Thursday, January 17, 2019

Triathlete's Journey: Puerto Rico Edition

Aaaaaaand we're baaaaaack!

Elle: Yes, after a HUGE break, we're getting the band back together - the Blog is back!

So there have been some changes lately. Mostly that I moved to the island of Puerto Rico! Webb is still holding down the fort in Boston with the cats, but for the next year, I'll be soaking in the sun and palm trees.

Webb: Holding down the fort means, I'm staring at the bike trainer afraid of the outside, dreading cold walks to the pool and telling myself, "...this time, I'm definitely going to do that run workout," all while Elle works on her selfie-at-the-beach game.

Elle: I have to admit, I have upped my selfie-at-the-beach game...
I haven't been training all the much lately, and I had knee surgery this past fall, but I'm ready to get back into it for 2019. I've signed up for my first race, the Run Like A Diva 5K in San Juan. I'm on a big team of women, of whom I know only one person,a co-worker who got me connected to the team. Apparently I won't meet any of them until race day. And I think the plan is for us all to be wearing the matching tutu thing. Oh well, it'll be nice to be with a group of runners anyway...

But today I want to talk about bike rides.
In the suburb-y town of Dorado, Puerto Rico, there is a fabulous thing that happens every Sunday. They close off a section of road that runs along the ocean and a nature reserve. And from 6am to 11am, there's a tropical 10 mile loop. I've done 2 rides along this route. From my apartment to the loop and back is about 18 miles. The first bit from my apartment to the start of the nature reserve is a little dodgy, through the center of town with bad, narrow roads. So I try to get up early to avoid as much traffic as possible. However it doesn't get light enough until about 6:45am, so I have to wait until then to head out.

It's pretty amazing, having the road all to yourself (along with a bunch of runners + cyclists). And there were a bunch of nice, NICE bikes out on the road, and even a couple of legit, 25-man pelotons.

Insights - the Sunday bike ride
  1. It's a beautiful, car-less, 10-mile loop training course, 5 miles out, 5 miles back
  2. I forgot to put on my Chamois Buttr this past week....
  3. My bike shorts are over 3 years old....
  4. OUCH
  5. I think because it's between the ocean and a humid nature reserve, there is an abundance of these tiny black bugs. SO MANY. I smashed a BUNCH with my face and legs. And I definitely ate at least one.
  6. The route is basically flat. Except one hill I hit on the way back into town. It's very short. And very steep. The first time I rode it, I didn't think I was going to make it to the top. 9.3% grade! But I did make it that day. So the second time I attacked the hill with more gusto, and basked in the glow of reaching the top with aplomb.
Next time: PHOTOS!

Webb: While Elle is enjoying tropical nature reserve bike rides, I've joined the #DoThePlanWithDan training. It is a 10-week bike plan built to bring Dan Lloyd, former pro-cyclist and current GCN (Global Cycling Network) presenter, back into fitness. I'll leave it to Dan to tell his story and why a guy whose job is cycling has fallen out of shape. You can follow along on Strava and Facebooger or if you are simply curious about how effective The Sufferfest is, check back with the GCN YouTube channel to see how Dan fared.

I'll be using it for similar purposes. My fitness has been up and down over the past two years. This structured approach will give me four hours on the bike each week which should allow me to squeeze in some run and swim workouts. At the end of the 10 weeks I hope to have some target races so that I can pick a proper training plan and be ready to go.

Elle: Elsewhere, I took my life in my hands recently and biked to work. Which normally isn't a big deal. But on this island, people drive a tad bit crazy. There's a shoulder for part of the way, but not the whole way. And with all of the monstrously deep pot holes, drivers often have to swerve into the other lane or shoulder to avoid them.
When Webb was here, we drove the route to see if it was safe to bike. Due to the conditions of the road, etc., Webb forbade me from riding it. But after a month of having to ask my co-workers to drive me to and from work everyday, I was craving some autonomy. So, despite my fear, I finally took the plunge and rode my bike to work. I don't know the deets on the ride because I didn't wear my sports watch. Was it because I didn't want Webb to get the auto alert from Strava that I had biked the forbidden route? Or did I just forget to put the watch on? You decide....

Addendum:
This morning I shared my shower with this guy:

Don't know how he got in, because he couldn't seem to get himself out. So we played chase around the shower, as I tried not to step on him. Ahhhh, island living..

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