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 Season...one 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!
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!