Monday, May 13, 2013

Head down for hard work ahead

Since St George went so splendidly, I am SUPER motivated to get to work for IMCDA.  I mean, if I can have a race experience where I finished the bike feeling really good and minimally tired - and pass people on the hills - then I am more than happy to work really hard in my last month leading up to CDA. 

I mean, I only have a month left, and I intend to make it count.  It will hurt, but I'd rather hurt now than during the race.

With my focused motivation, I decided to climb hills this weekend.  Big ones.

Friday - Deer Creek Canyon and Highgrade - 12.5 miles to the top and ~3100 ft elevation gain.
First time to the tippy top on Merlin

Photograpic evidence that we made it to top.  Also: snow.  :/

Saturday wasn't too bad - just a 3700 m swim and an hour run.  Then I planted flowers and veggies with my remaining free time.  I figured if I didn't get it done that afternoon, it wouldn't get done until July.

Sunday was going to be an interesting test.  I had a friend in Boulder who needed to ride some big hills for her Ride the Rockies prep.  After some hand-wringing and talking it over with a few friends, I decided that I could do the big hill climb.  I had 5.5 hrs and we decided we'd ride the classic route of Lefthand Canyon to Ward to Peak to Peak to Lyons.  Two years ago, the 8 miles to Jamestown nearly killed me.  But that was on Buzz (*sniff*  also: 11:23 cassette) and I hadn't done any real hill training.  I was curious to see how it compared to Deer Creek and if I'd see improvement. 

Tour of Boulder Foothills.  4000+ ft of climbing in ~16 miles.  And I was the only one on a TT bike
We rode from her house, did a warmup of about an hour before we got to Lefthand Canyon and we got to work.  I was very happy (and relieved) to discover that Lefthand wasn't that bad.  I could even talk while I rode along.  The whole way up was actually pretty good, until we got to the last little kicker into Ward, where that last mile became ridiculously steep.  People that I passed on the lower part of the canyon were now passing me.  Mainly because I was walking.  My lungs are still angry with me and my legs were tired from Friday's adventure.  I had to stop and catch my breath on the lower part of the big hill and I just could not get back on my bike safely.  So I walked quite a bit of that last section.  And I really didn't care, either.

I got to Ward and I was pretty cranky.  My friend (and her friends) urged me to eat something. Oh yeah.  2:45 of riding and I had maybe 300 calories.  Duh.  Part of the problem was that I forgot my 40 oz sippy bottle (or Speedfill) so I had to rely on my rear cages for hydration/nutrition.  And with harder efforts (climbing) I tend to not eat very much because my stomach tends to revolt at higher efforts.  That meant low calorie consumption for me.  I was sitting at the picnic table in Ward (the place with the cookies) seriously hating life.  I had some Honey Stinger cherry cola chews (pretty good, more cherry than cola) that had some caffiene.  More urgings to get some calories and I pouted b/c my flask of Liquid Shot was allllll the way on the other side of the building on my bike.  Then I remembered my backup flask and chugged that.  Pretty soon, I perked up and was much happier.

Lesson learned.  And apparently its a lesson I keep learning, especially in this area of Boulder. 

The rest of the ride was uneventful.  We rode downhill through Raymond and St Vrain Canyon.  That canyon is so pretty but it really isn't safe to take pictures while you're flying down at 30+ mph and I never feel like stopping either.  We stopped in Lyons for some snacks and water and then we wrapped up our ride.  My legs were hating me in Ward but after nearly 1 hour descending, they were back and ready to pedal.  I was able to hold 90+ rpm on flats, mild hills, false flats for nearly 1.5 hours after we hit Lyons.

So, between the two days, I had ridden 115 miles and climbed 8,100+ feet.  I boosted my confidence a bit and I was also humbled a bit.  A good mix, I suppose.  And as my coach said, this weekend was a good deposit in the Ironman Bank.  :)

Funny enough, my notes for next weekend's big ride is "6 hours easy (6 hours on a bike is NOT easy)".  But I need to figure out what exactly "easy" means.  Does it mean flat or does it mean "do not climb a mountain".  Funny, the Erin from 2 years ago would have never thought 90 miles of easy would involve hills.

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