Project: Hillary the Cyclist - July

I signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer last summer. I managed to log a few kilometers last autumn when we had an unseasonably dry September / October and then I hung up my bike for the rainy season.

I did not do any physical training for my ride in November or December. I fundraised my butt off but I did not physical train.

And then January hit. January was a surprise pregnancy and the news that the pregnancy wasn't viable. February was two surgeries to resolve the unviable pregnancy. March and April were recovery. I didn't get back on my bike until May. (I did work out during this time, and I definitely built up some muscle and endurance. I just didn't log any saddle time.)

My plan was to ride all spring, to log kilometers in the saddle to make sure my body was used to spending hours on a bike and my mind was used to riding in traffic. I was really down on myself for not pushing myself to be ready sooner than May but the fact of the matter is I wasn't ready. Physically or emotionally.

The good news is that I'm back on my bike and I'm loving it. I've managed to log a few good long rides and my comfort level is building. I have a lot of work to do between now and August 29th but I'm surrounded by supportive, motivating people who have boosted my confidence and told me repeatedly that I can do it. I can ride 200+km over two days (please picture my steely gaze as you read this).

Want to learn more about my journey? You can read about how Cap's Krusty's Bicycles got me started here. You can read about what the Ride to Conquer Cancer means to me here.


Project: Hillary the Cyclist Month 1

My first month of training is over and I... didn't completely tank. I managed to log 60km on my bike. I'm still getting used to riding in traffic but so far I love being on my bike. I used to enjoy running but the few times I tried to run this year I ended up in so much pain (am old) that I had to quit. Cycling gives me the same rush running once did, without the horrible knee pain. One of the side effects of a drug I have to take is joint pain, so it was difficult to motivate myself to run when I was already hurting. 

So! Cycling! How did I go from cycling rookie to riding a semi-respectable 60km in September? (Look, I realize that 60km in a month is no big thang but it is for me, right now. Okay? Let me have it.) I was lucky enough to connect with Cap's Krusty's Bicycles and was given both a sweet discount on a road bike and six hours of in-store training / general guidance with a cycling expert. 

Full disclosure: I went to high school with the owner's daughter. I am not obligated to write a glowing review about Cap's but I am going to write a glowing review because I was absolutely petrified of cycling before I first met with them, and now I'm someone who logged 60km (hold your applause, please) on her bike in one month. 

If you're thinking about getting into cycling, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you get help from a pro. I reached out to my high school friend's dad because I knew he knew his stuff. I had gone into a general sports store to see what was on the sale rack because I didn't want to put down a wad of cash on a bike and then find out I hate cycling. But here's the thing: if I had bought the fine-for-toodling-around-the-city bike the salesperson tried to sell me, I am confident that I would hate cycling. Maybe not at first, when my rides are admittedly just fun little jaunts, but I would definitely struggle to enjoy my longer rides if I was stuck with a bike not meant to carry someone for 100km+ rides.

I also recommend test driving multiple bikes. Different bikes will have different measurements and different feels. You want to end up with a bike that fits you, yes, but also feels good. I'm 5'8" but I have stubby little legs and a bizarrely long torso. It took a bit of finagling to find a bike that felt good for me. This is where the pro comes in handy. Barry was my pro. Barry is a genius. He measured my inseam and had me try different frame sizes. He made adjustments. He described different tweaks I could make to accommodate my long torso. Barry made me feel comfortable with the bike I chose, which gave me confidence before I even hit the road for my first ride. 

Cycling is not a cheap sport to pick up. But I'm so happy I spent a bit more to get the bike that will support me riding the distance I want to ride. I have no doubts about the bike I ended up with. It feels like the one sure thing in this whole crazy plan

Now let's hope we get some more sun in October so I can continue to ride on the road before the rainy season starts with a vengeance. 

Project: Hillary the Cyclist

One year from now, August 29 - 30, 2015, I will get on my bike and ride 200+km (that's 125ish miles in American) from Vancouver to Seattle with the Ride to Conquer Cancer

I am petrified. 

I am not a cyclist. I am not in horrible shape but I'm not fit. Not even close. There have been many times that I've questioned my decision to do the ride but I'm surrounded by lovely, supportive people who talk me down off the ledge and tell me I can rock it. So I will.

My bike arrives next week. My training will start in September and I plan to document it here, from cycling rookie to endurance ride rockstar (hold me). 

I am not a sick person but some days it's difficult to feel normal. I have some side effects from drugs I will continue to take for the rest of my life, and those side effects encourage the dark and gloomy side of my brain that tells me I can't function as a healthy, normal adult. I want to do this ride to prove to myself that cancer is in my past and isn't my future (and hey, bonus points for being something that can actually help prevent cancer from returning! Yay for healthy choices!) 

So! I need your help. Have you trained for a ride or a run or a race or something similar before? What words of wisdom or tips and tricks do you have for me?