I enjoyed my ride to the Cape so much that last weekend I decided to do it all over again. Except this time on Martha’s Vineyard.
Some of my earliest bike rides took place here, as my mom used to bring my sister and I to the island for day trips when we were little. We’d rent bikes and seemingly ride all over the place. I’m sure we probably only covered 10 miles or so, but back then these rides seemed epic. It was here that I learned to shout “On your left!” as I passed slower riders, found out why riding through sand is a bad idea, and came to appreciate the post-ride ice cream cone.
Fast forward 25 years and not much has changed. I set off Saturday morning at a seemingly civilized 7:15 a.m. The island was still pretty quiet, though there were a fair number of bikers and runners out. I made it to Edgartown in no time and met up with my friend Scott, who is also training for Timberman. We set out south towards the beach and then went back up to Edgartown- West Tisbury Road. We hopped on the bike path for a while and then headed into Chilmark and on to Aquinnah. Martha’s Vineyard always seems like a tiny place until you try and ride around it by bike, and then it’s suddenly much bigger.
Scott had yoga and beach plans so he turned back soon after Chilmark, at which point my ride became less intense and more sightseeing. I swung by to Gay Head Light, rode down Lobsterville Road, and then hopped on the bike ferry to Menemsha. The bike ferry is sort of great… you go out on this dock and ring a bell, and after a while a guy in a boat comes to take you across Menemsha Harbor. The trip takes about five minutes, costs $5, and saves about 5 miles. Plus, it’s kind of fun to hop on a boat with your bike.
The ride from Menemsha to Oak Bluffs seemed like the home stretch, but really I had about 20 miles to cover. I decided to cut through the middle of the island, as I’d ridden along North Road before. The aptly named Middle Road is a picturesque road that meanders past farms and art galleries. I stopped more than once to take photos of cows.
I hit an island traffic jam when I got to Vineyard Haven. Between tourist traffic and the arrival of the car ferry, no one was going anywhere fast. The road is two lanes, and there’s almost no shoulder, so it was pretty slow going. In the future, I’d detour around that part because it was no fun. I stopped my Strava there because things were so slow.
I ended up doing almost exactly 60 miles in four hours. Slow, but I stopped to take photos, waited on the bike ferry, and generally had a good time. I felt a lot better on this ride than I had the weekend before. I ate after the first hour, and then every 45 minutes after that. In total, I had two gels, a Clif bar, and some gummy worms. I also drank two bottles of water, though I should have drank more.
After the ride, I headed out on a six-mile run, which also went a lot better than the week before. It wasn’t as hot, which helped a lot. My miles were kind of slow (10 minutes), but I had to stop and look at the map a few times. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how the day went compared with the week before.
The rest of my week looked like this:
Monday: run 6.4
Wednesday: ride 15
Friday: run 3.3, PT
Saturday: bike 60, run 6
Totals: Swim 0, bike 75, run 16
That is probably the most rest days I’ve taken in months. But life happens, and as I’ve said before I’m determined not to become one of those people who only trains and has no social life. Still, I endeavor to swim this week, and ride my bike to work a few times. Haven’t been very good about that lately. Four weeks until Timberman!
This post got a bit delayed due to technical issues… and life. But I enjoyed this ride so much, I wanted to do a full recap.
When I look back on my training for Timberman, I’m pretty sure that the one area I’ll wish I’d put more effort into is long bike rides. While I’ve been good about getting on the bike, I haven’t been as good about consistently doing rides longer than 50 miles. Between travel, social activities, and weather, it’s been tough to carve out four to five hours of riding time.
Last Saturday (July 12), some friends and I made a plan to ride to Cape Cod. I never would have tried this on my own, but it seemed feasible with a few other people. We decided to start in Brockton to make it a 65-mile ride, instead of an 85-mile one. My friend Ken has a family place down there, so he was familiar with the route. And knowing there were other folks counting on me made the 5 a.m. wakeup time easier.
Ken picked me up at 5:30, and we were in Brockton and on our bikes by 6:15. We meandered a bit before ending up on Route 28 headed south. Many times of day, this wouldn’t be an optimal route, but there wasn’t much traffic that early in the morning, and folks were generally pretty polite about sharing the road.
The first 26 miles were pretty uneventful, and seemed to fly by. The only real excitement came in Wareham, when I took a spill on what I thought was a sandy road, but was actually a soft shoulder. Aside from a bit of a scraped knee, I was fine though. We took turns pulling, and our average pace was close to 19 mph. I ate a Gu after 60 minutes, and then had half a Clif Bar 45 minutes later. We were feeling really optimistic when we crossed the Bourne Bridge just after 8 a.m.
I’m not sure if it was just me, but things seemed to get harder when we got onto the Cape. The roads got hillier, and I got hungrier. I ate a few gummies, had another Gu. By the time we got to the start of the bike path in North Falmouth, I was in an all-out food panic. I pulled into a little market and got a Coke and a candy bar, as well as a Gatorade refill for one of my water bottles. The last 15 miles were a blur. I had moments where I felt great and strong, and moments where I wanted nothing more than to get off the bike. Fortunately, the roads were pretty, the weather was lovely, and the company was good. Kelvin, Ken, and I seemed to be pretty well matched speed-wise (though I think I was definitely the slowest, and Kelvin killed us on the hills), and everyone was laid back, and fun, which is pretty important when you’re spending hours and hours together on the bike.
The last seven miles crawled by. We followed the Falmouth Road Race Route, and at times I was convinced that I could have run faster than I was biking. Finally, I was pedaling up the final big hill in the last mile, trying to focus on the gorgeous view of Martha’s Vineyard, instead of the ache in the backs of my thighs. Kelvin and Ken were waiting when I got to the top and we took a celebratory shot. We finished 63 miles in 3:45 (average pace 16.6).
We planned to jump right into a brick, but a few friends were driving down to meet us and run, so we spent about an hour at Ken’s house stretching and refueling. My glutes were pretty tight, as was the area between my shoulder blades. I spent about ten minutes laying on a baseball in Ken’s driveway. I think his nephews thought I was nuts.
Our friends finally arrived round noon and four of us took off on a five mile loop around Falmouth. Before we started, I’d been thinking I might try and run longer, but as soon as we took off I knew that wasn’t happening. My legs were dead, and it was HOT. I made it 3.5 miles and then stopped at 7-11 for a snack and a drink. I’m not sure why I was so hungry/thirsty… maybe because it was so hot? Anyway, the last mile or so flew by after that. As soon as I finished, I took of my sneakers and hopped into the ocean. That’s probably the best part about training in tri gear- it’s made for swimming too!
Overall, I was happy with this workout, though a bit confused about why I was so hungry. It really made me think about how I plan to fuel for Timberman. Bars and gels aren’t going to be enough. Maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is in order?
The rest of that week (July 7-13) looked like this:
Monday: hike 10 miles
Tuesday: walk 4 miles
Thursday: run 3
Friday: run 2, bike 12, PT
Saturday: bike 63, run 4.5
Total: Swim 0, bike 75, run 9.5
I took an extra rest day that week as I got stung by a wasp, which made my hand blow up and get really itchy. I took children’s Benadryl to combat this and ended up in a near comatose state. Seriously, that stuff messed me up. Lesson learned.
Got any tips for fueling during longer (5 to 7 hour) races? Please send them my way!
Forgive the lateness of this 4th of July post… I was too busy enjoying a long weekend away to write about it.
While I love Boston, sometimes it is really nice to get out of the city, especially when you are lucky enough to end up in North Carolina. I skirted out of town Thursday afternoon, missing Hurricane Arthur by the skin of my teeth. My flight ended up being five hours late, but I finally arrived at my family’s mountain house at 2 a.m. on Friday. There was no place I’d rather be.
The weekend was a whirlwind of friends, family, food, and activity. Here are a few highlights.
I almost didn’t go to North Carolina because I thought I should spend the weekend training, but I was really glad to be there. Since I couldn’t bike, I promised myself I’d be as active as possible. Friday, I got up at 6:30 a.m. to run a local 5k race. It was a tough, hilly course, but I finished with splits under 9-minutes, which I was very happy with given that I haven’t been running much. I also took off on a 7-mile trail run Sunday, though the trail I chose was pretty steep, so I ended up walking a bunch. It was really fun to be out there though, and my hip felt great on the trails. I may have to do more of this in the coming weeks.
In addition to my trail run, my sister and I took off Monday on a 10-mile hike that brought us to the top of six mountains over 4,000 feet. It was a gorgeous day, and in addition to majestic views, we had a close encounter with a bear. Fortunately, it ran off when we started making noise.
Swimming holes are a dime a dozen in these parts, and I learned about two new ones last weekend. There is almost nothing better than whiling away an afternoon with friends at a swimming hole, especially when they include logs to sit on, falls to slide down, and cliffs to jump off.
4. Cooking… and eating.
Each night we gathered with friends and family for a boisterous and large meal. My dad handled the grilling, while I oversaw vegetables and desserts. In addition to a few new recipes, I stuck with crowd-pleasers like baked beans, key lime pie, and tres leeches.
5. Porch sitting.
Southerners have mastered the art of porch sitting. Rarely do you find a veranda stocked with sorry plastic chairs. Instead, the porch becomes an extension of the living room, complete with hammocks, cushion clad swings, and rockers by the dozen. I spent hours and hours on porches last weekend, drinking gin and tonics, eating fried chicken, catching up with cousins, smoking cigars with my dad, admiring views, napping, and reading. It was all pretty heavenly, and hard to leave. Fortunately, I have a pretty good porch here in Boston.
And with that, here’s last week’s training recap:
Monday: bike 14, PT
Tuesday: bike 17, run 2, SUP 1 hour, PT
Wednesday: bike 29
Thursday: Walden swim, 2,500 yards
Friday: run 3.1
Sunday: trail run/hike 7, swim 1,000
Totals: swim 2, bike 60, run 12