Sunday, August 27, 2006

112 Degrees!

It is taper week and we might as well do the Hotter'n Hell Hundred bike rally, right? Sure! Early in the year, after Bob and I had ridden his 2005 cycling goal of the MS150 he said he'd like to do the HHH. It was only 2 weeks before Ironman Wisconsin but, I thought if I took it easy, it shouldn't be a problem. So, this weekend, Bob drove up from Austin to meet me at Glenn's on Friday. Saturday at 2:45 am we woke up to make a pre-3:30 am departure for Wichita Falls, TX. ....and I thought all these 5-something-am mornings were getting old.

Bob's been training but he admitted that he hadn't done 100 mile rides. He also said he'd finish the Hotter'n Hell. He did. It took 8 hours, but his riding time was 5:45. Spending a lot of time in the support tents got him recharged and rested enough to get a good century ride done. Way to go Bob!

My ride was intended to be easy since I've done 4 rides of close to 100 miles in the last 5 weeks. And its taper time. The HHH started to plan. Bob and I rode together for 30 miles. I was running interference, picking pace lines and getting through the masses of riders. Every time I looked back, Bob was there. It was pretty crowded so I didn't get to communicate with him much and couldn't tell if he was pushing too hard but he stayed on my wheel. At the first set of climbs (if you can call them that) the packs started breaking apart. Bob was still there so I broke away from a couple of pacelines because I knew Bob trained in Austin and could handle the hills. As we approached the largest hill of the set the road got all packed up. There were small groups to the right and 2 different pacelines and one was passing in the oncoming traffic lane of the 2-lane road. For some reason they slowed at the hill and instead of backing off I looked up and knew that I could take this paceline and the whole pack of 50-60 riders before it got too dangerous with possible oncoming traffic. I pulled even farther left, had plenty of room, I was by myself, had lots of speed, got down in the bars and pushing 100 rpm or better I took every rider well before the peak and scooted into a very large gap. It was apparent then that Bob didn't have the same opening and wasn't going to go for the kill. OK, game on.

So, I was on my own after that and had groups of under 10 to work with on occasion. Mostly, I took the chance to stay solo and in the triathlon position (not too welcome by groups) and just go for the ride. Very often, after passing small groups, I could take a glance down and see a wheel riding very closely behind. Sometimes I would take the opportunity to get up on the horns, fall back in the line and rest, have something to eat and drink then work my way back up to the front. Most of the time I could pull away from the group before long or I would see them peel away for a rest stop. I had just pulled away from an AT&T uniformed team when I looked back and witnessed one of them crash. The guy landed well after an amazing leap and 4-5 giant steps off the bike. He likely wasn't hurt but I never saw them again.

The nutrition plan that I received from Roni's friend was put in play for the HHH. The liquid mix turned out to be unpalatable when it heated up but I drank most of what I brought. I also validated Enervite as a great, easily digestible supplement and will use that at IMMOO.

I finished the HHH shortly after noon for a 5:12 ride. On the PA they announced that it was 112 degrees (but its a dry heat). The ride was a lot slower than prior years where it was 90% pack riding but a lot faster than I had planned. But I felt great, racked the bike and went for a run. I wanted to get in at least 20 minutes just to remind myself that this is possible. As I left the site in my running shoes some guy on a bike went by and said "Man, you tri- guys are nuts." Yes! I really wanted to hear that, and I agreed.

Bob made it in about 3pm and by then everything had really heated up. The parking lot was intolerable and even shade was hot. I had found the air-conditioned MPEC lobby to be a fine place to take a nap. We packed up Bob, grabbed a couple of BBQ sandwiches and hit the road. It wasn't long before an ice cream stop, ya-hooooo!

So, today, the Sunday after the HHH, Roni and I had to get a 2 hour run completed. Patti and I joined her, and Jerone, Rob and Scott also joined us and we were all off at 6am for a White Rock loop and more. I did the WR loop in 1:49 (about 20 minutes slower than normal) and called it a day. Scott had also done the HHH Saturday and had asked me in the hot parking lot if I would be at the lake at 6am. I must have shamed him into showing up and it was definitely nice to have a running partner at my slow pace today. As for Roni, holy crap, she is smokin'! She and Rob didn't catch Patty and Jerone, but she did run 13 miles in just a bit longer than 2 hours.

This week (a taper week):
Swim: 11,250m (3800, 3650, 2800)
Bike: 161 miles (28, 33, 100)
Run: 33.3 (18, 5.5, 3.3, 4.5, 2)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

So this is taper?

Its been "Peak Phase" for about 8 weeks. 2 weeks to go to the big event. This past Monday started what is considered the taper down to the event but the program continues. This month included the River Cities Triathlon which I didn't even have time to blog about. Several century and big run weekends since then. Last Saturday included an open water swim (1.5 miles) followed by a 50+ mile bike ride and a half-hour run. I intended to conserve energy for Sunday's 3 hour run and didn't join Roni and Matt in the ride back to town for the extra 20 miles.

The Sunday run wasn't even 3 hours.... it turned into 3:40. Ouch, that hurt. Loop 1 with Helene and the speedsters out front at White Rock was no problem. A quick swap of the shoes and socks, say goodbye to those who get to have breakfast, some gathered and a gel pack and off we go for loop 2. The second round of runners, Rob and Gary, joined Roni and I for the last loop and they quickly ran off as I settled into a pace I thought I could hold. The Run-On water stops were a big help but for some reason I missed one and needed to stop by Mark's house for a refill of the water bottle. That pretty much saved my day and I made it to the North bridge before problems occurred. Patty wasn't there to yell at me, there was nobody to pace with.... so I walked. OK, Ed, time to get going again. I created a little game; I can only walk 100 steps and then I must run a minimum of 100 steps. And if I lose count I have to start over unless I 'm walking then I have to run. It helped but I got so loopy that I kept losing count. Finally, the last mile is here and I can run it in AND here's Gary and Roni coming back. Roni offered a Gatorade and said "you made it!", but I wasn't there yet. Just the sight of them gave me enough of a boost to run it on in and Gary paced with me to get there. Thank God taper starts tomorrow.

So, what is taper week? Uh, well, Tuesday was a 5.5 mile run and 3800 meters swimming, Wednesday was 3650 Meters swimming, 32 biking and 3.3 running, Thursday was NOTHING!!!. Friday, will be a 4.5 mile run and a 3600 meter swim and Saturday is the Hotter'n Hell Hundred. Sunday is only a 2 hour run. Man, I really glad this isn't a tough week. Geeez.

I finally called Roni's nutritionist. I was starting to feel too weak and lose too much weight. After the last 2 weeks, go figure? So, Tammy has provided a nutrition plan based on the latest results and issues I've run into. I'll put the riding nutrition plan in place this weekend at the HHH. Its only slightly different than I've been using but elimiates the fiber and other indigestables that I'd been using and returns a lot of the sodium I lose from profuse sweating. I gotta figure that Wisconsin won't be 106 degrees.

This year's HH100 will be Bob's first! I'm really, really hoping that Bob is not in the shape he was in at the MS150 because I really don't want to ride that fast. I'll ride the HHH as if it were IRONMAN, ditch the Camelback in favor of 2 refill stops and proper nutrition. And.... this is the part I'm really looking forward to.... I'll go for a 30 minute run after I'm done. Doing this after the HHH really freaks people out. The look on their face is priceless.

This week I've double checked the Madison hotel res, moved the flights up to arrive earlier since registration has to be done on Friday only, scoped out 24 hour breakfast spots in Madison, found out the bike has to get shipped out on Sept 2nd and tested out the new wetsuit. I'm ready. I'm terrified.

So, good luck Bob! And, thank God its taper time.