Two States Bike Ride

This last weekend, the Iron Hippie and I went to Okoboji to visit my parents.  We had an AMAZING run on Saturday and followed it up with an AWESOME bike ride on Sunday.  The Iron Hippie was scheduled to ride for 60 miles and I was scheduled to ride for 2-3 hours.  I knew that I would not be able to ride 60 miles in that 2-3 hour time window, but figured I would come close, so we mapped out a route.

70 mile bike route surrounding the Iowa Great Lakes area, including Iowa and Minnesota saddle time.
70 mile bike route surrounding the Iowa Great Lakes area, including Iowa and Minnesota saddle time.

Living in central Iowa, we rarely get the opportunity to ride in two states in one day, but since Okoboji is only about 15 miles from the Minnesota border, we decided to map a ride that would take us into Minnesota.  We have also never had the opportunity to completely circle the Iowa Great Lakes region by bike, so we decided that we would accomplish this goal on this bike ride!!  In order to completely circle the Iowa Great Lakes area AND bike in Iowa and Minnesota (safely), we had to make our route a little longer than 60 miles…it ended up being 70.5 miles.  We definitely could have made the route shorter, but we would have had to ride our bikes on some roads with really heavy traffic and decided to opt out of that option.

We donned our bikes at 6 am and headed out in perfect weather…low 60s, less than 5 mph winds, full sun…couldn’t be better for cycling!!  The 6 am start time would allow us to get most of our ride done before the Iowa Great Lakes region woke up 🙂

On the north edge of the Iowa Great Lakes area, there is a stretch of road that is right on the Iowa/Minnesota border.  Since we were the only ones on the road, we decided to take a picture of us riding down the road…my husband was in Iowa, while I was in Minnesota!!  Not everyday you can zig zag across the road and switch the state you are in so quickly 🙂

My husband is in Iowa on the left and I am in Minnesota on the right.
The Iron Hippie is in Iowa on the left and I am in Minnesota on the right.

During this ride, I could definitely tell that I had raced hard the week before.  My legs were a bit sluggish, but I just kept pushing forward!!  We finished our 70.5 mile route in 3:55:00…giving us an average speed of 18.0 mph…I have become stronger and gotten faster on the bike and I am super stoked about it!!

We LOVED this route, the smooth surfaces and the little vehicle traffic that we encountered!!  This is definitely a ride we will be doing again in the future!!

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The Triple Brick

Last Sunday I had the following workout:

3x(1 hour ride & 20 min run)…the first set was to be easy (with my heart rate in Zone 2), second set should be a little harder (Zone 2-3) and the third set closer to race pace (solidly in Zone 3).

I was SUPER excited to do this workout and see just how far I could push myself…both physically and mentally.  When I woke up Sunday morning it was dark and gloomy outside…it better not storm…I have been looking forward to this workout all week!!  I looked at the weather forecast and saw that there were chances of severe storms starting after 1 pm, so I knew I needed to get started!!  I had already decided that I was going to ride the same route and run the same route with each set to see if I could get a little farther every time before turning around and heading back home.  This would prove to be a much bigger challenge than I originally thought…especially on the bike!!  Come on Mojo…Let’s do this!!!

Set 1:  I started out on Mojo heading east, then north and finally east again.  When I got to the 30 minute mark, I turned around and headed back home via the same route (west, south and west).  With the winds from the ESE at 13 mph, I thought I would be able to get home a little faster (heading west)…and  I was right.  I ended up riding 14.76 miles in 56:36 (just shy of the planned hour).  This meant my average speed was 15.6 mph for the first ride.  I felt as though it was really easy and I wasn’t pushing hard at all.  I took very little time transitioning to the run…I was shooting for a 9:00 pace off of the bike for the first set.  I started off nice and easy and felt like I was at a pace that I could maintain for a few hours at least.  I was right on pace…I ran 2.26 miles in 20:16.  This meant my average pace was 8:58 for the first run.  I was off to a great start!!

Set 2:  I immediately transitioned back to Mojo and headed out for the second set.  I started off slightly faster on this set than the last set.  I felt as though I was working, but not very hard…little did I realize that the winds had picked up and were now closer to 18 mph from the ESE.  I did make it farther, but decided to ride for 32 minutes before turning around to get me closer to the 1 hour time I was shooting for…this strategy worked!!  When I turned around and headed south back into town, I really felt that headwind…WOW!!  I ended up riding 16.17 miles in 1:01:14, which gave me an average speed of 15.8 mph.  While I was not much faster on the bike this time, I was faster…and every little bit counts!!  🙂  I knew I needed to keep some energy in the tank for the last set, so I quickly transitioned to the run and went out faster than the first set, but not pushing to exhaustion.  I ran 2.34 miles in 20:15.  This meant that my average pace was 8:39…I felt like I could have maintained this pace for quite a while…I’ll take that!!

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Set 3:  I again quickly transitioned back to the bike and hopped on Mojo for the last set…Let’s get ‘er done!!  I knew I wanted to push hard, but at a pace I could maintain and I did just that…I made it even farther than set #2 before turning around.  This time when I headed south back into town, the winds were even stronger than during set#2…the winds had increased to 21 mph from the ESE.  I was mentally really strong and focused during this set…”I am strong.  I am tough.  I am strong.  I am tough.”  I rode 17.16 miles in 1:03:04 during my last bike leg…WAHOO…16.3 mph average speed for my last set!!  With my fastest transition yet, I was off and running.  I quickly found a pace that I could maintain, but with difficulty.  I ran 2.35 miles in 20:04, giving me an average pace of 8:33…YEEHAW!!  I DID IT!!

I successfully completed this workout as planned!!  With Ironman Kansas 70.3 only 3 weeks away, this was a HUGE mental boost!!  I was exhausted, but ecstatic…time for food, a shower and a nap 🙂  Oh yeah…the severe storm that was suppose to come…it came later in the day with 70 mph straight winds and tornadoes around us.  Glad I wasn’t out on the bike then…

“Kiss Me Harder!!”

This last Sunday we went outdoors for our bicycle ride.  This may not be a new phenomena for some of you, but for those of us who live in Iowa, we are really tired of riding our bicycles on the trainers in the basement.  We have been in the basement since late October, so it is definitely time to get off the trainer and get outside!!  I had a brick scheduled for Sunday…ride a hilly route for 2 hours and then follow that up with an easy 20 minute run.

As we pulled away from home, I knew it was going to be a challenging ride.  The temperature was in the mid 40s and the winds were blowing at a sustained 25 mph from the NNW with gusts much higher.  Because of these winds, we decided to ride to the NNW first so we could get the most challenging part out of the way, with the hopes that we could enjoy our return ride home.  Positive note…we were riding outside and it was a bright, sunny day 🙂

The shadows of three amazing riders...Kris, me and my husband.
The shadows of three amazing riders…Kris, me and my husband.

That wind was BRUTAL!!  I thought back to my most recent marathon…when the winds picked up at mile 18 and made the run more challenging, Adam started talking out loud to the wind, “Kiss me harder.”  As I was leaving town and riding to the north into the headwind, Adam entered my head and I immediately started talking to and eventually shouting at the wind… “Kiss me harder…Kiss ME harder…Kiss ME HARDER…KISS ME HARDER.”

My husband and I stopped at the stop sign at 170th street to hydrate.  He decided he was heading back home (he had been sick the day before and didn’t have much energy from his inability to keep nutrition in his system).  I was mentally questioning myself, “Can I do this?  I’m really tired and this is REALLY hard!!”  Thankfully Kris was riding with us as well.  As she pulled up to the stop sign she yelled, “I only have 2 and a 1/2 more minutes in Zone 3.  I’m going to the next stop sign.”  “Ok, I’m with you!!” I yelled back.  I told my husband to ride home safely and took off after Kris.  The winds now created a crosswind as we rode west on 170th street.  I knew I was riding at a severe angle, leaning hard to the right, but this was a must if I was to keep my bike on the road.  “Kiss me harder!!”

We stopped at the next stop sign and talked about our plan.  I told Kris I was going to the next stop sign and she decided to join me.  We fueled up and again turned back into the headwind as we went north on R38.  “Kiss ME HARDER!!”

It was on R38 that I had the following conversation with myself, “I’ve never had a name for my bicycle.  I should name you!! …KISS ME HARDER… Red…Ruby…Rojo (red in Spanish)…Mojo (even though they don’t rhyme, they are spelled nearly the same)…KISS ME HARDER… Mojo…that is your new name!!  Come on Mojo…get me to the next stop sign!!  …KISS ME HARDER…”

Unfortunately this conversation didn’t last very long, so I needed a new strategy to get me to the next stop sign…time to play mental tricks on myself… “Ok…you CAN make it to the church up the road…WHAT?!?!?! I’m only going 7 mph…KISS ME HARDER…You CAN make it to the goat farm…too bad those goats aren’t fainting goats…I’ve always wanted to have fainting goats…KISS ME HARDER…See that gray house…you CAN make it there…that flag is blowing straight out…KISS ME HARDER…9 mph is a little better than 7 mph…KISS ME HARDER…See the green house…you CAN make it there…KISS ME HARDER…OH, there is the stop sign!!  I’m at an hour and 5 minutes ride time.  There is NO WAY it is going to take me an hour to get home…Just go to the farmhouse on the top of the first hill on E18, then you can turn back and head home.  Ok…let’s do this!!”

As I approached the stop sign, I yelled to Kris, “I’m going to the farmhouse on the top of the first hill on E18, then turning around.”  Kris responded with, “Ok I’m with you.”  As I turned back to the west, that crosswind was back and my private conversation continued… “Kiss Me Harder…I WILL finish this…Kiss ME Harder…I WILL FINISH this…KISS ME HARDER…I WILL FINISH THIS!!  YAY…WE MADE IT!!!”  It took us 1 hour and 17 minutes to get to the turn around point…14.78 miles.  Though there weren’t many hills on this route, the headwinds and crosswinds posed enough of a challenge that I wasn’t too concerned about the lack of hills.

We made it to the turn around point!!
We made it to the turn around point!!

Now for the return trip home… “This is why we were pushing so hard on the way out…it feels awesome with that wind at my back…KISS ME HARDER…Oh my…I’m going 25 mph without even trying…KISS ME HARDER…Let’s see just how fast I can go…30.4 mph with no more gears to upshift to…KISS ME HARDER…Let’s go faster…KISS ME HARDER!!”  It only took 46 minutes to go back the 14.78 miles home.

Now for the run portion of my brick…KISS ME HARDER!!!