I've started training for another Century Ride with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program. This year, I'll be riding in the Seagull Century on the Eastern Shore in October. This year's team looks to be as strong and as much fun as last year's Tahoe team.

I'm one month into the training with only 100 miles in the saddle. Last year at the 100-mile training marker, I was riding across the frozen tundra of Baltimore County at about 11 mph. This year, the sun is warm and honeysuckle scents the air. And my average speed is over 13 miles per hour -- muscle memory, no doubt. So, while I battled the ravages of winter last year in the cold and wind, this year, I can look forward to training in the heat of a Baltimore summer. But as we all know, it's not the heat, it's the humidity.

I DID IT, June 4, 2006

It was a great day. I biked it and I liked it. 100 miles in 7 hours and 1 minute. Average speed was 14.27 mph. Cumulative vertical climb was 3,770 feet, barely worth mentioning. One climb was 844 vertical feet over 8 miles to a mountain pass called Spooner Junction. We call that Jerome Jay in Baltimore County.

There were 3,000 riders on the course, 1,900 were riding for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training from all over the country. TNT riders raised over $8 million for the Leukemia Society's mission. There were 32 riders from Maryland. We raised over $145,000 on our team alone. Four moms from Friends School raised over $45,000. Personally, I broke $17,000 before I left Baltimore and was the 12th highest fundraiser in the country.

I had GREENE TURTLE written on my left arm, QUAKES written on my right, a squeaky crab and a can of Natty Boh zipped tied to my helmet and 16 purple and yellow ribbons pinned to my jersey. I was a sight to behold -- pictures to follow.

It was a great day and every once in a while when I was cruising along the lakeside by myself, I said hello to Annie.

ONE WEEK TO TAHOE, May 27, 2006

This coming Friday morning, I leave for the 100-mile bike ride in Lake Tahoe as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training from Maryland. The ride is on Sunday, June 4th. I’ve been planning and training for it for five months, it’s hard to believe it is here. Last Sunday was my longest ride yet – 83 miles. Yesterday was my last training ride before the event – 47 miles. I have ridden over 1100 miles since February. My bike is now wrapped in a blanket and packed in a truck heading to Nevada. I’ll be meeting it there at the Horizon Resort and Casino. It’s a good thing the money you have all donated has been sent straight to LLS, otherwise I’d have nearly $17,000 in my pocket at a blackjack table.

Yes, I’ve raised just shy of $17,000 for the Society in memory and honor of my sister-in-law Annie Girard Miller. I have many, many thanks to give. I hope I have already thanked each of my contributors personally. I have been relentless in asking for money and the response and support of my challenge has been overwhelming. My effort has been supported generously by my family, Annie’s mom in Paris, my friends in the US and in Paris, my neighbors, a large variety of Maryland lawyers, my dentist, my landlord, my chiropractor, members of all the lacrosse teams my boys play on and the coaches, the Friends School community, my parents friends, my sisters’ friends, my brothers’ friends, my childhood friends, my bookclub, my in-laws, my step-in-laws, my sister’s in-laws, my cousins (I’ve got lots of them), and my accountant. I have received corporate sponsorships from a bar on the block – Club Chez Joey – and a pharmaceutical company that makes a drug for one type of Leukemia – Sigma Tau. The logos for those two companies have been printed on the back of our racing jerseys and will be riding around Lake Tahoe with the entire Maryland team. The names of the lacrosse teams will be riding around the Lake with me on my arms – GREENE TURTLE RULES VAIL, QUAKERS ROCK, LTRC and a new one RENEGADES.

Many have given very generously because their lives have been touched personally by leukemia, or cancer, in one way or another. Next Sunday, I will have a ribbon with Annie’s name written on it pinned to my jersey and although she is always in my heart, she will also be with me on my ride. I will have other ribbons with names on them pinned to my jersey, as well – for friends who are fighting or who have fought cancer. It would be my privilege to pin another ribbon on my jersey in honor of someone you love who is in the fight. Please send me a name and I will add a ribbon to my collection. I hope to be a flutter of purple and yellow ribbons as I race along the lakeside for my 100 mile victory lap.

When I get back, I’ll let you know how I did.

THIS I BELIEVE, May 12, 2006

I believe that if you want a red light to change, take your foot out of the pedal clip. I believe that whenever there is a pile of gravel you need to avoid on the shoulder of the road, a truck will pass you on the left. This is known as a harmonic convergence. I believe that drivers of white SUVs are always on their cell phones. I believe that being honked at by a car just before it passes you is not helpful. I believe that the streets of Baltimore City resemble the craters on the moon. I believe that carb-loading works and there is no such thing as too much pasta, too much apple pie, or too many chocolate milk shakes. I believe that french fries and beer are internationally recognized as the endurance athlete's recovery meal (found that on a Bodie Miller website).

I believe that you should not regret yesterday, you should not fear tomorrow, and that you should live today. I believe that is how Annie lived.

I believe that you should try to do something very difficult that you've never done before. I believe that there is honor in just trying.

I'm in week 15 of my training -- riding as many as 115 miles a week. The Century is in three weeks. Tomorrow, I will ride 70 miles. Next Sunday, I will ride 80 miles, and the week before the Big One, I will ride 85 miles with weekday rides of 20, 25 and 30 miles throughout the coming weeks. I am now regularly riding over 14 mph. Hills I was riding at 5 mph in February, I am now taking at 8 or 9 mph with gears to spare at the top. I have ridden over 860 miles since February. 100 miles in one day is my goal and I intend to achieve it on June 4, 2006 in Lake Tahoe.

I believe I can do this.

STATUS REPORT, April 1, 2006

The month of March has flown right by. And the pace of my training is flying with it. When March began, I had just passed the 100 cumulative mile marker for total training miles. With March behind me, I have more than 360 total miles in the saddle, averaging better than 60 miles a week during the past month. When March began, my average speed was hovering between 10.5 and 11.5 mph. I am now consistently riding at about 12.8 mph and have broken the 13 mph mark on three separate occasions, two of which were rides of more than 30 miles. Thursday afternoon, I rode up Lake Avenue from Falls Road without having to stop and with just the slightest amount of Hill Panic setting in. For those of you who do not know that hill, it's a 75 degree incline -- straight up, actually, I kid you not. Anyway, I finished it and was breathing when I got to the top. I am beginning to feel like I might be able to do this after all.

Tomorrow, the team has a 40-mile ride planned. We will be learning about pace lines which means riding really, really close to the rider immediately in front of you so that's the person who is battling the wind. I have learned that the wind is not my friend, unless it is behind me. Hills are not my friends, either, unless I am going down them. But there will be both wind in my face and hills that go up at Tahoe (with my luck, most of the 100 miles will be uphill in a headwind) so I must learn to get along with them both. Pace lines, I'm told, will help me do that by increasing my efficiency up to 20%. I'll let you know.

With the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, the training schedule picks up. Instead of riding three days a week, I will be riding five days a week. Mileage increases every week. I'll be riding 70, 80, 90 then 100 miles per week during April. So, stay tuned.

Meanwhile, you should know that there will be 31 riders from Maryland riding at Tahoe with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. As a team, we have raised over $70,000 for LLS, so far. To everyone who has contributed, thank you, again. To the rest of you -- send money.

NICE DAY, NICE RIDE Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Druid Hill Park on a late Winter afternoon. The temperature is in the upper 40s and the sun is shining. The first ride of each training week is designed to be below the pace you intend to ride in the Century. Your muscles are supposed to "recover" from the workout you gave them in the long ride on Sunday. Something about not tearing the muscle you've built up. (I'm seriously amassing muscle. It's a genetic tendency to bulk up with exercise, runs in the Miller family. Nobody has ever seen it, though.)

At this point in the training schedule, the first ride of the week is only 10 miles long. Next week the first ride of the week increases to 15 miles. But today, a 10-mile ride, below pace, is the perfect formula to noodle over to Druid Hill Park and ride some laps. I'm taking full advantage of the "below the pace" concept. Even so, I rode faster today than I've ridden in the five weeks since the training started. Later in the week, I'll ride another 10 miles and I'll ratchet it up a notch. Then on Sunday, another 30-mile loop is on the schedule and I'll be in the battle once again. But today -- nice day, nice ride.

60 MILES IN A WEEK Sunday, March 5, 2006

On the Team in Training schedule, weeks end with a big ride on Sundays. Today, I rode just over 29 miles which pushes my weekly total to 62 miles. Last month, I rode 100 miles, this week 62. The training schedule is picking up. One more week at this pace, then we add 10 miles. My average speed on today's ride was 11 mph, so I'm slowly increasing my speed with the increased distance. The wind today was rough going out. It was coming out of the northwest and that is the direction in which we started. So, it was a battle. But when I made that turn at the top of the loop after climbing the hill on Caves Road to head southeast back into town with the wind is behind me, I felt like I had just rounded Cape Horn on HMS Surprise.

I've been told that cycling is all about rhythm. If you can keep a song in your head you can grind right up the hills. The words that keep going around and around in my head are from Radar Love, "No more speed, I'm almost there. . . Gotta keep cool, now, gotta take care . . . Last car to pass, here I go . . .and the line of cars goes down real slow . . .The road has got me hypnotized . . . I'm spinning into a new sunrise. . . " Maybe I'll look up the words. I'll be needing the whole song for Tahoe.

100 MILES! Tuesday, February 28, 2006

That's a cumulative 100 miles. Over the course of this past month, I've logged over 100 miles on my bicycle -- 109, to be exact. So, on June 4th, I'll ride in one day the same mileage that it has taken the entire month of February for me to accomplish. I'm not worried. Things are actually getting better and I'm learning a lot. Did you know that it's easier to ride when it's above 40 degrees outside? This is truly a relief for me. This afternoon, I took a 10-mile spin over to Druid Hill Park for a few laps around the lake. It was about 42 degrees outside with a wind speed of 16 mph WNW bringing the temperature down to about 35 degrees. But it was sunny and Druid Hill Park is beautiful with downtown skyline vistas to the south, rolling green hills to the west and geese on the lake. There isn't much in the way of hills for climbing on that ride, but I rode some hills this past Sunday when I conquered 22 miles by taking on Baltimore's famous Hillside Ride. My average speed was up over 11 mph on Sunday and above 12 mph today. So, things are looking up. I'm not getting too comfortable, though. The rides get longer every Sunday. This week, the Team in Training is scheduled for 30 miles -- killer hills guaranteed. But I won't be starting from scratch, I'm in training.