It took every thing I had to make it to Florida this year to race these continental cups. It was so important for me to toe the start line at these events. Not only to measure how training was going, but also to more forward and push away from all that was not good in my winter.
I landed in Orlando and drove to near by Clermont to Shana and Darrell Stott’s home. Fortune shined on me with this homestay, since I quickly discovered my bike frame was broken on the airplane ride out. I built the Blue up and was cleaning all the grease marks off. When I got my to the rear chain side seat stay I found crack that went straight through the frame. I was really bummed and just wanted to go home at that point, but the Stotts rallied and started networking to find me a bike while I went back to the airport to file the claim. With the help of Brett Shaefer at South lake Bike and Tri and Sara Mclarty I got a frame to borrow for the week. It was a really nice Litespeed that we put as much of my bike on as possible. I went from hating all humanity Thursday night, to having full faith in people restored. I was so luck to have a home stay and a few connections to the area.
On to race day. I prepped as well as I could, but I just couldn’t charge the swim hard enough and missed all the bike packs. I did manage to not get lapped out, and I finished my first professional draft legal race. Provided I had been through and that training was really spotty until January, I was happy just to finish.
From Clermont, I ventured west and then south on the Florida Peninsula to Sanibel Island. I have family on this island that were willing to host me for the 5-6 days in between races. It was so wonderful to catch up with everyone and to find myself on an island in the Caribbean.
The focus this week was recovering quickly and keeping what I had sharp. Sanibel was the perfect place for this. The island was just big enough for my rides, there was a gym and pool down the street. Plus the running wasn’t too bad. It would be a good place to escape for some winter training. And it turns out I will be back in December for a family wedding. So that will probably happen.
Despite being around family, I did get a little mournful a few days thinking of Bill. I am definitely noticing the effects of this loss in life and in training. I know this is a normal process, but still very hard to realize what is happening at moments when mourning effects training. Suddenly there will be a day where I can’t dig for hard workout or I don’t want to train. I think to myself “come on you lazy fool, everyone is getting faster than you.” But then I have to realize, I just need that time to heal.
I bit the bullet and bought a nice hotel room near the venue for convenience this last weekend. The race on Saturday went the same as the week before. And there was just not too much digging or fighting I could muster. I am still happy with my finish and managed to improve my swim a bit. Sunday morning I watched the team relays, which was a female/male/female/male team that each raced a 325m swim/6.5k bike/2k run. This race was also Alan Webb’s debut in ITU and triathlon. After they finished and I congratulated everyone, I went straight to the airport for my flight home.
I glad I made it to these races, but I know I have better performances in me. I also know that I have to put in several months of good, healthy consistent training to get back to top notch shape. I also need to find some confidence, and ITU racing is not the place to be looking for that. I am trying to bridge a gap that is too big, and I keep getting beaten down. My coach and I have decided to look toward the Non Draft legal scene this year in hopes of better finishes, gains in the swimming, and earning some confidence back. Besides, I don't have a road bike anymore. Time to get back on the TT bike.