Epic ride

The final post on TA 1 - finally!

A number of people commented that it did not feel like there was a last post about the first leg of our Transamerica ride last year. There is a reason for that: it didn't feel like the leg actually finished. The final day's ride was cancelled due to cold and snow. Some amazing women chose to ride anyway, but most of us did not. We got out of the snow and into the van and we drove to West Yellowstone, the final destination of the first leg. And we all said goodbye and we went home. It was all kind of anti-climactic and it didn't feel like I had much to say about it.

Today a group of us rode that final leg. We rode our bikes from Ennis to W. Yellowstone as we had planned to do 11 months ago. That ride is now complete.

I am not one to feel like I need to ride every mile. Last year there were a couple of legs that had portions that did not feel safe for me personally. The route was safe and the support fabulous, but it was not for me on those days. So I chose to ride short distances in the van. I am fine with those choices and I would make those decisions again.

But this was different. It was the final leg. The entire final leg. We didn't finish on our bikes. It just felt incomplete in a big way for me. Not everyone felt that way. Not all of us rode it today, but for me, and perhaps the others who rode, it finished something that felt undone.

I am very grateful to WomanTours for letting us ride those last 71 miles today. I am looking forward to our first leg of TA2, which takes us into Yellowstone National Park. I have spent a week exploring it with Margaret, but doing so mostly by car is very different than by bike. When we ride the pace it allows me to see and hear things I never would from a car.

I really wanted to see a grizzly this week and yesterday I did. I do NOT want to see a grizzly while on my bike. I do not want to see many bison blocking the road as we did in the car. I really do not want to meet any wild animals while on my bike, but I am excited to see and hear the Park in a new way. Onward!

Osprey! Seen on a more typical September day in 2019.

Osprey! Seen on a more typical September day in 2019.

Sue makes a snowman on what was to be the day of our final ride into West Yellowstone in 2018.

Sue makes a snowman on what was to be the day of our final ride into West Yellowstone in 2018.

Two major steps along the way to ride

One: Today I received notification that the bike shop in Bozeman, MT has completed the assembly of my bike!

There was a communication issue with my bike shop and that made it touch and go for a couple of days, but it was resolved and my beloved Georgena Terry is ready for me to oick up at noon tomorrow!

Two: I have determined that I am done with the packing/repacking/questioning choices/ repacking/pulling things out of bags/putting things in bags and, of course, weighing/compulsively weighing my bags. When the alarm goes off at 3:00 am tomorrow morning, what is in my bags now will be what goes with me to Bozeman and beyond.


All packed!

All packed!


One month from today I will be in Florence, OR and it will be the first day of the first leg of my Transamerica bicycle ride. I have been thinking about this ride for months now.  My training has not been as consistent as I would like, but that is not unexpected.  I am busy and have many competing demands on my time.  I do my best to prioritize based on my goals, but it doesn't always work.  Perhaps you can relate?  

My ride in the Adirondacks last weekend (75 miles, 5000+ feet of climbing) was one of my key measurements of my readiness.  I felt strong and the climbing totally doable.  Yay!  

My training has been composed of three very important elements:  1) Time on the bike - there is simply no way to substitute for that. However, I tried to be smart with it - not empty miles.  I had a goal for every ride, whether on the trainer or on the road; 2) Strength training - I am 56 -years old and it is hard to maintain muscle mass and strength.  I have to work hard to keep my muscles strong, there is no alternative!  Fortunately, in my quest to begin a strength training program, I found CrossFit and an amazing community.  That has made what I thought would be the hardest part of my training so much easier and fun!  3) Flexibility - hours and hours on a bike requires flexibility, especially in the low back. It also places strain on many areas, e.g. shoulders and neck.  There is absolutely nothing better to prepare for this than yoga and I have practiced regularly with my riding in mind.  Some of you - those who are students in my classes - have gone along with me as I have worked to find sequences and poses that help me with the flexibility and mobility I need for this adventure.  

I will be doing my best to post as I deal with the logistics of getting to this epic ride and then the ride itself.  I would love to hear from you.  Comments of encouragement are especially welcome as I know there will be times of pain and loneliness.  I am very excited and very scared about this, no question.  Thanks in advance for any and all support.  Onward!