Sunday, September 19, 2010

Galveston Ride

Sandra and I wanted to do a 100 mile ride in Galveston since conditions there are similar to conditions in Cozumel (flat & windy with salty humid air). Ingrid, Jon, Del, Kim & Cassie decided to join us on Saturday morning for the ride. Sandra and I left on Friday around noon to have enough time for an ocean swim.
Little Spinnaker didn't fit on Sandra's bike rack, but fit fine in the back seat.
Sandra loading up her bike on the rack.

The drive to Galveston went really well, we didn't hit any heavy traffic through Houston so we were in Galveston by 4. It rained a little on the way down, so we wanted to get our swim in before it got dark or started raining again.
"Red: Flown when conditions are determined to be out of the ordinary, such as presence of strong wind, strong current or large surf. Adult swimmers should stay in water no more than waist deep and non-swimmers and children should be kept along the surf line."
Sandra seemed a little concerned when she saw the water off the seawall and I wasn't too happy to see a red flag flying which means dangerous conditions. But I thought we should at least get in and play in the water a little and decided if we could swim in it. So we got in and quickly decided we could at least try some swimming. We stayed together and shallow enough we could touch bottom. We stayed between 2 jetties and would swim 30 strokes, stop and check on each other and repeat over and over. The waves totally knocked us around, but it was actually a lot of fun! It was great practice for getting salt water in your mouth, nose & eyes and for getting goggles pulled off, the waves knocked my goggles off at least 4 or 5 times. It was a fun swim and a great confidence builder especially since the beach at Chankanaab where we will be swimming usually looks like this:After the swim we had dinner on the patio at Fish Tales
I checked the weather obsessively Friday night, but it said only a 20% chance of storms and 15-20 mph wind.

When we got up on Saturday the weather seemed pretty nice, humid and cloudy but no rain. We started riding just before 7, we had a screaming tailwind and were going 20+mph with almost no effort, we figured "just enjoy it while we can, because the return miles are going to be TOUGH!" We planned to do 2 loops, 60 miles the first loop and 40 the second. The first 30 miles were really nice, tailwind, a few rain showers but nothing major, beautiful views of the water and even a big rainbow! Sandra and I turned around at 31 miles and got blasted by the headwind! But we knew to expect that and just started pedaling. It was easy to go 20+ on the way out, now we were working hard to go 12. Within a few miles it started to rain again, hard enough that the rain drops stung when they hit me. I kept thinking about how Jeff and I are always saying training rides in the rain aren't worth the risk, it's just too easy to crash on slick roads. I was not happy to be almost 30 miles from the car in pouring rain. Sometimes the rain would let up and I'd think, "this isn't so bad, we can get in our second loop if it will stay like this" but then it would start raining hard again and I really didn't want to ride 60+ miles in pouring rain. The last 10 miles were probably the worst since it rained hard that entire time and our nice big shoulder turned into a tiny narrow one just when traffic really picked up, some of the RVs and trucks were definitely passing too close for comfort. Del finished and came out and drove behind Sandra and I with his flashers on for a little way, I don't know how long since I had no idea he was back there until he told me after the ride. I also started seeing flashes of lightning in the last 5 or 10 miles and I remembered Coach Jen saying on Thursday "if there is lightning I want your asses inside where it's safe!"
Del took this picture from his car just as Sandra and I finished. Ingrid met us at the end of the beach access road on the Blade and said "Well, I think we're ready for Cozumel now!"
Just as we started talking about at least trying to run a little we saw more lightning and heard a big thunder boom and decided no way! We were done! As we started trying to load up, a police officer came by to see if we were ok, and he told me he had been "seeing funnel clouds all morning" Yikes! I was drenched, cold, and miserable. Jon suggested McAlister's for lunch and drying off. I looked at Ingrid and said "McAlister's has SOUP!" Her eyes lit up as if I had said Gordough's!
Even though the second half of this ride was pretty miserable and we only got in 60 miles instead of the planned 100 (I think this is the first time I've set out to do a ride and not completed it, makes me pretty sad), it was still good Ironman Cozumel training. Ingrid pointed out that we rode 30 miles into a strong headwind and in Cozumel it will be 3 loops with about 10-12 miles of each loop into the head/cross wind so we rode about the same number of hard, windy miles as we will in Cozumel.

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