James and I headed up to Lake Norman for the Start2Finish 2 mile open water swim. Both of us were contemplating swimming the 800m option as a warm up but once we got there we decided it was a bad idea. The water temperature was recorded at 69 degrees and the air temperature was about 15 degrees cooler. The idea one could "warm up" was laughable. In fact it never even occurred to me to bring a wetsuit to the swim. The swim was not sanctioned by any governing body so I could swim in whatever I wanted. I guess my priorities were a little off because instead of packing something sensible like a wetsuit I packed several different swim suits because I could not decide what color I wanted to wear. Priorities.
The swim itself was rather uneventful. When the starting horn sounded we all took off. I was a little surprised by the initial aggression of the swimmers given this swim was not technically a race but I tried to stay calm allowing my body to warm up a bit before increasing my speed. I was settled into my warm up when I took a breath and found James starring at me right in the eye. I put my head down and took another breath. Aack! There it is again. So freakin' creepy.
|The Eye of Haycraft|
After the swim I grabbed some breakfast and a quick nap before heading out for a 50+ mile spin through the outskirts of Charlotte. It had turned into a beautiful day and I was simply happy to be out enjoying it. When I got home I let the cats out to enjoy some sunshine while I brewed up some summer-inspired kombucha.
|Nectarine, Honey Ginger, and Strawberry|
Saturday of course was just a little pre-game action for the weekend's main event. I met up with 9 other local triathletes just west of Morganton, NC. We spent the rest of the day knocking out 108 miles and tackling 11,000 ft of climbing. The route begins at a church just west of Morganton and at the bottom of 181 so we didn't have long to acclimate before we were slapped with the longest climb of the day. Luckily the grade wasn't too bad and we just had to grind it out. We snaked through the Pisgah National forest towards the entrance of Grandfather Mountain before hitting the second big climb of the day on Hickory Nut Gap. Of course these two climbs were just the appetizer to what I consider the ne plus ultra of the route, Beech Mountain. Two years ago I climbed Beech with Johnny Scoots. At the time the climb came at the end of a 110 mile ride. The temperature had suddenly dropped and when we reached the top it started to pour. It was so horribly awesome I decided to make an annual trip to memorialize the epicness of that first climb.
|Third annual assault on Beech Mountain|
|Linn Cove Viaduct|
|Mountain Loop Elevation Profile|
I wanted to sleep in Monday. The idea sounds soooooo nice. Laying in bed, coffee, breakfast, a kitty or 3 . . . perfection. Of course I knew that would not happen since my body no longer remembers how to stay asleep so felt very content to wake up alarmless at the reasonable hour of 6 AM. I met with the usual suspects at the MCAC where someone somewhere came up with the idea for the following little swim set:
10x 25 all out freestyle with 10-25 push ups after each 25 on :55It was fun, hard, and ridiculously pathetic on my part. Each round I was able to make 3 push ups before it started to burn. The rest interval got shorter and shorter with each repeat but I made all rounds (even the last round I did not think we had to do). We filled the rest of our workout with the normal swimming stuff but push ups are a gift that keeps on giving. Even today. As I type this. With each little lift of my finger/hand/arm. No bueno.
|The usual suspects or blueseventy models?|
My holiday weekend came to a close with a little jog around the neighborhood and a chance to relax a bit at a cook out hosted by the ever generous Caamano Clan. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to train in this amazing place and with so many talented and wonderful athletes.
Man is a special being, and if left to himself, in an isolated condition, would be one of the weakest creatures; but associated with his kind, he works wonders.