Karel and I met on a group bike rid in 2006, on my birthday. I was a newbie cyclist, barely able to ride 18mph without suffering. I had no skills on the bike and I was scared to ride with others. It was just a few weeks prior that I did my first half ironan at Disney and I was 7 months away from my first Ironman.
Karel came into my life and ever since then, we have shared some amazing memories on our bikes.
If you read my blogs or know anything about Karel, he lives and breaths cycling. As the GM of the Trek store, Karel is the guru of anything and all things bikes and people in the community know that. Karel can disect even the smallest noise on group ride and fix it in a blink of an eye. He is just that good with bikes but also, being a perfectionist doesn't hurt him when it comes to perfecting his skills both on an off the bike.
As we all know, Karel's fire burns for cycling and he has never stopped loving the bike since the age of 3. From the suffering to daily bike riding to following riders on the internet and on TV, he loves it all...and I have learned to love it with him.
I have never asked Karel to do a triathlon because he loves his lifestyle of road racing, mountain biking and the occasional 10K and half marathon in the off-season where he effortlessly runs sub 7 min/mile pace without much training. Certainly, knowing there is a beer at the end of a run never hurts either.
Realizing that there are many multi-sport families and relationships out there, we are just like everyone else. We love competing and we love training. We love understanding our sports and keeping things balanced to profit from living a fun and exciting life.
Keeping in mind that Karel titles himself a "cyclist" and I am a "triathlete", I firmly believe that couples who are active should share similar lifestyles and it's perfectly fine to have different passions.
I think of us as a team and with us both being able to ride our bikes and have that in common, Karel has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and do some amazing things on my bicycle...of course, things I never thought were possible without his support, guideance and knowledge.
(Our very first trip together after 4 months of dating in 2006 - we rode our bikes around Lake Tahoe and enjoy some amazing scenery. I'm pretty sure this took me all day as I loved the climbs but the downhills - not so much)
(Georgia mountains trip 2007 - climbed Brasstown Bald which is the highest natural point in Georgia)
(6-Gap century event completed in Georgia in 2009! The HARDEST event of my life - I wanted to quit 10 million times but sadly, no cell reception so I had to keep going.)
(My first time mountain biking in 2011 - why not on the Smokey Mountains??? Karel gave me pointers all the way up but waited a long time for me to finally make my way down the mountain)
And with all those accomplishments being shared together, it's been a joy over the past 6 years to feel like a team when it comes to reaching our own personal goals.
(Athens Twilight criterium finisher - 2010 and 2011)
(Karel coaching me to a 4th place, roll-down Kona slot, 10:57 finish at 2010 IMWI. I love this pic because Karel is literally holding me up before my legs give out,)
(And what better than to share my 5th Ironan finish and 2nd Ironman World Chapionship finish in Oct 2011, than with my best friend, coach and bike mechanic :)
So, with no further hestitation.....
Karel has decided to put the bike racing on hold for a few months as he is now a Tri-geek!!
Ok - sorry, I had to say it. :)
Karel is always looking for a challenge and he needed a change. Still enjoying his road bike at times and his mountain bike, Karel has added goggles and Newton running shoes to his gear collection....and I have a new multi-sport training partner!
I will save the details of his progress over the past few weeks, for another blog so I suppose you are all waiting for the announcement as to what triathlon we will be doing together this summer.
A sprint...no, too short.
An Ironman...his swim skills aren't ready for that yet.
On September, 23rd, 2012, Karel and I will be heading to the Vegas of the Midwest......Branson, Missouri for the Branson 70.3!!!
There are several reasons why we picked this race - but I will spare you the details for another blog as I am sure you are ready to see the new addition to our bike family...
(Di2 equipped Speed Concept - quark, electronic shifting, garmin 500...I'll have to get the details on the rest of the components for the bike gurus)
Looks like my blogs will be a bit more exciting over the next few months as I will have the opportunity to dedicate a few blog here or there and share our journey together - cyclist turned triathlete. Also, I am excited to put on my coaching hat a bit more than normal on this blog and provide some helpful pointers for all the newbies out there who are considering diving into a new sport....for even if you have fitness, it's all about the skills and focusing on the bigger picture.
Always keep in mind that your love for competition, racing, training and fitness is a lifestyle and there is no rush in the journey....be sure to enjoy every day by recognizing at least one thing that you are able to accomplish for that day.