There is no doubt about it, summer has fully arrived to Central Texas! The heat is here in full force and we hit somewhere between 97-99 today! I really should update this on a weekly basis, and I'll attempt to do that this summer--but no promises! Last weekend I did the Tour d' Temple in Temple, Texas. It was a 62 mile route, and I linked up with the head of the Team Army Cycling club...he's a very strong cyclists and does triathlons, so he had his sweet Felt tri bike that day and said he'd ride with me. About 3-4 miles into the ride he tells me that we're going to pass this group and to hang onto his bike tire....this starts a pace line, and the next thing you know, we're going 23-24 mph for about 17 miles!! I fell back a little after a turn, but was still fully in it and it was awesome! I had never really done that before. One of the guys towards the back saw us and took this picture. You can't see me really, but I'm #2 up there. I finished up the 62 and then I headed back out to get in some more, and I finished the day with 79 miles at nearly a 19.5 mph average! Granted, some wonderful drafting helped with that average, but even when I headed out on my own for those last 17 miles I was pushing 19-20! It was a beautiful day to cycle, and unusually nice right off the bat that morning, though it surely heated up towards the end. On Sunday afternoon I headed to Lake Belton with my friend Tanya who is training for Ironman Arizona 2 weeks after Ironman Florida. This works well as we can do a good amount of our long training together. So, we hit the lake, but it seems everyone else did too, so we'll definitely have to find a less busy time to swim, otherwise we have do 200m loops, and that's not as helpful as just swimming long.
Yesterday (6 June), Tanya and I headed down to Cedar Park, TX, just NW of Austin to participate in the Atlas 4000 ride. It's the kick-off of a group of mainly UT students who ride from "Austin to Anchorage" as they raise money for Cancer Research at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital. The ride started in Cedar Park and went north to Lampassas, TX which is just west of where I live in Central Texas. Thankfully, we had our support friend, Tiffany, who graciously picked us up in the early morning and dropped us at the start point and met us at the end point. The routes took us through mainly Texas County Roads with very little traffic. We had some great downhills that were long and gradual, and then some tough uphills, but most were steep and short. The wind was more in our favor than against us, and while I was feeling a little "whooped" during the first 1/2 of the ride, I got my second wind around mile 40. We ended up at nearly 72 miles and a 19mph average (no drafting help this time around!). 70 miles has become a very comfortable distance for me! The ride ended at a Vineyard and they had BBQ, Massages, Ice Tea, Blue Bell, Beer, a Band, and more! The BBQ was delicous and topping it off with Blue Bell was nice!! Not to mention, Tanya and I both got a massage. I had a big pull set during one my swims earlier this week, and my shoulders/back were a little sore (not pain, just sore)--well, during the massage I found they were more sore than I though and WOW, there were moments where I thought I might cry. I need to get in for a full massage soon!!
So, training is going well. I did go out for 9 mile run today, and I made the mistake of going out at 5:30PM...it was still upper 90's and I might as well have been BBQ today! I'm going to just have to suck it up and not sleep in on Sundays (which equates to approx 7:30AM...can't sleep longer, and have church at 9AM).
The rest of life is going well. My first of two brothers, a senior at West Point, is here at Ft. Hood doing some summer training, so he's staying with me. It'd been enjoyable to spend some good time with him. It's also exciting to see him excited about the "real" Army. I think he's going to be an excellent officer. I've been busy commanding my unit as well, but a good busy. The first few months of command included a steep learning curve and weren't quite as "enjoyable" as I had imagined and been told that it was supposed to be by others. But, once I got more ingrained into it, fixed some things that needed fixing, I found myself truly enjoying the job. I work with some great Soldiers and NCOs, and my junior officers are increasing in number and I relish the opportunities I get to mentor and grow them. I had some incredible officers do that for me when I was a LT, so I'm glad to do it in return.
This next week is a "short" work week. Monday we have unit organizational day, or fun day at Lake Belton. We'll have a unit run for PT in the morning, and then everyone will show up at the lake in the morning for some fun volleyball, basketball, dodgeball, and cookout. Normal operations for Tuesday/Wednesday, and Thursday is always early out at 1500 for Family Time, and then Friday is a training holiday! Works for me! I hope everyone has a great week!
For my deployed friends out there--miss you lots and pray you are safe. Looking forward to you coming home!