It was a great training weekend- twice through the Greater Cleveland Triathlon half ironman course (with an added 3 for me getting lost- twice) and a 5k run after the first go round. My legs felt fantastic after the long rest (except for the 30 miles of hiking) and that made it so much easier to get through!
Day 1 - My first time on a half ironman course
A great group showed up to do the course, organized by fellow CTCer Jen. It was my first time through it and I had heard some serious horror stories. The course is very hilly. I think I ended up in my granniest of granny gears no less than 6 times. The hills were compounded by the fact that my front derailer isn't working right ( I can only downshift when going downhill-not really the best situation). So I ended up dropping my chain once and having to get off my bike to shift it manually once more. Oh, and we took a wrong turn and did an extra heinous hill. But all in all it was a fantastic ride! Especially with DaisyDuc in the lead- that girl can hammer! Our friend Paul was also great and gave us pointers and motivated us up those hills. When we finished the ride we did the sprint course 5k. I was really glad that I had gone to Dick's the night before to buy a camelback. I was a little bit embarrassed to see that when I got it home it was actaully made for a child. But it was the perfect size. By the time I got home I had finished the camelback of water, one gatorade endurance and an additional bottle of water.
Day 2 - The crazy saga
Crazy girl Elizabeth mentioned that she was going to go back and do the course again today. And of course the crazy shoe guy talked me into going as well. So when I woke up this morning the first thing that I did was check weather.com. There was a band of showers to the south of the race course and a forecast of scattered thunderstorms. But I had my mind set on doing the course so I decided to go. Brooks wasn't so weather confident and told me he was out. My roommate Matt decided to go. So all told there were five of us that met at the park (Sara, Liz, John, Matt, and I). I gave Matt my map because I had just done the course the day before and he wanted to go hard (my first mistake of the day). Then once I texted Brooks and told him that Elizabeth called him a wimp he decided to come out and catch up with us. When we went out I was feeling very good, so I got out ahead of the group and waited at the 10 and 20 mile points to regroup. Then I decided to get to mile 33 before rejoining the group the third time.
So at mile 33 I took out my Cliff bar and started to eat when I heard a sound that made my heart sink.
Thunder. Oh Sh*%.
So a lot of things went through my head but I settled on one- I was the closest person to the car that had keys (Matt was way ahead but he drove with me). So my plan was to hammer it back to the car so I could pick up everyone else if it got nasty. So I pushed off- 3/4 of a Cliff bar hanging out of my mouth and pedaled like the wind. I don't think that I've ever biked that fast before- The fear of lightning will do that to you! But then right when I got to the one and only convenience store on the route (mile 40) the heavens opened up. This was seriously not good. So I waited in the store for the downpour to let up. I was hoping for the group to make it there. I thought for sure Brooks would catch up since he is an amazing cyclist, but then I talked to him on the phone and turns out he was sitting comfortably in his house because he ran into shifting issues early on. As soon as the rain let up a little (it took a while) I pushed off so that I could get off the road I was on ASAP. Auborn is basically a highway without a curb lane. The conditions were extremely dangerous! It was raining again and I was moving pretty fast with cars going by VERY fast and I didn't have brakes that were reliable wet. I thanked my lucky stars when I made it to the turn and I called Elizabeth. They were safe in someone's garage and I told them that I would try to hurry so that I could pick them up.
So then I hammered again (after the guy who designed the course stopped to see if I was ok!). The problem here is that the end of the course has a lot of turns, I didn't have a map, and the water from the storm was quickly obscuring and washing away the course arrows. So of course I got lost! An extremely nice lady helped me out by having me follow her to where she could point me in the right direction towards the park. It added about 2 miles onto the distance but that was fine! The last stretch of my ride was way faster than the middle portion when I had the lightning fears. This time I had the wind from a thunderstorm at my back and I felt fantastic. I was maintaining 24-26 miles per hour on my cruise back to the park. It felt so cool!
Well turns out my detour was a little long so the group got a taxi and poor Matt was sitting like a popsicle outside the parking lot. So it wasn't a very productive plan after all. But it was such an adventure- I loved it!
What I learned this weekend is that I absolutely love cycling. I think that it is the only thing that I can do for hours that lets me totally lose myself. I don't think about anything. All of my fears and frustrations and sadness and worry all disapear and it's just me and the road. Even when the shit hits the fan and its raining and I'm lost. If I could only fit in a couple hours on the bike every day I would be the most mellow person in the world. Too bad we all have to work...
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