This week starts the official (well, my official) 16-week train-up for the Bike Across Florida 2009, forever more referred to as BAF. Think of it as a 16-week bike focus. This does a couple of things for me:
1) Gives me a big event to look forward to and train for - a goal.
2) Allows me to lose weight with physical activity that won't hurt me due to the added weight I put on (what a vicious cycle that is!), like running.
3) Puts another cool feather in my physical achievement cap.
4) Acts as a springboard event for a potential Ironman in '10 !!!!
It's difficult to nail down, but it looks like this is an 11 hr event, max, that is a 171 miles long. Last years' event was 165 miles on a Garmin downloaded to Motionpeaks. So I'd say its a good possibility that the distance is accurate. At one point it was advertised as a 155 mile event. Any way you slice it, it will be a long day in the saddle.
So the intial plan will include a hotel stay on the East Coast, an early wake up call, an all day ride to the Gulf, and an almost 2 hr drive home from Crystal River. So far, a good group of fellows from Lazydays, my workplace, have agreed to train for this bad boy. John, our CEO, is built like Lance Armstrong and is a strong rider already. Mark (with a "k") is our Inventory Manager and will be strong in the flats as he's a hoss, like me. Markle is the young guy, and is really strong on the bike. New to cycling, the distance will be his challenge - managing fluids, calories - stuff like that. Marc - me - the Bigun - well, I've got some challenges myself, but it was my big mouth that suggested this whole thing to begin with!
Some wild-cards will include Chris and Lee - more salesmen at Lazydays who are kinda-sorta "in". They are hooked on Tri's but realize the added commitment to training for a big event like this and may not be able to put the time in. I'm not sure if my buddy Greg will step up, although he's expressed interest. I think I want him to do it more than he does. Tom did his first triathlon 2 weeks ago, and while I'm sure he'll be enthused, I'm not sure he'll have the distance in his legs. It would be cool if he does though! Jason just bought a bike and may give it a go, and Don, well, he seems to just keep on coming up with excuses but still wants to be kept in the loop. You all know that guy, right?
So we have 4 "highly probables" and another 6 that might jump in there. Mark has already volunteered his wife to drive the Suburban as a SAG vehicle, and while it's not required, it will be nice - and save us all the trip back over to the east coast. We might even get some spectators to see us finish...
Of course, any one else wanting to jump in is welcome, and I know sometimes these kinds of events are avoided 'cause you don't know anyone. If you ever had an inkling, you are welcome in our small pace-line.