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This weekend, several Balance members will be participating in the Bike to the Beach 100-mile bike ride, from Washington, DC to Dewey Beach, DE, and raising money for Autism Speaks. Today, we’re highlighting team member Claire Perkins, who will be riding in her first Bike to the Beach this weekend!

You can support the Balance Gym Bike to the Beach team by donating here, and you can donate to Claire’s ride here.

Name: Claire Perkins

How many years have you participated in Bike to the Beach? First time B2Ber!

What made you decide to participate? 

Cassia and Devin said it was a ton of fun and they generally have pretty good taste in these sorts of things. Also I just learned to ride a bike about a year ago, and this seemed like a great way to cap off that accomplishment.

What has your training looked like so far? When did you start training for the ride, and what is a typical week of training for you? 

I ran the Toronto marathon in May so was doing all long runs before that, but afterwards I transitioned over to long rides on the weekends. I started around 20 miles and built up from there. Last weekend we (my partner Harsha and I) took the “scenic route” to Baltimore about 60 miles and thats the farthest we’ve gone. Sometimes I do a 20 miler before work too 1 or 2x per week to get in a few extra miles. Its actually really nice because on a bike you get a breeze in the DC heat that you don’t get on a run.

What has been the best part of training so far? The most challenging? 

The best part has been experimenting with a new kind of endurance sport and seeing how far I can push myself. Also you can get much farther on a bike than you can running, and there so many gorgeous trails I hadn’t seen before! Most challenging has been figuring out the pain points for the first time – getting saddle sore or blisters on my hands – all of those things I didn’t know would happen post-30 miles on a bike. And then having to figure out what gear or technique solutions people use for those things… this is all new to me.

How has Balance Gym helped with your training and helped you achieve your goals? 

Balance Gym and the people that work and workout there are all great because its a different mindset than lots of gyms or classes that are all about losing weight or looking good. Balance is more about feeling healthy and strong, and taking care of your mind and body together. Rather than having a workout be that chore that’s carved out of your day, that you struggle to get to and through, instead its an integral part of life that you enjoy. That’s definitely more my thing.

What are you most looking forward to about the event? 

Being out there on some new stretches of road with all those other bikers, enjoying the sunshine, the wind, that leg burn, and all those endorphins.

How do you fit training into your busy schedule? 

I get up early and run to work or do a ride before work and end at the office. I make it part of my life – and to be honest, I enjoy the training – so I look forward to it. On weekends I do long rides with my partner and with our friends and incorporate a new destination and a reward (aka good food) after.

What are your “must-haves” for a long bike ride (can be music, gear, snacks, etc.)? 

Sunscreen. Lots of water. And a cold beer (or three) to look forward to after.

Why do you Bike to the Beach? Just seemed like the thing to do.