This is how it all started… Back in October, I was talking to my good friend, Susan, about how out of shape I had gotten from sitting on the couch binge watching The Vampire Diaries and The Walking Dead. I mentioned to her that I needed to pick an event that would make me train. Something hard. She said that her hubby, Jarret, was going to do the Big Frog 65, a 65-mile mountain bike race by the Ocoee River, on April 29. I said “Hmmm… I have 6 months to train. I’m signing up!”
Then, I called Todd Nordmeyer, a local coach who owns Endeavor Performance Cycling Studio (http://endeavorperformance.com/) and asked if he was accepting new clients. He said he was and we discussed my goals – namely getting stronger and not dying during the Big Frog.
Over the course of the next 6 months, Todd prepared a weekly training schedule for me to follow – a combination of yoga, strength training, indoor trainer rides at home and classes at Endeavor Performance, and longer training rides outside when the weather was good. For the most part, I did my workouts as prescribed. Knowing I had such a long, hard race ahead of me was very motivating.
Fast forward to race day – It was a beautiful day! Not too hot and the trails were dry. Thank goodness! There was a huge crowd at the start line and everyone looked happy and excited to be there. There were lots of women in the crowd too, which was awesome! (I am so happy to see so many women riding and racing these days!) I got in the back of the line with Jarret and we chatted with the folks around us as we waited to start. The race started and I “took off”. I say “took off” because I had been cautioned by Todd to take it easy in the beginning of the race so I would not blow up. I kept a calm, steady pace, talking to the folks around me as we climbed up the road to the trail. On the trail, I kept my steady pace and enjoyed the ride. The first 20 miles passed by quickly. Then we hit the gravel road. Ugh! Long climbs and fun fast descents. Just turning the pedals…
Time passed… Hours in fact… My time goal for this race was 7 hours. When I hit the 7-hour mark and still had more miles to go, I started the countdown… “Okay… I can finish this thing in 7:15… 7:30… 7:45… Oh come on! I have to finish this thing in under 8 hours! I must get off this bike!!!!!!!!!!!!” And finally, FINALLY I did. My finish time was 7:51:56. Yay! I finished! There was no confetti raining down on me, but I was very proud of myself! If you know me, you know that I have some rules about life and riding and racing… Enjoy what you’ve got while you’ve got it. Never, ever give up. If I start a race, I have to finish it under my own power unless I am physically incapable of doing so. I can’t wear the t-shirt if I didn’t do the race (this applies to concerts too…). And I am sure there are many more. But above all, Rule 1 is It’s gotta be fun!
I didn’t enjoy the last 25 miles of the Big Frog, but the first 40 was fun! And it reminded me that I can do just about anything if I put my mind to it and put in the hard work. Training for Big Frog got my motor running, and now I am racing shorter XC mountain bike races and have even done a few races on the road! And I am having fun! Thanks to Todd for the superb coaching and instruction! And many thanks to all my wonderful teammates who have encouraged me on rides and in races! You guys ROCK!
If you are looking for something to motivate you to hit the trails or the road more often, I encourage you to pick an event that will push you a bit out of your comfort zone and then go for it! Heck, you can even make up your own event! Then, tell your friends and your teammates about what you are up to so it becomes more real. (Once you tell people about it, you have to do it!) You could hire a coach, but you don’t have to! There are lots of experienced riders and racers on TWCP who would love to ride with you and help you reach your goal! And remember… Rule #1: It’s gotta be FUN!
Hope to see you out on the trail or the road soon!