Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fighting the demons...

Two weeks before Ironman, I headed out with my tri-crew for our last long ride before the big day.  Seemed like a great idea, since it was supposed to be a nice warm, sunny day.  Little did we know we were about to head out on a ride that lead directly to hell. Not only did I have to fight the heat, but I had to fight the little devil on my right shoulder telling me to stop.

Nice warm, sunny day, NOT. Day of hell - YES!

With the big day approaching, 80 miles seemed like the perfect distance for this time of year.  During the past 6 months, we've been blessed with amazing weather, being able to ride outside since February.  It was a warm winter.  We decided to go up to Masonville to visit Jo's mama (she lives there).  It's the perfect ride considering we can stop and re-fuel at 15 miles, then ride an extra 25 to Jo's mom's. Then another 25 mile stretch back to Hygiene and 15 miles back home.  Seems doable.

Boulder - Masonville and back!

I got ready at 9:30 and put lots of ice in my water bottles.  It was 88 degrees by 10:30am which is when we started riding.  I started sweating almost immediately and had my first sip of water 1.5 miles after our start... A few miles into our ride we noticed a fire up north... seemed like it was exactly where we were headed.

Fire as seen from the lil Resevoir on CO Rd 29. 5 miles SW of Masonville... ISH. 

A fire is a pretty good sign of DRY, WINDY, HOT  days.  We should've figured that out when we first saw it, but we are stubborn and we kept going.  As we got to our first stop in Hygiene (15 miles in) I was already out of water and almost out of GU Brew (my choice of electrolyte drink).  It was no longer drinkable though... it was literally brewing.  We re-filled (I did mostly with ice) water and Gatorade. Kept going. I was of course, out of water by the time we arrived in Masonville.  Jo's mama always treats us well and had water, ice, rice krispy treats... yum.  We re-fueled and left as soon as possible.

The way back seemed daunting.  We had had some cross winds on the way out, but mostly a tailwind.  That only meant that our dreaded climb (a 4 mile 2%) was going to be worse due to the wind.  A nice headwind on the way back.  GREAT.  Over the past few months I've felt pretty strong climbing but not this day.  I think the extreme heat just took it all out of me.  I was able to keep a nice steady speed on flats, but not so much on climbs.  I was reminded of what one calls a "flat" ride in Colorado... isn't THAT flat after all.

Flat 80 mile ride

After this last climb, I was drained.  I felt like I needed more water and felt like I couldn't drink my water fast since I still had 12 miles to go until Hygiene.  I also realized that while trying to be so focused on staying hydrated, I hadn't been consuming enough calories or salt, which meant, I wasn't retaining the amount of water I needed.  I was just sweating it out.  I took a couple salt pills and ate a GU.  Kept going.  This time, we were aiming to go straight to Hygiene and re-fuel.  I was desperate for shade.  We found a small tree along the way 4 miles before getting back to Hygiene where we took a small break.  I was fading.  All went dark for a few seconds, but I sat down and re-grouped.  At which time, I decided I needed to get back on my bike and just get back to Hygiene where I could drink as much water as I want.

Back in Hygiene I had more water, a banana and a coke, which somehow brought me back to life.  We got mentally ready for the last 15 miles and started pedaling.  I want to say, these were the hardest ones for me. I was sticking to my steady pace, but I had to dig deep.  I kept reminding myself that CDA weather is much cooler this time of year than CO.  But what really kept me going was the fact that training is ALWAYS harder than race day.  On race day, when I'm fighting the demons, I get to go down memory lane and think of days like these. When I thought of giving up, but didn't. When I thought I had given it my all, but still had a little left that would bring me back home.

Once back home, I realized I hadn't eaten enough and was extremely dehydrated.  I had lost 4lbs.  Grabbed dinner with Jo and our men where we all stuffed our faces and I drank countless glasses of water.  I slept like never before.  Ironman training = Good times.

Irongirls DONE with last long ride before IM

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