Team Snapple /Tris at Barn

The DC based national level Tri-athlete squad Team Snapple brought their full athletic agenda to the barn this weekend.

For me it was an opportunity to get a glimpse and greater understanding of a discipline I have not competed in.  Being unable to run due to intricate leg hardware and already knowing of my water shortcomings after a youth spent at the beach but not necessarily in the water, with later attempts to pool cross-train in the winter (I had to use flippers to even get a work out!) my temptation to join in is low.

Maybe that makes my appreciation greater.  Coming from different places and varied styles, but sharing certain application, execution and focus components means there is familiar ground even if the degrees don’t overlap completely.

Finally, and I think this applies to other non mainstream sports like track and field, skiing or rowing, there is extra effort to get established or even find the sports.  This doesn’t mean the passion or intensity is any more than the traditional big three but it does forge a commonality between the athletes of how they arrive and ultimately sustain.

That said, I was willing to take cues based on their programs and deliver the challenging RTR rides that were requested.  Since the West Virginia Mountains offer pitches and elevations absent from metro DC I think the emphasis was wisely on maximizing the bike sections for strength and resistance training.

That doesn’t mean the group wasn’t lacing up the running shoes after 70 miles and 7300 feet when I was putting my stuff away and considering some post recovery fuel Guinness.  Perhaps their stouts just happened on a wider time frame.  After all it is a sport of multiple endeavors.

Unfortunately the swim at the Moorefield community pool was scrapped because of ‘life guard training.’  I had pre-contacted the facility to make sure open swim was available for the weekend…  I was pissed (wanting the recon and feedback, besides that I said it was available), but Team Snapple were graciously understanding.  During our rides we also scoped out some open lake areas that would be solid swim platforms.

Snapple appeared to be using the post ride runs as almost a wind down exercise, which makes sense.  The biggest intensity was saved for the bike.  That is also the idea behind a pre ride swim.  A way to restart and soothe the muscles.

Along with that is muscle transition and maintaining the motions even though at any given time the emphasis or load may be on any one of the areas.   This weekend that would be bike, but it all factors in.

Friday’s ride was especially hard with temps not getting above high 40’s and winds blasting us the entire time.  Also, we finished on the infamous ‘back side of the barn’ climb.  They asked me if it was hard because we had done a hard ride or is it always that hard?  Well, I’ve done it enough times and the only thing I have figured out is maybe how to manage my suffering.  2000 feet in 6 miles pretty much tells the story.  No room to hide.  It is just hard, no matter who steps on it…

Sat was just a notch ‘less hard’ with the front side approach.

Today I head off for the Tysons corner circuit race hoping some legs remain and they are all mapped and ready to head west from the barn out over the gravel pit climb to the beautiful Greenland Gap section.

A great ride.  A great loop.  Some great weather… But heading west usually means summiting back up from the Moorefield side.  Yes.  The back side.

This is their chosen ‘tough’ day, finishing big.

Kudos to Team Snapple.

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