Tour Prep: The Weeks Before

A note on format:

  • I am blogging chronologically, NEWEST INFO ON TOP!

  • Each week begins with my milage goals, the last (biggest) number is the total miles I plan to ride that week. I've included this detailed training schedule so that others can use it for themselves

  • Sometimes I include thoughts or experiences on the week, revelations or just a progress report. Sometimes I don't have much to say. Sometimes I spent all week on the saddle and am too tired to say anything! 

  • Please mention the #weeksout Week Number in your comments, if you have notes, tips, suggestions! 

 

2 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                   mileage goal: 30/30/30/30 (+weight)

  • I got a tip suggesting that in the final weeks, to train for speed, not distance. I am not entirely sure, but I think the logic is to build extra strength in the muscles.  Anyway, that is what I went for this week and it was a challenge to really push, when I'm accustomed to relaxed riding. 
  • Bought camp pillows from REI and a cook system from Wal-Mart. Why Wal-Mart?  Because the propane tanks thread in to cook systems slightly differently depending on brand and style.  The more advanced, light-weight cook systems you can buy at REI or online don't thread with refill tanks you can buy at normal stores, like Walgreens or Wal-Mart.  However, the more big-name box-store brands like Coleman and  Ozark Trail will thread with each other. This makes them a bit more of a realizable bet if you're worried about running out of propane and depending on a small town convenience store to save you.  *pix to come!*
  • Our sleeping bags arrived and are waiting for us at my partner's shop (we ordered them through his bike shop to take advantage of the discount).  Unfortunately, our pads did not come in- apparently there was an ordering mix up and we won't be able to get the ones we want. Back to the drawing board. 

3 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                   mileage goal: 40/40/40/40/160 total (+15 lbs)

  • Bought a Road ID bracelet with emergency contacts and medical instructions (NKA = no known allergies, NO MED HX = no medical history.... lucky that this is all I have to put on my tags). www.roadid.com
  • Tested the tent in the rain, and it is in fact waterproof, so that is good news. 
  • Also, finalized (probably) the route with the help of my partner.  It's kind of a long story....

And in non-cycling related news, I became an auntie for the second time! 

4 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                    mileage goal: 30/30/40/40/150 total (+15 lbs)

yeah.... this didn't happen. Took a final and studied for another test, managed the two 30 mile rides, but that's about it. 

5 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 20/30/30/40/150 total (+15lbs)

6 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 30/30/40/40/140 total (+15lbs)

You may have noticed my lack of updates.... Truth is, when you're putting in about 150 miles per week, plus work, plus nursing school, there is not a ton of time to blog - haha! 

But I had to confess that I didn't make my milage goal this week. I injured my shoulder and, in a hypochondriac tizzy, worried that I had torn my rotator cuff and went straight to urgent care.  Spoiler Alert: nothing torn.  I'm just getting old, basically (please google Louis CK's bit on his "shitty incurable ankle."). So... rest for a week and then back to the grind. 

 ugh. 

ugh. 

7 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 30/30/40/40/140 total (+15lbs)

8 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 20/30/30/40/120 total (+15lbs)

9 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 20/30/30/40/120 total +add 15 lbs

10 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 30/50/100 total (+10lbs)

11 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 30/45/100 total (+ 10lbs)  

All week, I carried about 10 pounds in my panniers for practice. Surprisingly, it wasn't that rough, but my legs do have a nice cyclist "tan" and my knees ached a bit the day after a 75-miler. 

Iván and I learned that our trip will be cut short by one day, since the Manitou Islands off the coast of Sleeping Bear Dunes don't allow bikes at all (or, at least the ferry will not transport them for us...)- so we'll skip Manitou and may just add an extra day somewhere else (we are anticipating running in to at least one fair or festival that we'll probably want to spend more time at)

This may seem unimportant, but for those with allergies, you will feel the pain - I spent the past two weeks doing semi-scientific drug trials on myself and learned that Loratadine is my anti-histamine of choice. I used to just be able to take anything, but apparently my allergies have morphed. FYI, there are several anti-histamines (all with generic versions) and they all work slightly differently, so don't just buy the discounted 100-count bottle, because it may end up not working for you at all (lessoned learned!)

 Sadly, we won't be visiting these pristine islands... not only are cars not allowed, but in the spirit of conservation, neither is cycling!

Sadly, we won't be visiting these pristine islands... not only are cars not allowed, but in the spirit of conservation, neither is cycling!

12 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 30/30/100 total + add 10 lbs

Thus far, bike camping has been theoretical. But this weekend Ivan and I actually did it for the first time! We learned a lot, and our experiences are chronicled in full here.

 Our first attempt at bike camping featured Tom, the Turkey.... but no actual bike camping.  Version 2.0 went a little smoother.

Our first attempt at bike camping featured Tom, the Turkey.... but no actual bike camping.  Version 2.0 went a little smoother.

13 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 25/40/100 total

This past week was Midterms for me - and a harsh lesson in time management (hence the back-to-back updates). I was too busy cramming to make my weekly goal of 100 miles, but I at least got one nice long one in AND broke my Mill Ave Bridge Sprint at 24 mph. 

Plus my body needed a week off - going from zero to sixty (or, like, 100) tends to cause anemia, especially in female athletes, and I was getting pretty bruise-y, so this week I upped my attention to nutrition with lots of iron-rich foods and better planning. 

Up next: buying some sweet Ortleib panniers and prepping for our first overnight this coming weekend with friends up north!

 Ortlieb Panniers are some of the most popular, well-made panniers out there! 

Ortlieb Panniers are some of the most popular, well-made panniers out there! 

14 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 25/35/100 total

Installed some heavy duty touring tires, designed to support the extra weight of gear and provide much-needed tread to avoid flats. Upped my mileage to 25mi and 35mi rides, 130 total miles this week. Most fun, though, I got to hang out with a bunch of bike enthusiasts at the TBAG Winter Games and CRAP ride (cyclists tend to have a sense of humor with their acronyms), and am going bike camping with them next week to test out my new gear!

 New Tires, New Friends, #14weeksout

New Tires, New Friends, #14weeksout

15 Weeks Out                                                                                                                                                     mileage goal: 25/25/100 total

The first step to planning any trip is deciding where to go. I sat down today with a map of Michigan (and a lot of coffee) and planned a 12-14 day route that takes us up the West Coast of Michigan, to Mackinack Island, famous for being a car-fee, bike-only Island between Michigan and Canada. Main highlights of the trip will be visiting family along the way, especially my aunts and uncles in South Haven and near Charlevoix. 

Also, though I have been to MI more times than I can count, I'll get to visit for the first time Sleeping Bear Dunes, the Manitou Islands, Old Mission Point, Petosky State Park, the Tunnel of Trees, and Mackinack Island.  Also, passing through Chicago, Gary (where my dad grew up!), and NW Indiana should be interesting... 

My family will be meeting us in Mackinac Island and driving us home - so it's not a full "loop," but will certainly be scenic! 

 One of my favorite prints from Michigan artist, Gwen Frostic, who has a studio near my grandparents' home.  www.gwenfrostic.com

One of my favorite prints from Michigan artist, Gwen Frostic, who has a studio near my grandparents' home.  www.gwenfrostic.com