Friday, May 25, 2018


For the last 25 years I have used bicycling as a form of exercise that I truly enjoy.  I have been mostly an average rider with average abilities.

In the early years, my brother talked me into attempting the annual Ride Across Indiana (RAIN), a 160 mile one day event.  It took a couple of attempts, but I was finally able to successfully complete this ride and took it on as a annual challenge.  Each year I would try to beat my time from the prior year.  This helped provide me a much needed incentive to stay in shape.

About 10 years ago, I got the idea from a friend about jointly attempting a transcontinental bicycle ride.  I did research and found several tour companies that provided fully supported transcontinental rides, with most taking around 60 to 70 days to complete what is known as the "Northern Route".  One tour company, PAC Tour offered a northern route ride every two or three years over the course of 32 days and had a sterling reputation in the riding community.  That grabbed my interest - I could handle 32 days.  60 to 70 days was too long for me.  The only catch - I would have to be able to handle an average of 115 miles per day including climbing through several mountain ranges, with only one rest day.

I slowly started building my long-distance riding conditioning, then tested my ability to handle multiple days of high mileage through the annual RAINStorm ride - 100 miles per day for 5 days, then the RAIN ride on day 6.  This was tough, but I found that after 3-4 days that I actually started getting stronger and rode better for RAIN than I had in prior years.  I did this for a couple of years, then decided it was time to tackle the transcontinental.

I signed up for the PAC Tour 2016 Northern Transcontinental.  PAC Tour is owned by Lon Haldeman and Susan Notorangelo, Race Across America (RAAM) record holders from the early years.  Lon and Susan provide solid help and guidance for riders to prepare for this daunting challenge.  The training plan ramps up over a 12 week period, using a target of 300 miles per week with the longest ride increasing from 100 miles to 200.  When I saw this plan, my first thought was "oh no, what have I gotten myself into!!!".

I approached the training as I do any overwhelming project -  just one step, one day, one week at a time.  The training plan actually worked.  I was able to progress up to 200 miles for the weekly long-rides, but the pain of sitting on a bike for that long was not my idea of fun.  After fully completing the training plan, I told my wife that I would never do something like this again.

Then the worst happened - on my final training ride before flying out I was attacked by a pit bull and had a major crash.  I ended up in the hospital with a broken collar bone, cracked ribs, cracked sternum, and a brain that was loopy.  All my training time was wasted.  I had to cancel the trip.

So, after saying that I would never train like that again, I just could not let that dream die and decided to try one more time.  So I registered for the 2018 PAC Tour Northern Transcontinental.  Here I am again, in the final month of that training plan getting ready to hit the dreaded 200 mile rides.  That is the price to pay to be able to truly enjoy the transcontinental.

I am not a good blogger, but intend to provide a daily update (when I can) as I progress on the ride, which starts July 8, so that family and friends can follow my progress on my well past due mid-life crises adventure.