Saturday, February 15, 2014

Thoughts From the Trainer

It is snowing.  Again.  It seems the ground has been covered with a thick coat of white for months.  Accompanying the snow has been frigid air.  In a word, brutal.

It is Friday night, and I am on the trainer.  My plans for the evening had not originally included riding my bike.  I rode (on the trainer) this morning, and practiced yoga. I had been anticipating a lovely evening out. However, the "dusting" of snow which had been forecasted was slowly progressing into another five inches of the "lovely" white substance, putting a firm wrench into my plans. Another layer upon several previous layers of snow was piling up. The road conditions were terrible. I was bitterly disappointed to cancel, as I had looked forward to this evening all week.  

Perched in the saddle of my bike is typically my happy place. However, riding indoors has gotten tedious.  The bike, attached to the bright green trainer, has become the proverbial Road to Nowhere.  I sometimes have to laugh at how ironic it is to pedal furiously, yet literally not propel forward. Stuck at the starting line.  I repeat this process every day.  Crazy?  Perhaps, but the training will make me stronger which will translate to better riding this spring.  Soon...

My recent trip to Puerto Rico, and the 375 mile endurance ride in the hot climate, spoiled me.  It was a wonderful reprieve to ride for four days in the sunshine, no trainer in sight.  Several posts to come about this trip, which was the experience of a lifetime, to come.  They are in the works, so stay tuned.

Since returning to Indiana, we have suffered winter's wrath.  The powers that be are labeling this winter "the second snowiest on record".  Snow, which is so beautiful and peaceful, is not being enjoyed by anyone, especially the cyclists I know.  Even my kids, who enjoyed numerous snow days, are growing weary.

I've cursed the giant snow piles, scattered about town.  Including the 7ft tall pile in front of my house.  A few more turns of the snow plow on the cul-de-sac and the pile will dwarf the house itself.

As I settle into my intervals, my thoughts swirl.  I begin to laugh at the imagery of an adult woman silently cursing snow piles in the grocery store parking lot. It is rather silly. When I think of  all the serious things going on in my life and in the world, in the grand scheme of things a giant snow mound is quite insignificant.  Of course I would much rather be riding outside with the miles stretching behind me in the sunshine.  But today I still get to ride my bike. It is a privilege I embrace, even if it's on the trainer.  I'm healthy and lucky enough to be able to do so.

I mentally switched gears and instead of lamenting the snow and the fact that I was stuck indoors, I turned my thoughts to a more positive approach and took time to appreciate the positive things going on in my life.  I have some pretty amazing people surrounding me.  I'm healthy, and I'm growing spiritually and as an individual. Spring will come soon enough.

As my mind calmed, I let my legs spin and I wound down the ride with a smile on my face.  

I glanced outside at the snow covered street to see my lovely daughter shoveling the driveway (she must have gone outside while I was finishing on my rant-filled ride).  This, of course further softened my mood, and drew my attention to her beauty, as well as the serenity of the snow.  She had taken Frank, the dog outside with her, and he was unabashedly dashing around the snow, which added laughter to the scene.  I was immediately grateful

I am reminded that it is mid February and there are just a few weeks left in winter.  Spring is approaching, and I am looking forward to the day where I can pick up my green trainer, and unceremoniously place it in the storage closet in the basement where it will (hopefully) remain until December.

For now, and until the snow melts and the spring flowers begin to bloom, I will happily ride my bike.  It will be on the trainer, but soon....outside in the sunshine.

Peace, Out

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Laughter in Training

Back to blogging....

I wrote the draft of this post in December.  In reviewing my unpublished posts this evening, it dawned on me that I needed to post this, as well as write about my extraordinary experiences during the last several months.  I am compelled to get back to you and this blog.

Training for an endurance event is serious business.  It is a fine balance of hard work, rest, nutrition, hydration and more hard work.  An endurance event, when it comes down to it is a solo endeavor, however the road to the event is paved with training, friends and a support system.  It does indeed take a village to send an athlete out onto the course.

Training in the winter in Indiana requires either facing the elements, or riding indoors on the trainer.  Wind, snow, frigid cold...not for the faint at heart.  I have ventured out on the road as much as possible.  (Truth be told, I enjoy riding in the wind.)  However, the month of January, and now into February of 2014 has meant a lot of snow.  Lots...with a capital "L".  It's actually a bit ridiculous. As such, the trainer has been my friend and nemesis.

As you may know, I recently completed my first ultra distance event; La Vuelta Puerto Rico.  Three days peloton riding, 375 miles around the perimeter of the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. It was an amazing, life-changing event.  I will share more very soon.

The months surrounding this event have been rather tumultuous for me.  My personal life is a major way.  As such I have taken a brief hiatus from blogging.  In an effort to resume blogging, and write about this adventure, I'm jumping back a couple of months to the trip to Florida.

You may recall, in early December I began to write about the journey of three friends (a.k.a Tres Amigas) to a training camp in Mt. Dora hosted by MotionFit.  Kameel Abdurrahman is a captain at La Vuelta and has done the race many times.  We were anxious for the 141 mile mock La Vuelta training ride.  I left you  with the story about our stops in Tennessee.

Back on track:

Day 3...Friday, December 13, 2013 we arrived in Florida.  The town of Mt. Dora beckoned us after a very long 2 1/2 days of travel.  The town of Mt. Dora surprised me.  It was quaint and beautiful.  A small village of unique shops and restaurants.  We were eager to check in to our hotel, The Lakeside Inn, and get out on our bikes.  Alas, the desk clerk informed us that our room was not quite ready.  Dilemma.

Being the practical women we are, we decided to look for a laundry facility to wash our dirty, sweaty (smelly) clothes.  We had no idea of the fun that was about to unfold.  The mark of true friendship is being able to let loose and be yourself (honest and raw).

Turns out the laundry facility was not in the greatest of neighborhoods.  I am fairly convinced a drug deal went down in the adjacent parking lot.  We averted our eyes and kept our heads down.  The bench in front of the laundrymat housed an apparent homeless gentleman who had seemingly not seen a shower stall for weeks.  He seemed intent to sit and take in the three female athletes washing their laundry.

Still, we found time to be silly and enjoy the beautiful Florida sunshine, in spite of our surroundings.

Caught a few rays....improvisation as no beach was nearby.

Met some interesting characters. 

In such a setting, we lost ourselves in laughter.  Even if just for an hour or two.  We finished the laundry, found our way back to the Inn and rode our bikes.

One step closer to La Vuelta, many steps closer to each other.

More to come...we have a lot of catching up to do!

Peace Out xoxo