Made it over the hump


Almost a week ago was Mother’s Day. On the same day, I celebrated a milestone in my and many other peoples lives. I turned a half century old. I wish I could tell you that I felt differently than I did a week ago, but I can’t. I still wake up groaning the same way as before. Mentally, it only slightly bothers me and I have to admit that I currently think about my age a bit. Hopefully, those thoughts will quickly fade though.

In other news, we’re about to head for the States for my sister-in-laws wedding. We’ll be hitting Seattle on the 23rd of May, then head south for the wedding, back to Seattle for a couple of days to see friends, hit REI and the Patagonia store and then off to Canada. In Canada we’ll visit a couple of friends in Vancouver, then hit the Arcteryx Outlet store and work our way over to Banff. Kera will drop me off and she’ll head off to a family reunion in Montana.

Out for a training ride…. I made the yellow bags

On June 8th, I’ll be off on one of the biggest adventures that I’ve ever undertaken. From what I last heard, there were somewhere around 120 people signed up but the hope was to whittle that number down to around 100. If it’s anything like normal, at least 50% of those will drop out in the first week. I’m going to do everything possible to avoid becoming a statistic at that point. ‘Sides, I don’t think that Kera will let me attempt it a second time. From all accounts, if you don’t finish it becomes something that haunts you until you do.

I have to say thank you to my loving wife Kera as she’s put up with a couple of years (mostly the last year) of me talking to Phil and David about it relentlessly every time we get together. She calls is the “Big Stupid Race” because of the bear danger. That’s something I don’t take likely. I’ve never lived somewhere that I’ve needed to worry about bears and it definitely makes me nervous. That’s part of the reason that it’d be nice if I can keep up and ride with Phil at least till we get out of bear country.

Anyway, thanks so much to Kera, my friends around the world, my team mates in Big Wheel Racing in Europe and the States, sponsors and family. I also have to mention my various employers and students as well. All have been incredibly supportive. I really hope to come back with lots of stories and photos for them to hear and see.

I found another site with some good info. on the TDR with GPX files, etc. Check it out HERE. A couple of their statistics that might be interesting though.

Trip statistics:
2562.77 mi (870.37 mi uphill, 951.49 mi downhill, 735.62 mi flat)
191,525 ft total ascent (191,325 ft descent) – 5.4 % ave uphill grade, 4.9 % ave downhill grade

I’ve had a few requests for how you can follow along. Here you go. Go to the website and click on the Leaderboard. That’ll take you to where all of our SPOT trackers report. You should then be able to choose my name and see where I am. If all is going well and I’ve remembered to turn on my SPOT or it’s not out of batteries, my track should show where I am within a 10 min. span. Additionally, you can subscribe to MP3’s of the racers call-ins. I believer that we’re supposed to call in daily but most don’t ever seem to do it. In any case, most people are so tired that they sound drunk or stoned. Therefore, the phone calls get pretty animated and funny. Just go to and subscribe through iTunes or you can listen via the website.

Honestly, I think I’m ready to tackle this beast. I’ve ridden so much this year. In April alone I rode more than 1400 kilometers. Pretty much the last 6 months of my life has been dedicated to this race. Maybe more actually. We started with intense spinning in November and did that through the winter. I also rode and ran during that time as well. There was about 3 months where I was working out about 25 days out of 30. Right now, I’m feeling very strong but I’m also attempting recovery mode. Kera calls me the “shittiest relaxer” as I have a really hard time sitting still. Relaxation for me is movement. As you can imagine, recovery mode is difficult.

After I finish the TDR and figure out how I’m getting to K.C. I’ll stay a week or so with family and friends. It’s been more than 5 years since I was back in the K.C. area and I’m overdue for a visit. It’ll be really good to see everyone. Sadly, Kera has to go back to work so she won’t be able to come along. Coincidentally, she’ll be heading back to Seattle for “work” about the same time I’ll be heading back to Germany. She’s going to Glacier Bay via a client which ought to be great. Our kayaking trip there in 2005 is still one of the best trips I’ve ever had.

My hope, when I return, is to go back to teaching half-time and start making the bags half-time. I’ve already received a few orders and it seems that if I come through with those, it’s likely to break into a much broader group. Wish me luck!

Published by: wunnspeed

What does one say here. Hmmm. First, I'm a "trailing spouse". Kera, my wife, works hard and keeps us afloat. I work... not nearly as hard and contribute enough to let us have fun. Oh, I also make bags for bikepacking under the name of SpoK Werks I'm an English Teacher (English as a Second Language) here in Germany. It's an amazingly rewarding thing to do. I'd never have believed it until I'd tried it. I also make bikepacking bags under the name SpoK Bags. Just search for us in Flickr. We're adventure nuts (i.e. cycling, travel, life, friends, etc.). We attempt to live each day as fully as we can manage.

Categories 29'er, life, racing, SinglespeedTags, , , , , , , , 2 Comments

2 thoughts on “Made it over the hump”

  1. Hey Mark… I’m running 32X19. Hoping it’ll get me up the mountains and I won’t spin out too much on the flats. You’re running something similar aren’t you?

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