Toward the end of my recent 12-day vacation where I spent time exploring both Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, I remarked that I missed riding my bike, Lucy. While in Montana, I did some outdoor running and loved all of it. Other than running, rode the hotel stationary bikes and they sucked. The seating position is totally different and riding them is just boring as hell.
Well, four days after returning, Johnny had a 5-hour ride on the schedule….yeah!
The weekend before we left for Montana, I did a 5-hour ride with Cruz and Anthony. We covered 84 miles and I felt super strong when we finished. We could have gone 90 or even 100 miles without a problem. So, today, I was expecting to feel the same way.
Every ride is different
Both Cruz and Anthony were eager to ride the distance with me again. Cruz is an experienced endurance athlete with at least 2 full Ironman, 6 half ironman, and 12 marathons under her belt. Anthony is also experienced, at least 1 half-ironman and he has run marathons all over the world. We are all well-matched, get along well, and always have a good time regardless of the length of the ride.
We set off at 6:30 am which is typical. The weather was notably cooler with low humidity and very little wind…ideal riding weather.
We quickly established a comfortable pace and made it to the first checkpoint (22 miles) rather quickly. As we set off from there, we noticed big, dark clouds in the distance…we were heading in that direction.
If there is no lightning, we’re good. We ride Rain or Shine.
We did ride right into the storm and it felt great. At one point we were pelted by small hail pellets.
Check out the video.
We also rode under clear, blue sunny skies…video
The first half was fairly easy. Around mile 42 we stop at a marina, rest, get cold drinks and snacks, and take some pretty pictures on the dock. During the ride back, the test tends to show up. Last week, Anthony began to suffer at about mile 60.
This week was my turn
- to suffer immensely
to question my abilities
to dig deeper than normal, and fight to shut off my doubting-mind.
These are the times we hate and love to push through…
…emerging victorious over ourselves.
During the last 25 miles, my thighs began cramping, then my calves. I was constantly taking salts and trying to stretch just to make it a little further. The doubts and desire to stop to rest grew louder in my head. At one point a strong headwind showed up… I took it as the universe’s way of telling me that the situation could still get harder so suck it up and push on brother. So I did.
When I noticed myself slowing, I would push to the front so that I had the pressure of being in the lead. When I needed a break, I fell back and drafted for a while to allow my legs and my mind some recovery time.
Then, Cruz asked how are we going to get 90 miles instead of 84?
I said let’s take the long route back…what I really felt like saying was fuck 90! I’m ready to stop right now. But, 90 was the plan. So, that’s what we do.
Anthony decided that he couldn’t do the extra 6 miles and took the shorter route while Cruz and I broke off to get the additional miles. I knew I was going to hate it….that’s why I did it.
We arrived back at the parking lot with exactly 90 miles on the computer.
I was wiped, she was feeling great and Anthony was missing. We snapped a few finishers pics while waiting for him. Being lightheaded and exhausted I realize a few of the mistakes that I made going into the ride:
- I was dehydrated
- I had run 10 miles the evening before so my legs were tired. I should have given them at least a day to recover.
- I hadn’t carb-loaded properly for the two days prior to the ride. I ran out of fuel on the way back. Riding for 5 hours required a lot of fuel.
- I didn’t bring enough shammy cream … the friction of the seat on the skin around my balls was killing me by the time we were 20 miles from home. There is never too much shammy cream.
We made it and I felt super accomplished. Pushing through the pain and discomfort is the real training for Ironman.