My last month in numbers

by | Jun 15, 2015 | 4 comments

It has been entirely too long since I’ve updated my blog and so much has happened since late April. I thought I would share some info on what I’ve been up to since my last post on April 29th

Miles Ridden:  1,013.81
Time spent on a bike:  77 hours, 04 minutes
Calories burned:  31,335
Total elevation climbed:  71,454′
Longest ride:  103.72 miles
Shortest ride:  8.71 miles
Most consecutive days without riding a bike:  4
States in which I’ve ridden:  4
Number of times my wife has said “Don’t go today, just hang out with us at home, you can train later”:

Update on my health

I had the ultra sound on my carotid arteries and everything was fine, as was the results of the EKG for my dizzy spells. The doctors believe the lightheaded feelings I was having were just my body trying to adjust to the lower pulse rate and possibly from my lower body weight and it should (and has) get better over time. I did injure my back last month 3 days before I competed in my first mountain bike race in 13 or so years, and it was a 6 hour race to boot! I had Heather my wife tape it up with KT tape the morning of the race and downed a few Advil along the way. As you can imagine it’s hard to heal a back when you ride constantly so I ended up taking 4 days off the bike to give it time to heal, which it finally did late last week.

Big rides and races

I’ve had several big rides since my last post that I’m really proud of for various reasons. They all will help me get stronger and faster as I prepare to race the big one in August, but they are also rides that I’ve wanted to do in the past but I was not in good enough shape to try them, I didn’t finish them last time I tried, or I did one of the shorter routes. The first I did was the 3 State 3 Mountain Challenge Century in Chattanooga, TN. This was one that has been on my radar for years but I’ve never done it and even when I thought I might do it a few back I wasn’t going to do the full century, it has over 7,000′ of climbing and is a little over 100 miles long. Well I did the whole enchilada this year and finished 279th out of 615 riders, that’s 336 non CMTers that finished after me! The last mountain we climbed came at the 80 mile mark and had grades as steep as 20% near the top (25% is a 45* angle). I saw many, many people walking the steepest parts but I told myself I would pass out on my bike before I walked. I can’t tell you how rewarding it was to ride past thick legged hammerhead guys pushing their bikes up this mountain, It was also very encouraging when after I passed them, and I know they saw my legs and knew I was not like the others out there they would give me a shout out “good job, you got this”. That is the reason I feel more comfortable in my cycling shorts around 500 strangers than I would at a pool with 6 people, the cyclist see me as one of them, a guy that can for the most part hang with them. The pool people? They just stare. I also raced my mountain bike in a 6 hour solo race on May 16th at a State Park near my home. It was great, Heather my wife was my support crew for the entire day and my daughter Sydney was there for a few hours. My parents as well as my older brother and a few good friends were there to cheer me on as well. I did ok, not great but ok, I completed 5 laps which was 51.75 miles in 5:42:55. I was racing in the Masters Division which is by age and finished 12th out of 17 guys. My time would have put me in 5th place in the Sport division if I had decided to be categorized by skill instead of age, but it was a lot of fun anyway.


Before the race with my #1 supporter, my wife!

Before the race with my #1 supporter, my wife!

Fig Newtons and a Coke at the 30 mile mark

Fig Newtons and a Coke at the 30 mile mark


In May I also was able to ride my bike to the top the Pisgah Mountains of North Carolina to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Heather’s Grandmother and Aunt live in the small town of Canton, NC and over the years I’ve taken my bike with us when we visit always with the intent of riding to the top but I’ve always had to return to Grandma’s house before I could get to the top, well not this time, I made it to the Parkway. It was a 22 mile trip one way, with the last 9 miles being the climb to the top. It was beautiful and rewarding, not to mention the 9 mile descent on the 22 mile return home!

It's going to be a long day

It’s going to be a long day

That's where I'm headed, to the top!

That’s where I’m headed, to the top!

That's my happy face

That’s my happy face











The last big ride I had was last weekend, a charity century bike ride near my home. I’ve ridden the ride before but only the metric century (100 km or 64 miles), but this year I was doing the whole century. Not only did I ride the full 102 miles but I was able to average 17.7 miles per hour for the entire ride, a new personal best for me!

The next few weeks

My training distances are starting to get longer as I get closer to August, most days after work are now 30 miles with intervals and sprints thrown in just for fun. I believe my plan also has me riding 100 miles every Saturday for the next month so I’m really going to be testing the whole “I’m behind you 100%” from my wife. I know it’s tough on her for me to be gone 1 1/2 to 2 hours after work during the week and then 6-7 hours on Saturdays and another 3 hours on Sundays. Did I mention how supportive and helpful she’s been? I certainly wouldn’t be doing this much if not for her and my kids, they are the best.

My body after 4 months

Surprisingly enough I’m still fairly healthy except for the back issue that seems to have gone away and a chronic sore shoulder I’m still going to the Chiropractor every week and my leg pain from the CMT is still lingering but it may never go away. One thing the 6 hour mountain bike race did reveal is that I need to strengthen my shoulders and core more in the next 2 months. I’ve done some research and found some cycling specific core strengthening exercises that will help. The only problem is finding time to do them!

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January 15th 2015. That was the day I got my official invite to the race, that was the day of no turning back, that was the day I realized I was going to riding my bike a lot this spring and summer, a whole lot!

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  1. Laurie Irwin

    It’s wonderful you are doing this!

    Do you know if you are related to a Watkins family from around Charlottesville, Virginia? I think my CMT may be from that line of my family, but have no way of knowing.

    Keep up the great riding!


    • courtney

      Thanks Laurie. I asked Michael but he does not think there is a relation. Thank you also for your donation to Michael’s Leadville ride. Have you checked out the Inspire Community?


  2. Colleen Davis

    We are so very proud of you, Michael!!

  3. Sarah Murphy

    I am so proud of you and Heather. You are very special to me. Love you bunches.


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