Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Research - 2012 the year I pay registration fees for races ... but do I race

This past weekend we had a family trip to Orlando for my daughter's gymnastics competition.

If you follow the blog you know that her competitions this year have been timed to completely mess up my race schedule. I see it as an exercise in my ability to try and remember to put her first but I'm already out 2 and now maybe 3 race registrations for the year but more on that later.

I'm registered for the Haines City Florida 70.3 race May 20th. I'm excited because it will be my first 70.3 distance. Since it's 30 minutes from Orlando I took my bike up with me to explore the course.

My husband and kids are too great that they put up with this because it is a little annoying to be lugging the bike around but they did it.

There is nothing in Haines City ... that I could find except Orange Trees. It's a typical small agricultural town but I will say that the park where they are hosting the event looks pretty awesome. New, clean, pretty park benches and so on.
Orange tree. This is the scenery in Haines City. Over and over again. Pretty cool actually I think.

I assume we'll be swimming in and out from the little beach and that looks good except for this:
The sign says DANGER public beach closed due to underwater obstruction
So, that's not alarming at all. Okay actually it is a little unnerving. There is a fire station on the corner and I stopped to ask the firemen whether they knew what the sign was about ... they did not. They also did not know that in less than 100 days there would be 2000 cyclists descending onto their local roads. Oops. Hopefully somebody somewhere else knows.

After poking around and looking for an open bathroom (no success there) I headed out on my bike ... map in hand. I didn't make it very far because soon I came to a rural intersection where there were no shoulders on the road. I didn't take a picture but it was a typical rural 4-way stop with a gas station / convenience store on each corner. The stop signs were really big and the lane lines were double yellow lines. I stopped and paused because that says highway to me.

I looked and initially the speed limit was only 35 so I went ahead. But within a half mile I was passed by 3 cars going over the double yellow to give me space. And then the speed limit went up to 50 and I realized that the road was Hinson Ave and FL 17. I perched at the top of a hill  watching the trucks speed by for a minute and then I chickened out and turned back. I don't know if it was just nerves because I was alone and because I had the recent cyclist fatality in Miami on my mind but I did not feel like sharing the road at 50 mph.

While it didn't work for me as a training ride I'm not saying that it's a bad course or anything because this won't be an issue during the race because the course will be marked and there will be more of us together. We road on rural roads in Trinona that were also open to traffic and it was fine ... and really pretty.

This wasn't the actual intersection where I chickened out but a sample of the shoulderless roads just for ... proof.
So it was a lot of driving for only about 40 minutes of biking but the hills were fun. None too huge in the part that I road. The roads are in pretty terribly condition on the section I followed. A lot of gravel and a lot of uneven surfaces. I will say that if I get to this race I'll need to be prepared for a long bumpy ride and probably a flat tire I would think.

I was not alone in researching the location as I left there were two cyclists pulling in with beautiful tri bikes on the back of their cars. Hopefully they got farther on the route than I did. If I get out there again I will want to be with other cyclists and maybe even a car. My own personal sag wagon :-)

So later that day we went to my daughter's gymnastics meet. She did very well. They don't give individual awards at her beginner level but the team took first place!
That's my peanut holding the first place team award. They were thrilled.
 In talking to another mom I learned that this might mean they go to the state competition in May. Guess when ... that's right May 18-20th exactly when I'm registered to be in Haines City. Can you believe it? So that will be a big bummer but I can't imagine that it wouldn't crush my daughter if I didn't go to her gymnastics meet. That's just not a good option.


  1. Confused by the last two sentences... are you saying you are considering doing the race if she ends up in the state comp?

  2. Ouch! Maybe her event is the 18th?

  3. I would definitely Scrap the race for her gym meet. But yes I'm hoping that it happens to be on Friday. But it's unlikely only because all her other events were Sundays.