Saturday, March 30, 2013

Training and Primal Wear Jersey review

"Mountains don't kill people... They just sit there"  Ed Viesters


How do you train to ride 2,700 miles and something like 300,000 feet of climbing?  We are taking the un-scientific approach.  We are trying to ride our bikes uphill a lot.

Somehow to Joshua, 300,000 feet of climbing seems easier than covering 2,700 miles.  Something about a foot being shorter than a mile.  I am not sure.  I think it sounds hard either way.

When you work full time, its hard to cover miles and miles of training.  But when you live in a big valley its easy to do hill workouts.  I have done some running races and I am not much for speed training.  Somewhere I read that running up a hill was the same as doing sprints on a track, good for speed and strength.  So I am trying this approach with the bike training.  Riding uphill.  Riding uphill a lot.  It's not too hard to climb over 50,000 feet in a month of "normal" bike riding around here.  You either head up or you head out on a highway.  Highways are fraught with dangers all too obvious.  The neon shrink wrapped body of a cyclist on the side of the highway is to a tired driver as a porch light to a moth on a moonless night.  Backroad hills are simple.  You either go up them or you don't.  Of course the the dirt begins to seem more dangerous when coming back down said hills at 30-40 mph, your only contact with the earth being 2 rubber patches less than 2 inches wide.  The few millimeters of spandex in which you am clad seem a scanty protection as you lean your trusty two wheeled steed into an off camber corner.

Cougars are another training tool that I use frequently to vary my hill workouts.  I often think of cougars while riding in the mountains.  I am not that afraid of bears, (well maybe I am) but cougars are another matter.  I am not sure about whether up or downhill is better from the standpoint of avoiding cougars.  When going up I am fairly sure that they think I look like a sickened, lame, weak animal.  When going down, I am sure they think I am running from something and so look weak, scared and alone.  Either way the thought of cougars makes me go faster and ride with better posture.  I also slow my breathing to trick the cougars into thinking I am fit and not dying of exhaustion.  I have yet to see a cougar when I am biking, but I swear I have heard them sneaking up on me.

Review of the Day:

Primal Wear Women's Jerseys.

I am now the the proud owner of three Primal Wear women's short sleeved jerseys.  I have two that are 3/4 zip and one full zip.  I really love these jerseys.  My fabulous sister whom I call the Super Fly Bird got me one for Christmas last year.  She thinks I'm crazy for riding my bike uphill.  I think she is crazy for traveling to far away countries like the Dominican Republic and Kyrgyzstan.

  • Trim fit without being tight and showing real or imagined flaws, yet not sloppy and baggy.
  • High visibility graphics that look pretty good in photos.
  • Breathable, nice and cool on hot days.  Wick sweat quickly
  • Stain resistant.  Mud washes out easily
  • Big easily accessible pockets on the back
  • No tags.  All instructions are printed.
  • Maybe too breathable for colder days.  I am chilly if it is less than 50 degrees outside even with my arm and leg warmers.
  • Made in China, not that the quality is bad, but their human rights record conflicts with my values.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Here We Go... First Post - Tour Divide

The beginning of something...

We are planning to ride the Tour Divide in June of 2014.  Not as a tandem team but as completely and entirely separate racers, competing with and against each other in the "worlds toughest bike race."   Josh and I are riding our bikes up big hills, hiking our bikes through snow and mud.
Training our GI systems by drinking beer, eating chicken strips, fries, Swedish Fish and other convenience store gastronomic delights for days on end.  Luckily we have separate sleeping shelters.  Gas station food tends to produce, well, err, uh, gasses. 
We've been combing through shops and websites for the latest and greatest gear.  Built bikes that should go the miles without letting us down.  Luckily Josh lived as a bike mechanic in another life. He continues to this day to be a gear head and bargain hunter of the highest order.  I am learning bit by bit.  After assembling my bike two weekends ago I think I finally understand which way to turn my barrel adjusters, and I can now change my brake pads.

We weighed everything.  Josh trimmed his toothbrush down to a nubbin.  (I did not.  I like to be able to brush my molars and at some point the weight thing gets ridiculous)  We realized this is not enough! We are lacking essential Tour Divide fingertip training by starting a blog.  So here it is.. Our blog.
Of course just posting about bikes and cycling only may get a bit dull, so other sports and activities will creep in to this blog.  Hiking, skiing, running, knitting, fishing, photography etc.

We will see where the wind takes us.  Hopefully to the end of the Tour Divide, but also to some other fantastic places and adventures along the way and after the big bike ride.