On Saturday I joined the cycling team of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. On March 14, 2009 I will ride 100 miles (actually 104) in the Solvang Century. As the website states, "the 100 mile ride is a loop course to Lompoc, Vandenberg, Santa Maria and back through Olivos to Solvang with 4950 feet of elevation gain." Oy. And, yikes.
I have been reliably informed that the scenery is gorgeous. I'm not worried about the hills (that's a lie), have no fear of the distance (another lie) and I think the training while I'm also training for marathons will be easy to manage (yet another lie; I should be a politician). So why did I do it?
Running is, and hopefully will remain, my real love. But I'm terrified if I go back to only running, with a little bit of cross training here and there, I'll not only re-injure myself but I'll permanently injure myself beyond all hope of recovery. I don't want to be told that easy workouts in the gym are all I can do.
I'm in no hurry to ever do another triathlon; to do it right would take way more dedication and time than I'm willing to give now. But except for the back injury and my various and assorted injuries, I ended the season in the best shape I've been in for -- well, possibly forever. I remembered while tri training how much I enjoyed cycling. Even on my ancient bicycle I feel like I'm floating along which is something I'll never feel while running. I like swimming but I'm not good enough for a masters team and I just can't stand the lingering odor of chlorine. That left me thinking that maybe, just maybe, I should do some more cycling.
But why, you might ask, would I want to go ohsofar overboard and decide to ride a century?? Yes, I've said in the past that the 72 mile ride I completed many years ago, a mis-measured metric century, was as far as I needed to go. I looked at a full century like I used to look at marathons: something only crazy people do. Then I ran a marathon, then another marathon, then another and another, and realized that I am in fact crazy. And that's it: since I love marathons so much, maybe I'll fall in love with distance cycling too.
I've ridden about a dozen metric centuries but the last one was at least 10 years ago. Probably more. Except for one summer when we rode several, I'm pretty sure the training consisted of a couple of 40 mile rides and some aerobics during the week. Just think how improved my performance would be with real training.
The schedule and timing actually fit quite well with my marathon plans. I'll miss the very first training which doesn't please me (I'll be running the 30k as our 18 mile training run), and I'll miss one other, the weekend I'm in Dallas racing. But while I'm running long miles for the marathon I'll still be on short mileage on the bike. I can ride with the team on Saturday and run on Sunday. When the longest training rides and the century arrive I'll only need to be at 12-14 miles for my anticipated May marathon (Vermont City Marathon, in case you were wondering). During the week I'll have to tweak the team training schedule to get in a run or two and a swim, but it'll still be easier than our training for the tri.
And the whole TnT thing. It's going to be challenging to raise money again right after I just completed fundraising. Luckily my deadline will be next year. Next fiscal tax year, to be exact. I won't even ask for money until December and tell people that a 2009 contribution would be welcome. I'm also thinking I'll be making a very large personal contribution to the cause, which I normally make in dribs and drabs to other people fundraising. I believe in the cause and think every cent raised is used efficiently.
I'm looking forward to the cycle team. The training is supposed to be much more social than the tri training, which makes sense if you think about it. Your entire tri is done individually, a race against all others, so that's how you train. But this century is not a race, it's a ride. A pack, a pelaton, a group is how you train and how you ride. I'm ready to meet new people and make friends, something I was unable to do this summer.
So bring it on! I'm incredibly excited for my new adventure!