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The Adventure Begins



Life has its way of never letting us miss an adventure. One of my incredible athletes, Marianne Mason is defining adventure no matter what age and taking on an incredible bike tour across Kentucky.

When I began coaching, for me it was just all about data all the time. Much of it is finding the reason WHY you ride, but also creating a community where we all can connect and live through journeys good and bad. Connecting to become better not just in strength on the bike, but as individuals, and the best way to go about that is being a community and leaning on each other. Coaching has become so important and remains to be one of my specialties. It's combining that community, nutrition, data, and psychology to create everyone's adventure to WHY they ride and HOW they can improve.


I want to take this time to share Marianne's incredible journey Which she will begin tomorrow *Thursday, September 15th, 2022 on My mother's birthday 🥳. What better way to start her 17day bike journey of all new adventures than a day where we can celebrate not just a birthday, but the beginning of Marianne grasping New and thrilling memories to last a lifetime as she peddles through Kentucky.


So what better way than to have 20 Questions for Marianne to shed the light on her WHY and how she is preparing to take on 17 days of cycling.



 

1- how did you ever get into riding a bike?


I think I got into riding with my dad when we lived in Thailand (then 4-6yo). When in HS I would ride to my swim workouts. I thought this would help in making me a better kicker when swimming. Ha. Little did I know it does not at all. Then I pause for several years until I was a teacher & (1974-1978). Even though it was 3-miles one way, cycling to & from work was great to start or finish the day. And then, I started cycling more w friends or BFs here & there. I’ve never looked back.


2- how long have you been riding a bike?

63 yrs off and on.


3- how did you get into Zwifting and when did you start?

Friends show us their Zwift set-up in early 2019. I was still on my crutches following my leg fracture. But we dove in head first w getting our wahoo kicker & climb


Our start on Zwift was bumpy, admittedly due to our poor technical knowledge. Our area in the NW had serious smokey conditions in late summer (2019). This forced us to face our technological demons and just in time to help us deal w the COVID lockdown & working from home.


4- what are some of the reasons WHY you ride your bike?

What is my WHY?

Cycling helps me stay healthy physically, mentally & socially. It’s beyond fun. I get to see places from a very different perspective when cycling vs. from a car. At the end of a ride, there is this sense of accomplishment beyond what I thought I was capable of. I plan on cycling as long as I can.


5- what has been your longest ride in one day?

Seattle to Portland (STP) 206 miles. We did this event several times in one-day avg around 17+mph. We also did STP in 2-days. Either way, your body gets sore.


6- What are your favorite snacks you carry for long bike rides?


Over the years I’ve come to enjoy REAL food, such as sandwiches (not always P’nJ). Especially for a long ride.

I also like Belvita, bit-o-honey, blueberry, or raspberry fig-like bars Nuun. I’m also experimenting w portables.

Feed zone cookbook great recipes for portables.


7- where are you from?

I was born in Frankfurt Germany. Adopted.

My father was in the Air Force & we moved around about 3yrs or so.

Since 1970, I have spent most of my time in the Pacific NW.

I was newly dating Jeff (now my husband) and we rode approximately 30 miles RT to Boston Harbor, Olympia, WA. Bonked, old school Bell helmets, and kissed for the first time.


Other honorable rides:

Crater Lake Century, Oregon (2016)

TripleByPass, Colorado (2017)

St Helen’s, Washington (2022)


8- What is one of your favorite most rememberable rides you have ever done outside?

I was newly dating Jeff (now my husband) and we rode approximately 30 miles RT to Boston Harbor, Olympia, WA. Bonked, old school Bell helmets, and kissed for the first time.


Other honorable rides:

Crater Lake Century, Oregon (2016)

TripleByPass, Colorado (2017)

St Helen’s, Washington (2022)


9- now tell us a bit about what you are taking on this next journey?


The name of the ride is

TransAmerica: Section 4


I found out about this organization yrs ago when a friend of mine & her daughter did the Cross country ride (Southern route). This intrigued me. I had signed up to do this exact ride for 2020. But an injury took longer than anticipated to bounce back from & playing catch up w my training would not have been fun. So I canceled. Fast forward, I become interested in this route because it’s on the East coast. Wanting to meet other women riders or women riders who are Zwifting. And, to see some fall colors & history.


The ride organization provided an extensive packing list of what you might expect. What surprised me was, to pack a derailleur and spokes for front & back wheels. I’ve included a chain, cleats & a headlamp. And I’ve packed homemade granola (my go-to breakfast) & Skratch lab recovery drink.


I’ve done several 1-week trips. This is 3 wks long & will give me a taste of a longer tour. And, help me decide if I’d like to do more challenging rides.


10- Website! check it out for more information!


11- What is your Motto going into something you have never done before?


Wow so many but one I have lived by since 8th grade:


In all human affairs, there are efforts & there are results. The strength of your effort is the measure of your result. Chance is not.



12- What are some of the ways you have prepared yourself for an event like this?


I have refined my training by being more focused on nutrition, rides vs. junk miles, and how my body & mind responds. Yet the best decision I’ve made is hiring a coach, Charlotte. I knew I needed to be stretched outside my comfort zone both mentally & physically. Charlotte has helped immensely in both areas. And has kept training fun, which was important to me.

I also practiced drinking what I’m using (recovery drink & Nuun). And, I know this sounds odd but I’ve practiced sleeping w my REI blow-up pillow for the past week or so. As sometimes the hotel pillows are simply uncomfortable.



13- what is your setup for this event?.. all the details 😉

Fall of 2009 I got my Fisher Cornus

Cog set for a 10-speed

11x32 back

50x38 front. Thanks to Charlotte’s help I recently changed my cog set from 12x28 to 11x32. Game changer for the hills I’m about to tackle.

Shoes: specialized

Cleats: Keo, gray

Cycling shorts: Terry

Lanteseptic for those sensitive areas vs. butter butt.

Garmin: edge 1000

Watch: Garmin Vivoactive 4

Tires: Continental GP 5000, 700x28

Wheels: Bontrager

Shifters: Shimano 105’s

Rear derailleur: Shimano ultegra.

Bike pump: topak road morph

Butt bag: Jadd


What I’m carrying in the butt bag:

2-tubes

1-tire

Patch kit

Metal tire irons

All-purpose bike tool

Expired Drivers licenses

Cash 💰


14- how are you going to approach this multi-day event with nutrition?

I try to take a sip or two about every 10-15 min alternating water & Nuun. Eating something about every 30 minutes. Even if it’s a bite or two. I’ll stop at the sag stops which will be about every 20 miles and replenisH


Breakfast:

homemade granola, fruit, maybe some peanut butter, or a hard-boiled egg. Whole or 2% milk. Coffee


Lunch:

sandwich maybe a Diet Coke. Water


Dinner: ??

The initial focus will be carbohydrates (lots)

3-4 oz protein

Salad if available


Post ride:

B12 tablets (4)

Skratch lab chocolate recovery drink.

Some carbohydrates & proteins. Water.


During the ride:

Nuun tablets

Belvita

Bit-o-honey

Carbs are provided by the ride organization.

P ‘n J

Fruit if available

Skratch lab energy chews


15- who will you be riding with

I’ll be riding w 22 other women. Several are from Canada and one is from the UK. I believe most of us will be in our mid to upper 60s.


Seven are returning to finish the last leg of the TransAmerica route, as they have all participated in the prior 3 sections or some portion thereof.



16- what other events have you done in the past?

I have participated in Ride Around Washington (RAW) 7 times. This is a week event covering different portions of Washington state with about 400+ miles, with 1 rest day if you opt to not ride. Approximately 250 riders. You can camp or stay in a hotel. We camp. So after riding all day, we find our bags & put up our tents. It’s super duper fun! Never thought I would do such a thing… ride my bike for a solid week.


17- what other events have you done in the past?

I have participated in Ride Around Washington (RAW) 7 times. This is an in-week event covering different portions of Washington state with about 400+ miles, with 1 rest day if you opt to not ride. Approximately 250 riders. You can camp or stay in a hotel. We camp. So after riding all day, we find our bags & put up our tents. It’s super duper fun! Never thought I would do such a thing… ride my bike for a solid week.


18- new events are always a bit intimidating, and taking on something you have never done is a bit scary, so how have you been reliving that initial stress and giving yourself ease to take on this wonderful ride?

Yoga, walking my dogs, and sharing my moments of uncertainty w my spouse and w Charlotte.


19- what advice do you have for people young and old riding long events and taking on something new?

There is no time like the present. Map out your goal(s) and try to not overthink it. Know the safety net will appear & that anything is possible with preparation. Surround yourself with like-minded & supportive people. Keep your BALANCE & make room for life and know that sometimes less is more. Enjoy the process. When accomplished, soak it ALL in & try to give yourself some time before setting a new goal. Celebrate YOU.



20- you are a perfect example of defying age and really harnessing that inner strength and power that you emit in a ball of light to all of us. You inspire us to keep pushing hard so how do you stay you and keep your inner fire light?

Not trying has never been an option ever since I can remember. As I age, staying socially connected with others & community is VERY important to me. For example every Thursday I walk with GF’s (this started when I retired in February 2022). And, for several years, my husband & I walk with old running buddies every Saturday. Following our walks, we have breakfast on occasion & we definitely celebrate birthdays. Yes, this takes time & planning. Yet,  seeing friends & family feeds my soul.


Although this documentary is about cyclists, it exemplifies abound that few would miss. And was lifesaving for one individual.



Connection to others be it Zwifting or meeting for lunch is invaluable.



injury comebacks

Well, I’ve had my share of surgeries….so hitting the reset button is all too familiar. I’ve had 5-replaced joints (knees, hips, R-shoulder) and a fractured (spiral) Femur in 2018.


As athletes, we are good at setting goals. When injured or coming back from an illness we have a hard time being patient. Yet, I believe this is the time to take our strength from being a goal setter and use it to define simply. In other words think of small, super small steps, and build from there. I used this approach early on in my recoveries, as having a setback was not an option. Keep your recovery goals realistic. Think base building!


The most recent example is my recovery from my R shoulder replacement surgery in 11/2019. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty bummed. I eventually hopped on my trainer (still in my sling) and Zwifted for 15-minutes. WOWZA WOWZA. I felt alive. I rode this way for 3-mths. Then eventually joined group events that were riding at 0.8-1.2 w/kg. I thought I was a speed demon. Ha…. But I was on cloud nine.


Fast forward. All major surgeries or illnesses take time. We are lucky to be fit going into our recovery. The best tip I can share is to define SIMPLE. Surrounded yourself w a good medical team & physical therapist if needed. Most of all give yourself the grace to heal. Our bodies are amazing. Time is our friend.



 

And with that, Marianne takes off on her big journey Tomorrow! I am so happy to have helped guide her to this time and bring her back, but she has also taught me to enjoy life and be the best I can be. It makes me warm inside getting a card in the mail from her after a tough ride and journey myself. Marianne is someone who I have helped but has also helped me and I cannot wait to follow along on her journey! Stay tuned for updates and information!




Follow her along on Instagram:


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