Miles of mishaps. Yet, they still keep me around.

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From the time I signed up for what I thought would be my first half Ironman, I did most of the training on my own. It was February and cold so all of it was done indoors. Lots of treadmills, spin bikes (I didn’t even have a bike when I signed up) and indoor swimming. When the weather warmed up enough for me to get outdoors, I recruited 2 of my coworkers, who were cyclists, to ride with me on a couple of “long” rides – which were still fairly short at that point.

Then, as fate would have it, I found out about a group that were training for Augusta, so despite my fear of getting out on a ride with people with tons more experience than me and possibly a lot faster, I took a chance and joined them on a group ride. I mean, what could go wrong? Up until this point, my longest ride was 25 miles – they were going 40. My 25 miles were in Lafayette and flat. They were going to hilly St. Francisville and we were starting the ride climbing this little bridge…twice. (Don’t let the flat appearance fool you.)

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They rode about a 16 pace. At that point, I was pushing 15, if I was lucky, and for only 20ish miles. Yes, I could be left behind. Or die. Or want to die. But I took a chance and it paid off.

I met a group that took me in and has since been unable to get rid of me. I haven’t given them that option. I keep showing up and chasing after them and they keep allowing it. And for that, I am grateful beyond belief.

I gave them a solid month of fairly good behavior. Or let’s just say the universe helped me to put on a calm-ish front for them at the beginning. It’s kind of like dating. You put your best foot forward and hope that they end up liking you enough that when all the quirks and annoyances come bubbling to the surface, it’s too late for them to unlike you.

They already knew going into this about the 8 year old that freakishly broke my elbow and took me out of the game for a month. That alone should have thrown up some red flags about how this whole “let’s let the new girl tag along” thing was going to turn out. But, hey, I’m sure they chalked it up to being a fluke incident and moved on. Little did they know that I seem to get myself into precarious predicaments. A lot. Which meant that if they were around me, they might be thrown into my mix of mishaps.

Other than a near-run-in with a squirrel and a kid on a scooter during a weekday ride with Ainsley and Sonya, (oh, and a flat tire that thankfully, they didn’t get to take part in) things had been  running pretty smoothly.

Until…

About a month in, they were all tested by me and my antics. And they handled it like champs. And even better, they’re still around. Or better yet, I’m still around.

So, what had happened was…

We headed out to St. Francisvile for a 55 mile ride. The morning started off perfectly. How could it not when you’re riding into a sunrise of magical proportions?

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And then…”I” happened.

The group waits for me: Part 1/3

About 15 miles in, we were in the middle turning lane of one highway to make our way across the intersecting highway. I approached the stopped group, unclipped my left foot and came to a stop. I asked Sonya if my back tire looked low as it felt a little weird for the last couple of miles. She confirmed that all was good as I was turning around to double-check it. That would have been fine had I turned in the direction of my unclipped foot. Yet, that is NOT what happened. At a dead stop, in the middle of a four lane highway, I turned towards my clipped-in foot and in what seemed like very slow motion, I fell to the ground. That was awesome. The light turned green, I jumped back up and started to pedal and quickly realized that my chain was off. Awesome. So, straddling my bike, I walk it to the other side of the road, like frogger trying to avoid oncoming cars and 18 wheelers, and Sonya came to my rescue, for the first of a couple of times that day.

The chain is back on, no thanks to myself. I’m back in the game. And we’re off.

The group waits for me: Part 2/3

About 10 miles later, after going over a few hills, my chain got stuck in a gear and wouldn’t budge. My AAA team for the day, Sonya and Jana, pulled over with me and after a little work, got it in gear but told me not to go into my big chain ring. So off we go (again) and I’m pedaling like Fred Flinstone trying to keep up with them.  I met up with the group with my AAA team in tow. We (read: THEY) worked on my chain again and were able to get it working properly for me to use all of my gears for the rest of the ride (hopefully). And off we went (again).

The group waits for me: Part 3/3

About 10 miles later, I felt something hitting my leg and noticed that my water bottle cage had come unscrewed and was dangling by one screw at the bottom. I started to pull over and before I even had a chance to say anything, my faithful crew was pulling over right along with me. Well, actually I stopped in the middle of the road and with good common sense, Sonya politely asked if we could pull off the road and up to a place where we had a little more safe space to check out my bike. Jana and Sonya to the rescue for the third time. I apologized. Jana joked that she was good with the “rest breaks” and Sonya just giggled and kept whatever she might have been thinking to herself. My bottle is back on and a few minutes later, we spot the group, once again, waiting at a stop sign for us.

I knew it was time. I could only pull this charade off for so long. And just like that I spilled it.

Them: “What happened? (the “now” was implied)
Me: “My water bottle cage came off. Ok, so, here’s the deal. I’ve really tried to be on my best behavior up until now and it’s worked out pretty well in my favor. But all this stuff that’s been happening to me today. Yeah, that’s pretty much my life. This is what really happens to me. All the time.
{ME: LAUGHING. THEM: LAUGHING (either out of good humor or healthy fear)}
Me: So basically, you’re now stuck with me. Everyone in? (SILENCE) Ok, let’s roll.

DISCLAIMER: I take a lot of liberties in my stories. It may or may not have happened exactly like that but you get the point.

Here’s the deal. I fall. I misplace and forget things. They let me borrow glasses or buy me water. Shit happens to me. No really, I’ve been shit on by birds at least 5 times that I can think of and I know it’s just a matter of time before it happens on a ride. I make them pull over for selfies and photo ops (I’m still trying to figure out how to attach a selfie stick to my bike). They let me draft off of them. A lot. They hear me talk about burgers and beer before we even get a mile under our tires. I try and convince them to carry shrimp back from Delcambre. I bombard their facebook pages.

I could go on and on but all that really matters is I’m lucky they keep coming back for more.

These are some of the the people that have put up with my antics and mishaps. (Jana, Kody and Beth not pictured.)

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These are the people that I’m grateful to have found. They’ve made it a lot easier to wake up before the sun comes up on the weekends, they’ve helped me to stay accountable when some days I just didn’t wanna and they have pushed me to be so much better than I was before I met them.

For those that have been along for the ride (Jana, Kody & Beth) and for Amanda having to deal with all of my bike questions from day 1 at Precision Bikes and for those I’ll get to race in front of (for the swim – but only because I’m in the 3rd wave) and alongside and behind (for the bike and run)…THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Sarah, Ainsley, Sonya and Terri, you will not only get a medal for finishing Augusta70.3, but you will be getting some celebratory beer from the one that quietly (that’s up for interpretation) entered your little group and has bounced around like a bull in a china cabinet ever since.

And to all of you nut jobs that I have swam or run or biked besides at Red’s or out on the road since I started this little adventure, you’ve inspired me to keep moving. Keep that shit up! People are watching.

 

 

 

     

Written by Candy

I was a college athlete. When we ran, it was out of punishment. And ended, often times, in puking. So, I hated it. 4 years ago, my wife wanted me to run with her. I completed C25K, we signed up for our first half marathon (in San Francisco) and have been running ever since. With 8 half marathons and a 26.2 recently under my belt, and no experience cycling or swimming, I did what any normal person would do and signed up for the Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 Ironman. I mean, my wife is an Ultramarathoner. That means, she ran 62.137 miles through the woods. On purpose. It appears she’s half nuts as well, which means she gets it. And she’s my biggest training cheerleader. Welcome to my 5 month journey from 26.2 to 70.3. #TrainingandEntertaining


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