A Trip to Daytona
8th Jan 2012Posted in: Blog 0
A Trip to Daytona

Coming to you live from the car on I-75 heading back to B-town, here’s a summary of our annual winter training trip. After seeing a beach but being too cold to enjoy it in Hilton Head in 2010, and being warm but nowhere near a beach in Orlando last year, we finally put the two together this year when we checked into the Perennial Vacation Club Monday morning. After 16 hours in the car, being able to walk out on the shore of the Atlantic in shorts and a t-shirt was pretty surreal.


We got settled in, took a nap, and were off on our first ride by 2 PM. It’s amazing how dead your legs can feel after being holed up for so long, but an easy 40-miler shook the tiredness out of our legs pretty well. Rides with no real destination in mind are always entertaining, because getting lost lets you discover cool spots and backroads that you won’t find by just placing waypoints on MapMyRide. We found all the local hotspots, closest grocery store, a random lighthouse, every place to rent boogie boards, and even a gun exchange shop. After loading up at Sam’s Club on all the meat, eggs, fruit, veggies, nuts, bread, and beverages we’d need for the week, we feasted on some chicken+pasta and got ready to celebrate Laser’s 21st birthday. Some of the details aren’t really fit for the blog, but the birthday boy had a great time, we learned about some local pastimes, and everyone was in perfect condition to ride the next day.


Plan for the day was to get in 4 hours of steady riding, but we certainly weren’t expecting to leave the house in full winter gear. With 20 mph winds and a high in the low 40’s, what we had intended as a moderate ride was instead filled with threshold pulls and echelons. The original route also went out the window after we missed our first major turn, but that ended up being a blessing in disguise as we discovered what became our go-to road for the rest of the week. The tailwind coming home was wonderful and everyone survived the first hard ride of 2012 with flying colors. After some homemade enchiladas and way too many rounds of Mario Kart 64, we rested up for the first century of the week.


Using some of the roads we discovered the day before, we mapped out a 105-mile loop that took us up north and a little to the west. We were able to stick to the route with only a couple minor detours, and everyone was able to take nice long turns at the front as we weaved through the Florida backroads. Our rookie Gorgol wowed us all by hanging tough for 5 hours despite making only three short stops for snacks/fluids, and trust me, we were not just riding along. To celebrate making it back before sunset, we took a few pictures before chowing on some burgers grilled to perfection by chefs Edwards and Ong. Mario Party was the theme of the night, and we even found time to film this video:


We all woke up feeling the aftereffects of two long, hard days in the saddle and made sure to eat a much larger breakfast than the two days prior. With the forecast finally calling for temperatures in the 60’s with only mild winds, we finally got to take the warmers off and actually enjoy the Florida sunshine. After spending 3 days heading north we decided to venture to the south where we found a perfect stretch of road to work on our team time trialing and sprinting. The last 25 miles heading straight up US-1 were mildly unnerving, but the team was able to keep our hurting riders out of the wind and we made it home with plenty of time to kick back by the pool and on the beach. Since no one really felt like cooking and we wanted to watch our Hoosiers in full HD, we ventured to Buffalo Wild Wings and took full advantage of $0.60 boneless wing night. No one really understood why we were so interested in college basketball, but that didn’t stop us from celebrating after they pulled off the W over the Wolverines.


With century #2 on deck, we wanted to have a destination in mind, and accordingly decided to do a pseudo-loop that took us to St. Augustine and back. Everyone was feeling better than the day prior, which really boosted team morale and allowed us to push the tempo as we headed north. After taking our usual roads we found ourselves on the stretch of A1A that runs directly next to the ocean, which made for far and away the coolest riding I’ve done in a long time. We even made a friend, Barry from Houston, who tagged along, traded pulls with us, and served as an excellent navigator. Quizno’s served as the perfect mid-ride meal, and it was smooth sailing all the way home. We spent our last night eating everything left in the fridge, reflecting on the week, and cleaning/packing to set up for our sunrise ride the next day.


Waking up at 6 AM after 5 days of hard riding is never fun, but we were determined to get a 6th ride in before heading home. Not only was the ride one of our best, but the pictures/videos were absolutely incredible. Very rarely do the sounds of waves crashing ashore serve as the ambient noise on a ride, so even though we were exhausted and it was a little chilly, the ride was one we’ll always remember. We had planned to relax by the pool/ocean after checking out for the rest of the day, but unfortunately cloudy skies rolled in about an hour after we got situated. Even though our last afternoon fell a little short of our expectations, as a whole the week was everything we wanted and much more.

All in all, of the four winter training trips I’ve been on since getting to IU, this was the best by far. We put in close to 450 miles, almost all of which were at a moderate/hard pace, and had a great time in the process. Laser and Green were as solid as ever, and I only wanted to kill Gdew three or four times all week. Gorgol blew us all away by being able to hang tough even on our hardest days, and the daily training updates from Kragie back in Chicago were extremely reassuring. Based on that, I’m more optimistic than ever about our chances in April. We’re still 104 days away, and the team needs to stay focused for each and every one of those, but I’m confident we’ve finally assembled a group of guys willing to do whatever it takes to win.

Stay tuned for more frequent updates in the months ahead as the intensity ramps up, the track opens, and we start shaking out who among the six of us will be flying the Beta flag on April 21st.

in _kai_
Eric Anderson

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