Thursday, March 13, 2014

LPC Triathlon Camp - Day 5: Conquering Sugarloaf!

A little nippy this morning when I got up...a whole 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Given our first workout was an outdoor swim in the Lazy River...I was a bit concerned.

But the water temperature was 83 degrees - so it was actually much nicer to be in the water and moving than being outside of the water! So no complaints from me.

We did some dynamic stretching before we jumped in, which was great as a warm-up - but I was really glad to dive in afterwards!

During the pool workout, we did a ton. Learned several more drills (dog paddle - which is basically front crawl without bringing your hands out of the water so you can really work on the catch part of the stroke, front sculling, and mid-sculling.) Liked seeing these since I've been having trouble figuring them out from videos. Much better to see and get tips in person.

We also did several loops of the river - once easy, and twice faster paced. Got a chance to work on drafting and sighting, not to mention more dolphin diving.

After the swim and the cool down, most of us enjoyed the hot Jacuzzi.

Got a little break after the swim - enough time to get home and make a few eggs before getting ready for the bike.

Sugarloaf is probably the most anticipated ride of the week - similar to how the Orange Grove Trail run is the most anticipated run (that's tomorrow!). The ride is a very hilly 40k that culminates at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain (I don't know if it's really high enough to be called a mountain - but trust me, it feels like one when riding up it!).

Even with my ability to change my gears properly, this was a challenging ride. But I did much better than I did last year. While it was exhausting - I wasn't dying at the end (although I didn't want to see another hill - that's for sure) which made me happy. I even had a chance to notice some of the scenery...which I didn't much get to do last year since I was so focused on moving forward and not crashing.

Truth be told, I never felt crazy nervous during this bike ride - well, except for a couple of really busy intersections and some riding on a cobblestone path that was kind of cruddy. I did have one little incident involving starting on a sandy patch (I tipped over, but caught myself) - but as incidents go - I don't think it really counts...not like when I banged my head on a cupboard door over lunch so hard I needed to put ice on it.

I was definitely pretty slow on the ascent up Sugarloaf - but not so slow I couldn't generally keep up with the group. I tended to pass a couple of people on the uphill (and a few while climbing Sugarloaf) - but then they all passed me on all the down hills since I don't like going too fast, especially in areas I don't know very well. I think I topped out at 45km an hour on down hills where some folks probably did twice that! ::laugh:: But it all worked out - and our group was fantastic.

Here we all our at the top of Sugarloaf!


And here I am! So glad to have made it to the top for the second year in a row! Especially since we had a pretty bad headwind for much of the way!

The 30k ride back from Sugarloaf was a bit easier than the route we used to get there - and it included a couple of stops...including one at a convenience store where Coach James turned up with some pizza. Had a good half a slice which tasted wonderful and powered me through the ride back.
This ride started and ended at an Irish I bet you can imagine where we ended off once we made it back. After 72.71k (my longest bike by half a kilometer!) guessed it: at the pub.

A great day overall. The weather warmed up nicely so it turned out to be a great day for a long ride.

Lessons learned:
  1. It is so much more fun to tackle hard sessions with other people. 4 of the 5 of our House of Secrets campers (Mary, Stacy, Kelly and I in the picture above) were in the same group riding together today - and we encouraged each other the entire way. We also had Coach James and Coach Nissim keeping us out of trouble and helping motivate us along.
  2. Swimming outside when it's cold out is actually quite fun if the water is warm!
  3. An ice cold beer is a good reward after a great day.

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