My success in completing this ride goes beyond my training. For me, the star will be my bike - my Seven Cycles Evergreen S titanium monster! When I began to look for a new bike I had several things on my wish list.
First, I wanted something that could multi-task: great on the road, able to handle gravel and off road, durable, and forgiving on the hills. Secondly, I wanted the frame to be either steel or titanium. Thirdly, I am a Shimano believer, so the drive train had to be either Shimano 105 or Ultra. Lastly, a few other things on my wish list: wheel set for touring and disc brakes. I was looking for a gravel bike, steel or titanium.
I looked at a lot of different bike manufactures and in the end,
I decided on Seven Cycles. They are a custom bike builder located near Boston, MA in a town called Watertown. My wife and I drove up to their "Ride Studio Cafe" in Lexington, MA. I can't overstate what a great experience it was from beginning to end. They worked with me to understand what I was looking for, and what kind of riding I would be doing on this bike. That lead me to the first decision - the frame. I opted to go with their suggestion - the Evergreen S, titanium frame, and built for disc brakes! The description of the bike on their web site says it all, "a go anywhere bike that is rugged and dependable".
From there it was on to a 2 hour fitting session. This was to get all the needed measurements for their fabricator to build a bike specifically for my body and ability. Now it was a waiting game - 8 weeks while the bike was being built. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait! I now have a dream bike that will give me many memories, as long as I can pedal a bike.
This is more bike than I probably deserve, and certainly more than I planned to spend on a bike. However, this bike is also because of my dad, who passed away nearly 2 years ago. He was battling heart issues over the last 10 years of his life. During the last 5 years, he lived with the reality that his time on earth was sooner, rather than later, coming to an end. Because of that, I came back home as often as possible to spend as much time as I could with him. I am grateful for the time my dad and I spent together near the end. I miss him and my mom every single day, and I cherish their memory.
Dad had a modest estate that my siblings and I would share. He told me once that he hope I wouldn't use it just to pay bills, but to spend a little on something that would make me happy. I made that happen when I bought this bike. Every time I ride it, I feel closer to him, and I pray that feeling never goes away. I am also pretty sure that he would approve of the journey I am about to begin - he would be proud.
So many thanks to the folks at Seven Cycles for creating something special - a bike I call Robert. I love you dad.