Boy Howdy! Spring Break with the kid home is cutting into my training time that I have when he is at school. Good thing hubbo is taking the day off tomorrow and I can do my Thursday Brick. So the terrible weather that hit the rest of Texas yesterday missed Houston and we only got a few rain showers late in the day. I was trying to get the kid to understand that I did not want to be caught in traffic or miles from home at the Rodeo, the museum, or in Galveston when that storm hit so we went to the Downtown Aquarium. We saw a very active octopus, some crazy cajun alligators and snapping alligator turtles, Nemo and Dory, moray and leopard eels, local fish that can be found in the Texas Gulf, an enormous python, and some sea horses. After the Sting Ray petting tank we were off to see the real stars of the Aquarium, The White Bengal Tigers. The Aquarium has four White Tigers, 2 males and 2 females. We were fortunate enough to see a demonstration led by the trainers on how they get the tigers to stand up on two legs, sit down, lie down, and stand still so that they can be visually inspected on their undersides of their bellies, paws, and chin by the trainers and vets. After the demonstration, the cats were allowed some free time to play around in the water.
Well, I promised an update from this weekend's training rides. Saturday was absolutely beautiful! We waited a little bit for some of the fog in the low areas to burn off and then we hit the road. I sent one of my fast guys up to the front who I have been coaching for over a year with TNT and had him lead the ride and then had one of my ride buddy volunteers hang with the middle group and I headed up the rear. I spent a good portion of the 21 miles teaching 4 gals about gearing and how to change the gears on their bike to make climbing hills easier and to have gear when they zipped down the hills on the other side. I also was constantly on them about upping their pace. 12 mph is a bit too slow to train at. I told these gals that if the work did not feel more than just challenging and comfortable, then they needed to bump it up to challenging and hard. Try to hit at least 16 mph. At 12 mph, once off the bike they still have a 10K to run and I did not want the race staff to be pulling the finish line down before they were done. I was trying to be nice about it without hurting their feelings, but I had to let them understand they they were going to be in a race, not a fun run or charity ride. Triathlon is all about getting down to business. So I think that they got the drift and they picked it up and said they would hit the LBS for a bike computer. The pine trees are spewing their yellow pollen right now and when I made a stop at a corner, I found yellow pine dust in the stitching on my tri shorts and my water bottles were caked with it where some water had dribbled out from the top. Yick! Of all the things I am allergic to, the pine dust does not bother me as much as it does other people.
On Sunday, we headed down to Moody Gardens in Galveston to have a training ride for the group that is gearing up for their first Sprint Tri at the Lone Star Triathlon Festival. It was less humid and the wind was much stronger than the morning before. We had a smaller group but they were still gung-ho. We did a 21 mile out and back route with the wind at our backs on the way out and a rip roaring headwind on the way back in. Again, I stayed back to help some of the newbies with gearing. One gal that I was with was really huffing and puffing. OK, she is on a road bike so what gives? I dropped back and looked at the gearing and then her tire. She was at 53 x 12 gearing and riding a semi-flat tire!!! I asked her if she had pumped up her tires and she said she had not, but that they were pumped up for her last ride a few weeks ago. Dho'! I guess that all off the fabulous training plan that I had written for them that included weekday workouts was not being followed because they have a 30 minute ride to do on Tuesdays and Thursdays. SAG came to the rescue and I got her taken care of. I told her I was going to go up and check on another rider. I pulled over with two of my guys that were struggling with a flat on the rear tire. Seems they were not at Coach's lesson on how to change a flat. So we had class there right on the side of the road. They were thankful I came to the rescue and SAG showed up just in time with the pump. I got them squared away and had seen Missy pass by so I told them that I was going to catch up to her. They are quick so I knew they would be alright. Whoo Hoo!!! with that tailwind I was cranking 26 mph and my heart rate was around 145, way under my 80% HR Max of 160. It felt great to get the speed up. I caught up to Missy after a few miles and we were near the turn around point. The rest of the gang was waiting for us. Erich and Terry showed up a few minutes later and joked about me leaving them in the dust.
The ride back in was going to be tough for this group, but I knew they could do it. I would ride ahead to check on each one of them and then pull to the side of the road and let them pass. Traffic was getting heavier as people were now up and about and it was the first weekend of Spring Break. Most motorists were not moving over and there was a huge motor home that gave everyone a scare by driving too close to the white line on the shoulder of the road. We only had about 12 to 15 inches of shoulder to work with and less if the sea grass started hogging the shoulder. Missy was really struggling on the way back and we stopped several times for her to take a break. At a point where we were only going 6 mph, I told her to pull over and rest. She said her back was really hurting and that she had a bulging disk in her low back last summer. That was it--ride over! Missy did not want to quit, but I made her SAG it in so that she would not hurt her back. I pedaled the last few miles in by myself and when I got back up on to the seawall, the wind was blowing the sand so hard that it felt like I was getting sand blasted. The wind was also blowing spray from the rather large waves up over the wall. It was refreshing, but salty.
Once I got back in and loaded the bike, we head out to Joe's Crab Shack for crabs! Yum! It was a great morning and they all felt like the experience in the wind was good for them. Now we just had to get home and deal with the crazy drunk and sleepy drivers heading home from the beach.
It was a great training weekend!
I'm off to go get my swim workout in. Have a great day!