With some of the weather lately, my time cycling has dwindled. It is unfortunate this has come along just as our team has really started to ramp up the hill climbing, distance and time on the bike. I’m concerned by the time I get back out there I will have either not progressed or, worse, fallen a few steps back from where I was when I did my last training ride. I’ve been working hard at surpassing my personal status quo on a consistent basis.
Hopefully, we’ll get back to riding soon. We are now well into the journey around the lake, but there is still so far to go before we’re properly prepared. (By “we,” I’m not speaking of my selves, but of the Team in Training group.)
When last we rode together, it was not pleasant for me. About six miles into a breezy and damp..ish 46 mile ride, I found I had some mechanical issues with my bike and I was going to have to minimize my shifting. This meant all of the upcoming hills were going to be more of a challenge than normal. And, normally, hills are quite the challenge for me.
One of the coaches was kind enough to hang back with me as I slowly…slowly made my way around the curves and up and over the hills. The rest of the team was so far ahead of us I couldn’t even find their dots on the horizon. But coach and I kept putting one foot over the other. Diligently.
That’s one of the many great advantages of doing something like this with a group such as Team in Training.
The large overall team – currently sitting at around 120 – 130 members – is split up according to the rider’s comfort zone. Different smaller groups, each averaging a specific range of MPH are created and the cyclists decide which group they feel best fits them and their current cycling level.
With each group, there are two or more coaches to supply their members with physical, quizzical or emotional assistance, as needed. These coaches have gone through just about everything we’re going through. Many have performed these duties for several years and counting.
I’ve found I can’t throw a tire lever without it grazing the cheek of someone with a wealth of experience in the Team in Training realm and/or a story or three about their last ride around Lake Tahoe.
I find these people invaluable at this time in my training. Not only do they make me feel more motivated to complete the task I’ve set out to accomplish, but they also offer necessary support. They allow me to have my doubts, but rather than succumb to the doubts, they help me believe I can overcome the negatives in my head.
And it’s not only the coaches.
Along with the coaching staff, we are blessed with team captains and mentors. Why, there is such a plethora of people just wandering around searching for ways to help us reach our goals – physically, mentally and financially – it’s astounding. And neat.
As I finally finished my mechanically challenged ride, I took a quick but close look at the coach. If he was in any way disgruntled with “having” to stay back with me, his face did not show it. Along with the coach, the rest of my team was meandering about and chatting nonchalantly while they packed up their bikes and gear. Nary a one seemed disturbed that I might have held them up in any way. I was not made to feel uncomfortable at all and most seemed more concerned about what might be wrong with my bike and if I was going to be able to get it fixed.
I didn’t want to let on…but my main concern was simply completing the day’s ride and then grabbing some lunch.