I have only taken one riding vacation since I began cycling seriously in 2006. During spring break 2009 I rented a Trek Madone in west Florida and jumpstarted my fitness and base miles that year. That was also the same year I had set a goal of riding the STP in one day and needed all the fitness and miles I could get.
Once I achieved the age of 40, the days of hitting the road for 2 weeks each spring to get back in shape were long gone and it became a year-round endeavor. Even so, there is something to said for stressing the body with several days of 40 or 50 plus miles in a row at tempo to interval pace. I consider it training to train since the intensity can be just that much higher after a 5 or 6 day session, but apparently I am not made of stuff that allows me to do that in rain, wind and snow.
I cannot state scientifically whether my spring training was the difference that year, but I did meet my goal of completing the 202 mile ride in one day so something worked. I have no such ambitions this year, but want to be fit, healthy and reasonably fast on the bike for 2014.
Being in ownership of a bike shop means that part of my job is to go to other bike shops to look for new trends in the industry, explore new merchandising and discuss the business aspect with other owners - all in the quest to continually improve the customer experience at Two Wheel Transit. As you might imagine the cycling industry is fairly competitive so staying up-to-date is a must. Bike shop owners are more at liberty to discuss the business details of their shop when you do not compete in the same geographic region.
With this in mind I planned a trip to the Phoenix, AZ area and just happened to bring a bike along for the trip. (I suffer for my work) I checked around and chose Southwest Airlines to move the Moots and me after considering ticket prices, schedule and bike luggage fees. Southwest is still rated among the friendlier skies for bikes (just behind Frontier) and charges $75 each way for your beloved steed due to oversize status of a bike box.
I used a cardboard bike box and packed some other things like shoes, CO2 water bottles, CamelBak pack and tools. I also had the bike expertly packed by our shop to minimize the chance for mishap on the way down,
The TSA either wanted to get a close-up look at the amazing Moots or suspected I was smuggling contraband. Regardless of reason, they opened the box for closer inspection and relieved me of my favorite 25g CO2 cartridge. Remember that they are prohibited on flights in luggage of any kind, but guess I forgot.
Though not thrilled about paying to have a 29 pound piece of luggage checked, I must say that the bicycle and box arrived in pristine condition. The box was both taken from me and delivered to me by a representative from the airline so there was some special handling involved. The option of renting a current model TREK Madone or Domane in a known size and fit configuration would probably be a wash when you consider the boxing, hassle and transportation costs of bringing your own bike, but I wanted some more bonding with the Moots and tubeless tires so it got the nod in this case.
|Mr. Moots - meet Arizona|
Since I have already profiled one of the bike shops I visited, the next few posts will include some riding, routing and observations so stay tuned.
Two Wheel Transit - Cycling for Life