Monday, August 3, 2009

Choose Your Training Partners Well...

I have trained for races alone and with others. It is different to train for a race alone than with a partner or two. I prefer multiples. Training in groups prevents long drawn out conversations with myself. If I am lost, I have someone to be lost with and if I hit my wall, someone else can tell me what my "F-U face" really looks like (I hear it is NOT pretty!). The most valuable lesson you can learn is to choose your training partners well. It is no different than placing a personal ad (of which I have not done....yet)....

Over zealous cyclist seeks supportive female (or male) partners to share pain, torture, scrapes, bruises, and road side urination with. No competition, no stagnation, and no frowning allowed. Be prepared to share your feelings, your laughter and snorting with others. Must love Amish farms selling sweets and be prepared to save all wildlife. Self-centered attitudes are NOT allowed or tolerated.

For the Old Kentucky Home Tour, I chose and ex-EMT and a very experienced athlete to complete my first century with. This was a WISE choice. First, the EMT is ready at any moment to spring back into her days of asking basic questions in a loud tone while waving her finger back and forth to check you for subdural hematoma. Should I find myself careening into a rock filled ditch, falling over at a stop sign, or hitting a speed bump and lunging myself forward, I know I am in good hands. Meanwhile the SUPER experienced athlete makes even the largest, steepest and angriest of hills look easy and effortless. I gasp, huff, and engage in rhythmic breathing much like Lamaze all the while hearing her say, "you got it sister," "you can rock this,". Other additional people on the rides have included friends who cycle for fun and not for the masochists century ride but now find themselves pushing their limits and completing their longest rides ever on Saturday mornings/ afternoons.

Our longest ride of 54.5 miles was completed on Saturday. The ride included a menagerie of adventures including:

An elderly gentleman crashing his cruiser bike and incurring a painful, bloody abrasion. All of us ladies being social workers attempted to escort the gentleman home but we were no match for the farmers market which distracted him from his bleeding. (I was thankful that a friend Pat was not on the he has had to witness other mammal rescues).

An outburst of childlike behavior as we had to "turn right on Penile Road"...(what did you say? Yes, you heard correct). Three women had to stop for photo opps, continual laughter and jokes no greater than a sixth grade level. That lasted for MILES.

The continual search for "just the right spot" to empty a bladder or two filled with at minimum (2) water bottles each. A well placed ditch doubled as an appropriate loo...and shyness was overcome for one rider as the EMT explained to my friend, "Grow a pair and pee..." She overcame her "ditch urination procrastination" with minimal effort.

A closed bridge did NOT stop three ladies who crossed a creek in cycling shoes, spandex, and helmets handing each bike over to another rider. A recumbent cyclist seemed most impressed that we paid NO attention to the DETOUR sign. We made our OWN detour.

A run in with "Sugar Baby", and "Sophia", two pooches at a quaint home occupied by a generous woman who shared her tap water and her lack of direction with us. (The road we sought was less than a mile from her home)

Lactic acid burn which caused us to discuss our own self-image issues, our future lives, the good, the bad, the ugly, our possible limitations on a 50+ mile ride, and food choices post ride.

A nearly flat back tire was QUICKLY assessed and filled with a CO2 cartridge of which we had NO idea how to use. We mated the two pieces together until a frosted cold came over our hands shooting a small white cloud into the air. The tire went from a wet noodle to rock hard in seconds, preventing any rescue calls 30-miles from home.

The last five miles of the ride were a mental game. I had to keep the legs moving, spinning, and stop lights did not help. I groaned, I grunted, I considered napping on my handlebars. Then, I was home, on the couch, freshly showered, filled with waffle fries, memories, and exhaustion. I am thankful for my training partners. They are the types of ladies you would want in the delivery room with you. Somehow, they would make it better and full of adventure and I would not have to pee in a ditch.

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