The Same Silver Comet Curse and a Constant Balancing Act

Last year, I wrote a post about the famous (er, infamous) Silver Comet Trail (SCT), and it was called The Silver Comet Curse.

A little adventure on Saturday solidified the fact that I am never showing up to that blasted place again.

At the trail, I met one of my athletes , ZM (real name is Karen… don’t ask… ya know everyone in my life gets a nickname :). It was early in the AM and we had the intention of riding at least 50 miles… I was hoping for 80…but would have been thrilled with 40 (aw, hell it was one of those weeks!).

Ran into another tri pal in the parking lot. Group selfie. Click!

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ZM and I headed out.  My power meter wasn’t talking to my Garmin, which sucked.  Knowledge is POWER. I mean POWER is knowledge. I mean… Blast!

We planned on a nice Zone 2, easy ride. Lots of catching up to do.  Lots of coach/athlete-y things to discuss.

Around Mile 5, we witnessed a cyclist do the nightmare thing—a low-speed tipover at a stop light.  So embarrassing. Totally feel for him. We stopped, and helped him up–because he was still attached to his pedals.  I was able to tell him all about how I have low-speed tipped over about 10 times at that very light.

ZM and I took off again.photo

The SCT has grown more and more crowded since I started riding there in late 2010.  The first 10 miles are starting to feel almost unmaneuverable on a bike with all the people.  So many inexperienced cyclists and walkers and runners and dogs and strollers… it just felt dangerous.  Kids riding without helmets. Parents without helmets.  Top it off with debris from the storm the night before.

About 10 minutes after the encounter with the low-speed tipover cyclist, he went flying by with two other men on bikes.

One who was not wearing a helmet.

I swear everytime I see that, I lose my mind.  (I actually saw people riding with their helmets hanging from their handlebars this time too. Holy sh*t. What good is that going to do you?)

It wasn’t 3 minutes after the trio flew by us, that ZM said, “We’ve got a yard sale ahead.”

I looked, and there was a cluster of people and bikes strewn across the path.  A cyclist down.

Oh, crap, I thought.  Please don’t let that be the guy without the helmet on the ground.

As “luck” would have it, the moron (and I do apologize. I do not know the guy. He’s a rocket scientist for all I know. But anyone riding a bike without a helmet is a moron, in my book)… so anyway, Mr. Sans McHelmet was up, walking.

Whew.

ZM and I pull over, and she immediately begins first responder stuff to the cyclist on the ground.  He’s crying out and his arms are in crazy positions.  So I stand with three bikes.  I don’t even know how I ended up with a third bike to man.  But I  DO  know that when we pulled up, I handed over my bike to someone, and the dude promptly threw it on the concrete.  SO I took over property – and ZM took over the persons at the situation.

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Ambulance called. Paramedics arrive.  ZM did a phenomenal job calming the cyclist, getting his DOB, his allergies, the meds he took the night before. His arms were finally straightened out, so I think he was just holding them in a weird way when we arrived. I swear, I am going to bring ZM with me EVERYWHERE going forward. She was amazing.

And at that moment, I took that opportunity to totally berate and yell at the cyclist without the helmet.

I was a little strong.  [I am not sorry.]

We turned the scene over to the good folks (and fast responders!) of Cobb County,  I phoned the cyclist’s wife, and  we headed out once again for our ride.

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ZM and I were both not feeling it.  Something in my gut was not right.  Hers either.   She was still pretty shaken from helping the guy too.

We turned around at Mile 15, and on the way back, we encountered idiot after idiot after danger after danger on the ride back. People turning in front of us without looking. Dogs.  Branches. Kids.

I have never been so tense on a ride in my life.  Right down to the fact that someone nearly mowed me down in the PARKING LOT, about 10 feet from my car.

Insane.

I have never been so glad to be back at my car.  The ride was not hard.  Not all all, but the emotional toll was intense.  I kept thinking how one mistake, one idiot can ruin  your  life.  And that wasn’t the day to test them all.

The rest of the weekend was uneventful in training.

There’s been some emotional turmoil at the Swim Bike House.

For many reasons–all of which are of course my fault—and many that I won’t blog about right now.  (Some of which I will). So in light of being emotionally exhausted and pooped in general, I caught on up on laundry, roller skating, a salon appointment and some Swim Bike Kid snuggling.

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Like I tell my athletes, sometimes, you have to let the training go, skip it, and snuggle.

Today, I got back to work and the Swim Bike Boy stayed home with me… he’s been sick and we’ve been up all night with him several nights as well… have I ever mentioned that parenting is intense?

I accomplished a good run this morning, but that’s about it.  Then I put on my Peachtree shirt and repeated, “I am a runner. Even if I never run.”  #truestory

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Really, I am panicking about my 140.6 which is a little over 100 days away.

I’m thinking that all signs are starting to point to “nah, we won’t do that.”  Then I read some of my posts leading up to Coeur d’Alene last year, and thought, well, I might as well go for this.  I feel like I was in better shape—but I really don’t think so.

So I am spending this week re-centering myself and focusing on the training.

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The Expert has shifted his support for my 140.6 training over the last few days in pretty amazing ways.  And I am so thankful… It is no secret during the ramp up to Ironman last year that our marriage was on the rocks and the training was taking ridiculous tolls on us – along with life in general.

As my training got pretty busy a few weeks ago, I saw all the signs of it happening again.

And I know nothing is worth busting up the family over–especially not triathlon–but I have been really struggling with, “Hey Expert, training is what makes me happy and why don’t you want me to be happy” and the like.

Kind of selfish, sure.  But at the same time… is it?  I mean, I am working and providing (too) and taking care of laundry and kids (also).  I mean check out the laundry room below.   I’m doing my “jobs” around here…

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… so is triathlon training really selfish??  The burning triathlon question.

I kind of wanted to scream, “Seriously, I am going to move out of this damn house.”

(Okay, maybe I did scream that.)

Triathlon families require a very special kind of balance. Very big understatement.  And we’re teetering and balancing and falling down, and doing it all again. That’s the story of life, I suppose. It’s always something going on.

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How to balance it all and not kill people is important.

The late Ruth Graham, wife to evangelist Billy Graham, was asked one time:  “In all of your 35 years of marriage, have you ever thought about divorce?”

To which she replied, “No, I’ve never thought of divorce… but I did think of murder a few times.”

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#PrayForUs  :)

But seriously, the Expert has made some gestures that have really helped me out lately.  Brought me some calm. And I am very, very grateful to the balance he (usually) brings to me.

And the flowers.  I do like the flowers too.

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I’m not the easiest person to live with–boy, do I know that.  My dad actually apologized to the Expert one time… because he had lived with me and he understands.  [I felt totally betrayed by that comment, by the way....Dad, you're supposed to be on MY side! ]  :)

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But what I lack in tact (words from my first boyfriend… “you really have no tact”), I make up for in passion and work ethic and hysteria and (apparently HAIR these days)… so I think it’s a good balance.

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It takes a very special person to love a hot mess.

And I am pretty blessed, because that means I have LOTS of special people in my life… because I feel lots of love most of the time.

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=====================

Looking forward to this weekend in Rome, New York at the Delta Lake Tri!

Sweet Red and I are hitting the road on Friday, and excited about the festivities, which includes a kids’ race (Swim Bike Kid’s Todd will be there for the kiddos!), a BBQ, an expo and me trying to put down an Oly distance race on Sunday… woot.

If you guys can come out, please do. Check out this post – not to late to register and get discounts on hotel too.

Comments

  1. Emily Z. says

    Looking forward to seeing you at Delta Lake! It’s a great race. My husband works the Neutral Race Support that the bike shop, Bike Loft East operates. ATC puts on a good race series. Glad that you are able to come! Good luck and see you this weekend!

  2. says

    There’s a popular bike trail fairly close to my house and the local triathlon group does not recommend riding on it. Basically, assume that anyone on that trail is using it for “community use” not training. When we go on the bike trail, its at 5:30 in the morning when we know we will be the only ones on it (other than animals, those pop up all the time). Either way, the guy with the helmet on his bike and not his head is a moron. You nailed that!

  3. Nikki says

    My parents are always telling my husband they don’t know how he deals with me and he is such a saint. It drives me nuts!! Seriously parents, be on your own kid’s side!!

  4. Andrea says

    I think it was the Reader’s Digest that quoted someone as saying that people who ride motorcycles or bicycles without a helmet are beacons of hope for those in need of an organ transplant. Sad, but true!

    Thanks for another awesome post!

  5. Stacey s says

    Oh my! I will be up in Kennesaw this coming weekend and I was telling my wife I needed to get a ride on while up there. She suggested the Silver Comet but after reading this I’m thinking I’d rather brave the traffic. Any suggestions on a place to get 25-30 miles in?

  6. BJ in the UK says

    I was cycling to work a while ago when I saw a girl on her bike cycling to high school, she was aged about 11. It was a hot day and as we reached the top of a hill on a busy commuter route she took off her helmet and hung it on her handlebars. I overtook her and told her she must wear the helmet. It scares me when I see cyclists, especially children without cycle helmets. Don’t be shy to speak out if you see children not wearing them, it could save their lives!

  7. Debbie says

    Sometimes I’m sure you are writing my biography esp the dad comments to husband ….love it thanks for sharing

  8. Lindsay says

    Ugh my local recreation trail is the exact same…filled with idiots.

    Looking forward to meeting you at Delta!! Can’t wait!

  9. Sarah says

    I know a lot of cyclists are scared/worried/anxious about riding on the road, but seriously – I’m never going to ride on one of those damn trails. I know things are way more chill out here in Athens, but the drivers are 98% courteous, and the country roads are great, scenic, challenging, fun.

  10. says

    I think your comment about being a triathlete and handling the marriage/parent side of things is a worthy topic. I trained for my first half this year in April and once work got busy (I’m a swim instructor, in the water 6 hrs/day) I had to pull back on training for another half distance because I found I wasn’t focusing enough on my kids and my marriage plus I was physically exhausted. I felt so stressed out and constantly conflicted. I struggled with the decision to keep training for weeks– should I keep Tri-ing and racing and paying the coach or not? I decided to stop long distance training and go back to short distances so that I could balance my life better. Like you, I have to train or I deal with the depression monster but I had to moderate things because I was causing stress, not relieving it. Big goals are exciting and get you moving forward but I felt like I was on a fast moving train that was running my life and I was missing the important parts of being a mom and wife. I totally understand why you do what you do. really. love your blog, even though I’m off the Tri train for a few months I can live vicariously through your posts. I can completely relate to your life. thank you :)

  11. says

    So I seriously drove my family nuts this last weekend when we went camping because I brought my helmet with me and wore it every time we went anywhere on our bikes in the campgrounds. My sisters refused to go on bike rides with me. I even wore it when we took the .5 mile bike path to the beach. I told them they could all laugh, but I wanted my skull in tact when we all were crashed into by the family of 10 riding their rented campground bikes! They REALLY freaked out when they finally realized that the bracelet I was wearing was my ROAD ID!!!! :)

  12. Rachel T says

    My husband says when he sees someone riding with their helmet on their handlebars, he imagines them in a wheelchair with it on their lap.

    I don’t like multi-use trails for “serious” training rides just because of this, way too much traffic without any awareness.

  13. Lydia S says

    i only cycle on those first 11 miles of the SCT for this very reason unless it’s during an off time-NEVER NEVER on a weekend. Which is too bad since Cobb County has been repaving that area. Florence to Rockmart provides a nice 50 mile course, and it’s too bad that “share the road” isn’t propertly observed on this trail. Keep on moving.

  14. Beth says

    I think there should be a black box warning on iron- and half-iron distance registration websites: Warning: training for this event will cause significant strain on your marriage. Because it does. My husband has asked me not to do a 140.6 distance because he can barely tolerate me with 70.3 training. But if I didn’t do it, I’d be even more miserable to live with, but in a different way. It definitely is a balancing act. Thanks for not being too shy to put it all out there!

  15. Heather says

    Lol. I am relieved that I am not the only daughter who’s dad has said that to the hubs. When my husband talked to my dad before proposing, my dad told my then future husband “she can be very difficult tp live with sometimes.” Thanks pops. Nice to read I’m in good company here! :)

  16. Sher Franklin says

    This was a great article… Can truly relate & I have been doing a lot of the cycle training at Stone Mountain… going up~Up~UP Stonewall. Felt that once I had that monster hill tackled… I’d be ready for the HIM Augusta. Will see you guys for the “Ride for a Reason” benefit ride on August 10th. Use to riding in the streets… keeping aware of cars & such. I’m thinking of avoiding Silver Comet now. Too many other really good places to train & ride. :)

  17. Maria says

    Where are there other places to ride besides the Silver Comet? I’m so afraid to ride on these country and main roads in Cumming.

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