Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Just so you don't think this is my house, I have to break the silence of "Wordless Wednesday." 50 mph gusts last night. Lots of branches down around my house, leaves blowing and swirling all over, and not yet ready to fall from the trees.

It was a little less windy this morning, but it was a brisk, more than breezy run. We're definitely going to see some big changes in our weather this week and through the weekend, making IM training that much more challenging.

I am facing a dilemma for my last longest bike ride. The plan was to ride an organized ride scheduled for this weekend, but truthfully I am getting totally worn out by these windy, hilly, cold rides.

Last Sunday, Don and I started out with good intentions of doing 50+, but the farther we headed west, the darker the sky got, to the point where it was nothing but steel gray. And of course we got rained on, making things that much more fun, in addition to my bike computer always conking out from the slightest hint of moisture. (Reading reviews on line, I see now that this particular bike computer model is very sensitive to moisture, which is why it went out on my at Muncie, and continues to stop working every time the humidity is high or even a few drops of rain fall--and this is a replacement!)

Both of us were still feeling the effects of last week's windy hilly ride, and he was feeling particularly low in energy, having dropped back behind me of all things. You know if I'm ahead of you that you're in trouble.

So we took a little detour to get away from the hills for a while and to see this since we were in the area.

Apparently, the people moved out of the house the day before, disconnecting the gas appliances but failing to have the gas shut off. A Darwin Awards moment, for sure, with the house exploding. Fortunately no one was home and no one was home next door, which you can see the debris managed to blow over into their yard. The house was completely flattened.

Shortly after this, we hit a patch of showers and that pretty much finished Don off. He knows I won't ride out there by myself and didn't want to disappoint me, but he just could not continue on the hilly route we had set out on. This route is not easy on any part of it, so I really couldn't blame him for giving in for the day. I was feeling it too, especially after my long run and swim the day before. But I still had to get a ride in.

So, what to do, what to do? He suggested I go to the gym and do two hours on the spin bike. Much as I haven't been ready to move to inside workouts, I had to agree this was probably best for the day, not knowing how much more, if any, rain we were likely to get. Saturday had been an off again on again cold rain, and I wasn't looking forward to another day like that.

I was the only one at the gym when I got there. All the lights were off in fact. I quickly changed into dry inside clothes, set up the spin bike, popped in my favorite DVD ride (Ride Las Vegas) and started pedalling. I had planned to use one other DVD, but I like this one so much, once it was finished I started it up again. And then I did it again. I love the scenery, Valley of Fire State Park in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here's just a sample of the scenery.

This particular DVD also has great spinning music and NO TALKING! Something I can't stand when biking is chit chat or listening to a spin instructor yelling out instructions. So it just me, pedalling along, great scenery, and great music. It gave me a thrill watching the riders pedalling up steep climbs and then the fast downhills. I am totally envious of the smooth quality of those roads. I have put this place on my list of places to visit.
That gets me back to this weekend's dilemma. I have already decided not to do the group ride Saturday. Its supposed to once again be rainy, and this particular course is so hilly my mind just is not letting me consider doing this any more. I' m not so sure anymore that which does not kill me makes me stronger. Well, maybe stronger, just not faster. I have to come up with an alternative, however, and have considered two options:
1. Riding on the bike trail, doing two loops, total mileage of about 98-99 miles. This option, if it rains, still puts me out there all day in the wet and rain, and part of this course tends to be very windy also.
2. Doing an inside ride, at pace, for 6-7 hours. I know this is mind blowing to some people, but I have done 4 hours once and am willing to do it again if this will get me where I need to go.
Part of my discouragement on some of the longest rides is that with the wind and hills, I am not able to maintain a decent pace for the whole ride, the kind of pace I need to maintain in the race. I have done some speed rides to maintain pace, so I know I can do a certain pace, but I need to see this for a longer period of time. I need to see the numbers to give me the confidence that on race day I will also be able to do this.
I know conditions on race day are never guaranteed, but having studied the course, read the athlete forums from last year, and factoring in the potential head wind coming to the finish, I still don't anticipate it will be as bad as what I have ridden so far.
So, anyone still reading, what do you think? I have already been given a couple of different opinions, but am curious what others think?


Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Wow. tough decision. It sounds to me like you might be happiest with the inside ride, although there is no way (nada) that I could do that personally. But I think you can. And it will probably be more confidence building and more enjoyable than being out in the weather this weekend

my two cents.


Nothing like the real thing no matter what the conditions. After all, you never know what race day will throw your way.....

Lily on the Road said...

I have to agree with One Hour Vickie, the real with Anne ... she might be able to shed some light, she trained all winter...

Hope Don is feeling better...give him my best...

Just_because_today said...

sometimes the gym is the option that gets you to finish a workout. I have had to do that recently. I dont blame you for getting tired of the hills. I admire the fact that you do it at all even if others are in front...

Missy said...

I'm with Bob, we have no idea what Nov 7 will bring. It might suck real bad but I will always say outside unless it's actually 'dangerous' (lightening). Make sure you're lit up well so cars can see you. That way, you can identify any water/wet issues you may have to take care of if it's raining on race day. Oh, and the hills will only help you on the flats, that's a fact Jack!