Tuesday, June 16, 2015

On to the Next One- My Next Adventure

      Literally everyone and their mothers (for real, several mothers!) have asked me, "Ok, what's next?" As if training for and completing 140.6 miles wasn't enough! As if the months of blood, sweat, and tears of training wasn't crazy enough.

    Well, apparently it wasn't! I'm not sure I remember how I heard about it, but one night a few weeks prior to IMTX, I read into the Race Across America. It's a 3,000 mile race from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.
Excited to go around the Smokey mountains. Not excited about Kansas.
You have 12 days to complete it.
That's a minimum of 250 miles per day. 
That's about 16 hours a day on a bike (The same length of my slow Ironman!)
IF I can keep it at a 15.5mph average (I believe this is do-able, since normally I'm 17-18)
That's 4,000 calories a day just during riding. 
That's at least 3 sets of brand new tires, if not more.
That's 3 brand new chains, if not more.
That's probably 20 tubes, with my luck!
That's only about 6 hours of sleep a night.
That sounds totally, completely amazing.

This is a feat only completed by a few hundred people since its inception. The number is so low, you get a lifetime-bib number as a finisher. When you consider women solo riders, the numbers are even more sparse. From the assistant race director:

Total number of solo finishers (male & female): 288 on conventional bikes (excluding tandems and unofficial finishers)
Total number of solo female finishers:  35 (This is going to change!)
Number of different countries these women came from: 10 
Number of multi-time female winners: 3 (Seana Hogan, 6 wins - most ever of M & F, Susan Notorangeto - 2 wins, Cassie Lowe - 2 wins) (Hello, new heroes!)
Number of multi-time female finishers: 10

Elevation map of the route. Second half MIGHT be a little faster!
   My mind was made up pretty quickly. The next morning, I texted my friend Sandra and asked her to crew for me. Her response? "No way!" Not because she didn't want to help (She flew from Colorado just to watch me suffer through the Ironman!) but because she wanted to race! This is why we get along so well- we're equally crazy, masochistic, thrill-seekers who want to show the world women can do it, whatever "it" is. She's already bought a bike and has been blazing the trails around Denver ever since. 

  In order to do the race, we're going to have to qualify. This means completing a 400-mile qualifier and we've chosen the Texas race. It starts and ends close to where I live, covers challenging terrain without it being mountains, and allows us both sufficient time to train. In March of 2016, we'll get a good taste of whether or not we want to do this for real! (We do.)

   Of course, waiting until 2017 is just too much time between now and our next challenge, so we're also signing up for Ironman Boulder 2016! She'll have the advantage of training in altitude. I'll have the advantage of coming from Texas summer heat to beautiful Colorado. We're both hopefully going to have a great time.
Just a liiiiiitle hillier than IMTX! ;)
    The good news is, the bike is always my favorite leg and I'm so excited to see our entire country (minus the mid-west parts) on my second-favorite mode of transportation after horses. My butt and husband may hate me after these 12 days, but I've got their support for now!

Bryce: "Sooo, you don't want me to do this ride WITH you right?"
Me: "No, I need you to crew."
Bryce: "Good. I'd much rather drive across America. You go for it."

Sure will!

We're going to need at least a two-man crew, a van, a hotel plan (Bryce refuses to camp the whole time) and a whole lot of sponsors. I plan on making the event a big fundraiser for the charity I work for (with the hopes that this will make the whole event work-related and I don't have to use 9 days of vacation, but also to drum up some press for our mission!)  Sandra has her crew, I still need one more on mine. Wanna join me?

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