Thursday, July 28, 2011

9 Great Places to Train in Atlanta - #2 Riding in Buckhead!

I have been encouraging fellow triathletes to ride in Buckhead for their triathlon training for years! I’m not talking about the busy streets of Peachtree Road and Northside Drive, I’m talking about the neighborhoods surrounding these streets. The scenery is beautiful with all the lovely old homes and their pristine landscaping. The terrain is challenging with plenty of hills, stop signs and stop lights.

This past Saturday, a group of us from Peachtree Tri Club rode a 40 mile route through Buckhead, affectionately known as the “Buckhead Butt Buster Ride”. I’ll admit it was a tough ride. In fact, it took us a little over four hours to complete the course! We took some rest breaks along the way to refuel and catch our breath. It was worth spending the time that morning because I felt great after that workout and I got a chance to know one of the club members better because we rode the course together!

In addition to the 40 mile route, there are routes for 24 miles, 21 miles and 13 miles. The 24 and 13 mile routes are known as the “Buckhead Bellyache” and the route is marked on the road with a white “B” and an arrow pointing at each of the turns. The 21 mile route is marked with a yellow lightning bolt pointed at each of the turns. The 40 mile route was previously marked with two orange beakers pointing at each of the turns. Some of the marks are faded and a few have disappeared with the recent paving of the roads. Click here for a cue sheet that has turn-by-turn instructions along with notes about the route.

If you live near Buckhead, Midtown, Sandy Springs or anywhere in town, check out one of the Buckhead bike routes! It is a nice change of pace from the flats of Columns Drive and the Silver Comet Trail. You won’t have to drive for an extended period of time like you would to get to Cartersville and Silk Sheets. In my opinion, the scenery is much better than Stone Mountain.

Enjoy your bike training this summer!

Friday, July 22, 2011

9 Great Places to Train in Atlanta - #1 Grant Park Swimming Pool!

I truly love the city of Atlanta, especially in the summer! Yes. It is hot and humid. Yes. Our air quality is not good. Yes. Traffic can be annoying at times. Yes. Gas prices are high. Regardless of the negatives, I am glad to be an Atlantan! Furthermore, I am glad to be an athlete and a coach living in Atlanta. There are so many fantastic places for me and my athletes to train! I will spend the next several weeks highlighting these places for you!

Attention Triathletes and Swimmers: If you are looking for a 50 meter pool in which to swim, look no further than the Grant Park Swimming Pool!

I arrived at the pool this morning at 10am to meet one of my swimmers from Vizsla Swim Team. We were pleased to find no one in the two lanes they had roped off for lap swimming. The water temperature was a refreshing 78 degrees. We jumped in and started our workout!

Since it has been quite awhile since I have practiced in a 50 meter pool, it took some time to get my rhythm. After I got used to the longer lane, I was as happy as a clam only having to encounter the wall half the number of times as usual. A few other swimmers arrived as the morning went on. By the time we left, there were five folks swimming in the lap area.

Please note, this is not a typical lap swimming pool. There are no clocks at each end, nor are there flags hanging overhead to indicate when you are getting close to the wall. The lane lines at the bottom of the pool are a bit confusing. In my opinion, these factors are not a big deal. The staff is helpful. The locker rooms and pool area are very clean. The pool is very family friendly, which was evident when kids, parents and babysitters trickled in throughout the morning. Overall, it is a great place to get in a good workout!

The Grant Park Swimming pool is a City of Atlanta facility. The Friends of Grant Park Pool is a sub-committee of the Grant Park Neighborhood Association Parks & Recreation committee. They are a group of local residents volunteering their time to help make the pool a better place for everyone.

The Grant Park Swimming Pool is located in Grant Park at 625 Park Avenue SE, Atlanta, Georgia 30312 at the intersection of Berne and Park Avenue, one block west of Boulevard. There is free parking on the streets. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for kids and seniors and $1 for kids under the age of five. Admission is FREE from 1:30pm – 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. My suggestion is to buy an annual pass for $110 which provides admission to all the pools that are a part of the City of Atlanta including Chastain Park, Garden Hills and the Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium. The pool is open Saturday and Sunday from 12pm - 8:00pm and Monday - Friday from 10am - 7:30pm. Their phone number is 404.622.3044. The pool will close for the season after Labor Day (September 5, 2011).

I will definitely be back to the Grant Park Swimming Pool as much as possible this summer! It was so wonderful to be able to swim outside in a 50 meter pool with the blue sky and sun shining down on us! I would encourage anyone who is a triathlete or swimmer to visit the pool for a workout.