Getting ready for (beach to) Battle(ship)!

It’s hard to believe there’s only a few more days until the end of the season. Once again I am home-staying it in Wilmington and I’m really looking forward to meeting Dawson’s parents in person!

dawsons

Okay so I’m not staying at Dawson’s, but oh well. That would probably be a bit distracting before the race anyway!

If you are in the area for the race, you should check out the Breakfast with the Pros, hosted by BASE Performance. In addition to being able to mingle with and ask the pros you’ll be racing with on Saturday anything, you can check out some of the BASE products. I began using them after they saved me in IM Boulder and I haven’t regretted it!

If you aren’t in Wilmington this weekend, you can follow along with the race here. It is a bit of a hometown battle of the Marylanders with Suzy Serpico racing as well on the ladies side, so it should be a fun day! Suzy and I have raced together since our age group days so it will be really fun to finally face her as a professional. And, in NC you can always count on plenty of amateur talent to keep things interesting too.

Follow along on twitter as well with #SMASHB2B! Rumor is that the currents are flowing on the swim so perhaps this will finally be my sub-60 🙂

Winding Down!

Funny how “winding down” for the last race for the season actually means anything but winding down. Training is still in full swing here, I promise!! I finally am starting to feel like my old “sea level” self again. I had truly forgotten what sore muscles felt like living at 9k feet and unable to push myself to that point day after day. This training block has reminded me the importance of patience once again, as week 1 was near disaster! But with my head down, I’ve managed to claw my way out of it and slowly but surely my old form (and confidence!) is returning. Even more importantly, my mental edge is back. For a few weeks I was lacking even the mental ability to push through the hard workouts when things were going south, and quite honestly that had me more worried than not being able to physically hit the numbers I used to. I’ve found my edge again and that has me pretty darn happy — albeit tired — these days!!

When I thought about my race options for the end of the season I had a few ideas…..BRASIL always sounds like a fun trip! ….Then I looked up the plane tickets. Nevermind. So I started to think about what else I liked. Well, I like beaches.

beach

…And I LOVE electronic Battleship.

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One would have thought that would get me nowhere but alas, Beach2Battleship came to mind! A silly-fast course, drivable, decent prize money….yep things were lining up! I’m very excited to say I’m headed to Wilmington in a few weeks to give this one a shot.

Wait – there’s more! Beach2Battleship is hosting an “Ask the Pros!” segment on their Facebook page next Monday night (10/6/14) from 7:30 – 8:30 pm! Come post a question for me or fellow pro and friend, Jeremy Howard to answer. I’ll warn you though these days 8:30 is wandering mightily close to my bedtime, so my answers may get a little loopy 🙂

beach2battle

 

SavageMan 70.0

Sender: Hillary

Subject: Savageman

Email: maybe we should send you up there to win some $$?

The email came in as I had been in the car for 23 hours of driving over 3 days from Frisco back to Virginia. I think I must have been in some sort of happy delirium to be back in the Blue Ridge Mountains because I actually entertained the thought. Sure – it was only 4 days away. And, I’m pretty sure that 24 hours of sitting in a car is a less than ideal pre-race week. But…..there’s some good money on the line. And I’ve always wanted to do the race – why not now? Besides, it can’t be any worse than the workouts I’d have on tap anyway, right?!

My response: Are you sure I’m fit? I just spent 2 weeks “recovering” at altitude. I feel huge and slow.

Hillary: Yes, you are fit!!!!!

After a little more back and forth I confirmed I could still enter, and it was done. In the process I even found a homestay with the infamous and race-creator, Kyle Yost! All signs that things were aligning and the race was meant to be, right?

So I did what everyone wants to do after an almost cross country road trip and hopped back in the car a few days later to head to Western Maryland. The fact that you can actually check in the morning of the race was a nice stress reliever too – no rush at all to get up there, even though I did end up checking in Saturday night. The Yosts’s were super awesome and as is the house tradition at their cabin, had my picture on the door to my room! With an 8:30 am race start, I was even able to get a full night of sleep before the race. How civilized!!

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Race morning was chilly!! I believe it was about 42-45 degrees as we swam, with the water temp at 66. This meant a fog was raising over the water, making the buoys quite hard to sight for. And since I managed to swim like a brick, I wasn’t able to follow any feet either! I lost quite a bit of time with all of this – definitely room for improvement there. But, I was reassured that I was still in the race a bit because as I entered transition I saw the 2nd place girl exiting. I quickly threw on some clothes – this was actually the first race where it’s ever been cold enough for me to actually put something else on. Both socks and my SMASH vest went on, and I was off on the bike!

If you haven’t heard anything about the SavageMan bike, you need you google and youtube it now! It’s a heck of a ride. In the beginning, you descend for about 18 miles. About 5-6 miles in you hit the first tricky descent. Having ridden this course (twice!) with Leslie last year, plus all the pre-race briefings explaining the dangers, I knew to expect it. I was on a tri bike and always figure better safe than sorry. Just prior to the descent, another racer (male) came flying by me. In his aero bars, hammering away. Typically, I’d use this guy to help push my own pace a bit as I got my legs under me. But, given we just passed a sign that said “Do Not Use Aero Bars!!”, I let him go.

About a minute later I came to the first sharp turn, and I saw this rider’s green trek laying sideways in the road. I didn’t see the athlete anywhere. My own momentum had me going passed, and suddenly my brain caught up to me. He crashed. I quickly stopped and pulled a tight turn and begin to yell for him. I didn’t hear any response. Quite honestly, I began to panic and was yelling nonsense as I pedaled towards the bike, looking over the ditches on the side of the road as I went up. Three riders came down towards me, not in the race. They quickly put together what was happening and asked me where he was. I didn’t see him go down, I explained, I haven’t heard him yell back to me either. The one guy spotted him in the ditch up above where I was, and he flew off his bike and into the ditch, pulling his gloves off. Found him. The other woman with me looked at me and assured me they had him and there was nothing I could do, I should go. (Note: While severely injured, he is going to heal up, thank goodness!)

That was not quite the way I wanted to start the ride! I was more shaken up than I thought I would be and couldn’t quite get the image of the green trek in the road out of my mind. Needless to say, I didn’t take any chances with the remaining tricky descents.

Soon enough, though, I entered Westernport where there was one thing waiting to take my mind off of that: The Westernport Wall. Made up of about 4 blocks, it is hands down the hardest climb I’ve encountered in a race. Probably is the hardest climb in a race, period. Long story short……..I didn’t make it. Luckily, a photographer is on site to capture the moment of victory, or, in my (and many other’s!) case, defeat.

WPWall
Anndddd I was down.

 

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This makes it look SO dramatic. haha.

Considering I was riding a 26 cassette, I’m really not too surprised I didn’t make it. Just one more reason to go back next year!! It all happens really fast though with all the people around cheering and watching, and in a blur I was back on my bike slowly continuing the rest of the climb up Savage Mountain.

At that point, the “fun” parts of the ride are over and it’s time to put on your climbing legs. Again, I was super happy to have seen this course before and when things got hard I just kept reminding myself that at least it was only one loop this time. It definitely seemed like Killer Miller has gotten steeper in the past year, though.

Finally the miles ticked by and I was on my way home. At one of the final turns I heard someone yell to me that I was about 2:30 down on the first place girl (thank you to whomever that was!). Thinking about how slow my swim was, I figured that meant I was probably pretty darn close to the bike split prime so I put my head down and did my best to hammer in home. In the end, I was pretty darn close! A mere 32 seconds which I’m pretty sure were lost somewhere between the Westernport Wall and the top of Savage Mountain!

On to the run and one of the coolest things that’s happened in a race in a while: I got a mountain biker escort!  It’s actually really helpful to have that escort, especially in a looped course where you eventually begin catching people on their first loop. I’ve always found it challenging to maintain my pace on that loop, but with someone biking up ahead it’s a little easier to keep the chase! At a few sections here I was able to see Kristin Lemos a handful of minutes ahead. With any run you never know what will happen, and those minutes can be gained and lost very easily on the challenging course that SavageMan is. So, I did my best to keep the pressure on, but never managed to reel her in. I was super proud of the second place finish though, and happy to come back home with some cash in my pocket! (Literally, they paid cash. It was awesome).

Savageman

Overall, SavageMan is a really well done race. It brought me back to the type of races where people have fun and race because they love a challenge and they love a sport – not because they want a M-Dot Tattoo. I absolutely plan to return and get that brick on the Westernport Wall!

Thank you to PowerBar and SMASHFEST, and to Hillary for always pushing me beyond what is comfortable and encouraging me to compete. It was a day!

 

From Boulder to Penticton

I am the first to admit that I was really, really excited by my summer racing season this year. Three iron distance races in 8 weeks, 2 of those within 3 weeks….yep, I was ready to see how things would go! Of course, when I have planned all this out, I assumed each race would go *somewhat* according to plan. I know that tough days happen, but I truly wasn’t expecting all of the wheels to fall off quite like they did in Boulder. This definitely gave me some pause.

In fact, after some recovery at sea level we gave some efforts a go before heading back to 9,000 feet. This went…..so-so. I am the first to tell you that these moments are why having a coach, especially Hillary who has raced enough to know just about every feeling I encounter, is very, very important to me. “You know that if I shouldn’t race in Canada you just need to tell me that and I’ll listen, right?” I texted her, with tears of disappointment welling up in my eyes. Before they could fall, however, she wrote back – how was the workout? I gave her the dets. “Ah, not bad. We’re good!” Failure is ALWAYS WORSE in your own head. Always.

So, I went through the motions. I got back to Frisco and got through a quick week of workouts before heading to Seattle. Of course, one more wrench in the confidence was thrown in during my last swim workout when I literally just had to stop because my whole chest/back seized up. I thought I was having a heart attack (definitely was not). Once again, texted Hillary dramatically. Her response? “Oh! That’s good luck! Same thing happened to me the other year before Brazil!” HA! I was NOT getting out of this race!

Luckily for me, I also have some of the BEST triathlon friends in the world. Anabel made the drive up from Portland to meet me in Seattle for <24 hours, which I waited until last-minute to tell her would include a tough brick to get my legs moving at sea level once again 🙂 She not only crushed it but never complained! The best!

menanabel

Then, Cathleen, aka my west-coast triathlon partner in crime, got me all the way up to Canada. Despite my total inability to answer simple questions at the border, they somehow still let us through and we were in Penticton!

menck

The days leading up to the race were super restful and easy, huge part in thanks to another amazing homestay!! I am so lucky that I keep winning the jackpot with my homestay situations, but Dave, Helen, Sarah, Leah, Cindy, Glen and Hayley (yep, it was a full house 🙂 ) – you guys are rockstars!! From getting me to the race at precisely the minute I suggested, to including me in family meals beforehand, it meant so much and I really enjoyed getting to know your family. Unfortunately for you, this means you could be stuck with me for years to come 🙂

Checkin selfie with Helen and Cindy!
Checkin selfie with Helen and Cindy!

On race day, as about 30 pros prepared to put on their wetsuits, we were told that the water is 24C. I have no clue what that actually means, but I knew the cutoff was 22C, so out came my speedsuit. Luckily, I’ve developed some weird confidence with non-wetsuit swims this year so this strangely excited me. We also had a beach start, and beforehand they introduced each one of us by numbers. As  we were announced, we had to jog into the start corral, over the timing mat. It was kind of like when they introduce boxers before their match, only we all are much skinnier and wearing swim caps on our heads. Nonetheless, we totally all did the “too cool for school” boxer routine of shaking out your arms and a slow exaggerated jog over to the corral. Very few smiles and waves, and determined not to be the one random pro out of place I just followed suit.

penticton start

The swim was uneventful. I found myself in no-man’s land pretty quick. Luckily, this lake is GORGEOUS and the clear water and calm conditions actually allowed me to almost enjoy myself here! I came out of the water all by myself, but I saw there will still a few bikes around so I wasn’t worried, and I set off on the bike. The first 10 miles of the ride can only be described as me thinking to myself “I feel okay. No really, I feel okay. Do I still feel okay? I feel okay!!” Deathly afraid of the Boulder-repeat, after about 30 minutes I finally convinced myself that this was NOT going to be a repeat of that day.

This ride is awesome. Fair and challenging, but still with plenty of fast sections mixed in, the 5.5 hours I spent on the bike absolutely flew by. I was having fun racing again! At the out and back I was able to see my position. I was pretty firmly in 8th place, but I was definitely in the mix. This got me a bit excited as I climbed Yellow Lake (evidenced by my newfound QOM position on strava for that segment!) and then I got to enjoy the long descent back down to town.

QOM

T2! I knew I didn’t have much time to play around, so I got moving and out onto the run quickly. A quick loop through town and then a long out-and-back along Skaha Lake meant that we’d be running straight into a decent headwind for the majority of the first half of the run. My legs felt so-so. Again, not like Boulder, so I took that as a positive! But, they were definitely feeling the recent efforts. It was that same feeling of having to push through tired legs on a long training day. Doable, just not the most fun. Luckily, the run course is also fairly rolling so the mix of terrain allowed me to give some muscles a break. Huge thank you to Steph C who was out on the course giving me some encouragement when I needed it!

At the turnaround I also ran into IM Champ and friend Sara Gross. As I asked her how much time before the next girl, I made the turnaround and saw Cathleen coming at me. Oh, I guess that’s how far I had! Ha! I knew that meant it was time to dig deep, and with some cheers from my homestay family once again I headed back to town. Using the hills to my advantage, I managed to keep pace pretty well and tick the miles off. Before I knew it I was hitting the slight downhill in to the finish. One look back, and I slowed to enjoy the moment of the finish. I finally let the anxiety of worrying that Boulder was an indication of lost fitness and ability go. This was a good race. A race where I was able to run every step! That, in itself, was a win!

photo 3 (5)

Ending up 8th place and taking home a check was icing on the cake. Post-race I spent some time in the beer garden and cheered in some of the final finishers. This town is meant for a race like this, and I truly hope it grows to its potential here with the Challenge Family. I’m certainly looking forward to next year, and already blocking off some time afterwards to enjoy the nearby wine country!

Thanks again to my homestay family, as well as those at Challenge who make racing such a great experience as a professional. And, thank you to SMASH and Powerbar for supporting me every step of the way, to Canada and back! I promise I keep packing my podium dress because one of these days I’ll be up there to wear it!!

Climbing Mt. Evans!

When I was investigating biking routes here in Summit County, I took note of this bucket list ride, Mt. Evans. In a moment of clear insanity, I emailed it to Hillary asking if I can ride this as a training day between races. As if Hillary would ever say no to something like this!

So we picked a day. Unfortunately fellow TeamHPB-er, Sam, had to take care of some military obligations and that left me to tackle the mountain solo. I am a huge fan of long  climbs – in fact my favorite day at Tucson camp is Mt Lemmon day where we get to race to the top! Mt. Evans has some similarities to Mt Lemmon – they are both ~28 miles of climbing and they are both pretty much straight climbing. Okay, so basically they are both mountains! There are a few differences as well…..Mt Lemmon goes from ~2,500 feet to about 8,000 feet of elevation. On the other hand, Mt Evans starts at 8,000 feet and ends above 14,000 feet! Mt Evans also has the last 4-5 miles of switchbacks, whereas Lemmon is more of a straighter road for the ascent. The biggest difference though in my mind, was at the top! At Mt Lemmon you’re rewarded (spoiled) with a Cookie Cabin, pizza, hot chocolate, whatever you want – assuming you’ll pay the crazy prices at the top for it! At the top of Mt Evans there’s…..rocks. And a LOT of people who think they “climbed” at 14-er. It’s a bit depressing that there isn’t even some water to fill up! I made a chart comparing each climb. Definitely study this before you attempt either:

evans vs lemmon

The descent at Lemmon is also a bit easier in my mind – better road conditions by far, and the switchbacks make keeping off your breaks really dicey at Mt Evans. 

Despite the lack of oxygen and cookies though, Mt Evans is a really fun and GORGEOUS ride. I’m not sure I’ll be itching to go back up anytime soon, but I think I thought that after my first time up Mt Lemmon too!

evans_ag

So you want to know where I’m off to next, aye?

Going into this year I knew that one of the perks of being a pro was that I could rearrange my race schedule on short notice since most races do not require a long lead time to sign up (typically ~3 weeks, if there is a deadline at all). However, after several years of age group racing which generally required mapping out the next year’s races 12-18 months in advance – and generally not being able to just jump into most races since they’d fill up – old habits die hard and I still found myself planning this year well in advance of deadlines.

Before IM Boulder, it was the plan to also race IM Louisville to the schedule to see how I’d respond to racing in that 3 week interval. However, as Boulder got closer rumors of changes within WTC were surfacing. Ultimately, these changes were announced during the race, but my new plans had already been in the works – I’d be racing Challenge Penticton instead of IM Louisville on August 22nd.

penticton

 

Note: apparently I wasn’t the only female looking for a Boulder-take-2!

From the business perspective, which is what guided the initial change of heart, this is a much smarter move. Flying from Denver to Seattle is easy (and cheap!). From Seattle I’ll be able to carpool with blog-twin Cathleen up to Penticton which is awesome – it’s always nice to have the company of friends at races. I’ll also be given a homestay in Penticton – something that (as far as I know/have requested) is not ever an option for me with WTC! Challenge races also pay $75,000, 10 deep in the prize purse. At IM Louisville, I’d be looking at $25,000 going 6 deep. My odds in Canada are definitely more favorable.

From a racing perspective, while Penticton can also get quite hot (101 the other day!!!), I have only heard rave reviews about the course and location for the race. And, while Louisville will always have a special place in my heart since that was my first IM, it’s no secret that Louisville has a reputation as a sufferfest – I’ve had that day there too! So, Penticton seems like a great place to give myself a second chance to show the fitness I have this summer.

And finally, from a personal perspective, I do feel more of a persuasion to race Challenge races at this point because I think they are doing great things for the sport, professional and amateurs alike. The changes that WTC recently announced is a big change for the professional field. While this change may be in their best interest as a business, it’s certainly not in the best interest for developing future generations of long-course triathletes. The fact that they do not want to go beyond their call as a business and help the sport grow and develop is troubling to me. I like to believe that it is more than possible to run a successful business and still have your heart in the right place – if I didn’t I wouldn’t have gone into business with myself!

I am quick to admit that I don’t have all the answers as to how to accomplish that. However, I do know that it would be easy for WTC to create a “minor league” of pro racing, in sorts. They could throw small prize purses at “B” races for people who need to develop so that one day we can advance to the “kona-tiered” race fields. Without that, if I continue to race WTC races, the hole I could find myself in financially simply wouldn’t make sense.

I don’t want to get into a discussion of WTC-bashing or the like. I still believe that Ironman races do great things for the age group athletes in the sport, and I’d never stop sending the athletes I coach to these races. Generally speaking these races are safe, smooth race experiences. But as a professional athlete, I have a hard time racing for a company that, admittedly, doesn’t care about the future and development of the sport.

IM Boulder

It happens in every race — there’s a moment. A single moment when you realize that either this is the race you’ve been waiting for, everything is coming together and you know you’ll hold on until the end. Or, it’s the moment when you realize this is not going to be your day.

For me, Boulder unfortunately fell into that second category.

And even more unfortunately, the moment when I realized that came about 1 hour and 10 minutes into my day.

So, what do you do? What do you do when you realize that it feels like you’re trying to ride your bike through syrup and it’s not even 5 miles into the day? And that its taking all your effort to ride at a level which is usually on par with a recovery ride.

This is what you do:

You smile for the camera, because maybe fake it till you make it will work.

boulderbike

You tell yourself it will get better. Hillary said it might take 56 miles to feel good, after all. Maybe she meant 75 miles. Or 90. Or 111.

You stay in aero when the camera passes even through you’ve never felt pain like this in your back before — because hey, you’re going to make the triathlete.com gallery.

IMBoulder

You fuel up as much as you can and remind yourself that often bad bikes lead to great runs.

You get distracted by the fact that your feet are burning. Yep, literally burning on the ground as you run through T2. (note: I have, in fact, seen many pictures of blistered feet from having us run on the black track on a 93 degree day. Pro tip: if this is the case, sit down when you get your run bag (yes, right in the middle of the bags) and put your shoes and socks on right there to run into the changing tent. You can do the rest of what you need to do in the tent, but put your shoes on before your feet are burnt!!)

You tell yourself to run for 2 miles. After 2 miles the cement blocks that are allegedly your legs will disappear and you’ll be given your normal legs back.

You smile at your support crew and friends despite the fact that on the inside you know this is about to be a long day, for the both of you.

You take the water at the aid stations. And the powerade, and the coke, and the ice. Because one of these things will make it get better.

You take the salt from the random tent on course – because maybe this will make it get better. (huge shoutout to Matt and the BASE team for being out there).

You run as much as you can. And when you can’t, you walk. At least until you get a message from Sonja that Hillary said to run more 🙂

Because eventually you’ll make it to the finish line. And that, right there, is what you came for.

Thanks to Smashfest Queen and PowerBar for supporting me on the good days, and the tough days! I’ll be giving it another go soon enough – more on that update later!

Boulder-Land

Well, I have arrived in the adult athlete playground of the world: Boulder! The immediate good news: I can walk up stairs without losing my breath! Man, have I missed that.

But seriously, remember how when you went to Disney World as a little kid you carried around an autograph book? (If I was the only one who did this, please just don’t tell me. I’d rather like to go on thinking I was normal.) That’s basically how I feel here. It’s pretty much as star studded as Kona only somehow most of the “stars” are going to be spectating, not racing, this time around.

If you are here to be a spectator and you don’t want to miss me just LOOK FOR ALL THE PINK!

Pink nails:

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Pink Bike Tape:

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Lava Berry Obvi!

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Pink Hair!

(just kidding mom!)

All the pink aside, I’m ready to race – it actually feels like AGES ago I was in Atlantic City. This has been a challenging training block — driving across the country, figuring out how to train at altitude successfully, living out of a suitcase – but, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and I’m ready to go on Sunday! And hey look – I even got out shoutout on witsup.com! Thanks ladies 🙂

 

Blame it on the A-A-A-A-Altitude

Now that I am finally caught up on Atlantic City and Camp blogging I can finally begin to be somewhat current with my whereabouts! If you follow me on twitter or instagram, you’re already well aware that I’m not in Kansas Virginia anymore. I’m in Frisco, Colorado! It’s been a crazy week, one that started out with a 2.5 day drive from Charlottesville –>Frisco. My dear dad decided to hitch a ride with me and share the driving so he could come out to visit a friend in Colorado. This meant about 24 driving hours of father-daughter bonding time in the car. It was great to spend time with him, and we did all the typical things you’d expect of father-daughters on a car trip. We took video:

Spoiler alert: we never actually drove through Dodge City after all.

We chronicled every gas stop and took notes on mileage, price of gas. How I’ll use this in my life, I’m not quite sure.

We played the game “I’ll say the name of a town or city and you guess what state it’s in.”….you know, typical road trip stuff.

After that time warp though, things got back to “normal” in my new summer home in Frisco! I am so lucky that a major part of my job with Bad to the Bone is to be in Colorado for the rest of the summer. I know, I know – but won’t I miss the heat and humidity of Charlottesville Summer? I will, but after a few days these views have helped me keep my chin up, and I think I’ll survive the next 8 weeks 🙂

copper

If you aren’t too familiar with the area, Frisco is at an altitude of 9,075 feet. That means there’s not a whole lot of oxygen to go around. My history of time at altitude has been all over the place:

-Western States ’09 (running) – thought I was going to die in the first 30 miles, slowly pulled myself out of it (also probably due to the fact we descended to normal altitudes)

-Western States ’10 (pacing) – Couldn’t run more than 1.5 miles at altitude

-Frisco, Feb ’14 – Managed easy workouts, felt pretty good, came down after a week and won a 50k with a PR

So, I wasn’t really sure what to expect this time. The first couple days were so-so. I alternated between feeling fine, and feeling like I was going to die. And for the first couple days I swore even eating a sandwich caused me to feel out of shape. I couldn’t remember basic vocabulary words. I only wanted to eat ice cream. All proven side effects of altitude. Since then it seems I’m coming around just fine and things will be good to go while I’m up here! In fact, I’m actually quite looking forward to gaining some more oxygen when I head down to Boulder in a couple weeks for the Ironman. Between the altitude and the heat, Boulder should be one for the books – can’t wait!

Charlottesville Triathlon Camp, TeamHPB Style!

After all of the fun from Challenge AC, I got home and had about 24 hours before getting ready for my next adventure: CAMP! When I made the move to Charlottesville, one of the first things on my list was putting together a training camp. Hillary and Maik host the TeamHPB Tucson camp in March, so we figured, why not do a TeamHPB Camp, East coast style? The 4th of July seemed like a great time — people already had a built in day off of work, plus there’s no better time to be in Charlottesville than a patriotic holiday! History aside, Cville has recently been named:

One of America’s Five New Foodie Cities

If you are planning on coming to Cville then make sure to check out top restaurants Charlottesville to find the best places to eat during your visit.

#1 College Town in the Country

One of Five Hot Summer Getaways from DC

So, it’s a good place to be, swim/bike/run aside. But for anyone who does triathlon which you can get coaching from masters of tri if you’re interested, Cville takes the cake for a great training ground, and I was so excited to show it off. Plus, with Leslie and Nate nearby, the 3 of us realized we make a perfect trio for coaching such a camp. And so it was born!

Structured similarly to the Tucson camp, Day 1 started with a group run (which summer storms nicely departed just in time for us!) and a group dinner at Zinburger. Then it was early to bed because there was a long day on 2 wheels ahead of us: the Skyline Drive ride!

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I was really excited about camp because it gave me the opportunity to see some of my athletes in person. I had the good fortune of riding the 100+ miles with Stephanie, and I could not be more proud of the work she has done on the bike this year! She really is proof that hard work does pay off. And, at least on Skyline, you’re rewarded for all the hard work with some amazing views!

stephskyline

Day 3 was my most anticipated day: The Tour de Charlottesville! This was a day I had dreamed up several years ago while in school at UVA, but I was never able to piece together the logistical help to make it happen. Totals for the day were going to be ~45 miles of riding, 3k yards swimming, and 8 miles of running….but not necessarily in that order!

First, we rode the long way out to the Blue Ridge Swim Club. I say the long way, because BRSC was actually about 10 miles from where we started….but we took the 30 mile route 🙂 If you were wondering why, once you rode Taylor’s Gap road, you saw that the long way was worth it for the views! BRSC was the first treat of the day. The 3rd oldest pool in the United States, its history is actually really interesting. It now serves, as my opinion, as one of the best places to practice open water swimming. With not-clear water, 150 yards long, and no lane lines, it’s basically a controlled OWS environment!

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We constructed a buoy and after a warmup, practiced some open water swim starts. We even had someone be the “bully” of each group to make sure that we got the true start experience!

After some more race-start practice fun and an actual swim set, it was time to get back on our bikes! Now we were riding to Ridge Road – an iconic run for those in the area, this 4 mile long dirt, hilly, road serves as a classic place for a workout! And, indeed it was a workout run as we all took the 4 miles out easy, and then it was game time on the way back in! I really loved getting to see everyone work hard and get the legs moving here. And luckily we had the SAG help from Shannon to get us water on the run and watch our bikes while we ran!

After Ridge, it was the last leg of the day – the ride home!

Sunday was another fun TeamHPB-esque day. After a light 90 minute ride, it was time to hit the pool – 100×100 time of course! We even got to induct another TeamHPB-er into the 100×100 club – Matt – and Stephanie impressed me yet again by upping the anty to 75×100. That means 100 is just around the corner! Leslie and I also had the pleasure of swimming with Carol, from Luray, VA. Never having swam with paddles or a band was no biggie – she kept up with us no problem for the whole 10k! No doubt she’s ready to crush IM MD.

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It’s not all hard work though – Sunday we had a great little BBQ! I also invited a few other triathletes and runners from the area, and it was a great chance to get to know the SAG help a little more. And, there was a dog. It doesn’t get better than that!

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One final workout left: Monday long run! This is always more of an “Adventure Run” given that everyone’s legs should be pretty tired by now! Again, I loved getting to show off some of the hidden nooks of Charlottesville’s running scene.

Before I knew it, the whirlwind of fun was over, and it was time to say goodbye. I have to say though, within a day Leslie, Nate and I decided we were ready for next year’s camp already!

As always, huge thank you to my sponsors who helped support this weekend! Powerbar, SMASH and Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports!