It has been more than a month since we last posted. We have been riding every weekend, but nothing seems exciting enough to justify a post. Today isn’t different, but I’ll at least write about what we are doing to prepare for this trip.

Based on what we’ve experienced on our preparation rides I am now much more aware of hills for our route planning. I spend about 3-4 nights a week working on a segment of the trip. Unfortunately I haven’t found good route planning software which takes into account hills, so I kind of hunt and peck to find the path I think I want to follow, contact hotels along that path to see if they can securely store our bike, make reservations, then realize I’ve got it all wrong, cancel the reservations, and start over. It is a blast. Today I was working on our route from Bastogne to Paris and I finally gave up on the hotel shuffle - we are just going to camp on that segment and figure it out as we go. :)

We rode on Antelope Island today and the bugs were amazingly thick for about 5 minutes. So thick they looked like dark columns extending about 20 feet into the air. We had our shirts covering our faces while we rode, but we were still inhaling gnats. Luckily it was only for a short section of the causeway. Right after that we hit a section that smelled like an outhouse that needed attention. Seriously. Luckily that was short too. Most of the ride was beautiful, clear, and flat.

We are getting stronger. I try to ride a recumbent at the gym 3-4 days a week, Natalie either runs or rides her road bike in the basement every morning, and every weekend we ride 40-50 miles together on the tandem. We have a 3-day 180 mile trip in early June. It is hard to fit a lot of training into our already busy lives, but we feel like we are are doing an adequate job. Today we were able to make it up a short hill with a 10 percent grade that had stopped us 2 months ago.

I think one aspect of our tandem that has surprised us the most is how easy it is to talk to each other. Unless there is a headwind, we talk for most of the ride. The topics are super random - especially when we are gassed, but this is proving to be a great way to spend time together.

We have less than a month before we leave.  A few more weekend rides, a 3-day ride toward Nephi, and then we box the bike up and head for the airport. Bring it.

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That hurt