After a long day (or should I say two day) of traveling, we went to bed at Karel’s mom’s house around 10pm Czech time (4pm EST) (in bunk beds in Karel’s old room J ) . The weather is just perfect right now, low’s around 55 and highs around 75 degrees. There is no AC in Karel’s mom’s flat so the windows give us a wonderful breeze. However, the little birdies began to sing around 6am and then the downtown Znojmo construction started around 7am but nevertheless, we made ourselves stay in bed as long as possible, even though the sleep was on and off for the last few hours. With 10 hour of mostly good sleep for us, we woke up feeling a bit more normal than yesterday (which was a day feeling like a zombie with an empty-feeling body).
We started our morning around 8:30am with coffee and a light breakfast which I normal around here. WASA-like crackers, farmers cheese and yogurt as well as red and black currents and gooseberries from the garden. I did bring a small stash of PB but I am saving that for Austria when we are in full-Ironman mode.
After Karel spent some time with his mom and step-dad, chatting away in Czech (and translating for me), we got ready for our first workout in Czech.
We made a quick stop at one of the local bike shops in which Karel use to work when he was living in Czech in the 90’s. The shop just recently converted to a Specialized dealer and they will be having a grand opening later this week for this new addition (and new addition to the store). The shop is really nice! Karel wanted to get some CO2 for our bikes since we can’t travel on the plane with it but I guess Znojmo is a bit late to the trend for they only had hand pumps. Oh well, the Ironman expo will have that covered for us. We actually have a really good hand pump (carbon) with a CO2 adapter attached which I use to have attached to my last Trek bike and now we bring it to races just in case we needed it before the race (we used it in St. Croix because there was only two floor pumps that we spotted on race day morning).
Karel and I do a lot of walking in Znojmo because everything is fairly close and parking is tight. After the bike shop, we made our walk to Karel’s dad’s to get our bikes from his basement. Our bodies are still a little off with the recent 10-hours of flying and 6 hour time change so we have to be really careful with our blood sugar/appetite for our bodies are kind of confused right now.
We found ourselves a bit hungry around 11am so we made a quick stop at a Natural food store on our walk to his dad’s (there are plenty of small markets/stores in downtown) so I got a “fig newton” bar (5 individual pieces) and Karel got a small loaf of fresh bread. We snacked on our walk but still questioned how our bodies would feel for our first workout in Czech.
For my taper, I have learned what works best for my body when I train for long distance races. With our train smart philosophy emphasizing quality of quantity, I do not find myself burnt out or anxious to taper as if I can’t take any more long distance training. Around 2 weeks out from race day, I start my active recovery after my last “race prep” weekend of training. 4 weeks out is my longest bike and long run off a short bike. Allowing myself a full week of active recovery is very welcoming to my body for the healing process takes a big toll on the body requiring lots of sleep and rest. So rather than incorporating intensity into my “taper” (which is recommended), I give my body a good 4-5 days to fully recover with workouts being really light, as if I am just exercising and not training. Then on race week, I wake up my body with low volume workouts but with intense efforts with ample recovery in between. I do not fear that this will tire out my body because I know that my body is not overtrained or burntout by the time I get to my taper week so my body actually welcomes this wake up without residual fatigue for race day.
I was really excited to bike for the first time in Czech on my tri bike (last year we borrowed road bikes from a friend of Karel’s) so whether my body was ready or not, we were out for our ride around noon.
Karel and I usually need a good 20-25 minutes to feel warmed up and with the wind blowing at us on the way out from our out and back course, I was pushing fairly hard power and only going around 15-16mph (Karel was a bit ahead of me thanks to his disc wheel and front race wheel – I am still waiting for my race wheels which I will get tonight). I toned it back a bit until I met up with Karel (he waited for me) and then I was able to stay on his wheel with the wind blowing at our face. Thankfully, the power was a bit lower but still not an easy start to the ride. However, we both ended up feeling really good around 25 minutes into the ride and we both were really enjoying ourselves.
Karel spent most of his life in Czech as a cyclist so he makes a great bike tour guide. Karel took me to a place that we visited by car last year. Vranov nad Dyjí is a chateaux in the South Moravian region of Czech Republic,which lies on the Dyje (Thaya) river, 3 km north from the Austrian border close to Hardegg. There is a beautiful castle that we get to see in the distance as we make our way down the hairpin turns while descending. Of course, Karel zooms down this road for he is very familiar with this route. Karel told me that when he was a kid, him and his bike buddies would race down this windy road, passing any cars that were on the road and sometimes crashing. Yep, that’s Karel – he has the need for speed on two wheels.
After we reached the body, we took a few pictures and visited the Dam which also serves as “beach” for the locals in the summer.
We then biked up the zig-zag road and enjoyed the amazing tail wind that was once in our face on the way out to the castle.
16-17 mph on the way out, weeeeeee, 29-32 mph on the way back. It was tough to even sit on Karel’s wheel going that fast for he told me he was just soft pedaling!
After our 30 mile ride, we went on a 4 mile run on every type of terrain possible. My tour guide took me on cobblestones, trails, hills, downhills, back roads by gardens and the street/sidewalk. If we didn’t have the Ironman on Sunday, I am pretty sure Karel would have kept me running so we could tour his town.
After a shower at his dad’s place (his dad has a stand-up shower where his mom has a bathtub with a removable shower head), Karel chatted a bit with his dad and then we walked back to his mom’s house for a late lunch around 3pm. Oh well, our bodies still have no idea what time it is so when the workout is over, it’s time to eat!
In Europe, lunch is a big deal. People go home for lunch or take a long break for lunch. The same is true for dinner where the town shuts down around 5 or 6pm and most people are home, ready to enjoy a home cooked dinner.
For lunch, we enjoyed a delicious vegetable risotto (Karel had meat in his) along with a super tasty garlic and cucumber salad and I had a side of Greek Yogurt for my protein. For dessert, homemade apple strudel (Karel asked his mom for it and while we were biking she made it for us!). The pastries and desserts are not super sweet here for they do not overload recipes with sugar. Therefore, the sweets are not super addicting, you have just a few bites and you are satisfied. Also, even last year, we never felt tummy upset with the sweets here or the food. All the ingredients are natural, no preservatives, artificial ingredients or food dyes. All good stuff that the body likes and knows what to do with during metabolism. Of course, we can't eat like this 365 days a year so we welcome these occasional treats and feel super great while eating them. When in Europe.....
After lunch, we rested for about an hour and then headed out to a local café with two of Karel’s friends in town (old bike racing buddies) for coffee and an afternoon treat. Karel ordered me a cappuccino (same for him) and he also got a crepe with cinnamon sugar (Palacinky) which is a staple at this coffee shop.
We then walked back to his mom’s house so I could Facetime with my mom back in the states. Karel’s mom has WIFI which is hard to find in downtown shops/cafes so that is where I have been doing my uploads on Facebook (Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition page) and blogging.
We had leftovers for dinner and kept it a light meal along with snacking on currents and apricots (can’t get enough of these tasty seasonal fruits!).
Karel is currently working on my race wheels which he has to use his bike-specialist knowledge to make sure the race wheel become compatible with my 11-speed bike (now turned into a 10-speed) with the right components. It is not so simple to put race wheels on any bike so I am lucky that I have Karel to make sure my bike is race ready in Europe for the Ironman on Sunday.
Today was a great day and I am SO excited for tomorrow! We get to drive to Klagenfurt, Austria and get ourselves into race mode at the Ironman venue!