--Joining a new triathlon team, the Atlanta Tri Club;
--Getting a shout-out from former Vice President Al Gore during a speech he gave in Atlanta;
--Healing my arm and getting back to masters swim class;
--Renewing an old sponsorship with Cycleops and getting a new one with Swiftwick, both of which I'm really psyched about;
--Finishing on the podiums at two recent road races;
--Experimenting with Newton running shoes
--Helping my wife train for RAAM;
--Breaking the rear derailleur off my road bike, thus requiring me to get a new bike (which I haven't yet bought);
--Starting work as a coach; and
--Gearing up my own training for my spring goals and for my big goal of the year, Ironman Wisconsin.
As I look at that list, I realize that 2013 is off to a rockin' start! (We also re-financed our condo, but who wants to read about that?) I'll certainly be writing about each one of the things above, but it would make for an unweildy blog if I tried to condense it all into a single entry.
2013 began for me in Florida, at a training camp with my wife. The Dardens know how to do a training camp. Even though they seem to be suddenly in style, we've been taking long weekends in Asheville or having stay-train-cations at home for the last several years. For our late December/early January training camp, we went to Fort Lauderdale and rode our bikes. Then we rode some more, and then a little more. After that, we rode a lot more. Then I ran a little bit while Kacie rode some more. By the end of our eight days in Florida, I had ridden nearly 700 miles. I set a new one-week personal record of 676 miles. Dern.
On January 4th, I was leading the Strava Cycling Base Mile Blast, a challenge to see who could get the most miles in the first month of the year. Of the over 40,000 participants world-wide, including pro cyclists, I was sitting in the overall lead with about 440 miles. (Kacie had not yet joined!) Once I returned to real life, I dropped in the rankings, and I finished the month just under 5000th place. But I was in the lead on January 4th. Don't forget that part.
Most of our rides were on the A1A between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Springs. Along the way, we saw some of the most stunning houses we've ever seen.
In addition, we did a group ride that went through downtown Miami:
And with a lot of help from Anne, we did a 133-mile ride that went from Homestead, FL, on the mainland, to Key West:
We hung out there for a few hours before we returned to Fort Lauderdale:
(Note the shorts and short sleeves in the first week of January. That's the reason we went to FL!)
The downside of riding in southern Florida is that there are no hills. I had less than 1000 feet of climbing the entire time we were there. It was an easy price to pay, though, given that (1) I was still a bit out of shape as a result of my broken arm and sprained wrist, and (2) Kacie could more easily stick on my wheel on the flat roads, so we got to do all of our training camp riding together.
We've gone climbing a time or two since we've been back in GA. Last month, we had our first of what will undoubtedly by MANY trips to the North Georgia mountains with Kacie's RAAM partner Dani and our friend Zach:
(How do you like that jersey I'm wearing??)
Between training camp and all of the time I spent at Energy Lab in November and December, I was actually good-to-go when we got on the climbs. As you can probably tell from the shot above, though, I put on a few pounds in the last few months, so carrying those over some 10-15% grades was not a lot fun. Why the weight gain? Even though I still trained a bit in the two months after Kona, I completely relaxed my eating standards, and things like this found their way onto my plate:
Believe it or not, that's a crabmeat meatball on top of some homemade pasta with vodka sauce. Holy crap. Things like this actually exist. And they're kinda awesome once in a while.
So now, I'm back to my regular routine, with a few twists given my goals this year. I've been going to masters swim class three mornings a week, and I have the short-term goal of not missing any Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes until I leave to spend a week in London on Friday, March 8. (Three weeks down, three to go!) I'm also running more and doing more fast running, given that I'm convinced I can be running faster than I have been. (I have a half-marathon tomorrow!) Cycling has taken a backseat volume-wise, but I'm still spending three sessions a week working on my power and maintaining my fitness. After I get back from London, I'll start riding my bike more. And finally, I've been laying off the crabmeat meatballs and slowly taking off the weight that I put on during my off period. At age 38, that happens more slowly than I might like.