Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Tour Begins

It is was with a lot of excitement that my daughter Jackie and I rode over the Quesnell Bridge for the first time in three years on our way to the Southside to United Cycle.  The MS Bike Tour kick-off party was to begin at six and we didn't want to miss one minute of it.  And it took us almost exactly one hour of riding (training?) to get there.

The MS Tour organizers along with United Cycle had arranged four seminars to teach participants everything they need to know to prepare for the tour.  Plus registrants were able to make purchases at a significant discount - another good reason to attend.
A fine demonstration of mechanical preparation

The first seminar was on bike maintenance and it held particular interest for Jackie and I since we are both volunteer bike mechanics.  I didn't catch the fellow's name and judging by the tattered condition of his overalls - he looked very experienced.  And I know I've seen him on the tour busily repairing road weary bikes.  Jackie was nodding her head at most of what the mechanic discussed and I knew that she was fully understanding his instructions.  I wondered if the newbies in the crowd were as intimidated by it all as I was the first time I attended the mechanical seminar.
The store manager lays out how to dress and what to wear on your feet
It was gratifying to see Jackie understand the value of "Clipping In" after the store manager explained that by clipping bike shoes to the pedals, an increase of five to seven percent efficiency would be achieved and over a one hundred kilometer ride, that is a significant increase.  She bought shoes and half and half pedals.

Iconic rider Stew Hutchins plots out a training schedule
The last seminar of the evening was conducted by Stew Hutchins - a veteran of 20 MS Tours and an awesome instructor during the training rides.  Stew described how to train and stressed that the tour itself is no walk in the park and that the person who showed up and made the Tour their first ride of the year was in for a very short and painful ride indeed.  You'll notice in the photo that several people are holding a white sheet of paper - a training schedule that if followed actually allows for a week of tapering off a week before the Tour.  Now that's my kind of training!

In another blog, I'll go into more detail about the schedule that Stew has prepared.

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