Training Camp, or I (Do Not) Want to Ride My Bicycle

5:57 AM

We gathered in a local bike shop just as it opened on a gray, windy Saturday morning.  The ride leaders handed out cue sheets, maps, and lists of cell phone numbers, all handily wrapped in plastic bags.  Instructions were announced, last trips to the bathroom were taken, and tires were given a final once-over before we rolled out of the parking lot and headed out of town.

Do I have enough food?  Will a donut fit in my pocket?
My team gathered for its second annual Spring Training Camp this past weekend in Red Wing, a small town on the Mississippi where the river begins to carve out immense bluffs in the land as it stretches out into Lake Pepin.  The cue sheet tucked into my back pocket would directed us up more than one of these bluffs, and I hopped from one foot to the other in anticipation of a longer ride than I have ever done. 

I am not a believer in big miles as part of my training.  If I raced road, where the distances for women can get up over 50 miles, this might be different; however, my longest mountain bike races clock in under two hours, and cross is always under one.  Thankfully, I do not need to schedule hammer-fest rides that hover around five hours into my training schedule.  So Saturday was a one-off ride more about being a good teammate than getting a necessary workout.  I was confident that my group (the B ride) would have a good, well-controlled ride.

The ride was great – we had an awesome leader who wrangled us into nearly professional pace lines, and a few scheduled stops along the way kept my belly full and happy.  It was much colder than anticipated, and I did struggle to keep my hands and feet warm in temperatures that never left the 40s (stupid weather forecast had predicted highs in the 70s).  The climbs were painful, but spaced far enough apart to allow for solid recovery.  Motorists were generally kind (a few honks, but I’m sure they were just saying “hi”), and we only had a few flats to deal with.  You can’t argue with a route that provides sweeping views of the Mississippi river and a visit to the birthplaces of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the sport of waterskiing! 

What I hadn’t anticipated was that Sunday would bring another ride – a nearly three-hour recovery spin.  Ooooh, there are simply not enough donuts and coffee in the world to get me happily through this ride…  

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