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Canada to Mexico 2005

Aaron’s Training Journal

September 4 , 2005: Here Goes Nothing

It's hard to believe it was about 11 months ago that Eric and I started talking about and planning this trip. Anticipation truly does make time go by more quickly, but what an incredible and challenging 11 months it's been. I feel better than I've ever felt in my entire life, physically and mentally. I've become a morning person, which is something that I NEVER thought would happen. I sleep better and I don't feel as tired throughout the day (with the exception of the occasional morning that I got up at 5:30am-ish and crashed around 3pm, as my office mate can attest to). The downside? I feel like I've gotten a lot more serious, which is good and bad. I've become much more assertive, which is something I guess all of us can use... it just seems a bit out of character for me.

I feel like this is the end of the first part of a 2 part challenge. Who knows, this may have even been the DIFFICULT part. I suppose I'll find out soon enough. Am I ready? Mentally, yes. Physically, I think so. The final week of training ended on a very positive note. Had a few strong 30+ mile rides before work and got to relax this weekend. I'll probably head out for one last spin before I pack the bike up (flight leaves at 7:50am tomorrow). Thanks to everybody for listening to (or reading about) my biking stories and training complaints. It really helped to have the support of my friends and family. Now it's show time... there are lime margaritas and coronas waiting for us in Mexico.

Check out my ride journal beginning Sept 8 for updates along the way.


August 27, 2005: Burnout

This morning I was planning on participating in a 60 mile group ride on Skyline Drive. When I awoke to pouring rain, the onset of training burnout became official. I'm not sure if it's training burnout or anticipation burnout, but at this point, I feel that if I have to ride on one more mile of road or path in the DC area, I'm going to scream. I was really looking forward to a change of scenery this morning, and now I'm faced with doing another 50 miles on the W&OD trail in the rain. You know that one album that has been on heavy rotation in your car, the one where you know exactly which song will come up next, even which lyric, or even note? That is what the W&OD has become to me after 8 months of training. As I ride, I say to myself... "here comes that rest station, bridge, soccer field, etc.". Every once in a while I can throw the bike on the car and drive out of the city for a change of scenery, but as we all know, work gets in the way and the local trails and roads become a matter of convenience. I'm so completely ready for this trip. I think I have been for the past 2 months, and that's what's getting to me. I'm done with training. I want to go. Enough is enough. Only 11 days until ride time...


August 25, 2005: Like Mother Like Son

My wonderful mom had a pretty major bike wreck this morning, but fortunately she is ok. She was descending on one of the steeper grades of the W&OD trail before sunrise and a rabbit ran into her path. She's not sure if she hit the critter or jammed on the brakes, but she went over the handlebars and suffered many scrapes, bruises, and a broken hand. In true form, she is most upset about the fact that she has to wear a cast and won't be able to ride for a month or so. Keep her in your thoughts, and if you'd like to pass on any "get well" wishes, you can email them to me and I'll see to it that she gets them. She'd certainly appreciate it.


August 14 , 2005: Training in the Sweltering Heat

The heat this weekend was brutal, as anybody that lives in the DC area knows (or much of the East Coast for that matter). However, with only about 3 weeks until our departure for the West Coast, the training must continue. Saturday I rode solo for about 70 miles on the W&OD trail to Sterling, VA (around Dulles Airport). It's funny, on the weekends, that trail is usually packed, but not this weekend. With code red alerts in effect, for better or worse, I had the trail to myself. Today, Eric, Tim and myself knocked out a 60 mile training ride to Poolesville, Va, followed by lunch and drinks on the Georgetown waterfront. Eric was proudly sporting our "official" Canada to Mexico Jersey (see glowing orange in photo to left). You see, when we ordered these suckers, they appeared to be a mellow orange and gray combo (I guess orange and gray is becoming the official color of this fiasco). Well, when they arrived, it was more of a day-glo/construction cone orange. At least whenever we have them on, we'll be highly visible. Unfortunately, any drivers that pass us will have three glowing orange dots burned into their retinas for the remainder of the day. Click here to see some more photos from the ride.


July 24, 2005: Bay to Beach Ride

Only one month left... let the serious training begin. This weekend I rode from The Chesapeake Bay, across the Delmarva Peninsula to Dewey Beach Delaware. (Some friends had a place so I crashed with them.) 200 mile round trip. Was a great ride through some scenic countryside. Lots of corn and soybean fields, chicken farms and not much else.


July 19, 2005: Crash Report

I've had about 1300 crash-free miles, so I guess it was bound to happen. On the way home from my training ride this morning, I was crossing some recessed railroad tracks (where they are cut into the roadway so cars can cross them). My front tire went into the groove and over I went. Fortunately, there was metal at the rail crossing, so I slid on the metal mostly, then hit the pavement and got a little road rash on my elbow and arm.

Like a robot, I jumped up immediately, got on the bike and started riding home at a furious pace. It was like I was in auto-mode. Didn't check myself, the bike, or weather I had lost anything in the spill. I guess it was shock. Wasn't until I got home about 5 miles later that I stopped to assess the situation. Bike had minor scrapes, and as for me, a bruised hand, hip and arm, and a small patch of rash on the elbow. Could have been a LOT worse.

Anyway, off to bed. Long ride tomorrow morning. Gotta get back on that horse, right?


July 10, 2005: NYC Triathlon

Well, I survived, and it was an AWESOME race! After getting kicked about 20x and swallowing about 1/2 gallon of the sparkling fresh Hudson River, I had a great 25 mile bike ride. What a rush. Ended up cranking out a 20.5 mph average, which considering the rolling hills was much better than I anticipated. And the 6 mile run... well, I finished without walking, but it definitely was not my favorite portion of the race. My goal, 3 hours. Final time, 2:49. Incredible race, incredible weekend. Click here to see some race photos.


June 24, 2005: I Hate Hills

Took the day off today and did a 50 mile training ride with Jason and Sean. Great day, a little on the warm side (high 80s) but overall, couldn't have asked for a better one. It's funny though, I think that I'm in great shape until I ride with some of my friends that have been road riding for years. Especially in the area of hill climbs. I really think Jason intentionally cranks as hard as he can up every single incline just to show me how far I have to come before the big ride. Thanks for putting me in my place punk... just kidding. I appreciate the push. Lord knows I need every push I can get over the next couple of months.


June 20, 2005: My Toe Hurts

So I've gotten to the point where I feel comfortable riding 100 miles, and I'm feeling very confident with my training progress, so naturally, something ridiculous has to go wrong. Last night, while walking on a dock in my sandals, I stubbed my big toe. Harder than I ever have in my entire life. I really felt like I was going to vomit. I think that's been one of the more frustrating things in my training routine... these annoying little setbacks (head colds, allergies, strained muscles, stubbed toes, etc). I went for a 15 mile ride tonight along the Potomac, and all I could think about was my throbbing big toe grinding against my shoe with every pedal stroke. I have the NYC Triathlon coming up on July 10, so hopefully this little piggie gets back in line so I can get on with the progress. Signing up for the NYC Tri was for several reasons... The first being that it would give me the motivation to get out and train on a daily basis (shorter term goal than the big trip in Sept), and for the thrill of riding on a closed West Side Highway along the banks of the Hudson on Manhattan! I mean, come on, that's just going to be too damn cool! Ok, off to bed, have to get up early and swim tomorrow. Somehow I think swallowing pool water is much better than swallowing water from the Hudson River... *gulp*


June 4, 2005: Training Ride with Team CSC in Philly

Ok, I had been psyched about this one for weeks. I was sent to Philly as the official Team CSC photographer for the annual USPRO championship race. As an added bonus, I got to join the team for a 3-hour training ride through the streets and suburbs of Philly. For the first hour of the ride, it was pouring down rain, but honestly, I was just so stoked to be out there (I even got a team uniform, which I got to keep!). After doing the Manayuk "wall" side by side with Bobby Julich (Bronze medallist in Athens 2004), many of the other non-team members broke off and headed back. It was at that point that I found myself surrounded by pro riders as we flew through the streets of philly (some drivers cheering, others cursing). Total ride time was about 3 hours, logging about 50 miles. Won't be forgetting that day any time soon. And the race the following day was amazing as well. To check out the photos, click here.