The Every Man Jack training camp in Palm Springs was incredible. I was finally able to meet several of my teammates, and training with nearly 30 people is much better than going solo like I normally do. Plus, it was nice to get out of sub freezing degree temperatures and snow and soak up some sun in 70-80 degree California weather. This camp was loaded with firsts for me. First time: attending a training camp of any kind (running, triathlon, etc.), flying with my bike, swimming more than 1 hour at a time or over 4500 yards, biking 100 miles on one ride, and wearing cycling bibs.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t too nervous about our first swim on Friday even though it was going to be for 90 minutes and over 5000 yards. I typically swim during lunch three days a week, so I’m only able to swim for 60 minutes, which limits the amount of yards I can swim. Recently, I did a 15 x 300 workout and that was my longest swim to date. However, during our first team swim, I got in 5500 yards and felt great doing it. I also swam 5100 yards on Sunday, but didn’t feel nearly as good as I did on Friday’s swim.
On Saturday, the EMJ crew had an early wakeup call since the Tour of Palm Springs century ride started at 6:30 am. Being the only member at camp not to have previously biked 100 miles before, I was a bit nervous and anxious for the ride. The first 15 miles were crazy because of the wicked cross or head wind that morning. It took us nearly an hour to ride the first 15 miles. After that, though, we were able to fly on some downhill sections with the wind at our back. I dropped one of my Picky Bars just after the first SAG station around mile 23. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch the group I was riding with again. Keith, another EMJ teammate, caught me from behind a few miles later and we rode together for the next 25 miles until we reached the SAG station at mile 51 where EMJ planned to regroup since we got spread out along the way. I have to give Keith a lot of credit as he basically did all the work and pulled me along over those 25 miles or so. I was doing everything I could just to stay on his wheel and not get dropped. We have a ton of very talented athletes and bikers on this team, and since I’m one of the weaker bikers, I was just trying to hold on the entire 100 mile ride and stay with my teammates as best as I could. The plan was to regroup as a team again at the SAG station at mile 81. I stayed with the front group for the next 25 miles before I got popped off the back. Fortunately, the group got stopped at a light one mile later and I was able to catch up and ride with them to the SAG station. The last 15-20 miles was tricky because there were a ton of stop lights and the 100-mile course and 55-mile course converged, so the number of bikers on the roads almost doubled instantly and it became very crowded. I was happy to finish the ride with my team and bike 101 miles in 4:40:30. My training day wasn’t over quite yet. After a quick stop at the finish line to regroup as a team, we biked back to the place we were staying and changed into our run gear and started the 6 x 3:00 run. I was surprised how well my legs felt running since I’ve never biked that far before.
How I was ever able to bike without cycling bibs on and a good chamois pad in the shorts is beyond me. The gear Louis Garneau hooked us up with is unreal. I’m no longer wearing cheap cycling shorts and baggy cycling jerseys that I get from races. Top of the line bibs and a jersey that is skin tight make all the difference. There’s no way I could have biked 100 miles in my old gear and been comfortable doing it. The cycling bibs I wore felt like I was sitting on a pillow the entire time.
Oh, and I also ate a dessert for the first time since Thanksgiving Day. We had Three Twins Ice Cream and it was amazing. I’m a dessert lover and was a bit apprehensive about eating desserts again because my craving for them is gone (which is amazing to me). But I guess that will happen when you go nearly 3 months without eating any chocolate, cookies, brownies, ice cream, etc. I wasn’t sure how my body would react to it and whether or not it would kick start my cravings again and make me go on a dessert eating binge, but it didn’t, which is incredible. I will definitely be buying some more Three Twins Ice Cream.