My First Century
Lake Placid is fast approaching with just over 2 months left on the training calender. As I’ll need to start tapering my training about 3 weeks out from the race that leaves me with six weeks of solid training.
I think preparations so far have been going well considering I have to balance training with work and a seven month old. My swimming has improved out of sight in the last few months and my running has come to a new level. However, while my cycling is improving it is the one area of my training that has been somewhat neglected, mostly because it just takes too much time to get good at it. Given the bike leg at Lake Placid is 112 miles I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit worried.
So it is with my remaining weeks of training that I am focused on improving my cycling endurance by getting some long rides in on the weekends. Last weekend I was planning on going out to Shenandoah National Park to take in some long hills, but with the weather forecast looking so negative I decided to stay closer to home and focus on my first century – 100 miles on the bike.
I decided to ride out to Mount Vernon – the estate of the first US President George Washington – and back again, which would get me close to my target mileage. Then I would tack on a few extra miles at the end.
Usually the eastern section W&OD trail that I took is worth avoiding on the weekends, but because of the lousy weather it wasn’t too crowded. That took me into Alexandria, where I then found myself on the Mt Vernon trail. As I got closer the Mount Vernon the trail got hillier and slipperier, so I eased off the pace a bit and found myself at the entrance to Mount Vernon in one piece.
On the way back I was not as fortunate. About a mile or two on the return I turned my bike through a steep downhill corner only for the back wheel to lose traction and take my iron horse (or is it wire donkey?) sideways. The bike slid out in front of me and I skidded along the trail for what seemed like an eternity. Fortunately I was wearing two pairs of tights because of the weather so I was able to minimize the damage, but I still wound up with a very nasty road rash on my hip about 3 inches long and 1.5 inches wide as well as a few other cuts and bruises. Still, it’s the first time I’ve come off my bike in over a year and the damage could have been a lot worse, so I can’t complain.
Aside from my intimate encounter with the asphalt the ride was a success and gave me some confidence in my endurance. However, I was incredibly hungry by the end of it despite consuming energy snacks like a gluttonous king throughout the ride. It highlighted once again the importance of nutrition in an ironman event.
Because of my road rash I had to change my training plan for the week and take some time off swimming. I made up for it with some extra bike miles on the Expresso bike at the gym. However, I hit the pool again yesterday so as to not lose my feel for the water as I have a two mile open water swimming race this weekend. Then it’s just a few weeks until Philadelphia – my last triathlon before Placid.