The Village Idiot
Several years ago, IronmAnnie broke through the carbon-fiber ceiling by becoming one of the first "normal" people on our tri team to do an Ironman. Before that, Ironman was mostly reserved for the Axis of Evil. IronmAnnie started her training with a group email, saying that "it takes a village to raise an Ironman" and that she would be relying on people to join her on long rides to help keep her motivated.
Well that village mentality certainly served me well for my training, and I'm paying it forward now that Stephanie is doing her first Ironman in Arizona next month. On Saturday, she planned to do her first-ever century ride (actually, about 109 miles). I said I would join her and her husband, my Coeur d'Alene Iron-Brother Rich.
The plan was to leave from our usual spot in Duarte at 7:00am. I originally thought I would get up at 6, leave my place at 6:30, and be ready to go by 7:00. But as I was thinking about it, I figured it might be a good idea to give myself just a little extra time and wake up 10 minutes earlier. So I just kept thinking to myself I'll set my alarm for ":50" instead of ":00". I went to bed, and set my alarm for 6:50. (Because the :50 was important part.)
I woke up, surprisingly refreshed, got dressed, and even toasted a mini-bagel for myself. I noticed the kitchen clock: 7:05. What? Did I forget to set the clock for daylight savings or something? No, like an idiot I slept in an hour too late. I frantically called Stephanie, who was just getting ready to head out on the bike. I told her to just go and I would catch up somehow.
Fortunately, her flight plan called for doing a 6-mile northern loop before heading back down on the main bike trail so that would buy me some time. And in the worst-case scenario, the bike trail is an out-and-back course so I was bound to run into them at some point.
I raced out of the house and on to the freeway. The night before, I had filled up a water bottle with dry Carbo-Pro and packed a second water-bottle to mix it with in the morning. If you've never used Carbo-Pro, it's a funny little powder: it dissolves well, but slowly. Basically you have to pour some water into the bottle, shake vigorously, add more water, repeat. It's a slow process. To save time, I tried to it in transit. Do you have any idea how tricky it is to pour water into a plastic bottle between your legs while driving? It ain't easy, and I had more than one spill with it.
I also put my gloves on in the car, not a problem, and my left bike shoe. I pulled into the parking lot and stepped out of the car forgetting that I didn't have any of the traction of a normal shoe. But I didn't fall on my butt right away, no. I just sort of hung there, leaning on the car door with my foot slipping all over the place like Elmer Fudd stepping on a roller skate until I finally smashed on the ground. I'm sure the guy sitting in the parking spot opposite me enjoyed the show.
I hit the trail fairly hard to try to catch up with them. I skipped their first 6-mile loop of course, but I wasn't sure if they had a 20-minute head start, 30 minutes, or whatever. After about an hour I caught up with them at the rest stop in Wilderness Park. Believe me, they were a sight for sore thighs.
The three of us went down to Seal Beach together and back, along the way seeing Jill in the other direction, who is also doing Arizona next month. The ride was a little rough on me. The wind picked up at times, and they weren't exactly doing an easy pace. But the worst part of all was being back at our cars after 70 miles, then going back out on the trail for another 30. Oh that's painful.
The Village is back in taper-mode again so we're done with the long rides. Of course, someone else will want to sign up for a race at some point and we'll be back doing them again. I realize this sounds disingenuous but I'll say it anyway: people who do Ironmans are crazy.