The Summer of Century Rides

It’s been a long season for me–my first race was Rev 3 Costa Rica back in March and I’ve done races in May (Mt. Rainier duathlon), June (Honu 70.3), July (Rev 3 Portland), and am currently sitting on my ass waiting for Sunday to roll around so I can cap off my triathlon season with Ironman Canada. Several months of training means several months of riding, and this year Teresa seemed especially intent on destroying my nethers by assigning me a stupid amount of century rides. Here’s a rundown of the 100+ mile rides I’ve done this year:

1. Flying Wheels

Flat Tires: 1 (me)

Got lost? No

Bonk Factor: 4/5

I already wrote about this ride, so I’ll just reiterate again how crappy it was. Of all the centuries I did this year, I think this one was the hardest–it was just one of those days where nothing really went right. It was kind of cold out, I got a flat tire, rode by myself for a bit until I caught up with my teammates, and struggled in the back stretch of the course. The highlight of that day was getting cookies from Alley for giving her husband Bill (one of my teammates) a ride home (yaay, cookies). Also, the team camaraderie made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, so at least we all suffered together. All in all though, it was a tough day, moreso mentally than physically, but isn’t that usually the case with endurance training?

2. Coeur d’Alene Ride

Flat Tires: 1 (Coach T)

Got Lost? No

Bonk Factor: 3/5, then 5/5

This was the glorious ride where Jason’s deaf dad shot down a hill and forced me to chase after him. The workout after that was kind of ball-kicky since I was riding with three people who were all way faster than me. Teresa got a flat tire but we managed to stay on course (we rode the old Ironman Coeur d’Alene course, which I enjoy 152% more than the new course). I felt alright but a little tired from chasing after Team Fast for a few hours, but after a long break where the group hit up the Ironman expo area for a while before Vicki and I headed out for my last hour of riding, I was spent. I watched Vicki get further and further ahead of me as I started to feel woozy and tired, wanting off the bike forever and thinking that whoever thought up the idea of riding over 100 miles deserved to get buried up to his head in sand and have a large, sweaty man t-bag his face for six hours. Surprisingly, my transition run afterwards went fairly well, but overall the ride was a mixed bag.

3. 7 Hills of Kirkland Route

Flat Tires: 1 (Aimee)

Got Lost? Yes, gloriously so.

Bonk Factor: 1/5

For this ride I met up with Gary, a teammate who was training for RAMROD (Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day), and Aimee, who was also training for Ironman Canada. Gary wanted to do the 7 Hills of Kirkland century route so he could practice hills. I mentally punched Gary in the face 15 times, then we took off from Kirkland. Aimee had some problems with her rear brake rubbing and later got a flat tire, but the ride went relatively well for a while…

…until we missed a turn and got off course, ending up in effing Monroe. Both of them were following me and I tried to play it cool despite the fact that I hadn’t seen a course marking in quite a while, but I figured that since neither of them had said anything or brought up the fact that we all might be horribly lost, we weren’t actually horribly lost. (We were horribly lost.)

Eventually, I pulled over into a Mexican restaurant and said, “Uh, I think we might be off course” and they both instantly agreed with me. We spent several minutes trying to figure out where the eff we were and, once we realized how far off course we had gotten, we spent another several minutes trying to figure out how to get back on the route without backtracking a dozen or so miles.

Miraculously, we were able to get back on the course while only having to tack on an extra four miles. I was happy to be back on track until a goddamn bee decided to fly ass-first into my leg and sting the shit out of me (aka Triathlete Woe #1). The upside to this incident is that I know I can ride a bike at 20 miles per hour while flicking a bee off my thigh, digging its stinger out of my skin, and pouring water over the sting to try and clean the area out. I’m like a triage nurse on wheels.

I ended up riding 104 miles but despite the various mishaps, I felt surprisingly good during my hour-long brick run afterwards, plus I had fun riding with Aimee and Gary; thus, this ride gets awarded Best Ride of the Season (yaay).

4. Ironman Canada Training Camp

Flat Tires: 3 (All Derek, all the time)

Got Lost? No

Bonk Factor: 2/5

The Ironman Canada training camp ride went pretty well minus getting half-blinded going up Yellow Lake. It was a good learning experience for race day; I learned what to do for nutrition and to have a freakin’ bottle of water on me at all times in case I need to take a hooker’s bath at any point during the bike. I’m hoping I have a good bike split on race day, but it depends on weather conditions and how strong and steady I manage to stay.

5. The “Good Steve/Bad Steve” Ride

Flat Tires: 0 (woo hoo!)

Got Lost? No, but we lost a teammate

Bonk Factor: 4/5

My last century before race day! I met up with two Steve teammates (“Mr. Canada” Attwood and “I Just Like Camps” Hooper), as well as Leslee, a woman who isn’t on our team but came to our training camp and is demoralizingly fast considering she’s in my age group (booooooo [but I do hope she has a good race]). Leslee and Hooper were planning on doing 80 miles with us while we had 110-120 on the books.

It was a fun ride for the most part, although we all pulled ahead of Attwood slightly at one point and he decided to “try and be cute” (his words) and take a shortcut to get ahead of us, only when we realized he wasn’t behind us any more, we turned around to try and find him. He picked a damn good time to pull a Houdini act because turning around meant backtracking up a lot of hills. After a few miles I pulled over to check my phone and see what the hell happened to him. He had left a couple messages so I called him back and we figured out where to meet back up.

Attwood, for the rest of the ride, was dubbed “Bad Steve” because of his failed shortcut stunt and because after Hooper and Leslee dropped off, he made me do another bunch of hills in the gloriously awful heat. Hooper, meanwhile, defaulted to “Good Steve” because he didn’t disappear (and because he picked up my bottle after I accidentally dropped it when trying to put it back in its cage). I have since extended each Steve their assigned nicknames until the end of the year because Attwood stood me up for an open water swim, while Hooper has so far done nothing to incur the wrath of the Bec. (2013 statusus are to be determined.)

The first part of this ride was through a lot of shaded areas, but once we got out into the open, I realized how damn hot it was and started to get crabbier the longer we rode. By the end of the tough, hilly ride, I wanted nothing to do with cycling and was for once stoked to start my brick run (which went surprisingly well given how spent I was from cycling).

I have one more century ride on the books, and it’ll be on Sunday immediately following a 2.4 mile swim and right before tackling a marathon. I’ve banked each and every century ride this season, good and bad, and hope that not just the mileage will carry me up Richter and Yellow Lake and back into town, but the mental toughness that was required to get through each workout. We’ll see what happens!

2 Responses to “ “The Summer of Century Rides”

  1. Kristina says:

    You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but man your blog makes my day and totally inspires me to actually get into the water for longer than a Sprint requires (although not as long as an Ironman does!). Good luck Sunday, I can NOT wait for your race report.

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