After last weeks ride, I was looking forward to an easier “recovery” ride. Our plan for this week was to take it easy and only do about 48 miles and then have a team potluck/pool party. That is exactly what we did and it was a ton of fun.

The pool party was at our neighborhood pool, so our team started and ended at our house. Jennifer and I led the team to Cherry Creek State Park where we did 4 laps before heading home. We still kept a good pace but without any big climbs, we were able to enjoy the ride a bit more.

Afterwards, the pool party was even more fun. We had all developed quite a hunger and the pool felt great after riding for 3 hours. It was also nice to get to know our fellow teammates including those from the Colorado Springs chapter. It is a lot easier to chat when you are hanging out in the pool instead of pedaling a bike.

The reason we had the pool party was to honor our team hero, Mark Williams. Mark has Hairy Cell Leukemia. He first joined a TNT team in 2008 after battling Leukemia for the first time. The type of Leukemia he has is not curable and it is something he will face the rest of his life. The great news is that he is doing great and is going to do the 100 mile Moab Century with us in September.

Mark is a fighter and was actually disappointed that this year’s Moab Century Ride was going to bypass the climb known as the Big Nasty (a 3,000 foot climb over 7 miles). He contacted the organizers several times to see if there was anyway that he could still include it. Well, the organizers relented and now indicate that there is a way to include the Big Nasty, but it will mean doing about 105 miles total.

After getting that information, our coach started thinking about making that course an option for the entire team. He told us on Saturday that the previous week’s 65 miles with lots of climbing was a test for us. He said the team passed and he wanted to make the Big Nasty option available if we wanted it.

Although it will mean tougher training and a lot tougher initial century ride, I said I wanted to do it. Jennifer did it last year and was excited to hear that she could have another crack at it this time. In fact, I think almost the entire team is ready to give it a go. For me, it makes me want to double my efforts and put even more miles (and do more climbing) on the bike. Big Nasty… We will be ready!

P.S. On Sunday, I had to fly to DC. But in the morning, Mark was planning on a bike ride and invited anyone to join him. Jennifer and I got up at 5:45am to get ready and do the ride. We ended up doing about 45 miles along the Platte River and Cherry Creek. It felt really good and we pushed our pace the final 15 or so miles at about 20 or 21 mph. I was surprised how easy it was to do a 45 mile ride one day after doing 48 miles.