Monthly Archives: April 2012

Today is a well-deserved rest day. In the last 9 days I have biked just about 280 miles. I have put on about 5 lbs worth of muscle and requisite water-retention and I *think* I am slimming down simultaneously. This stretch of riding kicked off with my 50-60 miler I did the other weekend with the headwinds (see post below) and rounded out with 40 miles of challenging climbs in West County.

Yesterday on our team ride, I could not keep up on the loop in Forest Park that we were riding. Figuring I had exhausted my legs in the previous week, I suffered through it only to realize an hour into the ride that I had closed my fresh brake pads completely and they were gripping my rim. That would explain why I was chugging along at about 13 mph on a slight up hill that I could normally do at 20 mph. Instant relief when I fixed them!

My body is starting to accept the volume of cycling that I will be doing. My guess is that it all comes down to fueling properly. The gu’s, the accelerade, the gu brew, etc have been incredibly helpful in seeing me through some of the more challenging rides I’ve done in the last week. I also think it’s helped me build muscle… I’m certainly filling out my jeans differently in the last week.

I found a t-shirt that I’m thinking I’m going to have to get! 

Definitely felt that way before!

My fundraising total is up to $6,425, but I’m still about $1500 off my goal. Quilt raffle tickets are still for sale until May 28th! I have a brunch fundraising event happening on May 5th at Salt where 20% of proceeds will go toward my fundraising total. There are only 15 or 16 riders this year so every bit of extra fundraising we can do will count!

I’m also trying to find a good way to make some sassy American Lung Association/Big Ride t-shirts for us riders to wear on the trip. I want to wear a t-shirt proudly when I’m not in my awesome Big Ride bike jersey:

Anyway, I am finally getting there. 250 miles per week is attainable even with a busy work schedule. Eat, sleep, work, ride. Luckily this summer it will just be eat, sleep, ride!



I was thrilled to discover that the weather forecast for Sunday cleared right up– rain had been predicted many days prior and after the crummy weather on Saturday I was glad it was going to let up so I could get my second 50 mile of the year in. The plan was simple: 50 easy, flat miles. I’ve got an awesome new saddle that is one with my bottom (Specialized Ruby Expert), I had all kinds of fun endurance nutrition packets to try out (Hammer Perpetuem, Hammer gels, Gu Brew, Hammer Recoverite), and I had a nice part sunny day before me. How could it possibly go wrong?

My destination of choice was the Missouri/Mississippi confluence, as viewed from the Columbia Bottoms Conservation Area. I can take the Riverfront Trail… a flat, fantastic route (although it sometimes smells like either diesel or a fish processing pier when you’re closer to the city) that zips you straight up to the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge (former Route 66). Then you can follow the road North for another 8ish miles into the Bottoms.

Fantastic shot of the bottoms that I found on Panoramio. Taken and enhanced by user Oneofsix.

Everything about the ride there was fantastic. As I was coming down Grand Ave to where it meets Chouteau, I saw a PHASES jersey zip by! I knew I had to catch up because there aren’t many of us sporting these jerseys yet. Turns out it was another of my trainer Zach’s disciples, Dave, a friend of his who is training for a killer 50 mile mountain bike race in Arkansas! We had done the same route to the Bottoms in January so we rode together for a few miles until he flatted. Alas, I continued on without him! (Later I saw him on the way back and he said he had three flats total– now THAT is persistence! I would have given up and called James for a pick up!) Anyway, as I was saying, the ride was pretty great. The smell of flowers punched through the air… erased the stinky fish and barge smells of the start of the RFT. I was flying along. The sun was mostly hiding behind clouds so my lack of sunglasses was no biggie. I spotted some massive wild turkeys picking their way along the grassy banks of the Mississippi. I rescued some baby turtles that had found their way onto the road in the Bottoms.

The confluence was pretty cool. I tried to spend some time reflecting on how these two massive rivers drain most of the continental US. It’s one of those things where once you get thinking about where all that water had been, you start thinking about how the matter I’m taking in and moving back out– food, air, water, etc… was all there since the beginning. Oh to be a little atom– the things it has seen in it’s lifetime!

Almost immediately as I rode back from the Confluence I noticed that Ride was not so easy anymore. In fact the headwind was so vicious in the Bottoms that bugs were getting blown into my skin and stinging. I was moving about 10 mph. I saw people time trialing there too– I couldn’t help but feel sorry for them.

The ride back was a little bonkers. A friend from a cycling forum calls it “Paying the Piper”. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was riding right into the eye of sustained 30 mph winds with 46 mph gusts. What a day to actively choose NOT to bring my sunglasses. My eyelashes were sticking together! All manner of debris found their way into my eyes it seemed. The sun was bearing down harder– another story all together– I’ll get there. The humidity seemed more palpable as the temperature climbed. I came across many other struggling riders who all made the same insane choice to ride that day. We commiserated for a bit and then would then part ways. I thought maybe the flood wall would shield me from the wind, but no… the wall was oriented north-south, so it didn’t matter which side of the wall I was on, I was still getting blown half to heck.

Start of the floodwall on RFT! Credit to Flickr user Stujoe!

Downtown St. Louis got busy while I was out. Between the NRA conference, opening weekend with the Cards, a St. Louis Blues game, and the St. Louis Marathon, there were plenty of unpredictable/ distracted drivers and pedestrians to dodge. I rolled home and promptly demanded food. Discovered that YES, I can get a nasty sunburn in April in St. Louis (YET AGAIN– I feel like I learn this lesson every year). It’s not even an acceptable even sunburn. I’ve got harsh jersey lines and a serious watch stripe. I should have known better. I just should have. I wore long sleeves to school today to hide my shame.

Anyway, I engorged myself on Lebanese food at The Vine, kicked my legs up and proceeded to do almost nothing for the rest of the day except eat, drink water, and apply Palmer’s cocoa butter lotion to my sunburn every 15 minutes or so.

In spite of all the madness yesterday, today was great! We headed to Forest Park for practice and did laps around the Jewelbox, logging 25 miles or so by the end of practice. I also did another 12 or so home. I can’t believe how hungry I was when I got home– even after the two Speed-like “Roctanes” I consumes and the two bottles of Gu Brew. Tomorrow will be another 50 mile day– riding to school, with the team and back home again. Should be good! Just gotta keep eating!

On that note, i will leave you with this video (not quite what I experienced, but it FELT this way).

It’s finally starting to sink in.

I think the feeling started momentarily after I reached my $6000 fundraising minimum. I am going on this ride. There was still a chance I might not go before I reached the minimum. I’m hearing a Phantom of the Opera tune somewhere in here… “Past the point of no return…”

The fear might be enhanced because of the way I’ve been feeling. If you’ve been following along with the blog you know that I’ve been working with my trainer, Zach Brace, since December. I’ve been working hard gaining muscle and losing fat. At the end of February, cycling season started. It’s been difficult to find time to strength train (once per week would be enough, but I haven’t managed that). Anyway, I met with Zach Sunday only to discover that I couldn’t do half of what I could do in February. In fact, my riding since Spring Break had been terrible during practice. Simple things were wearing me out.

My conclusion is that I wasn’t getting enough calories, in spite of eating to satiety at every meal. And in the absence of dietary calories during cycling practice? My body cannibalized my own major muscle groups. I’ve been burning muscle for a month. Needless to say, I have barely been able to walk since waking up Monday. I rode on Monday (because it felt ok to ride) but that only set me back further. I’m learning some hard lessons this week.

Thus, I have discovered I need to eat more. Eating until I’m full is not enough. I need more more MORE calories. Charlton, our ride director, says that riders will be burning between 4,000 and 11,000 calories per day. I’m not sure where I fall in that spectrum yet, but basically I’ll be eating constantly. Liquid calories will be key. Diluted gatorade power works for now, but I’ll probably see about picking up some Cytomax or the like for when my training gets extra intense. One rider last year drank recoverite after every day of riding and never experienced muscle soreness really. I might have to look into that. Also compression tights!

It’s hard to imagine riding as much as I’m going to be still– even though I’m currently riding 5-6 days a week. I’m still only riding 100-200 miles per week right now. Probably closer to 100. Time to up the ante!

Today I reached my $6,000 fundraising minimum. My supporters have been amazing! There was a time when $6,000 felt so far away… as if I would never reach it. There have been disappointments along the way, yes, but such is the nature of the process. Heck– even at $6,000 I am still experiencing disappointments! The quilt raffle has been instrumental in reaching this milestone, but independent donations make up the largest portion of the $6,000. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of my friends, family, and even complete strangers!!!

I’d like to use up some space on the interweb to thank everyone!

Lois Ava-Matthew and Michael Matthew

James Parker

Jay Powers and Diane Rene

Andrew Elia

Meghan Clark

Edward Quintanilla


MICDS Faculty

Gary and Kathie Groenwold

Janice Douglass

Timothy Dedman

Becky Young

Mary Bell Young

Mary Ann Pollard

Rebecca Steffens

Bryce Carlson

Allison Bench

Eli Gabaldon

Christian Cueto

Janet Lemon

Tara Bonebrake

Joanne Petithory

Sharon Newman

Mindy Duncan

Michael Rys

Samantha and Aaron Raphael

Janice Wagner

Kate Elmer

Mimi Boothby

Nicole Thomas

Robyn Maislin

Teresa Carey

Jesse Eidsness

Susan Menzies

Pete Zrioka

Virginia Mitchell

KB Mehl

Anne Williamson

Nancy Pierson

Christy Moore

Jen Schuckman

Maryanne Gorman

Prabhat Acharya

Chona Guiang

Susan Jones and Alan Douglass


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