Three Plastic Bags and a Popped Balloon

2021 IRONMAN CHATTANOOGA TRAINING

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WEEK 5 – April 4, 2021

Last week I talked about needing some motivation to get through some biking and running workouts.  This week I had the motivation, but when it came to doing the Saturday long ride what I lacked was the desire.

My family had planned a trip to Nashville for the Easter weekend to visit our freshman daughter Rebecca, who attends Vanderbilt University, and some family who lives in the area.  I have always been of the mindset that if you are going to miss some workouts, it’s probably best to at least try to get the long weekend training stuff done.  At this stage of training, a long ride isn’t all that long; the plan called for an hour and 45-minutes.  So I moved the ride to Thursday and April Fool’s played an unappreciated trick on me – it was cold.  When I got home midday my car was telling me it was 32°F.  The wind wasn’t too bad, and I had the motivation to do the ride, now I lacked the desire!

After taking the dog for a quick walk, I decided to toughen up and act like an Ironman and just go do it.  I put on some extra layers and wore a set of gloves under a pair of large mittens and got my bike ready to roll.  While in the garage I decided to put on a couple of plastic newspaper bags over my socks before putting on my cycling shoes.  I’m glad I did because my very cold ride last week ended with some very numb toes.  

Normally I would put them under my layered socks, but I was too lazy to do that now.

As I headed south I realized that this ride was not going to be fun.  My rides always head south and return because where I live it is urban to the immediate north and rural to the immediate south.  I count my blessings with that.  The wind was pushing me along and I was easily riding in the upper teens and 20 mph speeds.  I got to the point where I could choose to head either east or west and I chose east because I thought I would take advantage of the heavily wooded trail to head home on and keep the wind from being too much of a burden.

As soon as I turned to head back north I could feel that this ride was going to be a struggle.  I stopped at a spot where I will sometimes take a nature break and ate a gel.  I was sweating and starting to feel the cold, and knowing when I got back on the bike I would be suffering even more.  

I started to ride again and my eyes were watering and I was getting a headache from the cold wind blowing on my wet head.  I crossed Monee/Manhattan Road and started looking for something I could use to help me out, and there was an empty plastic shopping bag stuck to some brush just blowing in the wind.  I got off my bike and looked it over to make sure it wasn’t dirty and then I took off my helmet and cap and put the bag on my head and covered it back up.  I hopped on the bike and within a hundred feet or so I saw a popped mylar ballon laying in the ditch.  I stopped and inspected that and then shoved that under my cycling jersey.  As I started riding again it was almost like instant relief.  My headache went away and I started getting comfortable riding in the wind again.

The ride took me almost two hours, but it could have been much longer and much more miserable.  And in the end, I felt a sense of accomplishment, overcoming the lack of desire to ride on a cold day and being resourceful enough to not having to cash in my chips and call for my kid to come get me.  

My wind-blocking shopping bag.

Wiped out after fighting the cold windy day.

Swims:  0

Bikes:  2 – 42 miles

Runs:  3 – 11 miles

Author: Ironman Chris

Family, running, triathlon and drumming are my things.

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