I travelled on Saturday to Rapperswil for the first of two Route Familiarisation training sessions for the Ironman 70.3 that was being held early Sunday morning. It was the first time I had taken the train with my bike so it was a bit of a muddle finding the right bike carriage - well, that's what I'm using as my excuse for taking the wrong train anyway ;=) What would have been a 4h train ride turned into a 6h train ride as I only found out I was on the wrong train when, 1.5 hours into my journey the lovely ticket man came around and was looking at my ticket for a while and then asked kindly with a knowing smirk, "Do you know where you are going?" (turns out the opposte direction of where I was meant to be going!). Oh dear... well, at least I met and had an awesome conversation with a fellow cyclist and had wonderful views of mountains I wouldn't have seen! :=D
As people started arriving, I started to realise that these were no random bunch of people - these were a bunch of seriously fit athletes (with nice gear, too ;=). A friend who came down by car arrived and we topped up our tyres and got ready for the ride. What was in store: 1 45k loop of the route (in the race, we will go twice around the same loop to make 90k) followed by a more or less flat (except for the stair climbing bit!!!) 10k (plus a little bit) run (in the race, again we will go twice around this same route to make 21.1k). What I had no idea about was the topography of the route... and as I was about to find out it is a "bit" more hilly than I thought!
For the bike ride, we set off at a good pace as a group following the designated leaders, with Motorbikes behind and in front of us called the "Ironman Moto Crew" :=D
Over the top there was a short-lived descent, a flat part and then we started to climb again... and sharply! It's quite zig-zag so I could never tell how much more there was going to be and at each corner I thought that would be it but noooo it just kept going! But all the way up I couldn't stop grinning, and I certainly wasn't cold anymore!!! I was amazed by two ladies in front of me who were just chatting all the way up... inspiring and reminds me how much better I can get. This ascent got us to the highest point of the route and up the mountain and now came the inevitable - going down the mountain!!!! Thank you Newton! Without glasses my eyes were freezing but going down a mountain at 60km/h is just too much fun (I've come a long way from being petrified of going down even a moderate descent on my road bike!!!) to miss! ;=) There were a couple more climbs but nothing like before and once again the lake came into view and I felt the pure joy of being outside and in nature.
I am very happy I went as I didn't expect such a hilly course but then again that's what you get when you ride up a mountain ;=) I love that I picked such an easy course for my first triathlon ;=P And now I know what awaits me, I can pace better in the race and prepare better for the race by training on local mountains - yuppeeeeee!!! And I have the confidence that I can get up those climbs (without stopping once!). Even though I only took water with me on the bike (1L) I am pleasantly surprised at how strong I felt the whole way through, even if I found certain bits very, very tough my legs felt strong and steady... I just need to practice hills! I ate 3 spotty ripe bananas straight after to fill up the glycogen tank (would have ate more if I had brought more!) and was good to go! :=) But I am looking forward to the challenge and difficulty, as I find that it is in these moments that I grow the most as a person.
All in all it was such a great weekend and I'm looking forward to the next training session in Rapperswil next month to test myself again on the mountain!
Do you choose to see the difficulties in every opportunity or the opportunities in every difficulty?
Have a beautiful, fulfilling week!