WEEKEND RECAP: THE PERFECT END TO PEAK PHASE
i need to clear up a little confusion. although i have Wildflower listed on the race roster over there, it hadn't totally committed to it. COACH gave me the option to either stay home and follow the final peak workout that was on the schedule - an 80 mile ride with sustained climbs saturday and a 1 mile ocean swim and 15 mile run on sunday - or i could go to Wildflower and race the bike leg of the long course relay on Saturday followed by the Olympic distance solo on Sunday. oh yeah, and in case you don't already know, there's camping involved in the middle there. now i'm all for camping, in fact camping and triathlon?? MY TWO FAVORITE PAST TIMES!!! but honestly, the only reason i entertained racing at Wildlflower was for revenge. without getting too into it, i basically got word that someone i despise to the core from my marathon days was taking up triathlon and had registered to do the Oly as her first race. i knew i could take her, in fact i knew i could WIPE HER ASS ALL OVER THAT COURSE, but is that what i should be focusing on 3 weeks out from Ironman?? um, yeah, not so much. i can just see it, eating shit on that crazy bike course and jeopardizing my big day all because i wanted to settle a score. that's ok, cuz no amount of swim, bike, and run training will help her improve in time for me not to SERVE HER ASS UP ON A SILVER PLATTER at Wildflower next year. that is, if she didn't suck ass so bad this weekend that she even wants to do another tri. but enough hating...i digress...
as y'all read in my last post, i hit the "Taper Freak Out" a little early. i'm sure there's gonna be more freak outs in the next 3 weeks, but all of a sudden , i was dreading this last weekend of long workouts. i was losing focus, losing control of my time, LOSING IT. then on top of it, the recent fires had left the air quality so bad near home that i was forced to drive west seeking long, sustained climbs. so i had to head to Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains, what i like to affectionately call "The Hell Canyons." i was so traumatized from my first venture up there, that i hadn't been back since base training. so what better time to tackle your fears than during peak training!! once again, i picked canyons i'd never ridden before, and while there were several bail out options, i'd be damned if i took one of them!!
THE FUCKER is riding so smooth after his overhaul. i gotta give Manny, my bike mechanic, some mad props here. when i stopped into a random bike shop a few weeks back to ask for some air in the middle of a ride, the guy started shaking his head and explaining to me how the headset was pitted and i should have the bearings replaced soon. he showed me how it didn't turn free and smoothly, and explained it'd probably be a $40 repair. so i mentioned it to Manny and asked him to give me the lowdown on anything else that had to be replaced or upgraded so i could decide if i could afford it. turns out he simply cleaned out the bearings and they didn't need to be replaced. now whether the other guy at the other bike shop would have discovered the same thing or gone ahead and charged me for something i didn't know any better about whether i needed or not, well who's to say, but it's kinda like the way they trick women at the Jiffy Lube into shit they don't need when all they came in for was an oil change. here's what my dad, also a mechanic btw, taught me to say when i go there:
"listen, i just need an oil and filter change, NOTHING ELSE. i know it's your job to point out other crap my car may need, but today I JUST NEED THE OIL CHANGED, THANKS. so don't come at me with my dirty air filter cuz i know that it can just be blown out, k?? OIL CHANGE ONLY. i'm gonna go across the street and grab something to eat. when i come back, the bill should be 29.95 and i'm outta here. UNDERSTAND??"
but i never have to give that spiel at my bike shop. Manny hooked me up, and THE FUCKER is riding like a dream. so smooth, so easy. i really don't know what all he did, but it's almost too smooth. he's so responsive now, and he got a little speed wobbly a few times, but i think i can keep it all under control on race day.
i took the "Hell Canyons" by storm. no doubt, there's some serious climbing up there, but i just sat back, settled in and told myself i was gonna be there a while. most people passed me more so than me passing anybody else, but with every pedal stroke, i felt i was making my final significant deposit into the Bank of Ironman. and i was there A WHILE. i headed off PCH up Latigo Canyon which didn't seem as crazy as everybody makes it out to be, especially after climbing up Glendora Mountain Rd. the previous weekend. what was harder for me was getting to the top and taking Mulholland over to the next section. you get to Mulholland after a few hours of climbing and from the elevation profile, you're thinking you can relax on some flats for a bit, but it's pretty much going uphill or downhill, no flats really, and then i reached the next sustained climb up Piuma. i had half a mind to bail out and just head back down Las Virgenes to PCH, but i stuck it out and i'm soooooooo glad i did. just as i started to head into the climb, there painted on the ground from probably some previous race are three lines that read:
i don't know what 4k equals in miles. i'll try to do the math in my head. let's see, 5 over 3 is equal to 4 over x. x equals 4 over (5 divided by 3). NO WAY!!! all that high school math was coming back to me. ok, 5 over 3 is equal to roughly 1.6. oh yeah, i knew that already. 1 mile equals 1.6k. so now 4 over 1.6. awe crap. too late...
ok, so 3 over 1.6 equals...awe crap, decimals. well, it's definitely somewhere just under 2 miles. and this distraction kept on going..
at this point, i'm all mathed out but i know that once i get just over halfway between this marker and the 1K marker i'll be 1 mile from the top. that's 4 laps around a track. one lap at a time, one pedal stroke at a time, i'll get there. suddenly the road and the view to the right opens up, and i'm looking down at the Pacific Ocean below. now all of a sudden, in some weird, masochistic way, i don't want this to end. i don't want to hit taper. is that crazy to say?? then came the MAD CRAZY descent down Las Flores Canyon. mind you, i'd mapped this all out on gmap pedometer, and although the elevation chart gives you a sort of indication of what your ascents and descents should be, nothing really prepares you for the crazy ass narrow roads you have to take to get you there. even the satellite option doesn't really indicate the feeling your gonna get when your whizzing around a tight turn and realize that if you miss this by even a few inches, YOU'RE GOING RIGHT OVER THE CLIFF. and by "whizzing" i mean like 12 mph and CLENCHING onto the breaks for dear life. i love descending, but Las Flores was just too hairball, and i'd never ridden it before, so i had no clue what was coming next. by the time i finally made it to the bottom, it wasn't my legs that were hurting, it was MY ARMS from leaning into the handlebars and clenching the brakes for dear life!!! at the bottom, i still had about 17 miles to get back to Les' place. coulda been THE FUCKER'S smooth ride, coulda been the wind at my bike or could been that i'm a cycling animal (in my head at least) but i ate that road up and made it back in record time. after 70 miles with a hella lotta climbing, i still had something left. SUCCESS!!! total time for the 80 miles was about 7 hours, total ride time, i can't remember, and i'm too lazy and too sore to go look on the bike computer, but i think average speed was something over 12mph, so considering all the climbing, i ain't mad at that. Brasil won't be half as gnarls as that ride. my nutrition was a little dicey though. my Carbo Pro didn't arrive Friday as promised so i had to rely on my Perpetuem for most of my calories and mixed in some Luna Moons just to switch up the flavor and consistency. i'm definitely including Luna Moons on the big day just to keep it diverse with flavor. as y'all who've been following along for a while may know, i have to keep the flavors exciting or that's when i'm in danger of not eating often enough.
stayed on the westside at Iron Maiden, Lesley's place as she was at Wildflower and woke up the next morning all rested but still sore and not really knowing what to expect for the day's brick. got in the water at the Venice Pier, but different from last weekend, the waves were pretty sizable and the surfers were already out in full force, so i'd have to fight a little to get out in it and mindful not to snake anybody. i just wasn't in the mood either, but oh well, had to get out there. i did snake one guy as i couldn't get out of his paddle fast enough, but i profusely apologized and he didn't seem to be too upset about. i didn't go for distance but rather time. 20 minutes out, 20 minutes back, but in an attempt to not have to come back through the surf line again, i added a few more minutes swimming out of their way and further back down the beach. exiting was tricky as i tried to wait for a set to pass before i came in. i just didn't wanna get tousled in something that would cramp my calf up. so i waited and duck dived under a few bigger waves and then made my way in. 1 mile and some change, and then off for my 15 mile run. i was kinda in a hurry too, as I HAD A BLOGGY MEET UP TO GET TO!!! more on that in a second...
started out on the run still feeling stiff from the previous day's climbing. i just didn't feel in a groove at all, but i had to trust that i would warm up and get into it. still though, by mile 5 where i most definitely find my groove by, i still wasn't in it, kinda feeling my IT band going up to my hip, but not in any real significant pain. i just need to make stretching a regular part of my nightly routine from here on out. i practiced storing my Cheeze-It Gripz pack and some Luna Moons in the elastic of my visor. it worked well which will free me up from having to wear any sort of belt on my waist at IM Brasil. i'll also carry my water bottle in it's hand carrier which will store salt caps. still though, on this run, I FELT HUNGRY. just didn't eat enough of a breakfast to sustain me after swimming first. note to self: a quick protein shake ain't gonna cut it!!!! still, i powered through and by the end i surprisingly found that i had maintained just over a 10:30 pace and an average heart rate of 148!! this was a pleasant surprise since my goal pace for Ironman is somewhere more like and 11:00-11:30 pace. when all was said and done, i just wanted to crash, but instead i downed a quick protein shake, showered and raced down to The O.C. to meet up with none other than...
THE KAHUNA!!!! no way, get outta town!!! i had been commenting to Greyhound on his blog about how bummed i was that i wouldn't be able to meet them all at Wildflower. low and behold, they invited me to drive down and meet them for a post-Wildflower afternoon boat cruise of Newport Harbor, also known as The Kahuna's triathlon headquarters. so there i was meeting 5 complete strangers who only knew me through the tri blog world, and ALL OF THEM IRONMEN!!
Curly Su gets a quick boat steering lesson from The Kahuna
what better way to spend the end of the peak phase than to get reassurance from these awesome tri blog peeps that i'm gonna be ok at IM Brasil. they were all so calm, so cool and collected. coulda been that 3 out of 5 of them had just done Wildflower the day before, one of the toughest Half IMs out there, and 1 out of 5 of them just had foot surgery. take a look at his footsies:
what would Iron Wil think of these feet?
Taconite Boy looks a little intimidated by Kahuna's margarita skills
we should all be scared of Robo Stu's margaritas!!!
when Kahuna handed me a margarita, i turned to hand it to Curly Su only to discover that she was already holding one. oh, wait, you mean i can have a margarita?? you guys sure?? i'm 3 weeks out from Ironman ya know. to which i received a resounding,"SURE YOU CAN!!! NO WORRIES!!!!" so, i'm just gonna state for the record right here right now that if i don't make it across the line, i blame these guys!!!
me, Greyhound, Taconite Boy, Curly Su, The Kahuna, and Robo Stu.
then we went back to Kahuna's for a little game o' HORSE. let's just say, i'm sticking to triathlon dreams and not hoop dreams. but really, i can't tell you how special it was to meet these guys. they're just what they're like on their blogs, really kind and giving souls who happen to all share a love of this awesome sport. i wish for all of you that you get a chance to meet up with them some day too. next up is IM CDA for Greyhound, Cury Su, Taconite Boy, and i think maybe Robo Stu too?? and let's all wish The Kahuna a speedy recovery and some killer training for IMAZ in November!!! if all goes as planned, i'll be back there again to cheer him and many other Tri Club buddies on to victory.