by Mike Mahoney
Day 2 at Asheville Spring Training Camp 2013!
Every Triathlete Needs a Hero Shot.
Day two, and it’s time to up the training load. It’s best to have one’s swim gear staged and ready, because roll out for the pool is at 08:00. The water was on the cool side, but dryland stretching and a pull-heavy swim warm-up took care of that. Then it was drill- head lead rolls followed by switch, and switch three, to be precise. This drill is intended to train the triathlete to balance and rotate during the stroke, achieving a better position from which to recruit larger, more powerful muscles to the swim stroke. After extensive drill, the set finished with a series of 50′s–yards, in this case–in sets of three, getting faster (descending) with each 50-yard swim. Easy, steady, fast, easy, steady, fast, and so on.
After some free time, Coach Mike briefed everyone of the afternoon’s workouts. For Maddy, a “doozie” of a run consisting of increasingly fast 2k repeats. For the rest of us, a solid ride in the rural areas followed by the “Tunnel Hill” climb: a conveniently close section of the Blue Ridge Parkway polite enough to have perfect pavement, long sweeping turns, and a more-or-less constant grade, as well as a really nice view. And a tunnel. It’s a great place to get used to both long climbs and serious descent speed.
And after that, a run off the bike, of course, on the trails of the Bent Creek Research and Demonstration Forest.
As it turned out, Geri has a need for speed–in the upward direction. She wasted no time showing me who was boss on the climbs, starting with the very first hill and shredding each uphill after that. I can usually catch up on descents, but not enough to make it to the stop sign first. Call me schooled.
Meanwhile, Coach Mike and Carol were practicing working as a team, each taking a pull at the front, then falling back and drafting. If one can stay close to the cyclist to one’s side while passing or falling back, there’s energy to be saved, so good skills are paramount. They must have got it right, because they were moving fast.
Then it was time for Tunnel Hill. Unsurprisingly, Geri spun away and I never saw her until the top.
Coach Mike passed me a little while later, spinning away on the Mighty Cross Bike, in a bid to catch Geri. His lack of success may have been my fault: For reasons too long to explain here Coach Mike has to do pushups whenever he mentions not training enough. I take this to mean whenever anyone mentions not training enough. Once he passed, I naturally chirped a guy passing me on a steep climb about not training enough.
Yup. Sure enough, Coach stopped, hopped off his bike, and started doing pushups. He may have said a bad word, I was too far away to be sure. Now to be fair, whenever I do this I do the pushups too. It’s an army thing: if one member of the team is doing pushups, everyone is. So I had to hop off the bike and suffer through pushups while out of breath. But it was worth it.
Tunnel Hill has a great overlook, one of many on the Parkway. It’s a great place to regroup after the climb, talk a bit, get some nutrition, and naturally, get a few pictures. Everyone got a “hero shot” –another army tradition–but in the Discomfort Zone our hero shots have their own style. When you get a photograph just having completed a significant climb, you get the bike-over-the-head shot. Here you see the athletes’ hero shots.
More to come. There are quite a few mountains here with our names on them.
You might thing we had had enough climbing for the day, but no, a time trial up Arboretum Hill is de rigueur on the return from a DZ ride. A short spin and it was home to Trail’s End. Time for a hilly run.
Tomorrow, more climbing.