This time next week I’ll be on a Boston-bound bus headed for the starting point for the Braking the Cycle ride. It’s been months of preparation and fund raising that brings me to this place where I’m kind of excited and kind of nervous (well, maybe a lot nervous) all at the same time.

By next Sunday evening (that’s 9/26), if not before, it will be clear how well the preparation pays off. Will I be able to ride the full course each day? How many flats am I going to have? What’s going to happen on the really big hill that starts out day two? How much rain will I have to endure or will it be nice? Those are just a few of the questions that run through my mind pretty constantly right now.

Here’s a few things I have learned over the past five months of training (training that began on April 16 according to my log).

  • The stat that stuns me the most is this: I’ve ridden 1,893.83 miles as of the ride home from work last night (that’s April 16 to September 15). I could’ve gone from here half way into Colorado with that distance. This distance include some rides that were no more than the 2.5-ish miles it takes to get from home to Sky Rink on up to morning rides where I’d get in 20ish miles before work to some of the more monster training rides of done. This count could’ve been more but there were weeks I took off while my mom was sick, while I was on vacation and and various points along the way for injuries either to myself or the bike. Next week that number will roll over 2,000 of course since I’m adding 285 to it.
  • My team mates are awesome! I’ve had a great time getting to know the members of the Flying Goats and look forward to accomplishing this ride with them next week. Many of them have done BTC, or other long rides, and they’ve been a great resource for inspiration, questions answered and good times. They’ve been good to work on fund raising with too. I don’t know what our final total is, but if we all did only the minimum it would be more than $30,000 going to the LGBT Center’s HIV/AIDS services (still want to donate? You can…. go here to support the cause).
  • My friends are awesome too! The fund raising for this was as daunting as the training. Asking people to fork over $3,500 even in small increments is not easy but the goal was done in mid-August and that’s because my friends are great, generous people. Thanks to all of you who donated as well to those of you who have supported me doing the ride. Not everyone can afford to give cash these days, but everyone who has heard about the ride has kept up asking me how it’s going over these months and it’s been very beneficial to have that to keep me going.
  • All the training has made me love Central Park even more. I’ve discovered areas of the park I’d never seen before, especially on the East Side, and now routinely visit places, like Bethesda Fountain, that I love but that weren’t the best to get to from a subway. I expect even when the training is done, I’ll still wander into the park often to enjoy the sites.
  • I’ve learned way too much about New York City traffic since I ride in far more places than just my regular commute paths. Taxis are usually my friend and help me out when I need to be in traffic lanes. Town car/limo drivers don’t pay attention well and if they’re looking to pick up a random fare everyone is in danger because they will cut across lanes of traffic to get it. MTA bus drivers rarely do anything but try to stay on schedule and that can be dangerous for everyone since they will also run red lines to get where they are going. I also know that pedestrians are the least safety conscious people on the road. The expect everyone will look out for them even if they don’t have the right of way. I’m amazed how many people I see being unsafe on a daily basis now (I suspect I used to be one of them until I started with the bike commuting last year). I truly wish police would ticket unsafe walkers like unsafe drivers are. Unsafe bikers need to be ticketed more too…I see way to many of those as well.
  • I know how to simple bike repair now. I fix my own flats these days. I know which parts are important to keep clean and do so. I know how to keep things lubed properly. The bike store sees less of me and they are okay with that.

So next week my bike leaves for Boston on Wednesday, I leave on Thursday and the journey back starts on Friday morning. If you want to see Braking the Cycle in action (and are in the travel path) there are places you can come cheer the riders on (download the Cheering Station pdf). You can follow me virtually on Twitter (and those posts go automatically to Facebook). At this point I plan to tweet from each rest stop, and those are spaced about 15 miles apart so I should be tweeting every 60-90 minutes. I might blog or post pictures at night (I will have the real camera with me rather than just my crappy phone one), but there’ll for sure be a wrap up post when this is all done.

Thanks again to everyone for their support so far. Please keep it coming for the next 11 days.