There's lots I could write about from this weekend, especially the most grueling single bike ride I've ever endured -- The Mulholland Challenge. If there's a hill in the Santa Monica Mountains between Topanga Canyon and Yerba Buena Road in Malibu, chances are we climbed it on Saturday -- to the tune of 112 miles and 12,750 feet of combined elevation. I video blogged the journey and hope to have some time to edit it together tomorrow evening. For now, below is the map of my ride. Don't mind the heart-rate, as my heart-rate monitor was all over the place. Don't mind the pokey pace, my Fortius teammates and I stopped quite often to take in the view, joke around and generally goof off.
(Quick aside: I think one has to make a decision before a long ride about whether it's a ride for time or a social group ride. It can't be both. )
I'd like to focus on something more important for this post, and it has to do with one of my loyal readers, Laura. While I tend to write fairly introspectively about what I'm going through -- hoping that maybe someone else is going through it too -- Laura is investing her time doing something far more valuable (in my opinion). She's started a triathlon blog site, "Tri2fightlikeJoann.com" dedicated to the memory of her Aunt Joann. Here is an excerpt from the About page:
"Joann Cotton was a mother to Claire and Taylor. A damn good mother. She was a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. A twin. She was an Aunt. She was my Aunt. She was an English teacher, and took such pride in educating students. She was selfless and cared about everyone else before herself. She was competitive. She usually won. A true friend that was always there. She was funny and silly. She had cancer. And she kicked it’s ass daily. She never complained once, not once. She inspired me. And continues to inspire many, many others. She was as good as gold, yet nothing gold can stay.
Thank you for supporting Tri2FightLikeJoann. You are helping keep her memory alive, and celebrating the lives of all others with ovarian cancer.
And you are appreciated."
Laura, your blog site is beautiful. And touching. And humbling at the same time. I am proud to know you, and plan to think often of Joann during the rest of my training. In fact, if you have a sticker or something I can put on my helmet for Ironman Coeur d'Alene I'd like to wear it in Joann's honor.
In fact, I'd like to bring each and every one of you with me to Coeur d'Alene somehow. If there's a cause or anything I can help shine a spotlight on, I'd like to do that. When I first started this blog site it was meant for the kids I don't have. To teach them about what accomplishing a large goal feels like. How hard it is. How wonderful it feels when the finish line is crossed, and yet how much it hurts to get there.
But, through the course of the last year and a half, I've learned this blog site is really about the relationships I've built with many of you. An unexpected gift. And that gift has worked both ways, in that Laura was kind enough to share with me that somehow my blog site inspired her to make something far more substantial, in my opinion.
Go Laura go!
So often the sport of triathlon can be a solitary pursuit. But these are the stories, the inspirations, that really matter.
Thank you, Laura, for inspiring me, and hopefully many more people.
72 days and counting.