On top of Lori's good story below, someone suggested this inspiring story too, by Pascale Lercangee who set a record for her age group at the Bike Sebring century/12/24 Hours 2015.
I ride my bike to find my soul, to free my mind, to free the child inside.
I ride my bike to feel one with nature and the universe.
I ride my bike to balance the chemical imbalance inside my brain, it calms me down, it makes me happy, even when it is hard, when it hurts, as if the pain sets me free.
February 14th, 2015 6:30am: I am standing at the start of my 2nd Bike Sebring 24 hour non-drafting ultra event. This year I am proud to wear the cycling kit of Team Phenomenal Hope, to raise awareness for people who live with Pulmonary Hypertension, a treatable but incurable disease.
Patricia George, team founder, who finished RAAM on a 4-person team in 2014, came all the way from Pittsburgh to support and crew for me. I was also excited to stand among elite ultra cyclists like Marko Baloh, Valerio Zamboni, Chris Hopkinson and many other RAAM finishers.
It was a cold start with 35 degrees but every 2 hours the temperature rose 10 degrees until it was around 65 for the high of the day. I split the race up in 2-12 hour blocks and my goal was to ride as many miles in the first 12 hours while it is daylight and warm. To the best of my abilities, I rode the first 101miles at an average speed of 19.2mph same as last year. Patricia had followed me by car, taking pictures on the side of the road and providing me with chocolate milk at the 55mile checkpoint. The next goal was to ride 9 laps of the 11.7mile short loop for another 105.3 miles. During those 9 laps Patricia and her friend Kathleen Richardson followed me by car, taking picture after picture and kept cheering me on. It truly gave me a push in the late afternoon when my legs started to get tiered. After completing 8 of the 9 laps, I had to put back on warm clothes and hook up my Garmin battery. Also the cheers in the pit area from other crew people among Jacquie and John Schlitter from Vite Bikes and a lot of other people inspired and motivated me to stay on schedule. Luckily it was not as windy as last year, so I managed to finish the 9 laps at an average speed of 18.4mph and an overall average of 18.8 for the first 206 miles.
I knew I had to average at least 19mph going into the night to shoot for 400 miles. That goal was going to be difficult to reach, however I was 0.6mph faster then last year, an improvement overall.
After 3 laps on the 3.77mile racetrack, I took a long break (too long) to put on all my winter clothes, booties, bike light and eat. It was already dark and I told Patricia to have a couple hours rest, because I was going to need her encouragements after midnight. Compared to last year I forced myself to stay on the bike for 10 loops before I took a break. Thanks to Paul Carpenter’s advice I had bought a second head light (Fenix BTR20) that I mounted over my aero-bars. This way it illuminated my Garmin to keep an eye on my speed that progressively slowed down. Most of the night is a blur but at one point Cassie Schumacher (RAAM2012 solo finisher) and Maria Parker (RAAM2013 solo finisher) from 3000 miles to a cure were there to encourage me and cheer me on. It truly lifted my spirit to hear them shout at me every time I passed the pit area. Not to forget to mention Rob White, who crashed and broke his collarbone earlier in the day, stayed up all night to encourage all of us lap after lap, while he was probably in terrible pain. Around 5:15 am I finally reached last years distance of 372 miles. 400 miles was out of reach and I started whining. But whiners don’t win and winners don’t whine. I kept saying to myself “suck it up, buttercup”; this is for Patricia George and Team PHenomenal Hope. With 14 minutes on the clock, all of a sudden I found the energy to go faster. One more turn, one more turn…until the last turn…with the buzzer going of, I did the 49 laps I had promised myself to do. With 391.5 miles, I broke my own 50-54age group record and by doing so I want to inspire women in their 50’s and older. I am not super talented or physiologically gifted because it took me 3 years and 7- 24hour races to accomplish this goal. But it has been a wonderful journey, because what is more important to me then the statistics is the people I connected with and the love and passion I share for ultra cycling. Yes my heart burns with fire on the bike, but now I want to share that fire with other people of the bike. I hope to inspire Team Phenomenal Hope and the PH community with this first race. There is a lot more to come this year. Pascale Lercangee
Here is Lori's story of competing at the Birkebeiner 51k last week. Good story. You can read this and other posts on her website: http://www.lorinedescu.com/
I had skied only a handful of times on skate and roller skis with a max distance of 10 miles before attempting the Birkie. I completely lacked technique and was really just relying on my endurance and pure drive to get me through the grueling 51k event.
I truly believe it was a sort of 'ignorant bliss' that got me to the starting line. It was the first time I had shown up to a race so completely unprepared and unknowledgeable about what would happen. I did not know the course, the elevation, barely knew how to ski and was totally unsure of how my body would react to the new plane of motion or to the bitter 12 degree temperature. On top of that, the night before, while laying out my food prep, I was clued in that my food would likely freeze and be inedible. WHAT?! Yeah, I know, seems like common sense but it just didn't occur to me in the moment. That freaked me out more than anything. I made a couple changes to food (left out the bars, kept the GUs) and just crossed my fingers. After a simple, well tolerated and carbohydrate rich dinner of white rice and butternut squash soup, I snuggled in and tried to sleep. The alarm sounded at 5am. Ugh. The more talented skiers in the group had early start times while I would hang around until 9:40am until beginning. I used all that time to freak myself out and eat lots of food. My race morning consisted of a bowl of fruit, yogurt and granola with 2 bagels and lots of coffee. I estimate that I took in about 1200 calories. That large pre-race intake was new to me, but I had the time to digest and wanted to be safe rather than sorry! I was guessing it would take me close to 7 hours to finish, that is IF I even could finish.
I started in the back of wave 8 scared, cold, and ready to just give this thing a try. At first things went smoothly, tho slowly as I took my place behind the pack and gutted it out through the 'powerline' segment. After the first 9 miles, I crashed on the second real downhill. Everyone who knows me knows I am terrified of downhill segments when cycling and I can assure you all that the same is true for skiing. Scary! But I survived; took a moment, shook it off and kept going. At 10miles, I just was so completely relieved! One-third way finished! Wooooo! I was thrilled. Then I hit a high for about 4 miles. Just loving the experience and the snowflakes coming down around me and the fact that I was there doing it. Well that high died off quickly. Just get halfway, just halfway... see that 25k sign.... thats all I could think. It was the longest km of the race. At the halfway point I stopped at an aid station and had warm water with a GU. 2 miles later, feeling like that 90 calories wasn't going to do it, I got out my pouch of Gatorade Prime and instantly felt energized again. The rest of the race was tough - there is no better way to say it! I was just listening to my iPod and telling myself to just keep going. The race was marked in KM which was nice because the distances clicked away at a quicker pace, making me feel like I was getting closer and closer to the finish. I opened my ziplock of trail mix (dried fruit, M&Ms, and almonds) and took mouthfuls as I could throughout the rest of the ski. Knowing that 15K meant I had less than 10 miles to go and in my head was HUGE. So once I reached that point the rest was cake. I sped up and just focused on getting to the end. 5k, 3k 1k... I was sooo ready to be done!
Then there was the finish line. I wanted to cry, but my tears would probably just freeze. My feet hurt. My shoulders hurt. My triceps hurt. My face and fingers were bitterly cold. I got my medal and got a hot cocoa... the race was behind me. I did it. I DID IT! And in time of 5:24! So much faster than I was expecting.
Its 3 days post race now and my body is still feeling very tired and sore. I'm also feeling very hungry! My body recreated many new muscle fibers and it is important to feed them so that they can grow and repair themselves. I need stronger body! Today I eased into recovery workouts with a two hour trainer session and 6 mile easy run. In effort to fuel my body without going over board, I made a nice hearty dinner containing complex carbs, vegetables, and protein.
We now have ride leaders for what are generally thought to be the best two evening rides during our brief cycling season. Ric Noland, owner of Cyclist Connection, will lead the Tuesday Canal Winchester ride, again starting from Meijer's parking lot at 6:00pm. What will Ric's management style be, encouraging stop sign jumping, drafting of cars, group riding across all lanes of traffic or will he rule the peloton with an iron fist, throwing out those who fail to come to a complete stop at lights and signs? We will find out soon.
As for the Thursday New Albany ride, the nation's finest group ride, Rick Miller is back for round 2. Will he survive another season, will he go crazy and scream at me, will he capture on his Go-Pro a "Smoker", will he try to catch a Smoker on his bike, will he tirelessly be at most of the rides early enough to open the doors to the church? We shall soon see.
While jogging on the treadmill way too many times, I have watched "Fury", (good movie but would have enjoyed slightly less dialogue and 1-2 more battle scenes), "Lucy" (really enjoyed it and cleaver story), "The Drop" (don't know, watching it tonight), "Gone Girl" (ok but if you read the book you can miss the movie, it's a carbon copy of book), "Dawn Planet of the Apes" (good movie), "The Equalizer" (I pretty much like anything with Denzel Washington. He's getting a bit old to pull off the action scenes though). "Mad Men seasons 1 & 2 (really enjoy the dialogue, snappy, sub plots are good), "Bottle Shock" (two thumbs up)...wow, I have spent a lot of time on the treadmill.
Some of us are talking about a Saturday hike but with the forecast, not sure we'll pull this off but will post if we do.
The Tuesday Canal Winchester, COP ride needs a ride leader. Think of all the fun you had riding the hills south of Canal. Andrew Clayton can transfer maps to the person who volunteers to lead. Come on, it ain't that difficult.
It's an hour+ drive to Old Man's Cave State Park but usually worth it if you want to enjoy the beauty of the area and an abundance of ice formations. The parking lot was crowded as I met Steve O and Flyin Tuna. No one else could be persuaded to make the trip but maybe it was that afternoon forecast that deterred some.
Steve and I wore running or hiking shoes and discovered there had been so much foot traffic that it had created an icy path in the early going. FT installed cramp-ons to the bottom of her shoes so she had no issues. After about a mile, I began to jog and reached Cedar Falls and then kept going to....
....Ash Cave. Along the way I ran into Mitch Tallen, out giving his.....
....dog a walk. It was good to catch up with him.
On the way back from Ash Cave, upon reaching Cedar Falls, I took the rim trail to avoid the treacherous conditions of the gorge trail. The lake was frozen as I crossed alongside and finished with 10 miles. The wind had picked up but upon reaching #33 to head north, it was just wind. A couple of miles south of Lancaster, I could see a wall of grey in the distance and soon it began to snow hard and visibility began to diminish. Entering Lancaster, there were whiteout conditions at times. I emerged from one cloud of snow burst to find a stopped car in front of me. Too late to avoid impact, I managed to steer my car on to the sidewalk, pulling alongside the car. We looked at each other, he began to move, I pulled off the sidewalk and all was well.
I crept north on #33 out of Lancaster, seeing 5 cars....
....off the road. I was just lucky to make it home and called Steve and FT to hear of their journey, each having their own set of problems. #33 was closed soon after I went through. Two weeks until AZ. I think I am ready.
Unused for 4 years, it seems a shame for it to lay in the closet for another season. I would like for it to do what it was intended to do. All software and manuals come with this practically brand new Computrainer Pro. Hook it up to your laptop or similar device and ride Mt. Mitchell as the unit kicks in the appropriate resistance as you watch yourself follow that or other routes or create your own. Look on-line for market value and then make me a discounted offer. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's been a tough week for the ole wood cutter, ending with a broken and very purple toe. We enjoy a fire every evening and it is especially nice to sit in front of it with a large bowl of ice cream and glass of wine (don't judge me). It began on Tuesday when a lack of focus caused the maul to strake the log with a glancing blow. The log shot toward me, hit the frozen tundra one time and BAM! Right into my left shin but that did not break my toe, although two days later when the pain went away, it felt really, really good. A day later, I lifted a log off a pile, another frozen to it released its hold and fell, hitting me just below my right knee. Ouch but that did not break my toe. I stepped over a pile of split wood I keep in the garage. It was a high step and some how, my right foot banged the wood and that freakin hurt like a son of a gun. The good news about a broken toe is you just allow it to heal, maybe wrapping it but the main thing is, it doesn't hurt to cycle or walk but stepping on it, now that hurts. On to the Saturday ride.
Red must be the stylin color this season as Steve O, Jeff S and Mike Rea show off their nice cold weather jackets. I too have a red jacket, purchased in the late 90's. It fell out of favor with the "in" crowd when everyone went with yellow/green but now, 18 years later my red jacket is back in style.
Our ride leader, Jeff S, led us on a nice route out of New Albany, south to Blacks and then east toward Canyon Road. Above, Flyin Tuna is on the right which curiously, she is obscured. While not unusual for her height to be hidden, usually her breadth gives her away but she must have that weight under control. as a very fit Oxley hides her. She put in a heck of a long pull and that may have caught up with her.
A couple of us got away on the Canyon Rad climb and cruised in to Granville to get in our orders for bagels and drink ahead of the others. In total, we had 9 people at the ride start, including Larry P above, wondering why his bagel was taking so long.
We did not linger too long and exited the Coffee Shop as the residents of Granville walked by, enjoying the 45+ degree temps. We headed west toward New Albany and finished with 49 miles and 2400' of climbing.
Most guys could not pull off this look but Mike Rea, a man's man, can get away with it, a Chilean head covering.
Oxley puts his bike away as Dirty Dan makes a quick exit, late for his arrival back home.
Jeff Schluep is leading a ride at 11:00am, from the New Albany Starbucks. Plenty of parking behind Starbucks/Veloscience. Probably two groups will form on the road, the seasonally unfit and the fit. Would like to see some of you off-season hiders come out. Kevin Hollingshead, Ginger, Ryan Roe, Dirty Dan, Grand Poobah, Astana Dennis...to name but a few. No one cares that you are fat and slovenly and with all the required clothing, it's easy to mistake flab for a roll of clothing anyway. All are welcome. The route: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2516991
Yes, it was bound to happen sooner or later but the end is near.
I know, the day arrived in late January when the historical temperature records indicated the average day time high was no longer falling but in fact was beginning to rise. Small solace as we battled one day of cold after another but really, compared to recent winters, it hasn't been that terrible. OK, terrible yes but not really terrible. However, I have.....
.....good news. There is a weather light at the end of our shared weather tunnel. We are moving toward it slowly no doubt but after today's high of 17 degrees....
....look at that forecast for the remainder of the month. Hardly a day not above freezing and look at this weekend. I am told the planners are planning and there will be a ride option for Saturday to be posted soon, very soon.
So, we are one month in to the new year and some people are already hard at it. Special respect for those who are racking up the miles while remaining in Ohio, if not exclusively, almost exclusively like......
Danny Alarcon with close to 900 miles, above and....
.....UPS Scott or Scott Young and then there are those who are or have spent time between Ohio and CA such as.....
....Lori Nedescu and....
....Kayla Starr and then....
....check out what some of the fellas are doing, spending a large chunk of time in CA such as Marty.....
....and this guy. Strava is public info so I don't hesitate to put the info up there but this guy, not sure if he would want everyone to know so I'll just post the info., above.
Luke Russell spending some quality time in CA.
This guy though, he was riding around last January in sub zero temps every day but back sliding a bit this year, John Day and this is interesting, Dirty Dan, whom we thought was not riding at all but look at the below. Hmmmm.
Eva Simons told our hiking group about the below, being organized by Mike Perakis of Westerville Bicycle Club. You can reach Mike at email@example.com
Yep, it's time to start planning your summer vacation!
Join us for a week long, fully supported bike journey through the Rocky Mountains.
The 21st annual Bicycle Tour of Colorado begins Sunday, June 21st and ends Saturday, June 27th. The loop ride starts and ends in Breckenridge, with stops in Leadville, Carbondale, Hotchkiss, Crested Butte (two nights), and Salida. See the website for more route information.
Colorado is a wonderful place to ride, with some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. We ride on paved highways that were designed and built for cars and trucks to drive over the mountains. The climbs are normally 4% to 6%, can take a couple hours to ride, usually with a water/snack stop along the way, and almost always include lunch at the top. They always include plenty of places to take photos.
The tour is limited to 1500 riders, most of whom camp at the schools, fairgrounds or city parks that we'll be visiting. There are some gymnasium spots available as well as some hotels (See the tour website). For January, the entry fee is $460, and it goes up to $475 in February. BUT, for every 5 riders, the 6th is free!!! We'll be starting a list and every time we get 6 riders, I'll send in registrations for that group of 6.
As in years past, I'm driving to Colorado the week before with truck and enclosed trailer and will transport bikes, camping gear and bags for $200 per person, round trip. I'll be at the start in the morning on Saturday the 20th. Your bike will be transported inside, in style, using a fork mount. Your gear will also be inside the trailer as well. Your gear includes your camping equipment (indoors or out), bike clothes, street clothes, helmet and whatever else you want to bring. Typically, this bag is the one you load onto the luggage trucks each morning.
Most people fly into Denver and either rent a car or take the CMEX up the mountain. Many folks team up to rent a car for the week.
The first step is registration. You can register online, but you miss out on the ability to save $92 (we share the free registrations with the previous 5 people on the list). There are many extras available for the tour, including gym sleeping, jerseys, meals, sherpa services and even some hotel packages. So, download the entry form, make all your choices and get the form and your check to me.
We'll have a meeting in April or May to get to know everyone and talk about any last minute details. I'll also keep everyone who registers informed about any logistical stuff.
This will be a terrific week!!