Oh my word, you guys, I cannot believe that I won the blog contest to the Brandcation Blog Retreat in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, coming up in October. When I first got the email, my initial response went something like this:
“Woohoo! Yeah, baby! Right on! YAY!!!!”
Then, reality set in. Um, I’m pretty sure said that I would bike there. Crappers.
Yeah, so biking almost 50 miles through the mountains looks completely doable on paper, but this ride is no joke. The hardest stretch of road is 18 miles of climbing. That’s right, 18 miles of pedaling uphill. Yikes! The good news is that once I get to the top, I can literally coast the last 20 miles into Gatlinburg, Tennessee. That’s a good thing since I’m pretty sure that I’m going to lose all functioning of my legs by the time I make it to the top.
Okay, so I have 10 weeks to train. My training rides will come in two types: (1) Long flat-ish rides that require me to spend hours in the saddle; and (2) shorter rides that are all uphill. A very real obstacle at this point is saddle soreness. I’m not sure if you’ve even been on a bike for hours, but initially, your bum will hurt way before your legs will. The first type of rides (long, but flat) will get me accustomed to being in the saddle for the duration of the ride. The second mountainous rides will get my legs accustomed to the burn.
The good news is that this is definitely not a race. I just need to get there and I’m going to give myself plenty of time to do it in. I might need someone to give me oxygen once I get there, but the good news is that I am guaranteed to sleep well that night!
I’ll do half of my training on the roads and the other half on my bike trainer. My goal is to get on the bike four times a week (starting now!) and to slowly build up to riding for two hours for three of those rides and to riding for four hours for the last ride. If I can make stay on the bike for four hours, I can stay on the bike for six hours.
I am already very thankful to two people who jumped on board right away. One of my closest friends here is a cycling fanatic and he’s been wanting to do this ride for awhile. He jumped at the chance right away and I’m not going to lie, I’m glad that I will have a riding partner. I am, however, slightly uneasy about his use of adjectives like, “EPIC” and “FUN” because this is a person who will ride all day until he falls over. If he thinks it’s going to be an ‘epic ride,’ that probably means that I am in over my head. But hey, that’s not anything new around here, right? Ha!
The second member of my crew is none other than the Irishman. He’s going to be my road crew. What that means is that he will (more or less) be within a couple of miles of us. He’ll have water, snacks, replacement bike parts and most importantly, my luggage! I’m trying to convince him to ride next to us blasting ‘Eye of the Tiger,‘ but he’s not a fan of holding up traffic. Spoil sport.
The charity (or charities) that will benefit from this crazy adventure have yet to be finalized, but I promise that I will let you all know just as soon as everything is selected and the webpage is set up. You know, I love running and riding for charity. It’s a great motivator. As soon as I start to feel sorry for myself (because I will at some point do this), I think about those that can’t ride themselves and I think about important it is to constantly raise awareness (and funds) for certain issues and it never fails to give me renewed energy and a healthy dose of perspective.
So over the next 10 weeks, you’ll know all you’ve ever (or maybe never) wanted to know about cycling. I’ll be blogging about my gear, my training rides, my progress and I’ll take as many pictures during rides as I can manage without crashing. I promise that I’ll still keep up with cooking and kids and the rest of the craziness that finds its way onto this little blog, but blogging about my riding journey makes me feel like you’re all there with me every step of the way.
Which you are, right? Right?? Tap, tap, is this thing on?