What a Day!

Without doubt the toughest bike ride and run I've ever experienced - a course full of twists and turns, and those hills!

 The day started with mist and fog over Quassy lake which resulted in a delayed start and the swim course shortened to 750m.  Having got up at 03:30 for a ransition close of 06:00 I was lucky to find some pool are deckchairs to lie down and relax on and drink my INFINIT Mud mix.  The waves were self-seeded and as usual there were those who were in complete denial about their actual swimming ability who went in among the faster waves and promptly got mowed down by other swimmers...

Eventually my group got in the water - it was a washing machine.  I got a reasonably clean line on the first leg but after the turn it was just a mess and I spent most of my time trying to see the marker bouys in the mist and avoiding getting kicked in the face - even my watch stopped tracking the GPS at that point!

Out of water and on to the bike.  Bit of a trek from rack to Bike On and then a steady start among a big group all trying to exit at same time.  Then came the hills - oh they felt like they'd never end.  I'm from Houston and its difficult to find real extended hills around here without driving for a few hours first.  Most of my resistance training has been done using my Wahoo Kickr and Zwift and thank goodness I did otherwise I'd have been doing some walking... 

The roads were pretty rough, IM did a lot of pre-race patching but there were so many smaller deep cracks and holes, most of which had been marked with orange paint but a few had still slipped through.  Along with the climbs, the crazy long and fast descents coupled with tight turns at the bottom made for a very technical course with little time to enjoy the wonderful scenery.  

The number and steepness of the climbs also meant riders were nose to tail as they slogged up the hills and then it made for interesting riding to pass anybody on the fast descents because you never knew if cracks would be ahead and people (or you) would have to swerve.  One group of 4 riders came down on a steep, long, fast hill when the lead rider chnaged his line at short notice when a dump truck appeared coming up the narrow hill which had no shoulder.  That move caused a knock on effect to the riders behind and they lost control resulting in 2 serious injuries.  

That was quite sobering news so it reinforced to me that today was not one to go crazy on the downhills.  That decision was reinforced by me noticing my aerobars were coming loose - oops!  Not hugely loose but enough for me to be a little concerned, although not enought to stop and get out my bike tools and spend 15mins tightening one slightly loose screw - probably not the smartest decision I made that day.

So with all that going on I did not see the black bear come out of the woods and run across the road and I lost track of my nutrition meaning I only drank two bottles in 3hrs 45mins which was far from ideal.

Running is my weakest discipline but I've been working on it.  Not much to say about the run other than it was steep, hot and felt very long!  Once again my nutrition planning suffered a bit and although I was careful to use Base Salt regularly and got through two bottles of INFINIT I still felt a wall coming on around Mile 11 - but I made it to the end without bonking and no cramps and despite all that it was my 3rd fastest half marathon of all time so my run training must be doing some good (mind you it is starting from a pretty poor baseline...)

Overall a really challenging but fun day.  I'd been quite nervous about using my Tri bike on the steep grades (up to 9%) and the 3,720' of gain across the bike course and it had really preyed on my mind ahead of the race so completing it ahead of IMLP 70.3 in September was a great psychological boost - if I can ride those hills I can ride any of them.  The weather couldn't have been better (apart from the morning mist) and I was amazed at just how many volunteers there were on the course and in the transition areas - great job. 

Put my Normatec gear to good use that night and felt fine the following morning.

Key lessons:  Torque all visible screws and bolts before the race; follow the nutrition plan; have confidence in your hill training even if it is virtual; ride within your capabilities and don't get caught in the pack.


There are currently no ratings or comments on this blog post.