Back 2 July

All the recent effort and I am just now getting back to my fitness level from last July. If I had my druthers, I would be riding several hours a day to prep for my Sancho 200 “rice”. Work just gets in the way of what I want to do. Let’s face it, ALL of us that are working for a living have plenty of other things we would rather be doing. We are literally trading part (most?) of our life for money. The time I spend today, doing what I do for my company, has a cost and a return. I am happy with that return for now…even though I would rather be doing something else. It allows me to provide and afford a certain lifestyle….which includes riding a bike for fun. Ask me how I feel about my job when I am 16+ hours in to the Sancho and pushing my bike through sand and I will probably tell you I can’t wait to get back to work.

Hello! It’s been awhile.

I’m still assaulting the mountain.

To say there have been some changes would be an understatement.  We sold our home of over 20 years and moved to our newly built house (Note: Purging and packing 20+ years of “stuff” is no fun). Our youngest finished her sophomore year of high school and started her junior year in a completely new town. Our middle child graduated high school and is a freshman at Central. Our oldest child is a Senior at CMU.  Christine has already participated in a musical with the local theater company and found a job in our new hometown. I continue to work from home in a nice warm first floor office as opposed to my Michigan cellar with plywood desk.  I travel as little as possible. Some months I fail terribly at that but fortunately much of the travel is flying so not as much time on the highways as in past years.

We now live in a port town so I get to nerd out and watch lake freighters come in every few weeks to deliver and load goods. 

Life is good but often challenging as we face the reality of our parents aging and the imminent release of our children into the wild.

I did get to enjoy a couple of months of cycling last fall in the new neighborhood but I took somewhat of a hiatus over the winter.  While I enjoy riding on my own and find it helpful for stress relief, I miss my riding partner Tom.  He helped keep me accountable and pushed me to ride harder and more often.  I am hoping to join up on some group rides this spring that the local bike shop organizes and that should be nice.  In an effort to motivate myself, I signed up for a very tough 200-mile gravel ride in June.

Sancho 200

My training for the ride has started in earnest with a few weeks already spent on my trainer in the basement.  I don’t fancy riding inside but it is very convenient and the weather is always perfect.  It also allows forces me to stick to set goals.  With several work trips in the next couple of months I have to stay on top of the riding or I will never survive 200 miles of gravel and seasonal roads.  The fitness level is going up but I still have a long way to go to even match where I was last May/June when I did my big rides.

Looking at the graph, it makes me wonder why I even attempted Mount Mitchell.  I was ill prepared and still can’t believe I made it.  I would certainly never attempt it again without a much higher base of fitness.  Combine that experience with my 24 hour ride in June and I have a much better idea of what I need to do this year. 

Let’s see if I can pull it off.

2000

It’s going to be May momentarily.  Spring has still been quite elusive but I finally believe we have turned the corner.  The furnace still continues to run but not nearly as often nor for as long.  Construction has begun on our new home. Yard work and prepping our existing home for sale consumes much free time.  College visits and getting ready for our second child’s graduation figure in as well. Work is, as always, very busy. 

Throughout all of the craziness, cycling continues to be my refuge.  Think back to when you were a child and you first learned how to ride a bicycle.  Think about the sense of freedom you felt when those two wheels expanded your world far beyond what you were capable of before.  It really was not unlike the sense of flying, elevated above the ground with the wind in your face, traveling far faster than just your legs could carry you.  Remember?  I get to experience that on a regular basis.  It is my stress relief, my way to think, a way to socialize with a friend.  It helps me stay healthy. It challenges me.

…and speaking of challenges, take a look at the countdown in the sidebar. My assault on Mt. Mitchell is about two weeks away.  I think I am ready.   I am about 300 miles off the mileage pace I would like to be on but I have made it to the 2000 mile mark.  I have had lots of good “training” rides.  My legs feel strong. My fitness is the highest it has been since last October and is still increasing.  Bring on May!