Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Three bros and a . . .

. . . awesome chick named Jenny.

Well I had big plans for the July 4th holiday weekend. Unfortunately those plans were derailed slightly due to a few obligations at work. And by obligations I mean I was called to appear as an expert witness in a court case that has been dragging out since early 2012. So rather than spend 4 glorious days in the foothills of northern Georgia on a sweet traincation, I stayed in Charlotte and made lemonade out of lemons. 

July 4th:
I took advantage of the holiday to grab a long ride. James was heading north to the Davidson area for a century ride. I have not had the chance to ride up in that area so I begged him to let me tag along. Lucky for me he was feeling generous. Not so lucky for me, I arrived to the ride with a dead Garmin. Without even a traditional watch as back up I knew the 100 miler I was about to endure would be interesting. To be honest, a workout without collecting any data was quite liberating and refreshing. I was actually kinda excited about the opportunity but after my blow up in Brushy last weekend I was a tad nervous about timing my nutrition right (ie pre- leg cramps and diva moments). Ultimately I consumed more than enough to get by for a 5 hour ride enjoying the company and countryside (even though it rained for the first two hours). 

Mid-ride post-showers selfie
July 5th:
Friday morning I got up to swim like any other week day. I found the MCAC a bit more quiet than it usual so without a workout and someone to keep me honest I did quite a bit of dilly-dallying before hopping in the cool-to-cold water. After a decent warm up I pounded out what would best be described as a "technique swim" where I focused more on swimming correctly than I did on swimming fast.  I spent most of my swim in awe of the woman in the lane next to me. She is what I would describe as a "fitness swimmer." To me, a "fitness swimmer" is someone who maybe didn't grow up swimming, swims for the exercise benefits, and doesn't particularly appear all that interested in competitions of any kind. I am not sure if any or all of these characteristics apply to this woman but she was working it! Working it like no swimmer I have seen in the pool recently. She pulled, she kicked, she did sprint 50s, and she even busted into several laps of butterfly. It was awesome! I loved watching her get after it. Unfortunately I had to head out to get to work but I left the pool with a huge smile on my face and feeling more inspired than I had all week. 

Somewhere in Georgia, obviously
July 6th:
With little else to do I decided to trek to Georgia anyway for rest of the weekend. HaycraftGWTD, 404 (aka The Honey Badger), and Chuck Norris were planning to ride the Six Gaps route in Dahlonega, GA and I wanted in on that action. I have heard a lot of great things about the Six Gap Century and frankly I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I guess I should have checked out the elevation profile prior to committing to the ride. When it was handed to me Saturday morning my jaw dropped. I tried to convince myself the climbs only looked hard because the profile was not as stretched out as it should be (scale is everything) . . . wishful thinking on my part.

In an effort to delay the inevitable I went for a short run with Chuck Norris and then treated myself to some fine breakfast vittles prepared by Mama Chuck Norris. It was close to noon before we were on our bikes. It had been a rare dry day so far but less than 10 minutes into the ride it started to rain; it would rain off and on for us for the next six hours. The cooler temperatures were welcome but the humidity and damp roads were not. Regardless of the weather, the four of us were committed to this ride and plugged along at various intensities. I tried to be conservative with my efforts but each climb took almost everything I had just to keep the ol' legs moving. People swoooooon over Mt. Mitchell and BSG but this is easily the hardest course I have ever done and can ever imagine doing. I have the deepest respect for Chuck Norris who rode a similar route as a part of Ironman Lanzarote, no big deal for the guy who crushes pavement. The route itself is scenic and I am amazed an area so beautiful is located so close to the city of Atlanta. It must be a popular training destination because we ran into several triathletes from Dynamo Multisport about halfway through the ride. After some blog stalking I learned Dynamo Multisport has an annual training camp that starts with the Peachtree Road Race every year (July 4th). Unfortunately I was not able to come up with many details about the camp but it looked like they had a good group of triathletes in attendance (maybe a couple of pros too!). It took us about 6 hours to finish the 105 mile ride so it was relatively late by the time we returned to the house. We were left with little more to do than strap on a feed sack and hunker down to watch 300 with our full bellies and tired legs!

The bros
(Pink does not appear in the dress code)
A little too much riding in the rain