June 24 , 2006
I hadn't experienced the jet that sometimes serves that route but it sure beats the one hour ride in the propeller plane that I am use to - it took 37 minutes, last Tuesday morning, to fly from Denver to Durango. Tom and I had just arrived home to the usual crystal clear blue skies of Durango from our latest cycling quest. This time it was centered around me. Since I have traveled to many of Tom's races and training camps he decided to support me the past couple of weeks as I competed in the east coast NORBA races.
We tried to start our trip on Thursday before the cross country race at Sugar Mountain in North Carolina . We made it as far as the Durango airport before our flight was cancelled. Being a, sometimes, picky bike racer I started to get a little disgruntled as I had hoped to preride the course on Friday in attempts to tune up my nonexistent east coast technical skills.
We tried again on Friday, this time making it to Charlotte and then driving into the hills of Boone. As we rolled into Boone the sun was starting to set and it looked like I wasn't going to get that pre ride in that I was hoping for. Tom and I found our condo that was 2 minutes from the venue and started to unpack. Tom looked at me, as he put my mountain bike together, and asked if ‘it felt like I was in that seventies show?'. Our condo was straight out of that seventies show complete with orange curtains, white pleather chairs, a unique round hanging light decorated with yellow and orange diamonds plus more seventies memorabilia.
I decided to get up early and ride the course the morning of race day. It was great to get out on the deserted course; the morning air was crisp and woke my mind and body up for the competition. Later, when the announcement for the ‘women's pro staging' rang out over the microphone I felt the butterflies fluttering in my stomach. The national anthem was played and then we were off in a flurry of dust.
The course started on a long climb and I found myself climbing with some of the top women racers. Needless to say I was psyched to be there and wanted so badly to stay with these talented women but soon we entered the twisted roots of the east. My inexperience on such technical terrain was evident and I lost sight of the top ten. I rode the next 2 laps as smooth as I could trying to make up time on the climb and limit my losses on the descents. As I rode across the finish line Tom was there with a big smile and a congratulations.
The following day was the short track, all out suffering for 20 plus minutes. It was an intense race and I had a great time pedaling as fast as I could. Tom ran from one section of the course to the other cheering me on; this was after he trained for 4 hours up and down the infamous Beech Mountain that was once apart of the Tour Dupont Stage Race.
After a great weekend in North Carolina we traveled to East Lyme Connecticut and stayed with Tom's parents for the week before we headed to Mount Snow in Vermont . My preride on the Mount Snow course consisted of much time off my bike. This course was incredibly technical and difficult. The roots from the densely wooded land twisted in every direction winding through rock after rock. After 4 times around the slippery route I could clear almost all the sections and felt okay about the upcoming race.
I made it through the first race lap okay and headed for my second lap. I felt my frustration building from the course and by the third lap I was completely aggravated. I lost concentration and just wanted to get through the race. Tom was there, again, at the finish line with a smile and I was so irritated with my race that I took it out on him. After a few minutes of a small temper tantrum I got myself together and Tom was there to remind me that this was only my second race on the east coast and I can't expect to be a master on such difficult and unfamiliar landscaping. The short track followed a similar pattern to the previous week but it was 10 degrees hotter and more humid. The perspiration ran down my face during the short race and I loved every second of it.
After the last race on Sunday afternoon we packed up and went to sleep for an early morning rise. We had to drive to the Outdoor Life Network studios in time for a guest appearance by Tom for the Tour de France preview show. It was pretty fun to see Paul, Phil and Bob film their scripts. I couldn't believe how little retakes they had to do!
The time spent with Tom's parents was overdue and greatly cherished by all of us, especially by the proud parents of an outstanding athlete. At the same time I appreciated everything Tom did for me from handing me water bottles in the feed zone to giving me leg massages at night, he's a keeper. Although I would love for Tom to join me at every race he has much loftier expectations on his shoulders and needs to get back into a good recovery routine. Handing off water bottles after training isn't the best recovery for such extreme workouts.
We only have a week together before Tom returns to Girona and starts racing again. We won't see each other for 3 months, the longest time apart in a couple of years. It is always incredibly hard to say goodbye for that lengthy of a stretch but in the mean time we will visit our favorite restaurants hang out by the Animas River that flows through Durango and enjoy the time we have.
Till next time,