Into the Wind: Vacation Training in Florida

I'm down here in FL this week completing what you could call a Bike Boot Camp of sorts, but really this week is just a good excuse to get some precious sleep and spend some quality time with the family. But you know what I always say: SLEEP FIRST. Unfortunately there are important bonding opportunities that require bending this prime directive (watching a RAMBO marathon with my brother-in-law into the wee hours of the morning, for instance) and sleep has not been as plentyful as Brett has reminded me it should be.

But, every day is a new day, and although experts say it takes 7 hours of surplus sleep to make up for one lost hour of back sleep (see me for source info, because I just made this up) tonight I am NOT watching Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen again and I AM going to bed early. Then I will be ready to tackle Bike Boot Camp like a real triathlon trooper.

Like I said, we're down here in FL, not sleeping, and drinking a lot of beer (this is Paelo OK as far as i can tell. Cave men originally found beer in mud puddles near naturally occuring wheat fields in what is today the Somali penninsula). So training on vacation has been a real challenge. Here's a little lesson I whipped up about this experience that will hopefully help others really develop a terrific vacation training plan.

Lesson one: Finding a bike.
No one should ever have to fly with a bike because it is as cheap to rent one on site and less of a hastle then spending 6 hours packing up a BIG FLIPPING BOX only to find out that the airline you thought was charging 90 dollars one way to send your bike was bought out by Air Canada and is now charging 300 dollars one way (DAMN YOU CRUMMY CANADIAN EXCHANGE RATE). So, I took an important first step and rented the only bike left in the Naples FL area. This, I would also suggest you do well in advance because in places people vacation there are lots of spandex wearing wannabees out there sucking up the rental fleet resources. I had a hard time finding a bike, but when I did it was, conveniently, a 54 cm Specialized Transition (alluminum BOO) and set me back a $160 bucks for the week. This is the first important step in dilligent vacation training. Lay more money out then you should so you feel guilty if you skip workouts.

Lesson two: Picking a route.
So, that hurdle cleared, there's the inevitable challenge of riding the mean streets of Retireed America. Dispite abundant bike lanes there's an overwhelming number of people too old to see you there just outside the vision tunnel created by untreated cataracks and years of shrinking slowly lower than the level of the steering wheel. And there's ALLIGATORS. No one ever said tri training was a scenic sport. Well down here it is. The last thing you will ever see is you riding into the mouth of a 16 foot alligator laying in wait on a shoulder somewhere :) So keep your head up people. Your pleasant sunny vacation destination is probably full of man eating beasts or decrepid old people who are just itching to kill you with a Catillac.

Lesson three:
Pick up the tempo. It's hard to really have your heart in it when you are lounging around watching Rambo all day. It's also really hard to get yourself into it when you are biking in Florida and there's not a 5 foot hill for 300 miles. So, here are some tips that I think will really help you draw First Blood in your battle with vacation training. First, eat a lot of junk food. Then you will have to ride harder or else you will turn into The Fat Cyclist. Second, figure out where the prevaling winds are coming from, and ride into them. This is the only way to avoid ripping around Florida at a 26 mph avg with in your granny gear. Although, this is good in a way, for your self esteem. Because nowhere other than Florida can you be this fast in January.

Lesson four:
I may keep adding these as the week goes on here.

Ok folks, time to ride.