Archive for the ‘Biking’ Category

Why I Ride the Pan-Mass Challenge

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Early this month I blogged about Another Reason to Ride, and here it is late in the same month and I am again reminded of why I ride.

People ask us often why we would put ourselves through the grueling effort of training and conditioning,  never mind the time investment that it takes to ride the Pan-Mass Challenge route from Sturbridge to Provincetown on an often hot weekend in early August.  In addition, when a rider commits to a ride, each rider commits to a certain fund-raising minimum which is not a trivial amount.  Fund-raising without corporate donations is often the most difficult as the average donation is smaller.  A rider really puts themselves “out there” to ask everyone they know for donations to support the cause.

However, often the “…Reason to Ride” becomes close to home with the diagnosis of a close family member with Cancer.  That is what happened to me yesterday as I found out that my niece Sherri who lives in Missouri is undergoing chemo and radiation treatment for lung cancer.

I ride “In Memory of” Karl Nawskon, nephew who died of pancreatic cancer about a year ago, and I ride “In Support of” Sherri Ehlenberger as she battles her lung disease.  Training and riding the PMC is nothing compared to battling cancer.  I ride in the hope of making cancer history.

Please support my ride at this link Donate to Joe Coley’s Ride.


Riding the Distance – Training for the PMC

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

It’s early in the New England season, but if the road conditions permit, and the temperature stays above 40 long enough, outdoor riding using the mountain bike can happen — and a couple of times this year it has, yesterday being my second ride of 2014.  It’s a start toward the ultimate goal of riding the 2-day Pan-Mass Challenge this coming August 2nd and 3rd.  I expect that I will be uploading each of my rides using my new GPS-enabled sports watch.  Yesterdays ride can be seen at February 1st Ride.

I’m anxiously awaiting the registration of the rest of my team so that PMC Team ThreeG3N  (Short for 3 generations!) can be officially formed.  Team ThreeG3N will consist of three generations of Coley riders, myself, my daughter and my grandson — and a friend of my daughters.  While it is still early in the season, the fundraising on my part has begun.  On-Line donations can be made at Joe’s Donation Page.

My Second PMC Ride is Complete

Monday, August 5th, 2013

The weather was gorgeous :-), the riding a joy, the spirits high and the “saddle” time — let’s just say, a long time.  My ride statistics for this year are posted at JoeColey’s PMC Volunteer ride.  This years PMC had riders from 38 states participating.  Volunteering was a joy.

This year I was fortunate enough to have met up with a fellow rider along the route who was struggling to keep up with the group of much more experienced riders that she started with.  We began chatting as we peddled, getting further behind the group she started with and as time went on became riding partners, and completed the ride together.  It was wonderful to have a riding partner!  Saddle time on a long ride just passes much more quickly when pedaling with another.  Her goal for the ride was just to finish — she had no expectations for time, just wanted to ride to the best that her limited training on a friends borrowed bike would allow.  For me, riding with her kept me from constantly pushing my own limits, thus conserving my energy so that I felt great after the ride!  Thank you Beth!

My Ride Today

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

The rain continued to threaten, drizzled some, but not a washout and I got in my 50 mile ride.  While in Cumberland, Rhode Island a group of 8-10 riders passed me who were also on a training ride for PMC weekend.  There were a number of groups of riders seen today.  Once again I was reminded of the value of riding with a group.  It’s very different than riding alone as my rides usually are.

After some 40 miles of riding I found myself beginning to really struggle for no apparent reason — then I noticed my front tire was soft, a problem which I have been dealing with for my last few rides.  We (my bike mechanics and I) thought we had the problem resolved, but that remains to be seen at this point.  In order to continue I had to use my little bike pump, which is truly limited for just how much pressure it is capable of producing when I’m using it.  (I acknowledge that someone with more strength than I might produce better results :-) ).

In spite of the equipment problem I was satisfied with my ride, and have no qualms about riding the 80 mile PMC ride on August 4th.


Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Sometimes the best made plans just don’t work out.  I had my ride all planned out for this morning (53 miles), but have chosen not to ride early, and instead wait for the rain to clear out.  Looking at the radar, most of my chosen route for this morning is currently in rain.  As I was preparing myself to get on the road I thought I’d take a quick look at the weather radar and see if I might run into some rain.  Well, right about the time I did I heard rain — Oh well, hopefully I will be able to start riding  in another hour or so.  My destination hasn’t been wet at all.  I’m trying to get a final long training ride in before the PMC weekend on August 3rd and 4th.

The Rest of the Story – A Dana Farber Experience for Me!

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

I didn’t think I needed additional incentive to support the Dana Farber.  However, I got it — On April 23rd I had surgery under the expert hands of a Dana Farber Thoracic surgeon.   From Dana Farber supporter to Dana Farber patient in 8 short months.  I was the fortunate one, the spot seen on my lung which was the concern and reason for the surgery was NOT CANCER!

My recovery was amazing, and I was on my bike within a week of the surgery – no noticeable change to my lung function in spite of the surgery.  Being faced with the unknowns around the surgery, that is why it took me so long to register for one of the PMC rides – but all is well!

Today was a 2 thumbs up weather day, and I had the bike wheels turning by 6AM.  Todays ride was a demanding 33 mile ride with just shy of 2500 ft. of climb — it was my most difficult ride since starting my training in early May.  Total miles to date – 214.

You may support my ride by clicking this link to Joe’s PMC Ride.

To see my route today click Here.

A Hard, Windy Ride

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Well, the weather finally broke into some reasonably decent riding weather, with the exception of a 15-25 mph wind seemingly swirling and making my 15 mile ride today that much more work.

I’m off to a slow start with my training for my 2013 PMC ride as the result of surgeries, beginning at the start of the year with quad tendon repair on my right leg.  Building up the strength for my ride this year (toned down to an 80 mile, less hilly ride) is a key goal at this time.  Yesterday my muscles certainly had a good workout fighting the wind, which no matter what direction I was heading, always seemed to be trying to make me work harder.  I’m sure it was a personal thing :-).


Looking Ahead to the 2013 PMC Weekend

Monday, May 13th, 2013

My how plans change over time.  When I wrote my last post on December 27th 2012 I had no idea what was in store for me.  I was looking forward to registration opening for the 2013 PMC ride in mid January for previous riders.  However, on December 29th I slipped on ice, and in a hard fall backward managed to pull my left quad tendons off my knee, and so January 4th, 2013 I had surgery for quad tendon repair, and the knowledge of months of rehab.

Faced with a long recovery from the surgery I determined that the probability of my being ready to ride the 2 day PMC was pretty slim, and in fact whether I would even be ready to ride any significant distance by June seemed doubtful.  I was bummed, but hoped to be able do something — but what remained to be seen.

I’ve now been out on the bike 4 times, each ride longer than the previous, and my last one a 27 mile ride.  That was a good test of just how far I need to go with my training, and gave me an excellent sense of my current limits.  Injury recovery just isn’t fun.

My Next Pan-Mass Challenge

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Will there be a next Pan-Mass challenge for me?  That seems to be a question from many I’ve talked with, certainly I’ve been encouraged to begin planning for next years ride.  There are months to go before I must make a decision, and at this time it has not been made.  I’m still short of my fund-raising goal (It’s NOT too late to donate!Click Here to donate on-line.  To donate by check send a check payable to DFCI, PMC or Jimmy Fund to my PO Box 398, Mendon, MA 01756 and I will forward the check to the PMC and my ride will be credited. )

For me, the ride choice which means the Pan-Mass Challenge is the longest, most difficult Sturbridge to Provincetown ride.  It carries with it also, however, the largest find-raising minimum.  For me to ride next year I need to know that I’ll be able to make that minimum – perhaps joining a team will help me meet that goal – time will tell.  Training with other riders is, I believe, an important step that I must take before riding again.  I will need to attack my riding so that I can maintain my focus, perhaps joining with a team can provide that.

Physically it certainly is a challenge, but one I’m still convinced that I’m able to make.  FYI — below is a map showing where the ride was, along with the terrain ups and downs.  I’m thrilled that I completed the first day – an accomplishment for sure.

My Ride in Retrospect

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

Things I’ve Learned through the experience:

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
  • Ride the event as you’ve ridden the training rides
  • Fuel your body
  • Stay Focused

How I believe I let myself get so worn down:

  • By all charts my body would have burned a minimum of 5000 calories during the actual 8.5 hours of saddle time — I’m sure I didn’t take in any more than 2000 calories, if that.
  • My excitement at doing the ride was electric, coming through the first towns of cheering on-lookers in Charlton, Oxford, Sutton, Manchaug and Whitinsville I was as enthusiastically greeting the cheering crowd as they were cheering on us riders — that took energy better saved by focusing on my riding
  • I’m clear that I did not make good use of my stops.  Instead of stopping and paying attention to refueling with the Power Bars I had used during my training rides I found myself “checking out” what was available at the stop – by the first stop I had lost my focus :-(
  • Along with the inefficiency of my stops, I stopped for too long — another sign of having lost my focus