Thursday, April 26, 2012

The 50 Mile Barrier

This past Saturday we broke the 50 mile barrier.  The total length of this ride was 56ish miles.  To accurately depict our morning, I'm going to go back a day or two to set the scene.  The day before the ride, I decided to wash the Equinox since it was coated in pollen from the spring tree blossoms. That morning, like every other, was a mad rush around the house to eat breakfast, grab all of our gear, and run out the door.  Jenelle grabbed a Chobani and mixed in some granola, I have no idea what I ate, probably some leftovers.  We get in the car and head down the road.  All of the sudden I hear something land on the roof, I check the rear view mirror and see what appears to be a pterodactyl sized dump running down the rear window.  Come on!  I just washed the car.  Then Jenelle said, oh crap!  Where is my yogurt?  Yes.  Jenelle's Chobani mixed with granola was now running down the back of our freshly washed car.  Nice.  We had some extra time, since we were running around like crazy in the morning. So I stopped by a gas station and bough a gallon of water and some napkins to rinse off the yogurt. I didn't want to be scraping dried yogurt and granola bits off later.

Believe it or not, that was the only mishap of the day for us!  The day only got better.  We all met at a local elementary school in the Elizabethtown area.  Then we found out that this was a special day, because five cancer survivors came to the team ride to hang out.  They thanked us donating our time and money for an organization that is truly saving lives through cancer research.  Thanks again to all of our generous donors. You can see the impact you are having on these guys lives below!

These are survivors that joined us for our ride.
Once we got on the road it was smooth sailing, for most of us. One of our teammates, Loren, finished the day with one blown tire and three blown tubes. Jenelle, Shelly, Dave, Rich, and I got back to the parking lot first. Somehow Loren managed to finish 10 or 15 minutes behind us, which is no small feat given all of the issues he was having. He's a machine.

Rolling through the Etown countryside.
Also of note, I've built up enough confidence on my bike now, that I feel as though I can operate my cell phone/camera at the same time without crashing. See my handy camera work below. :-) Look for more in the future.

Again, I forgot to turn on my GPS until about 2 miles in... so the starting point is not correct.

Total distance: 90.03 km (55.9 mi)
Moving time: 3:55:22
Average moving speed: 22.95 km/h (14.3 mi/h)
Max speed: 58.00 km/h (36.0 mi/h)
Elevation gain: 1267 m (4156 ft)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

T-Shirt Fundraiser

We are SO CLOSE to our fundraising goal (thank you to everyone that has donated!), but we still have a little way to go.  Jer and I started racking our brains to come up with an idea for a fundraiser and we hope you will like our final decision.

Jer and I decided that we are going to sell custom T-shirts... but not just any shirt, one that has meaning for the LLS.  Personally, I think the design is pretty cool though I may be a bit biased considering Jer came up with it.  He designed it after seeing a similar piece of art that created a bike using various words related to bike parts.  In order to translate this idea to our fundraiser we thought it would be powerful to replace the technical terms of the original design (Cassettes, Handle Bar, Derailleur, etc.) with words that were meaningful to the LLS and its mission to support patients and blood cancer research. After thinking it over for a few weeks, he sketched out a design and we are happy to finally announce that we are ready to sell the shirts!

We would like to give a special thank you to our friend Jayme who took Jer's sketch and turned it into a digital copy.  Without her this project wouldn't be a reality.  Thanks Jayme!

We recently received the final design from the silk screener that will be printing the shirts for us... we really like it and hope you will too.  Here is a mock up of our shirt:

The shirts are made of a moisture-wicking microfiber, so they will be great for anyone who leads an active lifestyle. All of the shirts will have the same white print on the front regardless of the shirt color or size.  We have a number of options for you (see below for details on types and colors).  The short sleeve shirts will be $13.00 and the long sleeve shirts will be $15.00.  If you would like to have a closer look at the shirts, you can see them on (the Men's and Women's Performance Tec Tee's).

Orders will be taken through May 4th, 2012.

Men's Shirts Available:
        Sizes: Small through 2XL
        Short Sleeve: Steel Gray
        Long Sleeve: Steel Gray

Women's Shirts Available:
        Sizes: Small through 2XL
        Short Sleeve: Steel Gray
        Long Sleeve: Purple**
                **Gray wasn't an option so we had to pick another color

We are no longer accepting orders. Hope you got you order in on time!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Last Week's Saturday Ride

Last Saturday, we completed one of the toughest rides physically that we've faced so far. It was littered with hills and snaked through southern York county. Our day started at a coffee shop by the York Hospital. It was a beautiful ride, that tested every ounce of effort and training that we've put into this endeavor up until this point.

At the end of the day, depending on who's GPS you were reading, we climbed between 3,600 and 4,400 ft. This is extremely close to the total elevation we'll face in Tahoe, over a total of 100 miles. At the end of the day, Jenelle and I hobbled in just behind the fastest riders of our group. Luckily, we made it through another ride without any issues!

Distance: 48.41 mi
Moving Time: 3:24:20
Avg Moving Speed: 14.2 mph
Max Speed: 39.7 mph
Elevation Gain: 3,600 ft - 4,400ft

Last night I went for a 16 mile training ride with the team, followed by an attempt at a 2 mile run. I say it was an attempt, because after about 300 yards I collapsed with one of the most painful calf muscle cramp ever. It was one that feels as if your muscle is going to come right through the skin. After some helpful hysterical laughter and stretching tips from coach Shelly, eventually I was able to stand and continue on to complete some of the rest of the run. They call it a Brick when you ride then run... I'm not entirely sure, but I think that must be because your calf muscles turn into bricks if you don't stretch properly. :-)

Anyway... I'm looking forward to our ride tomorrow with the team. Right now I'm on the train back from Philly. Had a great meeting with my east coast AArete family. Chris brought Morning Glories for me to take home to Jenelle! Thanks buddy... you're the greatest.

The view from our office today. Not too shabby.

Riding past TMI at the moment! Almost home.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Muscle Relaxants and Pain Relievers

The training certainly has taken a toll on my body. However, not as much as spreading mulch. I ordered 5 yards of mulch about two weeks ago. They came and dumped it in one huge pile on my driveway. Each evening, I was spreading a few wheel barrow loads around the house. I was fine, until I tried to toss it up onto the hill behind our house, then I ran into trouble. Well, apparently I did something to my neck/shoulder muscles. A few days ago I woke up with severe pain in my neck and shoulder. I could hardly move. I rolled myself out of bed and drove to the local urgent care clinic. After a quick examination by the doctor, I was diagnosed with muscle spasms. I was just happy it wasn't caused by a pinched nerve, or a ruptured disc. The doctor wrote me a script for some muscle relaxants and pain relievers. They've done the trick so far, but I don't think I could ride 40+ miles with these in my system. I'm only taking them on off days, and booking some time with a Physical Therapist to help work out my muscle issues. I'll be fine. I'm drinking fluids/electrolytes, and taking lots of Advil.

Monday, April 9, 2012


en·dure (n-dr, -dyr)
v. en·dureden·dur·ingen·dures
1. To carry on through, despite hardships; undergo: endure an Arctic winter.
2. To bear with tolerance: "We seek the truth, and will endure the consequences" (Charles Seymour).

To carry on.  To bear with tolerance.  To undergo.  As a cyclist, here is a short list of things you must endure while you are riding:

1. Cold weather
2. Neck pain
3. Back pain
4. Hard seats
5. Rain
6. WIND (after Saturday, I'm prone to say this one is the worst)

I've been told that a century bike ride is considered an endurance sport, and that during the course of my training there would be barriers to overcome and rides I would have to endure.  I can honestly say that prior to last Saturday's ride I had no idea what it meant to be an endurance athlete.  Sure, I've been out of breath a few times, my quads have burned to the point where I didn't think they would ever work again, and I can tell you that it isn't exactly comfortable to sit on a hard bike seat for hours on end.  But I've never had to endure the pain, the struggle, the hardship of riding through miles and miles and miles of a seemingly unending battle.  Saturday's ride permanently changed my view of endurance sports.  It was exhausting, grueling, and entirely frustrating.... but I finished it.  There were plenty of times that I wanted to quit and call it day.  I got mad, yelled at the unrelenting head winds, and with the encouragement of my teammates was able to make it to the end.

You might be wondering where this post is coming from, well, let me give you a quick recap of Saturday's ride.  It was our longest ride to date (48 miles), it was our hilliest ride to date (it felt like all we did was ride uphill), and it was our windiest ride to date (we even had to pedal to go downhill).  In other words, it was difficult.  I don't say this to complain, but to relate the struggle that we overcame as a team and to let you know that it changed my perspective on what it means to endure.  Even though this ride was difficult for me, it doesn't even compare to the trials experienced by those diagnosed with blood cancers.  Enduring physical battles is one thing as an athlete, but the people who really have to endure are those who are fighting a life-threatening disease.

As a blood cancer patient, here is a short list of things they must endure: 

1. Chemotherapy Treatments
2. Nausea
3. Hair Loss
4. Fear
5. Fatigue
6. Loss of Appetite
7. Pain
8. Radiation Treatments

The LLS was formed to help those diagnosed with blood cancers endure.. and to one day OVERCOME all of these things.  We've been so blessed to help this organization with their cause.  And until the day a cure is found, we will persevere.

Ride Stats

Total distance: 77.19 km (48.0 mi)
Moving time: 3:42:19
Average moving speed: 20.83 km/h (12.9 mi/h)
Max speed: 55.00 km/h (34.2 mi/h)
Elevation gain: 1297 m (4255 ft)

Friday, April 6, 2012

World Cup VIP

This past week I had to replace the bottom bracket of my bike. There are bearings on either side of the bottom bracket that support and allow the crank to move freely when you pedal. One of my bearings was starting to go bad. I knew something was wrong when every down stroke with my right foot would be accompanied by a grinding sensation.

The bottom bracket is inside the housing.

Luckily World Cup Ski and Cycle fixed me up. They ordered the new parts, faced and chased the housing, and installed the new bottom bracket so I could ride smoothly again. These guys have really helped us out over the past few weeks. If you live in Camp Hill, and need a bike these are the guys to see.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Seventh Group Ride (Spooner Jr)

Saturday's group ride was postponed to Sunday due to an ugly rainy forecast. I'm so glad that it was, Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day in Boiling Springs. Jenelle and I went for the longest ride yet, a 36 mile loop that took us up to the King's Gap Mansion.

This week we had the opportunity to ride with our good friend, Chris. He is training for a 500 mile ride that goes from Virginia, through West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, ending in New Jersey. He kept us moving the entire ride, and at times I struggled to keep up with him. I certainly would not have finished as quickly as I did if it wasn't for Chris creating a nice draft that helped pull me back to the parking lot.

King's Gap Climb
This ride was intended to prepare us for Spooner in Tahoe. King's Gap is a 3.5 mile climb to the top, while Spooner is a bit steeper, about twice the distance, and occurs at mile 81 on the course. Gulp. After this gruelling ride, its hard to believe we'll be climbing the mountains of Tahoe in 61 days.

We are making progress on our fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We knew going into this, that fundraising $8,200 would be a tall order. As of this morning, we only need to raise $1,700 more for the LLS. Thank you everyone who has helped us get to this point! We know its not easy to write that check, and we appreciate all of your generous donations. We need to meet this minimum before the end of May! So, if you haven't donated yet, please do in the next couple weeks. Click here!

Gabriela at King's Gap

Coach Kui

Enjoying the view after a long climb
Boiling Springs

Ride Stats
Total distance: 58.14 km (36.1 mi)
Moving time: 2:23:36
Average moving speed: 24.29 km/h (15.1 mi/h)
Max speed: 48.00 km/h (29.8 mi/h)
Elevation gain: 722 m (2369 ft)