Wednesday, April 11, 2012


   After returning from a trip to Cuba in late January,  I was plagued with back problems that only permitted flat, short rides.  Eventually after doing deep tissue massage, physical therapy, and a lot of fretting, I found a sports medicine doctor who said "I think I can fix you."  Eight trigger point injections later,  I was able to ramp up and start riding seriously again in early March.  In the meantime,  I was reading emails and Facebook posts from fellow Mississippi riders that had me worried.   Some were already doing long back-to-back rides, interval training,  hill repeats and exercises with their personal trainers doing squats, presses, and everything in between.   Since retiring,  I'm happy to say my competitive nature is under control, but these flurry of compulsive- sounding emails had me wondering whether I'd be physically ready to do this ride.    

Love riding with women!
Then I began hearing stories from other women who had the same worries I did.   Even though most of them were strangers, knowing that others were feeling similar anxieties took some of the pressure off for me.   The back and forth emails with these riders began building some early bonds with women whom I knew could be life-long friends.   One of them is a woman from Amsterdam who will be visiting the U.S. for the first time.  She too has been dealing with muscular issues, which had us both wondering whether our problems could be related to understandable anxieties about this ride.  Another woman asked about my trigger point injections and whether this might also give her some relief.  Then there was the rider from Southern California who had bad asthma and another rider who was suffering from insomnia.   

But after the doctor "fixed me,"  I was able to ride more than 15 miles at a time.  Last month I rode 484  miles with 24,000 cumulative feet of climbing.   As I did the calculations, it was a good time to remind myself that the roads along the Mississippi River are pretty flat, at least at the beginning, and not the steep hills I'm used to climbing around here.    Conversations with experienced riders convinced me I still had time to get to the point I needed to be at the beginning of the ride.  For me this means being able to ride all day with comfort, knowing that I can keep up since most of my rides around home average 10-11 mph (including hills).  I remember one time on a 30-day Womantours ride, I sat on that blasted saddle for nine hot hours.  I also remember climbing 5000 feet that day.  Remember, Pam, there won't be any 5000 feet climbing days on this ride.

There's a fine line to be drawn between proper training and over training for a bike trip that lasts 40 days.  Although there are three or four days over 90 miles, I am reminding myself how important pacing is before and during the ride.  If I overtrain, there's the possibility I will injure myself or burn out before the ride ends.  So, today I'm going to a spin class at the gym and I'm not riding again for a couple of days until I join my girlfriends for an organized metric century on Saturday.  And even though there's only three weeks left before I start riding the Mississippi, this is my kind of proper training.  I definitely do not want to burn out!


  1. great post. I like your blog - red is one of my favorite colors. You are going to do fine on the ride and we're going to have a blast!!!

  2. my comment above is anonymous as I couldn't figure out what "profile" to use

  3. Dear Anonymous friend -- Please sign your name so I know who you are????? Then we can talk about the profile.

  4. Hi Pam

    I am so glad to have come across your blog leading up to the ride. I have been following Ellen's USA and Asian blogs (what an adventure she is having!) and I see you met up with her late last year. I have done the Womantours Underground Railroad route which is possibly similar to the Mississippi so I agree you will be fine. I met Ellen on the Northern Tier East last year, and did the signature Womantours Southern Tier in 2006. I presume your previous long ride was the North West Loop?
    Best regards, Lesley (Darwin, Australia)

  5. How great to hear from you. Yes, Ellen amazes me. I did the Northwest Loop in 2009. Through Penny Bradley, I met Candice Stein and through Candice I met Ellen. Looking forward to this ride and meeting up with good friends. You must know Penny. She and I like to ride together.

  6. Pam, this is so fascinating. I have to figure out why I don't get reminders of your posts since I follow you. Great blogger, great rider, great friend? Wow. You are an inspiration. Lots of love