After dressing in my leg warmers, shorts, t-shirt, jersey, arm warmers, jacket and socks we headed out the door to drive to the beach. Needless to say, I still wasn't warm in the car. After arriving at the ABC store on the beach, I put on Karel's cycling shoes, Jacket, booties and gloves and finally I was somewhat warm. Karel, Jeff and I were on our bikes by 7am and off we went for our ride.
Jeff had a plan to take Karel and I to the "mountains" of jacksonville. I just kept smiling because I thought we were just going to ride over bridges (the florida version of mountains). However, after about 20 miles of riding rolling streets and going over 1 bridge, Jeff was not kidding. We were climbing neighborhood streets which were named "mount" or "pleasent hilll" and these roads were steep! They were all short but I had to get into my smallest gear, get out of my saddle and swerve back and forth to get up these hills that were at least 14% grade. They kind of scared me cause it has been a long time since i climbed something that steep (I think the last time was in 2007 when we went to watch the Tour de Georgia in Dahlonega). Nevertheless, I was a trooper and I did the climbs.
After a few more miles, we got to a neighborhood, made a left and started climbing again. There were two climbs on a road that made a big loop so Karel and Jeff did their own thing by riding the loop 4 times. I couldn't keep up with them but instead of waiting for them, I decided to ride alone and do the loop (with the two hills) alone. We eventually started heading back to the shop with 30 miles of rolling hills and a few steep climbs and I knew our ride was not overwith. I got dropped on the way back on the bridge but I pushed hard to catch back up. Although the sunday ride is long, it is a tempo ride so the pace isn't incredibly fast. Needless to say, it is still tough with the wind that never goes away here in jacksonville.
I didn't want to complain but a few times I wanted to yell to Karel and Jeff to wait up for me. However, I knew they wouldn't be too happy about waiting for me every time I couldn't keep up. So, I would push push push to get back on their wheel and then we were all back together again.
When we got back to the beach, Karel told me they would do another hour and a half and I could go to the car and get some breakfast if I didn't want to go with them. I wasn't ready to stop so I told Karel I would join them. The pace picked up a bit to about 23 mph and with a little tailwind, it was a bit easier to stay on their wheels. However, I was looking at all the huge and beautiful houses along the beach and I found myself drifting back. After about 12 miles, we made a potty stop and I thought we would turn around to give us 30 more miles. Well, Karel and Jeff had a few more miles to go until the reached another steep bridge and then they would turn around. Karel said I could start heading back and with the headwind, we would probably all get back together eventually. However, I was in no mood to try to ride by myself in straight (and I mean STRAIGHT, in your face) headwind, so I joined them for another climb over another bridge. I stayed on their wheel for the first climb but I got dropped on the way back on the bridge. However, I powered my way back to the guys and with burning legs, it was time to face the wind.
The way back was ridiculously hard. The guys were holding around 19mph but I have no idea how they did that. If I even moved to the side of a wheel (they were rotating every mile) by just 1 foot I would be popped off and there would be no more drafting for me. I was grinding my teeth and pedaling for dear life and before I knew it the guys switched into their small chain ring and it was time to cool down.
Karel was impressed and so was Jeff. I was also impressed that I didn't complain. I am trying really hard to just suck it up and get through these workouts. However, even though they are crazy hard for me, I absolutely love riding with Karel and I get an extra boost of confidence when he sees me "hanging on" during these rides. I think everyone needs a confidence booster in their life, whether it is a coach, friend, family member, child or teammate. That person just makes the workout so much better and when you feel like death after a workout, the person reminds you that you aren't the only one that is suffering. We all suffer in different ways and if it wasn't for the suffering, we would never get stronger or faster.
The rest of Sunday was kinda pathetic. Karel had to work from 12-4 after our 60 mile ride and I did thank you notes, finished up a microbiology concept map and took Campy for a SLOW walk. After Karel came home, we had dinner and watched IMKY (taped on the DVR) and watched a movie. By 9:30 we were ready for bed.
Now I am at school, I just got out of Microbiology and I'm waiting for my next class to take an exam in microeconomics. Thank goodness this is a short week...I can't wait until Thursday!