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Monday, March 21, 2011

Missed opportunity

The time challenging scramble continued into Friday. I had the Jacuzzi hard wired (by a professional) I wasn't messing around with 100 amp breakers and 50 feet of 220 volt wiring. Late in the afternoon it got finished. Filled it up, pushed the buttons and bing,bang,boom, we had lift off.
This was a huge sigh in relief. I still had to fully clean it, add proper chemicals, and I was already prepping to refinish the outside skirt to match the house.
I knew this was all going to be a challenge due to having my son this weekend (though he is super easy and self sufficient). But the rain they called for was to be 2 days worth.
Friday evening my wife made the comment about maybe getting a ride in Saturday morning because Sunday looked bleak. At first I jumped on the idea, scrapping everything I had planned in my head for the home project. I made a couple of futile attempts to coordinate with Patrick but in the end I scrapped the ride idea at about 11:00 p.m. Thinking the weather would be crap anyways and I really needed to finish first, what I had started.
Sadly for me, but great for everyone else, it never rained Saturday.I really could have went out and got in the 45-55 miles on the bike I wanted to. At first in the morning as the rain stayed away, it really pissed me off and started effecting my thoughts. To the point of resenting what I was doing. Then reality set in, what I was doing was for my wife and It was super important to her, and in the end super important for me. I shook the resentment and got busy.
I primed and painted the complete outer skirt along with the entry stairs. Cleaned all the filters and jets. Tested and retested the chemical balance and over all got it looking and working like it was brand new. She was happy, and we ended up sitting in it for about an hour later on that night. It was all worth it.


I figured Sunday would be a scrap for sure. I kept up to date readings of hour to hour weather reports for Sunday via the Internet. Everything pointed to rain starting at 3 a.m. and continuing all day long. Not wanting to give in to mother nature, I told my wife I was still getting up early. If there looked like a window was going to be open I was going.
I got up at 6:00 a.m. and spent 40 minutes waffling about going or not. Their was wind and dark clouds everywhere, but no rain.
Finally I geared up, grabbed a rain jacket and said to myself, I'm getting wet. I have no issue with getting wet, it is more about the time to tear down and clean a soaked down, road grimed back in the aftermath.
The was a wicked South/East wind already present, so opted to take my lumps early in the ride and head S/E for the first 10 miles or so.
It proved to be a very tough effort right from the start.You tend to forget how the nice shelter of a group is, especially in stiff head winds.
Finally getting to make my turn West to the coast  figured I could pick up the pace a bit. I made my turn and looked over my shoulder to see some flashing lights about a half mile away. I was hoping it was an early rising bike club. Not taking much stock in it, I just rounded the turn and put my head down. Guess what ? the wind is swirling, I'm still in it, and it may be just as bad if not worse. Crap !
Stay stong, stay focused, this is how you get better,stronger, and faster.
Within minutes a 5 man rotation came freight training by. I had enough sense to jump up out of the saddle and grind hard to get on the rear wheel. AHHHHH, breeze no more :-). Well almost. I noticed 4 race kits the same and the back rider, Nada. So the front 4 kept rotating for a couple of miles. Finally I figured I wouldn't be just a hanger on. I peddled up front to the lead out and asked where they were headed. He told me and so I asked if he minded me getting in front and doing some work. He looked me up and down, smiled and said hell no, knock yourself out.
I kind of figured he was sizing me up a bit. I mean you normally just don't jump in the front of another crew and ask to do work. But it was such a wicked wind that I don't think he gave a damn. He was open to anyone that would take the wind in there face for a bit.
We had been pacing about 21 mph in to this wind and I quickly realized that was just in the back. Up front I gave it all I could to keep us just at 19.5. I pulled for way longer than I should had, but I also figured it was the right thing to do seeing how they let me wheel suck for 5-6 miles prior to that.
Finally I cracked, flicked an elbow and I was pulling off. At first I thought well, I'll just hang on the back wheel for the next and final 1/2 mile. But I couldn't even put the effort up to get back on and I watched them scoot away. I also noticed that the 5 had turned to 4 and the odd man had dropped off somewhere along the line.
I labored my way further West to that magical turning point of "NORTH" !!
I made that turn very tentative, thinking oh please, no more wind, or at least less.
And as it should be, a very stiff tail wind !!! Yeah !! I got started with a smile and a jump in every turn of the crank.
Then I looked  up and further down the road to see another cyclist and what appeared to be a runner. I glanced down to check the Garmin for speed. Looked up again and no runner ? Did I imagine that, it was quite aways away ?
About 300 yards later a came upon a female runner. She was sitting but balled up, knees tucked to her chest, and head down.
I pulled over noticing first some bad abrasions on her right elbow. She was in tears. I also noticed she was super fit and wearing a Boston hat.
I asked her if she was alright? She looked up in tears and said, "yes I'm fine, I fricken fell. I'm sick and I know I shouldn't be out here".
I told her I get it. It's who we are and what we do.
Come to find out, it was
A. her birthday. She had been sick all week, but vowed to run on her birthday.
B. she BQ'd @ Surf City, and was in the thick of her training for Boston.
C. she couldn't call her family, because they would be pissed that she was out there. Not only sick, but trying to get in a long run. You see, she was 10 miles into an 18 miler. And it was not pretty out there.

She asked if  had a phone so she could call a close friend to come get her. She was scrapping the run.
By this time an off duty security guard had pulled over and offered up some bandages.
I asked if she wanted some water, and or needed some calories. I only had a GU, but she was welcome to it. She said no and I just kept her occupied with conversation about running and commitments and how life gets challenging with what it is we love to do.
She had since stopped the water works.Although I think she was bumbed and disappointed of how her birthday run went, she seemed to be o.k. with it.
I think she was also relieved and encouraged with life that people would pull over and take the time to make sure another person was o.k.
The security guard left and I waited another 15 minutes or so for her friend to come get her.
I have to say all the while, I had one eye planted due North watching the weather get worse. It was literally changing by the minute.
Her ride showed up, and I wished her a happy birthday again, along with a good luck in Boston. And headed off.

That was quite a little experience, and I was glad it all worked out. But I quickly got over it and re focused on what I was very quickly going to be heading into.
I'll finish this off fast, due to the length of the above.
The winds were recorded at 19 mph, I'm calling bull shite ! I made it back to my house, some 13 miles in just about 22 minutes.
Me and another guy hooked up at the first red light and rotated pulls for the entire way back home. At times I could not pedal my bike any faster on the flats, 37-39 mph. And though we were pumping, it was like being in the middle of a huge pack.
Shortish ride of just under 28 miles. But quality work. Never felt more than a dozen drops on me the entire ride. 30 minutes after returning home the skies broke open and the winds got stronger. I'm glad I got a ride in, I'm glad I was there for that runner. I'm glad I got my wife's present done.
Though I feel starved for miles. I still say mission accomplished.

Train hard,train smart, be healthy.




  1. Good story and if she is a blogger, she is writing about the nice guy who stopped by to check on her, during her unfortunate birthday run.

    Who would have thought that a lug like you would be such a class act??

  2. Obviously crappy circumstances to meet a fellow athlete, but still those random encounters make things really worth it.

    I'm afraid you didn't miss much on Saturday. I hate to say it, but think Lord Of The Flies...

  3. Put the wife and another athlete first and still managed to get a good ride in .... job well done.

  4. I bet that hot tub was all worth it! *wink wink, nudge nudge* break in that hot tub eh ;) lol

    That was awesome you finished it for her, you're way more thoughtful than I :)

    What a great ride, I know nothing of pace lines or other riders. I rarely see road weenies in my parts, nevermind a pack of them. Way to pull your weight! You are so courteous!
    now the big question is - was the running chick hawt? Come on, its ok, we know she was ;) ;) You brightened up her day and hopefully she appreciated that tremendous sacrifice especially with a risk of the weather. You are one awesome dude, I'm certain your good deeds it will come back around to you. You deserve it!

  5. That was really nice of you. Both for the wife and for the runner. I'm missing a local race I'd love to do and that fits right into what I'm working on for my big adventure race in September, but I'm missing it to take my son to a college thing out of town. It sucks, but I've got to remember that I'm a wife and mother before I'm an athlete, and I don't want to miss out on things that aren't going to come again. You made the right choice. And you still got in a tough ride. Well done. :)

  6. Keeping things balanced is a hard thing to do and you pulled it off nicely in all respects!