Holy crap, we did it!
Lily, Mike and I rode our bikes for 50 miles! (Although Mike's done a ton of century rides, so it was really only exciting for me and Lily).
Going in to this ride, I was really, really nervous. Maybe that doesn't make sense since I'd survived 45 miles just a few days earlier, but 50 miles is a long freaking way. Also, this has been a packed week of training, so my legs were far from fresh. About ten miles in I had a silent freak out about having 40 miles to go, but then I remembered that one time I had that same freak out except I was running all those miles, and then it didn't seem so bad.
We met up at Mike's house Friday afternoon, and started out with a 23 mile loop through his neighborhood (and then some). Mike warned us it was some rolling hills, but apparently what he meant was nonstop climbs and declines straight into 15mph winds. Honestly, there were a few times I got nervous that the bike would blow over. Probably all in my head, still scary though. We headed back on a flatter route that was supposed to have the wind at our backs, but lucky for us, the wind changed and we were still riding into it.
After a quick water refill back at Mike's house, we headed out again in a different direction. Mostly we were on back roads, but we did get to go up the Trolley Trail, which is a scenic, hideous gradual uphill climb. One of those that doesn't look like a hill, but just has you questioning what the hell happened to your legs that suddenly made biking nearly impossible.
Mike saved the best for last. Right around 49 miles in, we started a huge climb back towards his house. We went through downtown Ellicot City, right at Friday rush hour, so not only did we get to climb into the wind, but we got to ride through traffic - parked cars on the right, driving cars on the left, both about 6 inches from my arms. I just prayed no one would open their door in front of me and therefore destroy me. We hit the big 50 on this climb, but unfortunately, instead of stopping and celebrating, we still had to ride back.
We'd come all that way, and with a mile to go, Mike got a flat.
He ended up just calling his wife to come get him, and Lily and I climbed one last hill and finished up with 53.66 miles, in 4 hours and 3 minutes. This is pretty exciting, since the HIM cut off is 5 hours for the bike, and when I read that a few weeks ago, I honestly thought there was a good chance they'd pull me from the course. Now I think it's likely that I can fit in another 2.4 miles within that last hour, especially since this ride was a long, slow distance one, and not a race pace effort.
Some things to consider:
- I suck at hydrating on the bike. I am still struggling with getting the water bottle in and out. Also, I need to get another cage put on my bike (so it holds 2 bottles) and practice with it. I didn't drink nearly enough on this ride, and a lot of what I did drink was at stoplights and such, things that won't be there on race day.
- I also suck at fueling on the bike. All I ate on this ride was a granola bar, and while I felt fine, I didn't feel like I could run a half marathon when I was done. I also need to figure out how I am going to carry the granola bar and other fuel so I can actually eat it ON the bike, not while stopped.
- My upper body was killing me less than 20 miles in. Mike said I need to get the seat adjusted so this doesn't happen.
I have exactly 5 weeks until the race, so I really need to get focused and fix the things on this list.
In other news, I'm famous! I'm the new banner girl for the Aspaeris Pivot shorts Facebook page! I wore their compression shorts to set my PR at the Cherry Pit Ten Miler last weekend. I swear, they really do help me run faster. And after a tough workout, they are amazing for recovery. Here's the picture they used.
|Look how happy! Both feet off the ground!|
I declined to share this one, but I'll let you guys all get a laugh out of it.
|So, so special.|
Seriously, what is wrong with me? I'll just pretend that the hard effort of PRing forced me to make that face.