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A new year begins January 8, 2010

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Happy New Year!!!  The new year has started off well.  I got some new winter gear for riding and I’ve already tried them out.  In 40 degree weather, I’m just fine.  I haven’t braved going for a ride when it has been lower.  I will, but not this week.  We’re looking at 20 degree highs.  Yikes!!!

This year has started off moving very quickly.  I was asked how Brianna’s soccer team could help support JDRF this year.  At first, I could only think about the Walk which takes place in October.  Then my crazy brain started firing and the next thing I knew, I was planning a 24 Hour Soccer Marathon for the girls soccer club.  We came up with a great name.  Since her team is Tennessee Rush, we settled on Rush to Cure Diabetes (in line with the Walk to Cure Diabetes and Ride to Cure Diabetes).  There is a lot that goes into coordinating an event like this, and I have never done anything like it before.  I hope it turns out to be a success and raises a lot of money for JDRF.  Keep checking back and I’ll try and make updates.

I do plan on doing another ride this year.  There is a new one in August.  It is in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  We have always wanted to visit the Dells, so maybe the whole family can go.  I took a look at the elevation around the area and it looks pretty tough.  I better start training now and hit the hills hard and frequent.  Keep checking in for updates.

Still pedaling July 9, 2009

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Hi everyone.  I see that there are still some followers of the blog and wanted to say hello. 

What a great time to stay motivated about riding.  After working the last 4 month toward the JDRF ride it would be easy to take a break.  How can you take a break when the Tour de France is going on.  Man, I have a lot of respect for those riders.  I have never followed the Tour before now.  It’s unbelievable how hard, fast, and far these riders go.  It makes me want to get out and ride harder.  Go team Astana.  Go Lance/Contador.

I got the bike back today and went for a ride.  I’ve got it in my head to push myself harder on my rides to help build my speed and get stronger.  It was a good 22 mile ride today.  My plan is to continue riding at least 3 times a week with one ride being a longer ride of 50 miles or more.  I’m committed to continue this and get ready for some other rides.  I also want to work towards a race in September sponsored by the Los Locos club.  They help raise money for the Tug McGraw Foundation which supports research of brain tumors.  Brianna’s soccer coach for the last year heads up the group, so I’m going to see what I can do.  It will be a 2 mile run, then a 15 mile bike ride and ending with another 2 mile run.  I can’t stand running, but it will be fun to be in a race.  I’ve seen how the excersize helps with weight loss too, so that’s an additonal motivator.  I can actually eat and lose weight.

Check back every so often to get updates.  I don’t know if I’ll be updating the blog with every ride, but I will update weekly or every two weeks.  Oh yeah, I’m really wanting a new bike.  I want to make sure that the one I get will be fitted for me so maybe in the next couple months I can get one.  Until then, hopefully I can still use the loner.

What a ride June 29, 2009

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I am back home from the ride.  What an awsome experience.  I met a group of great people who are dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes.  I learned a lot about cycling and the things people affected by type 1 diabetes have to deal with when pushing their bodies to the extreme.  It’s difficult enough to ride a century, but add to it the complications of managing blood sugar levels, you really need to know your body.  What you put in it and how to read the signs when trouble is approaching.  I was amazed at all the type 1 riders.  They were awesome.  We also found out that the Team Type 1 riders won the race across America.  Amazing.

The weekend was great.  I had lots of time to meet other riders from across the US.  I hooked up with a group of riders Friday morning who were going to take a warm up ride, so I went along.  We took a 34 mile tour through the vineyards in Sonoma County.  It was a beautiful day, sunny, mid 80’s.  Rolling hills with some of the biggest cedar and eucalyptus trees.

Saturday, ride day, we started off at 7:00 AM.  We could see hot air balloons floating with a backdrop of the mountains.  I’m not sure what the temperature was, but it was cool.  The first stop was pretty easy.  I reloaded on some water and headed back out pretty quickly.

 Stop 1

After the first stop, I ran into the first sustained climb.  It was surrounded with large trees.  The birds were singing and the scent from the trees were great.  I took it pretty slow on the climb by keeping the bike in a high gear.  Once to the top, it was time to come down the hill.  I found that I’m not very comfortable coming down hills.  You can hit some serious speeds and I just wasn’t that brave so I rode the brakes a good bit down.  I made it into the second stop, about mile 25 and got some fruit and more water.  At this point, we were in an area called Occidental.  The little town we stopped in was on Bohemian Hwy.  Neat place.

Stop 2

After this stop, we started to get into some open space.  There were less trees and more hills.  I was off on my own riding up Bodega Hwy toward the third stop.  Along the way, we went through the town where the film “The Birds” was shot.  I got a picture of the famous church in that movie.  Right up the road from the church is a surf shop, so you knew you were on your way to the coast.  Before you get to the third stop, there is one last turnaround.  This is where you choose to do the Century ride or the metric Century ride.  Once committed, there are no cut throughs.  I took the turn and was on my way toward the Century ride.  The scenery was great.  It was different in that the hills were golden instead of the green you see in our area.  With spots of green trees and huge rocks, it was something I had never seen and never appreciated.  Just before the third stop there was a serious sustained climb.  It was pretty tough.  I was at roughly mile 34 and had to walk some.  I wasn’t alone.  This one was a tough one.  Once at the top of the hill, we made a turn and the third stop was sitting in front of us.  So was a view of the coast.  A nice reward after that climb.

Stop 3

The ride between stop three and stop four was much easier.  Rolling hills and no sustained climbs.  Hills to the left, and coast to the right.  Remember me telling you about my concern regarding going down the hills, well, I decided to let it go and not ride the brakes on a couple hills.  At one point I looked down at the computer to see how fast I was going and I was at 39 mph.  Now that was on a rolling hill.  In Memphis, the fastest I had gone on a hill was 32 mph.  That should give you some insight into the grade of these hills.  I reached stop four and got some more fluids and some calories.  I was with two other riders and we headed out to stop five.

Stop 4

Pulling out of stop four, you are immediately placed on a sustained climb.  I have no idea how long this climb was, but we made probably four or five turns.  It seemed that after every turn, we were expecting to see the top.  Turn after turn presented more hill.  I know what people say when they tell you your mind will play tricks on you.  It was so defeating to think you made it to the top of a tough climb and there was more to go.  It just never seemed to end.  We all walked parts of the climb, but we did reach the top.  Just after reaching the top, there was a Caution sign.  This means you are entering a high traffic area, or steep grades with curves.  There was no traffic.  For most riders, the reward for climbing a tough hill is the decent afterward.  For me, it was just the opposite.  I would go down these hills feathering my brakes, riding them at times.  I just couldn’t let it go and ride.  I really feel like if I had, I would have hit 45-50 mph.  Add curves to that, and it was just too much.  Let me also say that the day before, another team witnessed a wreck where the other rider (not a JDRF rider) broke his arm.  When they looked at his speed, it was showing 39 mph.  That was in my head.  So, I would go about 20 mph down these hills.  I would be tense and my shoulders and hands would be hurting by the time I got to the bottom.  That doesn’t help your speed.  The other riders I was with loved the hills and they were gone.  A few miles later we hit our second sustained climb between stops.  I caught up to one of the riders and we made it up this hill together.  Two miles after eclipsing this hill we had made it to stop five.

Stop 5

Stop five brought us to mile 60.  The last 25 miles or so had very few trees and shade and the temperature was climbing.  It was starting to feel like Memphis.  I stayed at this stop a little longer soaking with some water and drinking a lot of fluids.  I decided to put on some sunblock because the sun was really beating down on me.  This is when I noticed all this grit on my arms, face, and legs.  It was all the salt from sweating.  I had never ridden in Memphis to the point where I had salt built up.  I made sure to get some electrolytes and eat some food. 

Stop 6

I left by myself thinking the others would catch up to me before the next stop and I could ride with them.  They never caught up to me.  It was a tough ride between stop 5 and stop 6.  Wide open hills and farms.  There were only two tough climbs but they weren’t very long ones.  At this point in the ride, I thought any climb was tough.  The SAG van drove by and gave me some water because the drink I gotten at the stop was horrible and I just wanted water and not electrolytes.  At the top of the last climb I saw the dreaded Caution sign.  The hill wasn’t too bad.  It was straight, but very rough and headed to a busy street.  No fun.  Another short climb and that brought me to stop six.

Stop 7

I’m now at roughly mile 75.  I am pretty beat, but I met up with another rider from Memphis and we headed out.  One more stop to go and we are headed to the finish line.  The final stop is about 13 miles away, then 12 or so miles to the finish.  I haven’t mentioned the time.  We were sitting at about nine hours when we left stop 6.  We had 10 hours to finish the ride, so it was not looking good.  Kyle (the other rider from Memphis) caught a second wind and started to pull away.  By the time I got to mile 85 I was totally spent.  It was a little after 5pm and it was time to shut down the ride.  The SAG van picked me up and took us to the final stop.  There it was decided that all of us, there were eight total, were at this point averaging 7 mph and would take two more hours to finish, so we were picked up and dropped off near the finish line where we rode in to cheers and music from all.

Finish

It was such a good experience.  I felt really bad about not getting the Century in, but I did the best I could for that day.  I learned a lot about pushing myself when it gets tough.  I also learned that I can and should train harder for the next try at completing a Century.  I will do it.  There isn’t a cure for diabetes yet, so I will keep on going.

Thank you all for following me along this journey.  Thank you for all the supportive words of encouragement.  Thanks to the bike coaches on the ride who kept us talking to keep our minds off the things in our heads telling us to stop.  And thanks to all the riders and volunteers at the ride who cheered us on at every stop.  Lastly, thanks to my girls at home, whom I called at various stops along the ride.  Hearing your voices and telling me I can do it carried me from one stop to the next.  I love you all.

I made it to Sonoma June 26, 2009

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The plane ride was pretty unevenful.  I got to read a lot of the latest Grisham book, The Associate.  When I got to the airport, I needed to wait about an hour and a half for the bus to take some of us to the hotel.  The ride to the hotel was another hour and a half.  The weather is beautiful.  I sat down by the pool and called Lisa.  She asked if I was going to go swimming and I had to tell her it was too COLD.  End of June and it was probably upper 70’s.

The hotel sits up on a hill where you can look out over part of Sonoma.  When I look in the direction the ride will take us, I see some pretty big mountains.  That’s right, mountains.  They are nice to look at, but I can’t start thinking about what it will be like to climb them on the bike.

We had a dinner tonight at the hotel and I got to meet a lot of the other riders.  They are from all over the US.  My room mate is from Seattle and he is a riding coach.  When I met him at the room, he was just getting back from a ride.  He has a folding bike which looks really cool.  I have lots of pictures already, but the computer at the hotel doesn’t have a SD Card slot to upload, so they’ll have to wait until I get back home.

Tomorrow we have a breakfast then a safety meeting.  After the meeting, we will do a tune up ride to make sure the bike is working correctly.  After the ride, I am going to a couple biking classes to learn more about maintenance and bike fit.  I’ll probably relax a little, or take a ride with some others if they venture out.  Then it’s off to a carb dinner, rest and then to the ride.

I can see the finish line… June 24, 2009

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I took one last warm up ride before the big day last night.  The clouds were grey, there was a slight breeze and the temps were cooler.  It was a nice ride up and back Memphis Arlington.  Only about eleven miles, but enough time to reflect on the last few months.

As I rode I began to think about where this journey began.  I remember getting on the bike and riding the Seed Tick, Canada Rd. loop.  This was a seven mile ride which left me breathless with tired legs and walking about a half mile stretch up Memphis Arlington.  A few weeks later, I rode the bike up to Dick’s on Germantown Rd.  What an accomplishment, thirteen miles.  Now, I do 3o mile rides with complete pleasure. 

I thought about the fundraiser and how well it has gone.  I mean, it was just October of last year we had the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes and I was sending out letters asking for support.  The support was amazing.  Four months later, I’m sending out the letters again, this time for the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes.  I wondered if people were getting tired of me asking for donations.  Again, the donations came in and we are headed toward reaching our goal.  The last two weeks, I have been getting emails, calls, and talking with people who really care about Brianna and what JDRF is doing to help find a cure.  When I think about all the people who touch our lives, I feel blessed that we have so many people who support us.  Brianna sees all of this and I pray she feels God’s hands in her life through everyone of you.

Thank you all for asking how things are going, telling me “you can do this”, wanting to learn more about type 1 diabetes, and being a friend to Brianna, Abby, Lisa and myself.  Closing for now.  Cali is calling.

Ditto June 21, 2009

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Another hot and steamy day.  I got started later and boy did it show.  I took the same route, but did a detour on the way back and stopped at the Devine homestead for some water.  It took 3 hours to finish.  Yikes!  I want the road bike back.  I’ll probably get one more ride in before I leave this Thursday.  Next time you see this, I should have a Century under my belt and a great experience supporting a worthy cause.  God bless everyone who has been following the training progress and sending up prayers for safety.  Now let’s pray the scientists will find a cure for diabetes.

Hot and Muggy June 20, 2009

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I don’t know if you’ve realized it or not, but it is hot, hot, hot.  Even at 0800 AM, it was hot and muggy.  However, after being off the bike for a week, it felt good to sweat.  I can tell you, the mountain bike is a lot harder to ride than the road bike.  I don’t have my pedals either.  They make a big difference, especially on the hills.  I got a late start in the AM, so missed the groups.  I figured I would get left anyway, so I enjoyed a 33 mile ride.  I was surprised at the length.  I thought I would just be worn out after not riding and riding the mountain bike, but I actually felt pretty good.  Check back tomorrow.

Back to the beginnings June 20, 2009

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I got the mountain bike back today!  The spoke and gears are taken care of, so I put some pedals on it, and cleaned and lubed the chain.  I’m planning on doing a ride tomorrow at 0730.  It will be about 30 miles.  After not riding for a week, and riding the mountain bike, this should be a tough ride.  I don’t know what to expect after being off the mountain bike for so long.  I am happy to be able to get back on for a few days of warm up rides before the century.  Check back tomorrow and find out how it went.

June 18, 2009

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I’m hoping to get the mountain bike back today or tomorrow.  I’m starting to get fidgety.

Like missing a friend June 17, 2009

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The bike has been in the shop getting some final fixes made to it.  The most important was the breaks.  I need to make sure I can stop when I go down those big hills in Sonoma.  I picked it up yesterday and took it to Peddler to have them ship it out.  It’s weird, this feeling that I am going to miss having the bike to ride for a week.  Now, the old faithful mountain bike which started this whole journey, is now in the back of my car.  I’ll be taking it to get the spokes fixed and the shifters adjusted so I can still ride some.  Right now, not much to journal about.  I hope to have it back in a day or two.