Sitting down for fish tanjine.
Another beautiful door.
So with Scarlet dead and Lukey put to the sidelines Lu and I headed for the hills. On our bikes of course. Our fearless leader Gaston took us out for a fantastic ride up into the mountains and through a town called Ojen. I did not have the camera as I did not want a sulking Jimmy back at home. The ride was amazing and beautiful and we sweated up and down for 3 hours or so. I don't want to know how many meters of climbing... too many to think about.
The running here is awesome too. Lu and I have been belting up and down the waterfront on this perfect running path. It is only about 9 kms long all up but plenty long enough for us. Up back up and back... you get the picture. Lu is training for IM Regansburg. I am pushing her. She and I are the perfect pace together as I am just getting back some long miles and she is keen to run a sub 4 hour marathon. After a 15km session on Wed and a swim/bike combo Thursday we headed off to Tarifa. The idea was to help set up the X Challenge race that both she and her partner Jamie run. Somewhere in the days leading up we all decided that it would be a grand idea if I entered. HECK !!!!!
My previous mountain bike riding is as follows.
Once 14 years ago I rode a MB and hated it. Once last summer I rode down hill in Sun Valley Idaho and nearly killed myself but loved it. Since then I rode to the shops once to get OJ for the salad dressing but thats it. By Saturday I was on Jamie's bike in Lu's shoes and practicing on the SUPER EXTREME course.
Sunday I rode to the race start and that was my preparation. I know what you all are thinking.... OMG she is going to die.
The race started @ 10 am (gotta love the euros) and it was 1500mt swim. I swam well and came out 8th or 9th overall. This was my shining moment in the race ha ha ha. Off on the bike and I managed to crash in the first 10 mins but not badly at all so up and off again. I was passed by 1 girl straight away and she was uber good. I was not going to be seeing her anytime soon. I was having a blast and just doing my MEMPHIS thing. I am happy to report that I did not fall off again. However loads of people went flying past me as I ride like a grandma on the descents.
Lap 1 went by with out too much incident and I ate my gels like a good long course girl does. I figured before the race start that this might take a while so I packed a small buffet in my pockets.
Strangely I did not realize that it was 2 loops so when I got to the right hand finish turn I tried to insist in english that I was done and the volunteers tried to explain in spanish that I was in fact NOT done and had to loop around again....holy crapola. Ok I was in over my head but I was having a great time so around again I went.
Lap 2 was really fun as this long course girl came into her own. I passed half the field back. For 3 reasons.Reason 1 : Everyone out there did not know how hard this course was as it was the first year and no one packed food so people were bonking left right and centre. I had 4 gels and a packet of chews so I was like the cat that got the cream. Stuff you " MR Fly by me like I was standing still on the downhills." Who's hungry now?
Reason 2 : Clearly everyone does not do 180kms on their mountain bike in a race so this odd distance of 45km (normally 30 in Xterra) was more than they had trained for. Love a good pair of IM legs.
Reason 3 ; My arms were so sore I could no longer put the brakes on so I went down the hills 3 times as fast on the second lap. I like to think I was a work in progress and was learning on the job.
Sadly 5kms from the end of the bike leg my wonderful adventure ended. My bike broke and I was out of the race. But the good news was that I had climbed back into 4th place so I felt awesome and would do it all again tomorrow.
I hitched a lift with the red cross sand dune buggy back to town. I had the best day trying something completely new and exciting.
Tarifa is an awesome place and we had a wonderful few days racing, training and god help Luke .....shopping! I picked up some fantastic gifts for my girlfriends and we walked around like a super tourist taking pictures of all the amazing buildings.
After packing everything up Luke and I decided to spend the next day in Morocco. I will have to write a whole new blog for that adventure. In the mean time here are some pictures of my awesome X Challenge Tarifa race and Spain in general.