#hcccyclingchallenge

Self coaching in 2020 will provide me with so many opportunities. I can do what lights my fire. I have the flexibility to change up my schedule based on how I am feeling in the moment/weather/appointments/socializing/emergencies that may come up. I can take part in challenges that interest me. I can do training camps that interest me. I have control over my training and schedule. I can do what I want, when I want to. Sure there are key workouts that I will have to make sure I complete to be successful on race day, but self coaching will provide me with some flexibility on when I complete them during the week.

Hardcoeur Coaching offered a cycling challenge for the month of January. The goal was to ride 30 hours in 31 days. I was intrigued! After IRONMAN Lake Placid, I kept my cycling volume up while it was still nice enough to ride outside, but once October hit, my cycling mileage dropped SUBSTANTIALLY!! By January 1, I was more than ready to improve my cycling fitness as a lead up to IRONMAN Mont Tremblant training and this challenge seemed like the perfect way to jumpstart my cycling fitness in 2020! A special thanks to Scott Batula for helping me get my Wahoo Kickr and Zwift ready to roll before the start of this challenge!

I did a FTP test using Zwift on December 31, so that I would have baseline data to start from. My FTP on December 31, 2019 was 198 watts. I used the first 3 days of January to attempt to figure out how Zwift works before starting the 4-week FTP Booster on January 4. Truth – I still don’t have Zwift figured out after using it everyday for a month.

This 4-week FTP Booster was either going to kill me or make me stronger. Did I mention this cycling challenge wasn’t the only exercising I was doing?! I was also registered for an indoor sprint triathlon on January 19 and a 1/2 marathon on February 1 (which I changed the day before to a 5K…see squirrel), so I had to keep showing up to swim and run. Trying to get my running mileage ready for the 1/2 marathon on tired legs was tougher than I imagined, but thankfully my body held up like a superstar!

Week 1 of the 4-week FTP booster:
I started the FTP booster on Saturday, January 4.

  • Day 1 = HIT 80% FTP #1: 😊 Total ride time = 2:05:38
  • Day 2 = HIT 45 sec #1: 😊 Total ride time = 1:13:45 followed by a 1 hour treadmill run
  • Day 3 = Tempo into Sprints: 😔 I missed hitting the sprint wattage during this ride. Total ride time = 1:06:07 + some strength and yoga after the ride
  • Day 4 = Endurance: 😊 It was so nice to have an endurance ride today. Total ride time = 1:08:22 + 2,450 yards of swimming before the ride
  • Day 5 = 40/20s #1: 😊 Total ride time = 1:06:12 + 30 minute run off the bike

    Date night with my fave for our brick workout!
  • Day 6 = Tempo with accelerations #1: 😊Total ride time = 1:10:25 + a 90 minute (9.5 mile) run in the afternoon
  • Day 7 = Sweet Spot 12: 😊 Total ride time = 1:33:11 + 2300 yards of swimming after work
  • Overall…very tired legs, but I’m grateful my body is holding up nicely. Bike totals = 9:23:40 for 150 miles, Run totals = 2:50:00 for 19.1 miles, Swim totals = 1:20:00 for 4750 yards
FTP booster week 1…somehow the computer saved the dates incorrectly. It should be 1/4/20 – 1/10/20

Week 2 of the 4-week FTP booster:

  • Day 1 = HIT 80% FTP #2: 😊 Total ride time = 2:05:07 + 1 hour hilly and snow covered run + 30 minutes of yoga
  • Day 2 = HIT 45 sec #2: 😔 I missed 4 of the 6 x 45 sec at 345 wattage intervals on this ride. Total ride time = 1:15:46 + 2700 yards of swimming
  • Day 3 = Tempo with Finale: 😊 Total ride time = 1:06:02
  • Day 4 = Endurance: 😊 Yay for endurance riding today! Total ride time = 1:13:27 + 2700 yards of swimming
  • Day 5 = 40/20s #2: 😊 I nailed all of the targets on this ride and felt stronger today than I have since this challenge started. Total ride time = 1:05:03 + 20 minute run off the bike
    Crushing those intervals!

    Speed work off the bike!
  • Day 6 = Tempo with accelerations #2: 😊 I nailed all of the targets on this ride and felt strong doing so. Total ride time = 1:24:36 + 10 mile treadmill run after work (we got freezing rain yesterday that has covered all the outdoor running surfaces in a sheet of ice…even though it was -3F today, I would have ran outside had the surfaces been safe for running)
  • Day 7 = Max Aerobic declining: 😊 I nailed all of the targets on this ride and while my legs were definitely fatigued, I still felt strong. Total ride time = 1:30:12
  • Overall…my body was extremely tired at the beginning of the week, but I reminded myself that it is OK to miss targets because it is too challenging in that moment. This is where I learn. This is where I grow. This is where I gain strength. This is what makes me fierce. AND when I nail these targets the next time, this is when I build confidence. Thankfully by the end of the week, I felt strong…definitely fatigued, but I finally felt strong while tired. Bike totals = 9:40:13 for 159 miles, Run totals = 3:00:37 for 19.3 miles, Swim totals = 1:34:35 for 5400 yards
FTP booster week 2…somehow the computer saved the dates incorrectly. It should be 1/11/20 – 1/17/20

Week 3 of the 4-week FTP booster:

  • Day 1 = Progressive 11s: 😊 Total ride time = 2:00:27
  • Day 2 = Sub-threshold xx #1: 😊 I nailed all of the targets on this ride and completely fatigued my legs before my indoor triathlon later this afternoon. Total ride time = 1:00:01 + a silver medal finish at the InCydeMan Triathlon (500 yard swim, 8 mile bike, and 2 mile run)

    2 sliver medals for our household!
  • Day 3 = Spiked Tempo: 😊 I nailed all of the targets on this ride on VERY fatigued legs. Total ride time = 1:07:42
  • Day 4 = Endurance: 😊 It felt so good to have an easy day on the bike today. Total ride time = 1:30:24 + 2300 yards of swimming
  • Day 5 = 40/20s into Threshold: 😊 Total ride time = 1:00:05 + 20 minute EASY run off the bike
  • Day 6 = Threshold block #1: 😊 Total ride time = 1:00:09 + 9 mile run off the bike with 2×3 miles at tempo pace
  • Day 7 = Max Aerobic Finale: 😊 I nailed the 4×2 minutes at 240 watts with 2 minutes at 120 watts between each and then averaged 222 watts for a 6 minute interval that I was to ride as hard as I could for the 6 minute duration. Pretty pleased with this as my legs aren’t fresh and I was well above my 198 watt threshold set on December 31. Total ride time = 1:30:08
  • Overall…All that learning and growing from the first 2 weeks is paying dividends. This week I noticed improvements in my stats and I FEEL SO STRONG! I’m not saying these workouts were easy. They definitely weren’t, but my body is responding to the work and it doesn’t feel as hard as it did during the first 2 weeks of the challenge. I’m gaining more confidence every day! I’m super excited to see just how much stronger I’ve become at the end of this challenge. Bike totals = 9:30:28 for 163 miles, Run totals = 1:57:31 for 13 miles, Swim totals = 49:02 for 2800 yards

    FTP booster week 3…1/18/20-1/24/20

Week 4 of the 4-week FTP booster:

  • Day 1 = Progressive 11s #2: 😊 Total ride time = 2:00:15 + 55 minute negative split run + 1 hour with the personal trainer

    Running away from the judgement and toward living my best life!
  • Day 2 = Endurance: 😊 Total ride time = 1:00:06 + 2700 yard swim
  • Day 3 = 10 min Best effort: 😊 My 10 minute best effort power output was 210 watts. I was pretty pumped about this since my legs weren’t fresh. Total ride time = 1:00:08
  • Day 4 = Sub-threshold xx#2: 😊 Total ride time = 1:00:05
  • Day 5 = Endurance: 😊 This endurance ride felt so good today! Total ride time = 1:00:12 + 30 minute easy treadmill run
  • Day 6 = Rest Day Easy Ride: 😊 I found myself really having to hold back because my legs wanted to GOOO today. Total ride time = 1:00:09
  • Day 7 = FTP test: 😊 Boo-yah!! My new FTP upon completion of this ride was 214 watts. That’s a 16 watt improvement in 1 month. I still have some work to do to get my FTP back up to where it was during peak training in 2019 (233 watts), but it gives me something to work towards. Total ride time = 1:30:29

    Kicking out the previous 198 watt FTP to make room for the new 214 watt FTP.
  • Overall…This week the workouts actually started to feel easy. I knew I’d have a higher FTP just on how strong I felt on all of these rides. I was very pleased to see a 16 watt improvement over the last 4 weeks. I may repeat the Zwift 4-week FTP booster again, but maybe not. I do need to start incorporating more balance between swim/bike/run as I move into triathlon season. Bike totals = 8:31:24 for 139 miles, Run totals = 1:25:16 for 9.16 miles, Swim totals = 48:12 for 2700 yards

    FTP Booster Week 4…somehow the computer saved the dates incorrectly. It should be 1/25/20 – 1/31/20

I’m SO grateful to the ladies at Hardcoeur Coaching for creating this challenge. It pushed me way out of my comfort zone and definitely into my growth zone! It built confidence, stamina, grit, and resilience, while making me stronger, both physically and mentally. With just over 40 hours (660 miles) in the saddle during January, I finally feel like an athlete again…what a great feeling! The #hcccyclingchallenge + Zwift 4-week FTP booster was a great way to boost my cycling power before officially kicking off the start to my IRONMAN Mont Tremblant training!

Peak to Peak #bikelove

Sunday morning, the Iron Hippie, Allen and I rode from Raymond, CO to Ward, CO via the Peak to Peak Highway. I don’t recall ever having #bikelove quite like this…don’t get me wrong, I’ve had MANY rides that I’ve truly loved, but this one beat them all hands down!!

We drove from Estes Park to Raymond (~23 miles), where we parked at the Raymond Store. After unloading the bikes and preparing to ride, we were off.

Raymond, Colorado is where we started the Peak to Peak Highway trek.
Raymond, Colorado is where we started the Peak to Peak Highway trek.
The Raymond Store has an AWESOME owner who treats cyclists right!! Stop in if you make it to Raymond and say, "Hi" to him!!
The Raymond Store has an AWESOME owner who treats cyclists right!! Stop in if you make it to Raymond and say, “Hi” to him!!

We immediately started climbing our way out of Raymond, but it wasn’t anything too taxing just yet. There was no traffic on this rode and lots of people walking their dogs right down the middle of the road. Perfect for cycling 🙂

The boys climbing out of Raymond toward the Peak to Peak Highway.
The boys climbing out of Raymond toward the Peak to Peak Highway.
Happy girl on a bike made for some serious #bikelove
Happy girl on a bike made for some serious #bikelove

At almost 2 miles, we turned onto the Peak to Peak Highway. Early Sunday morning, the Peak to Peak Highway had very little traffic and nice wide shoulders for cyclists. I was pleasantly surprised by the motorists who did pass us and how respectful they were. We did pull over a couple of times on the shoulder of the rode on our ascent to Ward, but these stops didn’t last long.

Climbing, climbing and more climbing.
Climbing, climbing and more climbing.
I pulled us all up the mountain.
I pulled us all up the mountain.
Climbing on the Peak to Peak Highway
Climbing on the Peak to Peak Highway

When we arrived in Ward, we were shocked to see SO MANY other cyclists!! We knew this was a popular stretch of road for the locals to ride, but we didn’t realize just how popular it was.

Ward, Colorado was our turn around point for the Peak to Peak Highway ride.
Ward, Colorado was our turn around point for the Peak to Peak Highway ride.
We were at the top of the hill looking down through the trees to the town of Ward. Climbing out of Ward was a 10+% grade at one point.
We stopped at the top of the hill looking down through the trees to the town of Ward. Climbing out of Ward was a 10+% grade at one point.
Utica Street Market in Ward loves it's cyclists. If you are in the area, stop in and support this great little shop!!
Utica Street Market in Ward loves it’s cyclists. If you are in the area, stop in and support this great little shop!! Be sure to bring cash…they don’t accept debit/credit.
The Utica Street Market has bike pumps for cyclists if needed.
The Utica Street Market has bike pumps for cyclists if needed.
Utica Street Market has Skratch and water ready for cyclists to refill their water bottles.
Utica Street Market has Skratch and water ready for cyclists to refill their water bottles.

We chatted it up with some local cyclists for a bit before climbing out of Ward…10+% climb was challenging, but fun! Once we made it out of town, it was all downhill (with a small bump at about 4 miles from Ward) back to Raymond.

On top of the world...or maybe just Colorado at elevation 9200+ feet.
On top of the world…or maybe just Colorado at elevation 9200+ feet.
All smiles as we made it to the top...the mountains in the background were beautiful!!
All smiles as we made it to the top…the mountains in the background were beautiful!!
The boys starting their 10 mile descent back to Raymond.
The boys starting their 10 mile descent back to Raymond.

We climbed just over 2000 feet with climbs ranging between 7 and 10%. It is just over a 10 mile climb from Raymond to Ward. Many of the locals have a 60 mile loop that they ride from Boulder and they pass through Ward and Raymond. With Ironman Boulder right around the corner, we decided 60 miles might be a bit too far and opted for the shorter ride. We are thinking of possibly riding the out and back stretch of the Peak to Peak Highway from Nederland to Ward later this week…if we do, I’m sure there will be another #bikelove post 🙂

Ward (green) to Raymond (red)
Ward (green) to Raymond (red)

When we returned to Raymond, we transition to a short 20 minute run. By this time, the Raymond Store was open, so we chatted it up with the owner who does his own woodworking to keep himself busy. The Iron Hippie was wearing a sweatshirt that just had an “I State” on it in cardinal and gold. The store owner immediately knew it was Iowa State. He was a super nice man and if you are ever in the very small town of Raymond, CO, you should definitely pay him a visit!!

I absolutely LOVED this bike ride and hope to definitely do it again sometime!! If you are ever in this part of Colorado, I would highly recommend riding the Peak to Peak Highway!!

Have you ever been visiting someplace new and decided to ride a route that you knew nothing about? How did it turn out?

Eastern Iowa Tour de Cure

Last Saturday the Iron Hippie, Allen and I rode 75 miles in eastern Iowa to raise money for diabetes through the Tour de Cure. We are on team Paige’s Pilots out of Portland, OR, but are not able to ride the Portland Tour de Cure because we are racing Ironman Boulder and logistically couldn’t make it work.

Friday evening we loaded the car and drove 90 minutes to Cedar Rapids where the Tour de Cure would be getting underway bright and early Saturday morning. We checked into our hotel and went to bed for our really early wake up call.

Saturday morning, the alarm clock went off at 4 am so we could eat breakfast, check out of our hotel, and head to the Tour de Cure start area. Registration started at 5 am with the ride starting at 6 am.

The Iron Hippie pumping Allen's tires up in preparation for the Tour de Cure ride.
The Iron Hippie pumping Allen’s tires up in preparation for the Tour de Cure ride.
The Iron Hippie helping Allen by pinning his registration number on his jersey.
The Iron Hippie helping Allen by pinning his registration number on his jersey.
We are ready to ride!!
Ready to ride!!

The course was BEAUTIFUL with lots of fun, yet challenging hills. Unfortunately the awful road surfaces overshadowed the beautifully and challenging course. There were a few stretches of road that were not covered with expansion cracks and potholes (thank you Iowa winters), but unfortunately these stretches of road didn’t last. The majority of the road surfaces were so bad that bike seats and bottle cages rattled loose. I even lost a bracket to the x-lab on the back of my saddle. Mojo was not happy at the end of this ride and needed some serious TLC!!

Riding through Iowa's beauty!!
Riding through Iowa’s beauty!!
This was a food stop at the halfway point of the ride.
This was a food stop at the halfway point of the ride.
Almost 50 miles done...can't wait to get off these horrible road surfaces!
Almost 50 miles done…can’t wait to get off these horrible road surfaces!
Finished!!
Finished!!
Pretty cool finisher's medal.
Pretty cool finisher’s medal.

Overall, we had a decent day, but we all decided that unless the course changes to encompass smoother road surfaces, we won’t be participating in this event again.

If you have not yet donated and want to help me reach my fundraising goal, please do so here. Thank you to all who have already donated! I really appreciate it 🙂

Mother Nature…GRRR

We are suppose to be getting ready to ride on our trainers for 5 hours at Kyle’s Bikes to raise money for the Tour de Cure, but Mother Nature had other plans. We’ve had severe thunderstorms this morning. There is a small break in the storms and more are to come this afternoon. In talking with Kyle, he recommended that we postpone our fundraising ride for a week and try for next Saturday instead. Riding outside on trainers in thunderstorms with electronic devices (computers, speakers for music, etc.) is not advised.

IMG_2676
Loaded and ready to go…
IMG_2710
Darn you Mother Nature!!

 

So in the mean time, we will keep fundraising and hope for better weather next week!!

Have you ever made plans that you’ve been UBBER excited for and Mother Nature has derailed them? Tell me about your experience.

My Cycling Essentials and Tour de Cure®

I am getting ready for a 5 hour trainer ride to raise money for the American Diabetes Association® and the Tour de Cure® at Kyle’s Bikes on Saturday, April 18 and thought it would be fitting to share with you my cycling essentials as I prepare for this longer trainer ride. Yes, you read that correctly…5 hours in the saddle on the trainer…and I thought 3 hours & 45 minutes last weekend was tough. Please click here to make a donation; I would be forever grateful.

My cycling essentials tend to differ just a bit depending on where I ride…am I riding outdoors or am I riding on the trainer? As you’ll see, there are some common cycling essentials for cycling in both situations, but some differences do exist.

  1. Mojo…My Specialized Transition  IMG_2011
  2. Terry Butterfly Ti Gel Saddle  Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 8.10.22 AM
  3. Specialized Cycling Shoes  IMG_2302
  4. Speedfil water bottle  IMG_3869
  5. Coeur Sports seam-free chamois tri shorts  IMG_1917
  6. Osmo Active Hyrdation  IMG_1508
  7. Hoo Ha Ride Glide  IMG_3184
  8. Garmin 910XT  IMG_2521
  9. Powertap  IMG_3036
  10. Road ID Bracelet…I never take this offIMG_3280

Trainer Rides:

  1. Kinetic Fluid Trainer
  2. Trainer Tire
  3. Trainer Skewer
  4. Sweat towels…lots of them

Outdoor Rides:

  1. Bell Cycling Helmet  IMG_3868
  2. Tifosi Sunglasses  IMG_3867
  3. Bonk Breaker Bars (on the longer rides)

    Photo courtesy of Bonk Breaker
    Photo courtesy of Bonk Breaker
  4. Barnana (on the longer rides)…if you order from Barnana, please feel free to use my discount code Coeur15 for 15% off your order 🙂IMG_1931

What are your cycling essentials? Have you ever raced or participated in an event for a charity? If so, which event and which charity?

My #FaveWorkout – Week 4

In case you’ve missed out, I’ve been writing about my favorite weekly workout every Friday. I’ve had a favorite swim, bike and TRX workout. This week my #FaveWorkout involved more #bikelove. I LOVE intervals…swim intervals, run intervals, bike intervals 🙂

Wednesday morning I completed the following 1-2-3-2-1 Ladder on the trainer:

Warm-up for 10 minutes, then ride 20 minutes in Zone 2-3, with some short-duration Z4 efforts.
Then, do a 1-2-3-2-1 ladder as follows:
1 minute Zone 4-5 (use power/effort to gauge intensity for the first 1 or 2 efforts, until HR gets up there)
1 minute easy spin (Zone 1)
2 minutes Zone 4-5
2 minutes easy spin
3 minutes Zone 4-5
3 minutes easy spin
2 minutes Zone 4-5
2 minutes easy spin
1 minute Zone 4-5,
22 minutes in Zone 2-3, with some short-duration Z4 efforts
10 minutes in Zone 2
Cool down for 10 minutes

IMG_0744

WOW…The last time I completed this workout, I was in the middle of Ironman training. I completely forgot how tired depleted my legs would feel for the rest of the day…what a GREAT feeling! I can’t wait to do this workout again 😉

What was your favorite workout this week?

IRONMAN Wisconsin Bike Loop Training

This last Saturday we drove up to Madison so we could ride the IRONMAN Wisconsin bike loop on Monday and get a little bit of training in on the course.  While in the car, I made the following tweet:

Screen shot 2014-06-18 at 11.47.59 AM

This would turn out to be one of the best decisions!!  Why?!?!?!  One of my social media friends responded with, “Nice!!! When are you riding the course? I’d love to join you!? Have a great visit!”

How PERFECT!!  Monday morning, the Iron Hippie and I rode our bikes the short 5 miles to “Fireman’s Park” in Verona and met up with Kathy where we would ride the first loop with her and the second loop on our own.

What did the ride look like???  BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!

On top of the world as we left Mt. Horab.
On top of the world as we left Mt. Horeb…looking right
On top of the world as we left Mt. Horab.
On top of the world as we left Mt. Horeb…looking left
Ribbon Road...one of my FAVORITES on this course!!
Ribbon Road…one of my FAVORITE roads on this course!!
Getting ready to descend down into the valley :)
Getting ready to descend down into the valley 🙂
Looking down Old Sauk...I love climbing hills when you can't see the top :)
At the top of Bitch #1…Looking down Old Sauk Pass…I love climbing hills when you can’t see the top 🙂
Cell Tower Hill looks soooooo desolate without all of the spectators lining both sides of the climb!!
Climbing Bitch #2…Timber Lane…Cell Tower Hill looks soooooo desolate without all of the spectators lining both sides of the climb!!
Anyone up for a drink?!?!?!  Too bad the water isn't hooked up to this drinking fountain randomly placed out in the country on the IRONMAN Wisconsin bike course.
Anyone up for a drink?!?!?! Too bad the water isn’t hooked up to this drinking fountain randomly placed out in the country on the IRONMAN Wisconsin bike course.
Looking down Bitch #3...Midtown Hill...this picture does not do this climb any justice!!  It is definitely harder than it looks ;)
At the top of Bitch #3…Looking down Midtown Hill…this picture does not do this climb any justice!! It is definitely harder than it looks 😉
Looking back at Mt. Horab from the top of Midtown climb...You can barely see the water tower out on the horizon.
Looking back at Mt. Horeb from the top of Midtown climb…You can barely see the water tower out on the horizon.  We’ve ridden quite a few miles since we left Mt. Horeb 🙂
Kathy and I after the first loop...It is GREAT to meet new friends ;)
Kathy and me after the first loop…It is GREAT to meet new friends 😉
Kathy and me after the first loop.
Kathy and me after the first loop.
IMG_3754
Kathy, the Iron Hippie and me after the first loop 🙂
Just a few bike stats for our double loop
Just a few bike stats for our double loop

While this wasn’t a fast ride (I did forget to pause my Garmin a couple of times when we stopped), we were out to climb the hills and soak in the rural Wisconsin scenery.  I think we accomplished the hill climbing component quite well…4898 feet of climbing 😉

Do you enjoy climbing hills while riding your bike?  Would ~5000 feet of climbing make you nervous or excited?  Why?

Time Trial Virgin

Last night I participated in my first ever time trial “race.”  Having never participated in a TT before, I was a bit nervous throughout the day, but received some great advice from a fellow blogger: Screen shot 2014-06-13 at 10.22.01 AM Thanks for the tip, Erin 😉

The Iron Hippie went with me for moral support…thank you!!  When we arrived at the race site, I checked in, was given my race number and warmed up by riding the TT course to familiarize myself with the terrain, potholes (there weren’t many) and the winds.  As we headed south out of town, there was a very nice tailwind to start, but at the turn around point, that tailwind reared its ugly head and became a brutal headwind.  Because this was just a warm-up, I settled in without pushing the pace, kept my heart rate and power low and just spun the legs at a higher cadence.  With plenty of time before I would start racing, I was hopeful the winds would die down a bit.

After my warm up ride, I went back to the car, drank some fluids, went to the restroom and then went and lined up at the start.  I was #25 so I would be starting 12 minutes after the 6:30 pm start time.  As I waited in line, I had the following conversation with the guy in front of me (#24):

#24:  There aren’t many people here tonight.

Me:  Oh yeah?  This is my first time trial, so I wouldn’t know.

#24:  This is only my 2nd one, so I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

Me:  Well, you know more than me.

#24:  With a bike like that, you don’t race?

Me:  I race triathlon, but I decided to give the time trial a go.

#24:  Oh.  Are you doing the Hy Vee Triathlon?

Me:  No.  I have a larger race the following weekend.

#24:  What race are you doing?

Me:  Ironman Wisconsin

#24:  Oh my…you’re crazy!

Me:  Thanks!

#24:  Well, I’m sure you’re faster than me, so just don’t pass me until after the turn around. (said with a smile)

Me:  I don’t know about that.  Have a great race!

 

As I approached the start line, I was really nervous that the starter would drop me, but I had nothing to worry about!!

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...Here I go!!
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…Here I go!!

I pedaled for all I was worth…I know Erin said to don’t start too hard, but that is harder for me to judge with the wind at my back, so I just went for it.  After all…GO BIG OR GO HOME 🙂

Here are some of my random thoughts throughout the ride:

  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • I love the wind at my back!
  • I’m going to catch #24!
  • This is challenging!
  • Singing to myself…”That’s the only way I know.  Don’t stop till everything’s gone.  Straight ahead, never turn ’round.  Don’t back up, don’t back down.  Full throttle, wide open.  You get tired and you don’t show it.  Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more.  That’s the only way I know.”
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • Oh…there’s that headwind.
  • I’m going to catch #24!
  • This is tough!
  • Singing to myself…”That’s the only way I know.  Don’t stop till everything’s gone.  Straight ahead, never turn ’round.  Don’t back up, don’t back down.  Full throttle, wide open.  You get tired and you don’t show it.  Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more.  That’s the only way I know.”
  • Oh buddy…you just got chicked!!  (as I passed #24)IMG_3687
  • Kiss me harder wind!
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • Only one more mile!
  • Singing to myself…”That’s the only way I know.  Don’t stop till everything’s gone.  Straight ahead, never turn ’round.  Don’t back up, don’t back down.  Full throttle, wide open.  You get tired and you don’t show it.  Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more.  That’s the only way I know.”
  • Come on legs…don’t fail me now!
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • I’m going to come really close to achieving my secret time goal 🙂  (22 minutes)
  • There’s the finish line!
  • Go. Legs. GO!
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • WAHOO!!                   IMG_3713
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • I love to ride my bicycle!
  • I love to ride my bicycle!

Overall Stats:

  • Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Official Time: 22:18.3
  • Average Speed:  20.2 mph
  • Normalized Power: 183 Watts (Zone 3)
  • Challenge level:  Very Difficult
  • Fun Factor:  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  Cha Ching!!

Have you ever tried something new and found out you truly love it?  If so, what was it?

Century Ride in the Books

Yesterday we hopped on the bikes at 8:15 am and set out on an adventure.  Our goal was 100 miles of saddle time…and to have a little fun along the way 🙂  We weren’t concerned about pacing.  We weren’t concerned about keeping our stop breaks to a minimum.  We weren’t concerned about taking our time to finish the ride.

The farthest we had gone so far this spring prior to this ride was 52 miles, so we knew this would be a big jump in distance and saddle time for us, but we had all day to get it done.

The first 40 miles were really fun.  Sure it rained on us for a bit, but we were just getting started, so we were feeling good and we had the winds at our backs for the most part.

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The Iron Hippie and Dr. Chris taking a quick break to refill our water bottles.
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Allen taking a quick break to refill water bottles.

Shortly before mile 40, we saw a sign that looked like this:

IMG_1475This would be the first of many (I lost count after #4)…”Twister Hill” was the first BIG hill that we would encounter on this route.  Unfortunately in central Iowa, we always go down the big hills first and then have to climb back out of the river valley.  “Twister Hill” is where some of the filming took place in the movie “Twister.”  What goes down, must come up…225 feet of climbing over 1 mile.  For central Iowa, this is a fairly big hill 😉

We had a few more of these big hills to descend and climb before we got to mile 50 where we would take our 2nd longer break to refill the water bottles.  We finished the first 50 miles in just under 3 hours.

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Once we were back in the saddle, we knew we were going to have some headwinds to fight, a couple more of those big hills to climb and lots of rolling hills to overcome.  As a result, we decided to start off a bit easier than what we had been riding for the first 50 miles.

At mile 80, we knew we only had 7 more miles of suck until we could turn around and have the tailwind for the last 15 miles home.  These next 7 miles would prove to be VERY challenging…more mentally than physically, but we conquered them!!

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We finally made it to mile 87…now it is time for the tailwind.

We easily averaged over 20 mph on the return trip to Ames, without even trying.  It was awesome!!  When we pulled into our driveway, we were super excited to get off our bikes, relax in the lawn chairs and eat the homemade beef stew that had been cooking all day in the crock pot 🙂

Total Ride Time:  6:33:08

Total Distance:  102 miles

Average Speed:  15.6 mph

Total Elevation Gain: 2,956 feet (the Ironman Wisconsin bike course is 2,890 feet of climbing over 112 miles)

Average Power: 121 Watts (upper Zone 1…I need to work on getting more solidly into Zone 2)

This morning I received a text message from Allen with the following quote that I feel sums up our century ride almost perfectly:

“I was thinking about our ride yesterday and it was rather sadistic.  Let’s start with 40 miles in the rain to get soaked and going, then throw in 35 miles of climbing in and out of the Des Moines river valley because we are bored, then for more fun lets finish up by riding straight into a headwind for a bit more enjoyment.  I am not sure we could have chosen a harder 100 around here and still end up in Ames.  Good work 🙂 “

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Knee Update…I am still unable to run, but cycling does not bother my knee at all.  I am going through active release therapy and am still holding out some hope that I will be able to run some at our upcoming 70.3 race on June 8.