Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Mile High

The plane is a little late into Denver. We should get into Reno around midnight. Luckily the only issue so far is that we'll miss the hotel shuttle and need to catch a taxi to the hotel. Not too bad in the world of air travel.

Kui is relaxing in our pile of riding gear packed luggage. :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tahoe Here We Come

Alright, so we haven't been very good with the blogging lately. We promise we'll do more posts while we are in Tahoe. The only difference is that we will only be able to use the blog app on our phones so the posts will be much shorter.

We've reached a number of ride milestones since our last update. We've had two long distance training rides, one 70 miles and the other 75 miles. The 70 mile ride was called Kings Gap senior. This ride took us up Kings Gap twice (in cycling terms, a hill repeat.) Also, you'll notice I was able to obtain a proper training GPS, which allowed me to ditch the Google "My Tracks" app on my cell phone. The Garmin is pretty sweet. It automatically uploads the data to the web when I get home, and lets me embed the ride stats into the blog post. No more copy and paste! You can click on the "View Details" link at the bottom right to see the elevation/speed/cadence graphs.

King's Gap Sr was really uneventful in terms of mishaps (it's always a good day when it works out like that!). The weather was beautiful and our pace was fast. My mentor Cary even got a quick picture of me on the second Kings Gap descent, hence the big smile. I think Kui is the only person who actually smiles on the ascents. :-)

We started and ended the day at the South Middleton Township Park, with a total of 2,500 ft of elevation gain. I must say, riding in the Boiling Springs area is one of our favorite places in central PA to ride. There is a good mix of farms, forest, and streams to keep the day interesting and fun.

The following Saturday was our last team ride before heading to Tahoe, and we increased the total mileage to 75 miles. In other words, it's like driving from Harrisburg to Allentown. The ride started near the Renaissance Faire grounds. We rode around towns like Cornwall, E-Town, Manheim, and Mt. Gretna.

Again, we had some very good luck with our ride. The only mishap was when Shelly dropped her chain, and bent the derailleur. A quick re-seating of the chain and push on the derailleur to get it back into place and we were back on the road.

It was during this ride that Jenelle and I realized the potential benefits of chamois cream. :-) A long day in the saddle produces friction in some very sensitive parts of your body.  We hadn't taken anyone's advice on using the cream, but after this ride we wished we would have.  We went home and ordered some from Amazon right away and had it delivered here in a couple days (I love Amazon Prime)... just in time for Tahoe!  It's hard to believe that in 14 weeks we went from riding 20 miles to 75 miles... and now we are ready to tackle the 100 mile barrier in a few days!
Last night Jenelle and I starting packing up all of our cycling gear and clothing for Tahoe. We have to pack everything we need for the race in our carry on (we can't take any chances in our luggage being lost!). Since we don't know exactly what the weather will be, that means we have to pack just about all of our gear (it's also tough because when we start the morning of the ride it will probably be around 40 degress, but it will be over 70 degrees by the time we finish).  That means our carry on's are stuffed to the brim with things like our helmets, gloves, tights, arm and leg warmers, pedals, shoes, cleats, water bottles, bike tools and clothing for all of the special events leading up to the race. The bags are definitely jammed packed. I just hope that the TSA doesn't give us a hard time with all of the weird looking cycling paraphernalia.

We are flying out of BWI the night before the rest of the team with Kui and Shelly. The plan is to stay in Reno Thursday night and get some much needed rest (at altitude) before all of the activities start. We just got our intineray and the days leading up to the ride are filled with different registrations, paperwork, team meetings, and dinners.  We even have a practice ride on Saturday to help prepare us for the big day on Sunday.  From what we hear, we pass a Pearl Izumi outlet (Jenelle's favorite cycling outfitter) on our practice ride so we have to leave a little room in our carry ons for the goodies we buy when we are out there!

It really is hard to believe that in less than a week we will have accomplished what we set out to do in January of this year.  Keep checking back over the weekend - we will post as many updates on our progress as we can!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We've Been Busy

We've had one or two things going on around here lately, so our blog posts are a little behind but hopefully we can get you caught up on the past few weeks of our training.  Thankfully, we have good news on a a few fronts:

1.  We met our fundraising goal!  I can't begin to express my gratitude to everyone who has donated and supported us through our training.  Thank you!
2.  We haven't had any major incidents in our training rides (although I still manage to fall every once in awhile... I suppose I have to keep things interesting) and we've conquered some hills that I didn't think were possible
3.  There are only two more long rides before we'll be heading out for the big day.  It's hard to believe that only a few short months ago we went out for our first short training ride with the group and now we are ready to hit the 70 mile mark.

A few weeks ago we met in Lancaster at the Landis Valley Museum for our 11th group ride.  After a number of really hilly rides, the coaches decided to take it easy on us and give us a relatively flat course.  Considering we were breaking the 60 mile mark, I think it was a good move on their part!  The course started in Lancaster and took us all over the surrounding county - through Lititz, Ephrata, Paradise, and we even had a rest stop at the Strasburg Railroad before turning back towards Lancaster to end the ride.  All in all it was an enjoyable day, and relatively easy considering the distance.

Kui and Jenelle at the top of White Rock
Of course, we couldn't enjoy the flat riding for very long.  One of our coaches recommended climbing White Rock for some of our mid-week rides.  Prior to getting involved with Team in Training, I had no idea what White Rock was... or the challenge it poses to many riders.  On one of our first training rides though, I remember having a conversation with some of the TNT alumni about the different climbs we would tackle during our training.  They talked about King's Gap and how it would prepare us for the Switchbacks and Spooner in Tahoe (the two major climbs that are part of the ride).  They also pointed in the general area of some small mountains off in the distance and referred to them as White Rock.  I could tell by the conversation that White Rock was no small feat.  They told me I would climb it by the end of my training... and I told them they were crazy.  Well - Jer and I tackled it twice in one week and successfully made it to the top both times.  It was a challenge to say the least but we did it!

Our most recent ride took us back to Lancaster.  We met at the Hans Herr elementary school for a 65 mile ride through more Lancaster countryside.  The first half of the ride was full of climbing (our coaches seem to be pretty big on the climbing!).  Along with a number of good hills they planned for us to climb Welsh Mountain.  Thankfully we had the experience of climbing White Rock earlier in the week so we were definitely prepared.  The second half of the ride was relatively painless.  One of our teammates, Rich, brought his camera along and captured some video of the team.  Hopefully this gives you a little glimpse into how we've been spending each of our Saturdays since the beginning of February.  Enjoy!