I’m going to start with the obvious. It is HOT here in D.C.
But that didn’t stop me from riding a very hilly 101.5 miles on Memorial Day, did it? Nope.
Shireen had suggested getting together for a long ride awhile back, so she planned a “casual” 80-mile loop for Anna, Hillary and I. Adam and James tagged along, and we met up with Francesca and Tyler along the way as well. Sounds fun, at least in theory. Here’s the rundown:
We met up at Glen Echo Park off McArthur at 9:30. I rode from home, which roundtrip would put me right at 100 miles. I was dripping in sweat from the moment I walked out my door, and I knew with temps starting above 80 degrees I was in for a long day. I also vaguely knew where we were going and that it likely was going to be hilly, but I had no concept of just how hard the course was. Finally, I rode 63 miles plus a 5 mile brick run on Sunday, so my legs were already
angry warmed up.
In any case, we finally rolled out from Glen Echo a bit before 10am and headed up the huge McArthur hill to Great Falls. I actually really love that hill but quickly remembered I’ve never done any hills on my tri bike. Then someone said something about Sugarloaf Mountain — if I’d read the cue sheet, I would have realized this is where we were headed — and I had a brief internal panic about all the climbs I knew we were about to encounter. Thankfully, climbing is my thing. But that doesn’t make hills any easier.
I had an aero bottle and another water bottle on the bike already, but within about five minutes of clipping in I knew that would only last me for about 10 miles. We stopped at every gas station we encountered and purchased gallon jugs to pass around, along with Gatorade, ice cream and whatever else sounded good. I ate a Clif Bar, an Uncrustable and a package of Shot Bloks over the course of the ride and drank too many bottles of water to count, but I could (and should) have taken in a lot more calories. I faded pretty quickly in the last ten miles of the ride, but the heat definitely doesn’t make you want to eat. More work necessary before IM.
I wish I’d taken pictures along the way — we rode through some beautiful farmland, around Sugarloaf Mountain, through some quaint towns — so the scenery definitely made the ride a more pleasant experience. Rural Maryland really is beautiful. And even though there were some killer hills (River Rd. is a bitch), we also hit a few fun descents, and this really built up my confidence for future climbing practice and the scary IMWI bike course.
LOOK AT ALL THAT CLIMBING.
In the end, with the route from home and pulling into parking lots and doubling back on McArther for an extra 3 miles, Adam and I rode 101.5 in 6:05. Not bad, considering the heat and the terrain. Actual time outdoors was much longer (like 8:45-5) because of all the stops, and I think sitting still in the heat 8 -10 times for regroups and refuels actually made the day harder. Also, the 104 degree heat index. Just saying.
The Wisconsin course — thanks to recon from a few people over the weekend — has a similar amount of elevation change and supposedly matches up nicely with some of the hills in the Poolesville area, where we were. So I think a few more rides — 80-110 miles each — out there and I’ll be well prepared for race day.
After the ride, we stopped at Jetties for massive sandwiches and headed back to cool off in the A/C. Thank god for that. I needed to ice bath and stretch and dig myself out of a 2,250 calorie deficit (uh, YEAH) and then lay around for the rest of the evening. I actually felt pretty good and my legs never really hurt, but I think the heat and the total fueling fail just took it out of me overall. Dinner, Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked and bed took care of all problems though.
Next century ride: June 11. Anyone want to come along???
PS: I also failed at the #50KinMay goal — thanks to a race, being out of town, getting sick and just generally disliking 5000m-plus workouts. But no worries — we’ve got 500 miles on the bike in June. This seems more manageable because, after all, I’ll be knocking out 200 of those miles on June 25…