Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sixth Group Ride

TNT 2012
This past Saturday afternoon we went out for our sixth team ride... it's hard to believe we only have eight more to go before the big day. This was a special group ride because all of the TNT 2012 members (cyclists, runners, walkers, and triathletes), met in Colebrook for some group training followed by a picnic in the park.

We hit the road quickly and headed to Mt. Gretna, and unfortunately the rain started shortly after. It was our first time riding in the rain and it was a learning experience. The first thing we quickly learned about "wet riding" is that you cannot draft in the rain.  If you are drafting all you get is a face full of water and dirt from your partner's rear wheel. Second, don't slam on the breaks. You need to ease onto the brakes and give yourself plenty of time to come to a stop. Third, make sure you bring food with you. Luckily our friend Denise was kind enough to offer me her Luna bar during our short break at a random stop on the side of the road.

The rain kept coming during the entire ride, and only decided to stop once we got back to the cars.  It's hard to tell in the picture below, but we were drenched!

Ride Stats
Total distance:  44.90 km (27.9 mi)
Moving time:  1:56:10
Average moving speed:  23.19 km/h (14.4 mi/h)
Max speed:  61.00 km/h (37.9 mi/h)
Elevation gain: 683 m (2242 ft)

This week we already did two shorter training rides in our area. Both were roughly 13 miles long, and took us through the local farms along Limekiln and Sheepford roads close to our house. We even had Kui and Shelly join us for one of these rides. One of the benefits of riding is getting a chance to see beautiful farms along the way.  I never would have known that these guys live just a few miles from us if it hadn't been for riding. 

During on of the shorter training rides I managed to avoid a catastrophic crash. I was cruising down Slate Hill on Lisburn road going roughly 35+ mph, when my front wheel began to shake uncontrollably. I almost lost control completely. I instinctively veered off into the grassy field. If I was going to crash I wanted to do it in a field, not on the pavement.

My decision to go off-road turned out to work very well. The long grass in the field slowed me down and I was able to regain control, without crashing at all. It all happened very quickly, but needless to say it was extremely frightening since I was moving so fast. At first I thought I blew a tire/tube, but there was nothing visibly wrong with my bike. After a slow restart, everything seemed fine. I took my bike to World Cup today, and it turned out that my tires needed to be re-seated and the wheels weren't exactly true. They fixed me up right away and now I'm ready to go again on Saturday when we will climb (and descend) King's Gap!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fifth Group Ride

This past Saturday afternoon we went out for our fifth team ride (only nine more to go), affectionately called the Cornwall Cannon Ball loop. According to coach Tom, the name has something to do with the fact that George Washington's cannon balls for the Revolutionary War were made along the route. I was a little curious if he was just making it up, so I checked it out on Wikipedia (also an extremely valid source). It turns out that Wikipedia backs him up, apparently Cornwall Furnace was operated during the revolution and was a major arms providers to George Washington.

It truly was a beautiful day in the Palmyra and Lebanon area. With temperatures around 70, and the sun shining, it was great to get out there and enjoy the summer weather in mid-March. We were missing our good friends Kui and Shelly but they were in D.C. with TNT running a Saint Patty's day half marathon. Luckily for them and for us, the chance of thunderstorms didn't materialize and I actually got a slight sun burn during the ride. You typically don't think about needing sunscreen in March, but we do this year.

We rode through acres and acres of Pennsylvania farm land. The smell of the freshly plowed soil was in the air, which brought back memories of living on the old farm growing up. Some of my first memories are from living in the Fisher-Crouse house in Hanover. It was right in the middle of a large farm at the end of Wilson Ave. Anyway... back to the ride. Farmers were plowing their fields using equipment from another era. As we rode past the fields, every so often you could hear a large stone hit one of the tilling discs.

Thankfully there were no major mishaps with our ride this week.  Jenelle's bike is running smoothly again. No matter how hard I tried to lose her every time I turned around to check on her she was right behind me, except in a few instances where she ended up in front of me. I have no idea how that happened. :-)

I can really say my only issue was a mild sunburn. Don't forget the sunscreen next time!

Ride Stats

Total distance: 52.77 km (32.8 mi)
Moving time: 2:19:34
Average moving speed: 22.68 km/h (14.1 mi/h)
Max speed: 52.00 km/h (32.3 mi/h)
Elevation gain: 608 m (1996 ft)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fourth Group Ride (The ride that wasn't)

Yesterday afternoon Jer and I met the team at Fort Indiantown Gap for our fourth official training ride.  It was the coldest day we experienced yet, with highs only in the upper 30's and a little wind to boot.  Thankfully the sun was shining.  We arrived at our meeting point earlier than usual and team members and TNT alumni started pouring into the parking lot.  By the time we were ready to leave we had around 15 people with us, our largest group yet.

We started off at Memorial Lake, and the plan was to meander our way around the Fort Indiantown Gap and Jonestown area.  I realized early on in the ride that my bike was making some new noises from the rear gears but I was determined to keep with Jer this week and ignored what I heard.  I just kept pedaling (I'm proud to say that I was staying with the fast group) through the hills and was figuring out how to shift properly during the elevation changes.  I noticed when I was going uphill that my gears weren't exactly cooperating with me and finally about 10 miles in, my chain came off the rear gear.

Now, for those of you who have read previous blog posts you will know that I have a little problem when it comes to stopping.  I must have made some progress though, because when I felt all my bike gears seize up I quickly unclipped and came to a stop without crashing. :)  Up until that point I was hanging tough with the lead group and I was so disappointed that I was now going to fall behind.  My friend Adam stayed with me until our mentor Chris arrived a few minutes later.  He checked things out, made a quick adjustment, and off we went.  The rest stop in this ride was only a couple of miles down the road so when we got there we caught up with the fast group and all was right with the world again.

Fast forward 2 miles: my bike went crazy.  Even though we thought the adjustment Chris made earlier would work, it wasn't meant to be.  My chain dropped again, and Chris fixed it again.  After another mile, my chain starting moving gears on its own.  So I stopped again, and Chris fixed it again.  After about another half mile, my chain started skipping (acting like it wanted to change gears, but it wouldn't).  So I stopped again, and Chris fixed it again (starting to see a pattern here?).

It was such a frustrating experience - I had been doing so well and I just wanted to keep up with the riders but I couldn't.  Over the next 7 miles Chris and I must have stopped and started 88 times... tweaking this, twisting that, trying anything to make my gear system cooperate.  Finally Coach Kui caught up with us and we all determined that I wasn't going to make it back without doing damage to the bike or myself.  Jer was basically finished with the ride at that point, so he came and picked us up on the side of the road and drove us back to the finish.  While we were waiting for Jer to come, I had some time to think about the ride and why I was there in the first place.  As frustrating as it was for me, I had to put it in perspective... it doesn't even compare to the frustration of those diagnosed with and undergoing treatments for cancer.  Or the frustrations their families experience.  And frustration isn't even the right word - what they go through is so much more.

When we got back to the parking lot we called World Cup right away and they told us to bring my bike right over and they would check it out.  I was hoping they would be able to fix it, so I could ride with the Lancaster team on Sunday and still get my training in for the week.  As soon as we walked into the store, they took my bike and came back with the diagnosis.  I had a trifecta of issues:  my wheel was bent, my chain was bent, and my rear arm hanger was bent.  Since they are SO AWESOME, they fixed everything right away and my bike is 100% ready to go.  Our best guess is that everything bent when I fell a couple of weeks ago coming to a stop.  Note to self: if I am going to fall, try to fall to the left side to avoid harming the gears on the right side.

On a positive note, for the first 10 miles of the ride I was hanging tough, I managed to stop quickly when my chain dropped twice without falling, and since I had to stop and start so many times when Chris was trying to make all of those adjustments I think I'm pretty comfortable with that process now.  OH - I also managed to drink and drive (see earlier blog post for explanation).  So, even though I wasn't able to finish this week, I definitely learned a lot and have even more admiration for my local bike shop. :)

A quick update about Jer's ride:  He finished our longest and hilliest ride with flying colors and still managed to come to my rescue by the side of the road.  Not too shabby.

Click here to see the route!

Ride Stats
Total distance: 44.76 km (27.8 mi)
Moving time: 2:01:55
Average moving speed: 22.03 km/h (13.7 mi/h)
Max speed: 55.00 km/h (34.2 mi/h)
Elevation gain: 600 m (1969 ft)

Thursday, March 8, 2012


One of the roles for each Team In Training member is to be an ambassador for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Part of our duties include raising awareness of their mission to defeat all form of blood cancer, while supporting those who are forced to fight for their lives.

With over $814 million invested, the LLS is one of the largest investors in research aimed at helping all blood cancer patients live better, longer lives. However, they didn't do that alone. They've had community support since 1949, and could only invest in cancer research with donations from people who wanted to help.

In 2011 alone, the LLS invested nearly 80 million dollars in research across the globe. This funding was distributed across all blood cancers, including; Leukemias 33 million, Lymphomas 26 million, Myelomas 9 million, Myelodysplastic syndromes / myeloproliferative neoplasms 11 million.

Over the past 5 years, Jenelle and I have supported the LLS. We strongly believe in the mission and feel as though they truly make a difference in people's lives. Which is why we donate our time and money to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This week we sent out informational letters to our friends and family. It's our hope that these will introduce you to a great organization, and that you will support them in their cause to defeat all forms of blood cancer.

Donate online today or mail your check made out to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to:

Jeremiah and Jenelle Nace
25 Meadow Dr
Camp Hill, PA 17011

Sunday, March 4, 2012


We went out for another 12 miles today (1,100 elevation gain). Then we came home, cleaned the house, did the laundry, and cooked dinner. We know exactly how Maggie feels right now.

Third Group Ride (Jekyll and Hyde)

Yesterday afternoon Team in Training gathered for the third group ride of the season, the South Middleton loop. When we woke up that morning, we thought it was going to be a beautiful day for a ride around the beautiful farmland in the Mt. Holly Springs area. The forecast showed a high of 60 and plenty of sunshine, with some wind at times.

They were right, it was almost perfect riding conditions. The one exception proved to be those winds. They were stronger than we ever experienced. When the ride started we were facing (what felt like) 20mph winds which makes going uphill extremely difficult.  We had to fight against the wind for the first half of the ride, through Mt. Holly Springs, pushing against head and cross winds while moving at a snails pace (<10mph).

We stopped at the Kings Gap General Store for a much need break. Good thing we did, because Jenelle still can't drink and drive (especially on a day like that, where the wind is really blowing you around). In order to drink while moving on your bike, you need to have enough confidence and balance to keep your bike upright while only using one hand. She will get there eventually.

The rest stop was the beginning of the end for the wind. We turned north after leaving the Kings Gap General Store and got blasted with some cross winds from the East. After about a mile of that, we turned the corner, and finally felt the winds to our back.

We crested the first hill with amazing ease, barely pedaling up to a 20mph clip. Soon we hit some of the smoothest and longest down hill sections all day. At one time I looked down and saw my speedometer say 40mph. It's an amazing feeling to ride at those speeds, and still feel the wind on your back.

I think we need to rename it the Jekyll and Hyde Ride.  Riding against the wind for the first half of the ride was a challenge even for the experienced riders in the group, but the second half of the ride, when the wind helped push us along, it was a breeze. :-)

Click here to see the route!

Jenelle and I at the end of the ride.
Ride Stats
Total distance: 40.20 km (25.0 mi)
Moving time: 1:47:16
Average moving speed: 22.49 km/h (14.0 mi/h)
Max speed: 61.00 km/h (37.9 mi/h)
Elevation gain: 520 m (1705 ft)