Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Training in Spain.

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.

Stay tuned

Memphis x

Walking through the streets of Tarifa
The entry to the old city. Very lovely really :)
MMMM Tapas!
The old castle near our house.
The view from our roof. That's Morocco over there.

Post run happiness.

Out with Kaya and Tricky for a sunset run.

The run turn around on Sunday.
Jimmy running much faster than moi.
Out for a ride on the new Scott named after our friend LU.... Luciana.
Jimmy and Luciana heading up the hill.
One side of the beach is the Med...

And the other is the Atlantic.

Memphis is actually in a bit of a panic really.

Memphis talking a big game at the front of the start line.

Awesome swimming Memphis.

Ejecting the wetsuit.

Having a bit of a chat with the camera guy... Jimmy.

The finishline that never was for poor Memphis.

The wine was calling post race.