Of course Tom and I decide to go on an epic vacation that requires physical training before we go. So much for having a relaxing time! This trip to Scotland will involve 30-40 miles on the bike for 8 days - not too bad, but definitely something we need to get in shape for. Luckily for Tom he just finished an 8 day bike trip down the California coast this spring, so all he had to do was keep up with the maintenance. I've been running consistently for a few years now, but those muscles are different from biking muscles and even more importantly, I needed to get my saddle in shape for long hours day after day on the bike. And here's how it has been going.
I was riding here and there throughout the spring - definitely not consistently - but since the end of May I've been riding every week, adding more miles and elevation as we go.
Luckily - I have a decent commute to work on my bike. Its just about 15 miles one way and only about 480' of elevation gain. Pretty easy for my week day rides. Roundtrip I'm getting about 30 miles in and I've been commuting on my bike two days a week. We've been doing one good long ride on Saturdays, about 30-40 miles with over 1500' of elevation gain. We're about a month out from our trip now and are going to up the miles and start riding on both Saturdays and Sundays. Since I ride in on Mondays and Fridays I'll be able to get a good four days of consistent riding in for the next four weeks.
Along with miles and elevation I've been adding more weight to my panniers to try and get close to what gear I'll be carrying.
Our weekend rides have been starting with a trip around The Three Bears, a large loop around two reservoirs that includes about 1500' of elevation gain. Its named The Three Bears for three major climbs that happen during the 22 mile roundtrip route: Mama, Baby, and Papa. Loads of riders do this loop and I'm constantly being passed by people, but who cares! Its a good lesson in humility!
Amazingly, the more times we do The Bears the easier it gets. Its still crazy hard and I'm always cursing something by time I get to the top of Papa Bear, but in the end its making me a better rider and more ready for our trip.
Once we finish our loop of The Bears we've been continuing on for another few hours, before heading back home.
Its a good thing I've been getting in practice for this trip because I've had a few mishaps during training and a few kinks I've needed to work out.
For starters I've already broken, yes BROKEN, my bike chain, spent a 22 mile ride stopping every 5 minutes to put my chain back on after it kept slipping off (fixed by a thorough cleaning, de- and re-greasing of my chain by my personal mechanic, Tom), gotten several flats, have had a super sore back (alleviated by investing in a pair of aero bars to stretch out on), and a super sore butt (alleviated by a new seat and my favorite Hoo Ha Ride Glide).
We've booked all our travel, purchased all our gear, planned our route, so now all we need to do is just pedal, pedal, pedal for one more month!
Stay tuned for my post about what gear we're bringing and how we're going to manage it via planes and trains!