Just one state away.
The hardest riding... EVA.
Oh whatever, I'm sure you're coming up with every hard place to ride in the country--the world. I know I haven't ridden so many places that I have the authority to say CT is a bitch and a bear to ride more than most places.
However, I'm here to tell you that Connecticut, at least southwestern CT, is a hell of a place to train if you want hill work. Actually, more at Mountain Work.
I was supposed to race in CT this weekend. The Rev 3 Oly. I didn't. That is a post in itself. I'm not that interested in writing about it (it feels yucky to do so) so I will give it only a pararaph:
A few of my key workouts sucked last week--or, I should say, I sucked when trying to execute them. I was tired. And so when it came time to get ready to race, Coach Jen said NO. And for once in my stubborn existence, I listened. First I threw a tantrum, and then I cried, but in the end I said, Okay, I won't race. I know it should've been an easy decision. But it was not. Understand that skipping Rev 3 Oly means that I care enough about CDA not to take any risks to jeopardize the outcome there. I can't look back and say, Oh, maybe if I hadn't raced that Oly....When you attempt to do everything right, you have nothing to fall back on if things don't go right. It is a risk in itself. It is not a risk I take lightly, or with which I sit easy. I'm not sure I have articulated exactly what I am trying to say. I think it may be as simple as saying-- I fear failing--I fear it when I have done everything in my power not to fail.
Okay! Enough on that!
Back to CT.
Holy shit! Is there ANY flat part of southwestern CT? If you live there, do tell....
I rode on Saturday as all my Mainer friends (Ange, of course, and Melissa (Okay, Mel is from MA), Mike, Matt, Stacy, Erin, Mary Lou, Tim, Rob, Ted, Nate, Doug) did their best to chill and get ready to race the 1/2 the next day. After examining an online map, I decided to stay on Rt 67 West as long as possible, and then turn around and come Rt 67 East home. There would be no turns for me except to follow 67. As I have covered on numerous occasions, getting lost is always a just around the corner reality for me, so I needed to make my journey as difficult to fuck up as possible.
Little did I know, route 67 pretty much went up a mountain.
Below are a few cows. I took this because I love this kind of cow--the kind who have those long bangs that go over their eyes.
Below: I didn't take this shot, but this is the kind of cow I'm talking about: How can he see? He is hilarious!
It was hot and humid while I rode, and I was just a sweaty mess by the time I got back. Despite my hard effort I had only averaged 14.5 mph!! Holy Moly! It was at this point that I began to realize that my friends racing the half were in for some fun...I am quite slow when I train, but ummmm. Not that slow.
I then went on a very hot run during which I fantasized about submerging my body into a lake full of ice. I was parched, salty, and so sick of hills. Even listening to Lady Gaga didn't help my mood and my desire to get back.
Of course when I got back to the hotel room I wanted to shower Ange with my stories of sweat and mountains and incredibly slow speed. I did, but I modified a bit. During the ride I couldn't stop thinking about how hard that freaking half was going to be. I was honestly concerned. I'm not sure anyone, save my friend Mike who had actually ridden the course a few weeks prior, knew how bad it might be--especially if the heat and humidity didn't lessen by the next day. I was cooked, and I had only ridden 45 miles easy and done 5 short miles off the bike.
The next morning Ange got up at the crack of dawn to get ready to race. Her nervous energy is second to NONE. She muttered to herself and scurried frenetically, all the while trying to be quiet so I could sleep. Finally I was like, Just turn on the light! Who cares! Please! haha! Soon she gave me a nervous hug goodbye, and I told her I'd see her at the waterfront. It was funny for me to think how we had reversed roles. Just a few weeks back it was me getting ready, my nerves close to panic as Ange lay in bed and as I prepared for FL 70.3. Your turn, Ange! Next year I need to make sure we get back on the same racing schedule.
Hours later I was standing with my friend Nat as we watched Ange's and Melissa's wave (and Mary Lou's--who he was there to see) go off.
It was all very exciting. I never get to watch a triathlon unfold since I am always competing.
But then... sigh.... everyone was on the bike. I decided to go for a swim myself. I swam across the lake and back, and then I got out and watched the pros come in off the bike with Mark (Ange's husband) and her boys.
Here are Ange's boys acting super good. I took the picture so Mom could see how angelic they are when she is racing:
The highlight of this period of time was watching Craig Alexander get off the bike and then run right by me. I tried to bat my eyelashes and look hot, but he just ran past, oblivious to my attention. Ah well.... (Craig would go on to win, of course...)
Then the age groupers started to come in. Despite the fact that Ange's wave was the last to go off, she was still one of the first female age groupers out of the water and also one of the very first off the bike.
When she ran past us, though, I knew that I hadn't been wrong to be concerned about the course and how they would fare.
This is Ange's WHAT THE FUCK!!!! expression as she went out on the run course.
Oh yes... I think the picture says it all, don't you?
I preceded to watch the rest of my friends get out on the run course. With the exception of Mike, who again, had ridden the course previously, the expressions were very similar to Ange's.
Before I knew it it was time for the leaders to come in. I missed the win by Craig. (oh sad day...) and of Miranda Carfrae, but I watched a few pros come in and then the top male age groupers. You could tell from body language alone that it was NOT an easy day for anyone out there. The air was thick with humidity, and when in the sun you just ached to move to shade.
Eventually we watched our friends run in... Doug, Nate, and then Mike (who totally stayed cool and had a phenomenal race) and Rob and Tim.. and then Ange. Oh boy could you tell she was ready for that race to end.
We learned that Mary Lou had crashed on the course, and this was horrible horrible news. She had slid on a wet corner and had been brought to the hospital with a concussion and a broken collarbone. Everyone else seemed to survive well enough (though Tim did spend some time in the med tent.) We watched everyone else come in--Stacy and Erin and Mel. The report was universally agreed upon: the race had been nothing less than brutal.
Ange was 1st age group and 8th or 9th amateur--even though her finishing time was a good half hour+ off what she normally does.
It was an epic day!
Despite everyone's gruesome tales of the course I was still sad I hadn't raced, too. I do hate to feel on the sidelines. Center stage is more a favorite place of mine...
It did give me some power to watch all of my incredibly tough friends, though. There was some ENDURING to be had at that race. I need to take that with me, and use it on the marathon at CDA.
I have a new friend.
It's an SRM delivered from Maine via my BFF. (cough. snicker) Thanks BFF. Thank you thank you thank you.