It’s been several weeks since completing BRAN, and I’ve needed this time to process the experience. The ride was book-ended with less than ideal conditions that left me wondering if I would ever do this again.
Day one was just awful! The high temperature was 45 degrees and it rained, sleeted and hailed on us the entire 70 miles. Not a lot of cover in the Sandhills of western Nebraska. The last day we had a steady 30MPH head wind for most of the 57 miles. I just wanted to get off the bike and go home. No sense of accomplishment or enjoyment at the finish line.
It took a few weeks, but I realized that the experience was all mine!
From a training perspective, I put more than enough time in the saddle preparing for BRAN. About 1,200 miles in before the event, and my weight was right where I wanted it. In fact, my weight was exactly the same at the end of the ride. This meant that my nutrition and calorie intake were right on. Some riders will not be prepared for the miles, get overly tired and then compound their problem by not eating. Game Over!
Here’s where I went wrong… In the months leading up to BRAN, if I went outside and it was 45 degrees and raining, I simply went inside, put the bike on the trainer and put in the miles. When you’re in a ride like BRAN, you just go! There’s a schedule to keep and it’s a one-way trip. I had the wrong gear and never trained in poor conditions before.
Now with lessons learned, I’m very anxious to do this again. The people in the towns that hosted us were simply amazing. They opened their schools, homes, businesses and hearts to the riders and staff of BRAN. If you’re on the fence about taking on a ride like BRAN, my advice… GO!
Note to self: Have the right gear and train in all types of weather.