Friday, March 7, 2008

Tour de Palm Springs

In my ever so crazy quest to attempt to train for an Ironman, even though I still can't swim, I had made the decision to join some of my Disney Tri Team friends in the Tour de Palm Springs. This is a 100-mile bike ride through Palm Springs, and since I've never been to Palm Springs before, I figured it would be a great way to see the city. Michael and Carolyn both convinced me that I could do it during one of our weekend long rides (at that point, a long ride for me was about 35 miles). 

After completing the WDW Marathon, I returned to Burbank and re-joined the Saturday morning riders to train for the February 9 ride. You need to understand that riding in southern California at 8:30 on a Saturday morning in January and February is not something that a gal who spent most of her life living in Orlando looks forward to. It is COLD and WINDY! COLD! WINDY! And, ironically, as I ride, I am looking at SNOW-COVERED mountains! And, no, one does not fully warm up on one of these rides unless the temperature climbs and the winds subside. But, with the encouragement and support of the fabulous folks on the Tri Team, I continued to show up for these training rides.

Unlike the WDW Marathon expo, the Tour de Palm Springs packet pick-up was a breeze. On Friday, I left work early, drove to Palm Springs, picked up my packet, drove to my hotel (thanks to the sister, I got a great rate at the Marriott in Palm Desert), and settled in to get some rest. As usual, didn't sleep much that night - kept waking up every hour. As I was racking my bike on my car at 5:00 in the morning, I realized that athletes are crazy people. We pay lots of money to race, give up a social life for training (though you could argue that training becomes one's social life), and wake up at ungodly hours to wait for even more hours (mostly in COLD temps) before the actual start. I quickly tell myself that it is all worth it for the glory of finishing, bragging and getting the coveted medal to add to my collection.

Parking in an iHop lot very close to the start, I got on my bike and immediately saw some folks from the Disneyland Resort tri team. Then, I ran into Nabil, our Tri Team captain and all-around inspiration. We made our way to the start to meet up with the rest of the group (or at least those we could find). Carolyn and Michael were already there. The entire ride was great. While everyone rode at different paces, we regrouped at the SAG stops to rest and refuel. My only complaint about the event was that after about 50 or so miles, there weren't any real directions. So, if you were not following (or near) someone familiar with the course, you could very easily get lost. Case in point - Michael was ahead of me around mile 95 and made a wrong turn, which took him 5 miles off course.

For a perfectly detailed (and fun) account of this ride, check out Wedgie's blog post.

Now I have to get off the bike and start running again . . . the Los Angeles Marathon is March 2!

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