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Archive for May, 2009

To float or not to float

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

The other day at swim workout Miss Coco tried to drown me. Ok, so maybe she didn’t try to drown me, she was actually trying to help me by smuggling across borders a “torpedo” pull bouy from Hungary, to help me improve my weak attempts at paddle swimming. My old pull bouy has been with me for decades. It is the first pull bouy I ever got, when I started swimming at age 12. The string that held it together has long since disintegrated, and a new one added, the edges have been worn smooth like a pebble, and the chlorine smell is permanent. It probably does not float at all by now, Brett keeps saying how the shape and float is all wrong, and little does he know that pull bouy has been waterlogged for 20+ years.

So anyway, this new magic bullet pullbouy. As the pull set was announced I happily reached for my new pull bouy and off I went. First 50 pulling ok, second 50 getting slower, third 50 everyone has passed me and will now lap me. I am thinking I can’t be this tired, I can still feel my arms, but am going slower and slower, I might sink soon, or start moving backwards. I get to the end, and take out the pullbouy, which now weighs 300 pounds. My pullbouy had turned into an anchor, when it had sprung a leak and over the 200 meters had slowly been filling with water. Lucky I wasn’t at the deep end of a 50 meter pool, I might have never made it to the end!

So my old, trusty pull bouy was called into action for a few more swims, while the new one is getting coated in glue and made swim worthy again. Thank goodness for trusty old friends. And the quest to become a swimming machine, and a pulling maniac continues.

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The Swiss Mist

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Switzerland is the location of the second of team TBB’s training camps. This time there will be a much smaller group, since the race season is in full swing, and some are racing, while others are training at their favorite stomping grounds elsewhere.
I was excited to head to this camp, check out the much talked about climb in and out of the village, as well as have a chance to keep plugging away at my training. Well, the trip from Toronto was pretty smooth. A direct flight from Toronto to Zurich, then a very short walk to the train station, an even shorter wait for the speedy train and a few hours later I was in Aigle, which is at the base of the climb that Leysin is perched on. When I got there the weather that greeted me was rainy and cold. Luckily I was prepared, and had a nice warm jacket, as well as some warning from Donna that it could be rainy and cold one day, and sunny the next. As we drove higher and higher it got foggier and foggier, and it felt like we were climbing into nowhere. Kind of exciting, new place, new training routes and it was going to stay a surprise for a while longer, since in this weather is was impossible to see anything. So once I settled into my new place I took a few pictures from the balcony. Before and after of course. The first is when I got there, and the second is what I woke up to the next morning. And yes they are exactly the same view. Yipee, let the fun begin.

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I hate you Mr. GPS

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Technology is wonderful, until it leads you the wrong way. Wildflower is a classic race, beautiful, in the middle of California hills and wineries and trees, and not much else. Everyone camps, or stays a little ways outside the race park. My team TBB mates and I were lucky enough to stay at a house about 10 miles from the race site. Reinaldo had driven a rental car from LA, and the day before the race realized that he had very little gas left in the car, and the trips back and forth to the race would suck the tank dry. So we decided to go on a little field trip, get some gas, get some lunch and be back in transition in time for a bike ride and the pre race meeting. We plugged in the friendly little GPS, which was kind enough to speak in Portuguese for Reinaldo and display info in English for me. Closest gas station, 20 kilometers, no problem. Two minutes into our drive the gas light comes on, no worries. Thirty minutes later, after winding through the rain soaked quiet country roads we get to the final GPS destination. Of course there is no gas station, not even a barn, not even a gravel shoulder at the side of the road.

Ok, we still don’t panic. Plug in the next closest gas station, 15 km away. Hmm.. not much choice, so we start heading off in the next direction. Reinaldo is getting more and more tense, holding onto the steering wheel tighter and tighter. And we do have our bikes in the back, so if need be it will turn into a rainy bike ride to a station and a bike back with a little canister of gas. Of course with our sense of direction we could be missing for days. Another twenty minutes later we see a blue and red gas station sign, and I start to cheer. Until I see that there are no prices on the sign, no cars at the pumps, and the station is abandoned. At this point Reinaldo is ready to chuck the GPS out the window, and I am looking for a parked car to syphon the gas out of its tank, because we are unlikely to make it any further. Ok, the GPS says there is another gas station less than 10 km away, but at this point Reinaldo takes the matter into his own hands, and does the opposite of what Mr.GPS says to do. Which we should have done 10 minutes into the trip when Mr. GPS said to go right, and Reinaldo said the closest town he drove through was to the left. So we do the oposite of what Mr.GPS says, go left instead of right, get on the highway instead of stay off it, kind of like that episode of Seinfeld when George does the opposite of what his instinct says to do.

Did we finally find a working gas station? Well unlike the guy who drove his car into a lake because Mr. GPS told him to continue straight we figured out when to stop listening.

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Reinaldo so weak from hunger, and tired from the gas station hunt that he can barely fill the very, very empty tank.