2014 CT Challenge and a Different Goal
By: TTEndurance Member Glenn Blasius
Ask a TTEndurance member why they joined, and you will hear many explanations: “I’m training for a Triathlon;” “I’m doing the Mt. Washington Challenge;” “I’m riding across America.” None of these explanations fit me.
I joined TTEndurance in 2009 partly because I was overweight and trying to get my fitness back on track, and partly because the website looked cool and the location was reasonably close to home. For the first 2 years I skulked around the gym without any goal, other than the vague aspirations above. I cycled frequently enough to be sore, but not frequently enough to prevent myself from being dropped constantly. I was close to becoming another fitness statistic.
Then, in 2012 I heard about the CT Challenge, a 10 to 100 mile ride through the challenging terrain of north and southwestern CT to fundraise for cancer survivorship. I thought having a goal would give more purpose and structure to my exertions at the gym. With the help of the TTEndurance instructors, I pieced together enough of a program to finish the century in 2012. It was a tough slog, but I finished it – barely (I missed the barbeque and the band). I’m not sure why, but I was determined to do better next time. I began taking training more seriously and became a “TTEndurance student” (if you mention the word ’Total Training’ to my wife, her eyes roll to the back of her head: “That’s the place where Glenn goes to get beat up every week. You should see him after a Hill Climb session!”). I had the benefit of not only the great instructors, but also TT members who were happy to share their experience and tips with me. Over time, the pieces have come together, and I have begun making strides in my fitness levels. I finished the CT Challenge century in 2013 in a better time – and had more fun doing it. I have learned more about distance rides all over the East (and West) coast, going to many events with other TTEndurance members and enjoying more than just the ride.
Fast-forward to 2014 and the CT Challenge. I wanted to do something different this time, and sharing the experience with someone close to me seemed a great idea. My son James is 13 and loves nothing more then spending time with his family. When I floated the idea of riding the CT Challenge with him, he was all for it – without even knowing what this meant!
Eneas, TTEndurance owner, had always encouraged me to bring my children to the gym, and when I told him of my scheme, he encouraged me to bring James to ride the Tacx trainer during the week on a TTEndurance service course bike, taking time to ensure it was adjusted to fit James when he arrived (some of you may have seen him alongside me during the Wed night hill climb!).
Despite his growing familiarity with cycling, James’ current bike was not suited for a longer outdoor ride. Eneas answered this challenge for us as well, and let James rent a bike, even cleaning the frame and drivetrain. When James and I took the bike for a preliminary spin, he was so happy: “Dad, this bike makes me go so much faster!” (Uh-oh, I think I’ve heard this somewhere before).
Today, I am happy to say James and I completed the 25 Mile CT Challenge. It was, indeed, a Challenge for him – we had to tackle the dreaded hill on the Weston end of Old Redding Rd- I don’t think I’ve seen him put such an effort in before! Fortunately, there was a rest stop at the peak, and after a brief rest, James and I were off again.
We finished at the Hunt Club under Yellow and Blue balloons, with a crowd ringing cowbells and my wife in attendance. James was so excited by the entire experience that he has already told me he wants to do the 50 mile circuit next year!
I am, of course, a proud father, but even this father and son, riding slowly through the roads of Fairfield and Westport, needed a support group. And for that, I am extremely grateful to Eneas and his Total Training & Endurance team for their help.
I had never given the question much thought until recently, but ask me why I am a TTEndurance member, and my answer is this: it is because of the community of fellow cyclists, gym rats, and instructors; it is because of the Tuesday Night Service Course Ride and beers and conversation afterwards; it is because of the “TTE Social” nights and dinners with new friends; it is because of the presentations by amateur athletes who have amazing stories to tell.
The rides end, but the community endures. And today, I was reminded of that in a big way. TTEndurance made the 2014 CT Challenge a special day for my son, and a fond memory for both of us.