Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Post Prouty Post

Today was my first ride following the Prouty which was last Saturday, July 11. As I am in Watertown for a few days, I took advantage of the flats - what a relief after the hills of NH and VT - and rode out to the Minuteman Trail, following it all the way to Bedford (gateway to Billerica, I am told) and back. Seriously, I was so happy not to have to ride up any hills. It was like rowing with a tailwind in both directions! Although I look a little worse for wear, or sweat, finally a photo without a helmet and shades, haha.

Back to the Prouty. If it weren't for Saiya joining me for the ride, those 100 miles would have kicked my behind. Either that, or it would have taken me at least half as long again to complete. As much as supporting the Norris Cotton Cancer Center was a goal, learning the ropes of a long, well-paced ride and managing the rest stops was "operation critical" for me for the upcoming Pan-Mass Challenge. I learned a lot and am now much more confident heading into the 192-miler.

SAG stop #2, our first - pretty fresh.
Panorama of SAG #2 - water refill, portalet, and some food.

I have to say, the ride itself was fairly uneventful, which turned out to be a very good thing. Lessons learned - put ice in your water bottle when you refill it, temperatures climbed from the low 50s (note to self - buy arm warmers) up to the low 80s (ice!), and keeping cool is/was very important. Eat at the stops - watermelon is cold and wet (good), pbj squares (or nutella-banana squares even more tasty for some fats and protein), and potato chips (salt, mmmmm). All the stops were the same in terms of the food, yet we still eyed everything as if we were standing in front of a full refrigerator trying to decide what to select as though something new would suddenly appear or we had missed something. Regardless, it all tasted good which goes to show that when you're hungry, even a mini cliff bar tastes pretty good.

Saiya changing her flat tire.
The 100 mile route took us from Hanover, north to Thetford and Orford, then swung east in Haverhill to Wentworth before working our way back to the Connecticut River in Woodsville, NH. From there, we crossed over into Wells River, VT, and proceeded south till we recrossed over at Lyme, NH, and back to Hanover. Not too far along into VT, Saiya finally slowed down - she actually came to a stop - a flat tire, bummer. This also drove home the importance of being prepared. We had spare tubes and CO2 so we were fine, but no pump (mine was sitting with an extra shirt I had planned to bring and didn't). I did have cash and my phone, and Saiya thought to bring an ID with her. Smart!

After the ride was over, everyone who had participated gathered under the tents for food and socializing. It was great to catch up with the rowers (the US Women's National Team, Dartmouth College sophomores, and plenty of Upper Vallery folks and a sprinking of CBC-ers) who had done a 20-mile piece earlier in the day, as well as countless walkers (5k and 10k), golfers, and other cyclists (20, 35, 50, 77, and 100 mile options). Although we lost track of time and missed signing up for  massages, we still managed to get back on our bikes for the mile and a half ride back home. And, following much needed and welcome showers, headed out for dinner.  

Now, I am looking forward to only a few more long rides between now and when we head west to spend the night in Sturbridge, MA, for the start of the PMC. I'm riding for a lot of folks this year. Team Muri is in full fundraising mode. Click here if you want to help kick cancer's behind and find a cure. I'll be doing my best out there, too. On to Sturbridge!
Post ride, pre-food.
Still a good time for a photo op!

Monday, July 6, 2015

PMC & Prouty Training

Although long overdue for an update, I finally feel like I've caught my breath since the collegiate rowing season ended this spring on May 17. Wrapping up the fiscal year, getting on top of recruiting, and sorting out my first year of head-coach coaching seemed to take at least as much time as I could provide. Once we were off the water, I continued to have fun traveling to regattas to recruit and/or to work as a referee (always fun to don the blue blazer and pick up the flags). At the same time, all of my post-season travel has had a homecoming feel to it of sorts. NEIRAs were in Worcester where I'd been for so many years for the Men's Eastern Sprints each May. Then, USRowing Youth National Championships took me back to Sarasota FL, where after training camps for so many years, I got to see the race course in action. This was particularly exciting as I had first seen it when it was only in the planning stages. Equally exciting but involving far greater travel and a slightly shifted venue was a quick trip to the UK in June for the Henley Women's Regatta. I hadn't been there since the Royal Henley in 2003. Not only is rowing a small world in a social sense, it further appears to be a small world in a physical sense as well with past, present, and future all overlapping.

With the end of the season and the true arrival of spring, another opportunity presented. I finally took my bike training outdoors to continue preparing for the Pan-Mass Challenge. A wonderful friend connected me with the Upper Valley Women's Cycling Club. I have to say I have loved every minute of every mile. I've included a few photos of my training rides below - the first one is from my very first group ride. I was very nervous, more than I had expected. For one, it had been decades since I did any kind of training ride. To calm my nerves, I kept reminding myself that the group promised rides at all levels from beginners to hard core. But as I got on my bike and cycled over to the meeting point, the whole reason for the training ride became one of those cascading triggers that can catch me off guard - I'm training so I can ride (ok) in the PMC (still ok) to raise money for cancer research (ok, a great cause) because I am a cancer survivor (stops being really ok for a while). Before I knew it, I was really working hard at holding it all together. Fortunately, the mile ride to the meeting point didn't give me enough time to totally come apart at the seams, and sunglasses and group introductions gave me the opportunity to put it all back into perspective. Once the group pulled out to begin the ride, however, I did choke up a couple more times, but then the fun of being in a group and the incredible scenery took over and I was fine.

With only 25 days to go till the PMC, I am also getting ready for the Prouty here in Hanover NH. It is a ride supporting cancer research and patient services at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock where I had my radiation treatment. Aside from raising money for a great cause - defeating cancer, I'm also looking forward to riding 100 miles in one go this Saturday, July 11. (The actual course is 96.7 miles, but it will top out at 100 if I include riding to the starting point from home and back again.)

The PMC is August 1-2. I'll be riding with long time friend and supporter-extraordinaire, Saiya Remmler. We may or may not officially be Team Muri, with or without official uniforms, but Saiya is the ringleader and a major source of inspiration to me so I am all in. We will start in Sturbridge MA, on the August 1, and finish the next day in Provincetown, 192 miles later. The link to my PMC page is www2.pmc.org/profile/LM0272. My goal is to raise $5000, 100% of which will go directly to the Dana-Farber for research and treatment.

My first ride with UVWCC (middle rider) - in sneakers since 
I couldn't find my shoes.

On another group ride, this time sporting my Long Beach 
RA cycling top!

Post-rainy ride in Watertown MA.

On my Connecticut River
Short Bridge Loop > 20 miles.

Panoramic view of the bridge in Lyme crossing the Connecticut River into VT - Hanover to Lyme and back.