Battleship to Beach

I've taken a few days off this week. Honestly, I've been processing all that happened last weekend in 208 miles for the Tour de Cure. I'll write more about that in the next few days, but I wanted to give a quick update on today.

I think I'm considering today's ride the start of my Beach to Battleship Ironman training. It had all the markers of a new beginning: connection. It felt like ironman from the start - the alarm goes off at 4:30am and I begin all the preparations for a long ride. Coffee, calories, coconut water. I left the house with six bottles: four for my bike, one for a breakfast smoothie and one for coffee.

Downtown from Battleship Park: Sunrise and Moon Set
I met a group at the Battleship that included Falcon Spice and some VERY fast boys. I was able to keep up and even chat with a few of the other cyclists (including fellow blogger Matt Ham) for about thirty minutes. We rode two-by-two for the first ten miles which was AWESOME because headwinds roared at ten to fifteen miles per hour. My Garmin bike computer beeped at the 30 minute mark and I think the boys heard it - suddenly they sped up, moved to a single file pace line and took off. My heart rate also took off and after only five minutes I fell off the back of the line. 

I chased Falcon Spice for the rest of the ride.  We headed out on HWY 421 to Blueberry Road and then Malpass Corner in gusty winds. The flood of memories fueled me. The last time I traveled this road: October 26, 2013 and I began to retrace my bike steps all along the way. It was fun and kept my mind occupied. For the rest of the miles, I was entertained by my aforementioned bike computer. I realized that it was doubling my speed. I was hitting every mile in 1minute and 45 seconds - essentially 36mph! It was fun. I imagined that my coach wouldn't believe me - that she would accuse me of hitching my bike to the back of a car and driving the distance (which was 45 miles - not 73 as indicated on my Garmin 500).

The best thing about headwinds on the way out means tailwinds on the way back. My wonky computer read 43 mph! I chased Erica and grinned as we hit the mile markers that I know and love: the turn at Blueberry road, the 110 B2B mile marker and even the Battleship (no longer the race finish but still an amazing sight for sore eyes and a reminder of my first half iron). We wheeled into Battleship Park amid Memorial Day traffic. We ran for ten minutes down to the Memorial bridge and back and stretched - chatting like we did last summer.  It was all a connection to last season and it excited and scared me all at once.

Memorial Day Flags at Full Salute
After the ride, I hit the beach with Ace. We spent the day relaxing on the shore: watching the Lazer sailors out on the Atlantic, the pilots on the east coast skyway and the tourists and locals on the shore of Wrightsville Beach.