Nothing is better than 4.5 hours on the bike out in the Blue Ridge Parkway with some of the toughest adventure seeking triathletes in town.  Today I rode with some people I refer to as “The Hard Core Ironman Junkies.”   They are all multiple ironman finishers and most have been in this sport much longer than me, so they’ve been some of my favorite tri mentors through the years.

It got off to a rocky start with a friend’s bike attempting to escape off the back of my car… but we told her to stop being a baby and face the mountain.  She got scraped up but is just fine now.  My friend says it was my driving that scared her bike, not the idea of mountain climbing.  We also discovered a tree had fallen on two other athlete’s home- but it turns out no damage was done so we set off for a beatiful day in the mountains.

We climbed Vesuvius – an unrelenting 3+ mile super steep winding climb AND we finished our 50 mile ride by climbing up to the top of Wintergreen, yet another steep, tough climb.  Looking at my Garmin a few times, I noticed at some points it said 4, yes FOUR miles per hour.  I pretty much had to keep going up that darn mountain because if I stopped, I’d tip over.  It was brutal.  I loved it.  Of course, these hard core ironman junkies, as I like to call them wouldn’t stop there.  Oh no… they wanted to do a transition run afterward.  They said a “short run” and because these athletes are so hard core, I was like…”umm..define short.”  Luckily, their definition met mine and we were off for a nice little run to celebrate the long hard bike.  THIS is one of the best things about being a triathlete.  Beautiful days like today.  Brutal mountain rides with fun people and the feeling of satisfaction, confidence and happiness .

Oh, and the descending is becoming, dare I say it…. really fun!  I’m really improving.  Its wonderful.  I feel so much more confidence out there.  One year ago, I was in a sling with broken bones dreaming of the days I’d be tearing up the tri courses and worrying about how I’d ever be able to descend again.  I’m so happy to be out there racing.  There’s a lot working against me now too in my triathlon life, but I keep doing this sport because of days like today.  I light up inside when I think about it or talk about it.  I keep doing it because it makes me a better person in all other aspects of my life and also because one year ago it meant so much to me to be able to come back to this sport and be successful and to take it serious and encourage others while enjoying  every moment of racing and training.  I need to hold tight to all my tri dreams and do everything I can keep them alive no matter what.  That girl in that sling one year ago today with broken bones who nearly lost everything… she’s still a big part of who I am and drives me to continue in tri and to have hope that everything will get better as I pursue big goals of further meeting my potential as a triathlete in the company of other amazing people.