Monday, August 6, 2012

Riding hills just for fun!!

I talk about triathlon being a lifestyle. This weekend was exemplary. A much needed weekend spent with amazing athletes and most importantly incredible people, all sharing the same joy of playing with our bicycles! 

After a two hour bike ride, thirty minutes run, and a fifteen minutes swim, seven of us drove about four hours from Miami to Clermont to ride our bicycles in the hills of SFL. Unfortunately, Florida is not known for hills. We only have the ridiculous so called Miami Mountain known as the Key Biscayne Bridge. A few of my teammates are competing at the Triathlon Nationals in less than two weeks in Vermont, so it was time to explore what real hills feel like.

That's how you fit 7 bikes in a car!

We are ready to kill those hills! (look at Gene's guns!)

Our journey started as expected, not even after driving 30 miles we stopped to have lunch and purchase snacks for the ride. Once we arrived to destination, we did not go check in the hotel but rather went straight to have dinner. It is amazing how important food is in the life of a triathete.
After a nice meal and a refreshing shower we all went straight to bed with no complaining. We woke up bright and early energized and excited to start our adventure. Are you starting to understand why I refer to triathlon a lifestyle?! :)

We went to Clermont with the purpose of experiencing rolling hills as well as build leg power. However, the purpose did not matter. We did not drive four hours to train. We drove four hours to act like kids and play with our bikes. The adventure was thrilling. I was so happy to actually be able to use the gears of my bike. It was a game to try to find the perfect time to be as efficient as possible. Imagine the feeling of going downhill in aero position, refreshing air drying the sweat you just endured climbing to the top of a hill, your core is tight, your forearms and biceps are burning from holding your weight on the aero bars, you legs are barely making any effort to rotate and the momentum takes you through the bottom the hill and right back up. All you are waiting for is the perfect time to change your gear from big to small ring to best use that leftover momentum and be as efficient as possible. And sooner than you are ready for, it is time to get off the saddle and hammer to the top of the hill as hard as possible, no matter how much your quads are burning. One hill at a time. Each hill is as different and challenging as another but the adrenaline keeps flowing and the feeling of exhilaration is revamped one after another.
Hill workout is very important to explore your ability as a cyclist. You have to know your strength, your bike, and follow your intuitions.
Tri 2 One Head Coach Marcelo instructed us to ride Sugarloaf, one of the toughest hills in Clermont and ride through Buckhill which is a series of steep rolling hills. I am happy to report that we rode through the longer and steeper than expected Buckhill and climbed Sugarloaf 3 times!

Yes we are pretty awesome! Suagarloaf x 3... why not?! 

We might be tough, but we are also fun! :D

The whole crew - Mike the Swag, IronBeto, Gene The Rock Star, Andrew the Boss, me (Juju), Oriana (Potata), Ola The Superstar and IronBrenda

We rode just over 47 miles with barely any interruptions (besides from replenishing at the top of sugarloaf) and it was all feasible thanks to our awesome motorcycle swag Mike. Mike is one of my teammate Gene’s friend. Pretty cool guy considering he rides a speed bike and works for Nasa!! Mike was extremely nice to ride his motorcycle for three hours to guide us through the hills. I have to say that he looked like he was having so much fun speeding by us trying to keep all of us together. At each turn, I looked at him and he was smiling. Thinking back, I am not sure he was smiling because he was so happy to ride his bike, just to be nice, or laughing at us seeing how much pain we were in! No matter the reason, I took it as encouraging! I have to say though that I often wanted to steal his speed bike! He was having way too much fun! Thanks Mike for being our guide. We all felt like pros having our own swag! J

Life is good! Such a great weekend with great friends doing what we love!
I am not sure if my abs are sore today because of the tough bike ride or the many laughter but it is a great feeling!!

Photos courtesy of IronBeto - Follow his experience on