Today was an awesome day. One of many firsts, beautiful scenery and just an overall great day.
We started off the day with breakfast served at 7am by the Salvation Army in a pkg lot surrounded by the Alaska mtns... can the day start much better than that?
We headed to the race start after bfast which was right underneath a glacier on the mountain side. Glaciers actually look blue if anyone was wondering... I was set to start my time trial at 9:10. This was my fist time trial and for those not in the cycling world here is how it works. Each person starts a minute apart and you go as fast as you can for the set distance, today was 14.5 miles. The goal is to beat the clock and it's even better if you catch the person in front of you. I started first for the women so I had no one to catch but that was OK. I was on my own until about mile 5 when the women kneelers passed me at a pretty speedy pace. Like I said before, they are a bit out of our league... some of the best handcyclist in the world in fact...Katz had started a minute behind me and she passed me around point at mile 6. I kept her in my sight and managed to catch back up and pass her at about mile 10. I held her off until the end but didn't make up the minute I had started ahead of her. The final results were Katz, 3rd and Me, 4th. I had come in 18 seconds slower than her. The 1st and 2nd place kneeling riders were 9 and 12 minutes ahead of us. Um, yeah. They are speedy. The 5th woman Sherry, came in a few minutes behind Katz and I so we were holding a retty respectable 3rd and 4th place. To explain a little further, throughout the week all the riders times are added up and the fastest overall time at the end is the winner. And to add to the course, in true Alaska style we saw a coyote on the course. No bears yet..
We got a quick break for lunch and a little rest before we headed into downtown Seward for the criterium. Like the time trial, this was my first criterium. What it is is a .67 loop that you do 20 times. The top 3 people in each category get bonus pts. For example the 1st place female gets 30 sec taken off of their overall time. The 2nd place, 2o seconds and the 3rd place 10 seconds. Keep reading for better understanding. The clock started and the two kneelers immediately took off leaving us again to 3rd and 4th. The course was a bit hilly with a few good turns in there and I was feeling pretty good. I was having a blast and ended up in 3rd gaining 10 bonus seconds. The 4th and 5th place riders got no bonus. So, this morning I was 18 seconds behind Katz but since I came in 3rd and her 4th, I am now 8 seconds behind her. It's a bit confusing but it works out. The end of the day's results are Katz, 3rd and me 4th, behind by 8 seconds. Its going to be a good race between Katz and I. We are both very competitive people and as much as we want to win on the course, we will both be genuinely happy if the other wins. After all, out goal is to have fun and to finish. So far so good. Plus, we have some pretty sweet looking jerseys. We had some made for the race and love them. Thanks Soldier Ride..:) Look for them in the pictures.
After the criterium we had dinner in the town of Seward and met some of the locals. A town of 3000 located right on the ocean, surrounded by mountains. You can't beat the scenery. The weather was pretty decent all day. A bit wet as it's supposed to be all week but luckily it didn't pour on us, just a little sprinkling and wet roads. Let's hope for no worse tomorrow.
Each of us riders are assigned to a support vehicle. Katz and I were given a team name of Team Diva with our driver Yasuka from Japan. Yasuka doesn't speak much english and we were a bit hesitant at first as she drives us everywhere, helps with our stuff, the course, etc.. and the language barrier was a slight issue. However, she has grown on us and now we LOVE her. She literally runs to get the things we need and helps us with everything and anything and we totally lucked out. We all make quite the team.
We just got back from our nightly 30 min massage. Yes, we learned today that there are massage therapists with us along the trip to work on us every night. We were PUMPED. So to finish the night off, Katz and I went and got outdoor massages, under a canopy, listening to bongo drums, in Alaska. Oh, what a day.
Tomorrow we head to Hope, AK for a 36 mile road race. There is definate climbing but it's not too too bad. If anything today was a bit of a wake up call that this week is going to be a toughy. Today was supposedly the easy day. But what's life without a good challenge...
And lastly, many of the pictures I post will be of Katz and I doing the peace sign. Those are in honor of Jimi in hope that he's smiling down on us. ANd speaking of pictures, the internet connection is a bit spotty, so if there are no pictures it's becasue they wouldn't download.
Time for a shower, then to bed. Good Night.
Love you mom.:)
p.s. Only 1 picture today. I've tried for hours and this is all I get. I'll try more as soon as we get better service..