HIV Longevity Still Fighting…



You've probably seen me touting Fit4LifeTraining lately (especially if you follow me on twitter @vripley). The hashtag #Fit4LifeTraining says it all. It encompasses so much in a compact package of words. As most of you know, I will be in an upcoming issue of Competitor magazine (I think May). There is a reason for that. Besides the fact that I've befriended professional athlete and one of my triathlete mentor/inspirations, Pip Taylor (she authored my article). And, I train a lot. I'm also a type-A hemophiliac and one of the longest living HIV+ people in the universe. I'm in the magazine with the hopes that I can motivate and inspire others who are trying to maintain a workout routine.

This leads right into today's training. My good buddy, George, introduced me to a really cool group of riders that call themselves Andrea's Riding Group (or ARG for short). This gang of riders is not only very good peoples, they are also seriously strong riders. Well, they invited me out for a little jont over a hill called Mount Weather (I call it Mt. Doom).

As with most all of my fitness events, this one started with a bout of diarrhea. Sorry for sharing, but this is a part of my life, and it is something that hampers some of my progress. I popped some Imodium AD and then blew up a 7-11 bathroom ... Much mo betta!

This trek kicked off in Marshall, VA; which is one hour from my house and was a 56 mile loop all the way up and down Mt. Doom and then Naked Mountain.

We started this morning with 13 riders (so I knew it would be a lucky ride). Two of them were on a tandem bike ... Considering how hard Mt. Doom is one a single ride, I can't imagine staying in synch with another rider!!!

This is our gang of crazies

If you notice most of us are wrapped up ... The morning started at a chilly 38 degrees and some winds. As the day progressed, the temperature slowly climbed, but fortunately the wind stayed with us all day and made the ride even tougher. Yay!

The ride is an awesome training adventure that ends up gaining ~5,000 feet

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. The first 20 miles are an uneventful set of rolling hills (albeit horrendous asphalt conditions). At the end of the 20 miles, we stop briefly at the General Store for an outhouse experience and topping off the water. Immediately after starting away from the store one of our riders experienced a blowout. Then he popped another tube during the tire change process. We were a little leery as he pumped up the third tube ... It held and everything was hunky dory.

From here, the real fun begins ... You start by gradually climbing and winding up to the base of Mt. Doom. The base of the mountain is a bit intimidating ... Essentially; you see the road going up at 8+% grade for what seems eternity. In actuality, it is about a 2 mile climb, but at this steep grade, it really is quite a leg killer. The total ascent from beginning to the government installation takes almost 30 minutes (for me ... Most of our group was considerably quicker than me). Once on top, you still face a bunch of minor hills as you roll along the ridgeline.

Finally, you arrive at the downhill section, and it is a blast! I was averaging close to 40 MPH almost the whole way down the mountain. At one point, I hit 43.2 MPH. I thought I was cooking until the tandem couple blew by me like I was parked! At the bottom is a nasty hairpin; which I know all too well thanks to my last trip here. Heed the road sign that says, "15 MPH" because this turn is a doozy!

Once off Mt. Doom, you get a small respite, before climbing back up another hill (Naked Mountain). It isn't nearly as tall, but it damn sure feels it after blowing your legs on Mt. Doom. As you finish up Naked Mountain you feel the security of knowing that you only have ~13 mile left. And, most of all, they are fairly easy miles. At this point, every single hill (even the tiny ones) sent shivers up my back and made my quads scream!

You might be able to spot Mt. Doom in the middle of this ride elevation chart

If you'd like to checkout the stats, go here:

During this ride I burned approximately 3,570 calories; which is good, because afterward I drank several brews at my cousin Donny's birthday party.

Afterward, I met up with my beautiful wife and adorable kids for a weekend vacation a few hours south in Harrisonburg, VA.

Me and the kids chilling in the hotel pool

Hopefully this post gave you a little insight into my Fit4LifeTraining concept and also (perhaps) a little inspiration and motivation!

Written with enthusiasm, by your trusty coach,

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Posted by Vaughn Ripley

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  1. This sounds like a wild ride! I was nervous going 36 mph, I can’t imagine 40+!!! Today, I start my RAGBRAI training! This will be my second year to ride my bike across the state of Iowa… I can’t wait!!! You should join me some time. Iowa is not the flat state everyone thinks it is.

  2. Fit4LifeTraining « HIV Longevity

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