Monday, April 30, 2007

Biking Adventures with Ray & Rob

"Life is either a great adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

Indeed, Helen, our weekend long bike workouts always prove to be be adventurous - and this weekend was no different.

Ray had to work on Saturday at 10 a.m., so in order to get in our hour and a half brick (bike / run), we planned to meet at her apartment at 7:00 on Saturday morning. Robyn had gotten out of bed late and phoned Ray on the drive over to say that coffee and food were desperately needed before we could hit the road. Time was tight and Ray came through like a champ with fuel waiting at the door when Robyn arrived. After gulping down caffeine, chomping through a frozen waffle slathered in peanut butter, finding our bike and running shoes (and our helmets, sunscreen, snacks, water, Gatorade, bike pump, phone, credit card, etc.), transferring gear from Robyn's car to Rachel's, printing off a copy of our new route map (and leaving a copy behind for our hubbies - just in case we needed a rescue) and remembering to lock the door behind us, we were off! It was 7:25 a.m.

We drove to a church in rural Orange County to begin a new 17 mile loop that would be followed by a 20 minute run. We planned to build to race pace during the ride, quickly transition for an easy 5 min run, followed-by 15 min of running building to race pace. We'd planned plenty of time for a nice cool down and stretch. Our coach would be so proud.

Oh, the best laid plans.

On the way into the church, we passed a newly dead doe lying in the middle of the road. Perhaps it was an omen?

The first half of our ride was perfect. Late spring in North Carolina is heaven and this one was one those extra-special mornings. Cool, clear, and crisp blue sky. Ray was navigating and we were chatting away. Then we passed more roadkill. In total, over the course of this weekend's workouts, we encountered the afore mentioned doe, numerous possums and squirrels, two completely squished small turtles, and a giant black snake.

In the midst of our chatter about our week, life, our upcoming race and the incredible roadkill spectrum lying before us, we began to realize that the miles were piling up and we had not yet made the final turn of our loop. Hmmm......

Ray pulled out the route cue sheet and noted that our turn was about 5 or 6 miles back. No problem, we thought. We could use this stretch as a race pace interval and still make it back to the car with time to transition to our run before Ray needed to be at work. Her shower might be cut short, but she could make it. She had been balancing work, school, training, buying a new house, interviewing for doctoral programs, and her marriage for the last two years -and by golly, this workout was going to get done. Not to worry she told Robyn.

We turn our bikes around and book it. We're in our aerobars, flying through farm land with the wind at our back. We hit over 30 mph and feel like pros.

Then Ray's nose starts to bleed profusely. Because of her work schedule, we don't have time to stop -- and we don't have anything to wipe her nose if we we just keep going. She smears blood all over the sleeve of her jersey and starts to resemble all of the roadkill we've passed.

We near the church with one final hill to climb....and then, Ray drops her chain. She yells to Robyn to keep going in order for one of us to get our run in, but you never leave your wing (wo)man, so Robyn pulled over while Ray put her ingenue bike mechanic skills to the test.

A few minutes later we clip back in and head to the church, where we quickly transition into our running shoes for a 6 minute jog.

Bloody and battered Ray was only 8 minutes late to work -- and Robyn promised to navigate our next ride.

Ah, the adventurous lives we lead.