"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." Anne Bradstreet
We usually don't have much of a winter, but this year, we have. And I'm tired of it. The spring will definitely be very pleasant this year. The very little bit of spring we have. Because I know it won't be long until I'm complaining about the heat. But for now, I'm complaining about the cold. I don't know how you northerners do it.
Around Christmas and New Year, I did several outdoor runs in temps of high 20s or low 30s. I don't like it, but I can handle it. I just bundle up and go and pretty soon my body heat takes over and I'm not so cold anymore. It's a different story on the bike.
I will once again be fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as part of the Team in Training Cycle Team. I'm doing a local ride this year since my main focus is Ironman Florida. The season kicked off Thursday night and the first practice was Saturday. For the new folks, it was an information session, but for the alumni, it was time to get back on the bikes outside.
I've been riding a lot on the trainer lately so I was excited to get outside and ride. Do I take the road bike or the tri bike? How far did I think I could go with the group? Was I ready for the hills? None of that really mattered much when I saw the temperature forecast for Saturday morning - high 20s or low 30s with winds of 14mph. Yikes!
Because of the winds and because of the roads we would be riding on, I felt it was best for me to take the road bike. The tri bike is lighter and in high winds I sometimes get thrown around a bit. We would be riding on the shoulder of a major road and I didn't want to risk it. Besides, on my tri bike I can't tuck in behind the big guys and draft like I can on the road bike.
Saturday morning I woke up and started layering the clothes. Underarmour - check. Fleece vest - check. Windbreaker - check. Gloves - check. Something to cover the ears - check. I drove to our meeting place to find out that only 5 other people brought their bikes and were prepared to ride. And I was the only female. Oh well. If I didn't ride now, I knew I wouldn't get a ride in and I had made the effort so I figured I'd see what I could do. One of the guys ended up staying behind to help with the clinic, so there were only 5 of us to ride. Three of the guys are actually training for a ride called the Triple Bypass in July and were planning on doing a longer ride. I didn't think I was ready for that yet. Luckily the one other guy said he would turn around early with me.
When we started out my legs had that "this isn't the trainer" feel. And when we hit some of the first hills they were asking me "what are we doing?" It took a little while to get in my rythym. When we hit the major road (the one that is very hilly), I tried to get behing the big guy so I could draft and he would block the wind. I did everything I could to stay on his wheel. I did for a while but lost him on a downhill and couldn't catch back up on the next hill. At that point I felt like giving up and turning back. But I kept thinking to myself, "You have an Ironman to train for and there is no giving up on race day. No matter what. You can do this." I also kept repeating a phrase that those of you from beginnertriathlete are probably very familiar with - HTFU.
We regrouped at the top of a hill. One of the guys and I decided on a place to turnaround and the three others decided on their route as well. Our turnaround spot wasn't much further and I was very happy when we got there. Turning around meant I was on my way back to warmth and it also meant the wind was now mostly at our back. It's amazing the difference the wind makes not only in the effort you have to put forth, but in the way the temperature feels. With the wind at our back I was still cold, but not shivering like I had been. I knew I could make it back.
All in all I ended up with just over 20 miles. I would have liked to gotten in more, but it will come. The days are starting to stay light just a little bit longer and hopefully I'll get some warmer days in the near future where I can get out in the afternoon and get in an outdoor ride. It's nice to have the trainer and the treadmill, but I much prefer to do my workouts outside when I can. Yep. I'm ready for the spring.