Tuesday, August 9, 2011

115 miles of Branson training! WOOT WOOT!


I biked 115 miles of pure awesomeness. Yes, I did a few miles extra (go hard or go home, right?). 

My birthday bike ride = SUCESS! 

It was hard. It was hot. It was hilly. 

But I’m pretty sure I was in my glory the whole time. Well....maybe not the whole time. I’m sure I had some moments of thinking, “What the big H am I doing out in 103 degree weather with only hot water left to drink and biking hills with my chain stuck in the front big ring?”. I’m sure I made a few of my famous faces. Those expressions that my family and friends say show off my emotions way too well. 

Yet besides those rare moments of sanity when I began to question myself, I was really in my glory. 

So, here’s the ride play by play--or rather my rambling thoughts on how it all went down:

The first 56 miles was done with the 3 guys that I persuaded to ride with me. We did stop a few times to wait up for everyone and to snag some hot water from the water fountain at the highschool (yes, the water was unfortunately hot). The pace was kept pretty easy and low key. It was hot -- 103 degrees (I’m going to mention the heat about 1 million times in this post I’m sure). We started out later in the day than we planned so the sun was kind of pounding. Don't get me wrong -- I loved it--but the guys weren't that thrilled about the sunshine as I was. 

I felt good on this ride. It was a good pace and I stayed fairly hydrated (the water was definitely hot from being in the sun though). I ate a honey stinger packet every hour and put FIZZ in my waters. That seemed to work fairly well the first go around. The hills were hard, but I didn't struggle. This course did not seem as challenging for the first 56 miles. Yes, it helped that we were going at a good pace (not too easy, but definitely not too hard). I was happy to get done with the first half of our 112, but I was also eager to begin again. We finished somewhere near T2 with 58 miles. Somehow, we managed to do a little extra. I think we went the wrong way during the last part of the course, but that's ok--a little extra miles won't hurt!

After the first 56, we hit up a slooooooooooow 30 minutes of jogging to keep our legs moving (and a couple of the guys had to do a run after the first 56 because they were not continuing to the second 56 miles). After the run, we got a ride back to T1 (about 10 minutes away) and started the Branson 70.3 bike course again. I was stiff in the legs getting back on my bike, but it didn’t last long. The first lap was great. I felt ok--still pushing fairly well. During the second lap though--after about 30 miles into it--I hit a wall. I think the heat was starting to get to me. My water in my bottles was hot, and although it kept me hydrated, it didn't help cool me down at all. Also, I was HUNGRY. I didn't eat much in between our first and second ride because I didn't want to be hurting from too much food. However, I was definitely depleted. I was still taking in a honey packet every hour, but it didn't seem like enough. I wish I had some gatorade or something with me. 

Despite the heat and fatigue, I pushed through pretty well. It was a great experience for me mentally and physically. One of the guys had decided to stick out the next 56 with me. He was behind me...somewhere, and had told me to just go and not hold back. Sooooo, I did. Although I was a little worried at times when I couldn’t see him anywhere near me (all the other guys had stopped riding after the first 56 miles). It was just me going and going in the craziness, which took a little more mental strength cause I felt like I was out there alone. 

I gotta say the only thing that repeatedly went through my mind was "love the hills, love the hills, love the hills". haha. Yes, I'm a nut. I was loving those looooooooong hills! Around mile 90 or so, my chain got stuck on my front big ring. Yup. That was definitely not a fun thing on the remaining 22 miles of hills, but again--it was a great experience mentally and physically. I had to stand up on most of the inclines after that. It was much too hard for me to pedal for a mile uphill with my chain stuck. It was a little challenging standing up the whole time too! 

Around mile 96, the guy who had started out riding the second 56 with me appeared near one of the exits with gatorade and cold water (THANK GOD!). He had decided to stop riding the course on his second lap and went to get some cold fluids instead. Lucky for me, he brought some back to the course. After filling my bottles with cold liquids, the rest of the ride wasn't so bad. Well, it definitely hurt with that hard gear, the heat, and the wind (oh, did I mention it was windy?). Oh, and I was still really hungry! I was thinking about loving the hills and FOOD by the end of the second loop. It took me a long time to ride the course the second go around. Hopefully, I can improve my time and learn more about what I should do from this experience. 

All in all, the ride was great. I logged a grand total of 115 miles...somehow. I can’t wait to get back on that course! Branson is my new training heaven!

“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”
 William Allen White 


  1. You are a beast my friend! And I totally want to be just like you when I grow up!

  2. Wow, you stud! That's awesome!