Posts Tagged ‘ultra distance’

How it all went terribly pair shaped….

August 27, 2009

I won’t be doing the Furnace Creek 508 this year because I ran out of money. That’s the short explanation. The long explanation is that the combination of the economy tanking, and three major financial blows in one month killed any plans I had of  doing the Furnace Creek 508; all of a sudden it had become way too expensive, and out of my reach.

It’s hard to plan for something like this, and then have it pulled from under your feet. I’ve been working on doing a major race/ fundraising event for about a year. Every bit of training effort that I had went into this. But, all in the same month, my dog got bitten by a nasty off-leash dog costing us a fortune in veterinary bills, then our garden had major erosion control issues (threatening the integrity of our house) and then our SUV blew up, which was suppose to be the follow van. When I realized that I’d have to rent a “follow van” for about 5 days, that was the breaking point. It was like trying to tap blood from a stone.

In the end, all the money that I had for The 508, just wasn’t there, and then some. I’m behind the eight ball at this point, trying to make the best of things, to come back from this, but it’s going to take some time, certainly more than I have for this year.  I am heartbroken. I really wanted to do this, or at least do the fundraiser, but I don’t even have the money for that.

Another hard part about this: my training was going really well! With the exception of a bizarre soreness that I’ve been feeling over the past few weeks, my power/mass has been improving steadily. What a bummer to be all dressed up like this, with no place to go.

Then there’s the weight that I added specifically so that I could start cranking out the watts as I lost it. Ugh, now I have to lose those pounds by diet, rather than extra work and cycling.

It’s embarrassing to have your whole year’s worth of planning time and effort crushed like this; without a steady direction of where to go what to do next, I feel like a fish out of water. Indeed this has been my beautiful disaster.

On the other hand, I’ve often said that what doesn’t kill you makes an interesting story, so I’m hoping that in spite of a lack of fun 508 tales I should still have enough from my adventures as a coach, bike fitter, and bike clothing retailer, and RAAM crew member, for a fascinating book called “Girl Meets Bike Book”. For the next little while, I’ll be writing my little heart out, trying to create a book that will inspire you, yes you, to get on your bike and feel joy, get exercise, and save money too.

PLUG,PLUG, place to shop:

I’ll also be opening my online store again, and I’m selling some of last season’s goods HERE. I’m selling incredible stuff at an absolute bargain right now, so pick up some deals now, while you can (and help a girl get back in the saddle, financially).

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Tales from the Lack of the Peloton: Janet

July 15, 2009

It’s hard to explain what I experienced, what I saw in the Race Across AMerica; but here’s a tale of something I saw in Janet Christiansen, the solo racer I crewed for on the RAAM.

I’ve played with this blog a bit.  I hope it still reads well.

Upon a bit of reflection, I realize that what I witnessed in Janet was the ultimate in raw will and determination.
But also something more.
When there was nothing left, there was determination.
And when I say nothing, I mean riding non-stop for days and days and days, and every once in a while you get to stop, and maybe sleep a bit, but mostly, as in 21 hours a day you are riding; that kind of nothing left.
But there was always, the determination, the drive to move forward, even when exhausted beyond compare.
Janet forged ahead.

Mostly, she did not complain, but occasionally had a cursing fit. Interestingly, it has recently been found that cursing can be a type of pain reliever, and she did indeed, go through pain (Endnotes 1,  2).
One rarely comes across this breed of human, for surely no human would put herself through such hardship, such challenge, such pain; and for what?
The Honor?
No, no, wasn’t that. It is, in fact, most probably a lot closer to exactly not that.
What was it that kept her out there?
Raw will?
What gave her the fortitude, the tenacity to move forward through bone-aching exhaustion and pain?
(Will someone please let her get some sleep?)

Stories of the other riders unfold.
So many more of them then you’d think.
Not many women though.
And for these Ultra-endurances-athletes, the ultra-cyclists,
for them the RAAM is the Holy Grail;
for soloists, the end all, be all race.
It is The World’s Toughest Bicycle Race.
Yes, it is.
Really. It is.

Start: Oceanside, California
End: Annapolis, Maryland
3,016 Miles
ONE Stage

And each person’s reason for being there is very different, very interesting. And each rider’s experience was unlike anything else that’s ever happened, even if they’d done the RAAM before.
This is what EPIC means.

There is no prize money to be won, nothing but some chance at doing something very special, something that few have the capability to do. No wait, make that very few.

janet 1janet 2janet 3

janet 4Janet is a smart individual. She’s a natural born problem solver and practical to the core. She cycled well through the bad weather in New Mexico,
the corn fields Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio,
where rain and thunder and lightning and hail caught up with her in the dead of night.

janet 5janet 6
She’d been asleep for over three hours.
“don’t let her oversleep. She gets three hours a night.…”
“…and hail is the only thing that stops her.  Otherwise, she’s on the bike.”
That was the advice I was given.
It was my turn to wake her. I was amazed and delighted when she arose immediately and with purpose. There it was again, that vibe of someone who was about to do something absolutely extraordinary. Without much coaxing, she was out of the van (where she slept), and on her bike.
I was watching her at a time where she had figured out “a system” for herself; she’d found her rhythm. And in the quiet, still, dark, rolling hills of Ohio,
Janet rolls her ride again…and again…and again.
janet 7janet 8

Endnotes:

“…cursing may ease pain..”

1.  Web MD:  http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20090713/go-ahead-and-curse-it-may-ease-your-pain

2.  Reuters:   http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE56C3WX20090713



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