As with last year, it seems like this summer will be another drought filled hotty. Mornings are when I do the bulk of my training and that has been a sweat fest with the high humidity (about 70-80%). It makes it seem like semi-altitude type training from a breathing standpoint. I have done a few good training rides that have been hilly, hot (they start at 8:30!!) and great practice for Gina and I in the art of cooling down afterwards. We got it down now – freeze a few water bottles, stack’em in the HarrisTeeter cooler bag with some ice packs. Then bring a few plastic cups so you can scoop some ice afterwards and just throw it on your head, down your shirt (or pants) and even a hat. AND you can fill the bottles up with drinks as the ice melts during the morning! Works like a charm the past 3 rides. Each time it gets easier and easier thanks to the access and help from the volunteers who work the rides. 

Last weekend we went to Union County for the American Red Cross 5K / 30-60 mile bike ride. Way down south near the border and on some really country roads. They had a 5K at 7:30am which I won in 17:22. All of it was Old school – no awards and places were kept track of with tongue depressors with a number on it. They had about 50-100 people all of whom were doing the ride too. It was nice. Low-key. But it was already 70+ degrees and humid. Then I did the 60 mile ride. Some of the roads were really bad, but only from the aspect of a cobble-stone type like surface. They just came at the wrong time of the ride. The rest stops were frequent but as usual – the cutoffs where the 30 mile riders went one way and the 60 mile went another – produced the desolate type of ride that makes it feel solo. This has been tremendous in my mental prep as you get to really dig in deep and rip some serious emotions out. Then you practice slapping in the charge and picking up the pace, mix the DJ with some metal, and keep rollin’.

The past few weeks have taken me close to 20 hrs/wk and this one would be way over that (as with the Lake Norman 100 mile ride). I only stopped for 2-3 minutes as I finished in 3.5 hours. Not fast, but steady – and I wore my RS800 since I raced the 5K to keep me honest in my effort. But the extent of the humidity and heat over a few weeks can be draining and one that even when acclimated requires some serious mental cooling. It’s funny because it won’t be good or beneficial unless it’s like this in November, which it probably won’t. But this ride in particular had shaded tents set up, a family style food fest with plenty to drink (and ice), and a real treat to just chill out and regroup. We enjoyed this one. You could have even given blood!!

Gina’s been great at monitoring me too. I have to weigh in every Sunday morning (I drop from 121-125 on the big weeks) so she constantly reminds me “did I do this”, or ”did I eat that”, (lunch is a term I don’t know of) and she now has access to my training log.  She does make mean brownies and we even experimented with “french toast-pancakes”. Serious. No joke. The key has been dense foods when possible, especially during the week when I have to work a 9+ hour day after a 2+ hour training morning. Then ride in or back from work. Hydration is paramount.

She works out at EPEC in the mornings and will bring my bag on days when I do bricks. She does a double sometimes when she walks with Rochelle so she’s in some serious shape now too. When I get over a certain number of hours in training (or don’t make weight – then I get grounded), she’ll mandate a sleep in day – usually Sunday (for both of us). On those days I can swim in the morning only.        

CRC has the Jubilee 8K this weekend so the store will be busy with all the race detailing and additional preparations I am also putting together the Fall Run Program to start on Aug 30th. I have been able on some days to catch up with my reading but we’ve been zonked out by 10pm. Good things not much is on TV these days. We did see some of the Tour de France, but honestly, it wasn’t special. They have to come up with a better way to profile the teams, tactics, and technology especially during the recap shows. Then when a few more get busted for doping, well………… bring on the Olympics!!!!


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