What am I on? …………… Im on my bike

What am I on? …………… Im on my bike

January is over and what a crazy month it was. December was a bold contrast because I decided to not run or bike and let my foot and back rest (they were both aggravated from excessive mileage throughout the fall). If I didn’t take a break then I would have created a overuse injury that would have ruined my Spring/Summer training leading into Lake Placid. I think I biked about 15 miles total in December and ran a handful more. During this time off the Cyclonauts got involved in a mileage contest against teams all over the country. The contest is 3 months long and each month has a specific focus. December was swim, January is bike and February is running. Well, that worked out ……… I wasn’t biking and running in December, but I could swim. I can’t say that I love the swim, but I always could use the extra miles because of my lack of talent in that discipline.

January rolled around and it was time to jump on the bike and see how things feel. Within the first few days I found out that I wasn’t aggravating anything and off I went. The weather was somewhat mild and we were able to crank out some big miles in a month that you typically are only going to stare at a wall while riding the trainer. With some determination I was even able to do a few centuries with a combination of early mornings on the trainer and road miles in the afternoon. As the month progressed my miles were climbing quick. Going into the third week I had a dilemma. I had to drive to Virginia to take care of a traffic violation (ya, it was that serious) and I also was looking at long hours at the shop (including Saturdays and Sundays). Between travel and work I lost some ground. BUT January is always a great time to head to the parents crib in Florida and enjoy some sun. That way I could log some long miles on the bike and help the team keep on pace with the bike miles for the USATNCC contest. So we booked the last 6 days in January.

Rewind a few months ……… last Fall as I was getting my butt back into shape I had this goal of completing 5 centuries in 5 days. I figured I could do this post Ironman (August or September of 2012). This was something for me. I have done 3 in 3 days a few times, but I have never done 5. Just one of those weird goals we all have to make with ourselves to continue to challenge who we are. Whether your goal is to complete your first century or prepare your first 7 course meal ………. It’s a goal! It is what makes us who we are. We also learn throughout life that the harder you push, the harder those around you will push too. 19 years ago I did my first Triathlon, I didn’t have 1 friend who did them. Now I have 100’s of friends who do.

Fast forward from the rewind. Or rewind to last Wednesday night (January 25th). We arrive in Orlando and drive to my parents house. My plan was to put big bike miles in everyday and I couldn’t forget to stay on track with my running. Would this be the time to shoot for the goal of completing 5 centuries? Hmmmmmm ………. But, it’s only January and my bike fitness isn’t exactly fine tuned. What the hell, It can’t hurt to try.
As the sun rises Thursday morning I throw on the sneaks and head out for a 7 plus mile run. It’s already in the 60’s and it is nice to be running in a T-shirt. Post run I grab a quick bite and it’s bike time. I keep a Serotta at my parents house but it is full Road Weenie (No areo frame, wheels or bars). My P3 is a much more comfortable (and faster) century machine. The first 50 miles goes awesome, my average speed is just over 20mph and it wasn’t that difficult. Then I turn around. Holy Sh!t! The headwind is insane. For the next 26 miles there is no stores, a few houses, tractor trailers buzzing by you at 60 plus mph and it is now 85 degrees. I am on this 26 mile road that is as straight as a arrow. In this 26 mile stretch I consumed my 2 water bottles and I was seeing double from the heat and headwind. I somehow make it back and century 1 is in the books (it wasn’t pretty).

Friday morning alarm goes off and it is pouring out. No run today and I can’t quit now. I do the same route. The rain is warm and it is not as windy. During the ride I get onto that 26 mile stretch and I have a slight headwind. Nothing to worry about and Im hoping that this means tailwind on the way back. The tractor trailers are keeping me alert as I get a nice little extra shower as they blow by. I get to about mile 52.5 and then I turn back. This will get me a few cushion miles as the week goes on. I also make sure that I do out and backs instead of loops (keeps me from cutting a ride short). The rain ride wasn’t so bad and I felt a  lot better at the finish. A quick 2 mile recovery run and Im done. That evening we drove to the Tampa area to visit Kelly’s parents. I keep an old Trek there that has aero bars (thank you). This old Trek took a beating the last time I rode it (2009). I broke a water cage, my spokes were loose and I had a flat that was difficult to repair because they were tubulars. Not to many bike shops in those small city’s deal with that stuff. This time I came prepared, over the summer I got a cheap wheelset and I brought down tools, tubes, cages and tires. I had a few worries because the old Trek had 8 speed components. It all worked out and the Trek was back in buisness. Saturday morning rolls in and I have to complete a 9-10 mile run before the ride. Within the first few strides I could feel the 2 centuries, but that went away quickly and I had a great run. I get back, refuel and off I go. Todays plan is to end up at Clearwater Beach. Todays ride was great and the miles clicked by quickly and off to the beach I went.

Sunday morning arrives and it’s in the 40’s …….. Oh crap, I didn’t pack any gloves. Looks like Im wearing socks as mittens (makes shifting and water bottle exchanges interesting). The early part of my ride cut through a wilderness area which got me to the Suncoast bike trail. This bike path is awesome. It parallels the Suncoast Highway and there are 10 mile sections with no crossings nor are there many people on it. I got 40 miles in there and then I headed back to clearwater beach. At about 70 miles into my ride my STI lever froze up and I lost the ability to shift my rear derailieur. I can shift my front, so I have big ring or little ring and Im stuck in my easiest cog in the rear. Not the end of the world because the terrain isn’t that challenging and I can cruise along at a high cadence. At about mile 90 I stop at the beach to see Kelly. I stuff down a burger and fries, catch a few rays. I jump back on the bike a head to the house for an evening of relaxation with the family. Even with the faulty equipment I somehow managed to get 120 miles in today (more miles in the bank). Monday’s temps were chilly again so it was early morning hand socks again. Now Im back on the serotta for shifting purposes and the day is somewhat uneventful. Only 100 today and I have just competed my 5th Century in 5 days.

Day 6 is my final day and I have a 7-8 mile run. Wow! My legs are feeling a little weird. The run goes better than planned and my pace is slightly faster than normal. Why is that you always run better when you think you are going to have a crappy day? Now it’s back on the dreaded bike. Today I have 2 options: Ride 70 to get 600 miles in or do another century. I peddle 35 miles out of town at a pretty good pace and then I turn around. My plan is to add on at the end if Im feeling good. At about mile 54 I head East and the wind is brutal. It’s one of those crystal clear sunny days and the wind is howling. The last 16 miles put me in the hurt locker and my average speed had dropped into the 17‘s. I knew that it was game over. Those last 16 miles I could have called for a ride. I got back to the truck and another century wasn’t i the books. I will admit that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do that many miles after dealing with the winds on certain days.

Stats:
close to 1000 oz. of fluids consumed
12 powerbars – 24 gels – 10 cliff blocks (not sleeves)
12 scoops of R4 – 3 Nestle’s Quick Choc. Milks
1 snickers – 2 peanut butter cups
1 big bag of lay’s potato chips after the day 6 ride “reward
600 plus miles on the bike in 6 days
over 25 miles of running in 6 days
35 plus workout hours in 6 days (run/bike)
forgot my cycling shorts (had to wear tri shorts)
shifting with socks is a little weird
New England skin burns easy when you sweat all day long
The local bike shop was able to fix the STI lever for $20 (Dura Ace Rocks)
I did every mile without a draft, 400 of it without aero bars
Went to the ocean 3 times, never swam once (forgot my speedo)
only hung over one morning “Jack” was involved
would I do it again – not sure
I started with 2 nuts – haven’t found either yet
Cinderella smells like plastic