FiestaTandem2-2-17-13LRSo guys, what if you were to say to your wife, "Let's get up at 3:00 am on Sunday, leave the house at 3:45, then after a one and a half hour drive, use a port-a-potty, get on the stationary trainers for an hour in the cold and dark, then just as the sun starts to rise, get on the tandem, leave the start line, and ride as hard as we possibly can for 20 kilometers?"

That's how we started on Sunday, except... it was her idea! You see, about a year ago, without any fanfare or announcement, Susan started riding. At first I didn't even know it as she began to incorporate spin classes at the gym into her regular workouts. Soon she began coming home and asking me questions about cycling, and then it came out... she had decided to enter into the realm of athletics.

Basically Susan is a cheerleader. That is her personality and back in school days, that is what she was. Then as our kids grew up, all of them entered into some form of athletics. One day she found herself as the only person in the family that had not participated in athletics. Now I know that cheerleading is considered by many to be an athletic endeavor, and I am not ignoring that, but it is not an athletic contest in the purest sense of the term.

There is no question that cheerleading requires athleticism, but that is not the kind of athletics she was talking about. So, with her cheerleader resume notwithstanding, she announced to me that she wanted to become an athlete, and that is why she wanted to ride.

It was then that I broke the news to her. To be an athlete, one must compete. Spin classes are spin classes, training rides are training rides (even though I used to be confused on that point), fun rides are fun rides, and races are races. In short, the only athletic contest listed here is a race.

Much to my surprise, she said, "OK, I'll race!"

Wow! She has been around me and my racing friends for long enough to know what that statement meant. Training, sacrifice, focus, suffering, and the act of racing itself are part of the equation. She simply said, "I'll what is the plan?"

So we talked about her options. First of all she has a road bike and we have a road tandem, so she decided that the event would be on the road rather than the velodrome or mountain biking. She also eliminated mass start racing (i.e. road races and crits) from consideration as being a proverbial "bridge too far" at this time in her life.

FiestaTandem4a-2-17-13LRThat left time trials. So we talked about individual time trials, team time trials, and tandem time trials.

It was decided that the best way to go was the tandem time trial, since we had a tandem available and it was something we could do together. So the training began. She increased her weekly rides at the gym and also started to ride her road bike on the trainer in the garage with me on weekday mornings.

Then we set the date, Valentine's Day plus 3. February 17, 2013 at the Fiesta Island Time Trial would be her debut as a bike racer, and an athlete. Our start time was 7:08 am.

We got up at 3 am, left soon after that, arrived at Fiesta Island in the dark, used the port-a-potty, rode the trainers, and were now at the start line.

Ralph Elliott, the famed bike race announcer, introduced us on the loudspeaker, gave his complements to Canyon Velo for a job well done at the Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium, and then we were off at 25 mph. We held that for quite a bit of the first lap, then reality set in and we settled into 23 to 24 mph over the remaining laps. We passed a few of the juniors who were ahead of us and were passed by one or two very fast single TT bikes.

FiestaTandem1-2-17-13LRWe gave a very strong effort and crossed the finish line with a solid time of 31:55. Susan was now officially a bike racer and an athlete! She also came home with the gold medal for 1st place in the Tandem class at the Fiesta Island Time Trial.

We had a great time and are now planning to give the Piru TT a shot soon.

Finally, if you haven't heard, Canyon Velo picked up a number of podiums this weekend. In addition to our placement, David S. took 2nd place at the Peninsula Hill Climb Time Trial on Saturday, and Ryan M. and Justin C. went 2nd and 3rd overall at the Laguna Niguel Triathlon on Sunday.

                                                            Nice job Canyon Velo!



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