This past weekend my friend and personal training client, Salomeh, participated in a two-day, 150 mile bike ride here in Maryland. Even though she did strength training with me on the weekdays, and did bike ride training with her friend Jamie on weekends, leading up to the event she was nervous, anxious, and at times questioned if she would even be able to finish the event. Well, she did finish the event.
I personally never questioned if she could finish the 2 day event. Salomeh is inspirational because not only has she been exercising and dieting to lose weight, she has lost 30 pounds this year, but she also trained for the bike ride while dieting. That takes some serious discipline and guts. So I interviewed her yesterday. The day after she crossed the finish line.
How are you feeling today? “I am actually surprised. I feel great. My legs are a bit stiff, but that’s about it.”
What did you eat after your event? “I had Famous Dave’s. I had beef brisket, cole slaw, and maccaroni and cheese.”
When did you start training for the bike ride? “I started with 5 to 8 mile bike rides in March.”
What is the longest training ride you did leading up to the event? “I did 78 miles on mostly flat ground in July. My ride time was 5 hours and 24 minutes. That’s just ride time, so not including breaks.”
Did you always ride with someone? “No, sometimes I trained solo.” You go Salomeh.
What was the most difficult part of the training rides? “By f-a-r, the hills. They sucked. But I did get better at them because my ride time got better/faster.”
Did you ever hit a wall during your training? “Yes, but it was diet based. I had cut back too much on my carbs. But once I increased them, my performance improved.” On a side note, I am the one that had to convince her to INCREASE her carbs. For someone like Salomeh on a weight loss mission, this is very hard to believe and implement. But she trusted me, I kept my fingers crossed, and it worked. Whew!!
What motivated you to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer? “Within the last year I have lost 4 people to cancer, so I decided to do my part.”
How much money did you raise? “I raised $3,200 and all the riders raised 2.6 million dollars total.”
What were the riding conditions, like for the actual two day ride? “The first day sucked. It was rainy, a bit cold, and I was soaked. It was a tad dangerous out there with the slick roads. At the 3rd pit stop I totally felt like quitting, but I just couldn’t. 120 riders dropped out the first day, for a multitude of reasons. The first day was very tiring. I started at 7:30am and finished at 4pm. I ate some chicken, rice, and a bit of a salad and went to sleep.” I think if I ever ride 75 miles in one day, I will skip the food and just go to sleep.
How was the second day? “Well I didn’t have restful sleep, so I woke up feeling rundown. I had scrambled eggs, French toast, oatmeal, a bagel, and beacon for breakfast, and I felt much better. I started at 7am and finished the ride at 5pm. At 7am it was a bit cool, almost cold. The first 4 miles were hilly, and that SUCKED, and about half way through the ride, my legs were gone. I was tired. The 3rd pit stop was about 5 minutes from my house and I was so tempted to come home, but I couldn’t. I had come too far to quit. At the 4th pit stop I had 22 miles left, and my hip was killing me. There was a physical therapist at the pit stop, and she worked on my hip. It hurt like hell when she was working on it, but it worked because I finished the ride, and today it feels fine.”
What kept you going on the ride? “I was doing it for my friends, and on the ride I saw a shirt, on one of the other riders who is a cancer survivor, that said ‘If you think this is difficult, try chemotherapy’. The shirt reminded me that it wasn’t all about me.”
How did you feel when you crossed the finish line? “I was in disbelief and burst into tears (Yes I was there, she was crying so much I almost cried. Ok, ok, maybe I did shed a tear, but just one. It’s simple, when I see a woman cry, I tend to do the same). I couldn’t believe I actually did it. I’m still in disbelief.”
Do you feel that our strength training helped you on your ride in any way? “Oh yes. During the ride I heard riders complaining about pain in their back, shoulders, and neck, but I didn’t have any of that. Probably because of all the strength and core training we did.”
Well there you have it. A woman in her late 40’s (she said I could mention her age), who in the midst of her weight loss mission, decided to take on a challenge of riding to conquer cancer. Not only did she raise money, but she did finish the two day 150 mile bike ride, and ahead of others. I witnessed it. Wow!!!
And stay tuned, because guess what Salomeh is doing next year? She is doing an “Iron Girl” event. Isn’t that swimming, biking, and running, all in the same day!? Daaannnngggg! You go Salomeh. And don’t you dare doubt her because not only has she biked 150 miles in two days, but she has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I am not kidding. In the fitness world we call that “BEAST MODE”. And in my world I call her my Home-Girl. (Yes, Home-Girl is capitalized. It is like a proper name or something).