I'm Randy Mouri and this blog is about my quest to be an official finisher in the Race Across AMerica (RAAM), the toughest endurance race in the world. It's over and I became an official solo finisher in 11 days, 1 hour and 13 minutes! We continue to raise money and awareness on behalf of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (Habitat NoVa). If you would like to make a donation to Habitat NoVa, please visit my page on Habitat’s site. Endless thanks to our sponsors and all the folks that have made such generous contributions. Team Mouri would not have been able to travel so comfortably, which certainly may have changed the outcome of the race.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 16; Photo reminder

Many of you may not know that there are photos available for viewing through the following link: 2010 Elite PAC Tour

All of the photos were taken by me on and off the bike. The only day that I did not take photos was today. I thought I needed to focus on my saddle issues and not worry about anything else. As it turns out I was able to manage through the day with better comfort than I had the previous day. I have 3 more days to go and figure that I could ride them out standing, if need be.
We'll be in Elkins, WV tomorrow evening and onto Orange, VA the following. We've been informed that if there are any interested parties that would like to bike in with us on the final day (Orange to Williamsburg) that they are welcome. Unfortunately it is a Thursday, so I know that would be difficult for most. Just let me know, so I can inform the staff. If you prefer a shorter route, you can meet us at the lunch stop, which is scheduled at mile 88.7, at the Bethlehem Community Center (.8 miles past the Bethlehem Church) on 606 (E of Ashland).

So far this has been a wonderful journey. A fabulous way to see and bike across the country. I would recommend being in a little bit better shape than I was going into an event like this, but it is certainly achievable by all of the people I know. The PAC Tour crew is top notch! They really work hard to keep you comfortable and to make sure that you have everything that you need to have a successful tour. All you have to do is bike, eat and sleep for 19 straight days (or for however many days you sign up for). Details of all this will follow when I'm home.

Rob and I rode the last couple of days together steady and strong. For a guy 9 years my senior, he's really an amazing athlete/cyclist. We'll be hitting the hills tomorrow, so the field will be stretched out all over the place. Right now I better hit the sack, as 5am will be here before I know it. There's a 22 year old that everyone will be trying to keep up with.

See most of you soon!!!

Day 15; Still going

Today we rode from Crawfordsville, OH to Greenville, IN. One more state to check off our list. We rode just north of Indianapolis and I thought how fast I could get to the end, if I only had an indy car. Oh well!!! We'll be in Virginia in 3 more days with one additional day to the end.

At this point, I'm aggressively fighting the saddle sores. That appears to be the only nagging issue right now. My sore neck and hands don't even compare--and in fact, I don't even notice them right now as being painful. I've been combating the saddle sores from day 2 on, but this afternoon they have reached a new level. Post lunch I tried to get back on the bike and my crotch literally felt like it was on fire. Rob saw me dropping back and asked if I was ok. I could only tell the truth and replied that my shorts were on fire and I had to do something. I've been carrying Lanacane with me for emergency purposes and it was time to put it to use. It took me several minutes to figure out how to apply it well riding the bike 18mph, but I managed and it helped me get to the next stop. I've gone through several combinations of ointments and Chamois Cream then combinations of shorts. They've all helped temporarily, but would eventually fail in the long term. So these last 4 days could be very testing for me.

It has been difficult to keep up with everything going on, so after this is all over I hope I can remember enough to do a nice recap of the entire event.

Friday, May 28, 2010

DAY 13 - Over 2,000 miles

We just completed a wonderful ride through St Louis, MO.  We rode a good portion of the bike trail and had a nice ride.  A bit shorter than the other days, so it was nice to only log in 144 miles today.   Rob will have the details of the ride on his blog.

Over the past couple of days I had the opportunity to ride with a couple of the older gentlemen with the tour. Hans Jorgen Binder, 57 years old (left) and Gene Ter Horst, 59 years old (right).
Hans is from Denmark and has been riding for many years.  His wife Lone (pronounced "Luna," as the Luna Bar), is a Regional Brevet Administrator running brevets out of the Copenhagen area, so if you're looking to do some rides in Denmark you should look them up.  Hans works for the Ford Motor Company in Copenhagen in the finance department.  He says it's a small division and does well with only 10% of the market share. Hans has been traveling to the U.S. for the past 5 years doing PAC Tours and sight seeing around the country.  He and Lone enjoy the climate and landscape of Arizona the most.

Gene is from Byron Center, MI and turned 59 in April.  His wife Mary, doesn't cycle, but enjoys her time doing her thing while Gene is on his bike.  Gene is a truck driver for ABF and is looking forward to retirement in a few years, so he can put in more time on the bike.  When Gene isn't riding, he's busy running marathons to stay in shape.  He's run 22 marathons thus far and has never had any knee issues.  No triathlons for Gene.  He says the water above his ankles frightens him.

Both men are strong cyclists and are riding well.  If you're approaching the 60 year old mark and don't think that you can ride, take a look at these two.

Rob and I continue to ride strong and are doing a little better than just surviving the tour, which was my initial goal.  Rob is happy with maintaining his pace, but I've been looking to mix it up a bit.  I've been riding harder at different times and have manage a good ride in the morning, afternoon and evening, but have failed to put together a good ride for the entire day.  So this will be my goal for the next 6 days.  I'll keep you posted.  And don't forget to check out Rob's blog for the ride details.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 10 Update

Our only tandem riders on the elite tour are Jim Slauson and Lara Sullivan.  Jim is a 46 year old ER Surgeon from San Antonio, TX  and Lara is a 42 year old woman from Ely, MN and is currently caring for her ailing father.  They are both members of the PAC Tour 10,000 mile club and recently started riding together.  Both are strong and determined cyclist and are riding very well.  Most of the hilly days are a challenge for them, but they manage their energy efficiently and are never the last ones up the hill.

Today was like most other days. In fact, at the start of the tour the message board said to think of the Elite Tour as "Ground Hog Day!"  Picture Bill Murray waking up, doing the same thing over and over again (only on a bike).  Though we aren't trying to put ourselves out of our misery, we do continue to experience the same aches and pains that are associated with endurance cycling.  A sore bum, numb hands, swollen feet, sun burned body parts. tired quads and hamstrings, etc.  Pick a body part, ride long enough and eventually it will hurt.  It's all about managing the pain and discomfort, just like life in general.  Though it may not be directly related it certainly can apply to anything that you encounter in your everyday lives.  This stuff makes you stronger.  It makes you wiser.  It makes you cope better with the stress you encounter in everyday situations.  If you don't believe me, try it for one year.  You'll be amazed at how it will change your life.  Just ask for advise before you start.  You have to crawl before you can ride.

Day 10 pics had difficulty uploading, so I'll have to give those another try when I get to Osage Beach, MO.  Sorry Heidi W., but Kansas was not the most scenic state on our route thus far.

Thanks again for all of the comments, etc.  Keep the positive energy coming.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 7 Update

As you may have read on Rob's blog, Day 7 was the second time in PAC Tour history that all riders had to be sagged during a ride.  There is a little bit of discrepancy in the details.  Rob was in one van with Lon Haldeman and I was in the other van with Susan Notorangelo. Rob's information says that this was the second time that riders were sagged for safety reasons.  The information that I received was that this was the first time for safety reasons, but the second time in history.  The first time was because the tour took riders via ferry across a bay, but when the riders arrived the ferry service was closed.  So all of the riders had to be sagged around the bay.

In our case, we had high gusting winds (over 60mph) coming from unpredictable directions.  Needless to say, after two of the riders went down, they decided to sag us in.  In the sag vehicle you can see Susan Notorangelo (RAAM legend; married to Lon Haldeman) in the back with Lara Sullivan from Ely, MI.  Then you have (from left to right) yours truly, Jon Batek from Batavia, IL, Max Hogan from Camarillo, CA and Jim Slauson from San Antonio, TX.  Jim Captains the a tandem with Lara.

Most riders signing up for a tour of this intensity want to ride every mile.  But after experiencing this particular descent, no one complained too much about missing the second half of the ride.  For me, it was an opportunity to try to recover a little more for another long ride (193 miles) tomorrow morning.  We're starting an hour earlier 5:30am to allow for the added distance.  We'll see how things go.

Saddle sores are still uncomfortable, but not getting any worse.  We probably go through a couple tubes each day.  It's funny how the women pull down their shorts like the guys to lather up.  It's like family out here and everyone is going through similar things (discomfort).  Some riders are obviously in better shape than others.  I started out on the "not so good shape" side, but am slowly creeping up.  As long as I can keep the saddle sores at bay and the neck feeling good, I should finish fine.  But it's still one day at a time.  I'm still working on placing captions with the photos.  Sorry for the delay, but keep checking.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 6 of the Elite PAC Tour

We crossed the Rocky Mountains via Wolf Creek Pass.  It's a long 8 mile climb over the mountains and everyone made it fine.  If you know about the DC Randonneurs, climbing is just what we do.  Maybe for a shorter period of time, but nonetheless, I'm sure that everyone in our club would have enjoyed this section.  I hope you can view the photos to get a little perspective of the grade.

My maximum speed descending from the pass was 55mph.  I wanted to reach 60, but strong cross-winds made me grab for the brakes.  On a calmer day, who knows how fast I could've gone.  I know a couple of tandem groups that would scream down that section.  The lone tandem in our group on this tour.melted their rims coming down the last pass on the previous day and had to swap out wheels.  I'm hoping to spend more time to update the who's who on the elite tour, but time goes by so quickly.  It's constant moving and preparing for the next day.

I just wanted to let everyone know that tweets are hard to send in some of the areas we ride through, so I'm apologizing now for the gaps between some of the updates there.  Just let it be known that I'm combating saddle issues, some neck issues and sleep issues.  With 13 days remaining, I can only take one day at a time.  It's been a slight suffer fest for me, as I expected, but it's an enjoyable hurt.  Each pain that I can overcome makes me feel that much stronger (not that I want any more pain), but I think you know what I mean.  That said, I'm going to try to get a good night sleep for once and hope that the day tomorrow is a little better.

Thank you for all your comments thus far and for all your support.  I think of everyone often as I'm riding along, so if you get that wierd feeling inside...that's me thinking of you!

Those of you that are riding.  Hope you're riding strong and hope the brevet series is going well (if you're a rando-type).  Looking  forward to hooking up to tell some stories.

Hugs to everyone!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Sorry I haven't update the blog since I arrived to CA, but the laptop I brought with me is not connecting wireless for some reason.   I'm sure it's operator error.  I'll see if I can bring you up to speed. 

Since I arrived in San Diego, I met both Lon and Susan who are running the tour.  Both wonderful people and legends in the cycling world (as you may have read on their web page).  My bike had arrived safely and I unpacked and assembled it shortly after checking into the hotel and meeting the majority of the crew.  They were all very busy prepping for the arrival of the other riders.  I arrived 2 days early to get a little acclimated to the temperatures, but the San Diego temps were very similar to what we had out in Fairfax, Virginia.  The riders that did show on Friday were all treated to a short ride and breakfast (16 miles).  You can view the photos from Susie's post on Day 1.

So far it's been from San Diego to El Centro to Wickenburg and now I'm sitting in Flagstaff.  We've gone from high temps of 106 in the desert to the projected lows of 34 for this mornings start (I haven't opened the door yet and don't want to).  The journey thus far has been exactly as predicted...a suffer fest!  Though I did want to suffer for the experience of it all.  I mean - heck - why ride with all of these great cyclist and not suffer at least a little!

Rob Welsh has been posting the details of the ride on his blog and it's very thorough, so rather than me copying or retyping the exact same thing, I'm just going to request that you visit his blog for the details, since we've been bouncing the details back and forth off of each other. Click here to go to Rob's blog.

I'm just going to ramble on about the tour and what a typical day consists of.  That's probably all the time I will have for today.  There's a message board that sits out by the support vehicles with all the special details that aren't covered in the packet of cue sheets we received at registration.  So usually it's an important item to glance at when you arrive after your ride.  Places to eat in the area are the biggest hit, then the massage room follows and then any route alterations, etc.  Each morning starts with a 6am breakfast (varies a little depending on the distance of the route).  You have less than a half hour to eat, because you have to load your gear in the gear trailer and be ready to go by 6:30am.  Riders are off and separated into 3 groups by speed.  The riders take off from fastest to slowest.  Rob and I have been running in the fast and middle group so far.  Out on the route, there are stops every 20-30 miles (give or take a few).  As soon as you arrive at a stop you MUST wash your hands immediately, as to not contaminate the food and coolers with any body fluid that you've been wiping away during your ride (no need to get graphic here).  The wash station is cooler of warm water mixed with soap.  Simple and functional.  Pour some in your hands, rub it around and wipe it off with a paper towel.  Then it's onto the food.  Grab what you want, fill your pockets, don't forget to refill your bottles and then reapply sun screen, and chamois cream (aka butt butter).  You needed to stay protected as any small irritation can grow into a bigger problem down the road.  Some time around noon the food station turns into lunch and they usually have a pretty nice spread laid out for the riders.  I had a nice juicy cheeseburger with rice, pasta, beans and chips yesterday.  I can't even remember what I ate on Day 1 and 2.  I think I was too tired to recall having eaten.  So then the ride ends, you rack your bike and wash it as to keep the rooms clean, shower up, pick a place to eat, rinse out your smell clothes or wash them if you plan on reusing it before 3 days (laundry day is every 3 days), go eat, get your massage if you've signed up for one, check the temps through the next destination to lay out your gear for the next day and then try to recover for the next day.  It may not sound like much, but it is.  Especially when you're tired and sore and hungry and sore (it's worth mentioning twice).  We're hoping that the terrain will allow for an easier ride today to give the legs a break.  We'll see!  Right now I need to get ready for the day.  I was hoping to keep this a little more organized, but it's going to be a hack job to say the least.  I'll come back and explain photos etc. later.  Sorry to keep you all waiting!

Monday, May 17, 2010


Day 1 is complete! This post is coming to you from Susie, Randy's wife. Randy was a little tired last night and asked that I let folks know he finished Day 1 successfully. It was hilly and hot and, minus some legs cramps from dehydration at around mile 110, it was a good day. The temps in the desert reached 100 degrees in the shade. He likened one of the descents into the valley to opening the door to a hot oven. Just a blast of heat. Yowch! On to Day 2. He was up this morning at 2:30 to start the ride at 3:00. They hope the early start will spare them some heat.  It's a long day today -- 220 miles -- and I expect him to roll into Wickenburg, Ariz around 9:00. Stay tuned!

For photos please click on the event day below:

Pre Ride
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I received a nice send off from my office this afternoon.  After hearing about my 14.6% body fat (which they all thought was a little high), they decided that I need to add on even a few more pounds.  A huge chocolate chip cookie!  You can see the piece that I took.  haha!  The writing on the cookie said, "Good Luck Randy."

I had a similar send off when I left for Paris to ride in PBP '07.  They had all signed a USA cycling jersey, wishing me luck in Paris and hoping that I would qualify for RAAM.  I had failed on that attempt, as many of you already know.

So thanks to everyone at my office.  You all are fun to work with and very special people.  I hope to report all good news as I cross the country.

I just double checked my packing and everything is ready to go.  All I need to do now is relax and get my big behind to the airport in the morning.

I'll be tweeting on my Twitter account as well, so join up if you're interested in live updates:


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I've had some requests to elaborate on my bike setup for commuting.  Let it be known that these are my thoughts and preferences.  Many riders out there will have differences of opinion and this is apparent, if you've ever commuted and witnessed the wide range of gear displayed.  Differences in gear are based on (but not limited to) length of commute, style of riding, number of bikes owned and training goals from commuting.  Now this is the way that I see it.

The first and most important setup is not about the bike.  It's the mind-set.  Commuting is what it is!  It is not a race and if you treat it as such, you're going to get into an accident (spin there, spun that)!  I'm sure a lot of my old co-workers are laughing right now and could provide plenty of comments on my battered body (...if anything was on the trail, I was going to race it!)  I'm not saying that you can't push hard...you should, but limit it to sections.  Don't try to push hard the entire way.  Your personal best (PB) is only limited by how lucky you are catching the traffic lights through the city and how crowded the trail happens to be that day.  When you pick your spots to push hard, make sure it's safe for you and those around you.  Now that we have the mental aspect of the ride out of the way let's breakdown the setup:

THE BIKE:  Your commuter bike doesn't need to match the dimensions of your race bike.  As long as you have a proper fit you can use a mt bike, hybrid, fixie, etc., just ride.  You're doing a good thing by commuting.  You're the HULK!  Yes, I said the HULK!  You're turning green,...but happy!  That ever so popular color that will make this world a better place. 

TIP:  If you tend to be a pedal grinder with slow cadence and want to work on increasing your turnover rate, try installing shorter crank arms on your commuter.  You can easily cut 5mm, as a shorter crank arm has no ill effect on your setup.  You do lose a little leverage for steep climbs, but that's what the gears are for.

THE TIRES:  My favorite commuter is an old mountain bike and I do enjoy cruising speeds, so I have 26"x1.25" Performance City Slicks.  You can pump them up to 90 psi and go as fast as any road bike (with the exception of up hills).  If your rims are fitted for schrader valves, you'll want to pick up some rim adapters so you can run presta valves.  Schrader valves aren't designed for high pressure.  If you're running 700s, I suggest a minimum width of 23mm.

TIP:  If your commute takes you over an excessive amount of debris, you may consider tire liners (like Slime Liners).  It's an added layer of protection against punctures.

THE LIGHTS:  I use the Cateye TL-LD500-R, the Cateye HL-EL530 and the Planet Bike Blaze 1 Watt and the Planet Bike Blinky Super Flash.  I have multiple sets of each, because in the early season I'm riding 5 hours in the dark.  It's nice to have redundancy in your lighting in case one should fail.  Something I learned from the DC Randonneurs and it is also a requirement to ride in the brevet series.  I mount a Cateye HL and Blaze on the front bars and a Cateye TL on the back.  The Super Flash is clipped my vest for high traffic areas and for backup.  The Cateye HL has a magnetic switch and is completely waterproof.  It throws a long narrow beam (which some people don't like) down the center of a secondary wide beam.  I aim this light further down the path to spot deer when riding at higher speeds and for descending.  4 AA batteries will provide about 20 hours of usable light (it's rated for 90 hours, which it may do, but the light becomes too dim to provide any distance lighting.)  The Blaze in not water proof, but is good for light drizzle.  It throws a wide beam that is good for close range and has 3 settings (low, high and strobe.)  I use the strobe at dawn and at dusk and as a supplement to the Cateye, when conditions demand more light at close range.  2 AA batteries will provide about 8 hours of usable light.  The lens on the Cateye TL when not turned on is a CPSC approved reflector.  After installing batteries (2 AAA), I run electrical tape around the seal.  This makes the light almost as waterproof as the HL model, but if you're out there long enough I have noticed that moisture will work its way into the unit through the button switch in the back.  Flashing mode, which I use most often while commuting will last about 60 hours.  If you're not on the street you can run it til it dies.  The Blinky Super runs on 2 AAA and has a similar run life.  It's very bright, but has a poor switch location at the bottom of the unit and will fail if exposed to rain for a prolong period of time.  This can be protected with rain gear, since it's clipped to my vest.  If you read the post on the PA Fleche, three riders experienced this issue. 

THE RAIN GEAR:  Let's face it - with rain gear you're either going to get wet from the inside out (via sweat) or from the outside in (via leaky fabric or open areas like the neck and front zipper).  In most situations you should be able to regulate airflow through your jacket to keep you cool, and dry out any buildup of moisture (this is important in cooler temperatures).  I look for a double zipper, plenty of vents and adjustable cuffs.    These are key elements in regulating your body temperature as the heat builds up.  Shower Pass makes some of the best rain gear around.  If there is just a hint of rain, I throw a trash bag in my pack or a cheap plastic jacket that you can pick up for less than $20 at Performance.  And in most cases, in warm weather, I just get wet and dry out when and if the rain stops.  If you have an old nylon jacket, you can try spraying it with a water repellent treatment like ReviveX.  This should be ample to get you through a commute of 30-90 minutes.

Installing fenders will keep you and your bike a little cleaner in the rain.  If you plan on aiding in keeping your feet dryer you need to add mud flaps to approximately 2" from the ground.  Repeat that on the rear and those drafting will love you.

THE ACCESSORIES:   I don't like to carry anything on my back, though I have been adapting to a camelbak for carrying extra fluids on rides with limited control stops.  The first day I ride into the office, I try to bring several changes of clothes and stick them in a file cabinet or desk drawer (if your building doesn't have a locker room).  This leaves me with just the essentials to carry back and forth.  I do have a rack and still mount a rack pack.  I have the Jandd Pack, which is roomy and expandable.    It's easy to carry extra cycling clothes, etc. and keeps everything dry, should it rain.  If you're a minimalist you can carry everything you need for an overnight ride and more.  As essentials, I carry a Brave Soldier Crash pack.  It's light weight and has everything you need to treat minor cuts to road rash.  Two tubes, tire irons, patch kit, a multi tool, and a Road Morph Pump (highly recommended).  This pump works like a mini floor pump.  It will pump up to 120 psi and has a built in gauge, which works well.  This is one of those best buy items.  In my wallet, I have money (cash and credit), health insurance card, id and building passes/keys as needed.  If your commute is short you may opt to not carry some of these items, but there will be a day when you'll be wishing you had.  That's how I learned.  Stuffing grass in your tires when you're out of tubes and patches or CO2 cartridges is no easy task.  And the ride is horrible.  Oh it gets you home or to work at a fraction of the speed and on a very bumpy, unstable ride.  You're better off stashing your bike and shoes, stuffing grass in the bottom of your socks and running home.

Extra helpful items are the bell and the helmet light. A nice soft bell avoids having to call out that your passing every 20 seconds and the helmet light is useful for those early morning or late night mechanical problems.

I'll come back and post some pictures later, but want to get this up for those that have been waiting.  If you have something in particular that you wanted to know, please comment.  I'm sure there are others that are interested as well.  Again, I'm by no means an expert on the subject of commuting.  I can only share with you what works well for me.

Good luck with your commute and hope to see you out there some day...or evening!  It would be fun to exchange ideas over a cold one (and I don't mean sports drink).

Monday, May 10, 2010


I met with Doug Baumgarten of SportFit Lab on Friday, 5/7 to have my body composition tested on the InBody 230.  Here is a brief description of what this device does:

BioSpace InBody Analyzer     We use the InBody 230 bio-impedance analyzer to precisely measure body fat, lean muscle, intracellular water, and extracellular water content.  After years of relying on skinfold calipers, which provide limited data for athletes [and rely on age-based population estimates], we have invested in the latest bio-impedance technology.
     Traditional bio-impedance machines - such as scales you can buy for your home - use only one electrical frequency and two contact points (the feet) to estimate body fat.  Therefore, they must rely on age-, gender-, and activity-based equations to guesstimate the percentage of body fat.  Moreover, they can ONLY estimate body fat and total lean (non-fat) mass - which provides limited information, to say the least.
     InBody utilizes EIGHT separate contact points and two electrical frequencies.  With this technology, we can get DIRECT accurate measurements of body fat, lean muscle, intra- and extra-cellular water - with no "allowances" or fudging for age, gender, or activity level.  Not only does the InBody track your body fat, hydration status, and lean muscle - it does so in 5 SEPARATE BODY SEGMENTS!  The InBody analyzes each arm and leg, as well as the trunk, separately - to determine the precise body composition of each body segment.

The Body Composition Test provides valuable readings for that individual looking to start a weight loss program, the novice athlete that is looking for a benchmark from which to begin a training program, or the more experience athlete that is looking to fine tune their training based on a number of progressive readings (i.e. sweat rate, muscular development or reduction, percent body fat reduction, etc.)

The Body Composition Test detected a right leg length discrepancy (information not shared with Doug prior to the test).  I don't have a great deal of experience with this form of testing, but it was a quick and simple test that gave accurate results.  I was amazed that it picked up on my slight leg length discrepancy by indicating a slightly less lean muscle mass in that leg.  Unfortunately, it did show that I had 14.6% body fat.  A good indication that my training had a long way to go.
Going into the transcontinental tour, I wanted to make sure that I was well hydrated at the cellular level.  The readings indicate good hydration levels with my intracellular levels higher than my extracellular levels, though through extended conversations with highly respected doctors I've learned that these numbers can change drastically and quickly, during exercise and recovery.  The body's goal is to find equilibrium between the two.

My basal metabolic rate (BMR - the minimal number of kcal required to sustain one's weight at a resting state) was 1564 kcal or approximately 2 pints of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey.  I was hoping that this would be higher, but explains my horrible weight gain in the winter months.

For $25 per test for Sport and Health Members (with a 4 test package) I find this a great value for the information you receive.  Not everyone is into the numbers game, but if you're going to monitor progress you have to start taking some measurements and this is a relatively inexpensive start.  If you're interested in the test and want to chat about it, please feel free to contact me.

I will be testing again, after the transcontinental tour to reveal the changes in my body composition after riding over 3,000 miles in 19 days.  There will be a slight lag period between the completion of the event and my testing, but I will do my best to keep this to a minimum to try to get more accurate feedback on the effects of the ride. to re

Friday, May 7, 2010


That would be my wife, Susie.  And she deserves her own special post.  Here she is with her niece, Meghan Foy (the photo was taken by her dear friend Patti Roper).  She is always encouraging and supportive in all of my efforts to pursue my goals and my dreams.  She makes me feel like I'm Lance Armstrong on the bike, Eric Heiden on skates, Mark Spitz in the pool...  No matter what I do, she thinks I'm the best.  It really is a nice feeling.  So what if she can leg press more than I can.  My wife thinks I'm the greatest (...I've considered changing my name to Ali) and that's pretty darn special.  All jokes aside, she is wonderful and will do everything within her power to help me achieve success in everything I do.  She'll drive hundreds of miles to drop off and pick up locations, divert routes for extra support, change many of her plans so I may keep mine, the list is endless.  You have to admire a woman like that...and I DO!

I try my best to not take advantage of her kindness.  There will be times when some training will have to shorten or rescheduled to spend time together and with friends and family.  Let's face it.  This journey will be a huge time commitment and a big test for us to see how we can cope.  But it's this support and encouragement for each other that makes life a journey worth traveling. Try it!  You'll like it!

Susie IS my number one supporter.  She's the best!  And I thank her for making this and all of my journeys so special.  If you're reading this Jake (her nickname), I love you!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Well the first BIG test was qualifying for RAAM, which I did back in September 2009 at the Adirondack 540.  The second BIG test will be coming up soon.  May 16th is the start of the Elite PAC Tour.  Here is a brief description from the web page:  

This tour is only for Elite Riders! Each day is planned to offer the best support and efficiency for riders who want to simulate riding at a Race Across America pace across the country during daylight hours. RAAM winners Lon Haldeman and Susan Notorangelo will help you mentally and physically to succeed during this difficult tour. A recommended training goal is to ride 300 kilometers in 10 hours or complete 350 miles in 24 hours. Our route will follow 75% of the RAAM 2010 route with a good mix of mountains and back roads. Riders who complete 100% of the tour (14 mph minimum elapsed time) will qualify for the Race Across America.
This tour averages 165 miles per day across the deserts, mountains and prairies of the southern and central United States. Full support is offered to keep everyone rolling efficiently across the country. Riders who complete each day within the time limits will also qualify for the Race Across America solo division.

Since I am already RAAM Qualified (RQ'd), it is not crucial that I maintain a fast pace with the front riders.  They will likely be averaging 20-24mph on the bike and I certainly don't have the training miles to take on such a task.  My goal is simple.  And that is to simply endure the drastic changes in terrain and temperature and to complete the tour with a reasonable average speed.  After all, I'll be getting a full night sleep every evening, so I'm hoping for good recovery each day.  The Elite PAC Tour will be my benchmark for where my training needs to be in the following year.  It may end up being a suffer-fest!  We'll have to see what happens.

I do enter into this ride with a little apprehension.  The reason being is that when I sent in my entry form, Lon called me at home and said that I may want to reconsider my entry.  He was basing this on my most recent 100 and 200 mile times.  I haven't ridden 100 or 200 miles for time in ages, so I was basing my times on my latest brevets, which tend to be a little slower, due to the control stops and lunch break.  I think I posted 7 and 15 hours for each.  I promised not to complain and that he could leave my on the side of the road, if need be (the last part is not true, but I thought it added a little drama to this post).  We both agreed that I knew what I was getting into and I would not be asking for a refund, if my ride ended after day 3.

Lon's wife, Susan contacted me later via email and made me feel a little better for holding my ground.  She commended me for my desire to give it a go.  I'll have a full story when I return June 4th and hope to provide updates along the way.  Here's the itinerary:

  • 16th - San Diego, CA to El Centro, CA (126mi)
  • 17th - El Centro, CA to Wickenburg, AZ (220mi)
  • 18th - Wickenburg, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ (154mi)
  • 19th - Flagstaff, AZ to Kayenta, AZ (151mi)
  • 20th - Kayenta, AZ to Durango, CO (178mi)
  • 21st - Durango, CO to Monte Vista, CO (145mi)
  • 22nd - Monte Vista, CO to Trinidad, CO (145mi)
  • 23rd - Trinidad, CO to Ulysses, KS (193mi)
  • 24th - Ulysses, KS to Pratt, KS (151mi)
  • 25th - Pratt, KS to Yates Center, KS (174mi)
  • 26th - Yates Center, KS to Osage Beach, MO (182mi)
  • 27th - Osage Beach, MO to St Louis, MO (175mi)
  • 28th - St Louis, MO to Effingham, IL (143mi)
  • 29th - Effingham, IL to Crawfordsville, IN (157mi)
  • 30th - Crawfordsville, IN to Greenville, OH (142mi)
  • 31st - Greenville, OH to Athens, OH (176mi)
  • June 1st - Athens, OH to Elkins, WV (157mi)
  • 2nd - Elkins, WV to Orange, VA (165mi)
  • 3rd - Orange, VA to Williamsburg, VA (141mi)

Monday, May 3, 2010


There is always a need to record measurements of some sort, when trying to achieve a goal.  As with anything, you need a benchmark from which to measure improvement (or lack thereof).  That measurement can range from one's waistline, to blood lactate, to average speed on the bike.  Regardless of what that measurement is, it needs to be relative to one's goal.  What is relative; and what measurements will give me optimal results?  Well technology has been changing for the better since the mid to late 90's (back when I was frequently testing my V02 max).  I've been out of touch with the latest and greatest measuring devices that are now available and at reasonable rates.

Doug Baumgarten and his wife Beth of Sport Fit Lab will be helping me determine what is best for me in my quest for RAAM 2011.  We'll be testing on a number of measuring devices and under a number of package deals that they have to offer.  I will elaborate on the test results as they are taken and give feedback on what I feel is most beneficial in attaining my goal.  I'll try to post some photos as we progress, though it is not a pretty site when one is trying to max out their heart rate.

Stay tuned.  This will be an exciting segment of the blog and I hope to share a great deal of information with everyone.