Europe March Training Camp Updates 

 I'll be in Europe from March 2nd through March 23rd in my final preparation for Ironman Arizona. This will be the last big training push for three weeks, then I'll return back to Austin and taper for the race. I'll be in Darmstadt, Germany for the first week, then to the Spanish island of Mallorca for two weeks. If I can get to a computer with internet access I will post updates and pictures during the trip. 

Wednesday, March 5th:

We've had a fun start to the trip here in Germany. Jet lag didn't hit me too hard. After about a day, I was feeling fine. By the second night I was sleeping like a baby, so I feel fully adjusted.

I've had a bit of a snafu with my foot. I developed some tendinitis on the top of my foot/ankle the day before I left for Europe. I went for an easy run the day I got here and it got pretty inflamed. So I'm taking 3 or 4 day off of running and letting it go away. It doesn't bother me to swim or bike, so I can still get in some quality training. I'm sure it's going to be fine in a day or two, so I'm not letting it bother me. Other than that little bit, it's been a fun experience.

There's an indoor 50M pool about a 1/2 mile walk from our apartment, so we've been walking up there for a swim everyday. The pool is a big cultural experience to say the least. I'll leave it at that for now.

Riding has been cold but really fun. Yesterday when we rode, it was about 37 degrees and damp. Today it was about 33 degrees and sunny. We did get caught in a snow storm for about 10 minutes today which was a new experience for me. Richie and I have been riding with his friends here. Yesterday and today we rode with Lothar Leder (those who know Ironman history will for sure know Lothar, if not, you can look him up) and a few of Lothar's cyclist buddies. They've been fun rides, but again a new cultural experience.

These guys can ride hard, but not just on the country roads, I mean hard through the city. They're ripping through red lights at 24mph some times! No slowing down for towns, cobblestones, or corners. They will not slow down for anyone, so you'd better be on your game. It's pretty wild. I'm the only one who wears a helmet while riding; I don't think that's a euro-habit I'm going to pick up. Also, they don't ride with any water bottles AT ALL!! We've been riding 4-4.5 hours and they don't drink anything!!

My favorite part about riding are the rest stops. We stop at a bakery and get a couple pastries and coffee. They ride too hard to eat bars or gels while riding so you fuel up with bread, sweets, and caffeine at the rests. I think once we're riding in Spain and I don't have the mittens on while riding, I'll be able to reach back into my jersey for a bar or gel.

Yesterday's ride went east of Darmstadt, through rolling terrain and dipped briefly into Bavaria (the site of one bakery stop). The scenery is beautiful; it reminds me of the hilly parts of Pennsylvania. There are some nice longer climbs. Today, we rode west where it's flatter across the Rhine valley. Not quite as scenic, but still fun to ride along and over the Rhine.

Overall, the first three days have been great. I love the Euro-style of picking up your food fresh at the corner store and bakery while walking back from the pool and walking up to the cafe for a coffee to chat before a ride. We're here until Saturday morning, so I'll try to put up another update before we head to Mallorca.

Thursday, March 6th:

Today, Richie and I took a ride south and east of Darmstadt into a beautiful area called the Odenwald (or Forest of Odes; thank you wikipedia). Its a chain of small forested mountains on the south east side of Hessen and northern Bavaria. The terrain reminded me a little of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. The weather was a little warmer, but more important, IT WAS DRY!! It was a really fun ride.

The tendinitis is a little better, but I'm going to lay off running for a few more days just to be safe. On another important note, we have a new favorite treat from the super market: Doppel Keks. They delicious cookies, similar to an oreo, only they're much larger (~3-4 inch diameter), made with graham cracker-esk cookies and chocolate filling. They're excellent as something to shove in your mouth when you walk in after a ride, great dipped in coffee or hot cocoa, and a fitting dessert for any meal. They're also pretty cheap, I think 0.85 € per sleeve (that would be really cheap if the dollar wasn't so weak, but I'll refrain from voicing my issues with present US international political macroeconomic policies). Also, since I somehow missed Girl Scout Cookie season, I feel like bonding with Doppel Keks makes up for my missed Thin Mints fix.

Saturday, Match 8th:

This is my last posting from Germany. We leave in about an hour for Frankfurt airport to fly to Mallorca. I've really enjoyed my stay in Germany.

Yesterday was an amazing day. I rode with Lothar and Hannis. Lothar's wife, Nicole started out with us as well. I got a chance to chat with Nicole while we were riding. Those who follow Ironman would know Nicole Leder as the person who won the closest Ironman of all time. Last year, she won Ironman Germany in a final sprint in the last 50 meters. She also was my translator when I jumped in the pool with the Leder's and their swim club last night. The Leders have been very nice and hospitable towards me here. Lothar has taken me on the bike, showed me around the area, and told me what to look out for and what spots to watch for drivers, etc. They're really nice and I hope to come across them again some time.

On the ride with Lothar and Hannis, they took me all over. We were on the bikes almost 7 hours. We went deep into the Odenwald, just amazing scenery. Our route took us through three different states, Hessen, Bavaria, and Baden-Wurttemberg. We went through some very remote dense woods in the mountains, through the quaint towns of Erbach and Eberbach, as well as the Newest Online Casinos with No Deposit Bonuses of Timo Bracht (German pro Ironman). We stopped for food in Hirschhorn on the Neckar River, then back to Darmstadt through Heidelburg. Just a great day between the ride and the run!! Once again, the boys didn't eat or drink anything on the bike for almost 7 hours, I was amazed!

I don't know what the internet situation will be in Mallorca, so I'll try to post when I can over there.

Week 1 Mallorca:

I don't really have internet in the hotel, so I haven't been able to post, but I have an easy day, so I biked into town so I could post on my website. Mallorca is amazing. It is a cyclist's playground. I can't begin to explain how much fun the training is here. We've been riding a ton. Our hotel has a heated 25 M lap pool so we can walk 100ft from our room to do swim workouts. The hotel has breakfast and dinner made for us, so we never have to think about food or washing a dish. So all of your energy is devoted to training. I'm loving it. I've posted pictures from our rides below. Enjoy.

March 24th - Newest Online Casinos with No Deposit Bonuses From Europe:

After a late flight in, I finally got back to Austin safe and sound. It was the end to an amazing trip. I absolutely loved training in Germany and Mallorca. I got to meet some wonderful people. They were very kind and accommodating to me. I will be making Mallorca an annual training camp without a doubt. It is a playground for cyclists; a place where you can put away all of the distractions in your life and focus on training. Even with the miles and miles and hours and hours on the bike, I never once felt unmotivated to go out and ride. It is a beautiful place with roads, terrain, and resorts are for a training camp environment. I've posted a few more pictures from Mallorca below.

Richie, Bommy, and I had a blast in our room. We reverted from adults back to acting like 16 year-old kids......actually we were more like 13 year-olds. Enough said on that subject, I'll just say that I hadn't laughed that much in years.

We really put ourselves through the ringer there, so my body is ready for a little recovery back Newest Online Casinos with No Deposit Bonuses. It looks like I'm going to have to do a little shifting of my race schedule because of my lack of running from my bout with tendinitis in my Anterior Tibialus Dig. Longus. I should be back to running this week, so after meeting with my coach, Derick and after seeing how my body reacts to coming back to running, we'll make some race schedule decisions. I'll probably decide by next week. 

I want to thank everyone who made the trip so much fun: Richie, Bommy, Lothar and Nicole Leder, Hannis, Alex Taubert, Peter (the organizer and Alex's coach), Sebastian and Tina, and Martin.  



Riding east from Darmstadt, we dipped into Bavaria (Richie, Hannis, and Lothar)

Coffee and pastries at the rest stop in Bavaria, this is really Richie, it is not a wax statue of him (Richie and Hannis) 

Ahh, pastries and a cappuccino for our rest stop. Although my eyes and face are red, I am not drunk, it was just freaking cold outside. It was snowing while riding!

Riding west, a flatter section along the Rhine. After we got out of the brief snow storm, note the snow still on Lothar's hat. His hat is normally black. (Lothar, Richie)

Nice scenery shot with me in front of one of the many towns in the Odenwald

Scenery after leaving the hills of the Odenwald and heading back through a valley back to Darmstadt. No, this picture is not crooked, the valley just slopes.

The bikes get a much deserved wash at the gas station on the way back through town. Richie mans the power washer and I man the camera.

Doppel Keks, excellent after a ride, dipped in coffee, as dessert, or...well actually I can't think of a time when they're not great! Oh, and they're cheap!

The running trails in Darmstadt are amazing. There are miles and miles and miles and miles of these trails through the woods and hills surrounding the city. Too bad I only got one run on them, oh well, there will be more chances next time I'm here!

On our Friday long ride, Lothar, Hannis and I stop for a break at a bakery in Hirschhorn, a quaint little town on the Neckar River, about 13 miles upstream from Heidelberg.

Lothar shows us how we could ride almost 7 hours without any food or water on the at the rest stops!!!

This is my demonstration in Hirschhorn of the spread of pastries and cappuccino needed to fuel on a 7 hour bike ride so you don't need to eat anything while riding!

Hannis and I pose on the bridge over the Neckar with the famous Heidelberg castle in the background.

Heidelberg castle; I think it was about the 9th castle we saw on the ride today, but it was hard to take pictures of the others while I was playing "keep up with the Germans!"

Mallorca, one of the view near the town of Port o Pollenca

The view from our hotel room. We're staying about 2 miels down the road from the town of Cala Rajada and Capdepedra.

Within an hour bike ride, we can go from palm trees to the mountains!

View down as we descend from the summit.

The reward for climbing is the descent.

Stopped at a little cafe in the small interior town of Sinu under a church built in the 13th century.

This is the lap pool in our hotel. It's nice to only have to walk 100 ft to swim practice.

This is the town of Cala Rajada, about 2 miles down the coast form our hotel.

Looking back towards our hotel

This was my easy day, coffee on the sea.

The town of Capdeperda. This is the view we get at the end of every ride, it means only 10 minutes left!!!

Approaching the cute town of Sineu. All of the interior towns look similar to this with a church or castle on a hill in the center.

Back into the mountains for more.

Richie, king of the mountains....well, maybe 2nd king of the mountians behind me of course : )
We talked a lot of trash about the climbs

The crazy road into Sa Colabra

Another section of the crazy road into Sa Colabra

Working on my descending skills.

The reward at the bottom of Sa Colabra

How do you prepare for the nasty climb out of Sa Colabra? Coke, coffee, water, and chocolate cake of course.

Road out to the lighthouse. A beautiful ride.

The lighthouse at the end of the point about 20 miles out from Pollenca.

One of the amazing views of Mallorca

This island has no shortage of scenery.

I loved this scene. Narrow streets, old lady walking, car, and a cyclist. THIS IS MALLORCA!

You think there are many cyclist here?

A view from the monastery of San Salvador. It's a mountain that rises out of the otherwise flat interior of the island. It's a great climb on the bike for a wonderful view of the island.

Looking down from the largest climb on the island to the town of Soller below. This climb is called the Puig.

Looking up from Soller to the pass where the Puig climb goes.

Richie and I stopped for cheese cake and coffee along the sea at Cala de s'Estret on our easy ride day.

No, this is not a scene from Lord of the Rings. Scenery from the road to Cala Tarta

Here's the question, is Richie tired from the climb, is he smiling because he's happy, or he playing possum because he's planning on attacking later in the ride????

I loved this road.

More pics from the road to Cala Tarta

If someone can't appreciate riding on roads like this, then he doesn't deserve to be riding!

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