Meet Casey. Casey is a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Doctor full time and then some who features a hectic work schedule. She’s also a badass who spends her off-hours at some of the most challenging and ridiculous events that her gravel bike can tolerate. She has all the typical limiters that plague the non-pro Graveleurs. She doesn’t have 30 hours per week to train (in fact she only has four 20+ hour weeks in the last 3 years that coincide with vacation weeks). She works way too much at a job that can be enormously stressful. She’s absolutely not a superstar athlete blessed with an aerobic engine the likes of Ali Tetrick or Sarah Sturm so they won’t need to worry about her riding away from them.
What Casey does have is the tenacity to succeed and will to learn that enable her to accomplish her goals. With each accomplishment would come a new challenge even more intimidating than the last. Fast forward four years and we’re laying the foundations for success as her Questionable Decisions World Tour 2020 kicks off this week at the Rock Cobbler.
Casey was relatively new to cycling as a sport and looking back at her initial client intake form shows exactly how new she was. For example, one of her biggest success stories in 2015 was learning how to properly use clipless pedals. Casey had rapidly improved from 2015 to 2016 and dabbled in road racing and criteriums. Somewhere along the way, she had heard of this ridiculous event called the Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) where you do 100 miles of pavement and 40-ish miles of non-tarmac. Its ratio is similar to the biggest and most popular monument of cycling, Paris- Roubaix. However, this one had more varied terrain and ~10k’ of elevation gain. It was local and it was an adventure and Casey wanted to do it.
There were a couple of linchpins that needed to be addressed before she took on this event in 2016. First, she had virtually zero off-road experience and gaining that experience meant learning from those she didn’t know particularly well at the time. That was easy enough to solve as Source Endurance had recently launched the first BWR Survival Camp. Casey was the first registrant. Second was the distance and difficulty of the BWR. Previously, the BWR had been smaller, more exclusive and by invitation only. Recently, it had opened to the world and there was immediate glut of athletes new to the discipline. Those newbies found themselves woefully underprepared for the event and, indeed, it still boasts a 40% DNF rate. Casey wanted to make sure she was prepared for success and knew that using Source Endurance would virtually guarantee that she would be 100% ready as she toed the start line.
Casey’s primary goal of 2016 was to finish the BWR during the daylight hours and, in her first attempt, with less than 4 months of total off-road experience, she finished in 11:35.55. Nearly a full hour before sundown.
Over the years, Casey and her Source Endurance coach, Adam Mills would put together a program built on professionalism, athlete development, and mentorship. She would have to develop the physical ability to ride the distance of the BWR (145 miles) in the next 3 months. Concurrently, she would have to learn the basics of nutrition and how to fuel herself well enough to make it to the finish line. Technically, Casey would need to learn how to ride on rocks, sand, over curbs, and through creeks. Also, she and Adam would spend a good deal of time discussing the proper equipment for Casey that would maximize success for each of her events. How far does Casey think she’s progressed? “In early 2016 I could comfortably ride maybe 50-60 miles and could barely ride on a flat decomposed granite path without screaming. After four years working with Source Endurance, I don’t even think twice about signing up for 120 miles of dirt. With a very limited schedule because of my work, Source Endurance has given me the fitness tools to be part of one of the coolest scenes in cycling.”
In the end, the preparation for each event has been spot on and Casey has been successful in each epic endeavor. With each success comes more confidence and with more confidence comes more bold adventures for the following year. And now, in 2020, Casey has embarked on her Questionable Decisions World Tour 2020 which has the following events scheduled: Rock Cobbler, Belgian Waffle Ride San Diego, Unbound Gravel, SBT GRVL, BWR (Second one), Rebecca’s Private Idaho, and Quick N Dirty.
All of these truly amazing events are referred to as the Questionable Decisions World Tour 2020 and we couldn’t be more excited to work with Casey this year. But why do them all in one in year? In Casey’s words, “All of these big events I’ve done in the past have left me with rad experiences and new friends. The training journey to each of them is never boring, and I love dragging others along on my adventures. Why so many this year? They all just sounded like a really good party that I didn’t want to miss.” Secretly, we think she wants to test her coach.
We’ll come back to Casey after each event and give a quick breakdown of her preparation, how the event went, and what Questionable Decision is next up. Thanks for reading and good luck, Casey!