This ride was one for the books. I had planned on doing a hilly 90 miles in Maryland on Sunday but called it quits at mile 46. Most of my rides are pretty hilly and I really do love climbing but apparently I have a limit to how many hills I want to climb within a few days. So going into Tuesday's ride I was nervous. Nervous about covering 90 miles. Nervous about riding with the fast guys at the end of such a long ride. Nervous about getting lost. You get the picture. I tried to choose a route that had a mix of some flats, rollers, and climbing. I'm not going to recap the entire ride because that would be really boring but I will highlight a few things I thought were notable.
- Starting a long ride at 1pm = HEAT
- Nothing tastes better than Coke during those last hard miles
- Riding with friends will always make the miles go by more quickly
- Climbing the biggest hill of the day at the end of your ride will suck, there's no other way to put it
- I need to eat and drink more on these long days
The rest of the week was a mix of scrambling to get everything done for the race and fitting in training whenever I could. I had another pretty hilly ride on Thursday, where one of the guys was teaching me how to descend and corner faster. Maybe one of these days I won't be the last one down the hill. My descending skills are so embarrassingly poor that we were joking that I was like a cat stuck in a tree. I can go up the hills but then can't get back down them. At least I know this is my weakness and can work on making improvements.
Saturday morning capped off my biggest week on the bike so far of 160 miles over 10.5 hours with over 10,000 feet of climbing. As I was riding it started to hit me how far I've come over the past few years. Even last summer 45 miles at 15.5mph would have been a pretty decent long ride for me and this year it is my recovery ride. During my ride on Tuesday I rode part of a route I did a few years ago when 30 miles was my long ride. It can be so easy to forget where I used to be and only focus on how far I am from where I want to go.
Speaking of where I want to go, we are officially six weeks out from Ironman Lake Placid. This is both terrifying and exciting. While I'm not sure that I will ever totally feel ready for such a day, I am confident in my ability to finish. Things are starting to feel real. I have my first century ride coming up this weekend and then will be racing in a local sprint triathlon the following weekend before heading down to Chincoteague, Virginia with my family. When we get back it will already be July and there will only be a few weeks left before the big day!