Back in high school I attended Steens Mountain Running Camp and made a friend from a nearby high school. Over the years this friends and I stayed in touch. When he found out I was moving back to the Pacific Northwest and interested in triathlons he sent me information about the Beaver Freezer Sprint Triathlon. I’d already picked my “dealing with a massive life change” race. Also, I didn’t have easy access to a pool in my new home. It was an easy no.
My friend is persistent. In January he sent me a reminder of the registration opening for the Beaver Freezer. The event took place in April and consisted of a 500yd swim/12 mile bike/3.1 mile run. The swim took place in a pool so no need to worry about figuring to where to train for an open water swim or how to swim in a wet suit. Competing in a sprint triathlon was one of my yearly goals and I had easy access to a pool. I signed up.
The bike portion has been a wild card for me. It’s easy for me to bike on a spin bike, but riding outside is more of a challenge. I have never biked much in the rain and now I live where it rains often this time of year. It is also likely there is will be rain for the triathlon. It took a bit self convincing, but I made myself go ride outside.
My first outdoor ride went great. It didn’t rain and it felt good to be back outside. Motivated by this first success I headed out for my second outdoor ride of 12 miles. The first four miles consisted of a light drizzle, which wasn’t a big deal unless I needed to make a sharp turn. A little after the four mile mark the rain started to become heavier. I only needed to ride two miles before I turned around. I could handle a bit more rain. Suddenly, the rain ceased and hale started. It slammed into my face making it sting. After a few minutes of hale, I yelled my inner mantra out loud, “I AM FIERCE!”. Mother Nature seemed to take it as a challenge.
The hale continued and the wind picked up. Strong head wind meant great strength training for me and I had maybe a mile and half to go until the turn around point. The wind would be at my back on the way home. Then my bike started to move sideways. A little bit at first then what felt like a half a foot. I stopped. It might be like this on race day and I needed the practice. However, the more logical part of me thought, “What if you are blown over? There will be no race day.”
I turned around. My ego crushed because I didn’t make the milage or out last the storm. I rolled up to my home and the sun came out. I thought about turning around and putting in the extra miles, but I didn’t. I reminded myself I stayed mentally tough throughout the ride, which is just as important training as putting in the miles. Race day I’d be fierce no matter the weather.