The first leg out is to Phoenix. I will be back here in just a week and a half, and seeing it from a vastly different perspective. I will have made it through the California mountains, and will see just what my gearing is like.l
I have to go back a little to some of what has gone on up o this point.
After Ralph told ne he wanted to give me this trip (actually he asked if it was something I still wanted to do), I researched different touring groups and decided on WomanTours. They had the right distance, they stay in hotels (I value a warm bath and a soft bed), built in rest days and what looks to be great staff. Right before school started in August I signed up. Then I had to find a new appropriate bicycle. I went shop to shop and everyone gave me a similar list of what to look at and no body had models in that I coud try. They talked about waiting until the new year, and I began to panic. My old bike was over 16 years old...in good shape, but was never a great fit and was a less expensive road bike. A friend, who is an avid mountain biker gave me the namee of a shop, Nebo Ridge. I went there and was excited to find they had someone who himself had ridden across country and was extremely knowlegable. He had me try the bikes they had, recommended I look around and try a few others and he also brought in a friends personal bike for me to try. I took all his suggestions, but his friends bike was the perfect fit and felt so much better than anything I had ever ridden. He speced it all out with one of his co-workers, got it ordered and then I waited as patiently as I could until it came in. By the time it arrived the beautiful fall weather had passed and we have had consistently frigid temperatures since. I have only ridden a few times outside. This takes us to training.
While I was waiting for my new bike I started out with my old one. One wheel was out of true, so then switched to either one of the kids mountain bikes or Ralph's road bike (sweet). I logged in the recommended hours and got several longer rides (up to about 5 hours) in. In October I read about a class that Nebo Ridge had, not spinning, but cycling,with certified cycling coaches, core conditioning, and using your own bike on a trainer. Hmmm. The location was not as convenient as I would have liked, but the staff had been sotry it for the first session. November came and I started the class. We did a time trial and got our lactate threshhold. Now this class was not made up of people like me, recreational cyclist, but folks who like to race. After the time trial, I was great, so I decided to EXHAUSTED and had a wattage of 125. These guys were at 200+ (ok even higher...but I am in denial) Wow!!! Way out of my league, but as we had introduced ourselves and told them that I was planning to ride across the country, they were so excited for me...I thought it would work out. I got to ride all winter with people I could NEVER keep up with on the road. Each class I learned something new about my bike, techique or equipment. Each class everyone encouraged the others, and there was cheerful conversation and fantastic coaching. The coaches, Steve, Bob and Tom were experienced and knowlegable. The first eight weeks few by. We did a follow up time trial and I had improved by 30 Watts during that brief tiime. You can guess that I came back for the second session. The classes were consistently challenging. I continued to learn. Two weeks ago I had my bike shipped to San Diego, watt meter came off and I switched back to Ralph's bike. I didn't do the second time trial for this session, but am certain that I again improved. As far as training on my own at home, I did get on the trainer some, but not as much as I should have. I like the cameraderie of the class and at home I let the busyness interfere with my exercise. I am VERY thankful for the class and Ralph holding down the fort with the kids the evenings I was gone.
Saturday I did my last class. It was fun, and it was great to have made new friends and I look forward to seeing them I return and go on club rides.
As I have gotten ready for this trip, my sons and husband have been constant encouragers. They have altered schedules so I could train, taken an interest getting equipment and just been there joining in the fun of the process with me. The boys helped picyed cap and scorpion cycling cap. They have helped meuff I had misplaced, and today they gave me many hugs, big one armed strong s pack and repack and repack again. They have run around the house looking for stuff even the stqueezes from Peter the 16 year old injured gymnast. Tight one with a tickle from John, and snuggly ones from Walter. Michael called yesterday to tell me he thinks doing this trip is way cool. Ralph has been the constant quiet strength. He has been ever encok out some of the clothing. They pushed me to get the Cat in the Hat jersey, the tye duraging. He has ridden outside with me last fall. Me on his bike, him riding his mountain bike, and still able to stay ahead of me. As I moved inside he rearranged his schedule and always made sure that kids were where they needed to be. I will miss all my men over the next nine weeks. It will be rather strange to be around women....most of my tiy household, to my work to even the cycling classes. Even my dog is male!!!!!