Time to pack my bags again!
This time, the task is to pack for 12 days in Denver including an 8 day training camp, followed by 6 days in San Diego including a 70.3 race (the first of my pro career). All in one bike box and one suitcase that weighs less than 50 pounds. You can imagine the weeping and gnashing of teeth that is about to occur when said packing commences. I have NEVER been a light packer but if there is one thing I'm going to learn this year...light packing is it! (wish me luck now please... :)
Packing aside, I'm pretty pumped. Of course, excited to RACE! For the past several weeks I've definitely been noticing that "itch" to get racing. Physically I feel like my fitness is coming around (at least for early season racing) but moreso mentally, my brain is getting ready to go. Classic sign for me is when I start to "see" my races unfold in all my workouts. So instead of thinking what I'm going to be having for lunch during my track session, I'm envisioning holding someone off on the run, or racing side by side with someone in the middle miles. And instead of pondering what I did with my favorite tshirt on my rides, I'm visualizing trying to catch the car up ahead of me just as I would be trying to catch another rider... You know, it's just gettin' to be racing season! OH YES! I know we all feel differently about racing but make no mistake about me - I'm the type that LOVES it and would not in a million years consider doing all this training were it not for the promise of a race as the reward! Of course this being my first "pro" race, I'm also a *teeny* bit nervous, but I'd be nervous no matter who I was racing so need to add extra stress right?! (right?? :)
(by the way, the race in San Diego that I speak of is one of my favorites - Oceanside 70.3!)
But before all that race business, there is some training camp business to attend to! And that is what Denver is for. I am lucky to be attending a camp for new(ish) pros that is put on by Melissa Mantak. I'm pretty excited by it because (1) we are going to train ourselves silly (I got the training schedule for camp and it even makes a Dirk schedule look not too bad!) and (2) I'm really excited to meet some other new(ish) pros and learn as much as I possibly can about how to be a pro. I know this is a great opportunity for me because, living in Pittsburgh, I'm not constantly surrounded by other professionals in our sport (of course we have lots of awesome athletes, just none that have been racing pro for years) and I know I will benefit from having some mentorship.
Now, this camp is a bit of a risk in that training really hard for 8 days at altitude 1 week before my first race might end in complete disaster at said race. Or could end in a great race. Who knows. Dirk and I determined that I really don't have much to lose (I'm...you know...not defending a title or anything at Oceanside... :), so why not? After this, I'll certainly know a lot more about how I handle altitude and how I handle a big week followed by a little taper before I race. I'm sure I'll say this many times throughout the year...but this season is ALL about the learning... :)
Of course I'm already torn up about having to leave O and Roxy again for close to 3 weeks again. That is no fun! In the ideal world, O and Roxy would join me on all training/racing trips! But I know that is not reality and if there is one downside to all of this, this would be it. Still, I have SO much to look forward to and SO many great people taking care of me including Sonja, Michelle, and Marit, that I know that I have nothing to worry about. And if anything, leaving my two loves (that would be O and Roxy of course... :), definitely motivates me to make the very most of all the opportunities I've been blessed with and to train and race with all my heart!
So...here we go! I leave on Friday and return in April. Time to get this season rolling!!! :)