Check out this great video recap of our recent Race Across America, produced by PepsiCo - our title sponsor.
First place 8-person team and $600,000 raised (so far) for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund!
As many of you know, I participated in the Race Across America (RAAM) last week, along with seven other teammates.
Our team was on the go via bicycle or car/van/RV, 24/7 for more than 3000 miles - for 5 days, 22 hours, 58 minutes.
Lots of you have asked me what it’s like to recover from something like this. I must say that physically, I already feel quite normal - no soreness or deep fatigue . . . none that I know of, anyway.
However, reintegrating from the 24/7 aspect of the event: the funky sleep cycles and lack of creature comforts, is taking longer than I expected.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share reintegration items that I’ve checked off my list, so far, on my way to becoming “normal” again.
RAAM REINTEGRATION PROCESS
• Eat a vegetable
• Sleep in the prone position
• Get a normal night’s sleep
• Read a newspaper
• Establish a dry crotch and feet
• Go #2 for longer than it takes to run from a vehicle to a convenience store bathroom in less time than it takes to fill said vehicle’s tank with gas
• Wear clean (truly) laundry
• Eat food that doesn’t come in a packet
• Talk about something other than power output, avg. speed, wind direction, or what kind of (packet) food to eat
• Listen to music that was made by people playing actual musical instruments, and that contains lyrics that are longer than one sentence
• Stand up for longer than it takes to pee
• Stop incessantly looking at the RAAM tracker app
If you’re in need of some new stylish and functional cycling and/or triathlon apparel, I’ve got you covered.
I’ve been using Squadra Cycling apparel for as long as I can remember. It’s durable, functional, fashionable and comfortable - all of the things I demand from my workout clothing, and it’s why I chose Squadra.
The tabs at the top of the store provide plenty of information about the fit and technology of the clothing, but I’ve included a few general comments of my own below:
The short sleeve jersey is very comfortable whether its 45F or 105F outside. For temperatures between 45F and 60F, I typically pair the short sleeve jersey with a base layer, arm warmers, and a wind vest. If you live in an area prone to cold weather (below 45F), in September I will offer a long sleeved wind jacket and a thermal vest and jacket which will provide significant added warm versus the wind vest, as well as protection from the wind and rain.
The triathlon apparel is comfortable, form fitting, quick drying, yet provides coverage from the elements. The fabric has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50+ and shields both UVA and UVB rays.
Click on this link to take you to the store: Riccitello Coaching Cycling and Triathlon Apparel. Apparel will be shipped to the address you provide. Do not select the “Will Call” option unless you want to personally pick up the clothing at Squadra in Carlsbad, CA. If you’re a France Camper, remember that I am providing you with a cycling jersey and shorts (but grab a functional and fashionable wind vest and arm warmers for the chilly descents!).
Should you choose to wear my clothing - I’m honored beyond words and look forward to seeing it on the roads and trails.
I know you’ll enjoy it and thanks!
We start each day Riccitello’s France Cycling Camp with coffee from a French press and a wholesome breakfast (except for the Nutella - which is not that wholesome but tastes very good) of fruits, mueslix, cereals, yogurts, breads, eggs. This is usually washed down with more coffee (when in France ... ).
Then we chamois up (French for shammy) and ride the famous climbs and descents of the Oisans valley in the French alps. To try and describe the quality of riding would be insulting.
Lunch is eaten on the bike (thank you Clif for your tasty Clif Bars and the sweet and savory Mojo Bars and your Shot Bloks and gels).
Most rides are followed with a snack and a nap.
Upon waking up to a view that never ceases to amaze, most campers will soak up some sun while lounging on the porch with a good book (or electronic version of a book). There may be a midday glass of wine or three.
Then come hors d’oeuvres - usually local sausages, cheeses, olives, cakes, tea, and such.
Appetizers are often followed by a hike along rugged sheep, goat, and cattle trails with views of Pic Blanc and the ever enticing 21 turns of l’alpe d’huez.
Then dinner - salad from your host’s garden, some kind of animal that was probably hiking on the same trail you hiked early in the day or pulled from the pure and crystal clear waters that rage down from the mountain tops (fear not, vegetarians - there are meatless options), pasta or rice, wine - and then desert - and more wine.
After finishing desert many campers gather at the village bar for a digestif (night-cap) and to watch the day’s Tour de France stage on the big screen (thankfully, there are big screens in the alps). Some play boules (bocce ball) with the locals. Others gather on the chalet porch for wine and to talk story.
Then we sleep, and dream of the next day in cycling paradise.
(I have a couple double occupancy rooms open this year - look here if you’re interested).
I recently celebrated 50 years of life, yet I don’t really feel worse for wear. In fact, as long as I don’t look in the mirror or at the stopwatch or power meter – I’d think I was still 25.
But I can avoid mirrors all I want and it still won’t stop my kids from innocently reminding me of my battle scars and ever increasing imperfections. There’s also no escaping the chiding of friends regarding the increase in grey hairs, ear hairs, and nose hairs, the receding hairline, the increase in wrinkles, and any other general age related issues that come with numbers greater than 49.
And as good and as young as I feel when I leave the watch and/or power meter at home, allowing me to be blissfully ignorant of PR times and power numbers from years gone by – there’s no shortage of youngsters (and a couple oldsters) running and riding by me as if I were standing still, to remind me that I’m not as fast as I feel.
So while I subscribe to the “you’re as young as you feel” philosophy, it’s also true that at some point, time waits for no one. Fortunately, however, it seems that even though time isn’t waiting – it’s apparently not in a big hurry, either. After all, 50 is the new 30, right?
Trust me, I keep telling myself that, but when I think about the number 50, I get a little freaked out. Regardless of the fact that in my mind, I’m about 25 years old – I’ve still been here 50 years. And 50 is a pretty big number. When I think about the number, it doesn’t really matter how good I feel or how young I feel. 50 years is a lot of years to be alive.
I’ve managed birthdays for the past 10 years by trying not to dwell on the number, choosing instead, to focus on the fact that I truly feel great. But 50 had me feeling like I’m at a point in my life where I need to live life in the present instead of yearning for the past or thinking too much about the future. I suppose this happens to many of us when we celebrate being half way to 100.
However, certain milestones bring friends and family out of the woodwork. I’m shocked and genuinely touched at all of the notes I’ve received regarding successfully reaching 50 years. After being reminded of so many wonderful memories of good times and fast times from my family and friends via Facebook, cards, letters and emails, I’m not sure that living life entirely in the present is the best strategy. It occurs to me that the present is not as meaningful without the journey. And if memories from the last 50 years are any indication of what the future holds, I also have a lot to look forward to.
So thank you, my friends, for reminding me that 50 really isn’t as big as it seems. It’s just a point along the way.