Detroit Endurance Lab sent out an offer to Downtown Runners and Walkers that wasn’t to resist! A discount code to an endurance bike race that boasted Free Beer and Pierogis ……. You had us at Endurance.
I saw the code come through on a social network site and realized it was Winter Blast weekend in Detroit. I practically typed through the keys at this point for a group of my friends to get registered before this ‘too good to be true’ offered vanished. It was sure to be a fun weekend that even pulled my friends Bonnie and Jeremy to an old Elevator building in the D, over-looking the Riverwalk, from Linden to race!
This is typical Kacey and Katherine; sign up for something that sounds cool, figure out how to do it second. Katherine, and all my Gang in the days leading up to the event e mailed Landall, got directions, made sure he knew we needed bikes, figured out parking, time logistics, filled in forms for me, and outfits of course, since they realized I was clueless about any detail other than there was beer and Pierogis. And true enough, I, in contrast to my type A friends, googled the building as I sat at a stop sign, at the end of my street, when leaving, in what I figured was enough time, to get to the building for seeing Liz take off with the first round.
I just had a light-hearted, fun feeling about this day and about being surrounded with some of my best people. The sun was brilliant, the sky was a winter crisp blue, it was going to do us all good to get some Vitamin D, in the D.
“Urrssoooo” I called as I walked into the warehouse-chic Endurance Lab studio. She was all fitted and warming up for the first heat of the “bike-off”. (I’m sure there is more bike appropriate lingo – I just don’t know it so you get Tulley-isms.). I hugged Tammy and then bounded up the stairs to hug and wooot-wooooot my friend as she, upon my best advise as to what to do, “pedaled her legs off.”
She not only looked strong, but she looked great up on the trainer in her pink tank and black shorts. She may not have made it to the next round, but she’s excited to come back and in her words even the losers are winners….you remember I did say free beer and Pierogis, right?!
Up next was Katherine. The only one of us who even had some semblance of knowing what was going on. She’s really so athletically versed and surprises me as always with her knowledge base but no surprise with her willingness to share. She looked fierce, warming up, shifting, stretching, outfitted in a fast looking outfit, and 3-2-1she was pedaling ….. Hanging tight with the fast biking boys.
She was crushing it when all I know is her feet seemed to go flying in a direction other than pedaling…..I really have no idea what happened. Since I barely know how to spell bike I stayed out of the way why those in the know tried to get her back in the race. When she actually had to get off the bike my heart sank, she hadn’t even gotten a quarter of a mile in when apparently the chain got tied in a knot?!?!
Yeah ~ so that sucked. I overshifted the chainring and BAM! the chain was off and firmly stuck between the crank and the chain ring. As soon as I looked down I knew this particular race was over. I felt so bad….these nice people let us ride with them, and even provide us with bikes and I show up and break one of them! Poor Landall was working on it for a good few minutes and said that he thought he might have to break the chain. Ugh. Eventually they got it unrammed….
Well, that wasn’t how we planned it. Yuck! But the race continued without much hoop over it and my attention was taken to what my friends do best…..leave no person behind.
Our friend Marcus had tried to sign up too late, but had come downtown to cheer us on. He has to be credited with first introducing me to the Downtown Runners and Walkers after we had mistakenly invited him to coffee after a trail run where I had chased him and 4 other fast boys in the front pack. A couple of my friends and I were huddled up last winter, catching up after the run, when we decided to do said catch up over coffee and warm soup……he must have been within hearing distance because when we all pulled in, he was there too. I have to admit that we all had thoughts that he must know one of the group friends and it wasn’t until weeks later that while he and I were talking, that I figured out that he hadn’t known any of us, and had thought he was meeting up with an entirely different group. He had just gotten the places mixed up. As they say, the universe has a way of working things out…..
And so there was a “no show” for the next heat and we were deep in debate as to wether “Calvin Klein” boxers could double as appropriate bike wear? I didn’t really see any reason why not, but I did already say how little I know about biking!
And so together we conspired a plan which entailed Liz literally giving him the clothes off her…….well…..you get the reference….. and off he pedaled.
I have to interject a little something here….and I hope Marcus doesn’t mind me sharing. You see Marcus is an Ironman, but he will be the first to tell you that he is a little out of shape right now….he might even share with you that he has been in a little funk…and in some ways when you have been in excellent shape, able to tackle anything it is even more challenging to start over and build it up again. So I was SO proud of Marcus for seizing the chance, on the spur of the moment to jump in to a competition that a year ago he would have sailed through and I know that this was not easy for him. I will not go on any further for fear or embarrassing Marcus – or sharing too much…..but Marcus, you can spit your gum into my hand anytime 😉
The last heat found Jeremy, Tammy, Katherine (who managed to get a second ride on a different borrowed bike!) and Myself pedaling against each other and two strangers. It’s probably a fine time to side-track and say: for as much as I LOVE anything movement related, and I’m pretty much not afraid of anything, the thought of competing against “friends” terrifies me. Maybe that’s why I didn’t give this event much thought. I’ve had some bad experiences with training friends where being the beaten and or the beater broke the friendship. This group of friends is so important that I would have, in that moment, given anything to have had my chain knot and Katherine securely moving into the next round.
But, that wasn’t the way the chain tangled, and so I went up against friends, and was both the beater, and the beaten.
I made it into the next round and when I could finally feel legs again sat next to Liz who looked more like a winner than any of us with a beaming smile, short-less, eating a pierogi, and drinking a beer! Love her!
Tammy and I sat front and center as the advanced bikers went off and I was determined to pick up a few shifting lessons in the next 4 1/2 minutes. Whether I did or I didn’t, I went into the next round ready to pedal and if nothing else, these distance running legs could grind it out. (Ill also add that the DJ spinning the Outfield remix made my day. The only thing better would have been a Jessie’s girl remixed 😉
And as before each of my day’s races; the owner and expert Landall politely walked over and made sure I was in a decent gear for starting.
And so I pedaled my way into the only girl of the finals where I was solidly the loser of the winners! The crowd was Great as they cheered me up the last hill and despite being the only one still on the “course” I pedaled “my little legs off” just like I had advised Liz to do earlier. I got a little wink from Tammy, probably the best prize of the round (well……except for the praise from another kick ass looking girl who asked which club I rode for. My look said it all and she asked if I may be interested in a club, I said I don’t have a bike, she laughed in a shocked but I’m not quite laughing at you way. She said that wasn’t a problem……..hmmmmmmm twist my arms.)
I had to dash before the finals….a snowboarding date scheduled…so I will relate to you the synopsis that Marcus provided cos you know that Kacey told her story in the most humble way possible.
“Despite the fact that Kacey was taught how to change gears before the semi finals, she made the finals. Only woman out of six. Although she didn’t win overall, she can take claim to the top female. It seemed like the entire room was cheering for her in the semi’s as she passed a guy to advance!”
Whew! Jeremy and I finally got our Pierogis and beer; and finished the night all winners for having gotten enough vitamin D, laughs, friendship, and exercise to do not only our hearts good, but most importantly our ‘soles.’
Check out Detroit Endurance Lab facebook page here they have SPECIAL FREE classes during the next two weeks, they just ask that you only sign up for one of them so that everyone can have a chance to check them out. Sign up here! and tell Landall that we sent you!
Our new friend Landall also gave us a SPECIAL code for Groovy Girls blog readers who are interested in one of their great triathlon training packages. This code gets you $50 off our Motor City Triathlon Group Training package. Simply sign up online here and enter GroovyGirls as the coupon code. Pretty cool, huh? I’d love to train with these guys for a triathlon!
Special thanks to Landall and all his helpers at the Detroit Endurance Labs…especially Landall’s wife who was working hard adjusting bikes and helping everyone out. This is a great space with great energy and people!