Day 1: Florence to Eugene (78 miles)

I didn't sleep well last night.  I was anxious about the start of the ride, but I was even more nervous about the luggage weigh-in this morning.  It is crazy how the mind works.  The two things are not at all equivalent.  First I packed and re-packed.  Two bags, neither over 30 lbs, the total not more than 50.  So even though there was nothing I could really do, I tossed and turned ALL NIGHT!  Stupid. A complete waste of precious sleep hours.  But there we have it. The result? No problem. Under both thresholds. Why didn't I sleep?

Today's ride was beautiful. Much of it was along a river as we wove our way out from the coast.  There was some climbing, but nothing too hard. The challenge was the total miles. It was 78 miles for our first day out. I had a "lovely" interlude getting a flat tire at about mile 60. I am not very good at flats and was extremely appreciative of the women who stopped to help me.  I have been working on strengthening my hands for exactly this reason, but they still are not really strong enough, especially my bad hand.  But together we got it done and I was able to repay the favor by guiding them in on the last, very confusing portion of the ride.  I had Ride with GPS on audio and we were able to follow the audio commands much more easily than we could the cue sheet as we went under and over along the bike trails of Eugene. 

Dinner was fabulous with some lovely tofu pesto for me instead of the non-Vegan option of salmon.  As always, food is a bit of a challenge for me, but I am confident I will get enough to eat! 

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Day 0: Eugene, OR - Getting Closer

After three flights yesterday, I arrived in Eugene, OR late last night.  My bags and I arrived safely.  I arrived at the hotel on a shuttle very late relative to my Eastern Time start to the day. Today I meet with a friend who lives locally and then will return to the airport to join with a couple of women from the tour group to take a shuttle to Florence.  When I came in last night, Eugene looked pretty flat, which gave some peace to my active and worried mind.  This morning, however, I opened the shades in my hotel room to discover I am surrounded by "hills."  Hmmm.

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On my way! Fear, Anxiety and Intention

I am sitting in the airport, waiting for my first of three flights to OR. It has been a hard morning as I left my family (people and animals) for a month. I can't remember the last time that leaving felt so big.  I am scared of what is to come. The cycling will be hard and the volume intense. Socially, I am not sure what to expect.  I am an introvert by nature and there will be little time by myself, except (possibly) while on the bike. 

Last night one of my tour mates posted a spreadsheet with more information about the climbs.  She is an engineer and this analysis appears to make her feel better.  (She also made the spreadsheet I posted a couple weeks ago.) It makes me anxious.  Really anxious. I prefer not to know exactly what lies ahead until it is time to take it on.  I had a hard time sleeping thinking about my training, what I did and didn't do, what I should have done and what it is too late for now.  None of it was helpful. None of it was in the present, but I struggled to bring my mind back to the present. I wanted to sleep, but anxiety made it so hard.  

I told a couple of friends about that this morning as I was getting ready to leave and they reminded me of a post I made on Instagram as part of #selfcareseptember. I wrote of my intention to appreciate what I can do and not be judgmental of what I cannot. That is my intent for this ride.  It will be a big practice for me as I make my way to Oregon and then, from there, to West Yellowstone.  I would love to hear from you if you feel so inclined.  What do you do when anxiety feels like paralysis? How do you deal with self-doubt and negative self-talk?  I have a feeling that I will need all the tools in the coming month.  

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Rensselaerville: Choices, Hills and Pain

Today I am riding my last ride on my bike before I ship it to Oregon. Tomorrow my friends at Tomhannock will receive her to box and send my beautiful machine to Bikes 101 in Florence, Or.  Today though I am riding a very hilly and challenging ride in Rensselaerville.  Friends of mine had registered for the 25 mile route, but I registered for the 44.  My thinking was that the extra miles would be "good for me!" After all, it is my last ride on my bike before I start out on my long ride.  

But this week I have had some hip and IT band pain. Not terrible, but definitely noticeable throughout the day. I have been rubbing and stretching. I have done every yoga pose I can think of to help release, and it helps, without doubt.  But... I decided yesterday that the 25 mile route is the better option. It isn't many miles, but it is plenty of climbing and I am honoring my hip.  I am listening to what it is telling me:  it doesn't need more miles.  It is ready.  Take a breath. Take a rest. I don't know what I am going to do for my last two weeks. Probably more rowing and yoga with just a little cycling on my trainer to keep those muscles awake and ready. But today I am learning. I am listening to my body and I am choosing to accept pain as a signal that my body needs less not more.  Progress.  

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Training and Nerves: Solution - Yoga!

As the remaining days to train for Stage 1 of my TransAmerica bike ride dwindle, my anxiety about it increases.  Negative thinking creeps into my thoughts more and more. Yesterday I saw a spreadsheet prepared by one of my tour mates.  Immediately, I went to that place: OMG - I can't do this! 

What helps me when I have those doubts and feelings is to "come back to the breath." Sitting meditation and moving with the breath in yoga.  Meditation and yoga become more important as my trip gets closer. It will be a part of my daily preparation once the ride has begun.  Taking time to be present will give me the space to get away from fears and insecurities and will allow me that opportunity to focus on what is right in front of me, not all the big numbers that appear on this image!  In everything I do, meditation and yoga help me to do it with less stress and more focus.  How does yoga and/or meditation help you?  Leave me a comment! 

 

 

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Cailie CurrinComment
Countdown!

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!  

JUST ABOUT A PERFECT SATURDAY

Today I was able to spend the morning doing many of the things I love most:  I taught an express yoga class at the studio first thing.  Yes, 7 am on a Saturday. Despite - or perhaps because of - the hour, four fabulous women worked on balance and core strength using yoga poses and principles.  That was followed by a personal training session at 100 Main private fitness facility with a client who pushed herself beyond what she thought she could do in ways that were exciting to see.  After my client left, I got my own sweat on and did my scheduled workout, with a focus on gymnastics skills, especially handstand push ups.  Then feeling great, I went home and picked up my dog, Sasha.  I came here, to the lake where I spent a great hour or so on my paddle board.  Sometimes standing and sometimes reclining, as in the picture here.  I am relaxed and ready to do some work.  I am so lucky to share your journeys and to do what I love so very much! 

Back Home and Committed to Goals

On a day-to-day basis, it can be hard to stay committed to long-term goals. By nature, we seem to be programmed to think short term rather than going longer. For me, that means I like to have a series of short-term goals that lead me in the direction of my long-term goals.  Right now, I am focused on my daily nutrition and training for my month-long bike ride in September.  My mantra is "Am I acting in a way that is consistent with my goals?" When I make food choices, I think about what will power me on the bike versus creating extra empty weight to carry.  I know that my goals require me to think about food as fuel rather than short-term gratification. That means thinking about how much protein, fat and carbohydrates (macros) I am taking in. It means thinking about the quality of each meal and appreciating what food can do for me. It also means drinking water and staying hydrated.  Today I will make every effort to make good choices that are consistent with my goals.  Will you join me?  

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Cailie CurrinComment
Learning to rest and restore

Today we were scheduled for a cave kayak, which I was quite exited about.  Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and the excursion was cancelled.  That left us with a day with no plans.  All of a sudden, there were hours with "nothing to do."   It is a great reminder that it is important to have quiet days and unscheduled time.  People who choose to take active vacations may have more challenges in this than is typical, but all of us need to remember that our bodies need both active and restorative periods.  We have ridden 100+ miles in 3 days and a day off the bike is not a bad thing.  That said, the weather seems to be clearing, so perhaps there is time for a short ride still today!  :)  

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Door County Affirmation of Move to Live focus

Yesterday we began our official tour of Door County, WI on our bikes.  It was a beautiful ride. Before lunch was an incredible treat for me - long flat rides that let me push speeds that are usually only possible for short stretches at home.  The wind was certainly a factor, but I was able to sustain 18+ MPH for miles and it was FUN!  

When we stopped for a lunch picnic about 23 miles into our 37 mile ride, I could not believe the number of women who spoke of a fear that if they got down on the ground they would not be able to get up.  As I told them, one of my primary motivators is to make sure that women of all ages can get down on the ground and get back up.  All of my tour mates did, in fact, get back up from the ground, but for some it was a struggle.  Let's change that! We change it by being strong and by knowing how our bodies move so that we can enjoy the wonders of sitting on the grass for a wonderful picnic or concert. We change it by being strong and by knowing how our bodies move so that we can get up from the ground and move! I want us all to be able to move so that we can enjoy life.  Move to Live!  

Bike Tour Begins, Day 1 Sturgeon Bay, WI

This week I am on a much needed vacation in Door County, WI. The last couple of months have been stressful. Buying the yoga studio, launching a personal training business fulfill a passion for me, but there is no question that it has also brought some stress! My primary business has been busy and one of my key employees gave just 2 weeks of notice right before I was to leave on this vacation. That sucked and I was angry. That meant I had to cancel the non-bike ride portion of the trip. Margaret and I were going to visit friends in Madison before heading north for the ride. We couldn't do that because this woman chose that time and that method of quitting.  

That gave me many opportunities to practice what I preach! I have spent a lot of time focusing on my breathing in the last week.  I have tried to focus on my goals and the processes I have in place to reach them. In short, I have tried not to give in to the crazy.  I have to say - mixed results! 

But here we are in Sturgeon Bay, WI. A beautiful location for a bike ride and we are meeting about 10 women with whom we did a previous Woman Tours ride in Ireland. That ride was 4 years ago - I know because it has been showing up every day in my Facebook feed.  That was Margaret's and my first bike tour and we were really nervous about it.  I had pushed Margaret to do it by choosing Ireland as the location.  A bike is a beautiful way to see Ireland. A bike is actually a beautiful way to see the world. The pace is perfect in my opinion to both see enough to feel like you get a sense of the place, but also slow enough that you can get a sense of the place and the people.  Plus, the freedom of a bike is just about perfect in my view.  

I have been a Spinning® instructor for many years and in the past that was the primary way I trained for cycling year round.  That has changed as I stopped teaching Spinning® in order to really focus on yoga and my personal goals rather than having the focus on teaching Spinning®. I started doing CrossFit about 18 months ago. I wanted to build strength. I fell in love with the sport of CrossFit and the community that lives in those gyms.  This year I put an old bike on a trainer and used an application called TrainerRoad for my cycling-specific training. The combination of both (and losing some weight in the process) has caused me to make huge gains in my cycling power.  I also bought a new bike, made custom for me by Georgena Terry and it feels like an extension of me in a way no other bike ever has.  

I have also brought a focus back to my yoga practice. I have "done" yoga for decades. But for most of that time, my "practice" was based on whatever classes were available in a slot that worked in my schedule.  There is nothing wrong with that - at all.  However, I realized that I needed to make a change in that approach about the time I turned 50.  I started to have injuries more often and they took longer to heal - if they ever really did.  I had aches and pains that could not be fixed by any doctor.  I realized that yoga was how I could address those physical issues. Not only through the physical practice, but the mind side as well.  Physical changes are a fact of life, but they do not have to be limiting facts of life. 

Over simplified, the physical (asana) portion of yoga began in order to allow bodies to be able to sit in meditation for many hours. I realized that today we need yoga not so much to allow us to sit for long periods - most of us do that every day for long periods (though not in meditation!) - we need yoga to be able to move.  We have different physical needs than yogis did historically in India, and I think that means we need to apply the lessons of their teachings to our current world and our current needs and use the practice of yoga to keep us strong and able to move through all stages of our life.  The idea of Move to Live was born and my practice is centered around that idea And so is the business that I am working to build. Move to Live Yoga and Fitness Studios.  

Riding my bike this week will apply many of the practices that I have developed for myself and that I want to share with others.  I am a 56 year old woman who spends most of her time in a high-stress office job. But I use yoga and strength training in combination to live the life I want to.  I can't wait to get out there on the road! Thanks for coming on this journey with me.   

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