Monday, March 11, 2013

Reality Check

Monday, March 11, 2013  at 10:16 AM
Sometimes, it's good to have a perception check on how your fitness really is.  Sometimes, a perception check just turns into a reality check as you realize that you've got a long way to go before you can conquer 140.6 miles in a day.  Yesterday was my reality check!  The good thing is that I still have 166 days till go time!

It's really hard to find some decent riding where I live.  The roads are awesome, but the traffic is really tough!  I guess I'm a little scared, but I think that's an ok fear to have.  Usually, I just go out and ride anyway, but for longer rides, I've decided that I'll go ride The Silver Comet trail.

The Silver Comet is a rails-to-trails project that goes from the east side of Atlanta (45 minutes from my house) all the way to Alabama and connects with the Cheif Ladiga trail for an additional 30-some miles.  All in total, it's about 95 miles long!  I plan on riding the entire trail one day, staying the night in Alabama, and then riding back the next day.  That'll be some good training.  Here's a visual of how long the trail is...

I've been pretty faithful about logging some solid trainer rides, but with incredible weather and a free Sunday, I decided to go for a long ride.  After hanging out with Caffrey while Jenn got some extra sleep, I loaded up my bike and headed for the Silver Comet.  I unloaded everything and took off.  Wowee!  I was flying!  I knew that my legs were in for a longer day, so I tried to spin as much as possible.  There were a ton of people on the trail, but it is wide enough that it's no big deal to pass.  Here's what it looks like with one of the many tunnels that you go through.
There were runners, walkers, riders on road bikes, riders on mountain bikes, rollerbladers, and a bunch of triathletes training.  About 10 miles in, a guy on a sweet TT bike caught me, and we started to talk.  He is a multi-Ironman and has done Louisville twice.  We had a blast talking about everything from triathlon to religion, and the miles ticked by.  At 25 miles, I turned around, and I had averaged 18.3mph on the way out.  When I turned around, I realized that it was going to be a long ride home.  Not only were my legs aching, but I realized that there was a definite headwind coming my way.  Now, I HATE it when people blame poor rides on headwinds, SO, I won't.  But, I will say that I didn't plan my nutrition very well, which made the return 25 miles really tough.  Since I've lost about 20 pounds recently, my body doesn't have too much to "eat" off of, and I didn't give it more to eat!  Well, I ate two granola bars when I turned around, but it was a little late in the game to recover.  I really struggled on the way back.  Another triathlete (girl) rode up next to me, and we talked for 10 or so miles.  Finally, I just told her to go on as I struggled to keep going.  I got dropped by a girl!!!

In the end, I rode 50 miles (first of the year) and averaged right at 17mph.  I'll take it as a solid training day, although it was a rude awakening of where I am as far as fitness goes.  My motivation is high, and I'm still excited about training.  August 25 is coming, and I'll be ready!!!

Thanks for reading


Coy Martinez

Nice!!! 50 miles!! That first long ride of the season can really be a tough one!! I had those winds yesterday too and they'll give you a run for your money! I was only able to average about 14 mph on the first part of my ride but then on the way back I was over 20. You're lucky to have those trails.

We have one here in Lexington but it's only 8 miles one way and it's super hilly, has lots of tight turns and there are lots of people on it so lots of stopping and going. I enjoy riding the open roads but cars can be really rude and I don't want to get hit if I don't have to.


I'd give my right arm to avg 17mph on the bike...I don't know why I can't seem to get faster. But I know it's all relative and how discouraging it was for you at the end. At least you learned what your body needs for a long ride like that and will be better prepared next time. I love it when a ride (or run) teaches me something I can use to make the next one that much better (and thus the race even more better :)). Great job on the ride and what an amazing bike path to ride on. "All the way to Alabama" sings to my heart (you may recall I lived in Huntsville for a stretch of time). Keep up all those incredible motivators - you are on fire!!

James Ford

That is an awesome trail! Would love to have that here in Memphis!

Ironman By Thirty

"staying the night in Alabama" - Isn't that an extreme event in and of itself??? haha

Congrats on weight loss! Keep up the training, it is still early and you are already doing awesome!


That's awesome that you got 50 miles in outdoors this early in the year! You're going to be so ready to rock the longer rides now!!
And you are an absolute super star for losing all that weight! I imagine you are just skin and bones now :)
Keep up the great work - and don't worry about the girl passing you...there are some amazing women athletes out there who intimidate all of us!

Matty O

Don't worry man, gotta start small and build. Getting 50 miles in this soon is great!

I didn't realize you guys had suck awesome trails down there!!! That is the one thing Heather and I love the most about where we live. That is great that you have access to that!!!

Stay strong and keep checking off those workouts!


I love riding on the Silver Comet! It's so cool that you live pretty close.

Congratulations on the weight loss - AWESOME! And way to go averaging 17mph for 50 miles for your first long outdoor ride!

Sounds like you are putting in some good training. Keep up the good work.

Vicky Cook

Sounds pretty good to me, I am no cyclist but a head wind on a bike is a killer! You held your pace together well. Come on, you guys ought to be used to getting chicked by now, it happens to you all so often. But I do know how you feel, I can't stand getting beaten by a man. ;)

Cory Reese

Well done. You were cruising! I'm plenty used to being chicked on the trails. August will be here before you know it.


Great job! It's scary when you realize you are so tired...but there is only one way back to the car. Good luck on your journey!


Great job on the ride.

I've done many a long ride out there on the comet. The one tough thing about that out and back, especially early on in training, is keeping something in the tank for that back half.

it's all about pace

nice ride...

man... I really want to ride on that trail

Big Daddy Diesel

Nice ride, I would love a long bike trail like that here

Caratunk Girl

I get it, I had the same freak out on my first outside ride before my first IM, you get totally overwhelmed by the thought of it all.

But you have a long time to build the base you need before your race, and you will build that base. Trust me, you will be calling a 50 mile ride a short ride pretty soon! :)

Great ride. Remember - consistency is totally key!


Gah... I'm so behind on blogs! :(

Glad that you got over to the comet. I really liked it out there, maybe because it resembled Ohio in the flatness! :) But the lack of cars was really nice too!

Don't freak out about your first 50 being somewhat hard. It happens. You have plenty of time to get to where you need to be.

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