ANYWAY, the plan all started with me asking Katie if I could ride on Skyline Drive with her. I knew she lived close to one end of Skyline and that she rode on it often and I also knew that Skyline is AWESOME. Like really awesome. I also knew many other people use Skyline as a great riding route. This all made me *really* want in on the action. So that's how it began. But it ended up with me driving down on Friday so we could do a 6ish hour brick on Saturday together and then ride Skyline and swim together on Sunday. By the end of the weekend, I was ready to stay for another week or so, but alas, Katie had to go back to work. (boo)
On Saturday we awoke bright and early and got ready to go! Katie had a 95+ mile bike route planned to get us started. And it was amazing! Winchester is an awesome place to train! The road surfaces themselves are beautiful (quite an upgrade from the garbage we ride on around Pittsburgh) and the surrounding areas are really just what you'd see on a postcard. Beautiful farms, big houses, rolling hills, lots of cows, corn, horses, goats and even an ostrich or two! And the apples - OH THE APPLES! I've never seen so many in my life. Winchester is also apparently a huge apple producer and we rode past orchard after orchard after orchard. (and later went to one of said orchards where I bought many apples and of course, an apple cider doughnut!)
Of course I don't have any pictures of Saturday's ride because I'm a horrible picture taker. It's a crime really. So you'll just have to believe me that it was great. And riding with Katie was just perfect. We'd make a very good training duo because I think we are very similarly paced on the bike and were just able to ride as normal without one slowing the other down (or at least I hope I wasn't slowing her down! :). Also, Katie, like me, likes to start early, not stop during rides and keep an honest pace. All in all, a most wonderful combo we made!
Off the bike on Saturday we ran a good hour together and then called it a day. Sunday and Skyline awaited.
Sunday we were up early again to drive to Skyline for our ride. I can't even explain how much I loved it. The heat and humidity that we suffered in on Saturday had dissipated with the Saturday night storms and Sunday dawned cool and sunny and AWESOME! Katie and I rode 64 miles and climbed over 6300 feet and I think I smiled the whole way! (except maybe that last 2 mile climb before the final 6 mile descent to home). The plans for next summer's epic adventure of riding the entire length of Skyline (105 miles one way) with Katie are already underway!!
I did take some pictures on Sunday. :)
|A self portrait that didn't turn out too bad (in the sense that we both have heads :)|
|Okay, obviously stole this one from the Skyline website because the leaves have not yet changed. But how amazing would this place be in the fall?|
|Pretty sure that's West Virginia over there! :)|
|Views like this all over the place.|
|Elevation gain on this ride = mucho. (but the final 6 mile descent was VERY fun)|
After we finished our ride on Sunday, Katie and I ate lunch and then got mad at Ironman.com for not updating any of the IMMOO or Vegas splits and THEN we went swimming where Katie was nice and only lapped me 5 times in the pool. Training with someone who swims a 54 minute IM is painful, but probably good for me! :)
And then I had to go home. SADNESS! But I was very glad to see Roxy and Oscar again! (and find that the house was still in one piece) All in all a most wonderful weekend that I'm very thankful to Katie for making it happen! She is fit as a fiddle and my two main thoughts about training with her were (1) I'm really glad I don't have to race her and (2) I feel really sorry for the 25-29 yr old ladies in Kona! :)
The weekend for me was definitely a great jump start to my IMAZ training and got me fully excited for getting back into some bigger miles! I haven't ridden 165 miles in a weekend for a long time! It's always really nice to ride somewhere new and different and to keep things fresh with new training partners. VERY much worth the drive.
Now...where shall I invite myself to next? ;)