Rookie’s Perspective on Training for the STP: Week #14 of CTS Training: Skipped it to go camping

I don’t think “tapering” means “do nothing.”

Okanogans, about three hours north of WenatcheeThe Okanogans, about three hours north of Wenatchee

Poor Beautiful Blue gathered dust at home as we headed to the mountains for the July 4th holiday, missing the last CTS victory lap around Lake Washington.

I thought about biking the whole time. Every stretch of open, rolling road had me thinking, “Ohhh, that’d be fun on a bike!”

I wrote back in February about imagining the impossible, about the impossible distance of riding 200 miles in two days. As I think about the STP coming up this weekend, it no longer feels impossible; it feels fun.

I’m more stressed getting the house picked up for my big brother’s arrival from Vermont – he’s riding with me – than by the prospect of this epic ride.

Someone asked me whether I’d recommend CTS. My answer was “Absolutely, without reservation.” I expect I would have quit or crashed miles and miles ago if it weren’t for the CTS training. I don’t think I would have gotten past 30 miles on my own even with the best of intentions.

Way out in the Okanogans, we passed two bikers on a lovely, hot stretch of road.

Strategic riding

“Of course he’s not going to let us pass,” my husband fumed next to me, pointing at the rear rider taking the lane in front of us.

I pointed out that we were climbing a hill on a blind curve with no shoulder. “He’s protecting his partner,” I explained, feeling like I did when I lived in Germany and corrected a native German speaker’s grammar: surprised and pleased to find myself expert.

I felt very protective of those two riders and gave them plenty of space. “Nice ride!” I called out, but I think they might have thought I was yelling at them. Nice bicycle couple, if you’re reading this, please know it was a very friendly minivan passing you somewhere northwest of Omak.

I would not have understood the rider’s strategy without my CTS training. Would not have appreciated what an experienced, strategic rider he was to see ahead to that blind hill with a laboring minivan behind him.

I aspire to be such a rider.

Kathryn Saxer is currently enrolled in the Cascade Training Series, a 13-week training series designed to prepare Cascade members physically and mentally for  the Group Health STP or RSVP. She’s a personal and professional coach in Seattle. When not learning how to bike long distances, she likes to run in the mountains, share adventures with her 7- and 9-year-old children, and cook terrible dinners for her beloved and long-suffering partner. She’ll be reporting on her CTS journey weekly.