Wednesday, April 28, 2010


"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who are we to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous.

Actually, who are we not to be.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel small around you. We were born to manifest the glory that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And when we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others. "

--Author Marianne Williamson

I love this quote. I wish it were entirely true for me. But the truth is, I do have a fear of being inadequate. Or rather, the perception of being inadequate. And, quite frankly, I'm sick of feeling that way.

I started this post a while ago and ended up listing all the things I am qualified to do. I started writing about how I could be this or I could be that. I realized I was writing down a myriad of details about my life that really, do not matter. Actually, they matter, but not to all of you. They are things about me, that make me who I am. However, I don't feel the need to stick post-its all over myself just to make sure others realize I am qualified to do more....

I am continuously wondering why I even have the urge to explain myself away. This is my life after all.

I can say this, I have worked very very hard to make the life I have made for myself. I didn't wake up one day and find myself married to a fabulously unselfish and supportive man who also happens to be an unequivocably devoted father. I had heartache along the way. But lucky for me, I found him. I also didn't wake up one day to three gorgeous children. First, my husband and I made a conscious choice to have three kids. We arranged our life goals around that decision. Where we live, what we do for jobs, and how we manage our time is based on the fact that we have three children. Like many parents, we went through frightening and heartbreaking medical trauma during the birth of our children. It changed us forever. It changed the way I parent.

The choices we made as a couple have resulted in many things. We have discovered that some of our decisions were good and some were not. Our choices have required sacrifice on both of our parts. It is not a black and white life. We must continuously step back and decide if the course we are following continues to be the best for our life. For our family. The answers are not always clear. At times, years go by with a big question mark floating around in the air above our heads.

I made a decision in 2001 to leave my job. My son was two. Another baby was on his way. I was completely at peace with this choice. You see, for two years, I went to work with nothing but angst. I was not a happy mother at work. It wasn't right for me. During the years since making that decision, I have been asked numerous times, "Do you miss it?" To which I occasionally had to respond, "miss what? Oh, my old job?" Ha... no. I have never missed it. Not for a minute. And I was even asked this, by a family member, "Aren't you bored?" Again, I incredulously responded, "No, I'm not bored with 3 little boys."

Triathlon has become more than a hobby to me. It has become a way of life. It serves my own selfish needs of racing and competing. It also keeps me fit, energetic, youthful and strong. Do I love that for myself? Of course. Do I think it's completely selfish? Not at all. My 3 boys need me now and they will also need me in 15 years. They need an energetic mother who can truly keep up with her guys as the years go on. Sure...I could stay fit and all that with something other than triathlon. I get that. But this is another choice I'm making. I am happier because I have found this for myself. It was something I decided to try back in June 2006 and despite a few comical newbie mishaps, I LOVED IT! I lovedlovedloved it. It revived me when I didn't realize I needed reviving. This post isn't about all the joys that triathlon bring I'll force myself to stop at that.

I am lucky that I have time during the day to train right now. I just deleted a sentence or two that explained all the other things that happen during those 5.75 hours that the kids aren't with me. Again, I do not need to explain that to others.

What I am doing with my life does not take a long time to explain. I don't have an impressive title or overwhelming hours at the office that I balance with family. I have made things quite manageable for myself and my kids and I love it that way. My talents are subtle. But in my heart, I know they are there. While some people compose songs, find cures, create interesing companies or invent new products, I am just me. I often feel the need to withdraw when people ask the question, "so what do you do?" It only takes me a minute. I'm a mother. That's about all I can say. What that world entails is massive. The responsibilities it encompasses are endless. All Mothers know this. It is a never ending task that I am honored to be able to undertake. And I take it very very seriously.

I am also an athlete. I have been an athlete for years but now, as an adult, I have reached a new level. It is my talent and it is what makes me happy. And, I have a small Coaching business. One of my athletes ran her first Half Marathon on Sunday. She conquered the 13.1 mile race for the first time in her life. What that meant to her is far more than just running for 2 hours. It's a personal achievement that allows her to move on through her life with new zest. That is why I want to coach. I want people to feel that energy. That empowering feeling when you cross the line.

To many in my world, that life is an unknown world. It is a world that has no meaning. They do not understand how that could matter and why it is remotely worthwhile. At least, that is my perception of their responses. "Oh. That's good."

We all have something about us that makes us Remarkable. Maybe your talent is something for all to see. Something that others can enjoy and be impressed by. Perhaps what makes you special is closer to you and not open for all to see. That does not make it less remarkable. Our lives may not take a long time to explain, it may not come across as interesting or spectacular when you are standing in the lobby of a building greeting a friend from years ago, but it is most certainly Just as remarkable.

I am challenging myself to stop feeling inadequate. To stop doubting my life choices. They are my choices and I dare say they are working well for my family. In the end, that is all that matters. I know we are all happy in this home. My children understand me, my husband completely accepts and understands me, and in turn, I give them the same understanding and support in their lives.

I challenge you to do the same. What makes you remarkable?

This is our life and it is Remarkable.

Check out a New Race in Maine!

Quick announcement before I move on to a post I've been swirling in my head for a few days.

There's a Great New Race in Central Maine!!!!

It's called:

Lewiston Auburn Duathlon (LADU)

If you're interested in a fun Duathlon in Late June...Please register! $10 off if you sign up by May 1st. Portland, ME Fit at Five: LADU
(NEWS CENTER) -- If you have ever been to any kind of road race you know the kind of excitement the event can generate. Have you ever thought of the work that goes into creating one of these events? On this Fit at Five we take a behind the scenes look at an upcoming event. ...

Monday, April 26, 2010

A little of this and a little of that...

The kids are back at school today and my house is QUIET!!!!!!!!!!!! We did have fun last week...but I shamefully admit I was in need of a day alone. I have to get a test done, write some training plans, pay the bills, and I guess I'll clean the house a bit. Tick tock tick tock...the 5.5 hrs I have free goes faaaaaast! Instead of tackling my 'must do' list, I thought I'd blog first.
My first Tri of the season is approaching quickly!!! May 8th is the Polarbear Sprint. I do enjoy this race. It's fast and furious but it gets the race-juices flowing again. The pool swim is fun...but too short. I also wish I could do a Start! For some reason, it really bugs me to push off the wall to start a race.

Last week's training was a mixed bag. I had a fun 10 mile run on Tuesday. I hired a sitter for an hour and headed off for some free time....that included some blood-sweat-and almost tears. No, not really. But it Did hurt! The run started easy and built up faster and faster and then my legs were turning over so hard I am not sure I actually looked like a runner any longer. I didn't throw up...but I felt like I wanted to so I know I did my job. In order to run the hardest portions on roads that weren't 15% grade hills, I had to run down my road to get into town. What does that mean? It means my warm down was a serious 2 mile climb. That was the hardest part!

The next day, I had a long ride on the plan. Fine. My awesome hubby wanted to take time off to be with the kids during vacation. He had me cancel the sitter and he took the boys to camp instead. Perfect. The forecast was for ~70 degrees and sun. Ahhh...very nice. Off I went. My bike was not behaving from the get-go. The derailleur was messed up and I couldn't shift into my easiest gear. In addition, I decided to ride on a new route. Mistake. This route was even hillier than where I normally ride. I don't mind hills that much but these roads were basically all up hill!! I never got to just let myself go. To make it even more fun...the black flies hatched that day. I'm not kidding. It happens that way in Maine. I equate it to that lovely period when babies can sit but not yet crawl. They are happy to just be on the floor with their toys...nowhere to go. Ha.....but watch out because within moments they're off and around the corner!
Spring is like that. The sun comes out, the days get longer, the air is warm, there are NO bugs! And then one day, they hatch. And you can't stand in one place without swarms and swarms of flies attacking you. It's nasty. So, climbing my giant hills that day, I was not fast enough to out run the mingies. I think I swallowed 4 or 5 at least. I was growing increasingly grouchy.
lalalallaaalaalaaa....the miles rolled by slowly. The sky wasn't sunny. And it wasn't warm. I was freezing and the wind was picking up. I just put my head down and kept moving. Slowly. Up-the-hills.
Finally, I got to the area where the hills were mellowing and I had a chance to really ride hard.
However, the greater plan for my day was not there. I struggled to get my chain into the big ring. Something was wrong.
The cable broke.
That was it. This ride was not meant to be. I was stuck in my easiest gear now...on the flats.
And then, it started to rain. I kid you not. It really did start to rain.
I growled and eventually got home.
Just check the #s into training peaks and move on.

Sometimes that's all you can do! Not all training days are good ones. Sometimes your body doesnt' respond. Sometimes the equipment is not 100%.

I just keep moving forward because in the end I love the sport. I love the way the training makes me feel. I love that my body can hammer 10 hard miles and then come home to play basketball with my boys. I love that my boys know that about their 40 y.o. Mom. I just love it. So I suck it up when the days aren't perfect and I look forward to hitting the next key workout with a venegeance.

These pictures have nothing to do with this post. They just make me happy.

At the Museum of Science last week...
Nick's bubble bath.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

'Tis the Season

It's school vacation week this week....again. Seems like schools have a LOT of vacations!! I love my time with my children...I am very grateful for it...however, they don't seem to be in school very much. Was it like this when I was young? I don't remember.

I've been away from blogland for a week or so because things have been so busy. This is just a little attempt to catch up and ask my readers to hang on 'cause I'll be back soon.

Last weekend I headed out of Maine at 4:00 a.m. (In a SNOWSTORM I must add...nuts) and drove to Boston. I attended the RRCA Coaching certification course (road runners club of america). It was an excellent class and I definately learned a lot of great information. I must admit, sitting for a total of 24 hours (6 hrs of driving + 18 hrs of class) was Exhausting! I am just not wired to be so still. It always amazes me when I attend conferences how many people seem perfectly content to just S...I...T! they don't even Wiggle! I am miss fidgety. I tip my chair, stretch my legs, stand up, walk to the back wall, and generally speaking just keep moving almost the entire time.
I was lucky enough to stay at Mary's house on Saturday night. It was great to catch up for a little while, to have Andy cook us a yummy steak dinner and to sleep in her daughter's comfy bed for a few hrs before I headed back into the city. THanks guys!!

Whirlwind weekend and after tolering the crazy driving in Boston (people were NUTS! I do not drive that slowly and people were Honking and flashing lights at me to go by.. and I was already over the speed limit.) I was home by 7:30 p.m. Ahhh.. I love home.

As I said, it's vacation week. Which actually means the opposite at my house unless we are flying off to a beach somewhere. And we didn't do that. My 3 boys and I are instead trying to stay busy around home. We're doing pretty well....but I admit I am looking forward to the "peace and quiet" I will have on my 4 hr ride I 'get' to go do ina few hrs. My awesome hubby is taking a few hrs off from work (he is amazingly willing to do this during vaca it. Great Dad award!) and he'll take them to our camp to on a water pipe? Whatever. Have fun Boys!

Tomorrow we are actually doing something vacation -like and driving back to Boston to take the kids to the Museum of Science. We'll see a movie on Dinosaurs at the iMax, a 3D movie about sharks, and otherwise just wander around. It should be a fun day... I hope!

I just spent some time looking at my calendar. It's the season of no down time in the Bancroft house. From now until the end of summer...I think almost all our weekends are busy. There are probably a few exceptions but it doesn't seem it. Ok...just realized I lied. THIS weekend is free. But after that...... we have ~ first Tri of season along with nephew's first communion, trip to FL for USAT the next weekened, a bike TT after that, a wedding, open water swim clinic we're teaching, cousin's party, and then it's already June and I'm off to Connecticut for Rev3 70.3! Just like that...time will fly.

'Tis the season. The season for racing, and tons of kid activities, and Summer vacation!

With that...I'm off to mix bottles for my long ride. My Mommy time!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Me vs. Lane 1


I have had the pleasure of attacking two track workouts, yes two, in the past 6 days.
In short-OUCH!

But the short version doesn't give you nearly enough gory details. So here goes.

Last Thursday was workout #1. I was nervous and excited. I was ready to GOGOGO and hit the goal times Jen set for me. They were Not easy targets but I'm always up for a good challenge. I did my easy warm up and prepared to run. It's a little ominous staring down the barrel at distances and paces that will require you to Instantly turn the body on to ZIP mode. Last year's training was tough. Most workouts entailed long grueling distances. 100 mile rides (my chance to say it again) in the rain, 20 mile runs, 80 mile rides with 7 mile runs. Those were tough workouts. But Track workouts--- these are a whole new kind of pain and suffering.
The track was busy that morning. Very busy. It was so busy and I was so distracted by the other 30+ folks milling around lanes 7 & 8 in a less than zippy manner that I decided to start at the opposite side of the track. So I packed up my water, gels, paper with the workout on it, and extra clothes and made a bee-line for the far corner. This workout required Concentration. A game face. I wasn't feeling the focus amidst all the others.

It was time to start. No matter how much I tried, I was unable to come up with any more reasons to stall. Somehow, I had to shift my body into 5th gear.

I had 2 sets and the 2nd was to be faster than the first. I had been advised to be "patient and PACE or else..." and then at the end of the workout I was told to throw the patience out the window and "GOGOGOGO!" Alrighty....I'll try!

First -- 1 mile --- sub 6:15. Um. Ok. That isnt' a very patient pace in my mind. Here goes!
I felt pretty bad. Legs weren't turning over quite yet. Last stretch...DIG.... Made it.
Time to rest while I kept moving.
800--- goal was sub 3:05. Here goes. Legs felt better. No problemo. Hey! pretty good.
Now 2 x 400s the instructions here were sub 1:30 I hit those too and was feeling good.
It was time to go through the ladder again. OH boy.
Mile again--- so painful. So long.
was leaning into the turns.... focus...form..... hold it together...go go go go go. The goal time was faster this time. Where's the line where's the line....done! 1 second to spare. Check.
Getting close. I kept moving between each run. I was able to lift my knees high to stretch out and to keep my body used to feeling light and fast. I was desperately tired...or so I thought.
800 time-- again , a faster goal. I had confidence now. While my legs were shaking and feeling heavier and heavier, I was on a roll. Around and around I went. I ignored all the others out there that day. I just ran and ran. And I ran hard.
4 seconds to spare. Yes.
And now the final 2 runs. 2 x 400. NO time goal. Just "what do you have?" ALL OUT! Let's see what you can do. Ok.....I was going all out!! Cracks me up...
Off I went.
Nailed it. 2 x400 Faster than the first and I called it a day. Success. Gotta love that.
I did a little warm down run, a little recovery ride and that was that. I felt good! Proud and Happy.

And then Friday rolled around. Ahhhh...there's that final 400. And that 2nd mile. And that 4th 800! My legs were a MESS!!!!
But hey, all I had to do was a 3 hr ride! What's the big deal right?
I struggled through that and realized just how fatiguing the year's first track workout can be. I was absolutely shot. I hobbled around, I wore my recovery socks, I ate a lot of protein, I rolled my legs with the roller and I wimpered when anyone would listen.

Coach Jen was happy with my run and declared, GOOD JOB! And we'll do it again Next week!!
woohoo!! I intend to have a tone of sarcasm there but the other sick part of me was actually happy to hear this. I Did want another one! I love those bad boys and I want to attack it again! Bring it on!

Little word of caution: Be careful what you wish for. We've all heard this before-- it applies to track workouts! watch out!

Today was my next chance to stare at those lanes again. To pick which orange line or yellow triangle would be my Start. It was my chance to fight the demons of doubt. Oh yes, I was very very doubtful for the past couple days. How am I going to do this track workout??? How am I going to nail these times? They're faster! My kids heard this a lot. They had no idea what I was really talking about (well, a little) but they listened and pretended to care.

Once again, I packed my little bag. I grabbed a pen and paper to record the times reliably. I had waters, a gel, a sweatshirt. That's it. No way to avoid it. It was time. Just go Ange. Drive to the track.

This workout was harder. It was harder and I dare say my legs were still not fully recovered. I older now and just as I've been told, one unavoidable consequence of that is that recovery time is longer. I am finally starting to believe that. I was trashed ALL weekend from last Thursday. But I couldn't think about that any longer.
Time to get tough.
Remember WHY I do all this. I have all my reasons tucked away in my head. They are good ones. At least they are good enough for me. And it's those reasons that fuel my fire when I have to dig really deep through a training session.

Warm up was done. My extra clothes were shed. I had a gel. I had water. That's it. Time to go.

This time I had 5 sets. Five. Cinq. Cinco. No matter how you say it--it was daunting.
800 / 400
Start at 3:00 and 1:24 and Descend.
Get faster.
Each time.
400s are harder than 800s. 400s are ALL OUT!
ouch. Those are fast starts. Ok. Let's go!
800 -- I started running and all was ok. And then I hit the 400 and I realized I was breathing so so hard and I felt a little frantic. I was out of control. The discomfort of running super hard felt bad. My head was not accepting the pain.
I had a talk with myself. It's time to be ok with hurting. You need to let yourself breath heavy and let it just happen. Dont' fight it.
under 3. Check. Woah. Hang on legs. You have a ways to go.
400 under 1:24. how am I going to do that 4 more times and Faster????
Next 800. Same time. Ok. not bad.
400 same time. I was hanging on but I was hurting.

When I got to the 3rd 800 things got real. I was suffering Big time. I was incredibly nauseous. My legs were not my own.
As I moved around and around in those circles I forced myself to focus on my form at times. I had to concentrate to lean forward because I seemed to be comfortable leaning back...there was a headwind on one side and I was letting it push me back.
I would bring myself into the moment and think about my running. PUSH The pain back and just run. Faster -shorter strides for one and then longer-more powerful strides another time. Which was better? Lean forward, push push push your arms -- my old track coaches voices were in my brain.
I dug back into my old HS track days. Just run run run run run HARD! There was NO time to let my pace fall back. If you let off for just a bit -- you miss your time. It's that unforgiving. As Jen said, there is no hiding on the track. It's all right there. You must run until you drop. That's it.

I got through the final few sets. After the 800s, I thought I might collapse. No. I was sure I would collapse. I grabbed the fence and buckled over to breath. I walked around, stretched, and prepared to go again.

I thought I fought through the suffering at last week's workout. And I did...but today was much much harder. But you know, I did it.
I hit most of the goals and walked away knowing that I gave it ALL that I had. When I headed down the final 100 of the 400s, I was ready to fall over. I wanted to slow down. How Easy it would be to just. slow. down.
Instead, I reached inside, decided I didn't Care if I Did throw up (which was a serious possibility) or if I collapsed and I found another gear.
I didn't slow down. I sped up. I ran until I dropped. Literally. I finished 400 #5 and I just dropped down.

You know what though?
I'm 40 now. Some look at that age and think it's time to start slowing down. After all, 40! You know...when people supposedly get old!

Ha...I will never, for one single minute, let my age stop me.

I just might need to rest a little more in between. :o)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Maybe my Body will Listen?

I'll start this post with a happy little picture and then I'm likely to move in 10 different directions. Sorry're sideways. I couldn't rotate the darn thing and it was too cute for me not to post. Just turn your head and peek at my little charmer. This is how Nick (he's 6 and in Kindergarten) went to school yesterday. My kids NEVER ever wear ties to school. But the day before, big brother Cameron announced it was "Tie day." Tommy and Cam both knew this and said they would wear ties. Nick had no clue what tie day was all about. ( apparently a fundraiser for something...) The next morning, the two big guys chickened out because they feared they'd be the only ones who participated. (and they were right...) But Nick was dressed to kill. He wasn't sure he liked the way the tie choked him a bit and despite me telling him it was completely his choice, he was determined to head off looking ready for a little business meeting. Made me smile. (And I wasn't surprised when it was in his backpack when I picked him up...he made it until snack time and then it was history. ) A year ago I noticed my ankle was swollen. It felt a little strange but it was mostly just Very swollen. After multiple appointments with an ortho, an xray and an MRI it was determined that I have an impinged talus bone. Something like that... The Talus bone is in your's pinching somehow. This is the result. Can you see how swollen it is by my ankle bone? behind it...

My normal ankle...
The bad one:

What I don't understand is why it was basically fine for months and months and now it's bothering me again! It has remained quite swollen all year but now it's very inflamed and a bit tender at times too. I "feel it" if that makes's not painful per se but it's aggravating. And the fact that it's worse bothers me. I have been icing all the time and wearing a compression brace but who knows if that is doing any good. My theory is that I have just recently headed back outside on my bike and immediately started climbing. ( Mt. Lemmon on first ride outside for 2010!) While climbing, one's heel is stretched and I'm guessing it's pinching something because of that position.
Does anyone have experience with this kind of thing???
A few random Easter pictures: My bunny cake!

The kids searching for eggs...
And on the right is my family of 5 and my brother's family of 5 perched for pictures at my parent's house. Nick is hiding behind his cousin.

And on to the topic of this post. The real topic.
I am losing my mind because I feel like Nobody is Listening to Mom!!! I am certain I am not alone on this one. Right? If I am, well, someone send me a one way ticket to Tahiti. (my kids keep talking about Tahiti for some reason) many times in one week can a person say, "Please make your bed, pick up your clothes, unpack your backpack, bring me your lunchbox, don't push your brother, put your dirty clothes in the hamper, hang up your towel. " And so on and so on and so on. Seriously? I say the same 10 basic things 20 times/day.
I try and try and try and try to remain patient. I try to come up with new ways to encourage them to do these basic things. Anyway.... Mom stuff... any advice is welcome!
Since I feel like my kids won't listen to me...I'm going to try to get my body to listen to me. I'm training hard and trying to take things to another level.
I'm now riding with power and that is a bit of an eye opener. I have a lot to learn but so far it's really interesting and very addicting. I just want to keep riding so I can see what I can do with it. I have also discovered that I need to work at being more steady while I'm riding. My power fluctuates quite a bit. I need to find out if this is normal or if I'm wasting energy having little bursts of power when I should just even it out.
Swimming is interesting for's been brought to my attention (when I was happily critiqued by Jen and Jerome in AZ last week) that I have a superfast turnover rate and perhaps would be more efficient and powerful if I could increase my distance per stroke. Over the years, I have spent a lot of time swimming near my friend Alina. Now Alina has an unbelievably fast turnover!!! It's amazing. I would often try to immitate her stroke and I think some of my fast turnover might be from that. Even when we swim in the lake together I watch her arms spin so fast! But she is a 50 & 100 freestyler. I have moved on to 1-2 mile open water events. I'm an "old dog" when it comes to swimming so working on "new tricks" is just that...a trick. But I'm trying. step at a time. Tomorrow is a track workout that has me shakin' in my shoes. It's guaranteed to leave me in a pile on the grass when I finish. That's the goal--to come out of my skin and suffer. If I can get my body comp. where I want it to be and get my body to listen more carefully than I feel listened to at home, it should be a good season.
Kick off day: One month from today. Race #1 of 2010.
Game on.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wrapping up the Tucson Trip

I was distracted the past few days (by SUN, near 80 degree temps and Easter!) so I've neglected my blog and my stories from Arizona.

Let me get back there...

The third day of training was focused on the Long ride. We had two groups for this day. The athletes preparing for an Ironman in 2010 were slated to do a 100+ mile ride while the rest of us planned on 50-60. I had some inner struggle with this decision. You see... I love the hard stuff. I love to take on the biggest challenge regardless. However, I am not an Ironman athlete this year. 2009 was huge for me. HUGE. I put my heart and soul into preparing for Ironman Lake Placid and as a result, I executed it Exactly the way I wanted to. I had the race of my life. The catch...I was 2nd in my age gr and signed the dotted line for Kona the next morning. A dream come true. A dream I didn't know I would ever face. It still gives me chills.
But you see, to train for the First IM of 2009 was a big deal for me and for my family. Two swallow the committment for the 2nd IM of the season required even more patience, understanding, support and love. And most of all....relentless discipline on my own part. It was Hard. Very hard. I will not say I was burned out...but I think I was close. I rode too many centuries alone and in the 50 degree pouring rain.
I raced short races between those two biggies but my legs were never there. They were lost in endurance training. Cumulative Fatigue. I was forced to accept these two little words. They took over my season.
It was a Fantastic I will Always look back on with pride.
And now....I'm ready to go Faaaaaast!!!
So you can see...while I had a slight pull to push myself into the longer ride, my heart and quite frankly my head reminded me that I am a short (er) course athlete this year and thus I need to train like one!
Phew. That's the long version of that decision making process!
Still reading?

My group for the day was Jen, Melissa, Sharon, Kate, Julia and Kari. We drove about 30 minutes to the bottom of Gates pass to avoid city riding. (Thanks Jen...this Maine girl isn't used to that much traffic!! )
As we donned our gear, poor Melissa realized she forgot her bike shoes at hte house!!! :o( Oh my heart broke for her. She handled it very well. She drove home alone to get her shoes and then started our loop backwards to meet up with us several hours later.
The ride was Fun!!!
I must admit, it started out with a bang! We rode about 3-4 miles before we began to really climb. Jen had told me I could push it if I felt good. I really didn't know what was ahead. She did assure us that it only went on for a few miles. But I couldn't see the top....after climbing Mt. Lemmon for 26 I was pretty sure we were in for another haul as we started up.
The difference from the beginning was our pace. We took Mt. Lemmon carefully.....a long steady grind.
Heading up Gates pass the first time (yes, we did it again later on...) I am quite sure I was in z4-5. In other words, I was gasping for air! We were pushing pretty hard as far as I was concerned!!! A few of us took turns pulling. ( leading the group & breaking through the wind for the others) Jen even hollered out a couple times for us to GO! I was losing Julia's wheel at one point and was "encouraged" to get back ON it! I tried SO hard!!!
Just when I thought I was about to die, Jen announced that the arrow at the top (right in front of us...) was the End! Time to descend. Phew! Loved it. That was a dose of "good pain."
The rest of the ride was fun. We rode through desert, cactus, lots of long dry warm roads. I enjoyed riding with other women. I never have company on the roads so it was a happy day for me. We finally met up with Melissa and started around the loop again. We had planned to climb back up Gates pass, go down, turn and around and climb up the other side.
Heading back up the pass was tough. We were tired and there was a strong head wind. Again, we took turns pulling each other up for a little while. At the end , I was in front. My head was down and I was 100% focused on my legs. Push push push. I wobbled a bit in the wind but was determined to stay in front and not slow the gang down too much.
next thing I knew, my group was hollering to stop.
Melissa was down.
Her tire went into a groove in the road and she crashed. Thankfully, Jen was behind her and the cars were all very attentive and stopped!
She had had a rough day. She had road burns on her arm, leg, and shoulder but she was Ok and a big time trouper. After a few minutes, we resumed our climb. Jen made the executive decision at the top that the traffic at noon on Sat on GAtes pass + our fatigue made it important to call it a day.

Back at the ranch, it was time to pack.
All by myself (ok...a few bits of advice were given) I packed my own bike!! thankyouverymuch! this was a big step for my and I'm so psyched I am not able to do this alone.

Camp was winding down and this was sad. I was ready to get back to my boys (all 4 --you too Mark) but I enjoyed these new friends tremendously and didn't want the fun to end.

Sunday morning came quickly. I squeezed in 45 minutes in the pool wiht everyone before hopping in the cab to the airport.

I have even more to say....

next time folks...

Happy Spring! Time to go back outside!