…for the last three years has been a 10-day, 1200-mile tour around the perimeter of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s called the Tour Da Yoop, Eh, and it is a great event that raises awareness and funds for UP families with kids who have cancer diagnoses.
In 2021, I signed up for the entire 10 day tour and used the MTP and GG200 plan to prepare. I got a lot stronger, but when I started the ride, I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to finish. The relentless mileage and climbing (over 32,000 feet in total) were a shock to my body. I skipped a couple days in the middle and came back to limp through the last few stages.
After that, I devoted myself to building strength, both with the Systm strength workouts and in the gym, and I started learning how to climb hills. I rode all the local climbs that were scary to me over and over until I wasn’t scared anymore. I used the GG200 plan again, incorporating hilly outdoor rides.
In 2022, I went back to ride the stages I had missed, plus a couple more. I did better, but it was still really hard, such that I dreaded each day’s work and didn’t really enjoy myself. I bonked, too.
So last winter I looked back at my Systm history from the past two years and found that I had been lying to myself about my compliance with the training plans. There were many weeks with no long z2 rides, and some weeks with no recorded workouts at all. I vowed to do it right this time, and go back to the UP for one more chance to nail the 10-day ride. I used the GG200 plan during the early spring, then focused during outdoor season on challenging group rides and back-to-back long rides to test my nutrition strategy.
I just got home from the 2023 TDY, and am happy to report that I really did nail it! It was hard, but hard like a tough workout, and I could feel it making me stronger instead of just exhausting me. I saw beautiful scenery and enjoyed quiet roads that I had been suffering too much to notice before. I rode with both slower and faster groups, took my pulls and helped out weaker riders. I took the measure of each hill and calmly climbed. And the mental strength to average 120 miles a day for 10 days seemed to have finally flowered. There were plenty of tough moments, including a crash, but I never let anxiety or whining take over my mind.
I am so grateful for this platform and for my Sufferlandria citizenship, without which I would never have attempted this and never have known that I could be the kind of person who does it well.
Here I am with my husband and perfect riding partner on the morning of day 10.