Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hills are for Heroes

. . . and I ain't one.

So I had a training ride today with a few hundred of my closest friends in preparation for the BP MS150, a two day bicycle tour from Houston to Austin to raise money to battle Multiple Sclerosis. (Greyhound rides for Mrs. Greyhound, but that is a story for another post.)

The 60+ mile course was pretty hilly (in places very hilly by Texas standards) and there was a good headwind, so all the freshness stored up in my legs from a recovery week quickly dribbled into a puddle on some rural Texas highway, along with little bits of my spirit.

It was like the second week of the Tour de France where some of the world's best sprinters (which I am not) arrive in the mountains and drop out the back of the peloton like road kill while Lance puts on his "dead Elvis grin" and picks off all the contenders at the front like they are so much flotsam.

I don't climb well. OK, I climb poorly. I'm not even flotsam. I'm road kill. So why am I the "Greyhound"? That, too, is another post. But I refuse to be found on the road between the armadillos and 'possums ( or is that amadilli and opossae?).

In my irritation at the pace lines and cycle studs streaming past ("ON YOUR LEFT") I found an appropriate focus point. The "studs" and their cycle chicks were stopping at the strategically placed rest stops and quaffing gatorade with oreos, gorp, chex mix and all manner of delicacies for the truly soft. That is not the "tri" way.

So I says to myself, "self, you've got enough e-gel and water in your camelback to ride to Canada. Keep your heart rate in zone 3, however fast or slow that is, put your head down, and just don't stop. Ride past them while they are cooling it in the rest stops, and let them pass you a dozen times if necessary. They draft, you don't. They rest, you won't."

. . . and throw in a transition run after the ride while they get their massage therapy.

There are all kinds of victories to be had in triathlon. You just gotta know where to look.

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