Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The excitement is building

Thank you so much to all of you who have already made a pledge or otherwise sponsored the ride with money or supplies!

Time is flying and I'll be off to New Orleans before I realize it. I've been training diligently, but trying to be careful not to overdo. I don't want to start the trip exhausted; I want to be prepared. The weather was uncooperative last week, so I spent a lot of time in the gym riding a stationary bike and lifting weights. I had to work in Kansas City early this week, and I was able to do some lap swimming at the hotel. I'm trusting that the variety of training efforts will keep me interested and work different sets of muscles .

Last Saturday I rode 43 miles in St. Charles county. The recent rains have caused a lot of flooding there along the Missouri River, so it was interesting to see. We even had to ride over slightly flooded roads at times. On the paved surfaces I was able to maintain a speed of 18-19 mph and it felt great. But when we were on gravel with a fierce headwind, my speed dropped to 8 mph and it was hard work. The average speed of the day was a respectable 13 mph, and my muscles weren't the least bit sore after my first long ride of the year. I'm feeling pretty strong.

Today after work I'm going to ride from the office downtown to the arch, south to Soulard, west to Tower Grove Park, and north to the Central West End, and west to the Loop. It will be about 30 miles.

I've been working on the food committee for the trip (anyone wanting to make donations of gluten-free foods, please tell me!) and I'll also be the chaplain, offering some daily spiritual nourishment. The MORCRC staff has been working hard to find sponsors to support the trip.

Everyone going is feeling excited, terrified, anxious, and up to the challenge. We're gathering spare tubes and water bottles and protein bars. But the most exciting part is how much we're going to learn about the geographical realities of access to reproductive health in America. I know that the work of MORCRC will be enriched by the stories and ideas of activists from other states.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The training has begun

I only learned about a week ago that I had been accepted on the Wanderlust ride. I am so excited and there is so much to do. Not the least of which is getting my legs ready to ride. As the oldest one on the trip, I'm a little nervous about whether this particular 50 year old body can hold up for 5 weeks. But I'm determined, and I know the key to success is smart training and smart riding. My son Caleb is a college basketball coach, so he's my official trainer. He's advising me on the right kinds of exercises and how many repetitions and which kind of knee support to use. Variety is the key. I'm riding a little everyday. On stormy days (like today) I'm spending more time in the gym than outside. I'm using the treadmill and doing weights. At home, I'm using a stretch band several times a day to strengthen my leg muscles.

I've always wanted to try some cross-country riding, but never quite had the nerve to do it all by myself. To do it with a group of reproductive justice activists and raise friends, money and awareness for the movement--well, that's an opportunity I didn't have to think twice about. The response from family and friends and colleagues has been interesting. Some think I'm crazy, but most are completely supportive and excited for me. Aileen said "It's you." That says it all. I do like to be challenged.