After Texas we flew home for a long weekend of wedding celebrations! My cousin tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony and we had a blast dancing the night away at the reception. My cousin and his girlfriend (now wife!) lived in Arizona when we moved here. I feel so blessed to have gotten to know her over the last few years and was honored to stand up for both of them during the ceremony. These two are what make family so special and I look forward to many more good times in the future. Texas 2015??? :-)
|Paul and Desiree|
|Me with a couple of my favorite kiddos!|
The wedding was only a week after Texas so I was still in recovery mode. I told my coach I had access to a cruiser-type bike and would be happy to ride it or run while we were in Iowa. We have a beautiful rails- to- trails path that runs for about 70 miles. I'm pretty sure I had a giddy-stupid smile on my face the whole time we were biking. It was a gorgeous day and I don't often get to enjoy the green trees!!
|Cruising on the Wabash Trace.|
Soon June was upon us and we were settling back into training for the fall. My team, TriScottsdale, does a "best ball" golf tournament every year and this year we decided to jump in. In my mind, I was thinking that this would be a fun event. And we did have fun, but the small problem that I encountered is that you still have to actually be able to hit a golf ball. Never having played before, this was quite comical as I whiffed tee off more than I actually contacted the ball.
We were divided into teams of 4, and each player had to tee off. Then each person plays from the best position for the remainder of the hole. I was definitely the weak link until we got onto the green and then I could shine. Don't ask me why, but putting came pretty easy and I was happy to be able to contribute a little to my team. But it wasn't all serious... We had one hole where we had to tee off blind folded. Another time it was "fastest" to the hole. And then we had the triathlon hole.... where we wore swim caps and goggles (barefoot) for tee off, and then changed into bike helmets and running shoes for the rest of the hole. Made for some good laughs.
|The triathlon hole...|
Duty calls, and the end of June found me in San Francisco for a continuing education meeting. I have visited the city numerous times for business and pleasure, and I have my favorite running routes all mapped out. Coach assigned me hill repeats one day-- there is nothing like hill repeats in San Francisco... and then agreed to let me run my favorite 20 mile route from Union Square where I was staying to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. I LOVE the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm not sure why, but it is so intriguing to me. I am terrified of heights and couldn't actually stop on the bridge to take pictures. (I tried once and when I looked up at the pillars my world started spinning and thought it best to keep running and not stagger off the bridge into the cold waters below!) I did capture this beauty when I crossed into Marin on the other side before I headed back.
Back in Phoenix, I got a text message from a Team HPB team mate of mine. It read, "Have you ever biked to Payson?" So, for starters, I had biked most of the way to Payson (a town heading into the mountains about 70 miles from where I live). Last fall, a friend and I hopped on our bikes and headed that way. A few hours later some more friends got in the car and drove... when they caught us we hopped in and did some hiking, and had a picnic lunch before heading back. But I have always wanted to finish the ride. So I took it upon myself to arrange a little bicycle adventure, and over the 4th of July weekend, we started out from Fountain Hills heading toward Payson. Our little group of 6, quickly became 5 as one of the riders had multiple mechanical issues from the start. He had arranged his own SAG and so just called it a day after the second or third issue.
|Golden Gate Bridge|
For the first 2 hours I felt so slow as my legs were shaking off the rust, but soon enough they came around and I was climbing comfortably the rest of the way. The weather was perfect. Just a little bit overcast, and the temps dropped noticeably as we increased in elevation. As the morning wore on, 3 more riders suffered multiple flat tires, a saddle that wouldn't stay put, and road debris caught in the rear cassette. By the time we reached Payson our 5 hours of ride time had taken us 7 hours of actual time. Since we had only one SAG vehicle and it was late in the day now we made the decision to have part of the group start back as we tried to figure out how we were going to get 5 bikes and 6 people into one little Xterra. Within 20 minutes, we got the call to pick up one of the riders with another flat. So we loaded as many bikes as we could into the car, sagged the remaining rider, and drove back to Fountain Hills where we dropped everyone off and then I headed back out the collect the last rider standing. He made it within 15 miles of Fountain Hills when I picked him up... looking happy as a clam!
|Loving the ride!|
|We made it to Payson.|
We decided in the future it would be best to have at least 2 SAG vehicles, one to lead and one to sweep. That way, when someone suffers a mechanical or a flat everyone else can keep riding and the SAG vehicle can help solve the problem and then drop the rider off down the road with the group.
I also kept our packing list of items that we had available in the SAG car for my future reference.
Extra tubes - be prepared for various wheel types! We had 80 mm tubes and standard 48 mm.
Patch kits, chain lube
Spare tire (preferably something bullet proof!)
Towels (these came in handy when we had to stack a couple of bikes for the ride home, and for the sweaty bodies on the seats!)
Gatorade cooler (the kind with the screw on lid, and spout...): filled with ice water!!!
salty snacks- we had pringles, rice crisps, and some other salty snack foods
extra gallons of water to top off the cooler as needed
We also encouraged each rider to bring a small bag of personal nutrition/ hydration needs. Mine included Osmo hydration, Honey Stinger chews, Bonk Breakers.
Overall this was an awesome ride and the road was in way better condition than I had expected (despite the flat tires!). The scenery was beautiful and it was challenging but not so much that you couldn't enjoy what you're doing. Next time, I want to be able to go there and back- with an earlier start and more support cars!
|First to the top!|
Along with my epic ride to Payson, I've been spending most of my time it seems on the trails. It's been wonderful to be able to explore some of my favorite parks that I haven't been to in a while and try to conquer my more familiar trails at a faster pace. Unfortunately, as one friend reminded me, the trail requires blood sacrifice at times. And my time came due! After a particularly speedy 9 miler I was in the final section heading back to my car. My toe caught the gravel and down I went with a pretty good skid. Wounds heal and battle scars are badges of honor!
|It looks better than it actually was. I did a pretty good number on myself!|
And last but not least, we have added to our clan. After laying Zorro to rest in March, our house was particularly quiet. The boys (Gus, Brady and Blue) are all getting up in years with the youngest being 9. I decided it was a good time to bring in some younger life. I think as a pet owner, I worry about all my pets aging at the same time. We don't know the exact ages of Gus and Brady, but we believe they are both 12. Blue has never been an only cat. Anyway... you see where this is going... So a friend of mine had several litters of kittens that she had been fostering. One litter was ready to be placed in homes so she let me do a trial weekend with two of them. Needless to say, they never left! Our little Moo and Blackie have been a fun and loving addition to our home. They make us laugh every day with their antics. It's been so long since I've had a kitten I forgot how playful they are! They will literally play for hours until they collapse from exhaustion. Then they sleep for 15 minutes and play again! And the older boys are teaching them the fine art of napping and snuggling.
|Love these faces!|
As summer nears it's turning point we are settling into the last 8 weeks before Ironman Wisconsin. We've got some more summer fun before then with a couple of races in Flagstaff and a 50k in Tahoe. I've been having so much fun training I almost don't want summer to end. Then it's time to get into serious race mode and I feel I have so much work yet to be done.