November 11, 2013 (Veteran's Day)
In less than four months I will be taking off for my tour across the Southern Tier with Woman Tours. A few friends asked me for an outline of what this tour is about. below is a copy of the email I sent to them.
It is with the company WOMAN TOURS for women only, and mainly those 50 years old and older (but we know that any company will take anyone's money!). At 72 years old I will be either the oldest or near the oldest rider. But others tell me that there are those in their 70s who do this tour. I have one friend (Vickie) who did the tour about 8 or so years ago and she is my biggest cheerleader -- getting my confidence up when it begins to dip! She gave me her journal and photos to peruse and I have just completed doing that. Some of it seems daunting, but I feel pretty good about riding the tour.Their tours are very popular and many of them fill up -- especially the cross country epic tours. I tried to sign up for the 2013 (when I was a year younger) tour, but in September (2012) the tour was full. So I signed up for 2014 that long ago.We meet in San Diego on March 6th, leave on the 7th I think, and arrive in St. Augustine on May 1st. It is about 56-58 days -- in essence, 2 months. We have a rest day about every 7-10 days as I read it in my friend's journal. They say the average is about 55 miles a day, but that is an average, and most days are well over 60 it seems to me. AND there are 5 days that are over 90 one of those being about 110!!!!!! I don't know, they must include rest days in that average they quote. In addition to miles, there are the hills!! And mountain passes, oh my.We are completely supported with a van carrying our gear and a SAG vehicle following us and stopping every 20 miles or so with water and snacks if we need it, and to pick us up if we don't want to or can't ride any further. I may need that at least on the 110 mile day!Woman Tours (you can google it if you want more info) feeds us breakfast, dinner and snacks (we can make pbj sandwiches and grab snacks to take for our lunch if we choose. I can imagine getting pretty tired of peanut butter!) on riding days. We are on our own for meals on rest days. They secure our motel for each night (no camping thank goodness), and generally support us every step of the way. Riding my bike across the country has come and gone as a dream of mine since college. I never totally got caught up in that dream until my friend Vickie did it, and then the seed was planted. It is quite pricey, but what is retirement for? It will basically be my last most expensive gift to me and I plan to enjoy every day and every moment of that day along the way. With that in mind, though I would hope I can bike every mile, I will be smart about it. If the weather, the terrain or my body tell me to take the van, I will do so. I will do my best to not jeopardize my health and body parts!I think I have told you just about everything, and possibly more than you ever wanted to know, but if you have more questions just ask me. I am very into talking and sharing about this experience ;'-) I do plan to keep my blog during the tour -- perhaps you will follow along there and know where I am on any day.
I will be riding my Bike Friday. She just had her doctor's check up, a good overhaul, and a few new components.
Bike Friday is a compartively heavy bike and I use (what others call) slow tires. These tires are very flat resistent, and the last pair I had refused flats for 5000+ miles. I got new tires simply because the others were showing their wear. "Slow" is relative in my case. I am much slower in changing a flat tire than these slow (heavy) tires cause me to be on the road. Also - I HATE changing a flat tire.
OK so... Many of the women who are signed up for this tour have started emailing to the group. There is talk of carbon (extremey light) bikes, riding 50, 60, 70 miles a day, and weather (in CA and HI) being 70, 75, 80 degees. All so very opposite of my profie -- heavy bike, heavy tires, rides of 35 miles, and temps 40 - 50 degrees and rain.
I MUST keep in mind what Dan (our Utah tour leader) said to me: 'You are a strong rider, have good form, keep a good steady pace, refuel rehydrate and rest regularly. You will have no problem doing the southern tier tour."
Thank you Dan.
A couple of photos of recent rides to break up this long and wordy post:
|Seattle skyline from Gas Works Park|
As my time for the tour nears, I will probably have the urge to post more thoughts and feelings about it all. It will be, after all, a trip of a lifetime ;'-)