How Does a Full-Time Mom Transform herself Into an Accomplished Cyclist & Author?

Video Transcription:

Jim Dodson: Hey, it's Jim Dodson, the Florida Bike Guy. Welcome to our livestream. So how does the mom next door become a committed athlete and author and ride across America? Because she made a decision to do it, and she was committed to that decision. I want you to meet today Tracy Draper, a friend of ours, and all-round interesting person. Tracy, why don't you say hi?

Tracy Draper: Hi, good morning, thanks for having me.

Jim Dodson: So Tracy, tell us where you're calling from, where you live.

Tracy Draper: I'm in Eustis, Florida.

Jim Dodson: Okay. So I know that you and I were talking, and I kind of know your story, and its not unlike a lot of stories that I run into in the cycling world, you know, people that have made a decision to get active in cycling and how it changed their lives. Tell the viewers where you were and what made your decision to kind of get to where you were going.

Tracy Draper: Okay. In late summer 2006 I started doing some super-sprint triathlons because a pastor at church had actually been bragging about his wife and said if she can do it anybody could do it. And I took that personally. I thought that meant that I could do it too. Our children were getting older and I was in my early forties so I thought that would be a fun thing to do with some more free time that I had found since they had after school activities and such. So I started competing in my first sprint triathlons or super sprint, up to sprint tris, and then I just got addicted to it, got hooked, and that was a 2006. As a former gymnast growing up I had a good work ethic except my body was a little bit older, so I found that I was training too hard doing two-a-days. Hip injury, back injury, planter fasciitis, all these over-use injuries. So that kept me out for about a year and a half of competing. But, yeah, I injured my back in 2009 and then the physician told me if you want to be active when you're 60 you should quit running. So that ended triathlon.

Jim Dodson: Right okay. So you injured your back but you had the kind of injury that we see a lot in our practice because you had a herniated lumbar disc.

Tracy Draper: Yeah, a ruptured disc, yes.

Jim Dodson: Yeah, so they use a lot of words for it. Rupture, herniation, all these words sort of mean you had disc damage.

Tracy Draper: Right.

Jim Dodson: It's something that doesn't really get better. Symptoms sometimes get better. You treat around it. But it's kind of there.

Tracy Draper: Right, right, right.

Jim Dodson: And you have to learn to live with it most of the time.

Tracy Draper: Yes.

Jim Dodson: So how did you kind of accommodate for no longer being a runner but still wanting to be athletic?

Tracy Draper: There was an event they just started over at Summer Sports called aquabike, and you could swim and bike and no run. It was wonderful. It was perfect for me. At that time, around 2010, is when I joined a local cycling club and I got really involved in serious cycling, not just riding eight to 10 miles at a whack, so that's where that addiction began.

Jim Dodson: So what are you defining as serious cycling for those who are watching?

Tracy Draper: Well I was riding from, I was probably doing 20-30 miles a week maximum before 2010, and then I upped it to ultra-distance riding which I have done as recently as this past May.

Jim Dodson: Okay, and what are the distances you're talking about, and how was that transition from, you know, 30 miles a week to what you ultimately ride as an ultra distance rider?

Tracy Draper: Right at the time of training as an ultra-distance I was doing, easily, 200 a week, sometimes more. And, I'm sorry, repeat your question again. I lost that.

Jim Dodson: No, I was just trying to define what is ultra distance to you.

Tracy Draper: Okay, okay. Ulta is anything over 100 miles. I have done quite a few, I don't know how many centuries I've done. 200 Ks I've done, 300 Ks, 400 Ks, a 24 hour road race at night, or throughout the night in Sebring, Florida.

Jim Dodson: I've heard of it. I've had clients and friends that have done it. It doesn't, it sounds painful to me.

Tracy Draper: Yes,excruciating, yes. But very good to to get it behind me.

Jim Dodson: So I'm really curious too. So you sort of bridge that gap between a casual rider at 20 or 30 miles a week. So how did you build up and get to start doing your first century into doing the ultras?

Tracy Draper: I had been riding since August and then Horrible Hundred was coming up in November and people in the club I was in said, "Hey let's do the Horrible Hundred." And I thought, why not, you know? So I just kind of built up from there, up to, that was my first century was the Horrible Hundred.

Jim Dodson: Okay.

Tracy Draper: 2010.

Jim Dodson: And did you have anybody coaching you along the way or were you sort of teaching yourself?

Tracy Draper: I actually had some people in the club that were quite helpful that were teaching me all the do's and don't-dos and all the etiquette and boy, is there a lot of etiquette to road cycling.

Jim Dodson: Yeah really.

Tracy Draper: I remember getting yelled at. It felt like I get yelled at every single ride but that's what it takes to learn it. There's a lot to learn.

Jim Dodson: And I know at one point you had an idea that you wanted to participate in the Great Floridian.

Tracy Draper: Correct I trained for that.

Jim Dodson: Right, what is it?

Tracy Draper: It was the aquabike version. It was actually, I'm sorry?

Jim Dodson: Yeah just tell us what it is.

Tracy Draper: Okay it is a, the one I did was the aquabike version. It's a 2.4 mile swim, 106 mile bike ride, and thankfully no marathon at the end for me. And so I trained very very hard. I remember my longest training ride at that point, without stopping, you know, for water or to get off the bike, I had water on the bike, was 44 miles in training for that event.

Jim Dodson: Wow.

Tracy Draper: So that June of 2012. So I hadn't come super-far, but that race was really one that was extremely thrilling to do.

Jim Dodson: How did you transition from 44 miles to 106 miles? It's, I would say, you weren't really prepared for that from a riding standpoint it doesn't sound like.

Tracy Draper: Well actually I had a very good training partner who was helping me and he would coach me throughout the race, or the training, and we would stop and when we got into the longer rides he'd plant a cooler on the side of the road, so we'd stop and refill our Gatorades and water there and have some extra food supplies with us as well. But during the race itself I didn't stop at all. I'd just, you know, quick, grabbed a water bottle as I rode by and kept going.

Jim Dodson: Okay. I know that the idea of riding across America was something that was sort of germinating in your mind throughout all this period too. Sort of tell our viewers sort of how that initially was planted in your subconscious.

Tracy Draper: Okay when I bought my first road bike in 2006 and I wasn't really riding then, you know, more than eight or 10 miles at a time, the lady who sold me the bike said to me that she had ridden across the country and she was in her fifties, and said, "If I can do it, anybody can do it." And again that was a challenge that I took, that, "Oh yeah, she's talking to me." So on the way home from the bike shop in 15 minutes I'd already talked myself out of it. That there's no way, that's just crazy. I can't even ride, you know, 50 miles much less 3000. So that, as you said, germinated for quite some time. As I got stronger and stronger in the bike club and started, I did some road races and things like that, my confidence was building. And by then it was 2012. My youngest had graduated from high school and he was going off to the Air Force Academy so I thought, "Hmm, you know, I think I'm going to do that." So that's where it came to fruition in my mind was when I had all that time now to plan organize and then I could do it.

Jim Dodson: So what year was that?

Tracy Draper: 2012.

Jim Dodson: And when you actually did the ride, what was the year that you did the ride?

Tracy Draper: 2014, two years of planning.

Jim Dodson: Yeah talk about that transition between 2012 and 2014 and the purpose of the ride and the ride that you performed.

Tracy Draper: Sure, sure. Well at the end of the Great Floridian aquabike race a friend of mine was there, had raced as well, and she told me she wanted to ride across the country one day. That was on her bucket list. So she said, "Tracy, what's on your bucket list?" And I said, "I don't have a bucket list." Because that sounded creepy. That means you're dying and I'm not ready to be dying yet. And I thought, well, I said, "I have a live-it list." She said, "What's that?" And I quickly had to come up with something because I never knew what a live-it list was. So I said, "That's not waiting "until the doctor's diagnosis "to get out and do the things you want to do, "but at the same time, "do something to help somebody else." So that's where that notion came in. So when I knew I wanted to ride across the country I immediately began looking for a charity that we could ride for, or I could ride for. I wanted to have a team around me but at that time it was just me.

Jim Dodson: Okay. So how did you select the charity and what was it about that charity that made you really want to get behind it?

Tracy Draper: I have a very deep affinity for the military. My father was in. My husband was in the Navy. My brother was in the Army. My son is in the Army, at that time he was at the Air Force Academy. And I just thought, you know, I really want to help the veterans. And then I found out, I saw a quote in The Washington Post that said 22 Military service members commit suicide every day. And that just struck my heart, so then I began looking for a charity who helped those prevent suicide, and we found Hope for the Warriors.

Jim Dodson: Okay.

Tracy Draper: And that is a beautiful, wonderful nonprofit that I investigated thoroughly. I even called the staff and told them what I wanted to do and asked why I should support them. I looked them up on Charity Navigator and they were giving 87.4% of what they took in, of the donations, directly to their programs. And that won me over.

Jim Dodson: Which is a very, very important consideration when you're thinking about getting behind a charity, because all of them don't do that.

Tracy Draper: Right exactly. So that's how I chose that one, and.

Jim Dodson: So you had a commitment that you wanted to have a team ride with you, so you had to select your team and then you had the issue of fund raising both for the charity and you had to self-support for your ride.

Tracy Draper: Sure, sure.

Jim Dodson: So how did that go?

Tracy Draper: Right, well, before I could ever get to a team the biggest team member I had to convince was my husband, and in my book there's one whole chapter dedicated to his response, when I told him I wanted to do this. And it's a very short two-word answer that you can probably figure out. Once I won him over and he realized that this was a dream of mine I then started thinking of other cyclists that I knew that I had ridden with, perhaps, or I was friends with, who would be strong enough, would have the mental fortitude, would financially be able to take time off work or pay for this. So that was, we went through probably four or five people who first committed and then had to back out saying, "No, I can't do it."

Jim Dodson: Right, understandable.

Tracy Draper: Yeah, so we--

Jim Dodson: It's a big commitment for a lot of reasons.

Tracy Draper: It is huge, it is huge. We ended up with a total team of seven riders and one SAG driver. We had two other volunteer SAGs, my husband being one, that came in and out throughout the process.

Jim Dodson: Okay. And you had to figure out, so, how much money you needed to self-support,

Tracy Draper: Yes.

Jim Dodson: Which is one big issue which is based on how fast you're gonna ride which, so how many days you'll be on the road. Right?

Tracy Draper: Exactly. Well, what I did, I spent over 200 hours just at the computer, and my husband can attest to it, every night I'm on the Google maps mapping out the route from Malibu, California to Amelia Island, Florida. Because I knew there were certain places in the country where you could go so that people would want to come.

Jim Dodson: Okay.

Tracy Draper: And so I had to plan and in the first week a rest stop was at Grand Canyon, and that got a lot of people interested. So when I was doing that I came up with, six weeks was the most I felt like I could financially take off, and my husband agreed. So between pre-ride travel and post-ride travel it totaled six weeks. And I just had to bite, you know, put that into 31 days of riding to make it work so we wouldn't kill ourselves on the road and there was a town that we could stop in. That was the one of the biggest challenges was to map it all.

Jim Dodson: You needed to have a town within 100 miles of where you started every day.

Tracy Draper: Yes, yes, or in some cases 120, but we had all day to ride, that was the thing, was that we knew we would be somewhere that night that had hot food and showers and a bed. Go ahead.

Jim Dodson: So what did it, I know from talking to you that you had about half your time you spent in hotels and half the time you had arranged somehow to have free lodging through donations or sponsorships or what have you.

Tracy Draper: Correct, correct. One of the biggest planning parts, of course, is where we were gonna stay every night. And I just began calling Chambers of Commerce, city halls, schools, churches, in all these different cities we're going to to see if I could connect with someone. And 17 times out of 31 we were successful which was just wonderful. One mayor, from Augusta, Kansas, actually put us up in the hotel out of her own pocket. She just decided to buy our rooms for two nights which was really really sweet. She's now a state representative, Kristey Williams, in Kansas.

Jim Dodson: Oh really? Super. And so what did it come down, how much did you need for self-support for your trip?

Tracy Draper: We needed, we came up with $3000 a person,

Jim Dodson: Okay.

Tracy Draper: And our SAG driver had to pay half of that. Since he was driving for us we didn't feel right charging him the whole thing but still, you know, food and gasoline and lodging adds up.

Jim Dodson: And so talk about the issue about raising money for your charity. Now that was a big commitment as well for you.

Tracy Draper: Well Scott, who was another team member, was in the, he was in the Navy I believe, and so he already had this affinity, as I did, with military, and his father was in, so it was easy for us to fundraise. And I didn't feel like I wanted to demand that the team raise this money. I wanted to suggest, to offer, to enable.

Jim Dodson: Right.

Tracy Draper: We had business cards with our logo on the front and on the back it would be where they could donate, and we also asked them to go on social media and post where they had met us. So that was totally inspiring for the whole trip,

Jim Dodson: Sure.

Tracy Draper: was to read at night what people were saying about seeing us on the road. So a lot of donations came in that way. A lot came through friends and family as we were getting nearer the end of the trip. People wanted to kind of wait and make sure, I think, that we were gonna make it.

Jim Dodson: You were really gonna go, really gonna make it?

Tracy Draper: Yes, yes. So they came, they came in very well. We ended up with $38,000 at the end of the five weeks and they're still, I know several people who are contributing to Hope for the Warriors on a monthly basis now, to this day, so that's phenomenal.

Jim Dodson: That's awesome, really, really. And how does it, you know, it's so incredible to me, it's so easy to have your list of what I want to do, but you know, what's so unique about what you're talking about is tying it into service

Tracy Draper: Yes.

Jim Dodson: and helping others. You know, doing something that you want to do but really benefiting others so much. and I so applaud you for doing that.

Tracy Draper: Thank you. Well it just makes, it helps so much. The Great Floridian I did for a friend of mine, my husband's friend, who was dying of cancer as I'm out there racing and training, and that helped inspire me so much to continue because I thought Ricky can't just give up his fight, you know.

Jim Dodson: Yeah.

Tracy Draper: Okay I have a leg cramp, big whoop, you know. Ricky's losing his life here.

Jim Dodson: Right.

Tracy Draper: Yeah we have a happy ending in that story, thankfully, with Ricky.

Jim Dodson: So let's talk a little bit about the highs and the lows

Tracy Draper: Okay.

Jim Dodson: of riding across the country. Well first off, how far did you go?

Tracy Draper: 3058 miles.

Jim Dodson: Alright. You did it in, what, 34 days total?

Tracy Draper: 31 days of riding but 35 days total.

Jim Dodson: Right.

Tracy Draper: We had four rest days.

Jim Dodson: Just a couple of rest days in between,

Tracy Draper: Right.

Jim Dodson: Along the way.

Tracy Draper: Correct, one a week.

Jim Dodson: One a week. Alright. So that breaks down to how many average mileage per day?

Tracy Draper: Per day we averaged 99 but our longest day was 155 miles and it was just horrendous, in eastern Colorado going to the armpit of the state called La Junta, I believe. And the shortest day was just two days before our rest day and that was through the Rocky Mountains with about 5000 feet of climbing in 40 something miles.

Jim Dodson: That would get your attention.

Tracy Draper: It did, it did, but it was my favorite day of the whole ride was riding through the Colorado Rockies and I was by myself, we were spread out just a little bit, but I could see 14,000 feet, snow-capped peaks everywhere, and I don't know if you know the song by American authors called "Best Day of My Life"? You may or may not know that but other viewers will. I just started singing that as loud as I could. It was cheesy but I was just having the best day of my life on the bike. And the rivers, and, oh, it was just amazing. The wild flowers. And so that was, that also became a patriotic days as well because the next song that came into my mind was "America the Beautiful", so I start singing that, you know. It was fabulous, just fabulous.

Jim Dodson: Really, that's a great description. So what was the time of the year? What month did you make the trip?

Tracy Draper: We started on June 4 and ended July 8.

Jim Dodson: Okay.

Tracy Draper: So in the hot desert.

Jim Dodson: Definitely in the summer. You had some really really hot days, I'm sure, on the road.

Tracy Draper: We did. Our second day, I believe, was 126 degrees. So, pretty toasty.

Jim Dodson: I mean, did you have any issues about making sure you had water between your, you know, the start and the finish of each day?

Tracy Draper: We had plenty of water. We had Niagara Bottling here in Lake County donated two pallets of water to us which actually was so heavy our axle bent on the trailer. But we had that fixed. Anyhow, we had Pam, who is the lady who inspired me to do the cross country, was out with us the first week, and she would stand at the side of the road, bless her heart, laden with bottles and just splash 'em at us, you know, or hand 'em off or whatever and have warm, not warm, wet cold cloths in ice chests that we could put around our necks and such, but I'm sure there were some days we were dehydrated. There's no doubt.

Jim Dodson: Yeah, alright.

Tracy Draper: It was just so hot for the whole week.

Jim Dodson: And one of the things, I sort of meant to ask you about this, people who do the Horrible Hundred know of Harry's Water Stand.

Tracy Draper: Yes.

Jim Dodson: Right, so tell us about Harry and what role that played into this strip and getting ready for it.

Tracy Draper: Sure, thank you, Harry is a fabulous person if you've ever gotten to meet him. He's had water at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for about 15 years now. He and his wife together have always done that. And he and I became friends because I knew he was Air Force and my son was going to the Academy. That's the the note that struck us off as friends was to talk about the Air Force, of course. And from there, he was giving to a different charity at that time. People want to give, pay him for water, and he says, "I won't take your money "but I will give it to a veterans organization." So he had been doing a different charity at that time, and at the end of our ride I asked me if he'd consider switching over to Hope for the Warriors and I told him why I went with that group, and to this day he's collected over $10,000 at his water stop and passed it right back on to Hope for the Warriors.

Jim Dodson: That's amazing. What a great story.

Tracy Draper: So before we leave the ride we all, you've already told us, maybe, the high of the ride. Tell us some of the more difficult things that you encountered on the ride.

Tracy Draper: Okay.

Jim Dodson: I know you had an issue with flats a couple of times.

Tracy Draper: Oh my heavens, yes. We were committed to going on Route 66, and I don't know if you've been there but through the Mojave Desert it just kind of ceases to be a road. It becomes this dirt, gravel, rocky, pitted, hole-y mess. It was just terrible. So we're going along there and I could feel the bike shaking so badly, my teeth were hitting each other. I could hear my chain slapping the chain stay, which still bears scars to this day, of that. And two of the guys were a little faster and they went on ahead, but we looked over to the left and we could see Interstate 40. So we're looking at that, and I said, "I think we could cross that fence." And it was a barbed wire, four layers, and someone said, "That's never gonna happen. "The fence is whole. "We're not gonna get through it." I'm like, 'Oh, whatever." Within a quarter mile, no lie, someone had taken a bunch of rocks and laid 'em down on the fence, so we were, all the way down to the ground, so we were able to pick up our bikes and get on I-40. By the time we caught our other two teammates we had had I don't know how many flats. By the end of the day I believe we had close to 13 as a group, which would be about two per person, just because of all the wires from the steel belted radials all over the road.

Jim Dodson: Along the I-40.

Tracy Draper: And we were riding on the shoulder, right And that's where the junk is.

Jim Dodson: Yeah, it's like pick your poison. You stay on Route 66 which is a mess, or do you get on I-40 and suffer the tire issue?

Tracy Draper: Exactly, exactly.

Jim Dodson: What decision, would you do it again?

Tracy Draper: Heck yeah, yes.

Jim Dodson: Would you, would you make the same decision. No, about riding up on I-40 instead of staying on Route 66?

Tracy Draper: Oh, on I-40? Yes, I would. It was a beautiful. It was brand new pavement. I mean asphalt, 12 inch, 12 foot wide, breakdown lane, and we were just having a great time,

Jim Dodson: Yeah.

Tracy Draper: Just cruising along.

Jim Dodson: So that ride was in 2015, correct?

Tracy Draper: 2014, mm hmm.

Jim Dodson: 2014.

Tracy Draper: Yes.

Jim Dodson: And I know that on your live-it list you're considering another ride. Tell us about that.

Tracy Draper: I would love to go across the northern tier. I don't really have plans for that quite yet. Our fifteenth anniversary is next summer so I know it won't be next summer. 2020 I was invited to go to Tour de France with some friends so I'm not sure how I'm gonna squeeze that in, but that's something I'd really like to do.

Jim Dodson: Okay. So let's move down to your, let's see here. Oh yeah, you had an unplanned medical problem.

Tracy Draper: I sure did.

Jim Dodson: in the midst of all this when you suffered a stroke.

Tracy Draper: Yes I did. In 2015--

Jim Dodson: So tell us about that. It's a year after your ride.

Tracy Draper: Yes, a year after the ride. Still, you know, riding the high wave of what a wonderful time it was, and doing book signings, well, lining up book signings. My book was at the publishing house actually. And if you remember the purpose of the live-it list is to do the things you want to do before the doctor gives you a diagnosis, right? So I'm goin' to bed one night and my husband's next to me and I go to tell him something, and whatever came out of my mouth was not the words I wanted to say. It was something like and it scared me to death. So I tried to say it again with more passion. I was gonna say it right this time. Same thing. By the third time what came out, I was trying to scream, "I'm having a freaking stroke" because I knew it, and it just came out some horrible squealing, pitching sounds. And he jumped up and called 911. The ER, I'm sorry, the EMS was just a half mile away so they were here within minutes, thankfully, and got me loaded up and taken to the hospital and they decided to admit me in case I had a stroke. They weren't real sure, but they thought that, the ER physician said, "Let's do an MRI." So--

Jim Dodson: Well you don't fit the profile. You know, young fit person. Relatively young fit person

Tracy Draper: Exactly

Jim Dodson from a stroke standpoint.

Tracy Draper: Exactly. I like young and fit better, thank you Jim. Right, I didn't fit the profile. And they would come in the room, I don't like being in the hospital too much. I'm a good patient but I was ready to get out. The MRI machine was broken for two days and I was just ready to walk out. I had a t-shirt and shorts on and the nurses would come in and say, "Well who's the patient?" And I'm like, "Well, it's me." And what was weird about it was they could never find anything except a tiny hole in my heart, in the atrial chamber wall. And they released me from the hospital, told me I could ride my bike eight miles at a time. Which was difficult, but I was alive, I was thankful that I could at least ride.

Jim Dodson: Yeah.

Tracy Draper: So, yeah, four months of very vigorous testing and Dr. Bhatheja from Florida Heart Group found a different kind of hole, so I actually had two holes in my heart. And that's what they believe, the blood clot, since I had just had knee surgery 15 days before the stroke, they believe a blood clot just shunted right up to my brain, and.

Jim Dodson: Wow.

Tracy Draper: Yeah. So.

Jim Dodson: I mean, that doesn't always have a really good ending. I know that you recovered quite well and I think part of what they attributed it to was how fit you were and the ability of the arteries and the vessels in the brain to let that pass through, right?

Tracy Draper: Exactly, exactly, that's exactly what the doctor told me, because six weeks after the first MRI they did a second one and there was no evidence of damage at all, so I was very thankful for that.

Jim Dodson: Well, kinda another example of life throwing you a curve and how we handle it. You know our attitude through all of that is probably one of the most important things that we can control, because we can't control our health.

Tracy Draper: Correct.

Jim Dodson: We can only control our response to it. So all of that kind of resolved itself but it took close to six months before you were able to resume your training?

Tracy Draper: Pretty much, yes. Now at the time they had decided to fill the holes in my heart, so I've got a device implanted now, one on each side of the chamber wall, and tissue has grown over that like it was supposed to and I'm totally released, but it did take about six months and a lot of that I had to really think and go, "Okay this live-it thing "is really really more important now." I've got another chance.

Jim Dodson: So let's segue into your book.

Tracy Draper: Okay.

Jim Dodson: I think we have an image of it we'll get up here. There we are.

Tracy Draper: Mm hmm, mm hmm. Just happen to have one right here with me, wow

Jim Dodson: And so how did the book come into existence, the idea, and how did you go about writing the, thank you very much that Katie. How do you go about writing the content?

Tracy Draper: Okay.

Jim Dodson: What's your sequence or process of doing that?

Tracy Draper: Good question.

Jim Dodson: Why did you write the book?

Tracy Draper: I'm sorry? Would you write it. Thank you, I'll answer all that. If I forget just plug me, cue me in. It started in 2012 when the girl at the end of the race asked me what was on my live-it list, you know, so I had to go home that day, literally, and write out a live-it list. Okay, besides this Great Floridian, what else do I want to do?

Jim Dodson: Yeah, okay.

Tracy Draper: And I knew I wanted to climb up Pikes Peak in Colorado. That's why I ruptured the disc in my back. That's, I want to go, had to go talk to that mountain one more time. And then the other thing was to ride across the country, and then the fourth thing on that list, that short list, was to write a book about it. Though I knew once we got back from the trip, the ride, that it would be really hard to disseminate, sort through all the information.

Jim Dodson: Right.

Tracy Draper: So I started writing several months before we ever left. And I got many of the earlier chapters laid out and then some of the later chapters as well, so we just got to fill in through the middle with the actual adventure because there's a lot more to the book than just six weeks of riding a bicycle.

Jim Dodson: No, I know. So tell people, we're gonna talk about where they can get a copy of the book, but talk about what's in the book and the motivation behind you writing it.

Tracy Draper: Sure, sure, thank you. The motivation was to share stories. Not just my story, but other people's story. Our friend Ricky, who was dying of cancer, and then our ride itself, and then why a mother of four children, two step children, two biological children, felt in her forties that she could do something as bizarre as this. Not just ride it, but to plan it, organize it, form a team, raise money, and do all that.

Jim Dodson: And 31 days of riding.

Tracy Draper: Exactly, on top of that, yes So I just wanted to share the stories. I wanted to encourage other people. There's later chapters in the book that go back to my earlier childhood, and there are some things I know in that that people can relate to.

Jim Dodson: Right.

Tracy Draper: People get copies either through, at the top there's a tab that says Live It and that will give you information where you can go to Amazon or write to me directly for a signed copy if someone wants that. But if you're not sure if you're interested in the book go read Amazon's reviews. We have 52 five-star reviews and every so often I go back and I read the reviews and I get all emotional because I'm so thrilled that what I could write and live could help somebody else.

Jim Dodson: Including a review by yours truly.

Tracy Draper: Yes Sir, and I paid you well for that one, didn't I? No, thank you, I appreciate that, yes.

Jim Dodson: So I know that from a, you know, the, probably the easiest way to get the book would be to contact you directly and get the book from you,

Tracy Draper: Correct, sure.

Jim Dodson: because you'll get it out to people right away.

Tracy Draper: Yes, right. Amazon, excuse me, I can tell you that,

Jim Dodson: No, go ahead and finish your thought.

Tracy Draper: We're getting a little bit of technical gluck-gluck-gluck going on, I think.

Jim Dodson:: Yeah.

Tracy Draper: I'll say that I do have a friend that ordered through Amazon and it took over two months for the book to get to him. So.

Jim Dodson: Oh wow.

Tracy Draper: They had to go print some more apparently so.

Jim Dodson: Okay.

Tracy Draper: The delay.

Jim Dodson: So I met Tracy at the Horrible Hundred two years ago I think.

Tracy Draper: Right.

Jim Dodson: And you were in a boot cast at that time from some type of foot surgery.

Tracy Draper: Yes.

Jim Dodson: Another setback in your training regimen. You've really overcome a lot to continue to perform at a high level.

Tracy Draper: Sure, sure, thank you.

Jim Dodson: But I read the book, I got the book from Tracy. I read it. It's a fantastic, it's inspiring, it's all the things she wants to be and I would urge our readers, our viewers, to get a copy. If there's someone that you know that could use the challenge, the encouragement, that Tracy has in this book, and I think all of us want to be encouraged in our lives and know that, you know, we hear so many negative things in the press. It's just constantly berated by negative things. This is such a positive experience and everything about Tracy's experience and the writing of it. It's all very very positive. So hats off to you for that.

Tracy Draper: Thank you, that's how I wanted it to be, so I appreciate that.

Jim Dodson: So what is Tracy doing today? Not this moment, but in general? Tell us about what you're doing

Tracy Draper: Sure.

Jim Dodson: and what you're doing for the cycling community.

Tracy Draper: Okay well what I'm, gosh, several different things. As far as the cycling community, I'm actually heading up a group here in Mount Dora this week. We're trying to find out how we can make our community safer between police departments, sheriff's department, locals. So we're just doing a brainstorm session this Wednesday night, and just want to talk about the recent events, tragic events, that have happened in the state and even a gentleman was killed on his bike a week ago here in Mount Dora. So that kinda hit close to home. And we want to be able to partner with the community instead of, you know, butt heads with them,

Jim Dodson: Right, yeah.

Tracy Draper: and they yell at us, and we wave our hands, you know. We need to have some sort of understanding of our needs, our responsibilities as cyclists, and motorist's responsibilities as well.

Jim Dodson: We need more of that. You know,, so many times what I see is, the community's picking up on every negative thing we do on the bike.

Tracy Draper: Right.

Jim Dodson: We need to be out there having them pick up on waving to them, giving them the high-five, you know, all the positive things, because for every negative there's much more positive that we do and that they should see us doing at the same time. So big kudos for you doing that.

Tracy Draper: Thank you, well, it needs to be done and I like to take on challenges, so what's wrong with me? The harder the better. So that's one thing I'm doing as far as that goes. I'm also working with CAAM events, volunteering and doing a lot of helping lead groups for Paul Ricky's rides through CAAM events, if you've heard of that. We have a 100, now let's see, it's a century. It's called Sea Ya Next Year century, on December 29. I'll be leading the 20 mile an hour pace group which will be a lot of fun. We're gonna keep the pace controlled in that group. If people want to ride faster they sure can, but that group, we're gonna just shepherd safety and camaraderie and have a great time for a hundred miles.

Jim Dodson: Okay, alright, so you also are in the position where you can work for people. I mean you are a personal trainer.

Tracy Draper: Correct.

Jim Dodson: You've done that for a while.

Tracy Draper: Yes.

Jim Dodson: But you're doing specific things. You have Training With Tracy, you've got Support Riding With Tracy. Tell us about that.

Tracy Draper: Well what I do, also, well Training With Tracy is the master umbrella of my website and then there you can see some cycling things I do as well. I do one-on-ones, workshops, training camps with bigger groups. I also have Touring With Tracy. We've got several people who've come up from South Florida that love this area but they don't know what roads are safe. So we decide how many miles they want to ride and what time of day and we just plan a ride. We go out and I make sure they have some nice sights to see and we have a great time for as many hours as they want to be out. I also, with the personal training, am doing some FaceTime training. As we're talking here I have a studio in the home, upstairs, and I just plug in my clients and we just work out together for an hour. It's a lot of fun.

Jim Dodson: A lot of fun. Well Tracy and I were talking. So we're putting together, at Jim Dodson Law, a team for the cross-Florida ride in April, and Tracy actually doesn't know this yet but she'll be designing my preparation

Tracy Draper: Alright.

Jim Dodson: for that ride because it's another service that she offers. Like you want to ride a ride. You may not be ready to do that level of ride or whatever and she'll map out what you need to do to ramp up your riding to do 75 or 100 miles a day.

Tracy Draper: That's right, that's right, good. Thank you for that. I have several people who have hired me to write their programs for, not only cross-Florida but the Cheaha Challenge. That's an event in Jacksonville, Alabama, that I'm an ambassador for. And I love the area. We rode up Cheaha Mountain, you read about it in the book. That was a very special day. And so anyway, it's nice to be able to find people who have goals. They'll do the work, they just don't know what to do. They need some direction and I love doing that.

Jim Dodson: Well I think people tend to either over-train or under-train, you know. They're not sure exactly what they need to do to get to their goal and it just saves much time, energy, and anxiety to have somebody tell you this is what you should do and if you do these things you'll be ready for the ride.

Tracy Draper: Right right. If they'll do it

Jim Dodson: Yeah.

Tracy Draper: So I do have some clients that will do, they'll do the work but they also need a little accountability, so that's, you can see on my website that's something else I just call it accountability training. For a certain set fee a month I write the program, I follow up with you once a week, I call, "Hey Jim, I see that you only rode 20 miles today. "What happened?" For example. I also follow them on social media or Training Peaks website and that way I can really see, in the watts, what people are putting out. The time, the duration, the frequency and intensity. And that helps ensure success for my clients as well.

Jim Dodson: So you and I were talking the other day too about the advantages of using a trainer

Tracy Draper: Yes.

Jim Dodson: instead of having to be on the road all the time. Tell us about your view on that.

Tracy Draper: Right, well I'm, I say it light heartedly but I have not had one dog run after me. I have not gotten sunburned. I've not been hit by a car. I have no red lights, and no wind, on my trainer inside. It can be a little lonely at times but I go to Zwift which is a video game that you actually subscribe to and play on. I just moved up to level 19 so I'm workin' my way up there and it's neat because as you get to a new level you get all these gifts. You get to unlock a new fancy jersey, or a new pair of gloves when you climb out to Zwyft, or different obstacles that they have there for you to get over.

Jim Dodson: Yeah.

Tracy Draper: So the indoor training I found, they also have training programs, so if I only have an hour to work out and I wanna do intervals I can go to one of their training programs, it's already tried and true, and just go and I can measure my, each time I do that to make sure I'm progressing. So there's wonderful benefits to indoor training.

Jim Dodson: So you mentioned to me that you ride four times, you generally ride four times a week. Two times on the trainer and two times on the road.

Tracy Draper: Right.

Jim Dodson: Would that be a fair statement?

Tracy Draper: Yes, that's correct, that's correct.

Jim Dodson: Okay. So Tracy, if somebody wants to get in touch with you. They're interested in maybe doing a personal training or they want you to lay out

Tracy Draper: Sure, sure.

Jim Dodson: a training routine for them to get ready for a ride, how did they get in touch with you and what information do you have available for them?

Tracy Draper: Okay sure. On my website that lays out everything from all of the different disciplines, if you will, whether it's personal training or cycling training or I've even done some speaking gigs, but that's not what we're talking about here. So on my website it says all those things. And there's numerous buttons where you can push to send me an email, and that's So either of those ways is a dandy way. I'm on my computer off and on all throughout the day and I check it frequently.

Jim Dodson: Well I appreciate you joining us today. You're a great guest. I appreciate you as a friend. I think what you're about is fascinating and you're a big part of the puzzle of the cycling community in Florida. It all fits together the way it's supposed to be.

Tracy Draper: Thank you.

Jim Dodson: I appreciate all your help.

Tracy Draper: You bet.

Jim Dodson: So that's it for our program today. I'm Jim Dodson. Those of you who know me I'm a personal injury lawyer. I have a passion for representing cyclists throughout Florida. Whether they've been injured on a bike or injured in a car crash, it doesn't matter. Anything we can do to help cyclists get in touch with us. If you just have a property issue, your bike is crashed and you have an issue with trying to get your frame replaced, give me a call. I'd be happy to give you my thoughts on how to best get that done. So until next time it's Jim Dodson, the Florida Bike Guy. I thank you again Tracy.

Tracy Draper: Thank you so much Jim for having me. Have a great day.

Jim Dodson: We'll talk shortly. Okay. Good day everyone.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.