Thursday, May 31, 2012

Surviving the Century

The Santa Fe Century is full of lies.

David, looking strong enough to pull me up the hills
Race officials lied when they called it a 100-mile bike ride (it's actually 103.9). David lied when he told me it was an easy ride (it's actually the 2nd hardest thing I've done in my life). And I lied to my body when I said, "no, silly kneecaps, you're not about to explode. And I'm sorry rear end, but I think you're over-reacting to the fact that we've been sitting on a bike saddle for 7 hours now."
But, lies and all, I almost doubled the furthest distance I've ever biked in one day last Sunday.

The scenery was beautiful (people come from all over the west to do this race). And it was so cool to see amazing cyclists doing what they love, and to be near so many people who nod in approval when we tell them we're training to bike across the country - like it's the most natural thing to do in the world!
Feeling deceptively good
at the 2nd Rest Stop

Another thing that amazed me was the variable in speed caused by the tandem. 40+ mph on the downhills comes much easier for us than single bikers, and I think the guy who caught our wake down the steepest of those hills got quite a thrill ride as he drafted his way down behind us. Our speed and weight also carry us further beyond the hills, allowing us to coast for very long periods of time. We didn't suffer too much on the uphills either (a fair amount of my own stubborn competitiveness might have been a factor there).
103.9 miles later, with the windburn
and grease stains to prove it!

All in all, we're feeling more confident than ever that we might actually be able to finish this crazy trip we're embarking on. If you want to see the stats of our ride, you can check those out here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Looking Fast!

You don't need to go fast to look fast if you have the right photographer! My sister, Deziree, took these awesome photos of David and I, and now I'm hoping to use some of them to personalize this blog. Check out the full reel at Dez's Blog.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Double Loop! What Does it Mean?

Double Loop! What Does it Mean?*

The Camping

Our test-run camping trip this weekend with Matt and Karen Holmes was a HUGE success! All the amazing gear we were gifted over the winter from our wonderful friends and family finally made it out of its plastic wrap and into practical use. The sleeping bag liners and inflatable pillows did the trick for a chilly spring night in the mountains, and our cooking set was both adorably-lightweight and actually useful! All in all, we're feeling even more confident at the prospect of camping our way across the country.

The Ride

Round Two of our preparations this weekend was a 55-mile bike ride in the mountains of New Mexico. We did our standard loop route... except twice. It was a total of 5,500 feet (1 mile!) in elevation gain. Sure, we also lost 5,500 feet, but I'm telling you, when you're cruising along an empty NM 4 at 30+ mph, bragging to your husband how much you love being a cyclist now, you quickly forget the whole "what goes up" thing.

Just imagine this x2.

As I told David a number of times throughout the last part of the ride, I really believe that it was the hardest thing I've ever done - even harder than running a marathon. I am not too proud to deny that I whimpered at the base of a few of the more daunting hills (so about 80% of the time). One of my least favorites is the hairpin turn between Bandelier and White Rock. There's nothing like losing 300 feet in an immediate drop only to have to make it up on the other side of the canyon (see pic below).

After 4 excruciating hours, 2 entire camelbaks, 5 minutes resting face down in a ditch, some senseless giggling from the backseat, and a promise that as soon as we got home I would spend the next hour lying on the couch making zombie noises, we made it! Our legs were numb and neither of us could eat because we were nauseated from dehydration, but we made it! Santa Fe Century - here we come!
I don't think of them as hills, so much as pain in it's purest form.

*If you're a faithful YouTube follower, you will immediately get the reference in the title of this post. If not... well, there's always this link (if you wanna waste another 4 minutes of you life).