Wednesday, April 17, 2013

RAAM: A story of Power, Pedals and Ponytails...

The cool thing about being in a large town that seems to have an obsession with running and triathlon is that you run into all sorts of amazing people.  I am surrounded by more inspiring triathlete types than I could shake a stick at (whatever that means...).  The funny thing too is that I seem to have two degrees of separation with a lot of people in the sport around here.  It is crazy how we all kind of run in the same circles, friends of friends and all that.

Case in point Kacie Darden.  I think I first bumped into her through social media.  I can't remember how exactly but I ran into her blog online. At the time she was training for a DOUBLE ironman.  Digest that for a moment.  Not 140.6 miles but 281.2 (did I do the math right on that? I am not even sure there is a car sticker for that one...).  Anyhow, 4.8 miles of swimming, 224 miles on the bike and a 52.4 mile run.  WOW.

I finally got to meet her at a fundraiser she did a few months back for Race Across America (RAAM).  Race Across America is a transcontinental bicycle race starting on the west coast (Oceanside California) and finishing on the east coast (Annapolis, MD). The race covers 3000 miles across the Rockies, the heartland of America, and finally the Appalachians. It continues to stands as one the toughest events in the world and a tribute to human endurance.  RAAM can be completed as an eight man team, a four man team, a two (wo)man team and solo. 

Kacie is participating in the race as part of a two person team with Dani Grabol (who she met while competing in the Double Ironman).  The race is hard enough with a large team but imagine doing it with only one other person.    Just amazing!  It isn't enough just to want to complete the race but they are planning on setting a record for time.  They plan to bike from Oceanside CA to Annapolis MD in less than 8 days, 18 hours and 57 minutes.   Amazing, no?  Just when you think you can't log another mile all you have to do is check twitter and you'll see a tweet from Kacie about some million mile ride she is doing and suddenly your workout seems like nothing :)

What’s even more amazing is that these ladies have chosen to make this journey about something more than just two women biking across the country - they are raising funds through their racing and training for Race Across America for Camp Twin Lakes.  Camp Twin Lakes is a network of camps providing life-changing camp experiences to thousands of Georgia's children with serious illnesses, disabilities and other challenges each year. Camp Twin Lakes collaborates with over 50 different organizations, each serving a different population, to create customized programs that teach campers to overcome obstacles and grow in their confidence and capabilities. Camp Twin Lakes is thrilled to provide programs at various state-of-the-art locations throughout the state of Georgia, including camps in Rutledge, Winder, Warm Springs, children's hospitals, and more.  

Kacie and Dani are truly an inspiration and I am so excited to see them complete this goal!  If you would like to help them out (and in turn help out Camp Twin Lakes), you can do it a couple of ways.  

1.  You can visiting the fundraising page and possibly making a donation on behalf of Kacie and Dani to Camp Twin Lakes.  You can visit the site by clicking on this link.

All donations, big and small are greatly appreciated AND they are all tax deductible!


2.  They are selling these awesome kits online through April 25th.  Who can't use a cute pink bike jersey and shorts?  For more information on the kits, click HERE for their website. 

To learn more about Kacie and Dani, and to follow their journey, please visit their blog, Power Pedals and Ponytails at

To learn more about Camp Twin Lakes, please visit their site:

To learn more about Race Across America, please visit

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I want to ride my bicycle...

The last two weekends, I have been spending a lot of riding time with my favorite Swim Bike Mom.  After riding at Silk Sheets a few weeks back, I knew I had to share this with Meredith.  We have a mutual love for the  country riding out in Dacula and now that she had moved to the other side of town I knew she would love this ride as much as I did.  It is like Dacula Westside.

We met in the parking lot as the sun came up and realized that we were way under-dressed for this affair.  Weather here has been crazy for the past couple of weeks.  One day it is 80 degrees and the next it is 60.  One thing that has not changed is the pollen, which I could shovel off my car right now.

One of the many things I love about Meredith is that she lets me steal her photos.

Eventually it warmed up and we completed 62 miles which went by so quickly!  We discussed Meredith's ironman training for CDA, the fact that I had mountain bike pedals on my bike (who knew?) and things unrelated to any of that.  We even had a surprise Easter egg hunt - those kids really need to work on their hunting skills... they left so many behind!

At the 62 mile mark, I left Meredith to finish her prescribed 85 on her own.  Seeing as I have not ridden more than 62 miles since last October this day was not the day to stretch the limits.

....because it turns out yesterday was that day.  After our discussion of pedals last week and my knowledge that my ISM Adamo was unbearable and it did not *have* to be that way riding a bike.  I mean, others must have somewhat comfortable seats or they wouldn't keep riding, right?   They can't all create pain in the pit of your soul, RIGHT?   Going off that theory, as I was investigating new "road" pedals, I perused some saddles on the internet and picked one to try out.  I took all the parts to my local bike shop (who is conveniently located upstairs from our business) and asked them put it all on.  "I am riding a century this weekend and I want to be comfortable", I said.  To which the guy tried to convince me that changing out pedals and a seat before a big ride might be asking for trouble.  I agree but figured the seat could not possibly be any worse.  yes, I tortured myself with it through B2B but am no longer interested in torture.  I want to be a lady of comfortable riding.  They adjusted everything, pedals, seat and even put the new clips on my shoes - - all for $10!  WOW.  Love those guys.

So....   did I mention the furthest I  had ridden since October was 62 miles?  Yes, I think I did.  Well, Meredith was riding her first 100 miler ever this weekend and wanted company so I decided I would jump from the metric ride to the full century with her.  We did the Tony Serrano Ride which is by far the BEST century in the area.  It is a beautiful route, well marked and great volunteers.  The rest stops deserve a paragraph of their own because it is like nothing you have ever seen.  In addition to the typical pre-packaged stuff you see elsewhere, there is a smorgasbord of homemade sweets and treats - cookies, cakes, brownies, chocolate dipped pretzels, granola balls, even homemade pickles (so good!).  I heard more than one person say this was the only century that might cause you to gain weight.  #truth.  If you are in the area, you really need to put this one on your calendar for next year!

The ride was just awesome and Meredith and I had a great time counting down the miles (97 more to go!).  As a large group of us rode through a small town in the beginning, we heard a bystander proclaim "spandex, all spandex!".  LOL  Why yes, we bikers love our spandex.  :)  I saw so many friends out there, we could have stayed at that first rest stop for an hour just chatting with everyone I bumped into at that point.

We stopped at every stop even if we didn't think we needed to just to stand up for a second, fill up our water bottles and of course check out the treats (they were different at every stop).  Before we knew it we were leaving the last stop and only had 21 miles to go!  We made the final turn into the parking lot, grabbed some lunch and packed it all up after 100 miles.  What a beautiful day and a great ride - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

BTW, my saddle worked out great!  I really didn't start feeling anything until maybe mile 90 and I think that might have just been the typical "I am ready to stop riding and want to get off this bike now" feeling....   The ISM Adamo has been kicked to the curb and replaced with a Terry Liberator X Gel.  (I am not crazy about all the pink stitching on it as it clashes with Annie and her blue but I think if my booty is happy, I can get over the fashion faux pas that is my bike)  ha ha.  The pedals were good too - they are a little harder to get used to as they can only be clipped into from one side but no real issues.  I can tell I get a little more power from them which is always a good thing.

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend - if you signed up for the Kona lottery, here's hoping you were selected ...   :)