Friday, June 22, 2012

Competition, Motivation, Determination

Shari Lynne: Sean and I returned to our Thursday practices at Northerly Island this week. We weren't 100% sure the Northerly Island practices were happening last week because of the big weekend previously, but we also wanted to make sure we were healed enough (from sunburns, massive bruises, and sores) and got a workout routine down, somewhat, before returning.

It was rough on Coach Stacee because she didn't have as many volunteers as usual because more than half the group was preparing for races that evening and others preparing/anticipating the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon on Sunday. So, Coach Stacee was also pulling double-duty, helping load up a truck to transport all the necessary adaptive equipment. So, it took us a little extra time getting set up to use the handcycle.

Sean: I decided to try out a handcycle for the first time yesterday. It was pretty cool. I had to get used to some parts of it, since it wasn't fitted for me, the way my everyday chair is. My elbows kept hitting the back tires, for example.

Shari Lynne: I got to break-in a newly donated handcycle, which was obvious barely used. It fit me better as far as the foot-plates were concerned, but the hand cranks were set too far in, so they kept hitting my legs at every rotation. I now have an extra bruise on my right thigh. It was still fun, though. Coach Stacee encouraged Sean and I to race, saying, "Now go chase her, Sean!", and that's all the motivation I needed to spark my competitive edge.

Sean: I ended up using the handcycle Shari Lynne was originally going to use. I'm taller, so I didn't have as many problems stabilizing my lower extremities. I had a problem with the foot-plate, and I removed my cheetah leg from my left. My right leg is pretty strong, so I was able to just use it without my leg strapped in because it's less difficult for me to turn.

Shari Lynne: Sean picked up steering and maneuvering the handcycle pretty quickly. He can even turn really well. I'm still working on tight turns, but I made all the turns around the route this time! So, yes, I'm a little jealous, but at the same time, I'm really proud of him and excited that it means, if he ever has a problem with his C-leg and can't use his regular bike, he can use a handcycle and not miss a beat while competing in a triathlon/dualthon, etc.

We haven't even gotten to the part about how we were "behaving" on the trail:

Before we even made it to the trail, I was trying to out-bike Sean, yelling and trash-talking on the way.

Sean:  I would pedal hard enough to either get right alongside of Shari Lynne or ahead of her, knowing that it would tick her off. I knew it would motivate her to go faster, getting alongside me, or pass me. Plus, it was hilarious because of all her trash-talking and yelling. Anytime I made progress enough to pass her, she would scream, "NO!" at the top of her lungs, and it was hilarious.

Shari Lynne: Several times, I threatened to run him off the road by merging into his lane/space, but I knew what I was doing, and I merged back before crashing. At one point, just after one of these Grease-esque race tactics, Sean told me he hit some of the brush on the border of the paved trail. I asked, "Was that my fault?!"

Sean: I said that if she meant by running me into the brush, then yes! It was hilarious! I could tell she was blocking me from moving forward because I could see her  moving into the middle of the road to prevent me from passing several times.

Shari Lynne: As it turns out, I learned a lot how to keep control of the handcycle while I was at the Training Camp, and I was careful to not actually hit Sean because I knew the handcycle was new.

Sean:  It was definitely a fun first attempt at the handcycle. It reminded us of playing on go-carts.  We were acting so much like we were kids, it made it so much more fun!

Shari Lynne: I promise we'll be careful every time, but it'll be nice to compete and motivate each other like that again. 

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