Season III of Rabid TURTLE would be incomplete without a visit to Evolution Cycling presented by Long & Foster Training Camp 2011. After a poor base effort last year, I had such great hopes this year. I dreamed of bouncing up climbs and screaming descents that would remind all would-be rabbits that TURTLE was back and on it . . .
Dreams, dreams, dreams . . . reality and the boogieman came and nightmares followed. I entered camp emailing my Coach Bill (Pyramid Training Systems) of me desire to just take a break and pause my bike(ROCK)star effort. I was doing my best to wimp out . . .
But the social aspect of the Team and my over zealous extrovert drive drew me in like the sound of a martini shaker calling me home. Weather (WX) reports indicated rain on Thursday and my mouth (fingers to keyboard) got the best of me as I proclaimed that if I could “race in the rain” (last weekend’s effort) that I could “train in the rain” . . .
Yet, I did succumb to peer pressure and grabed my trainer as I loaded the truck with breakfast grub for the Team. Arriving in formation with SHAGGIE (Jeff), CHEWIE (Luke), and Luis we unpacked the vehicles, checked the WX and headed out the door with Kent. The rain was a light mist and not bad at all. I was not going to eat my words . . . YES!!!
The first climb of the day reminded me that my love for cold malted beverages was a curse as the extra 10lbs I was carrying was not bouncing up the climb. It was more like a Jel-O roll jiggling from side to side through wet and mud covered roads full of pasture run off. I hope the visual is as ugly (stinky) as it felt. The crew was waiting at the top of the first small climb but I pushed through and up the second climb of 2890 ft. My sticks were smoldering. I am thankful that the light mist kept the fire from starting. I still had another 30 miles of riding to go on the ride and burnt legs were going to be no help . . .
After regrouping with the Team we bombed down a decent and I was more chicken (no offense to teammate Chris Huhn) than TURTLE and feathered the breaks a great deal on the wet gravel roads. The Team was long gone as I reached the bottom. Once again I was alone and unafraid on the back roads of West Virginia. I kept an ear and an eye open wide looking to avoid any scene from “Deliverance” . . .
About 20 miles from camp the sky opened and rain came down in buckets. I was eating my words and mouthfuls or crap from every farm I passed. NOT NICE, NOT HAPPY!!! About 5 miles from camp I was crushed. As headlights approached I began to pray for the calvary. The first 4 or 5 vehicles passed without a nod and the rain was increasing in intensity. This was sucking more and more and my fun meter was at an all time low. Just when I was about to really quit, CHEWIE saved the day and me. I slung my rig into SHAGGIE’s truck and let out a large laugh. I would cry in the shower as I tried to warm up from the hardest 60 miles I had ever done . . .
After a martini recovery (or two...then some shots with CHEWIE), I gained liquid courage and looked forward to a dryer Day 2. Did I mention the social aspect of camp? It took away all the suffering and I came alive. I was still ready to quit but it was not standing at the door as it had just hours before. I was considering continuing my bike(ROCK)star quest . . .
After loosing power in camp and having to drive into town for dinner (where I added a margarita to help further my recover), I was pumped for Day 2 and looking forward to a larger group ride . . .
Missing a turn on the ride out we were soon back on course and slugging through a few climbs. Despite my recovery attempts, my lower back was screaming and refusing to support the 10 lbs of Jel-O. My Brother Nate came to the rescue and slugged it out with me by keeping me company and helping to eliminate the despair. Snow flurries turned into full on effort that felt more like sleet on the final climb of the day. The tank was empty and fun was gone. As former teammate MA has often heard . . . “TURTLE TOAST” was in play. I don’t know how but along with Nate and T (Tyra) we finished another 60 miles . . .
Day 2 called for a larger number of recovery martinis and I finished the bottle of GOOSE. A very perceptive CHEWIE recognized this dilemma and took action upon himself to ensure I would not abandon camp. As TUTTIE (Brain) arrived Friday night, out of his bag came a bottle of GOOSE and a HAPPY TURTLE DANCE ensued. One day I may try to beat this addiction but it was not going to happen this night . . .
With some additional liquid courage I cornered Coach Bill and try to play my wimp cards. He was not going to hear it. His bike(ROCK)superstar wife Jenny (whom I did not recognize at first--blaming previous hangover here) joined in on the action. He explained how close I was and that I just needed to stick to it and not give up. I was listening and trying to argue against it all. I wanted to be a wimp. I wanted to turn in my EVO kit and go back to just having fun on my bike . . .
So I awoke on Day 3 and calling “Dibs on Fun” and found 5 others (T, Christina, Jeffrey Ritter, Kent and Ryan) to join me in a “fun” ride. Temps were already in the 50s and it was going to be an awesome day. We hung out together, laughed, and pushed up the climbs. My legs were coming back and my lower back was told to just shut up and it did. After the big climb of the day we left layers in the sag wagon (Michelle Seymour ROCKS!!!), snapped a pic and started to bomb down the descent that left me off the back on Thursday . . .
Halfway down, Jeffrey Ritter passed me yelling, “I got my legs.” An so he did. He passed everyone on the descent and shot to the front of our little group. I watched him turn onto the flat valley floor and he kept going and going. We had to form a chase group to bring him back. Oh yeah, fun was retuning . . .
After we caught the THE SPORTY KNIGHT (Ritter is “Knight” in German), we formed a rotating paceline and began to have more fun. The stronger Brothers of Ryan and Kent took it easy on the rest of us and the fun factor began to increase. About 20 miles out we picked up Ed O’Neal and as he and Kent went off to play, Christina, Ryan and I took turns rotating to keep a steady pace to bring T and Jeffrey home. It was awesome and I was rediscovering the joy of this sport . . .
As we approached Lost City I joked w/ Christina that a Dirty Martini was the prize for winning the sprint to the town sign. She jumped and smoked me! As I caught up to her she reminded me she liked it “dirty” and I swear my laugh echoed down the valley. Joy was at a high as we fault the headwind down the finial stretch and into camp to complete another 60 miles . . .
I bailed on the last day of camp as I wanted to leave on a high note. I had three days of about 60 miles each under my legs and that was enough to propel me to spend time with Stan the Afghan with a smile. While my Brothers and Sisters of spandex greatness put one more assault on the roads and climbs of Virginia and West Virginia, I packed my bags and began to try and copy cycling DVDs to my iPod. I will continue my bike(ROCK)star quest, I am not going to wimp out, I will return leaner and ready for competitive battle . . .
I found “fun” at Lost River . . .