Ironman Boulder is 24 days away!  Where did the year go???

This past Sunday, I got out for a great century ride.  It was brutally hot.  Someone’s bike computer read 107 degrees at one point.  Mine read 102.  It was nuts.

I was really proud of myself on this ride because I don’t like to ride alone, and will often use that as an excuse.  But this time, the girls in the group that I normally ride with were on a recovery week, so I was on my own.  And this time, there was no time left to put it off until another day.

So Sunday morning, I loaded up the car, and drove to Tom Watson Park.  I was on my bike by 9am, course map and turn-by-turn directions in hand.  I know the whole first part of the course, but with the course changes, I was unfamiliar with all the roads up in Loveland.  This always made me stressed out riding with a group.  The girls I usually ride with are awesome, and we have a very laid-back no-drop group.  But even knowing that, I’m always stressed out that I’m going to be dropped, miss a turn, and then be all on my own to get back.  Not that this is really a problem – thank goodness for smartphones.  But I’ve noticed that it makes me stressed out, which makes the ride less fun.

I rolled out of Tom Watson at 9am, and headed out on the course.  Down Diagonal to Jay, up 36, and onto 66.  For the first hour, I was spinning out my legs, and getting things warmed up.  I felt good!  Today was also a test run for my new nutrition, so I was really curious to see how that worked.  My old standby of the Clif shot drink mix and strawberry Gu chomps didn’t seem to be working for me anymore.  I was bonking hard around 50-70 miles in every time.  So I switched it up, and decided to try out some Skratch drink mix, with some applesauce pouches, and peanut butter and strawberry jam Uncrustables instead.

The other new thing I was testing out today was the new tri shorts from Coeur Sports.

Worked like a charm!

It was stupidly hot, so I went through a lot of water and had to make two refill stops at gas stations before I even got to mile 65.  But aside from the heat, I felt really good!  I wasn’t bonking, AND – hallelujah of hallelujahs – my lady parts felt fantastic!!!

By mid-afternoon, I was riding south on Colorado, wishing the sun would go away and that fantastic storm that I had been eyeballing for the last hour would come my way.  I was in the middle of trying to decide if I should make the left onto 66 and follow the actual course, or just continue straight on Colorado all the way down to 52.  At that moment, I saw a group of cyclists taking the course on 66, so I decided to make the turn and follow the course.

This ended up being a very good decision.

I rode east on 66 for a couple miles, and noticed that I was slowly catching up to these people.  Eventually, once we got onto highway 119, I caught the back of their group.  It was a bunch of women out riding the course.  We said some brief hellos, and commented on how damn hot it was (this was the WORST part of the day), and I continued on past them.

A few minutes later, I caught another two in their group and said hello.  This was the point when my garmin said 102 degrees, and I was pretty much hating the world and wishing I could go jump in a frozen lake somewhere.

At the intersection of 119 and 52, I stopped for a minute and got off my bike to stretch out my lower back.  At this point, a guy in a car stopped to ask if I was alright.  I gave him the usual smile and “I’m good!  Thanks!”  He then asked if I needed anything, and said that he was working as a mobile aid station to about 50 triathletes out on the bike course that day.

Helloooooooo, angel with the cold water!

I wanted to kiss him.

I dumped out the (now very hot) water in my bottles and refilled.  The girls I had passed a few minutes ago had now caught up, and we chatted for a minute.  Turns out they had someone acting as a mobile aid station as well, and she was just on the other side of the intersection, about 200 feet away.  They invited me to ride the rest of the way with them, which seemed like a much better option than pushing through the heat alone.

I rode the last 30 miles with these 5 ladies, and had a fantastic time.  Aside from the brutal heat, and the 40mph wind gusts that we faced at one point, it was a great ride.  They were all super nice and friendly, AND they had cold water.  (Swoon!)

Eventually, I rolled back into the Tom Watson parking lot just as my bia and garmin ticked over to 100 miles.  Perfect!

Overall, it was a great day.  My nutrition seemed spot on, and the seamless chamois tri shorts are the work of angels.  I averaged 15 mph on a super hot and occasionally super windy day, so I’m really happy with that.  Race day goal is to be above 15 mph, but I’ll be perfectly happy to do 15 as well.

Since this ride, I’ve gotten a few good trainer sessions in at home, and have some runs and OWS sessions planned for the next couple days.  This Sunday is also the Boulder Peak olympic tri.  I’m hoping to push myself a bit on the bike for this race, since it’s so short.  I always seem to settle into the same sort of pace, no matter what the distance is.  It would be nice to race it like it’s an olympic, and not a full for once.  Then again, I could just completely blow up if I do that.  Either way, it will be interesting.

After this weekend’s race, I have one more peak training week, and then it’s taper time!

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