|The "Sidewalks" of Northwest Tucson (Looking North)|
For those that are not aware, I have a policy where I ride my bike everywhere. During the off-season I only use the car to make sure the battery stays charged so I can actually use it to travel to races. Last year there were a couple of times - I can count them on less than one hand - where I cheated on this. They were really cold and rainy/snowy Tucson winters days and I drove to the pool instead of riding my bike. #Fail
Anyway on to the character building. So I have only been swimming at night here in Tucson because the pool I belong to is undergoing renovations and is only open at night. The rides have become bone-chillingly cold as of late. On both Monday and Tuesday I nearly froze and I could not close my hands when I arrived home. It may not seem like much to some, but when you hop out of the pool and have to change in open, dry air, your body loses an incredible amount of heat. Then to bike home with still wet clothes just adds to the losses. It doesn't matter how many layers of clothes you wear, you still freeze.
|The "Sidewalks" of Northwest Tucson (Looking South)|
However, before heading to the pool I took out everything but the bare swim essentials. I replaced the "normal essentials" with a spare set of clothes and put them in a waterproof trash bag to ensure that I would at least start with dry clothes for the way home.
Along the way I got dumped on, and it was cold, but I knew that I would only have to hop in the pool to warm up. When I arrived I was greeted by 4 very unenthusiastic lifeguards. The pool was empty, and they were less than thrilled to man the guard chairs even though they were dressed to survive a week in the arctic. I could feel their death stares on me for the first 3400 yards. Then they pulled me out of the water. Apparently if they can't see the bottom of the pool then the pool has to close. With 4 lifeguards and 1 swimmer this seemed a little impractical considering I swim on the surface of the water. But there was nothing I could do but laugh at the situation. I put on my dry clothes and headed for home.
Living in Tucson I don't get a chance to ride in heavy rain too often, but I was quickly reminded of why bike fenders were invented. I could barely see anything with water splashing up everywhere, and I could barely make out my path. The only thing my enormous 600 lumen light was doing was creating a fuzzy beam which did more to distract me than illuminate any sort of road surface. I was frozen stiff and I all I could do was dig in to the well. I thought about a recent Bear Grylls "Survival Special" where he was showing people how to survive incredibly difficult conditions. In that episode he was being sprayed with cold water in a snow environment and he was trying to start a fire. After 1 hour Bear did something he rarely does. He gave up. He apologized to the film crew and his viewers. But he gave up. Although it was NOT nearly as cold as Bear's environment, in that moment, I realized that I can handle some miserable environments. I don't have to like it, but I can survive it, and that is a strength of mine.
|My First Attempt at Eating a Coconut|
After that epiphany, the ride became almost enjoyable. I had a rush of endorphins and I knew I would make it home. I started to embrace the cold and I knew every minute I stayed out there was a minute longer than my fellow competitors would have. It was a great experience and all I could do was smile. I conquered the cold.
Anyway this was a little different take on my normal weekly update but I thought I would share it. And for those counting, yes I didn't put out my food journal this week as promised. Truthfully I was going to put it out on Friday but in the wake of the shootings I decided against it. I will publish it this week however.
Here are my weekly swim, bike, and run totals:
Total: 177 Miles / 22 hours 52 minutes
Swim: 20,850 yards / ~12 miles / 6 hours 06 minutes
Bike: 126 miles / 8 hours 43 minutes
Run: 39 miles / 5 hours 02 minutes
Core: 2 sessions / 3 hours 0 minutes