It’s about to get real... I’ve done all the training I could’ve done, eaten a healthily as possible , gotten my weight where I want it and mentally prepared. Holiday hair cut, shaved legs and packed my bag; I’m officially as ready as I’ll ever be for Haute Route Alps.
I signed on for this adventure at the end of 2018, plenty of time to train! It’s gone in a flash and at times it’s been a tough slog. Juggling a busy family life, coaching flag football, a busy career with a new job have made finding the time to train hard.
By the numbers it’s been a good year 5,500miles, 42,7353 feet climbed in 313 hours. Only a fraction of what some riders achieve, but a record year for me, and it’s only been possible with the support of my family, especially the herculean efforts of my amazing wife, Abi, who I can never thank enough for enabling me to tick a big one off my bucket list.
I’ve been asked several times where this journey began and as I pondered that question I realized it really began with a photo taken at the Army vs. Navy rugby in May, 2011.
Seeing the size I had gotten shocked me to my (sizable) core. Yeah I knew I'd put weight on, hadn't been able to exercise cause my bad back (collapsed disc) was a real issue, traveling too much, new baby etc. ... I stepped on the scales for the first time in a long time - 245 lbs (17.5 stone) !
This was the wake up call I badly needed. I got my back sorted, ate smaller portions, cut way back on the bad stuff (beer!) and most importantly started to exercise.
I had an old steel frame road bike which I dusted off and started to get out on. As a decades long mountain biker I thought I'd hate it, but to my surprise I loved it. I got out for a ride as often as possible and slowly saw the fitness improve and the weight come off. Before I realized it I had the bug. I started buying spandex (lycra) and bought my first carbon bike. The real tipping point was when I joined the Monsters cycling Club out of Concord,MA. Riding with others, pushing yourself to keep up was a whole new addiction... a monster was born.
The rest, as they say, is history. Looking back on the beginning makes me realize how lucky I am; I have my health, good job, great friends and an amazing family.
Next stop Megeve, France. Speak to you tomorrow.