Staying with my Mom has been a lot of fun and we honestly haven't spent this much time together in at least ten years. I'm finishing up my second full week here and last week will be my last.
Since I've been here there has been lots of training in a beautiful outdoor pool both swimming with masters and on my own, riding with a great group of guys from "The Bike Shop", and running with trees and flowers in full bloom.
For the first weekend I was here one of my FYP athletes was with me and we did some great swim analysis, rode and ran together a bit. We had a nice time and identified some needed areas for him to work on with drills etc. in his stoke. That was my first encounter with the big group that rides on Friday's on what they call "the loop" here.
I was told they start from the bike shop at 7:45am so I showed up at 7:30 ready to go. Only about four of us showed up so I thought "Oh nice, little group, not too big but people who know where they are going! Awesome!" That's one of the things that always worries me when going to a new place and not knowing where the safest places to ride are etc. Little did I know we were about to meet up with a much larger group of about 30 other cyclists! I was amazed at how many people were out on a Friday morning from 8:00-10:30am.
On our ride over we were averaging 20-22mph and it's flat so that was fine. We each pulled a bit and in general I wasn't too worried about the pace. Once we met up with the group though the dynamics changed a bit and I was starting to realize there was quite a bit of testosterone present and definitely a way they normally do things (go hard at certain times etc.). I won't go into details, but let's just say I haven't been in a "paceline" for many years and I made a few faux pas! I managed to make a few of the guys mad! Whoops!
About four of us got dropped from the group and then my athlete flatted (I was beginning to wonder if I was cursed at that point!). We lost the group anyway so being the amazingly nice owner of the shop and a few others circled back to get us when they realized we were gone and had no earthly idea where we were! Man was I happy to see them!
Last week when I came out though on Friday morning I was ready. Game face on - check.. ready to play.. check. Once we met the group and things started moving quickly I realized I was the only women. Awesome. Whatever.. doesn't matter.. This time I wasn't getting dropped.
When the pace started picking up... 21 mph, 22 mph I was on that wheel in front of me and back to my days at the crit races of the Washington Oval on Tuesday nights! I wasn't even able to drink for stretches with 20 riders behind me and 8 in front. Finally it was my turn to pull this group of at least 25 riders. I knew I'd have to maintain a pretty good speed to make sure they were ok behind me. My legs weren't feeling great from the week, but I decided this was a good of a chance as any to really get some good practice at going hard and seeing where things were!
I picked it up, gritted my teeth, 24mph, 25, 26mph.. rolling along. It hurt.. I wish my heart rate monitor had been functioning right because I swear I might have seen a 170 on there :) At about 3-4 minutes I pulled off.. that was enough for now. I pulled twice more before the "extreme hold on for dear life" part of the ride was over.
The week before I met one of the riders that rides for the shop and races a few rides - Curtis. He knew every area, which were safe and better to ride and lucky for little old me, was willing to hang for another couple hours after the group ride was over. Needless to say, I was DANG happy that first few hours were in the bank and now it was just two of us, no pressure and new places to explore! The weather was perfect, 75 and sunny and I was loving life!
We headed toward Ponce Inlet and snaked out way out to the pier where we watched a group of surfers catch a few sets. It was just beautiful and I was just so happy to be alive and seeing the sights with the sun on my face. It's ok that I right now I'm a professional triathlete that essentially trains a lot and makes zippo. My heart is in the right place, loving the journey so far and being thankful for this chance.
I thought about where I would be otherwise on that Friday at 11:45am.. sitting in my office, wondering what the future would hold. No more wondering.. the future is here.
The Gator from the first ride once we lost the group! Glad we were high above this guy!
Curtis, my cycling lieason! We're heading out again tomorrow on the group ride and then after. I'm wondering if I can talk him into three extra hours and a transition run.. highly doubtful, but even two will help!
Ponce Inlet! They have Florida's tallest lighthouse
Of course I had to make Curtis be my photographer! That's what you get for riding with me. I think he was a little confused when I was talking about "my blog" I'm pretty sure many people still think they are for nerds but I beg to differ. Blogging is cool..
They have some very cool wooden trails built here in the woods. Exploring new places on runs has been a lot of fun down here.
My Mother's pool is really kicking butt as my Pseduo ice bath. It's not quite cold enough (about 62) but super convenient! No to worry, I've done my toenails since this was taken.. and my Mom's too.. whew.. those were ugly. They hadn't seen the world for months in PA!
Hope everyone is having a kick butt week! Thanks for the comments on the last blog! Christi - you better watch it.. I just might homestay your hiney! Colorado is a great state! Love it!
Three weeks to race time! I can't believe it.. I'm shaking in my booties a little, but mostly I'm excited. Can't wait to see where I am and just having a starting place. After that, there's no where to go but up right!