Tuesday Trippin’ March 22 & 29

Loropetalum (pink) and Forsythia (yellow) along the SCT

I lost weight during the sickness I mentioned in my last post. Some of it was digestive system contents and some of it was fueling the fever. I took in my after-illness calories slowly and carefully. Partly because my stomach still didn’t feel right, but also because I wanted as much weight as possible to stay off. That second part is not the best thing to do to a recovering body, but losing weight while exercising hard is a pretty big challenge for me, and it’s also important for me to lose some weight. Two weeks later, and eating normally, I remain 9 lbs lighter than when I got sick. That is a first. Normally I go fairly quickly back to pre-illness weight.

Recent body stresses include significant illness, weight loss at a higher than recommended rate, and….drumroll please…… vaccination! That’s a lot, I know. I might have waited a bit longer on the vaccination. But, I was anxious and fully expected to be skipped over, to get my eligibility with the last group. In terms of actually getting it, I was in the last group. Georgia dropped the eligible age to 55 and up, and the next week they opened some locations to vaccinate any Georgia resident 17 and older. All state residents were eligible and being vaccinated before I got my stick. I was so excited, and bummed at the same time. I was finally eligible. I even got an appointment which some people who had been eligible in the first wave hadn’t managed yet, but, I didn’t recover from what was probably the hella-flu as quickly as I expected. I still had to wait. Canceling that appointment was so hard, so very hard. I didn’t know how long it might take to get another.

But, still, I started to feel the weight of Covid fear lifting before I even had another appointment. I felt safer just knowing the shot was possibly in my near future, and had to remind myself that I wasn’t any safer yet.

Now, I’ve had the first shot. I had to drive to North Georgia, something I was more than willing to do. It was not much further than I drive to ride my bike! I’m going to admit this right here. I cried. It’s not that it hurt. Vaccinations sticks don’t bother me. I don’t think, even when I was a child, that I had much, or any trepidation over little needles. Those honkin’ big blood donor needles making scar tissue in my veins bothers me, and I still suck it up anyway.

The reason I was so verklempt as I sat in an overcrowded waiting area (part of me itching to get out) is that I haven’t known for a year plus if I’d be among those who made it through. I was never presumptuous enough to assume I had whatever it is that defeats Covid-19 naturally without any assistance from medical science. And, facing that without healthcare coverage is scary. I scanned faces for signs of emotion. Most faces were pretty blank and hiding what was going on underneath. The woman sitting right beside me as we waited to go to our health care workers was the only emotion I could detect. She had been watching them, and hoped she would get the one she thought looked gentle. I forgot to check the time when I sat down. I don’t know how many extra minutes that cost me.

The day after vaccination, I was really dragging. It was likely a reaction, but my body has had some significant stresses recently, and those were preceded by other significant stresses. In fact, I’m not sure when I remember things being what most people expect “normal” to look like. Who knows really. It could have been something else.

The day after that I was feeling okay and deprived of rides so I went out to ride in the rain. That was a calculated risk, I know. “I got my vaccination the day before yesterday” is not synonymous with “I’m fully vaccinated and safe.” Wet air transfers Covid-19 (and other diseases) really well. The mitigating factor was the lack of other people who also wanted to be out in the rain. There were very few kindred spirits out there. At the first sign of lightning, I would have turned back and gotten off the trail. It was a short ride and I didn’t push much.

What about that Stress Bomb?

This all brings up a very good question about my project. What if my stress bomb full of hurdles continues? I started posting here to show a certain level of seriousness and show a track record that supports the project. It hasn’t gone at all how I intended. What does that mean?

Well, my rewards are completable regardless of how well the filming goes. So, I can deliver on every reward. The project itself, the video of the rides and the free uploads, that should be manageable through significant adversity as well. Cameras on both bikes in both directions builds in a huge margin for error as far as technical and mechanical failures go. And, because I won’t stop those century rides cold turkey, fill-ins for missed rides during any given month will be pretty easy, up to a point. I can’t financially sustain the project indefinitely, even if it’s fully funded because the budget is based on a timeline. But, as long as nothing catastrophic happens, making up a missed ride during the same week of the next year will accomplish the goal of the right number of ride videos spanning the seasons. It sounds like a long time, but it’s a long project and it will produce a lot of video, and there will be plenty of video to enjoy in the meantime if I have to fill in gaps.

There may be some hard choices. I am personally committed to doing the project on pedal power, but there could come a point when that doesn’t make sense to the project. If there is an illness or injury that will cause us to miss half, or more of our ride videos for a month or more, and we could make those videos if we were to convert to electric assist, as bad as I’ll hate that, we’ll have to consider it. I don’t anticipate that will happen, but I’ll bet I haven’t anticipated every little (or big) thing that’s going to happen and the project goal will have to take precedence over the personal goals.

One risk factor just decreased in two ways. The vaccination makes me less wary about the crowds on the trails. I’ll still avoid crowds as best I can. That will make nicer video as well as lower risk of new variants, but soon I’ll be more comfortable in situations that weren’t at all comfortable last week. One of the most exciting parts of getting my vaccination is that I can probably put strength training at the Y back in my plans soon. Strength training is crucial to reducing the risk of injury. The CDC page doesn’t currently address gyms and the vaccinated directly, but pre “we have the vaccine” they mention that indoor gyms are among the highest risk activities, so I’ve stayed home, even though my gym has been open for some time now. Between the drive and the work out, 2 visits will be another 6-7 hours I have to fit in my schedule, but it will well worth it to reduce chances of injury.

All in all, the pre-project prep hasn’t been anything like I expected. But I feel optimistic, and so far the planning has accommodated the unexpected. This project is as sound and completable as any.

Tuesday Trippin’ March 9

Training-wise, the struggle goes on. stress-wise, we’re beginning to level out after the recent rash of health scares. Daylight Savings Time (DLS) is just around the corner. The logic of DLS has always eluded me, but in a 9-5 world, it means longer rides after work, and for Russ, that means catching up on his training in the lengthening and warming days of the coming months. I’m choosing to be optimistic about a break in all of the uncontrollable garbage life keeps throwing our way, and when I stress over progress, I keep reminding myself that I’ve designed the tiers of the project to fit the level of funding. We won’t have to do more than what we already can until we get the funding, and when we get that funding, we’ll be able to rise to meet whatever level of commitment that requires.

Roadside Daffodils on Brushy Mountain Rd

The most remarkable thing about our training this week was a trip down Brushy Mountain Rd. I had been riding through the tunnel one day quite some time back and heard voices above. It was a little startling in a place where we never hear traffic, and I’ve been wondering about it every now and then since. So, we did our Google Maps version of the old timey Sunday drive after our ride, checking to see if we could figure out where the tunnel was from above. It’s a forested area with deep hills and even deeper cuts through the slopes at the entrances to the tunnel. So, the road is hidden from the tunnel and the tunnel is hidden from the road, even when there are no leaves on the trees. We were following along in high resolution looking for the spot where the road intersected the trail on the map when we saw this gorgeous sight. These daffodils were scattered through the understory and out toward the right-of-way on both sides of the road. The unexpected beauty was breathtaking, and at most other times of the year we wouldn’t have even known it existed.

I wish I could display the photo all the way across the screen, instead of just the column width, but in many respects it was one of those “You had to be there” moments, being totally surrounded in spring blooms with dappled sunlight streaming through the trees and cool early evening air. I’ll try to get back out there soon with the better camera for a calendar shot.

Department of Natural Resources Land
Marker

We stopped to take pictures, and were so close to the location that was showing on maps for the trail, we just walked toward the intersection. As we did, I saw this marker. Collecting photos of survey markers is one of my “things”, so I snapped a shot.

All along this area the road is posted with high visibility markers. We had a couple in a truck pull over to ask us if we needed help, and there was another truck that passed by in one direction and then immediately passed us again in the other direction (without enough time or a location nearby that would make that seem like a natural thing).

I stayed in what should have been the right of way, and even when I took the photo of the DNR marker am pretty sure that my feet were still in the right of way. I’m glad my curiosity about what was above me brought us out to look. But, this is an area where I very highly recommend taking nothing but pictures, leaving nothing but footprints (and be sure to leave those in the right of way) without even considering a trespass.

Racking it Up

Racks are pretty quick and easy to talk about. Through the years, I’ve tried a variety of different kinds of options. As a kid growing up in the rural south, riding my bike always started at home. I never went somewhere else to ride. But then traffic became more crowded and less likely to yield, even in the country, and the distance I wanted to ride grew longer.

Strap on Racks

I started with the inexpensive type that you strap to the trunk or the rear door on a van or hatchback. The benefit to that is cost and the are usually compact to store. The drawbacks are that it takes time to install. Futzing with the straps is time consuming, and if you use it very often, it can become irritating.Some bikes, especially mountain bikes don’t fit very well and can fall of, and they eventually leave dimples in the car body. If you don’t strap it exactly the same every time, there will be dimples in more than one place. So, it’s the low budget option for infrequent use, for the owner who is willing to get a couple of new dimples in their auto body.

Hitch Mount

After growing out of that variety, I moved to hitch mount racks. First I only used them when I was going to use the truck. Later I started putting trailer hitches on my cars. I don’t tend to drive cars that are designed to tow, so I’m really protective of them. The car bike rack hitch only holds bike racks. I never tow a trailer. I never even put on a cargo tray. Why? Because cargo trays get overloaded. Bike racks have only enough space for the bikes, so they will never be loaded over the weight of those bikes. Ours ar not the super light carbon bikes and they weigh quite enough.

I never consider anything other than a hitch mount any more. I had the kind with an arm that swings out and the bike hang from it. That rack was a Thule similar to this one, well loved, but not as great at Interstate speeds due to vibration and the resulting movement. The bicycle tie-down straps seemed to disappear for a while too, but replacements weren’t expensive and eventually the disappearance seemed to slow. The hanging racks aren’t good for mountain bike frames though. The bike crossbar is at too great an angle and we’ve had to stop to secure my grandson’s mountain bike multiple times of the same trip to a race.That’s not relevant to this project because a mountain bike will never be the right bike for the job. It is relevant to my grandson though, and to date, we’ve never budgeted the cash nor the space for more than one bulky rack. In fact the hitch mount rack only comes off my car when I’m getting it serviced, driving through the carwash, or putting in on the truck instead. The nice part about selling the Thule with the arm though, it brought almost half of what we paid for it.

We’re now pretty committed to hitch mount tray racks. Russ got one at a thrift store for $20. We really liked that rack, but someone in a parking lot backed into it and ended it. We had to replace it really quickly because the mountain bike season was on. My dream rack is the 1 UP aluminum rack. I’ve wanted one since the first time I ever saw it. They’re the high quality, low weight, easy option with fast on and off. People I know who have one say that they don’t know why they waited so long to get it, and no one I know has ever complained about anything related to them. We were considering finally getting that dream boat that every owner loves. Spending almost as much on a rack as I did on a bike was a sticking point though. I know that says more about the cost of my bike than it does the cost of the rack, but still, that was the only reason we don’t have my dream 1 Up, that and the REI Garage sale.

The Garage sale is when REI sells returned merchandise. There are often missing parts, but they will allow you to assemble whatever you’re considering to find out and sometimes the deals are awesome. Clothing is usually not the great deal that some other things can be. I’ve seen things with big holes that are not marked down much. I’m not sure why anyone would purchase that. At this sale, I didn’t even head to the bike racks because missing parts are common and I wasn’t expecting a discount that reflected whatever the condition was. Also, I had that 1 Up on the brain. Russ found a Kuat tray rack, and it was a huge discount. At the time, his idea was that he’d buy this one, and when we found a 1 UP second hand, we’d sell the Kuat for near what we paid. Well, it’s not the 1 UP, but it’s a solidly good rack and we haven’t found the 1 Up second hand (could be that’s a pipe dream, I’ve never met an unhappy owner). If I were spending full retail and making a new purchase decision, I’d probably go ahead and get the 1 UP because there isn’t so much difference in the full retail prices, but when the less expensive rack is selling for half price… The Kuat is a nice rack, but when you use it frequently, that little extra bit of extra effort in putting the bike on the rack adds up over time. The Kuat isn’t extendable either. That hasn’t mattered as much over the pandemic, because we’ve been avoiding the crowds on the Greenway at Big Creek. We used to all go out together and we would ride the Greenway while my grandson rode the MTB trails. Eventually, hopefully soon, we’ll all be going out together again soon. It better be soon, else he’ll be driving himself and he’ll have a job. I’d like to think we’d give him the Kuat and we’d finally get the 1 UP, but the reality is, he’ll get a job and say no thanks. He’ll buy the 1 UP, and we’ll still be using our temporary find.

Tuesday Trippin’ March 2

The week has been on and off, with big ups and downs. The up was that Russ signaled interest in the project beyond just being encouraging. He’s always supportive, but this is a BIG commitment, and I can’t do the project without support. While, in theory, a lot of people could do it, this will take a lot of hours, a strong commitment, and a lot of closeness. With recovery rides, time in the saddle alone will be over 20 hours per week. Add in rewards production, bicycle, gear, camera and other equipment maintenance, planning and weather management, getting to and from the trails, rewards distribution, website management, uploads and other things are we are both above full time hours every week. Plus, we’ll have at least two overnights away every week. Not only do I want to spend that time with someone I know and trust, I don’t want to spend that much time away from him. So, his reaffirming commitment is a pretty big up.

The downs have been very low. Did you know there’s a thing called an elastomeric pump? I learned about those this week. They’re also called medicine balls, home balls or grenades. They’re made so that sick people can be mobile, and/or discharged from the hospital while still taking IV meds. And, that was just one family member’s challenge. The week was full of loved ones fighting serious health issues. As important as this project is to me, the outcomes to the health crises that too many of the people near and dear to me experienced this week are more important. That’s as much as I’m going to say on that subject, and now I’m going to move on like I didn’t even say that much.

As the week started, the Texas freeze was still in the press, and then suddenly, the daily high was 70 and there was pollen on the car. As the week ended, it was cool again. I got in a quick ride late in the week. I was wiped out. The ride felt like I’d been pushing my training. I think it was actually that my life was pushing me. I think that I could have worked through it if I had just kept pedaling, but I didn’t have the time for that on that day.

Then I got in another ride, then another, none of them as long as I would have liked.

Recumbent Trikes

I’m really seeing more recumbent trikes on the trail. A link to one of the brands on the website for the recumbent shop I found in Murfreesboro says that there are 9 recumbent trikes sold for every 1 recumbent bike sold in the US.

I’m generally anti-trend. If I’m ahead of the trend, I feel a little put off once everyone else joins in. It’s like my choice becomes less about me, and more a fad once something I’m doing becomes popular. If I’m behind the trend (which happens most often when buying expensive tech) I like to make sure I I’m far enough behind to take advantage of what benefits there are to being a late adopter.

I’m not going to have any trouble being on trend for this though. The features that are currently making the trikes popular, are features we need for the project. It will be nice to talk to more experts to find out if my theory of three point contact with the ground will be more stable in the context of video stabilization. For fitness, I prefer a recumbent with two wheels to keep my core and balance working. I won’t be doing something trendy during pandemic market conditions unless it is completely supported by the parameters and the budget of the project.

Shock Absorption

I had more considerations on the road bike front as well. Sometimes I can go along my way and forget to check things with fresh eyes. For instance, shock absorption in mountain bikes comes from having suspension with a lot of play in it, and it’s costly energy wise, so, not conducive to distance riding. Until I found a second hand bike for sale this week, it didn’t occur to me that shock absorption on a road bike could lead to just the opposite, more efficient longer rides. As I looked up reviews on the bike in question, I came across this article on shock absorption in road bikes. It has a phrase about noticing that your rides become longer effortlessly. That’s due to lower stress on the body from being shaken.

I’m not naturally very performance driven, at least not on a bike when it was for pleasure and cardio, so I’ve never been drawn into “better” more expensive bikes. But, as it turns out, doing distance and getting the smoothest ride for the video are both improved by the kind of shock absorption some of these road bikes offer. We will see where that takes us. I still want to alternate between road bikes and recumbent trikes for the physical differences and relief. The level of complication that ads (storage on both ends, switching video equipment back and forth, transporting bikes with completely different configurations) is manageable and the physical benefits will help to keep us strong and riding throughout the project. If it turns out we’ll be working a single bike option, it will likely be the recumbent trike. That’s the bike that will keep up riding through more adversity.

Helmets

I’ve crashed, but, I don’t have personal crash experience with helmets. The only concussion I ever had was from crashing a bike, but kids weren’t required to have a helmet back then, and no one ever suggested it, or, bought me one, so I didn’t. I was coming home from a summer program and thought this really big hill looked so very exciting, And, it was. I woke up in my bed and still have a coupla scars I could find if I thought about for a minute.

I also flipped over my handlebars as an adult a few years back. I was waving at my postal carrier and hit a curb. I was wearing a helmet that time, but it didn’t hit anything as far as I know. I didn’t feel or hear any hits and there were no scratches, not on the helmet anyway. I landed mostly on my bum and had some really impressive bruises on my legs too. Doing an unexpected flip is a kind of mystery trip. You have to look at the injuries to figure out just what happened. I was so angry while flying through the air. I had plans to be a race official for a balloon race the next week. It was the first time, and I was sure I had just ended them. I was stif to my core for a week, but I did get to go to my race.

There’s a newish safety system called MIPS to help me out should I ever go flying again. As of 2019, 100 plus brands use it, including newer versions of my favorite helmet. This seems like a feature that should be a part of every future helmet buying decision I make, but also, something that all the reputable helmets will adopt, so I shouldn’t have to worry too much.

My favorite helmet is a Lumos and we bought ours from their initial Kickstarter. We were thinking that we’d ride more centuries and roads and we really liked the turn signal and brake light concept they were developing. We stopped riding on roads though, and I left mine in the closet while using the old one for way too long. We supported the Kickstarter and bought the helmets for the added safety, visibility and communication on roads. I was so happy to see someone bringing that smart technology into the marketplace. I’m sure it has saved lives. But, that’s not why I’m currently wearing mine. It’s still my favorite even though we’re riding on trails now. The fit on my head is what I like. It’s that simple. I like the way it sits on my head and I also like the straps better than all the other helmets I have ever had. So, while I ride on trails and only see cars when I see security patrols, or cross an intersection, the Lumos is the helmet I want on my head. I’m really glad that they made a successful business out of it and are still producing helmets. It makes me feel good about the support and the product. My original Lumos doesn’t have MIPS though. I should probably replace it soon. For current riding choices the MIPS is more important to my safety than the smart features.

Other needs might cause me to drift from my first Lumos love though. There’s just too much going on around my ears right now. I’d like a helmet with goggles. I don’t really care for sunglasses. My sensitive skin breaks out where the glasses touch, even if it isn’t in constant contact. I need the protection though, not just the UV protection, but also the wind protection. And, believe it or not, I’ve had a pinecone fall off a tree and hit me right in the glasses while riding, Pine cones have points that are still really hard and sharp when they’re fresh off the tree. So, yes, I need an eye shield for freak impact protection too. The annoyance of the pine cone would have been a doctor visit without the eye protection, and possibly some loss of vision.

Something like this looks like it would be nice. Not only would that get the eyeprocection off my ears, cheeks and nose, it keeps the goggles or safety screen secure. The other day I was coming down one of the few places on the Silver Comet where there is a steep hill and a sharp curve together on the whole trail. And, I guess, really, thay by “one of the few” what I actually mean is “the only.” My glasses somehow became akilter, I had probably pulled them out and off my face a little. I needed my hands on the handlebars for control, but I couldn’t see very well. I was looking through and around the glasses at the same time. I had to wait to fix them until it wasn’t nearly so important for me to be able to see what I was doing. It was a difficult awkwardness in a tight spot that wouldn’t have happened with eye protection securely attached to the helmet. So, as much as I love my Lumos, I could venture out looking for that same fit from a helmet with attachable eye protection.

BTW, did you know Oakley has designed a helmet with a non-interference zone and clips on top for storage when you don’t want to wear them? The non-interference zone is pretty cool, but I’d need to see how it works to know if it’s relevant to me.

Fantasy Island

Beyond attachable eye protection, I’d like a little hook or button for a face mask. One that is the helmet equivalent of that button on a headband for masks. With any luck, the need for that will disappear before anyone could bring it to production. But seriously, for right now, there’s no warning before someone gets too close, and we’re all a little vulnerable to the unexpected. The ability to whip out a mask and hang it in front of your face is just not there when you’re wearing, glasses and a helmet and a headband under the helmet, especially if it’s a headband that warms and covers your ears. I’m going to be really happy to get my glasses on the helmet, but I’d like to find a way to mask up quick that does nothing to interfere with the effectiveness of the helmet or anything attached to it.. It would be pretty cool if there were a universal attachment that would allow people everywhere to mask up safely and quickly.

Getting Real About Gear

I didn’t expect to be so heavily into needing to make gear and equipment decisions this early on. It’s beginning to feel like my wax rubbing Kickstarter. Never heard of that? It was going to be the small Kickstarter that showed I am earnest and will deliver before branching out on bigger ones. Of all my many and various ideas, it might have been the most difficult to reward supporters, so it probably wasn’t the place to start.

The plus was that I learned a lot of what people learn on a first project, even though I never submitted it. I tried some experimental alternative products, read up on doing a successful Kickstarter, spent more money than I planned to ask for in the first place, then read something that advised to ask for enough money to be taken seriously. I could revisit and revise it sometime in the future, but I have a more timely and more important idea I think.

It’s video-riding project that’s jumped to the forefront. That might seem odd at first. I have an aversion to being on screen, especially if I have to talk. I like being behind the camera. I have things to say, but I have trouble bringing me along with all my ideas.

Staying mostly in my comfort zone works for the project, but it’s a big challenge for the kickstarter video. Not only am I camera shy, I’m also really intimidated by the extraordinary professional level of talent and expertise in some of the Kickstarters. Finding where I fit among the likes of them is intimidating. But, then there’s the potato salad guy. Kudos to him BTW. Supporters had fun and everybody got what they expected, or more, and some people got fed. I hope there’s a place for me, for us, somewhere in there. I think we have a solid idea with a good purpose and I know we have strong commitment. It should be fun for supporters too.

My vision for this project was that, at its lowest level, a small Kickstarter would make a big difference to the base project, and it might even fund the ultimate goal. That’s still the hope, in part. But with the pandemic there have been so many changes. My MO for buying equipment has gone awry. I am most often the antithesis of an early adopter. Early adopters are great because they fund R&D, but I’m your original clearance section girl. I ride the bike that’s high on value per dollar. I don’t know what I would ride if money were no object, but I am very comfortable not riding the bike that is the biggest target for someone to steal. If I have the latest anything, the store was going out of business, or it was one of those rare things that I wanted or needed enough to pay early adopter money. I was the first person among my user group to buy a particular model of Garmin once, and then took all the smart people who bought it next as confirmation I made a good choice. I can’t think of another time I spent new release money on anything. On the whole, I’m not looking for the cool factor. I used my last bike seat until the leather was streamering and the gel was oozing. Literally.

But, the age of our gear in miles caught us as unprepared as the pandemic and both have thrown a wrench in my normal purchasing habits. I just had a near overhaul and Russ is due for a complete overhaul. His crank has been damaged for some time, and he’s been putting it back together with Loctite every now and then for 2 or 3 years. He wasn’t riding so much and it stayed long enough for him to forget about it, so it was a real surprise when his pedal arm fell off mid-stroke recently. He took it to the shop where I’ve bought family bicycles for three generations. The repair estimate put the cost up around the range where you make the repair or replace decision, (a decision that comes at a lower price point when you ride an inexpensive bike). But, the shop sold out big time when hitting the trails was the only pandemic possible cure for cabin fever. They didn’t have a new bike for Russ’ extra tall needs. Some shops said that extra-large was the frame size that was still around, but of course, they’re not more plentiful than they ever were. They’re just still around in some places for the same reason they were hard to find in the first place. Not many people are 6″6″.

So, every gear decision is colored by what is available now at today’s prices.

Training Tuesday

As I train to be able to make a full century ride twice a week beginning on, or near, the first of the year, here is where I’ll update my progress every week on Training Tuesday.

I’m feeling healthy again, so that has me feeling positive, but I’ve been overestimating my mileage due to some incorrect mile markers, so I also feel behind before I’ve even started. Last week, according to Google maps, I rode 50 miles, a mark I thought I had made 2 weeks ago. 50 miles a week is a benchmark for me. I read that insurance companies give a discount on life/health insurance to people who ride that far. So, it’s a general lifetime goal for me to never fall below that. Not for the discount, but because actuaries think and know things. I felt pretty good when I learned about the discount because I thought I was riding that far, but first one thing and then a shifted commitment and if you’re not keeping up with actual mileage, it’s easy to lose track of actual miles. Google maps sent me a message about my cycling at the end of the year last year though. I was stunned. Google told me my real miles and, it was more than most people ride, but less than I thought.

Now I’m looking to leave 50 miles a week in the dust. Flat tires, or minor emergencies, weather and childcare obligations that won’t always line up properly and any number of other things can cause me missed goals. If I can get my target number of miles in two rides instead of three, it will be easier to stay on target, and it line things up closer to how rides need to be when I make the official recorded video start. So, as I try to balance needs and goals, I’m working toward fewer rides for longer times. Last week my longest ride was 20 miles. Today, I rode 24 miles. If I can get in a 26 mile ride later in the week, I’ll have moved last week’s mileage into two days instead of three. Then if I can get in a third ride whatever mileage I make will be an increase in weekly mileage and to some extent gravy.

I started my original calculations at 61 miles for the first week based on where I was before the pandemic. Maybe I’m too lazy to do the math again, maybe it’s psychological, but that’s the official starting point I want to keep. With that starting point, training up at 10% mileage increase per week because that is the recommended max, I should be ready to do the stretch goal distances in 16 weeks. That will be the first full week in December giving me almost 3 weeks for a buffer before the new year. With winter and holidays and family time, I’m nervous about only having a 3 week buffer. I remember how hard we pushed in the end last time we worked up to a century. There’s no real reason it needs to be a January 1st start, but it seems fitting for the year of Silver Comet Centuries to coincide with a calendar year

So,well see how it goes, and I’ll see you here next Tuesday, and I hope I’ll be telling you I did 61 miles in two long and one short ride.

Training Schedule

Since we made the commitment to get back ot on the trail, riding the Greenway, or a small segment of the Silver Comet for the primary goal has become, once again, a piece of cake. So, no training is necessary for the primary goal.

Stretch Training Plan

We’re going to train for the stretch goal while we are waiting to find out if either plan makes. There is no down side to that, and it helps us to remain flexible. It also gives us the motivation to increase our mileage. The stretch plan includes all of the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga Trails weekly, so, building up our mileage to be able to full century rides is necessary. In fact, the stretch goal would be to do the Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga in both directions with an overnight in the middle, so two centuries a week is the ultimate goal. If conditions allow, the two short rides (on the Greenway for variety) will still be be filmed. If the crowds and conditions remain risky, we’ll assess the value of filming mid week “recovery” rides. The full plan with all three trails is 250+ miles per week. There are plans to expand the Silver Comet Trail to meet the Beltline and we will ride as much of the trail as is complete, so over time the ride may increase.

I thought I had reached 50 miles a week before I actually did. There are some mile markers in one area of the trail that are ordered correctly. Current level of riding is now approaching 60 miles though. Physically I’m feeling good again.

To reach stretch level cycling distances, we’ll increase mileage at the recommended rate of 10% per week, filming to work out the kinks as we go.

So, rounding up to whole numbers, here is the plan we will meet begining next week.

Week 1. 61

Week 2, 67.

Week 3, 74.

Week 4, 82 miles

Week 5, 90 miles.

Week 6, 99 miles.

Week 7, 109.

Week 8, 120 miles.

Week 9,  132 miles.

Week 10, 145 miles.

Week 11, 160 miles.

Week 12, 176 miles.

Week 13, 193 miles.

Week 14, 213 miles.

Week 15, 234 miles.

Week 16, 257.

If we were able to start on Aug 15 and train for 16 weeks without weather, health or emergency setbacks, we would be doing full mileage by the time we are moving into the holidays. There will be setbacks though, There will be weather holds and I will take off for family time too. So, it seems like a good plan for the official start date for full filming would be to make coincide with the calendar year.

https://www.bicycling.com/news/a31469228/cycling-during-coronavirus/