I'm a runner, the marathon I have. The thing about the Full Ironman that makes me nervous is the swim but mostly the bike. I'm not a strong biker, stronger than I used to be. Before I began training for this race my longest ride had been 60 miles, and it hurt. Every week I've been upping the mileage.
The best thing is I live in a beautiful area that doesn't get extremely hot during the summer AND I get to bike in the beautiful mountains or by the ocean.
Yesterday I decided it was time I see what I could do by attempting the entire 112 miles of a full Ironman bike course.
I was really excited to try out two new pieces of gear. Nuun had sent me an awesome bike jersey in a super awesome pink color. I also got new bike shoes to help with the feet numbing issue I tend to have with my others. I turned a lot of heads on the PCH and even had a biker pass me (on a hill) and tell my "yo! your shoes are hot!" lol made climbing that hill much more fun!
I drove to a park in Camarillo that has a great bike path and decent roads that eventually connect to the Pacific Coast Highway. My goal was originally to do 100 miles, 60 Miles the first out in back, 20 out and 20 back. However as I approached the farm roads it was evident the winds were the strongest I've ever been in. I was trying to stay conservative the first 20 miles but it seemed like I was climbing, on flats, pushing it to go 13 mph into the headwind.
My first major turn around was a great yogurt /Acai Bowl place in Malibu. Now, I know they don't have that type of pit stop on the Ironman course, however, I treat this like a long run. My goal is just to get time in the seat and do what I can to get in the mileage. I turned around after 30 miles and felt like I was FLYING.. that headwind turned into a beautiful 22-24mph headwind. I arrived at big rock (13 miles from my car) and I had a decision to make. I could go back to the car and deal with coming all the way back into the wind, OR I could make multiple loops. You may be asking "why dont you just go 50 out and back?" Well, on Ironman courses that is never the case. They close the roads and have police and volunteers at every turn and junction. Most bike courses involve some loops. Mine entails 3 loops PAST the finish line. I need to be ready to see that and not turn in.
I decided to ride back towards LA, however 4 miles in there was a car, flipped upside down, closing the entire highway. They were turning cars around, SO, back to the Big Rock I went. I pulled over into one of the canyons, luckily my phone still had a little juice. I looked at google maps and realized I could take a country road to a nearby city off from my car. SO, I headed back to the car, averaging somewhere around 22-23 MPH, again FLYING! My trip average when I reached the car was around 16.6 Mph.
At my car I refueled, re-hydrated, checked my bike, and pushed the lock button. It's always hard to pull away, not hopping in to leave for home, but at 55 miles, I still had some riding to do.
I turned onto Upland Dr, heading towards Moorpark, and it was how it sounded, UP. For about 1/4 of a mile I climbed, and climbed. It was nice to be on a new route but I still hoped I could make up the mileage. I turned left onto this beautifully new paved road. It was SUCH a nice treat. The shoulder was extremely wide and I passed many orange orchids. I lost the ocean breeze and saw the sun for the first time that day. I climbed up and over another hill into Moorpark, turned right and ended up by a horse farm. I stopped and said hi. You can take the girl out of Kentucky, but I'll never lose my love for horses. I turned around and began what would be the hilliest ascent/descent portion of my ride (I'm so glad I saved this for the last 40 miles) .
When I got into the 90 miles I had the option of turning around, however I felt good, So, knowing I still had time to keep going I added an extra 6 miles to make it 112. I was going to finish this ride. However, after I turned around I got a flat. After 2 busted tubes and a bike angel I was back on the road. Definitely helps to pay it forward. I was heading home, in the wind, again.
I began getting into new territory. I surpassed the 100 mile mark and still, felt ok. Of course my last 2 miles was up a huge hill, "one foot in front of the other". I turned a corner, went passed my car and did the last mile on the bike path and back to my car. I DID IT!!! 112 miles!! I got a lot of weird looks from park goers when I shouted, but, who cars. I did it!
The wind and hills deflated my average pace down to a 16.3, totaling a net elevation of 3,500+ . For a training ride, I'll take it. It's still a finishing time at an Ironman.
I usually listen to music on my phone, however I turned spotify off after mile 20. I won't have music on the race, so I shouldn't train with it.
I finished the day by loading up my bike and putting on my running shoes. I ran 4 miles on the bike path to get a little practice for the marathon . I felt good and concentrated on my breathing and form.
It was a great day. Having that Ironman distance under my belt has me a little more confident going into my race next month. :)
Thanks for reading!
I'm passionate about running, fitness, nutrition and all things that make me and everyone else a better version of ourselves.