The weather was finicky this week, forcing me inside for one ride and soaking me on another. The soaking came on the Saturday four-hour long ride. As I headed south into the wind I knew that I might need to ride a little farther than two hours before turning back home because the headwind would become a tailwind and the trip back would take less time than the trip out. But at about 1:45 into the ride I could see the dark storm clouds getting much closer. I made the choice to try to outrun the storm and head back home and make up any extra time needed to complete the four-hour ride closer to the safety of home. It didn’t happen. At the two-hour mark, the sky unloaded on me.
As it just started to rain, I stopped and tossed on the lightweight cycling rain jacket that I decided before the ride that I might need. I’m glad I brought it along, not that it was really going to keep my dry, but it would keep me from getting cold. I rode in this hard rain for about 30 minutes. Thankfully, the very strong tailwind had me flying along at around 23 mph or so, and the rain wasn’t pelting me in the face. When it let up from the hard rain, I just dealt with a light drizzle, wet roads and gunk getting all over me for the remainder of the ride. But as I rode I almost was having a great time. I felt like a kid again. It was fun.
There’s a saying in triathlon – “Embrace the suck” – meaning that things aren’t always going to be perfect, and dealing with these miserable moments can only build confidence. It’s easy to move a ride to another part of the day when you know a storm is coming at your planned ride time, or to run inside on a really hot day. But race day won’t offer you that trade-off. After finishing the ride, I ran for 30 minutes in light rain with my feet squishing and reminding me that it will be worth it. You can be physically prepared for an Ironman, but being mentally prepared is also a huge asset.
WRAPPING UP THE FIRST 15 WEEKS
Any milestone in a journey can be notable, and when you are on another 30-week quest to be prepared for an Ironman finish, getting halfway through the training plan is certainly a worthy accomplishment. I’m not fooling myself though, through 15-weeks I have finished 10-weeks of the base phase (pretty easy) and half of the build phase (getting tougher each week) with the rest of the build phase and the endurance phase yet to come. But this is my fourth go around training for an Ironman and I know from experience to put my trust in the plan, follow through with the workouts, and I should be more than ready on September 29th. Time to look back on the first 15-weeks of training! (Click on the link if you want to read the original post.)
Week 5 – I’m My Own Worst Enemy I found myself doing dumb things in training that could easily sabotage my plan, like racing the local high school track team up a hill during their hill repeat workout. It wasn’t my fault, I can’t shut that off.
Week 6 – The Comparison Trap In Week 6 I once again realized how important it is not to compare myself to others. I have to relearn this every time.
Weeks 7/8 – I’d Be A Horrible Judge Another twofer update from me, pondering whether I like the idea of relay teams in Ironman races or not. Truthfully, I don’t, but whatever.
Week 9 – Week 9 Wrap-up A somewhat boring week with wet weather forcing me inside. But I did play around with my new Fly6 and Fly12 bike cameras and started designing a new tri suit for our team.
As I slid into Week 11 I found myself reflecting on being comfortable with where I was in the plan. It has kind of become routine – Monday rest, Tuesday run, Wednesday bike/run brick, Thursday bike, Friday run, Saturday bike, Sunday run – then repeat week after week. But on Saturday I finished my ride, put the bike away and got busy cleaning the swimming pool and mowing the grass and totally didn’t realize that we are now at a stage in training when Saturday’s long ride is followed by a run brick. I had gotten so used to the previous ten-week routine that I didn’t remember that the runs are added to the bike on Saturday. Oops. Oh well, I did have a killer of a Saturday long ride which kind of made up for missing that 15 minute brick run.
Speaking of the Saturday bike, I decided to join a local riding group that is primarily made up of people from the local running group that I have become familiar with. It was supposed to be a 2-2.5 hour bike ride averaging 17 mph. I was comfortable with that pace and length of ride, but I have certain expectations when riding as a group and as we rode a little I started figuring out who was on the same page as me and who wasn’t. I started to get a little uneasy and moved to the front of the group to avoid any issues. There was one stop in which a rider fell over. Not sure how he accomplished that as it didn’t appear that he was clipped in and was wearing running shoes. It has happened to all of us and I felt bad for the guy, but I made a mental note to stay clear of him. It wasn’t long until this group of cyclists and aero riding triathletes were on each others wheel. While training for Ironman, I usually avoid riding on the wheel of another rider because you aren’t allowed to draft at all during the race, but here we were. I was definitely getting out of my comfort zone.
We made it out to Elwood and the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and stopped for a quick restroom break and to refuel a little. I had some good conversations and then we were headed back. That’s when I got dropped. I was fighting like mad to keep up, but I was starting to wonder why I was killing myself. The group did eventually rejoin and I put myself ahead again to help control the pace a little. I was able to keep with them the rest of the ride. But this “easy” pace group ride was killing me!
When we turned around I noticed something was not quite right with my rear wheel. It was making a slight sound and I was sensing a little bit of vibration. I had ridden the bike on the trainer on Thursday and when I switched out the skewer I must not have had the wheel exactly straight. I stopped about 20 minutes from home and reset it the best I could and I didn’t feel the vibration anymore. When I got home I inspected the wheel and found that the tire sidewall was getting pretty worn, had started to bulge a little and it wouldn’t have been long before it failed completely on me. I was way too comfortable in letting that little warning sign of vibration and sound go on for too long. I should have dealt with it as soon as I noticed it. Stop being so comfortable! But I wasn’t the only one who should have been paying close attention to their bike. I noticed one strong lady rider who was about my age whose water bottle cage was wobbling so loosely that I thought it was going to fall off any minute. How do you not notice that?
All in all, I had a pleasant ride, learned that the cemetery has a restroom, learned a new route out to Elwood that bypasses a busy road, met some new people, had some good conversations and made it home in one piece. I will definitely join the group again but will not let the group’s ride influence my training plan for the day.
Next week I promise not to be so comfortable. I need to make sure I am executing the plan in the way I need to.
Week 11 Training Totals:
Swims: None > Rides: 4 total / 88 miles > Runs: 4 total / 25 miles
HOORAY! One-third of my Ironman 30-week training plan is in the books! It’s nice to hit that benchmark and put the base phase of training behind me. As I enter the 10-week build phase of the plan it is comforting to know that I did a pretty decent job getting prepared for it. The only issue that can come back and bite me is the fact that I did no swim training in that first ten weeks! But even though I stink at swimming, I am not really all that worried. I learned what I am capable of back in 2017 while training for Ironman Louisville, and I’m sure that the remaining twenty weeks will prepare me adequately. The weather has been the real issue this spring, being cold and miserable so far, and it has kept me from opening my pool so I can swim. Next week looks to have a gradual warm-up and I will plan on starting the process of getting the pool ready for summer. I may not like swimming that much, but I do enjoy a post long run/long bike cannonball to cool off.
FEAR: PART I – Fear… Of Missing Out
Friday I took a day off from work so I could be at home to welcome carpet installers and new carpet throughout our house. The original appointment was for Friday and Saturday and I wasn’t really sure how long they would be here either day. So I got up and got dressed and hoped that they would leave me a sliver of the late afternoon so I could squeeze in my planned hour-long run. It didn’t happen. As I watched them progress I realized that they were going to shoot to get it all done in one day. They finished up sometime around 6 pm, and then it was time for dinner and get busy with putting everything back that we had to move. Fun times (not), but I didn’t get my run in.
So I spent the day worrying about missing my Friday run, an hour long 7-miler that I can do in my sleep. I spent a lot of time on Facebook while babysitting the carpet guys and saw that several of my local friends and acquaintances were complaining about their local pool being unavailable again. It seems like the maintenance at the pool has been neglected or poorly maintained, or that some kid left a “Baby Ruth” (Caddyshack reference, in case you didn’t know) at the bottom of it. Whatever the reason, they are paying for the use of the pool and have not been able to use it. They have a right to be a little upset about that. But I also think they are like me and fear that they might get behind on their training. I totally get that. A few of these friends are doing their first Ironmans this fall, and I can remember how I felt about missing a week training for my first Ironman in 2013 when I volunteered at my daughter Ashley’s marching band camp. In the end, though, missing a swim/bike/run workout or two, or in my case, a whole week doesn’t really matter in the massive amount of training that is done in thirty weeks. No need to fear missing a workout.
The other thing I have been thinking that I fear I have been missing out on is group rides with a local group of riders, riders mostly who are also involved with the local running club. They post rides all the time but I usually skip them because they don’t fit in with what my plan calls for. Saturday was such a ride, and judging from the photo posted to Facebook, it was a big group and it looked like they were having fun. I’m going to have to join them soon. A group ride might be an asset, as you will see below.
FEAR: PART II – Fear… Of GETTING MURDERED!
I was a little concerned about my Saturday 3-hour training ride. First off, the weather stunk once again, 48 degrees and a forecast of rain. After breakfast, I checked the radar and could see that there was a small window of opportunity to get my ride in, and so I layered up and got out there.
I had a little trouble with my Fly12 bike flasher/camera again today. I had trouble with it last week and it didn’t record anything. I put it on my bike after charging it and it fired right up and started flashing. After about 20 minutes into the ride, I realized it wasn’t flashing anymore and I was not happy about it. I tried pushing the on/off button while riding but was having no success with getting it to turn on. I decided to stop at the next road crossing and fiddle with it. That’s when things got interesting.
I stopped at Ridgeland Road and took my gloves off and started fiddling with the dumb light. I got my phone out and opened the app for the device and manually hit record and figured if anything I would get it to video the rest of the ride. That’s when a guy walks across the street toward me and says “Sure is a nice bike you got there.” It wasn’t really what he said that gave me pause, but more of the way he said it like he was about to add “It’d be a shame if something were to happen to it.” I replied with “Thank you,” and watched him walk a little past the trail and kneel down and pull out a vape-type device and start puffing away. He was bearded, unkempt and kind of dirty looking, wearing a soiled Florida Gators sweatshirt, and I automatically started profiling the guy. That’s what you do when the only jobs you have ever had were in law enforcement and are pretty much skeptical of everyone you meet anyway. That’s when I silently said to myself “GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE NOW!” Thankfully my rear camera was working and caught the exchange:
Now, I don’t get spooked too easily, but this guy was sending me some big time warning signs. I put my phone back into my jersey pocket, pushed my bike to the shoulder of the road and started pedaling. It was at that point I went from riding a 3-hour Zone 2 ride to an immediate Zone 4 time trial. As I sped up the hill I kept looking over my shoulder to see if he got back into his truck. I thought that maybe I should have stayed on the bike trail, where he couldn’t have followed me. I also thought about where I might find some refuge up ahead if he did actually try to follow me.
I had gone to Bass Pro Shop last week to look at boats and found myself looking at handguns too. I don’t own any firearms (my three jobs in law enforcement have all been non-sworn), but I thought I would take a look at them. I often find myself thinking about how I would defend myself if I ever encountered a nut job. I haven’t ever really encountered a nut job, but in all seriousness, I FELT LIKE I HAD JUST ENCOUNTERED ONE. I was kind of wishing I had a handgun right now. Matter of fact, I wish I had like ten of the damn things. Our team name is GUNNERS for goodness sake! But instead, I would just have to pedal my ass off.
Although I spent the next 30 minutes riding damn hard and constantly looking over my shoulder, I never saw him again. Two hours into the ride my mind was totally focused on why I continually fail to remember to ride into the wind going out and with it at my back on the way home. That mistake cost me an extra 8 minutes. And by the time I got back home I wasn’t thinking about that dude or even thinking about buying a gun anymore. I’d probably accidentally shoot myself in the butt with it anyway. Now that would make for an interesting video.
Week 10 Training Totals:
Swims: None > Rides: 3 total / 86 miles > Runs: 3 total / 18 miles
Not much of note for the week as far as training. The miserable wet weather we have been having in much of the midwest forced me inside to do a couple of my ride and run workouts, but I can’t complain about having that option. Overall, the week went well and I’m starting to build a little speed on the bike again.
Speaking of the bike, for Christmas last year I asked for a flashing light/video camera device for my bike. I had heard several people talking about Cycliq and the Fly6 rear and Fly12 front cameras, so I put them on my wishlist and Santa delivered.
Since I hadn’t really had an opportunity to ride outside with them during winter and most of the early spring, I realized that the time to add them to my bike was ideal now that the weather is trying to get better. First and foremost, they are hi-viz flashers so that you are seen, and they certainly do that job well. But the most recent camera updates to the devices produce a pretty decent video of your ride. I guess the idea is to have proof of the offender should you be driven off the road or driven into, but I don’t really want to think about that.
The issue I had was finding space on my very crowded aerobars to mount the device. I finally was able to attach it so that it wasn’t in the way and I could easily access it. The rear device mounted very easily to my seat post.
Fly12 Front Camera
Fly6 Rear Camera
After working out some bugs with my son’s help and figuring out how to use them I gave them a try. I tried using them both for Saturday’s long 2-hour 45-minute ride but had a couple of issues. First, the Fly12 (front camera) gave me a notice that the battery was low about 1.5 hours into the ride and it didn’t produce any video for some reason. Had to be operator error of some sort. Secondly, the mount bracket came loose and the camera was just bouncing around on my aerobars. Minor issues that I can easily resolve. The rear camera produced some great shots though. Here is an example of the footage it will capture (Note: Turn the volume down):
The wind noise is horrible. I’m trying to figure out if that is just a fact of life with the Fly6/12 or there is some feature that I can turn on to make it record sound better. Interestingly enough it does not pick up the crazy conversations that I carry on with myself, which is a good thing, because they are usually profane laden rants.
So I will be interested in doing a group ride someday and capture some of my teammates riding together. That would be more interesting footage to watch than seeing the truck that runs me over.
The last thing of note is that I am trying to find another company to make team triathlon racing kits for our small group. The trouble is we are somewhat of a small group and most of these custom companies have minimum order numbers that we can’t reach. The company we last used upped their minimums by a few and also declared that the order all has to be of one sex, which stinks because we have added Gunner Jan to our group. I looked into another company that initially looked promising. They had promised to work on our project in April, and when I hadn’t heard from them I started emailing them with no response. I figured the guy was swamped or something, but it turned out that his company got bought out by another company from Mexico. No wonder I wasn’t getting any response from him. So I went back to the internet and found another company called Jakroo, which might be our best choice. They have basically no minimums, will assist with kit design, and you can order in both male or female sizes with no penalty, and I can add cycling jerseys, bike shorts, and other items, not just tri suits. They had a semi-custom design it yourself feature and I played around with it. Here are a couple of designs I came up with:
I ordered a kit that I made and will ride in it a few times to see if the quality meets what we need. I’m starting to get excited about having some new team kits!
Week 9 Training Totals:
Swims: None > Rides: 3 total / 76 miles > Runs: 4 total / 24 miles
Ironman makes announcements all the time and I usually don’t give them much more than a quick glance. But this was shared on a couple Facebook group pages and it caught my eye:
The reason I didn’t pay much attention to it at first is that it looks like your standard “Register Now” announcement for Ironman, and I’m already signed up for it. But then I read a few comments and realized this was for a relay. Say what? An Ironman relay? NO!!!
Immediately I made up my mind that I hated this idea. A relay for Ironman? C’mon man, this shouldn’t be. Triathletes that do Ironman do them for the challenge of doing three tough events in one day, 17 hours typically. To do just one part doesn’t make any sense to me. The whole purpose of Ironman was to prove an argument as to who was the toughest athlete of three disciplines, the swimmer doing a 2.4-mile swim, the cyclist racing a century or more, or the runner running a marathon. Do all three events in one day and find out! – was the reason behind creating Ironman. (Note: It’s the runner if you are wondering. The strongest swimmer never wins the race. And if you followed Ironman Texas this weekend you witnessed Andrew Starykowicz destroy the bike course only to be caught on the run. And Daniela Ryf made up a significant time gap on the run to win the women’s title. Always bet on the runner. Unless the runner is me, then bet on my buddy Dave. Actually, always bet on Dave, he’s 3-0 in our Ironman racing.) But seriously, what are you proving by just doing one segment of the race? After the swim leg, what do you do while the rest of us are still busting our butts? I better not hear you call yourself an Ironman.
As I read through the many comments I was seeing a lot of similar reactions to this announcement and I was hitting the “like” button for every comment that I agreed with.
“Give me a break. It’s an Ironman! This cheapens it. The last thing I want is some fresh-legged relay athlete zip past me as I’m actually enduring an Ironman. Save the relays for the Olympic distance. I’m not ripping on the athletes, but the Ironman has been the one true test for individuals in triathlons. That’s the beauty of it. The individual challenge mentally and physically.”
“It’s called Ironman, not Ironmen.”
“It’s about that adversity. I’m signing up for the relay as “me” doing the swim, “myself” on the bike, and “I” for the run!”
But as I sorted through those comments others started making valid points.
“Embrace it. It is good for the preservation of the sport or these races go away. Those who do the relay many times will do the full.”
“This opens the door to people who have injuries or are thinking of working up to doing a full one day to experience it. The more people outside doing something, the better! Run your race, meet your goals and let others do the same!”
“Sad that people rip on the relay! I’ve done two full Ironmans and now knee injury. This is a great idea. And for all those who knock it, I hope you always stay injury free and continue being able to do fulls. Not everyone is that lucky!”
So now I am conflicted. I definitely will defend the tradition of the race and what it means to be an Ironman. But if we can get more people involved, I’m all for that too. I don’t really know what to expect when I will be racing Chattanooga in late September. If I see a faster cyclist fly by will I assume he’s doing the relay? When I’m gassed on the run and someone trots by like they haven’t done the previous 2.4-mile swim and the 116-mile bike ride, will that make me angry? I’m not sure. A few commenters mentioned that everyone should do the race their way and not worry about the other group. I guess I will need to focus on myself like I usually do. This is why I would make a horrible judge. If both sides made valid arguments, I wouldn’t be able to make a decision on a winner.
TRAINING FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS
Last week was Easter and we had out of town plans, so I did some creative moving of my workouts and got the job done. And since I was out of town last weekend I didn’t have time to write my weekly wrap-up of training. So here are the details from the last two weeks.
Week 7 was jumbled around a little. I had the opportunity to run with the local running club F’NRC in a group run on Wednesday, which meant I ran twice that day. It was fun running with the group on a nice weeknight. I ended up skipping the long bike ride up north in Minocqua on Saturday, as they still had snow and ice on the bike path up there. Instead, I opted for doing the Sunday run on Saturday as I had a long drive home on Sunday with an additional trip to Valpo to take Ashley back to school.
Week 8 was looking to be a normal follow the plan training week. But the forecast for the weekend weather was terrible. A record-breaking late April snowstorm was predicted for Saturday, so I moved my Saturday 2-hour long bike ride to Friday and made it a bike/run brick, keeping my 1-hour run that was scheduled for Friday. That reminded me how tough brick workouts can be. I was pretty low on energy after that. My Gunner teammate Jeff asked this week as to when we start using gels on our weekend rides. I laughed at him because he’s a two-time Ironman and should know the answer by now, but I now found myself bonking because I didn’t remember that I should probably be adding more energy replacement into my workouts. Jeff’s not the dumb one, it’s me. At least he’s trying to be prepared for it. Although Saturday’s weather was crappy, we didn’t get anything more than a few ice pellets/sleet type stuff. I took Saturday off and had a great 1-hour run on a beautiful Sunday morning. So in all, the week ended well.
Week 7 Training Totals:
Swims: None > Rides: 2 total / 29 miles > Runs: 3 total / 22 miles
Week 8 Training Totals:
Swims: None > Rides: 3 total / 65 miles > Runs: 4 total / 23 miles
I was anticipating that this week would be pretty good. Week 28 is the first of three taper weeks, and after the heat and workload of the previous week, I knew it would be a lot better. But I wasn’t expecting it to be so dang good!
First of all, the weather got better. Temperatures went from low 90’s back to the mid 60’s and it felt great. On Tuesday, I decided to go back to the high school pool and swim what the plan had called for, about 3500 yards of swimming. But I felt pretty good, and once I got started I decided to test myself and I ended up swimming the full Ironman distance swim of 4200 yards. After swimming only two 45 minute swims a week for the past several, I just needed to prove to myself that I could cover the distance and I did.
But the week really turned awesome on Wednesday, when after waiting very anxiously for a week and a half, I finally got the word that I had made the cut for the Boston Marathon, a first for me. It had been a long time in the making, never really thinking that I would ever reach that goal, but it finally happened. I’m still a little in shock about making it into the field, but expect a blog report from me about being accepted soon.
Getting into Boston for the first time was pretty awesome, but the day wasn’t done delivering good news. I went to pick up Rebecca from marching band practice and although all of the band equipment and props were out on the field, the kids were nowhere in sight. When they came out of the building back to the field I could see that they were each carrying a red rose. I knew it immediately – they were going to Pasadena!!! The Tournament of Roses Parade!!! Now this may not seem like such a big deal, but it’s really like getting into Boston. First you have to meet several qualifications just to get in. And getting in means that this band is pretty darn good. But what really makes it special for me is that I marched in the parade on January 1, 1982, and it’s really cool that Rebecca will get to experience that as well. It was an experience of a lifetime for me. One of those special opportunities that not everyone gets. Pretty cool. Looks like I will be traveling to Pasadena in December/January 2019!
I went back to the pool on Thursday, even though I still have my pool at home open. It’s the end of September, almost October, and I still have the pool open, which is pretty unusual. But I am having some issues with the auto chlorinator, and will probably have to replace it in the spring, along with the pump and possibly the heater as well. It seems like everything is starting to reach the end of its use and getting worn out. I will deal with it in the spring. I began closing it on Sunday.
The Saturday long ride was four hours with a 1/2 hour run and it went really well. What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday was a 7 hour day in mid 90 degree temps. This Saturday started out at 54 degrees and didn’t get much more than 63 or so by the time I was done. I had three layers on for that ride!
Sunday wrapped up the week with another cool morning and a two hour run, and thanks to the cool temps I was able to squeeze in an extra mile and finished comfortably with 14 miles. However the real wrap up of the weekend was a trip to downtown Chicago with my family to see Hamilton. I really had no expectations for the show, and I was really impressed. It was pretty cool.
Here’s to Week 28! Thanks for being so good to me.
2 Swims – 7200 yards this week / 104,750 yards total
dread – /dred/ verb/noun: 1. To anticipate with great fear or apprehension (Google Definition) 2. The word “dead” with an r stuck in it (Chris Definition)
It’s interesting how one little change can cause me to panic over something that I can’t control. For this week it was the weather. The past three weeks we have had pretty good moderate, if not cool temperatures to train in. It has been somewhat enjoyable to bike and run in the day with temps in the upper 60’s and mid 70’s. But on the horizon for this weekend loomed record setting high temperatures in our area, several days bordering or over 90 degrees. And it happened on Week 27 – the dreaded Week 27.
I have followed the Be Iron Fit training plan for three races now and Week 27 is the one that I generally loathe. Sure we have been building up to this week, and truthfully I probably could have done the distance that Week 27 calls for in any of the previous three weekends. But doing it in 90 degree temps?! Yikes. I have gotten through this week before and I was sure I can get through it again. It’s not as tough as the race itself, for Pete’s sake. But the issue at hand was doing a six hour/100 mile bike ride and one hour/7 mile run in the heat. I was really dreading it this time around. Thankfully, my group of Gunner teammates had just the answer – suffer through this together. Here’s the low down on how we conquered the Dreaded Week 27.
The plan was to gather at Dave’s house in Dixon and ride his route, a route that I feel is very similar to what we will expect in Louisville – lots of rolling hills, followed by more rolling hills. The offer to spend the night there on Friday was made so that we could get an early start to our seven hour day, and I gladly accepted. I packed my junk up, double checked that I had all my junk, and had a dinner at a local pizza place with my wife Kari that only made me more anxious. The waitress was terrible and I was starting to believe that I may not make it there on Friday night. Quick pro tip – never tell the waitress that you need just another minute. To them people, just another minute means maybe ten. Whatever. We finally ate and I got on the road.
Upon arriving at Dave’s I was provided a comfortable bed, and the promise of a pre-ride meal in the morning.
I awoke at 5:30 am and got dressed. Upstairs Carla had oatmeal, bagels and bananas waiting for us. Thanks Carla! I probably ate more there than I do on my regular pre-ride meal at home. I certainly left with a full tank. Jeff showed up from Chicago just in time for some breakfast and small talk, and we slathered on some sunscreen and got ready to saddle up.
We hit the road at 6:30 am and it was 64 degrees. I actually felt a little cold and felt a little foolish for worrying about the forecasted heat. But as the sun rose, so did the temperatures. The riding was good, we reminded ourselves to save our legs for later, and slowly paced ourselves out to the first stop to refill our water bottles, a fire station in Lanark, Illinois.
Before we left, Dave had prepared for all of us a plastic bag filled with powdered lemon-lime flavored Gatorade. I joked that it looked like I was carrying a bag of yellow cocaine and almost took a pass on bringing it. I will drink Gatorade on my rides, but after a while all of that warm sugary Gatorade just doesn’t go down very well. I grabbed a bag as insurance, and I am glad I did.
At the first stop, I pulled out the bag and added some to my water bottles, now jokingly calling it “yellow gocaine” but I didn’t add enough. Now I just had dilute Gatorade water. Fortunately, I don’t rely on Gatorade for fuel, hydration or electrolyte replenishment. I always use salt capsules to keep my sodium levels up, and use gels for nutritions/fuel, along with water.
At several turns we were greeted with the possibility of some loose gravel on the turns and we did our best to warn each other. But occasionally we’d forget until after we passed it, but even then we would still shout “GRAVEL!”
I had been riding with Alex a little and he kept telling me about this hill that we would be able to scream down. I kept thinking that we weren’t going to ever get to this hill. But we finally did and it did not disappoint. I hit 45.8 mph going down it and pretty much had spun out my gearing. It was pretty exhilarating, and it ended too soon for me. It then dawned on me that that hill we just enjoyed will be the same one that will kick our butts on the way back. It did.
Our watches hit three hours just before we got to the portion of Dave’s route that included some serious hills to climb. Darn. Oh well. Maybe next time. We stopped for a little chat, a selfie and I ate my banana and some Clif bar.
THE 4 HOUR MARK
We made it back to the fire station in Lanark only to find that all of the doors were closed and it looked empty. That was a problem, as we needed to top off our water bottles with yellow gocaine for the remaining two hour trip back. I checked around back looking for a hose bib with negative results, and Alex knocked on the door of a business on the other side of the street. Turns out it was a realty office and one of the agents was nice enough to allow us use of their bathroom and water fountain. Crisis averted.
GUNNING IT BACK HOME
Dave, who is much better at judging the wind direction than I am (he’s a pilot, so no wonder) and told us that we might have to pick up the pace a little to make it back in six hours. The whole ride out I felt like we were mostly going downhill, and now not only were we climbing somewhat back, we also had a little headwind to deal with. Truthfully the wind was negligible, and the real issue now was that it was hot. We were enjoying ourselves so much that the heat really didn’t seem to matter. Dave manages his hydration much better than I do, and I tried my best to keep pace with his drinking, so I felt pretty good hydration wise. I think I stopped for five or six nature breaks and all were pale yellow, which was very good for me.
As we got closer to home, I could tell we were making a faster split coming back than going out, not just by effort and the fact that I watched our average mph climb from 16.5 to now around 17 mph, but also by the fact that Dave kept taking us on little half mile out and back trips on roads we didn’t ride out on. So I flipped the switch in my mind to forget about being back exactly at 100 miles (we turned around at 50), and just kept an eye on that 6 hour mark.
RIDE OVER – TIME TO RUN
We finished the ride in 6:02, covering 102.2 miles according to my gps watch. I was very pleased. Another 10 miles in that heat would have been doable, but I was glad it was done. The 112 miles will just have to wait until race day.
We seemed to not be in a rush to head out to the run, but we got around to it. I took some time to use the washroom and wash my face and neck off with some cold water. I downed a bottle of cold Gatorade (not the yellow gocaine variety for once!), and we swapped bike shoes for running shoes. The group headed out and paced ourselves fairly conservatively for the first couple of miles. Alex thought he would gun it a little more, but he quickly came to his senses and joined us. Carla came through and met us about 20-25 minutes into our run, offering us water and Gatorade refills which I happily took. Then Jeff hit the gas.
I hadn’t mentioned Jeff much so far in this recap, mainly because he was going along just doing the work. But now I knew that he was ready to rock and roll. He steadily built a lead on us getting a football field length or two ahead of us when we turned around at 30 minutes. Now it was Dave, Alex and I jogging together and thinking that Jeff was forgetting that we have a 3 hour run to do on Sunday. Jeff caught us and passed us easily. Now it was game on. It took me a while but I slowly reeled him in. I passed him with about a half mile or so to go and I got back to Dave’s house before him. But in all reality, he had run farther than me. He was in beast mode on that run. Well done, Jeff.
RECOVERING WITH SPECIAL SAUCE
After getting back, I chose to keep walking around to cool down while the others seemed to prefer to crash. Alex seemed to really be struggling. I keep hinting that he needs to pay more attention to electrolyte replenishment, but you can’t tell a young gun what to do. I hope he remembers what happened at Lake Placid last year, and makes the adjustment to increase his salt intake.
We went inside and showered up and was met with a great lunch spread made by Carla. She had made us all a variety of sandwiches and stuff to go with it and it was delicious. But the thing most interesting about the meal was the special sauce. I immediately got a chuckle out of this thanks to the movie “Step Brothers” where Brennan won’t share his fancy sauce with Dale. I have to admit, I wanted some special sauce on my sandwich. It was good.
After recovering with food, we went out to the garage to admire Dave’s new Corvette, gather our junk, and I threw about a million football passes to Max and Zach, which may have been the highlight of the day. I got in the car and headed home.
Before getting out of Dixon, I stopped at the Culver’s and bought myself a large diet Mountain Dew. I’m glad I did because I probably would have fallen asleep without the caffeine it provided.
As I was driving I got a text alerting me to the fact the the marching band contest that my daughter was competing at in Naperville had been cancelled due to the heat. I later learned that several kids and others were treated by EMT’s there, and the police told the school to shut it down. I chuckled at the fact that we just did seven straight hours and 109 miles of high level endurance activity. I guess we are ready.
4TH PLACE GOES TO…
Me. During the last hour of riding I was finding myself in the sweeper position quite often, trying to play catch-up with the other three. I realized at that point that I would most likely be finishing fourth off the bike ride at Louisville. I guess it’s just my riding style. I prefer to spin, and I am constantly spending large chunks of time in the small chain ring. Dave wouldn’t use that ring unless he absolutely had to. I prefer to save my quads for the run. And unless I gun the run like a madman, I am pretty sure I’m looking at finishing in fourth. But I’m totally cool with that. They are strong riders, and Jeff proved that he may rob me from my marathon crown at this race. It’s kind of cool that we all kind of have a triathlon distance specialty, and each of us have our dominant races. I tend to do well in the short stuff, and Dave is KING at Ironman. Jeff may very well be Dave’s best challenger this time around. Alex, well seeing that he’s the young gun, he’ll toast us all. He’s a lifer. He LOVES this sport! We all do.
THE SUNDAY LONG RUN
I was eager to get to the three hour long run on Sunday, because I didn’t want it to get too hot. The run started with a temperature of 70 degrees but warmed to the mid 80’s by the time I was done. It went really well. I’m surprised at how well I feel on a run the day after doing such a long bike/run brick. I turned around at 10 miles right at 1:30 and headed back home, finishing in 3:01. The only casualty was my left nipple sprung a leak. I was running along and feeling pretty good at about an hour into it when I looked down and saw that my shirt had a huge red bloody stain on it. That explained all the weird looks I was getting from people on the trail. I took the shirt off and rinsed the blood out with some water and made it home. All in all, a pretty good run.
2 Swims – 4200 yards this week / 97550 yards total