Bright, Shiny and Ready to Go

Training is over. And, I. Am. Ready!!! I’ve been cleaned up. Polished. New bearings. New cables. New cassette. New chain. New bar tape. New tires. Finally, after some sloppy, rainy rides, I am, once again, one, beeeeaaaauutttiffffulll bike. Best part? On Wednesday the humans will take Edwin and me down to Sharon to hitch a ride with Lon in the truck. Wheee! We’re going to Everett!

Is the human in shape? Ha! The problem with humans is…they get older and slower. Now, fine, hand crafted steel bicycles like myself? Oh, we get older, but we don’t get slower…we get finer. My human is getting older. We trained. We had our ups and downs. But we did the training. Problem is…well…old age and Covid the Destroyer has slowed us down. We will ride the Northern. We will ride as much as we can. But we’re fooling ourselves to think we won’t miss some time cutoffs. However, it will be the miles we ride that matter.

Training for a transcontinental ride is hard. We’ll be riding more than 700 miles a week. How many training miles is “enough” to make those numbers? The human and I have now trained 3 times for a transcontinental crossing. For the first, we were lacking in long rides; for the second, darn, the human was in shape. Well, up until the crash the week before. This time, we would have followed the second pattern, but there just wasn’t enough time. That, and ending 5 months of training with the human fracturing a bottom bracket, I mean pelvis, is not the way to successful training, eh?

So, instead of a long, hard week followed by 2 easier weeks, we consistently rode Lon’s “Rule of 300” (ok, we did overachieve and it was more like 350 miles most weeks). Overall, we averaged about the same number of miles/week as before, but in a much shorter time frame with fewer easy weeks, and obviously, fewer long weekends. In the mix of training, we did our obligatory intervals once a week (ha! like that does my human any good — now the human is just slow not abysmally slow!). And, every week we rode one 11 hour ride aiming for 50 feet/mile of climbing by adding hill repeats….up the hill and down the hill…up and down…up and down. Sigh….the climbs will longer on the trip, but at least we will only have to climb them once! We won’t have to turn around at the top, go down and do it again. And again. And again. Bleh.

Finally, last week we peaked our training with a 400 mile week felt better with more reserves than the first 300 mile week. This week we started the taper with a mere 300 miles. Feels wrong, but doing more at this point will not help us to be in better shape for the start on 10-July; overdoing it, on the other hand, may hurt us. Better to be a little over-tapered than to be a little over-trained. Or so the theory goes.

Are we then both ready? Well…I know that I’m ready. The human? Ask me in a couple of weeks.

Recent reading list:

  • Vanishing Fleece Clara Parkes. The human comes from a line of knitters and weavers so the life of a bale of wool, from sheep to yarn was a thread that kept stringing us along.
  • Turn Right at Machu Picchu Mark Adams. Machu Picchu remains on the human’s bucket list so we enjoyed the history, story and details. Equally important theme was the importance of the support team — one doesn’t hike the Inca trails solo. We won’t be riding the Northern solo…Pac Tour crew are our support and every mile we successfully ride will be supported by them.
  • The Woman They Could Not Silence Kate Moore. Sigh. We’ve come so far as a society and, yet, not far enough.

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