With some easy days during the last weekend in May, it was time to prepare for the following weekend RAAM Simulation ride. But before we jump to the weekend, I still had a few things to do before the big ride. Monday and Tuesday were typical days, as my kids were with me and I always look forward to spending time with them. As they would be with their mother for the next 5 days, my goal was to sneak in some hockey, soccer and basketball with my little guy and if I am lucky, a couple of good conversations with my 13 year old daughter. These conversations are few and far between, but you have to be ready when she is. I have to say, my kids handle things pretty good considering my work, training and RAAM Planning. They are great kids – honest, considerate of others and always want to do their best. It’s a good thing they take after their mother.
Wednesday was pretty typical. Kids to school, off to work, home for a quick bit and off to mindset CYCLING for my training session. Pete had a prior engagement, so I was greeted by mindset’s finest, who had everything all setup and ready for me. Over the past few months, I have had a chance to get to know some of the mindset staff and members and they make you feel right at home. The winter months are tough enough on the trainer, but riding with good people makes all the better. Important to note, mindset CYCLING is two years old now, so if you happen to be speaking with Peter, Janet and a few other people there – wish them a happy birthday.
Thursday was not a typical day, but I did get an opportunity to meet some fantastic people who are doing some amazing work. On January 9th, 2017, my family and the community, lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer. Every day, when I see my children or something in my house, I am reminded of how important my father-in-law was and still is to my family. He is a constant reminder of how people should treat and care for others. This past Thursday, I had the chance to meet with good people at Pancreatic Cancer Canada and tell our story and discuss the good fight they wage to make people aware of this devastating disease. It’s not an easy fight! I was so glad to meet Laurie, Courtney and Jessica to discuss how we can work together. So, there’s the announcement… I will be partnering with Pancreatic Cancer Canada to help raise awareness and funds to help put a stop to this disease. I am hoping that you will join me and Pancreatic Cancer Canada. Please stay tuned for more information on how you can contribute to my RAAM fund and donate to Pancreatic Cancer Canada directly.
Thursday was a bit of an emotional day, but still required me to put in the necessary training effort. I won’t lie, it makes me think of what I am doing and why, but that’s for another conversation. Friday was going to be an easy day, as I prepared for the Saturday RAAM Simulation.
Now, normally I would just look at this as another test, but it’s not that simple when you are a year out from one of the biggest races of your life. You see, everything is a building block that enables you to get to the next level. Sometimes you make a wrong step and it can have a negative impact. As much as RAAM is about strength, stamina, hydration, nutrition, crew support, there is always the one biggest element that can stop you in your tracks – mental strength. Most of the time, my legs will be saying quit, but in my head I am simply embracing the discomfort and choosing to continue turning the cranks. Please understand, I am not doing this alone – I have my support crew with me on these rides and they play a crucial role. When you read my synopsis below, please note, I had three people working with me from the car to ensure I was safe and sound. A big thanks to Peter Oyler, Bruce Day and Howard Calvert for taking time out of their busy schedules to support me on this RAAM Simulation ride. They take it very seriously, ensure I am safe, while we work through all the nuances of endurance riding (in the dark). Greatly appreciate their efforts and I know it will pay big dividends in June 2018. I also had the chance to learn a few things about the guys in the car – they all have a great sense of humour, very cordial to one another and me, but also have cravings for peanuts. The next day while cleaning the car, I found empty bags of peanuts everywhere. Can’t wait to see the crew cars after RAAM.
Over the course of our simulation, I realized I need to make a few changes to my equipment, which should take place sooner than later:
- I desperately need a new saddle. My current saddle is becoming bit of an issue and on longer rides, it will likely cause some pain. If anyone knows a bike shop that offers a saddle demo program, I would greatly appreciate you sending along details.
- I have been experiencing “hot toe” consistently. I would be interested in hearing suggestions on how to resolve. New shoes that are bid wider may help, especially on longer rides.
- I chose not to wear glasses, which was a huge mistake. Took some bugs and dust in the eyes and need to acquire a new pair. However, I am interested in obtaining a decent pair, with interchangeable lenses. If anyone has any suggestions, let me hear them.
With the first test under our belt, I am in need of some rest. Remember, it’s early June and after training indoors, I will need some time to ramp up. Which begs the question, after this summer, how do you keep the distances up? Let’s deal with that discussion at the end of the cycling season.
Sunday was a lazy day, which included rest, couch time, some stretching, along with some additional rest and relaxation. Remember, this is accumulative work that requires proper downtime to absorb and repair.
Some quick note on my riding during last week:
Monday, May 29 – Easy 30 minute Z2 spin. Keep the legs light and fast with very little load.
Tuesday, May 30 – 90 minute, high cadence ride in preparation for Wednesday’s intensity training session at mindset CYCLING. I am not a big fan of ‘no ride’ before an intensity session. The legs need to know that they must work the next day, so be ready.
Wednesday, May 31 – Z5/Z6 intervals at mindset CYCLING. This week was a bit different without Peter there. But, the crew at mindset were ready to put me to work. I did forget about my TT Test the week prior, which did up my FTP. Oh well, no matter as I put my legs to work and met the challenge.
Thursday, June 1 – 75 minute spin at home on the trainer. I was supposed to do 90, but had to cut it short due to personal reasons.
Friday, June 2 – 30 minute Z2 spin in preparation for my Saturday RAAM Simulation ride. Keep it light!
Saturday, June 3 – RAAM Simulation ride. Plan was to meet at mindset for 2:30pm, but this time was missed due to rider error – actually, I forgot my shoes at home. What can I say? I normally ride from home, not from a remote start point. We made our way up to Elgin Mills, popped out of the car and the guys kicked into crew mode immediately. Let me get myself figured out, while they make sure the bike is ready – setup the bike, lights, Garmin, water bottles, check the bike over again and set the initial directions. By 4pm, I am well underway and heading north. How far north? The Garmin map will help you through that. The roads are lovely and fairly quiet, but as night turns, it’s a different ride altogether. As you dip down into gulley’s, the temperature drops and hits you hard in the chest and legs. It’s not long before I am asking for vest and warmers. Oops! Forgot gloves and now the team is searching for gloves in the car while I continue to ride on. This is basically my life during RAAM – provide feedback to the team, tell them what I need and let them solve the problem, while I continue forward. All in all, the team works well and gear is provided as needed, when needed. The team and I continue to head north east to Sunderland, then Fenelon Falls where we catch a break and a Tim Horton’s is open. I know, but at least its open and it has coffee. With the team and I heading back Sunderland way, we all know that the weather is about to turn against us. Sure enough, we get some rain as we get to Sunderland and we all agree that it’s too early in the season to push through heavy rains. We keep an eye on things and when the rain starts to get heavy, we decide to put hard effort in for 15 minutes and close the ride. 5am as we planned, but I know I can go further. Next time!
Sunday, June 4 – Rest and stretch…