A few months ago our long rides were three hours. I remember feeling a little intimidated by the idea of a three hour ride. I was still really not getting along with my bike, and spending three hours on it seemed like a daunting task. This past week was a recovery week and our ride on Sunday was three hours, with a thirty minute run to follow. I remember very well being freaked out by those three hour rides. I would have to take a Tylenol PM to fall asleep because I was so nervous. Before the first three hour ride Coach Erin said something to me that I didn't forget. She said, "One day, soon, a three hour ride will be no big deal - it'll be a nice easy ride." I didn't believe her at the time, because, well, I was still convinced that my bike was trying to kill me. So, imagine my surprise when suddenly a three hour ride didn't seem so scary anymore.
On Saturday night I was part of a fundraiser with a bunch of other Vineman participants and after we went across the street to a bar and got food and hung out for a while. A few months ago, before a three hour ride, I would not have been able to do this and stay calm for the ride the next day. But this time, it was not a big deal. I got home around midnight, prepped my bottles for the morning and promptly fell asleep, no sleeping aid needed.
I skipped the morning's open water swim because I was tired and, well, honestly, the ocean is cold. Like really cold (and we had OWS the day before at Hansen Dam). I arrived at Ocean and San Vicente and got a prime parking spot. As everyone arrived my car became a makeshift T2, with all sorts of run gear in it. I was parked right there, it's a big car, and we didn't have a stay back. With my car packed with all my teammate's gear we set off on our ride - 90 minutes north on PCH, conversational pace. Once we settled in we did some buildups to faster than race pace. I'm still busy trying to figure out what my conversational pace versus race pace actually is, so I just sort of took off and decided I'd figure it out as I went.
I quickly realized that my conversational pace is 15mph. For a lot of people that's not very fast, but considering where I was with cycling just a few short months ago, its amazing. I wound up having to stop not once, but twice to use a bathroom. And, I realized that it takes SO much time. Peeing on the bike is gross, but with Wildflower cutoffs being strict, and being in one of the last waves for the swim start, its starting to look like a viable option. Ugh. I wound up riding about 40 miles total. With two bathroom breaks and a conversational pace, I'm really good with that. I call this very successful. I have come a LONG way since just January.
And, here I am, where a three hour ride is normal. Huh. Erin was right. And, my bike and I are definitely friends now, ready for whatever comes next (which, by the way is Wildflower, in just 5 short days). Tonight I'll be cleaning the bike and getting him ready for Wildflower mania.
Also, because this was a "social" ride at "conversational" pace I decided to make an unplanned stop. I've been wanting to stop here for a while and take a picture, but we're always working on time and mileage, and I never stop. But, this time I did. Here is a picture of the pothole that tried to kill me back in December.
Here are some awesome photos from the open water swim taken by our very own Paiwei Wei.
Ready to conquer the swim, and the world.
Oh, and I got this amazing-ness from my wonderful teammate Amy. Can't wait to rock it at Wildflower. Thanks Amy!!