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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tri Training Ride

Three Weeks until the SheRox Triathlon. Tonight I had a training ride, taking the route of the bike course. I had the chance to meet with other women who are also doing this tri and I also met Sue, the person who is our "Mentor." She's an inspiration, a Doctor, a new mom with a nine month old son, and she has completed the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon (I met her a few weeks ago when I watched it for my research mission), and she's completed an Iron Man Triathlon. This woman knows her stuff! Some of the other women joining the ride the course are new to triathlons and a few have done the SheRox once before. It was a great mix of women, various ages and abilities, though most, if not all of the women, seemed like they had far greater abilities and were in so much better shape than me. Often during our ride the course, I was dead friggin' last! And this was on my new road bike. Admittedly, I wasn't hammering along as fast as I could, I was nervous and trying to relearn the bike routine. The toe clips still make me nervous, getting in and out swiftly so I don't fall over again and bust up another knee or sprain another finger. My mind was in constant motion, watching the road and looking out for the tree root humps, sewer grates and potholes, and trying to keep up with the pack as well as anticipating stops so I wouldn't crash into the ride ahead of me. It's a lot of brain work, I feel more mentally exhausted than physically tired. Over all it was a fantastic learning experience. It is a lot different to ride with a pack than solo or just with Susan Hill. Keeping up a pace of 15 to 18 miles an hour, with occasional bursts of 20 or more miles an hour is challenging. While it's not as difficult on the new Fuji to keep up the faster mileage pace, I'm not used to the drill. Another area where I need to step it up over the next few weeks.

It felt good to be out with a group of riders though. I felt part of a team. Like the sense you get on a race day, or when the clubs are out on training rides, though I don't think anyone thought were were a club or a real pack. We got a lot of gawkers staring at us wondering what this pack of women cyclists were doing. We saw two groups of male cyclists, hammering along at 30 miles an hour or faster, around the River Drive Loops, whizzing past us in blurry spandex drafts. Occasionally they would look our way. I think we were more a novelty and possibly a minor annoyance. Girls! Out on the Boys course! There were other benefits to riding with a group, in addition to learning the course and picking up a lot of pedaling tips, nutrition advice, discussions about where events take place and how to transition, I got a sense of what things I can still do to improve my efforts. I met some nice women who are doing the tri for the experience of it, not for the competition. I met Suki, a woman I've met before while I was working at Williams-Sonoma. This year's SheRox will be her first, though this Sunday she's entered into the CGI Tri. Can you say fit? This gal is gonna ace the events. She gave me some great tips on how to make my pedaling more efficient and productive. There was another Sue, an advocacy Attorney for people with disabilities; The SheRox will be first tri as well. Another woman, Leslie, told me that she's just recovered from some serious injuries, pins in her hand and arm. Awe-inspiring - and they all left me in the dust during our ride!
When I think about what motivated me to do this triathlon, I think about the fact that it is a part of my whole journey of rediscovery and physical awakening. In March when I agreed to do it, and found myself thinking about doing it for several days before I signed on, I mostly thought, yeah, I could do this. As it gets closer to the day (Sunday, August 3rd, 8 am!) I find that it's more about seeing something through to its completion. There's the determination factor, and proving to myself that I have the ability to start and finish a task, not just a physical event, but a whole life altering task. I've kept mostly on track with my weight loss, the tri is just another facet of my physical transformation. It is also a mental challenge. If I can do this, I can do whatever I set my mind to do. If you know you couldn't fail, what would you do? Try, fail, try again, fail bigger, try again.
Sue - Mentor Extrodinare!

Fellow Women Triathletes
Pure Classic Road Bike

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like fun! Nice to catch up, glad you had such a tasty time in the southwest, too.
    Rabs

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