Sunday, January 13, 2013

RAAM Training Has Begun--Training Camp!

Over my winter break, I had the most incredible opportunity from 12/27-1/7 to train, relax, and mentally prepare myself for Race Across America. George and I traveled to Fort Lauderdale and stayed in the luxurious B Ocean hotel thanks to my partner-in-crime/training buddy/mentor/sponsor/adopted big sister/confidant Laura! You remember Laura, right? We have gone on crazy adventures together before including Ironman St. George, Tashka 50k, accompanist in the double iron, and double-scoop training weekend in Florida! She's my girl!

We actually had 6 bikes in our room! Here's a few of them!

There are really three parts to this training camp:
1. The training for a total of 775 miles in 8 day!
2. The people
3. The FOOD!

1. The Training:


On our first day in Florida, I had an on/off workout on the schedule. These are my new "RAAM simulation rides." Since the race will be each of us taking turns, we are working to train my body to "get back up again" over and over and over. This being the first day, it was 1.5 hours on and one hour off three times to total 4.5 hours of riding. George and I rode on the A1A together for the first two and took a break for smoothies in Delray and then rode back. We picked up Laura after an hour and went back out for round three. All in all a really great start to the week!


We heard that there would be a group century out of Cooper City with a group from Z-bikes, so we decided to head out there! George and I rode about 90 miles on this day (the length of the ride). The ride was really fun because it went through downtown Miami, out to Key Biscayne, and through South Beach. It was the kind of ride that you probably needed 60 people doing to feel comfortable on those roads. We enjoyed the group and met some great people.


The next day was a two hour-one hour off--two hour on-one hour off- two hours on. Laura and George rode with me for the first two blocks. In the middle, we stopped at a little cafe and had a great brunch, and then we did the second segment. The third was solo, and it was WINDY! You aren't going to accidentally be ready for Kansas though, so this was a good practice!


George and I rode out the A1A down to Palm Beach and back. Holy Giant Houses and Yachts Batman! We got in about 5 hours on the bike and saw some pretty incredible homes. Felt like being on a bicycle Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous!


George and I did a century together to welcome in the new year! This was the first day that we found it tough to get out the door. This was supposed to be a bigger effort day. We pushed it pretty hard, so there is no photographic evidence! It was a great ride that we were both very proud of! Anne flew in and was at the hotel when we got back!


This was one of the most fun days! George, Anne, and I drove down to South Miami and met up with Leslie (one of the Team Shepherd riders this year) and her boyfriend Ken. They took us all on a magical 70 mile ride, and we had a BLAST!

We went to Biscayne National Park. George called this photo GLOR or Gorgeous Ladies of RAAM.

The fish are serious down here.

Then we kept on riding until we came upon this true gem of Americana! Richard is Here fruit stand. They make Key Lime Milkshakes. Period. Yum!!! We had a blast watching the petting zoo Emus and Tortoises while we ate our milkshakes. It was a surreal, but wonderful rest stop! George got a mango that they sliced up for him and he put in his jersey to eat on the bike. Totally normal in Florida ;-)

Then we kept on riding until we came upon this bakery that Leslie had been telling me about! WOW. Sticky bun heaven! Yes, the five of us did order a dozen of them, and yes, that is totally acceptable.

I thought you needed a close up.

Then we wrapped up the ride and will a rejuvenated spirit from good food, new scenery, and great friends, we headed back up to Ft. Lauderdale.


Ok--this is the day that I decided on while we were down here. I had talked to a guy on the A1A about his ride from Key Largo to Key west. Then, on the second, Ken told me that you can start it is Homestead on the mainland, and it is more like 130+ miles and even better. So a plan was born! George, Anne, and I woke up really early and drove to Homestead. Then, Anne proceeded to be an incredible crew member and providing us with awesome on the road support. George and I rode along through some really incredible scenery. It got better and better as the day went on!

Anne took off her crewing hat and replaced it with a helmet and joined us riding over the 7 mile bridge. Yes, it is a bridge that is 7 miles long and surrounded by incredibly beautiful water!!

A few hours and 132 miles later, we pulled into Key West!! What an awesome ride!

We spent the rest of the afternoon really enjoying Key West! What a fun place!

Anyone know why the chicken crossed the road in Key West?

Ok--wasn't actually a joke, I was just wondering why there were so many chickens!

Then, we had a long drive back to Ft. Lauderdale to get ready to ride one more day!


Last day of riding in Ft. Lauderdale! I went back out to Palm Beach with George. Anne popped into the ride for the middle 40 of the 85. Then, I went back out by myself until Laura came back. Then, she and I went out to top of the last bit of my training camp riding. It was just perfect to finish the week of riding with her! And I was done!!!

2. The People!

What an awesome trip! I got to spend the whole time with George, who I love hanging out with! He was able to ride with me more that I thought he would!

Laura came down on the bookends of the trip, which was awesome! It was also really great to get to spend some time with her family too! John is a blast and her kids are fantastic.

 Our buddy Scott Rigsby came town for the first weekend. We got to hang out and grab some tasty food together! He was happy to be with us too!

I was so excited to have convinced Anne to join us! We had a blast with her, and I am so proud of her 70 mile ride!! That was her longest ride yet!!

3. The food.

This really deserves it's own post! We ate REALLY well during training camp!

Fresh mozzarella made at the table! It is hard to imagine ever eating normal cheese again after this!

Our "dive" night where we had some killer fish dip!

One of the best dinners ever in Boca Raton with Laura's family and Scott! These were crab cake balls on fresh penne and vodka sauce!

We had a LOT of family style food that night, and of course, dessert!

Take out Thai food in the hotel room. Casual, yet delicious!

Cuban food in South Beach, which was just the perfect place with fantastic music!

And back to the mozzarella place for another great meal! Family style! (that's how we ate everything at training camp! It's more fun that way!)

A brunch at the W Hotel with Smoked Salmon benedict and crab and avocado benedict on our last morning!

Awesome pizza on the way to the airport!

So this was basically a week+ of bicycles, friends, and great food in beautiful weather!! One of my best weeks ever!!!


  1. I know you had an amazing trip not only from this post but from how you just smiled telling us about it Saturday night. So glad that you were able to kick off training on such a great note! :)

  2. Hi! This is so cool! I'm doing 4-woman RAAM in 2014 (we started really early, haha) so this is really awesome to read about other women doing RAAM... especially a 2-woman team. Major props to you and your teammate. I'm looking forward to following your journey!

    The training camp sounds absolutely amazing. I'd love to ride all the way to Key West... and I totally want a keylime milkshake now!

  3. Love this post! Sounds like an incredible experience. Now I'm thinking RAAM might be in my future. Thanks for a new adventure to look into!

  4. What a great training plan, and what a great place to train too! Way to go on such a solid week of training. Those sweet rolls looked incredible!