A Coaches Challenge

Every April for the last few years, Kale (my personal trainer/coach/ass kicker) challenges himself, his athletes and friends to a (bike) riding challenge.


No matter the weather.

No excuses.

This will be my first REALGAINZ. I don’t quite understand what is driving me to partake in the challenge this year. But because of that curiosity, I decided it would be interesting to write about and share my experience. Maybe it’s because my first ultra of the year was cancelled – White Lake Ultras, May 2 – due to the coronavirus, COVID-19. Or, maybe I needed something new this year…

I keep a daily training journal, but blog writing is different. For one thing, I write more; my training journal is limited to a 1″x4″ grid per day. And other thing is, knowing someone else will be reading my words changes the thought process, which for me is the intriguing part…the process.

So here’s a summary of the gear I will be using.

Bike: My road bike is not well suited for inclement weather, especially with the potential for snow in these parts. In addition, the road bike is an antique hand-me-down that has seen better days. Thus, it has earned its place on the trainer, indoors. I have been searching for a replacement but haven’t found anything that makes my heart pitter patter. Anyway, for this challenge, I will be using one of Johns many (yes, you read correctly) many bikes. Said bike is a full suspension mountain bike with disk brakes – a Specialized Stump Jumper (as seen in the featured image).

I haven’t decided about the pedals…whether or not I will change them out to fit my bike shoes (well, Sue’s old bike shoes – I thank her nearly every time I put them on). John and I are close in height, so the bike should be comfortable enough after some minor tweaks to serve its purpose.

Clothing: The only cycling clothes I own are for pleasant, warm days. I have rode for a distance in 30 degrees before, by wearing my bike shorts under running tights, but it wasn’t a comfortable experience. Today, I ordered thermal cycling tights using my REI dividend! That was really the only item I deemed a must-have for this challenge and it didn’t cost me a cent. I thought about buying booties to go over my shoes, but John has some really old ones that I can use if it gets that cold.

For a top, I will be sporting my usual cold weather running tops along with an added layer or two (I remember seeing a photo last year, of Kales wife wearing a down jacket during her ride!). I am not at all worried about keeping my core warm, its the extremities I am most concerned about. Heck, this is how you learn, right?

Here’s to my first cycling challenge – #REALGAINZ

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