Friday, August 28, 2015

Week 34

Date
August 20, 2015

Distance
169 miles

Strava Link
Week 34

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This was Day 21 of Petoji. It was the last long day and once it was over I knew I was actually going to achieve my goal of riding across the country. I had a few long days before this- 178 on Day 5, 175 on Day 7, and 180 on Day 13. The same rules applied on all of them: don't fall behind nutrition and hydration.

Fog

It was foggy early, which was fun and added to the scenery. As the day went on the fog wore off and it got hot and humid. By the end of the ride there were storm clouds in the distance and I saw a rainbow. There was a little bit of everything on this ride. It seemed fitting that the day would end with a rainbow. Petoji was almost over and my pot of gold was just within reach. I only had 121 miles on Day 22 and 60 miles on Day 23.

Rainbow




As I write this post, it's been less than a week since I finished Petoji. It still doesn't seem real to me. I've had this dream for more than 10 years. I always felt like I was physically capable of the ride, but where would I find the time and money to do it? Well, the truth is that I never found either one. The original goal was 30 days, which had to shrink down to 23. When it comes to the money, let's just say that this wasn't the most financially responsible thing for me to do right now and leave it at that. But you know what? I did it anyway.

They say a dream is a goal without a plan. For most of those 10 years, riding across the country was a dream. Early in 2014 I broke my hip and things changed. What if something worse happened and I never got the chance to ride again? Something like that could happen at any time. I better ride as much as I can while I'm still able. Riding across the country was always my biggest bike dream, so why not start there?

About a year and a half later, I did it. The dream got a plan. That's all it really took.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Week 33

Date
August 15, 2015

Distance
137 miles

Strava Link
Week 33

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This was Day 16 of Petoji. In the beginning, I created the Petoji route under 3 basic conditions. (1) The start point must be near the Bay Area. (2) The route must pass through the Talimena Scenic Byway. (3) The mileage must be down near the 3,000 mark.

Day 16 was the coveted Talimena Scenic Byway day. I did some riding in this area of Oklahoma and Arkansas in the summer of 2014 and really enjoyed it. I decided to come back during Petoji and I'm glad I did. I could have avoided the mountains and used a less difficult route, but what fun is that?

It was nice to be climbing again. I hadn't done a long climb since Day 10. The climb forced me to ride hard again. Throughout Petoji I was so concerned with conserving energy that I didn't ride hard enough. It felt good to get the heart pumping and get a nice sweat going. Mix some endorphins with some beautiful scenery and you have the perfect recipe for a ride.

Day 16

It couldn't have come at a better time. I had been fighting headwinds for 5 days and I was in that strange zone where I was confident that I could finish the ride, yet there was still more than a week to go and looking that far ahead was counterproductive. On Day 16 I did a lot more living in the moment. There's an interesting balance to strike as you ride across the country. On one hand, you want to take it one day at a time and just enjoy the ride. On the other hand, there is an end goal in mind and there are times when it pays to look at the big picture. How do you enjoy the moment yet still have a solid plan for the future? Riding a bike in the mountains must be the answer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Week 32

Date
August 4, 2015

Distance
178 miles

Strava Link
Week 32

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This was Day 5 of Petoji, which was a pivotal day for me. I don't know why, but I wasn't feeling good early on in Petoji. I had a bad day on Day 2 in Yosemite (didn't eat enough), then Day 3 was slower than expected. Day 4 was only 109 miles and I hoped to recover a little bit for a long Day 5. That wasn't happening. The last 50 miles or so were into a strong headwind and that took a toll on my physically and mentally. If this was an "easy" day of 109 miles and not much climbing, how in the hell was I going to finish Petoji? On day 4 I learned that there was no such thing as an easy day.

That night I began to question myself. Day 5 was one of the longest days of Petoji at 178 miles and I wasn't sure I could do it. I wasn't feeling good physically and for whatever reason I just didn't feel like I was riding up to my potential. Even if I finished Day 5, how much would it take out of me and could I finish the rest of Petoji? What would I do if I had to quit? How could I live with that?

I didn't sleep well that night, but I decided that I wasn't going to quit unless I ended up in a hospital. I got an early start on Day 5 and headed out before the sun was up. I knew it was going to be important to stay on top of my eating and drinking. If I saw a gas station, I stopped.

The first food & drink stop of the day: E-T- Fresh Jerky
I ended up having a good day on Day 5. I would like to say that I responded well to the pressure and had a good ride when I needed it, but the truth is that I had favorable winds for most of the ride. I did the first 110 miles in about 8:20, which isn't that good. After that there was a good stretch of 40 miles that were either flat or downhill (with a tailwind) and I made up a lot of time there. Up until mile 110 I was averaging 14.7 MPH. For the rest of the ride I averaged 16.8. I got lucky with the profile and the weather. Most of the climbing was done early and most of the tailwinds picked up late.

I rode into Cedar City that night around 7:30 with a huge sense of relief. Maybe I could do this after all. In the moment I wasn't thinking about the wind or the elevation profile. I was under the delusion that I stepped up and had a good ride when I needed it the most. I can look back now with a clearer mind and a little more humility, but in the moment it certainly helped to feel that way. I had a renewed belief in myself, and that belief carried me through the rest of Petoji.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Week 31

Date
August 2, 2015

Distance
158 miles

Strava Link
Week 31

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
Petoji is over and I was able to successfully complete the ride. I have a lot of updating to do, but for now you can find links to all of the Strava files here.

This was Day 3, a ride from Yosemite to Tonopah, NV. It was a fun ride with a wide variety of scenery, from the Sierra to the desert. I particularly enjoyed the stretch on 120, which I had never ridden before.

CA 120
More to come...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Week 30

Date
July 25, 2015

Distance
128 miles

Strava Link
Week 30

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This is my last long ride before Petoji and I made it a good one. I headed to Markleeville and did both sides of Monitor, both sides of Ebbetts, Carson Pass, and Luther Pass. I don't think I've been out to Monitor or Ebbetts since I Everested the east side of Monitor pass last summer. That's way too long!

Red Lake

It was a beautiful and sunny day out there. It got windy on Carson Pass, but it always seems to be windy up there and it wasn't anything too crazy. There is brand new pavement on both Carson and Luther. Can't beat that.

PETOJI

Petoji begins next week. I doubt I will be able to update the blog for about 3-4 weeks. I'm not even sure how often I'll be able to upload rides on Strava, but I hope it will be at least once per week. I'm not a big Instagram user (I only made an account to link photos to Strava), but that's probably the one thing I'll be able to update most frequently when I'm out on the road. Here's my Instagram feed.

I've been wanting to ride across the country for more than 10 years, and my whole year has been focused on this ride. The time has finally come.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Week 29

Date
July 19, 2015

Distance
103 miles

Strava Link
Week 29

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
Two weeks to go until Petoji. I did my last back-to-back training rides before the big ride begins. Yesterday was 120 miles with 9,000 feet and today was an easier ride- the Red Rock loop.

Red Rock Road
Petoji is just around the corner and I'm happy with where my endurance is. I can do back-to-back rides without any problems. I'm not as happy with my speed. I probably did too much endurance work and not enough speed work. I planned on sacrificing a little bit of speed for endurance this year, but I may have taken that a bit too far. I've done a lot of back-to-backs this year and it's possible that I should have skipped a few of those in favor of some shorter, more intense rides. But then again, would I feel as comfortable with my endurance without those extra back-to-backs? Probably so, but it's impossible to know for sure.

Either way, it's too late to change it now, so I might as well look on the bright side. I would rather finish the ride at a slow pace than not finish at a fast pace. If I did make an error in my training plan, at least I made the error in a safer direction.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week 28

Date
July 12, 2015

Distance
133 miles

Strava Link
Week 28

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This was a fun route. It's mostly flat, but with just enough climbing to keep things interesting. The section between Bassetts and Graeagle was probably the highlight of the day.