Monday, May 26, 2014

Folsom Training Day Report

Yesterday I went up to the Nimbus Dam Recreation Area for a training day. I'm not doing the Folsom race this year for a variety of reasons, but I wanted to check out swimming conditions there.

I had a blast!

I went up with my sister and my son's dog and met up with my niece and her family so it wasn't all about triathlon. I also carpooled up with another triathlete who is planning to do the Long course and wanted to swim and bike (and maybe run) it before the race.

We got up at the crack of dawn, but not as early as maybe we should have. The original plan was to get there at 9 am to be swimming by 9:15 and we left early enough to do that but we had trouble finding the entrance to the park. Plus, just as we were getting there, MacDog started having conniptions and we had to stop to let him out of his crate to pee. I'm not sure if he actually had to pee or if he just couldn't take being in the crate for two hours but it was kind of hairy.

Anyway we eventually found where we should be and got into the "lake" just before 10 am -- only 45 minutes late!

The lake is really just a dammed off portion of the American River. So in that way it's a lot like Johnson's Beach where Vineman takes place. But unlike that "river", this one actually has water in it and lots of it! Swimming conditions were excellent. There were a lot of boats out there but they were all non-motorized - kayaks mostly. According a local we talked to before we started swimming, if you swim out to a small bridge and island that we couldn't see from the boat launch and back, it's just over 1.2 miles. So that's what my friend did.

My plan was to swim 15 minutes out and then turn around. I let her go out for a while so we'd end at the same time and chatted with our new friend for a bit. Turns out he's originally from the Bay Area. Then I took off. I stayed within some buoys that boats were supposed to stay on the other side of for most of the trip but moved into the deeper area when the beach side got shallow.

At 15 minutes, I hadn't covered that much ground so ended up turning around at 17.5 minutes. On the way back the current was STRONG so it took me an extra FIVE minutes. Crazy!

But, just as I pulled up to the starting point -- about 40 minutes after I started, my friend passed me. So it worked out perfectly.

Conclusion: if I ever do this race, I know now to save some gas for the trip back.

After that we dilly-dallied our way to our bike rides. I was going to ride the Sprint course which was 19 miles. I thought a lot of it was on the American River Canal Bike Trial but it seemed like almost none of it was. My nephew (who had arrived just as we came out of the water) convinced me the bike trial was a better ride.

I have just changed back to my Look Keo pedals after giving up on them back in 2011 and was nervous about riding anyway so I was easily convinced. I decided to ride 10 miles out or 1 hour, whichever came first, and turn around for a 18-20 mi/2 hour bike ride.

My friend headed out to bike the Long course and I headed out towards Sacramento with no goal in mind. I decided, since I had biked and ran the day before as my real bike workout of the week, to not push the pace but to concentrate on bike skills. I worked on making myself eat and drink on the bike rather than at stop signs, which I used to be able to do with ease before my long period off the bike. I also worked on taking the water bottle in and out of its cage without actually looking and also trying to keep track of what gear I was in without looking.

I also worked on really leaning my weight properly on any curves. They were mostly too shallow to really have to do that, so if I messed up I wasn't going to fall. That gave me confidence and I could feel the technical skills coming back.

I had fun coming up with skills to work on and enjoying the the scenery. (I saw a turkey!) The American River Canal Bike Trail is the only MUP I've ridden that I really enjoyed. People on foot are totally second class citizens and "no skateboards allowed." Bikes rule and it was awesome not to have dodge walkers 5 abreast chatting and in their own little world not getting out of your way!

Since the route was pretty flat and had no traffic lights and only 2 stop signs, I got to 10 miles in only 45 minutes. I was quite pleased with my time but really wanted a longer ride so I went out another mile before I turned around. On the way back I got a bit lost trying to find my way back to the picnic area.

I was tired but happy. (And apparently quite sunburnt though I didn't find that out until later.) I got back just as MacDog and Nephew came back from a run and the rest of the family from a walk. We dug into some awesome sandwiches and banana nut pound cake from Whole Paycheck and visited while we waited for my friend to come back from her ride.

MacDog was having an awesome day as well. He'd gotten to play fetch with many pretty girls, (He likes pretty girls and in his book that means all girls), gone for a run and seen many interesting sights. And then my great-niece wanted to go swimming again so he got to go swimming too! (MacDog loves to swim.) I decided I'd had enough swimming for the day so I just went in up to my knees so he'd come in the water too.

Once in the water, he discovered kayaks. He made friends with some more pretty girls in a kayak and tried to get in their boat. He was obedient when I said "No" but then he tried to follow them out when they left the shore. I had a moment of panic there when he didn't come back the first time I called him but the second time he remembered I was Alpha Dog when MacBoy isn't around and obeyed me. Whew.

After that the Niece Contingent decided they really had to split as great-niece was in danger of turning into a lobster and they took off. My sister, the dog and I were beat so we spread out towels in the shade and took a nap. Well, the dog was in his crate as there was no where to tie his leash that was shady.

Eventually my friend came back with tales of biking adventures. She'd gotten a flat tire, gotten lost and the course was much more difficult than she'd thought before she did it. (She was glad she got to preview it as it didn't seem that hilly on paper.)

The original plan called for her to do a run after the bike and maybe for me to join her, but it was 100 out and we were all beat. We packed up the cars and went to Starbucks instead.

I think it was a good decision.

Then another two hour trip back home and I've been in a stupor ever since. But a happy one.

I'm particularly happy that I was able to bike 1:50 minutes after doing a full workout the day before. I had been a bit worried about transitioning from the New-to-Multisport program to the regular one come July but not any more.
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