Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I am a lucky guy

S - twice
B - four or five times
R - four or five times

Time - 18ish hours

I'm approximating my training because I don't feel like opening Athleticore because it's being frustrating lately.  It's sort of amusing that going to a training camp ends up being a relatively low volume week for me.  I didn't run even close to as much as I've become accustomed to, I had a good bike ride or two and one very good track session but not a whole lot of "other" running, and a couple of very good swims.

My week began with a trip out west to California.  I left Charlotte at around 10am for the 2.5-3hr drive to Raleigh Durham International for my Southwest flight (to save on the bike check) at 3pm (I like to be early for flying).  The drive went smoothly and I arrived at the airport only to discover that my flight had been pushed back for an hour, meaning I'd miss my connection in Nashville.  The ticket agent said she had been "able" to get me on a flight that would "allow" me to arrive at LAX around 11pm.  That's great, except I'd still have a two hour drive to Santa Barbara.  Not awesome! I boarded the flight annoyed and frustrated but arrived in Nashville to discover they had held the flight for the 3-4 passengers on my flight (including myself) to make the connection! Now that was awesome and it totally made my day to that point (obviously).  The rest of my travels went well; I arrived in LAX along with both of my bags, picked up my rental car and drove to SB to arrive to a RIDICULOUSLY gorgeous house rented for the week around 10pm.  I was greeted by my favorite girl named Moose in the whole wide world and went in to meet everyone there for the FFT - PD training camp (that was still awake after a long day in the saddle).  Still up was Jay McCurdy (Rev3 series amateur winner past two seasons, also beat me at NOLA last year), Colin Riley (top 3 at BOUS and other big olympic races, beat me at BOUS last year...sensing a trend? haha), Alex McD (former pro triathlete whose legs were both broken by a truck's impact last year and is currently pursuing road cycling with a great deal of success), and probably more but I'm forgetting. Sleep came quickly after a long day.

Woke up in the morning with the joy of learning that the group would be doing a double brick workout today (warm up on bike, 20k tempo - 2k race pace run - 10k tempo - 4k race pace).  Since I generally find bricks to be disagreeable with my disposition I decided to just ride with them and not run.  It was a tough workout and everyone was riding really hard and fast.  I just kind of did my own thing but had a good time.  How could I not; I was in the prettiest place ever riding through one of its most expensive neighborhoods!! (Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara CA, look it up).  Later in the day everyone swam, but I don't remember specifics.

On Wednesday we did what is probably my favoite loop that I've yet done in Santa Barbara.  The ride starts downtown and heads north over the mountains and into Solvang (where the Tour of California's TT used to take place), which is a really cool little town (/tourist trap) and then back south along the coastline via the 101.  All in all it ended up being a hair over 80 miles and a great day for riding.  I tried to ride as much as possible with Moose, both to accumulate massive brownie points and because I generally prefer enjoying myself in gorgeous locales vs. riding hard and stressing about my watts.

Unfortunately, Moose was bricking 20 minutes off the bike and I couldn't allow myself to get chicked so I suffered through a short run with her.  Later in the day everyone headed to Prevail Conditioning to go over a lot of self-massage techniques and corrective exercises.

The next day started with a long swim, home for eating and napping, then a track workout preceded by some form drills.  It was probably the best I've run in a long time, due in no small part to being with other people for the majority of the 6x1k repeats.  It's certainly the fastest I've run in training for a while.  I've found that I tend to perform in races at a level I've been heretofore unable to match in training.  Which makes sense I suppose, since I'm usually somewhat tapered for races.  Or at least more fresh than my everyday training. More importantly, Thursday also brought with it a viewing of the Hunger Games.  Moose and I sat behind her parents so it felt very much like a high school date! Pretty awesome.

The next day brought with it another ascent of Gibraltar on an absolutely stunning day; albeit only above 1000' or so.  It was a bit overcast and cloudy at the start but at a certain point we rode through the clouds and into glorious sunshine.  It. was. awesome.  I have some great videos of the descent but it's going to take a while to assemble them into anything remotely watchable (not that that has ever stopped me before...).  Later on everyone went to swim (very short) and I deemed it not worth getting cold for and watched/videoed on deck.

Saturday morning everyone else raced the sprint while Alex and I watched and cheered.  My cheering skills are admittedly terrible so I feel it necessary to train as much as possible and get better.  If that means I have to skip a sprint race in 55 degree water with 60 degree air temps, so be it.  I'll manage... Later in the day we all went for a ride and that ride deserves a paragraph unto itself.

We started late in the afternoon and although the forecast had - earlier in the day - called for rain most of the afternoon, it had until that point held off and the forecast updated to only a 10% chance of rain.  Most of us headed out - it was slightly chilly - with the intention of doing Gibraltar again (~2.5hr ride).  Moose and I decided to turn around about 5 minutes into the climb and do something slightly less taxing.  So we headed off to do our own thing and were really just cruising around on some of her favorite roads.  At a certain point, maybe an hour+ in to the ride she said "why don't we go to do a Gub loop?" I said "sure, whatever you want," which would prove to be a faithful moment.  This would end up adding on about an hour to the ride.  It had been drizzling a bit on and off but nothing that would keep us wet for any period of time.  The temperature kept hovering around to just under 60 degrees and as of yet there were no warning signs.  About 1.5hrs into the ride, however, it started to actually rain.  Not too hard, not too soft, but more a Goldilocks kind of amount.  Juuuust right.  By just right I really mean terrible, as we were not a bit soaked, both from the rain itself and from the standing water on the road.  California roads have terrible drainage, which causes them to have terrible roads in general... At about 2 hours into the ride I started to officially get worried.  There was only one way back to the house and I consistently underestimated how long it would take us to get there.  I was noticeably cold at this point.  As the ride progressed, I got colder and colder and wetter and wetter, at which point I stopped talking because I was afraid of what I would say.  At 2.5 hours I was constantly shivering and had decided I was the most miserable I'd ever been on my bicycle.  Everytime we stopped I looked someone other than at Moose as I didn't want her to see the look on my face.  The first time we had to stop I just told her, "You may want to ask me a question or something, my answer is just going to be 'I don't wanna talk about it.''' Just being blunt! Eventually we made it back to the house in just over 3 hours of ride-time and immediately jumped into the hot tub.  The problem was our hands and feet couldn't handle the heat so we were butt first with hands and feet sticking up out of the water; it looked pretty ridiculous but we did not care.  Warmth is amazing.  This was one of those rides where the telling of it will get more ridiculous each time and that I'll always say "well this isn't going as poorly as THAT ride!"

Anyway, Saturday ended with more food and the packing of most of the athletes.  We had to leave the house by Sunday at 10am and at that point it was just myself, Moose and Colin.  We packed up all our gear in two cars and headed into Goleta to Moose's apartment where we'd all spend the night.  Colin and I went for a 10mile run along the cliffs and through campus before returning to head out on a 2+ hour hike into the mountains.  It's rare that I let myself do "fun" stuff and I think it's really important to try and enjoy where you are as much as possible and forget about how sore it's going to make you (although it hasn't been too bad).  Sunday night Moose and I went out for dinner and that was that.  The end of the week.  The next morning I woke up and drove to LAX to fly home, leaving behind one life for another.

Needless to say, the trip was fantastic.  Santa Barbara is gorgeous and to spend a week there with some of the best triathletes in the country (if you haven't looked into who comprises the FFT-PD team, you should, because it's impressive) is truly a gift.  While I didn't get in quite as much training as I would have liked it's a-OK, because it's a longggg year.

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