This Sunday at Little Bellas, we went for a mountain bike ride, named our groups, and then decorated our group flags to fit our group name. My group, the seven to eight year olds, were discussing names and vikings was thrown out there. This is how the conversation went.
Little Bella: "what's a viking?"
Mentor: "A viking is a Norse dragon slayer"
Little Bella: Silently ponders and then in all seriousness says, "Oh, I've seen one of those before"
I love the Little Bellas. It's never a dull moment and we're not afraid to get muddy and colorful. It's been raining in Vermont for the past week so the trails have been a bit soggy. Today, I stopped our group at the first big mud puddle, and we rode through it one by one cheering. I wanted to see who could get the biggest splash. Then, we proceeded to go through a unplanned mud pit, and the girls' shoes were getting eaten alive. I could see that some of the girls were getting a bit upset about their kicks so I set the stage for the muddiest shoe award and the muddiest legs award. Some wanted to see if they had muddier legs than I did. They definitely won that competition. It seems to have worked. Later on, I gave my group the option between two different trails. They asked which one was muddier. I told them and they unanimously yelled that they wanted to go on the muddier trail. I was so proud. I'm so happy that these girls live in a world where they want to get muddy. Not only is it okay, but they are excited about it. Just from that moment alone, I would call the today's Little Bellas session a raging success.
Personally, I got the green light to go to the Marathon World Championships in Sella Ronda, Italy at the end of the month. I couldn't be happier. Sabe led our family on a bike trip in the dolomites, and we rode around Sella Ronda. It's one of the most gorgeous places I've ever witnessed, and I'm thrilled to go back. I've been training hard for this event and the XC World Cup the weekend after in Switzerland. This weekend, the Vermont Grand Fondo lined up as perfect preparation. This event is a ride that climbs up four of Vermont's toughest hill climbs (or gaps as we call them here) in the span of 104 miles. It was ten thousand feet of climbing, and this ride has been on my 'to do' list for awhile. I've climbed each of these gaps individually but never in succession. It was incredible and one of the hardest rides I've ever done. Lincoln Gap has the steepest paved mile in the United States averaging twenty two percent. We climbed App Gap, Lincoln Gap, Brandon Gap, and Middlebury Gap. I think this ride should be one anyone's list that's up for the ultimate challenge. Plus, the feed zones come complete with nutella and peanut butter sandwiches. This combined with Clif Blocks and drafting off two friends were the main reasons I made it through. I'm confident that this was definitely adequate preparation for the monster effort that lies ahead.
I leave for Europe in about a week. Please send me the strong endurance climbing vibes for World Champs.
Thanks for the support!