Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Helluva Ride…

If you’ve met me even once, or read more than one post on this blog, I’m willing to bet that you know I work best when I have a goal. The more concrete, the better, and the more likely I can break it down into subgoals that I can cross off of a list as I accomplish them, even better yet. Those of you who have known me a little longer will know that I am a wee bit competitive. I have channeled this in recent years to be competitive with myself, rather than with others (mostly in order to stay sane – med school does not go well if you really try to compete with everyone), but I remain oddly intrinsically motivated to constantly one-up myself. Imagine my delight then, when, upon completion of ActiveU – the university’s valiant attempt to motivate students, staff, and faculty to move during the winter – I received my last reminder e-mail with links to various training calendars! If there is anything I love more than a goal, it is a calendar! I perused the list, drawn immediately to the walking and biking calendars. Having already trained for a walking event (The Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk with mom) once before, I thought I might give biking a chance. I printed off the beginning and intermediate calendars and headed home.

Looking at both of those training plans, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. I certainly felt up to biking more than 2-3 miles each day, but I have also never gone on a bike ride where my average speed was 20 miles per hour – the stated goal of the beginning calendar. I was more interested in the longer distances emphasized by the intermediate calendar than the faster speeds set forth as goals for the beginning calendar. Then, Alicia mentioned the possibility of training for The Ride Through Hell (, MI) – One Helluva Ride organized by the Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society. The ride is July 10, and offers routes that are 15, 30, 39, 64, 77, and 100 miles long. Alicia biked the 39 mile route last year, and I opted out (since the shorter routes had a different starting point and I wouldn’t have been able to ride with her at all). Looking at my calendars, I’ve decided to do either the 64 or 77 mile ride. In previous years, only the 77 and 100 mile rides actually went through Hell (the others only get sort of close), and I thought I’d kind of like to hit that mark if possible. However, this year apparently due to road conditions none of the routes will actually go through the town. Alicia has also just pointed out that we can register for the 77 mile ride, and, if necessary, on the day of the ride we can request the 64 mile map. This seems like a good plan, and I think that planning for the 77 mile ride will push my training that much more.

Things I have already done in preparation:

  • started increasing my mileage gradually from my usual commute
  • joined to track my rides
  • spent countless time trying to figure out how to create a widget that would put my mileage on the blog, to no avail*
  • ordered an awesome Helluva Ride jersey

*There seems to be consensus that this is not easy to do with Bike Journal. However, it is the most popular tracking site, apparently in part because they almost never change their format at all, so you can track for long periods of time without losing information or learning a new system every few months. Also, because so many people are on it, and they rank their riders based on distance, it fuels a little friendly competition/pride in increasing mileage. I'll keep trying...

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