I have been riding a bike as long as I can remember.
Usually it was a hand-me-down from my older sister, but the time came for a “decent” bike when I started participating in the sprint triathlon circuit. So of course I chose it based on the color–hot orange. I was a mediocre swimmer and an average runner, but I made up all my time on the bicycle. I moved on from the triathlons soon after I won my first and only trophy–Best in Age Group–but I kept biking.
One of the first dates I had with my husband, Scott, was mountain biking. It was mostly hills, and some were pretty steep! I quickly realized that the hot orange number was out of date and I needed a new ride. I bought a Gary Fisher. Twenty four years later we still have that bike, although it has received a few upgrades. Scott rides it with knobby tires while I ride my Trek 7700 Hybrid (which was my upgrade around 2004).
I am not a serious biker by any stretch of the imagination. Living in Madison, Wisconsin I have several friends who work in the bike industry and we heard about a Trek Travel trip to the California Wine Country. It may have even been one of Trek Travel’s first years in business. It sounded good to me and a group of us signed up.
I had no Idea this trip would be so life changing. My trip preparation included working with Carmichael Training Systems. There was all kinds of technical advice to take advantage of, which was too much work for me. But I gleaned one suggestion that that has stayed with me. “Ride at least 100 miles per week and you will be ready.” No problem. I can do that.
On our first trip, we were lucky to ride with Frankie Andreu, who is a nine time Tour de France finisher. I learned from one of the best. I can still hear him say, “Get on my wheel!” So I did. (Did I mention he was really cute, too?) I completed every climb on every ride, although there may have been a few choice words along the way. “One Hundred mile per week and you will be ready.”
It became my mantra. “One Hundred miles per week and you will be ready.” Every day I can, I jump on my bike and ride. When asked what I am training for I reply, “I am training for life.” One hundred miles per week provides a goal to work toward, a sense of accomplishment, and a strong and healthy body. Did I mention all the calories burned? Sometimes I ride alone, sometimes with friends, other times I meet people on the trail and ride with strangers for a while. Camaraderie comes easily.
One wedding anniversary I received a square box…surely a beautiful watch or bracelet. As I opened the box my husband said, “You might not like this at first, but you will come to love it.” It was a Garmin 305. He was right. I love this piece of equipment. Time, distance, average speed, calories burned, routes ridden. I keep track of everything!
Last summer the beloved 7700 was not rolling along as she once did. Because I had a flat, I stopped into a bike shop. While I was there I asked for an opinion on the overall condition of my bike. The guys kind of laughed. You need a new chain, new cassette, brakes, brake cables, tires and a few spokes. Is it worth it I asked? They said, “Are you kidding? This is a great bike!” This one is made in the USA and definitely worth updating. I am now ready to roll into my next decade with this bike.
Over the years with Trek Travel I have climbed Mt. Ventoux in Provence; I achieved a speed of 47 mph on a descent in Utah riding from Bryce Canyon to Zion; we rode the 78 mile “High Road” from Santa Fe to Taos. We have ridden through Chianti tasting wine, eating delicious food and enjoying the beauty of ancient Italy.