Let me start by saying that not all trainings are created equal. True, most of them are amazing and downright enjoyable, but there are the few that are not so great.
Remember my first time attempting to run 18 miles?
Yeah, not so great.
But while not all trainings are created equal, they are all equally opportunities for growth and lessons learned. And yesterday's training was an opportunity for both.
It started out with the team meeting at a park off of Floating Feather in Eagle. The plan was to ride out through the countryside where there were rolling hills in a large loop for about 30 miles. It was windy, and the clouds threatened rain, but we pushed on, determined to get our mileage in. The first few miles were fairly unexciting. We had a tail wind that was pushing us along nicely and it didn't seem to difficult to keep my pace around 19mph. But after 6 or 7 miles things were starting to feel harder for me. We still had a tailwind, but I was having to work pretty hard to keep up with the pack. Soon I fell far behind, and Coach Brad circled back to ride with me. He told me to pull over so we could check my tires. And it was then, at mile 10 that we discovered my tires were only at 60 psi (they are supposed to be around 110).
No wonder I was beat! I was having to work overtime to just keep my tires going.
So we (Coach Brad really) put air in my tires and I thought all would be well.
And it was.
For about 2 more miles.
We were in the thick of our hills - rolling through Deep Canyon in Star, Idaho and climbing our way to the other side. Coach Daniel rolled up beside me and asked how I was doing. I was not doing well and told him so.
"I'm stronger than this," I said. "But everything hurts. My legs are cramping and I'm mentally over it."
He began asking me what I was drinking (Gatorade and water) and eating (Clif Bar) and how often. We chatted a few minutes about it when he suddenly said, "your front tire is flat. Pull over."
Coach Brad (who is a CHAMP!) showed me how to change my flat. Since it was storming (still windy, and still rainy) he buzzed through it pretty quickly so we could all get going again.
I pulled up next to the team, who were all waiting so patiently for me at the top of the next hill. Being overly excited and joking with them about being ready to ride for real now, I forgot to unclip my foot before stopping and promptly fell over. Yep.
We were off again. With only a few more hills to go I figured I could lick this no problem.
I would have loved it if that were the case.
About 5 miles later, after huffing and puffing, cramping and hurting and falling well behind the team's pace line I discovered another flat front tire.
Coach again replaced the tube in my tire and discovered that we had missed a step when replacing the first one. ALWAYS check the tire for the cause of the flat. While it may be a fluke, or pinched tube, it may also be because you picked up a friend along the way. I happened to have picked up a nasty little goat-head. So while we'll never know for sure, it is most likely that the second tube popped right after replacing the first one, and I had now huffed and puffed for another 5 miles on a flat front tire.
I was so ready to be done.
We (Coach Brad really) replaced the second one and were off again. About 3 miles down the road we caught up to the patiently waiting team and I discovered that I could not unclip my left foot from the bike. I was stuck. Long story short on this one, my clip had come loose and Coach Daniel had to pry it from the bike in order to tighten it back up. Who knows how long it had been loose, but it was causing me to loose efficiency in pedaling while it was.
With two working tires, a fixed shoe, and a bike checked (I had the coaches check my bike just in case something else could have possibly gone wrong) we were ready to ride the last 10 miles back to our cars.
I have never been so happy to see my car.
I know I started off this post by saying that this training was not so great, but I want to retract that statement and clarify. While it wasn't the smoothest of rides, or even the easiest (by far) it was a great training experience. I am so proud of myself for finishing. Believe me, I did not want to. Many times I thought about an exit strategy and how it might work for me to quit. But I didn't. A year ago that would not have been the case. I've grown a lot over the last 14-ish months, and I owe a lot (if not nearly all) of that to Team in Training.
I joked with my team about milking this ride for all that it is worth for donations to the cause. Saying that this ride better earn at least $500 for cancer research. And while that would be awesome (really awesome!) I think this ride earned me much more than that in confidence and determination.
I got this.
No one can stop me, but me.
Distance: 28.66 miles
Max Speed: 27.8 mph
Total Distance on Odometer: 91.8 miles