Major apologies for the delay up front here. Crazy busy with the move and traveling for work, so this is long overdue.
So the morning came quick, and it was CHILLY! I had packed for 80 and sunny every day, and was nowhere near prepared for a 50 deg morning ride. The plan was to do a 80 mile ride, with an attempt in the middle at cresting the toughest climb in Chattanooga. Boy were they not kidding!
We got about an hour into the ride, to the base of this climb, and broke into groups. Some people took the scenic route, others chose a hilly route that was less severe hills, and the small group of sorry souls chose to crest the beast. No numbers of grades could give this justice. You see the guys in the tour on tv and think, wow they are strong but I can make it up that hill (maybe not nearly as fast but I could do it)! Well my friends, there are some hills out there that you just aren’t going to make up in the saddle. This hill nearly became one of those. A 2 mile and change clime straight up switchback roads. You turn the corner and look for freedom and get a steeper grade, next less steep, but you knew at every turn was disappointment because you had more and more to climb.
(Dream team atop Chattanooga)
After making it to the top, we regrouped, caught our breath, and had the descent ahead of us. Just before starting the descent we found a nice scenic lookout and wow was it pretty. It overlooked the valley below, you could see forever! What a great area to live and train.
After making it back from the ride, everyone was telling their stories, how pretty it was etc. But the one thing we all agreed on was that we were hungry and needed some fine southern BBQ. We hit up this hole in the wall BBQ joint down the street and man if the stereotype ever held true about hole in the wall joints…this one didn't disappoint. Every BBQ dish you could ask for, millions of sides, this was heaven for a bunch of exhausted and empty stomached triathletes!
After eating ourselves into food comas, we went back to the cabin for some relaxation before the big swim meet. JP fell asleep while reading some lady drama on his kindle fire, Chris fell asleep on a giant rock down by the river, basking in the sun like an iguana at a vacation resort, and the others all hung out on the porch, catching some sun rays, and catching up. The only true warriors were stu and I who decided that we wanted to get in a nice little run. WOW!
We headed out the road the way we did for yesterday mornings run, and the small inclines you would never complain about in a race shredded Stu’s and my legs! After the first 5 mins, once we were warmed up, it went a lot smoother, but man o man those first few mins were a struggle. We went about 3 miles and were prepped for the swim meet!
The teams were set:
- Team Stu: Stu, Inch, Sarah L, & Chris
- Team Michelle: JP, Michelle, Sara z, & Rob
It took some major coercing to get a few of the individuals to partake, but managed to do so and the race was on!
The race was a relay style race, 1 length of across the river. First up, Stu vs Michelle. They both dove in and took off like bandits, Stu gaining the early advantage, Michelle keeping her perfect distance drafting like a champ. The lead was marginal as the second legs were off. Chris jumping out to an early lead, going out like a banshee, JP left behind in the seaweed. Unfortunately the tables turned quickly as chris had taken a path that was slightly off course. JP managed to make up a bunch of ground based on the miscalculation, and after the second leg the race was still a near dead heat! The Sara(h)’s were up next and seemed to keep the competitive atmosphere tightly locked. Starting side by side, they each glided through the water with such ease. They, also unfortunately, miscalculated their line and were pulled downstream with the current a little ways, and had to work against the current the last few yards. Sarah L had managed a slight advantage and after a quick team tag I was off. I hadn’t swam much if at all the last 3 months, and knew if I could get out of sight early that would be my best chance. And that I tried, taking the race as if it were a 50. Turning the arms over as fast as possible, kicking like I had a motor. That was short lived as the legs locked up halfway across from the ride earlier, and the form fell apart. In my peripheral I could see rob making a late charge in the last bit of the race. This was really making me nervous, there was too much left, I had to make another surge. I gave it one last effort, and man was that painful, but it was enough to hold of Rob and team Michelle, en route to a team Gold in the first annual Team Stu vs Team Michelle River Relay.
Later on that evening, we all grilled, polished off as many beers as we could, and even included moonshine into the mix, all while attempting to capture Bigfoot evidence in any way possible. Andy and Heather came over and partook in the festivities, reminiscing over the beautiful training and getting in the last few moments with the team before the departure in the morning.
The True Dream Team!
Overall an unbelievable weekend in paradise. Huge props to chris for finding such a baller spot to call home. Major thanks to Andy and the rest of the Hub crew for all the support, the bike help, as well as chauffeuring us around on all the workouts. You guys really made our trip! And also shoutout to Q-Roo and everyone there who helped educate us on how the greatest bike manufacturer maintains its dominance in the market! Lastly, thanks to the entire team Evotri, What an unbelievable make up of a team, the perfect group to not only have a great time, but to get down to business and really get the most out of their training. Thanks to you guys for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity!
Cant wait till next year to do it all again!