This was a very different ride than 2013.
First off, I did the whole 100 miles. At mile 20, I considered bailing again and turning off at mile 26 or so to do just the 62…but then, my husband caught me and rode with me to the turn off for the century. My pride was too great to admit I was considering cutting it short. Plus, at that point, I felt just fine. Minimal wind, riding at a solid pace…I just was doubting my abilities.
Secondly, no wind on the beginning half of the course. Awesome, but deceiving as it picked up in the second half with a vengeance. Uphill and downhill – wind in your face. But, the wind didn’t bother me nearly as much as last year, although at times I think it was stronger (I heard on the news later than evening gusts were up to 35 mph). I was annoyed by it, but not to the point of tears. I see that as tremendous progress.
Third, my brakes got much less of a workout this year. Hills were not as daunting (descending them, that is) and I felt much more confident in my riding. This is good since in just 2 months time, to the day, I’ll be riding 112 miles at Ironman Boulder.
Fourth, pelotons are annoying and rude in a “bike tour.” I found many of these riders to be bullies – not just to me, but to others on the course. I was out to complete the miles and enjoy the gorgeous, green (yay for our past few weeks of steady rain) views – not to “race” anyone. Riding full speed in a gang alongside people puking at the top of hills or those who get out once a year on their mountain bike (I question whether these folk belonged on the course, too), is just not a good idea. The course isn’t built for racing and 10,000 riders of all different abilities don’t make for a race either. It’s dangerous and unpleasant. Also, the people wearing ear buds while riding were perturbing. How dangerous is it to not hear traffic and other riders? I can’t imagine being that tuned out while riding down some of those roads with cars whizzing by at 55 mph.
Fifth, I still don’t love riding my bike, although there were moments on the ride that I did. Perhaps, I don’t love riding my bike for 100 miles.
Sixth, the last hour’s mental speak felt much like the last hour of a marathon. The pain is different – for me, it was simple butt fatigue (which plagues most riders) and a need to be DONE. I let my head win for that last hour…that’s a lesson though. I can’t let it win during Ironman.
Seventh, the thought of running a marathon after that ride was not appealing. Not that I had to — but in 2 months I will. Luckily, Elephant Rock’s 6,000 feet of climbing is much greater than the Boulder course.
The beauty of Colorado really stood out on this ride, and I’m so happy that I was not so fixated on my misery that I could enjoy it. I’ve got another 100 miles coming up at the end of June, which should give me an even better idea of my preparedness for Ironman. My time was slow, but there were lots of stops at rest areas and a commitment on my part to just complete the miles – never to work hard. You can’t help but push some up the hills, but I kept it manageable. I felt great yesterday and can keep plugging away on training this week. Off for a swim and an hour-long run. Ironman Boulder 70.3 is in about 10 days. I think I’ve got this.