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!