Monthly Archives: February 2015

Training, Training, Training

Increasing Mileage

When it comes to preparing for a 3,000+ mile journey, there are many things to consider. Proper nutrition, supplements, hydration, post-ride stretching, and cycling attire are important factors to take into account. What it all really comes down to is time in the saddle. My body needs to become accustomed to spending hours pedaling those miles day after day. I have been steadily increasing my mileage per ride. On days when the sunlight and weather are not cooperating there may be a 20-miler, but the goal at this stage has been to ride a minimum of 30-40 miles per outing. I am thankful that the ability to pedal those miles has been easy enough. Although Texas is known for mild winters, we do have cold fronts blowing through which puts the pinch on ride days. The biggest challenge at this point has been getting these rides in between cold fronts and on good days before the sun sets.

Leon Creek Greenway

With 5 weeks left before the bike tour starts, it’s time to ramp up that ride mileage goal to better represent the daily mileage that my body will experience on the tour. San Antonio has a fantastic trail system that offers me many opportunities to ride safely. Currently, my go-to trail is the Leon Creek Greenway which offers 26 miles of riding. The plan over the next couple of weeks is to increase my single ride mileage from 40 miles to 50 miles. Then ramp that up even further to the 60 mile mark leading up to the tour start. Many folks might think the mileage increase is a big deal. Actually, it isn’t. I have ridden up to 62.5 miles before. The true challenge is riding those kinds of miles on back to back to back days.

 

Toughening Up

Riding day after day makes a big difference in the performance of each ride. Legs feel heavier on day three than they did on day one. I feel every single bit of every bump in the road. I know exactly where my sit bones are and can feel them more and more on consecutive ride days. This is giving me a taste of what I will experience on the tour. This is good because more than any physical toughness needed during the tour will be the mental fortitude it will take to keep on riding day after day for two months.

40 Mile Bike Ride on MapMyRide

40 Mile Bike Ride on MapMyRide

What I am learning right now is that each long ride is not a sprint. It is definitely more of an ultra-marathon. Currently, the ride time for me to burn through 40 miles is over the 3 hour mark. Part of my training now includes forcing myself stop more often than I would if I were only riding once in a while.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it is actually more challenging than you might think. The more I ride, the easier it is for my body to deliver a faster pace. Those moments when mind and body are in sync with speed are truly magical. I feel like I am lighter than air and flying along the trail is a mental and physical rush.

Balancing Act

This is where the battle between mind and body requires discipline. The fact is that staying at a fast pace is not something that is sustainable over time. Or at least it isn’t for me. I am working on balancing my minds desire for speed with my body’s need for a few moments of non-riding. Stopping to stretch out of the ride position is important. To offer my hips and back a chance to relax makes such a difference in the ride experience. Even standing on my pedals while riding and pushing my hips forward and straightening my back helps to ease tightness. Better still is stopping and taking the time to stretch out for a few minutes. Doing this always leaves me feeling refreshed when I jump back on the bike.

Jen riding fast

My faithful steed

As I work to increase frequency of rides with more ride mileage, this balancing act will become even more important. The long term sustainability of training rides and ultimately the success of the tour will rely heavily on this balance. Which is why I am so grateful to have this time to train. What a difference this knowledge has made so far. I look forward to learning and sharing even more of these nuggets of practical experience as training continues.

Do you have some cycling tips that have helped you improve your ride experience? Let me hear from you. Leave a comment below to share your training gems. Cheers!

Preparations Are Underway

The Planning: Self-supported vs Team Supported

From the time the idea for the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Cross-Country Bike Tour was hatched, I knew it would take serious preparation in order to take the dream and turn it into a reality.  Beyond training there was the logistics of pulling together a two-month event. From making the decision to travel solo on a self-supported tour to joining an existing group of riders or riding with a support team vehicle.

Initially, my plan was to take two months off to ride self-supported with a group of 2-3 cyclists.  However, the deeper I dug into everything that could be captured on the tour, (audio/video interviews, live audio/video diaries) the more I realized that cycling with a support team was the only way to tell the story fully. With a support team I could share the two month experience with the followers of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest in a way that was not possible on a solo trek. So, my new plan became riding cross-country to celebrate the everyday athlete and bike tourism all while maintaining my business.  Having a support team allows me to do all that and do it well.

Support Team and Partners

Jordan and Jonathan, Support Team and Videographers

Jordan and Jonathan, Support Team and Videographers

I am also pleased to announce that my two sons offered to become the vehicle support team. Jonathan and Jordan have been my biggest champions and frequently join me for what we call “family adventures.” They will not only drive the support vehicle but will also be the video production crew. They have both worked Social Media Lounge video interviews events with me through the years. They are well versed in both livestreaming and recorded video. The only difference now will be that the Social Media Lounge is 8 states across the entire southern portion of the United States.

The more I talked about the tour the more folks I had who were interested in becoming partners of the tour. These partners offer both sponsorship and in-kind donations. Both of which will go a long way towards make the bike tour successful. I have been blessed to have some fantastic folks jump in to sponsor the tour. There will be detailed information in a more in-depth future post.

You’re Doing What?!

Is the reaction most folks have when they learn of the bike tour. The tag that I have on my social media profile starts with “Living the Dream!” To me living the dream is a way of thinking, living, being. It isn’t something you wait to do when you retire or when you hit the lotto. It is in the now. The now for me means being able to do something I’ve dreamed of all while running my business and sharing the experience with my sons. We can all do this. I hope to be an inspiration to folks who have been waiting for the someday in their lives. “Someday, I will….” That someday could be now or next week or even next year. Whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do, just go out and make it a reality.

Sharing The Story

One of the things I enjoy is sharing the story. Going deeper into a subject and learning by asking questions.  What this usually means is that I can frequently be found interviewing people with my phone in hand recording each and every word. It’s fun and my clients and interviewees appreciated the multimedia dynamic. After all, who can tell a story better than the person who is living it?

This is where the idea for adding a multimedia element to the tour came into play. As I travel through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida I will stop to interview everyday athletes and learn more about what small towns and big cities are doing to promote bike tourism along the Southern Tier.

You may be wondering, “When will you have time to ride and conduct interviews?” My plan is to ride a very manageable 40-60 miles per day. Which averages to about 4-6 hours a day with rest days every 5-6 days. This leaves plenty of time for recouping during ride days with days off to conduct interviews.

Where You Step In

sponsor bike tour imageWant to be a part of the journey? There are all manner of things we have on a tour list. Some of them are crucial and others would make the tour easier to ride and capture.

If you feel inspired to join us or become one of our partners to ensure we have everything we need to make the tour a rousing success then click on over to our here to learn more. Either way we hope that you will continue to cheer me on and be accountability partners as we  embark on the latest adventure of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest.