Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tour de Palm Springs

Workout:
56 mile bike ride in 4:20
5 mile run in 43:44


The the start of any run, from a 5k to a marathon, carries with it an excited, nervous energy. People walk around in a sort of trance, distracted by their own personal goals, hopes and doubts. They're looking to get in their pre-race fuel, use the restroom one last time (the lines!), stretch and find their start wave, corral or friends. Now imagine all of that going on with as many bikes as there are people.

I completed my very first organized ride last Sunday, the Tour de Palm Springs. I was more nervous than excited and had the same type of doubt that I had before my first marathon. Prior to this, the farthest I had been on my bike was 45 miles. And, I planned to follow this ride with a 5 mile run, to make it part of my training.

My Mom and I left Yucaipa at 6am. The drive out there was beautiful, and we were able to park, pick up my registration packet and mill about the other 7,000 riders just after sun rise. Instead of a bib with a race number, we were each given a bracelet. Yellow=100 mile (or, century) ride, orange = 56 mile ride, green = 25 mile ride. I wore orange. I found out that the jersey wasn't included and quickly shelled out $75 for one. I have no idea why they are so expensive, maybe it's all the handy pockets on the lower back. In there I stuffed 3 of my favourite flavors of Gu, lip gloss and two 500mg tylenol pills.
Mom snapped some pics as I was swept up in a sea of fellow riders, all walking our bikes to the start. It was at this time I realized what I'm sure everyone else already knew: we would be riding with traffic.
We started in waves, with the century riders leaving just after 7am. I left at 8am and the first few miles reminded me of trying to drive 80 in the fast lane, stuck behind a ton of people determined to abide by the speed limit. Unlike a run, I had no timing chip. It took me 15min. to cross the start, and I couldn't go my normal pace for at least 10 miles because there were so many people. We took up one lane of a 4 lane road, and the more experienced (and frustrated?) riders weaved in and out of the cones that were set up, or went into the second lane to go around the slower riders.


I wasn't concerned about my time, and took it easy. It was on a steep uphill around mile 15 that I noticed that I was in the lowest/easiest gear possible was still hard. I looked at my other gear on my left handle bar and noticed it was in the middle. I usually just shift with my right handle bar and leave the left one in what is called granny gear. But when I took it to the bike shop the day before they must have adjusted that. So I shifted that back, and it was back to normal. About an hour in, we had spread out and I was feeling good.
It was sunny and beautiful out there with long stretches or open roads and not too many cars. Until we joined back up with the century riders. They had diverted off to make it a longer course and when they joined up with us it was again a sea of bikes. Police were out directing traffic, but it was a near pile-up at one light because the more experienced riders who were going at least 30mph suddenly had to come to a stop. Riders put an arm out, bent and pointing down to signal a slow or stop and call out 'slowing' or 'stopping' to help avoid being rear-ended. They also point at objects in the road as they pass to help people behind them avoid running over them. I don't do any of that of course, because the only time I take my hands off is to grab a drink from my water bottle.


There were three SAG stops at miles 18, 32 and 44. I flew by the first one, because there were way too many people and I still had gatoraide. We had climbed quite a bit, so miles 22 - 32 seemed to be mostly downhill. Which for me means just over 20mph. Other riders were flying by, in higher gears, still pedaling. I stopped at mile 32 and refilled my water bottle and had a few snacks and was back on the road.


The remainder of the course was in traffic, without cones. This was my very first time riding on streets with a group of people. We made some turns going from the far right lane to the left-hand turning lane, through traffic. It was fun! I was feeling really confident clipping out and stopping, almost like a real cyclist. Until mile 51. 


I was with a group and the light changed to red. I clipped out with my right foot (always my right), braked and came to a stop. I'm not sure what happened next, but I fell over. I think I was a bit out of it and tried to put my left foot down. I fell over to my left, hard. Someone asked if I was okay. Falling never really hurts that much...mostly it's just embarrassing. As the light changed to green, I clipped back in and tried to go but my seat was twisted 3 inches to the left! I let that group pass by and pulled over to the curb. Worried that I wouldn't be able to finish, the first person I asked in the second group had an allen wrench and fixed my seat. Whew!


I finished the last few miles strong. But every so often one of the century riders would pass and I realized I was going fast...for me. They were much faster, even though they had already been almost twice as far.


As I neared the finish I saw Mom waiting for me. I crossed the line and she met up with me, eager to hear how it went. But after 4 hours and 20min. on my bike I wasn't much of a conversationalist. Plus, I wanted to get back to my car as ASAP as possible and change into my running shoes.


After riding for 56 miles I wasn't sure what my pace per mile would be for my run. But I wanted it to be fast. So I put on Lil' Wayne and booked it. Stuntin' Like My Daddy always works, no matter how tired I am.

I was so surprised that I finished my first mile in just over 8 minutes! This made me determined to keep each mile under 9 minutes. I was running the last bit of the course, facing all the riders who were still coming in. I finished the 5 miles with an average pace of 8:45! Mentally, this gives me a lot of confidence for my 1/2 ironman because the ride was the exact same length, then I will need to follow it with a 13.1 mile run. I know that I can do that now, if I just go slower. But, a fast pace for the run portion would be nice...it's always good to finish strong!!!

2 comments:

  1. Lil Wayne is pretty ripped! I wonder if he listens to himself when he runs?? Great job Meg! :)

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  2. Nice work!!! And so glad someone was able to fix your seat! :)

    ReplyDelete