’m forgetting.

That brings me to checklists. Checklists are great. And I’ve decided I pretty much need one (or two) for my bike. Otherwise, I forget to charge the aforementioned equipment. I forget to bring one thing or another. I forget to turn the lights on or I forget to turn them off when I’m done for the day.  And it goes on. Checklists are part of my life too, so I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before now. I am a private pilot and you use checklists before/during every flight. I help my husband who teaches CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and checklists are a big part of being prepared for and responding to disasters. I work in healthcare where checklists are used routinely to make sure the right patients are receiving the right treatments. I even make out a weekly grocery list these days.

And so, for peace of mind, I have created my bicycling checklists. I have one (would you believe it) for take off and landing (start up/shut down of various electronics). And I have one of things I should bring along when I’m planning to be 50 or more miles away from home base.

Now if only I could remember to check the checklist!

Ride on!