Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Pre-Test Test (First 60 Mile Ride)

As you may have read previously, I signed up for the Bassman Half Distance Tri last week. I was (and still am) nervous about it, though I'm pleased to report that my fears were partly assuaged this weekend.

What scares me most about the race is the bike portion. At an attempt of the Amica Ironman 70.3 in 2010, I did not make the bike cutoff and thus was unable to start the half marathon leg. Granted, I'm in much, much better shape this time around, but that has done surprisingly little to shake my persistent fear of failure at Bassman.

Since my training started, I've gone on a few relatively long (40 miles) rides. But sometimes (especially last weekend) they go around the city, which is terrible for gauging how the ride will go under regular triathlon circumstances. Once I'd registered, I knew I had only one more opportunity to ensure that I'd have the ability to complete the bike course. (You might be wondering why I wouldn't make sure of this before registering for a half distance tri. For that, I have no reasonable answer. If I did things the right way more often, I'd find myself in many fewer frustrating, unfortunate and occasionally amusing situations. I'll save that introspection for another day.)

I knew this past weekend would be a pivotal one and that it would give me a good idea of where I stand in my training. I had the Verrazano Half Marathon on Saturday morning, planned a swim for later that day, and...a 60 mile bike ride planned for Sunday. The half went off without a hitch. The swim went well too, though I did it in a pool instead of the ocean because it was close to 40 (4.4 C) degrees out on Saturday.

I was anxious about the ride and calculated that I needed to be able to bike 58 miles in 4 hours and 30 minutes if I wanted to make the dreaded cutoff. That works out to 13.3ish miles per hour, which I knew should be very doable. The morning of, I puttered around the apartment, filling water bottles, devising some sort of nutrition strategy, and just plain old worrying. Once I had a bottle in each cage and some Shot Bloks in my tiny saddle bag, I was ready to go and headed off to Central Park.

And you know what? It was fantastic. I did 10 (yes, 10) loops of Central Park. I stopped when my cycle computer hit 58 miles so that I could make note of the time. 3:58. I knew I was in business. The whole ride came out to 62.4 in 4:15. Having the computer to monitor my pace was essential. I was doing hills at 9-11mph, downhills at 20-22mph, and tried to cruise at about 15. Here's another thing: it wasn't even hard. I wasn't sore on Monday and I wondered how much better I could have done if I had pushed it.

I didn't lose too much sleep over that. Mostly I was ecstatic that it really looks like I'll pull off Sunday's race. And even more exciting, I'm starting to really believe I'll be ready come August 11.

1 comment:

  1. Not bad. How's the nutrition on the bike looking?