Friday, May 30, 2008

Guest Writer Friday

Well, I have tons I could say but I am lacking in time. Lucky for me, one of my friends in my cycling group wrote an incredible ride report yesterday that I absolutely loved and felt it should be shared outside of the cycling group.

Before I let Lee take it away, I should preface this with a couple of sentences. I've mentioned Lee before; he's a friend of mine that I've been cycling with over the last 3 years or so. He hung with me the first day I rode with the group, when I knew nothing about pace lines, conserving my energy or how to pull or be pulled. He loves to joke about how that day. Lee has made goals every year that he has always successfully completed.

Last year, he and his wife were going to France; Lee decided he had to climb Mont Ventoux. He trained for months and arrived home with a new mountain under his belt. Also last year when the 4 of us rode our epic 125 mile ride together, Lee's seat rail broke around mile 95 or so. He could've called the wife to come pick him up, but no, he held on. Tired, dehydrated and with a broken seat, he stayed the course and rode the finish with the rest of us.

I believe on that 125 mile ride, the 4 of us said "Let's do the Terrible Two together next year." We agreed that we would train together and it would be awesome. 200 miles, 16,000 feet of climbing over every single major climb in Sonoma County on the longest (and nearly hottest) day of the year. it is nearly June. The TT is a mere few weeks away. And then there was one.

I was the first to resign from the ride. I realized that as I had declared this to be the year of triathlon, there was no way I could integrate enough riding to train for the Terrible Two AND be a great triathlete. It just wouldn't work. Someday, I will do it. But not this year.

Then David & Pat realized the same - they're both doing IM Arizona in November. Vineman in July. No way they could do the kind of training needed, either.

That left Lee.

And he stayed the course. He has spent the last 5 months under Coach Tim's guidance, riding out his plan to a T. He has been out there on long rides in the early hours on Saturdays and Sundays, by himself, with others, determined and committed. Enduring and mastering rides on hot days, cold days, rainy days, all filled with merciless climbs that would inevitably make him stronger to be ready for this big day.

So now the time is nearly here. Is Lee ready? I'll let him tell you...

Lee, last year at our TT

Okay. . . So I don't normally post reports about training rides but yesterday's ride was different. I ended the ride with a total feeling of euphoria. And not the kind that starts as tickle from sitting on the seat funny.

So I take off at 6:30 for my usual jaunt into Oakmont where coach has me doing the large hill there twice. No worries. I head out on Montgomery and turn onto Summerfield to cut through Spring Lake Park. As I make the turn I notice a mountain biker trying to catch my back
wheel (at least I thought it was a mountain biker, more later). For some reason I do not want this to happen. So as we cruise down Summerfield, into a stiff headwind, I get as aerodynamic as possible and lift the pace. I am now doing 24 mph into the wind and feeling great. However, some traffic issues allows him to stay close.

We turn onto the road leading to the back entrance.
There is a small 1/4 mile hill and some rollers leading to the gate. I now decide one of us will be in pain by the time we reach the gate so I come out of the saddle and find a monster gear and hammer it all the way. When I reach the gate he is nowhere in sight. Man I am feeling strong.

So I cruise into Oakmont to start the big climb. This is a 1.5 mile climb that gains 700 feet. It begins with a sustained 20% grade (max is 22%) before settling in. Just as I hit the climb I see 3 cyclists in front of me. Great! Just what I need is a good carrot. I actually decide to stay calm and practice letting people ride away on the climbs. That didn't last. One was struggling and I caught him before we finished the opening steep section. As I begin catching the other 2 I can tell they are caught between waiting for their friend and not letting me catch them. (As a cyclist you can sense these things. Or is it my over active imagination that lets me sense such things?)
As I continue to gain on them, it was a guy and a girl, the guy simply takes off and finishes the climb in great shape. I once again decide not to catch the girl and will ride at my own pace. That's when I notice her head and shoulders are bobbing up and down so I know she is struggling. I catch her just as the hill levels a bit and she accelerates. I let her go but actually finished with her on the final part of the climb. At this point I actually went back down to their friend who was struggling and rode with him to the top. BTW - this entire episode was completed in the middle ring. Time to descend. I let them take off ahead of me but actually caught 2 of them on the way down. At the bottom, they head for home and I head back up the hill. This time I spin up in the triple relatively easily on the lower section and then hammered the top back in the middle ring. One more descent and now I head for home. On the way back my "mountain biker" passes me ( I could tell from the kit). He is actually on a tri bike and now I feel even stronger.

So where's the euphoria? For weeks I have been doubting my ability to complete the TT. That is gone. I know I will struggle at times and I will be dead once it's over but as a result of my last 3 rides I am confident I can do it. That's quite a feeling. (Big shout out to Tim's masterful plan to get me ready.)

One last thing. On Sunday, as I was nursing a swollen and painful hip, I officially registered for the TT. We are go for launch.

Yeah! Go Lee!!

I really wanted to share this because I think about how we all have goals we set for ourselves. Sometimes we doubt our abilities, ourselves or even our true commitment to reaching those goals. I'm so proud of Lee for really setting this goal and remaining committed, not to mention his confidence he's reached at this point. I'm so proud to be involved in a sport where so many people do this for themselves and really succeed!

As I end this post, I want to wish EVERYBODY who is racing this weekend (Eileen, Bree, Paul...I know I'm forgetting somebody...I'm sorry!) ALL THE BEST. Remember to be PROUD of yourselves. Be PROUD of your successes so far. Be PROUD of your commitment and your goals you've set. Be PROUD of everything you've achieved and worked for. You really do deserve it. :)

1 comment:

Rainmaker said...

Congrats Lee - Very nice ride and awesome effort rockin it.