Wow, you know you haven't blogged in awhile when you forget how to log into your blog. "I’m just going to go do it"
My final words of my last post, 6 weeks ago. Yup, folks, I meant it. I am all about the "doing" right now. Not about moaning, not about over analyzing, or feeling uncertain. I'm about going into the world, meeting new people, interacting, training, experiencing, finding joy, enjoying the process.
The last 6 weeks have been PACKED! I was super stoked to head to California for 9 days of training. I left a little uncertain as to how my body would hold up through it but I was, yet again, utterly amazed at just how easy big weeks of training are when your attitude and priorities are in the right place. I had ridden as long as 2 hours on the trainer before going, but was able to ride 555 miles in 8 days....happy as a clam.
The Coast Ride. It was awesome. I think I only had about one twenty minute "rough patch" and the rest of the 3 days was total perm-a-grin. We rode 365 miles from the San Francisco bridge, to Santa Barbara in 3 days. Along the way there were times when I knew I was pushing myself really hard, and other times where the pace was relaxed, where others were leading and I could just chill and soak up life. I even got a few patches of solo riding which I also enjoyed. The best part of the trip were the friends that I made and the people I got to ride side by side with for many hours. Thank you to my riding buddies for sharing your lives and joy with me: AmyO, Kendra, Grant, Jess, Hailey, Beth, Steve, Will, Zach, Noah, Christine, Faith. I'll share with you a few stories of the trip.
Going All Out
On day 1 I missed heading out from lunch with some of the girls I knew. They were just a few minutes up the road, I could see them and I decided to go for it, bridge the gap, as you would say. I did an all out effort for 10 miles to catch them, and couldn't. Haha! Note to future riders, all out efforts should be saved for day 3! BUT, as luck would have it, I was able to hook up with 3 awesome guys, Will, Noah, and Zach and was treated to 60 miles of "man-wheel" (my favorite), flawless route finding, and awesome entertainment (and views). Sometimes the hardest efforts don't yield what what you hoped for, but instead they yield so much more (like new friends).
10 miles into day 1 my chain fell off my cassette to the inside of my hub, so between the spokes and cassette. My shifter is a little funky and my bike mechanic hadn't noticed there was one more gear there, and therefore the limiter screw was improperly adjusted. When this happens your bike comes to a screeching halt, since the rear wheel can't move and the chain gets lodged and VERY stuck. It happened 3 times on the trip before I hunted down a mechanic to fix it (Thank you MARK). It's a crazy feeling to get dropped by the group and then stuck on the side of the road. The emotions I had were surprising and very telling. Incident #1 I was like "You're okay, let's figure this out." #2 I was like "crap, not again, okay, you can get yourself out of this", and #3 I was like "boys, please help me". #3 was the only time on the ride that I got flustered, and I'm proud of that. I handled it with grace and a positive attitude, and I problem solved to the best of my ability.
Another day I was riding with lots of my friends (new and old) and we had been climbing all day up and down hills in Big Sur. It was fantastic, like seriously the best scenery I have ever seen on a bike. I noticed pretty early on that compared to my ride-mates, I don't climb at their level. So I get dropped on the hills. I was on one such hill and trying with all my might to hang onto them and I was really getting tired. The heart rate was going up up up and I was trying so bad, but struggling to hang. I finally looked up and realized that I was sitting in with 4 PROs. All 4 of them ahead of me in my little group that I was about to get shelled from had the infamous Elite Triathlon card. It was like a light bulb went off and I said "you don't have to hang with them" and off the back I went. None of us knew when the climb would end, and sure enough, a mere 50 feet later we were at the top. I gave up with 50 feet to go! Lesson learned, stay in the moment, you never know when the end is right around the corner.
The Tour Team
On the final day Jess, BethS, and I had really become quite the little riding threesome. Yes boys, keep dreaming. BethS and I had this little joke amongst ourselves that we were putting together our tour team. So I started calling Beth "George" and she started calling me "George" because really neither of us wanted to be Lance. In the end, Beth stuck as "George", Jess ended up "the rabbit" and I was definitely "the map". We worked so well together and my most cherished moments on the Coast Ride involved the two of them, hands down. Never underestimate the power of ladies who are strong physically AND emotionally.
Being part of a ride like this adds to the fitness bank for sure, but for me, it wasn't about that. It was more about making sure that I was in control of my attitude. It was about the adventure and the process of going from one place to another. I really watched others, and saw how their attitudes effected their experience. Some people seemed to be fighting some demons out there, maybe some ego too, and I'm fine with that 100%. It was just a nice change of pace to be able to watch how others were responding rather than to be all up in my own head. I would love to do this ride again...soon!
After the Coast Ride I was lucky enough to remain in San Jose at my parents house for another week of training. I had so much fun. I got to meet up with new friends and get in some great training. Lots of highlights during that week, especially the time I got to spend on Mount Hamilton. I absolutely love this climb and could climb it every day. It was really interesting to see how my legs continued to respond day after day. I swear they shouldn't have had much left in them, but they continued to perform like champions. Whenever I thought they wanted to stop I would just nicely ask them to keep on going, I would remind them what the views looked like, and how calm and peaceful my mind was, and before I knew it, they had an extra gear.
I had a blast training with my new favorite PRO Jim Lubinski. We did a fun ride where he let me lead on the way out, and then hang onto his wheel for dear life on the way back. Actually I spent a fair amount of time that week hanging onto Jims wheel or shoulder while running. He pushed me that week and I am ever so thankful for his kindness. That bit of kindness from him continues to show up in my fitness and I look at some of the runs I did with Jim and know that they added a layer of confidence that I plan to utilize in a few short weeks.
Also, I got to be on Jim's Podcast. It's called "Jim and the Other Guy." You can find it on iTunes and it's a lot of fun. Good information, but in an easy going way. Check it out!
When my week in San Jose ended I headed back home to snowy Colorado with a bright fire burning in both my belly and my metabolism!
It's times like these that I know I am grabbing this life by the you know what. I'm soaking it in, not making it anything more complicated than going out and playing outside. The data has taken a complete back seat, I don't even know where my heart rate strap ran off to, and it's been worth every second.
PS: Noticed a new cycling kit? I could not have made it through the Coast Ride without my new sponsor. Amrita is a Plant Based Bar that literally fueled me the entire coast ride. Water in my bottles, Amrita in my pockets. I have been living on these bars and am just very fortunate to have found something that hits the spot for days on end, doesn't have ANY crap in it, and is good for MaNature. Thank you Amrita!
PPS: for the next week (until 2/21) you can get 15% of Amrita bars with code "Love15". Visit the Amrita site and pick some up! PLANTS!!!!!