Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dear St George....

Thank you for the dry roads clear of ice and snow, but come on -
is 45 degrees and overcast the best you can do???
I shouldn't whine, I hear it's snowing at home, and riding outside there is almost impossible and I've already logged 70 miles outside down here.
Yesterday about 12:30pm I got started on my first long ride for the week riding from T1 through 1 loop of the bike course. The red rocks riding away from Sand Hollow Reservoir are so beautiful. The ride into the next city, Washington, had several good climbs up, and several good descents as well. Nothing longer than a mile though, actually there are no sustained climbs on the whole course longer than a mile, just a ton of shorter ones. Once into Washington I got to ride on the new road running parallel to the freeway. Nice new black paving and not a car in sight. Went down one hill thinking I might topple head over heels it was so steep. I did actually say "Wee!" near the bottom of it though :)
Finally made it into St George and started the section of the course I've already ridden. Riding west toward Santa Clara I actually rode the correct route (got lost last time) and it takes you through some lava fields, pretty neat. I don't really care for that section through Santa Clara and Ivins, very monotonous and just feels like they're trying to add miles by having us make weird turns here and there. I just wanted to get out on the highway.

Anyway, the highway leading to the Gunlock turnoff seemed to come quicker this time, and the miles up to the reservoir weren't too bad. The lake isn't much to see, but this pic below shows it and the interesting climate layers you can see on the mountains. That small roller is also a good representaion of what you're always dealing with on this course. They're not all that small though..... ;)
It was the point of leaving the town of Gunlock at about 40 miles that I had kind of had it mentally. I was excited to be over halfway, but I was cold (mostly just my feet, they were frozen for sure despite the socks, shoes and neoprene toe covers I had on), and probably a little low on calories although I had been paying attention to things well. I actually stopped on the side of the road, drank my protein drink moved my trail mix from my back jacket pocket to the bento box right up front, and went on my way. Once I finally got up to Veyo, my highest spot in elevation, I saw snow on the sides of the road unlike I had elsewhere, and it was even colder. I stopped at a gas station to use the bathroom (really, just an excuse to get my feet dethawed a little in a warm place), and took off ready to be done. I remember being upset a the course at this point the last time I rode the course because there was an extra hill past the Veyo hill and I had forgotten about. This time I remembered and was mentally prepared and once I got through with that I was pleased with the renewed spirits I had as I FINALLY got to ride above 20pmh. In fact, I probably averaged 25mph those last 15 miles back into St George. I arrived to our condo very cold but to dinner on the table. I was a little colder than expected and had to endure the painful sting of frostbite on my feet while standing in the shower. OUCH! I hate that!

Anyway, long story short, yesterday's ride was had it's ups and downs both literally with never ending rolling hills and a headwind for 50 miles, mentally with times of confidence and others of great discouragement, and physically with low energy levels or dead legs or something, but no injuries or pain which is the up for sure. My nutrition went very well. I was dressed as well as I think I could have been, and am hoping for a little bit warmer and sunnier weather for the next ride on Friday. I averaged the mph average I was hoping for (but just barely, possibly a little under), so I'm confident with more training, better equipment, and race atmosphere I'll be in a good position to get that bike split I want.
Tomorrow I'll do some tempo work on the run course. I'm excited to feel the course out with my legs vs just the car. Probably sneak a swim in too. I hate paying to swim (I don't since I work at a fitness center at home), but our pool here unfortunately is waiting for a part to come in that was due yesterday......of course.

I don't usually post all of my goals and their specifics, but I will post Friday's. The plan is to ride 2 loops of the course giving me about 85 miles. It is something so hard to wrap my mind around right now, but something I need and want to do. The mileage is a little scary yes, but it's the hills and mental challenge that are the bigger players. I may be able to hook up with a local triathlon club riding the course that day for my second loop, but any and all encouragement I can get from my faithful readers will be much appreciated! I'm shameless, what can I say :)


Jarvis Family said...

Hey, wow, what a trooper! I know the course you have been riding and it is definitely not an easy one. Nothing too hard but it adds up! I know you are going to do so well with all that awesome preparation you are putting into it. I wish I was there for Friday's ride to accompany you but I will be thinking of you for sure! Good luck!

Leslie said...

You're so great Sarah, thanks! And you're description of "nothing too hard but it ADDS UP" is exactly right.

Megan said...

You rock Leslie! I'm so glad you're getting some good outside riding in. I miss the open road! We took a little family trip to Durango this week, and I was able to get two decent swims in at their rec center. Nice to know I haven't forgotten how to swim in my pool-deprived state. Enjoy the rest of your St. George stay!