Coach had scheduled Saturday's ride for a 5-6 hour and Sunday's ride was 4-5 hours. I've never had back to back long rides like that before but it must have been a result of all the whining I did about how weak my riding is. However yesterday's weather forecast was rainy with thunderstorms. Normally I don't mind riding in the rain but my back tire is pretty slick from riding on the trainer for half the winter and I rode during a thunderstorm once....never again. I was riding when there was a lightening strike about three kilometers away. It scared the crap out of me and actually struck the roof of a house in a subdivision. Talk about bad luck as the whole second story was on fire. I decided to switch the days around as Rom was going out Sunday and there was no way I was doing a six hour ride by myself, so I was prepared to ride the trainer for four hours. Ugh. I'm almost finished season one of the TV show 24 and today's ride would been long enough. I rode for about 80 minutes and then had to take a pee break so I came upstairs and noticed it had stopped raining and was sunny. I decided to ride the rest of the time outside but stayed close to home in case of lightening. I did hill repeats on the twin hills on Kennedy and re-found a new hill on Mccowan north of Aurora Road. Going southbound on this hill is a really grind as its steep and long. According to my Power Tap, on the climbs I was generating over 500 watts. If the hills in Tremblant are this bad, then its going to be one long day come IMMT. I was glad I was only riding four hours as it was windy and humid but never rained.
During my last couple of long rides with Rom (+155 kms), I've noticed I start out strong but get dumped on the last stretch home. I just simply run out of energy and end up struggling really badly. Coach had given me some guidelines in terms of nutrition to take per hour. She wants me consuming 75 grams of carbs, 600 mg of sodium and about 750 mls of fluid. I can't stand the taste of Hammer Perpetrum so I need to mix it with something else to give it flavor. I've tried mixing it with Amino Vital but that gives me too much calcium which leads to trouble. I've bought Blueberry eLoad which taste not so great but eLoad doesn't have enough calories by itself so I've been mixing with Perpetrum. I also bought Ironman Perform lemon lime seeing that it will be offered at the race. I tried the red flavor of Perform at Muskoka 70.3 but it was disgusting and threw out a full bottle. I sat down Saturday afternoon and built a spreadsheet with the different mixtures and gel to come up with my nutritional needs. It turns out, that the mixture I've been using of Perpetrum and eLoad plus one gel does the trick but why I been running of out gas? Basically I need to be taking in one bottle of this mixture per hour and what I've been doing is skipping the last hour or two of the ride relying only on water and gel.
Sunday morning I left the house at 5:45 am and it was very foggy. I rode to Rom's house (20 minute ride) and got to one intersection and couldn't see the other side. This was going to be interesting. The sun was coming up and by the time we left, the fog had mostly burned off. There were about 10 people riding but some were going to turn back early. Rom wanted to ride 162 km (100 miles). We were going to ride the same route as previously but add some extra out and backs to hit 162 km. With sun coming up, it was going to be long and hot day. Not only liquid nutrition was going to be important but I'll probably need to take in extra salt pills.
We hit the little store at Zephyr by 8 am but it was closed and I was already done two bottle of mixture and half a bottle of water. The water is undrinkable from the hose so I couldn't top up. We kept riding until we hit Lake Ridge Road. This was one of the out and backs that Rom added to increase the distance. The road was busy, had no shoulder to ride on and was bumpy. On the way back I lost my water bottle and had to turn around. The guys kept going so I hammered it to catch up to them. The sun was beating down and I was bagged. I had only half a bottle left but fortunately, they stopped at a local convenience store a short distance away and we all refueled. I bought two 1.5 litres of water refill my bottles, M&Ms and a diet coke. I could feel the caffeine jolt right away. That was interesting as Coke is offered on the Ironman course. The next hour was riding along the shores of Lake Simcoe. The water looked so inviting as we cruised through small towns. Rom suggested we bring the family up for a play date while we did an open water swim. Sounds good to me.
We zigged and zagged to avoid the busier roads but we ended up going to far west and that added at least 10 km. Every hill seemed like a mountain and in my mind, I was praying for a rest stop at the top of every hill but they kept riding so I had no choice but to keep going. Finally, we worked our way back to Warden Ave just north of Ravenshoe Road. Now I knew where we were, how far home it was (35 km) and more importantly, how many hills were left! There were only four of us riding together. Some of the guys that we started out with had turned off earlier and two guys were so far back I couldn't even see them. Rom and another girl, Lisa who's did IMLP last year were hammering it home while I stuck with Ed who's done several IMs. Coming down Warden for the final stretch we hammered it home into a stiff headwind. I was almost at Elgin Mills when I heard my phone ring. I didn't want to stop to answer it because I wouldn't be able to maintain this speed on my own. I knew Ed would turn west to Rom's house while I was going to turn east. Once we split up, I stopped and phoned Tammy. She was wondering where I've been as I left the house at 5:45 am and it was almost 1:00 pm. She asked if we had stopped for coffee. Coffee??? I looked down at my Power Tap and saw that I've ridden over 175 km with another five or so to get home. When I finally wheeled down my street, I was glad for the ride to be over. I sat on the front steps for a couple of minutes thinking "how in the world will I run a marathon after the bike?"
I think I've learned several lessons from this ride.
1. Its extremely important to ride the distance of an Ironman race especially if its your first Ironman
2. Nutrition is critical as I didn't fade as bad in the last couple of 155 km rides
3. The nutrition I use is ok but need to supplement with gel and salt depending on the heat. With the humidity, it was over 35 degrees Celsius (about 95 degrees F)
4. Don't do hill repeats the day before a big ride. My legs felt like jello after the first two hours
5. Stockpile the ice from the freezer as I used up all the ice this weekend with two ice baths
6. Ice baths...they work
7. Use Chamois butt cream and take some in a zip lock bag for the half way part
I'm going up to IMMT for a training camp next week and planned to ride the full 180 km course anyways so today was a good dress rehearsal
On another note, I can't walk without limping. My gout/pseudo gout/big toe capsule has returned and the last couple of nights my foot was swollen and throbbing so bad I had to take anti inflams.