I thought I knew what was coming today. The smell of coffee woke me up around 5:50am. However, Smudla crying woke karel up around 5:15am. Apparently, Smudla (our cat/alarm clock) needed some attention so she jumped in a tall laundry basket and couldn't get out. Don't feel sorry for her..She is spoiled, always needs attention and well, we love her to death so we have no one to blame but ourselves. Instead of oatmeal I had toast w/ PB and a few walnuts. In addition to my water and coffee, I needed something super easy to digest before today's workout. I said bye to Karel around 6:30am as he head out the door for his 3 hour solo ride. He had 72 min. of threshold work to do at a given power range. Although some days are better than others (he was super tired last night), I am just impressed with his effort and determination on the bike. I headed out for an easy hour warm-up before I met the guys at CVS. I always say "the guys" because Gearlink is mostly made up of male cyclists. Roberta and Celia are two of the fastest and strongest cyclists in the area and they also ride with "the guys". I met Karel on a Gearlink ride (one of these blogs I will reminisce about that day) so I've really gotten to know everyone and those guys (which are range from age 30 to 50) are not only fun to be around but they are all really strong on the bike. At 8am we headed out to Sand Key beach, taking Alt 19, through downtown Clearwater to Bellair. A funny thing happened on the way to the Sand Key causeway as we turned right off the Bellair causeway. Well, apparently a cop was just waiting for some cyclists to come by cause we all got pulled over!! Can you imagine....a siren is telling 20 cyclists to pull over. Ha! I know it has happened before but I just found it funny. We didn't come to a complete stop at the red light before making a right turn and the cop gave us a lecture about being more careful. Seeing that cars roll through stop signs all the time, I wish cops would be more strict on cars that with cyclists. But it is important to be safe on the bike, assuming that cars don't see you when you are riding. Luckily, we have an eclectic group of cyclists so Bob (a lawyer on the team) was the first to talk to cop. We also have doctors, engineers, bike techs, builders, architects and a nutritionist (me!) so it all seems to work well when we are riding together. Just before we were about to start the 12 bridge repeaters (6 climbs on each side) I saw a familiar bike coming in the opposite direction. Guess who...KAREL!!! YAY!! He finished his workout and decided to join us. My confident booster, coach and buddy is here! Ok, good and bad. He gives me great advice but I always find myself pushing a little harder than normal. I wasn't sure how many repeaters Karel would do but I was pleased to find out that he was staying right next to me during all the climbs. He was giving me great criticisms (good and bad) and really pushed me to get up the bridge w/ a strong cadence. Although I was super tired and by #4 I thought we had done #8 (Karel let me down with that news) but he stayed with me through all 12 climbs. I can't tell you how great it felt to have him with me even though all the other guys were working much harder than I was. He could have easily gone home after his 3 hour ride or lead the stronger guys up the climbs but he was right there with me. At the end of the ride we all grouped up at a gas station and as always, the jokes went to Karel. The guys like to pick on him when we are both together. We all laughed when the guys said that Karel was slowing me down and Karel had to pull on my jersey cause I was going to fast for him. Of course I told everyone that I wanted to keep Karel company for those tough climbs but we know that is far from the truth :) After one more climb over the memorial causeway on the way home (opps-got dropped big time on that one) I ended up with 49 miles and very sore quads. I guess I pushed hard today and boy did I feel the burn. I felt it about 12 times and each time I was climbing I thought I didn't have it in me for another one. Climbing a causeway is nothing like climbing in GA but if it is the only thing we have, I will work my hardest in order to get stronger.
A little bit of resting before a x-mas party tonight. I'm looking forward to seeing the Gearlinkers in something other than bib shorts, helmets and jerseys. Have a great weekend everyone!