|The river in the South is the St. Lawrence. |
Canada above, US below!
The route was pretty straightforward, even though I had never done it before. The grid pattern in the roads and highways around all the agriculture was easy to follow. The best part: the first time I actually came to a stop was in Morrisburg, 2 hours from home! Loved the fact the few traffic lights were green in my direction, the roads were pretty wide and in decent shape. I really can't believe I've never ridden southward before!
In prep for IMFL, I obviously need to ride flats and train staying in the aerobars as long / much as possible. When you think 180km in Florida vs 180 km in Placid, we automatically assume Florida is dead easy in comparison. OK, I'm realistic...the lack of hills will make it easier, I agree. But, there are still some unique challenges, aside from the distance: pedalling for ~ 6 hours continuous (no downhills to catch a break on) and ~6 hours in the aerobars. At least climbing in the hills, your back and hip flexors (d'oh!) will get a break from being in the same position for a long time. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
To fuel the day, aside from my pancake breakfast 3 hours before departure, I had an Ensure 30 minutes before leaving at 250 cal and on the bike 3x 270 cal Infinite, 2x100 cal gels, 1x200 granola bar, 1x50 cal banana and 1/2 of a protein bar for 160 cal. That is about 1600 calories in 5 hours, or 320 calories per hour. I honestly think I need to gel more during the race so I can get more calories in before the run. My legs were honestly tired today - aside from hip pain the last 20 km - my legs were still tired. I maintained a 30km/h avg over the 5 hours though and didn't really slow down at the end. I didn't push hard if there was a gust of wind or a hill anything, so that slowed me down, but I wanted to make sure I don't overdo anything. I'm still happy with the 30 k average, though...it's a first over that time/distance
Here's an interesting situation with my coaching plan: next 4 weeks (IMFL is in 7 weeks), longest run is 2 hours (about 22km). Seems a little short in prep for a marathon to me. My coach said the combination of riding long (6 hours) Saturdays and then Sundays with a moderate 2 or 3 hour ride followed by a 2 hour run on will be enough. With me being unable to ride or run in August, perhaps this is his best angle...get me through a solid bike, have energy left in my legs, then 'gitter done' on the run in the best way possible. His advice over the next 4-5 weeks (before taper) was to make sure my nutrition is solid, as in his mind, if I fuel well and right on the bike, my legs will carry me through the marathon. I have to admit I am a bit skeptical, actually kind of scared, but what can I do? I missed the big build phase and I am barely able to get 150 in on the bike at this point. It would be better if my hip would cooperate!
I rode 11 AM - 4:30 (stopped a few times to stretch on the way home) and came home to an awesome stew. When you spend the day outside in bike shorts and shirt and the temperature at18 at its highest, you get a little chill, especially at the end of the day. Nothing like a hearty meal with veggies, potatoes, and cut up steak.It was totally heartwarming!
When I was in Morrisburg, I visited a Veteran's Memorial Park and took a moment to pay hommage to Canada's fallen soldiers, from all wars. A friend of mine lost his brother in Afghanistan a few years ago and I can't imagine the sacrifice such families make to keep the rest of us at peace. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful spot.
The last pic in the sequence is from around the pool area. We had a hornets nest growing in the ground and when I went out last night to spray it, I saw the mess that an animal had made getting at it. I believe it was a skunk who dug the 18" deep hole and pulled out and consumed whatever larvae it could get. It was a clear message that sometimes nature takes care of itself...I guess we (humans) tend to screw things up a lot!!
More on this later, BUT....we're getting a Big Green Egg soon!! It's a birthday and anniversary gift from my parents - my birthday (new decade), my wife's, and our 10th anniversary gift all rolled into one. I couldn't be happier - how awesome! I see smoked meats of all kinds, charcoaled burgers, and maybe even some fired pizza! Can't wait!
Thanks for reading!