With 14 weeks to go before the RAAM start time on June 13, I have been busy preparing with ongoing training amidst my speeches. Although, my training has been interrupted by a lot of travel giving various leadership keynote talks across the country for Hopecam that I had committed to in 2016. In the past few months I have raised over $30,000 giving speeches in Scottsdale Arizona, Melrose Minnesota, Atlanta Georgia, and Albany New York. All the talks are about the power of mission driven teams. Comparing where my fitness level was in January 2012 I'm feeling better about the training plan I have scheduled for 2017. I also passed my "stressed" echo cardio test. Endurance athletes are high risk for heart failure - believe it or not from enlarged heart and thickening of the chamber walls.
I started my winter training, in 90 degree temps in the Dominican Republic - cycled 200 miles in 48 hours - but also had some fun on the beaches and paddle boarding in the Caribbean.
In February I took a weekend vacation with my son Matt to Tulum, Mexico where we immersed in the Mayan culture, visited 4 different Mayan ruins, snorkeled and scuba dived in under water caves called "Cenotes" and generally hung out at the beach.
In February I joined five friends for three days of cycling in what is "normally" sunny and warm in Scottsdale Arizona. I left Washington DC with a temperate 72° for a rainy and cold, 45° Arizona trip. What are the odds of 3 days of cold rain in Arizona in February? What are the odds of three 72° days in Washington DC in February? I obviously need to spend more time in Las Vegas. Nevertheless I succeeded in cycling 300 miles in three days, making up for some much-needed mileage on the bike saddle. My bike behaved relatively well, with exception to my rear wheel on the last day. I descended 4000 feet from the "near peak" of Mount Lemmon, breaking a wheel spoke which made my rear wheel look like a taco. Thankfully Uber arrived in five minutes and drove me back for the last 30 miles.
It was terrific to ride with five friends for three days. It gets pretty lonely waking up at 4 AM and riding solo for eight hours on weekends. So cycling with other folks really makes the day go by quick. The good news is when I'm riding by myself I'm listening to a lot of books on audible. In fact I am absorbing a book a week. Ultra cycling has made me a terrific conversationalist, because I'm listening to books about leadership, fiction and historic biographies. There's no possible way I could read that many books in such a short time in my living room.
The next few months I will be ramping up my training with various 3 day training rides in North Carolina, West Virginia and Colorado. On March 24th I'll ride 700 miles in three days down Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.