First of all, a great big shout out and congratulations to all who competed in Steelhead yesterday. Everyone I know did a great job. Lots of first time half iron distance racers. You all ROCKED!
Now, the plan for today was fairly simple. Ride 102 miles in about 6 hours. I was going to do an organized ride, close to home, so I figured this would be a piece of cake. I wanted to average 18 to 20 mph, what I hope to do at the race (hoping to get the speed up with all the downhills!). Following the ride, an immediate 25 minute run. (I brought my running gear with!).
So, after a good sleep, with great weather, I headed out to the ride. Here's what happened:
1) They gave us a map at registration. Just a map. (Well, to be honest, we also got a T-shirt, which I wasn't expecting.) When I say just a map, what I mean is there was no cue sheet--you know, take this street so many miles, then turn this direction, take the next street for so many miles, to such and such a rest stop. Nothing. Just a map with a yellow marker to mark the route. Well, I figured I would follow all the other people and the signs. I don't think ride organizers are allowed to mark up roads anymore, so there were signs on posts on the side of the road.
2) About a mile or so into the ride, I got stuck by a freight train. For about 5 to 10 minutes. Well, maybe not that long, but it seemed like a long time. Had a bad feeling this was a bad omen for the rest of the ride. I was CORRECT!
3) Talked with some riders who assured me the course is always marked really well. HA! NOT SO MUCH AT ALL!
4) First rest stop at 10 MILES? What? Already missing a bunch of signs. Continue to follow people.
5) There were 5 different routes available--20, 40, 55, 82, 102 miles. I can't prove this, but I think only 2% of the riders actually rode the entire 102 miles. If there were more, they passed me in the first 10 miles and I never saw them again. This is possible, really possible. But I also think some people got frustrated and bailed at the 55/82 mile marks. Didn't feel like playing "try to read the map the rest of the way home" game.
6) By mile 12, I knew I must have missed a sign. Plus, the area we were riding is very popular for weekend riders doing their long rides. So, not everyone we saw was part of the Rotary Club ride. Just following was not an option. Two guys pulled up next to me and another guy to tell us we missed a turn. They were not part of the ride, just out doing their thing, and knew the route. I had never ridden out here before, so I had NO CLUE where I was.
7) This little miss only cost me 2 miles. But who knows how much TIME!?
8) Second rest stop at 20 (for me 22) miles. What? The rest stops were very different from what I'm used to. There were one to four volunteers, one table of food, some drinks, and one or two port-a-potties. Huh. OK, whatever.
9) Third rest stop around 35 miles? Very confusing to get to, lots of missing signs, stop about 1 million times to check out map, very confused, what in the world is happening? Heard a rumor that someone was removing the signs from the major intersections. Guess they didn't want the cyclists on the road. Ha! What a _____ (insert your own nasty adjective here).
10) Continued on. Started riding with a couple women. At about 45 miles, one lady told me she was only planning to do 55 miles. Missed the turn, oh well, maybe I'll do 80 something? What a mess. No one knew where they were going. When we mentioned this at the rest stops, the volunteers knew the signs were missing, but didn't seem too interested in doing anything about it! O....K....... (This is when I realized that a bike ride not organized by a bike club.....not such a great idea for the future!)
11) This list could continue ad nauseum, but I'm too tired. Suffice to say that after spending tons of time stopping to try to figure out where I was, I did complete the ride. I met a really nice lady named Molly. She's doing her first ironman at Madison. We rode the last 40 or so miles together. I didn't want her to be alone, and frankly I didn't want to ride alone either. We saw MAYBE four people the last 30 miles. Where was everybody? Most people we saw were very annoyed and disgusted by the lack of signage. But what can you do? (There were quite a few cars in the parking lot when we got back to the school, so we actually weren't the last riders on the course.)
12) I DID NOT FINISH THE RIDE IN SIX HOURS!!! Ha, like you couldn't guess that one. Actually, the total time was even longer than last week (7:28) and ride time was 6:30. But I have to say it was a good mental test. I know that physically (and hopefully now mentally) I should be able to handle whatever comes my way in Louisville. At least I HOPE AND PRAY I CAN!
13) Alas, the day was not a total bust. I had a really good run after the ride that never seemed to end. There was a great park with a really nice path across from the school parking lot, and I ran about 2.5 miles. Felt good.
14) The weather was great, not too hot, not too windy, and there were actually some rollers on the course. (Last week was sooooo flat.)
15) I feel good--tired and ready to rest, but good.
16) And did I mention, this was the LAST BIG TRAINING DAY before Louisville? Yeah, me!
Bike: 105.88 miles; total time: 7:28; Ride time: 6:30; AHR: 121; MXR: 191; Zones 1-3;%MHR: 67-106; calories burned: 3,322.
Run: 2.5 miles; 26 minutes; zone 3; AHR 142; MHR: 165; 71-83% MHR; 215 calories burned.
Swim: 6x for 11,100 meters
Bike: 3x for 171 miles
Run: 3x for 28 miles
Strength/Core work: 4 sessions for 115 minutes
Total workout time: 26 hours
Total calories burned: 10,500
Hope everyone else had a great weekend! Have a great week.
Until next time--God bless!