Gina Lucania‘s take on training, our sponsors, and goals for 2012.
It’s quickly approaching; it’s right around the corner in fact. The cyclists out there know what it is; race season. How did the holidays go by so fast? Most of us (me included) start thinking about the next season goals and races right after the end of the last race in the fall. For me, this season will bring a lot of new training, new emotions, new breakdowns and new teammates. I’ve been racing triathlons for 7 years now (I think I just aged myself a bit) and racing bikes for 3 years. Triathlon, as most know, is a very individualized sport. You swim with others, you may swim on a master’s team, you ride solo unless you’re on a team and you generally run solo. It can be pretty lonely to say the least. 3 years ago I made a decision to capitalize on my riding skill and join a team back in Chicago where I’m from. As the saying goes, the rest was history. Being part of a team opens a whole other can of worms; the good kind. You learn that you have people to depend on, people that have your back when the going gets tough, and trust me, in triathlons, the going gets really tough.
I always said that 2012 would be Ironman year, so here I am, mid January, 3 weeks into offseason training wondering what the hell I was thinking signing up for something like this. Sure it’s been rough getting back into a routine after a few months of working out at my leisure and eating candy and cookies when I want, but now is the time to put in the base miles and build the endurance. I’ve noticed a lot more lately that my legs hurt, my arms hurt, and everything seems to hurt more than it did in the spring and summer when I was at my peak. Well, thanks to Ironman training, I’m training harder than I ever have in my life and it will only get harder as the season goes on. That’s where the team part comes into play. I have a great group of ladies to train with during the offseason who are more than happy to put in these miles and get in the hurt locker with me. When one has an off day, the others will help push her up the hill or wait back until she’s caught up. Having an understanding that we are all here for the same reason and all want the same end result is a sigh of relief. We’re a pack of rad ladies who love riding bikes. There’s some friendly competition but there’s nothing cutthroat. No one is trying to show off; no one wants to prove they’re better than anyone else. We can talk shop with each other and not worry about sounding like ‘crazy bike freaks’ as my non-racer friends label me as.
2012 will be my first bike racing season since moving to Colorado last October and that’s a pretty exciting thing. I got a taste for the Colorado racing scene with triathlons last year and a few time trials, but being a part of a great team with amazing sponsors will make the season that much better. Supporting amazing organizations like Ride for Reading is a great way to give back to the community and promote a healthier lifestyle for underprivileged children, and I’m excited to participate in that this year with the team. So the moral of the story goes as follows: don’t be afraid of the hurt locker when you’ve got an awesome support system to help you through the rough patches.