Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Louisville Bike Course Preview...Confidence booster, or not?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013  at 9:12 PM
This past Sunday, I got the chance to drive up to Louisville to ride the Ironman course.  All in all, it was a really good trip, although it ended up being a lonely trip by myself.  But, before I get to Louisville, I'll give you a little update on Caffrey.  (Heads up.  Sorry for the long post!)

Jennifer and Caff are currently on a trip with Mimi, Jenn's mom, to Branson, MO.  They have tried to do a mother-daughter trip every year, and so this year, they decided to go to Branson.  I think they are having a blast, although being a bachelor isn't as fun as it sounds when you've got an incredible family you COULD be with.  Yesterday, Caffrey was back in the pool.  Jenn said he just kicked and kicked and kicked.  That's my boy!  I think he's training for his first triathlon.

Working on his Swim...
Working on his aero position on my bike.  I think he needs a smaller size...
Now if he can just start crawling and then walking and then running, he'll be a triathlete!  He's also been working on his skillz with the ladies.  He's obviously got eyes for a sweet little girl that is only a few weeks old.  She's beautiful, and Caffrey obviously LOVES Abigail!
We try to get together with the Kingery's every couple weeks.  It's really cool to see how God put these two families in the same place at the same time.  Jenn and I talk about how blessed we are with such fantastic friends.

On Friday, I got out to do my long run.  I have been feeling pretty awesome on the bike and in the pool, but I've been super nervous about running a marathon after all that.  So, heading out on my long run was very intimidating.  I ran a new route, and I think I had one of the best runs of my life!  It was awesome!  I ended up with this:
15 miles at 8:52's is really good for me.  At 13.1, I actually was a minute faster than my half-marathon PR.  Granted, I had a fairly easy week of training, so my legs were pretty rested, AND I left at 7:30am, so it was cool.  Still, I'll take a good long run like that for a HUGE confidence booster.  

On Saturday, I left to drive the 7 hours to Louisville.  My buddy, Josh, was going to go with me but ended up not being able to go.  Then, I asked Tom to go, but he couldn't either.  So, it ended up being a solo trip.  Now I have to tell you about the incredible couple that totally let me crash their home for the night.

I met Neil last year at Ironman Louisville when Jennifer and I were volunteering. We just happened to be working together in the finish shoot, so we got a chance to chat it up a bit.  He was planning on doing Ironman Louisville this year, so we were instantly buds.  He lives there in Louisville and said, "When you come up next year, let me know, and you can stay at our place."  Well, I don't know if he really planned on my taking him up on that offer, but I did.  

Not only is he super cool, but his wife, Brooke, is too.  She's in a band with her brother, and I got to listen to a couple of their songs as they played at a pizza joint close to his house.  They have a really nice home WITH A POOL!  Neil and I planned out the next day.  He was going to meet me at a gas station about 30 miles into the ride.  I went to bed because it was already late, and I knew I had a tough ride the next day.

Here's what the course looks like.  It is a "lollipop" route with two loops of the "pop."

Sunday, I woke up before the alarm totally excited!  I drove the 15 minutes to downtown Louisville (it was sweet that they lived so close!), and found a place to park.  The first 10 miles of the course are flat as a pancake along River Road, so, in order to speed the day up and get to my long drive back to Atlanta, I parked 6-8 miles already out on the course.  
I recently put a hitch on the back of the Civic so that I didn't have to drive the gas-guzzling 4-runner everywhere to ride.  I think it looks pretty sexy, right?

Gotta have directions!
After the required pre-ride pic, I headed out.

My goal was to really test my legs and the hills to see how I could handle everything.  My race day goal is to average 18mph, and so I thought I'd see how close to that I could get.  Well, the whole course was exactly how I expected...tough.  I wasn't surprised, and I don't feel like anything out there is worse than the hills of ATL.  Actually, I feel like they are quite a bit tougher here.  That is the good part.  I know I can handle it.

At mile 30, I arrived at the gas station at the EXACT time that Neil drove up.  How's that for perfect timing?  My average was 18.3mph, and I was feeling fantastic.  He went to pump up his tires, and nothing worked!  In fact, the air out of BOTH tires came out, and we discovered that the valve stems had been ripped off.  I'm pretty sure that the pump he was using was tweaking the stems.  We had some spares, and I just so happened to have a schader to presta adapter.  I didn't want to use up my CO2 cartridges as I still had a long way to go, so, we did something that seemed a little sketchy.  We used the gas station's compressor!  It worked very well without any trouble.  As we road off together after the 30-minute stop, it just wasn't meant to be, because Neil had another flat!  So, without any spare tubes, he headed back to the car while I continued on solo.  It was a major bummer because we were really looking forward to riding together.  Maybe next time.

So, back to the course.  It really is a most beautiful ride.  The whole time, I kept saying, "This is BEAUTIFUL!"  I can't wait till I actually ride it on race day when the course is covered in other racers.    Finally at the top end of the "pop," I turned back towards Louisville.  There's a sign that says, "33 miles to Louisville," and I thought, "That's not so bad!"  Well, I'm not sure what happened.  I don't know if my legs were still tired from the 15-miler on Friday, or I went out too fast or if I didn't do my nutrition very well or what.  There might have been a slight head wind on the way home that slowly drained and demoralized me, but I hate making excuses.  It was a tough ride back.  I just watched my average drop and drop and drop.  There wasn't much I could do.  I hadn't planned on doing the second loop, but there was no way that I could have handled it.  Finally, after just over 4 hours of riding, I made it back to the car with 74 miles with a 17.8mph.  To be honest, I felt like it was a good ride, although there was no way I could have done the second loop OR RUN A MARATHON after that!  After thinking it through, I still feel pretty good about the day and know what I need to do, but you may not agree, so here goes nothing.

I think I need to switch my crank!  For those of you that aren't cyclist/triathletes, here's what a crank is...

Now my crank on my Tri bike is the one above and is a standard crank.  The crank on my road bike is a compact crank which basically means that it is easier to climb hills.  I didn't have trouble climbing any of the hills in Louisville, but I wasn't able to "spin" up them either.  I believe this is why my legs pooped out on me, because they had no break whatesover.  Either I was hammering it downhill or grinding it out, even in my granny gear, up the hills.  This tells me that I need to do the switcheroo and get that compact crank on my Tri bike.  

I'm riding the GA-400 Century this sunday with Tom, and hopefully I'll have the crank switched by then as there are supposed to be quite a few hills on this course.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks for reading!








11 comments:

tri like mary

What rear cassette are you using? Before looking at a new crank you might want to consider an 11/28 (or even 11/30) for the rear if you've got something something different? Cassettes are way cheaper than a new crank and it might be enough to solve your problem with the climbing? I do have a compact on my tri bike (standard on my road) and switched to an 11/28 for Tremblant. Just a thought!

Beth

1st - Baby C is so cute and growing so fast!

2nd - Awesome job on the run - totally impressive!

3rd - Sorry you were lonely on the bike and your legs gave out. I would totally consider that a win though - it sounds like you rode the entire course and just dropped the second "pop" loop. You did a steller job!

Happy Training :)

James Ford

Gotta agree with the above posts! Cute kid, great pace and great ride! I think you count that as a win! Sometimes when things do not go as planned, it tends to zap your "want too"! I know when I did IM Branson, and I had 5 flats on the rear wheel alone, it really hurt my want to finish because I knew once the MTN Bikers were passing me, I knew it was a long day! So count it as a win, enjoy the quietness of an empty house and get the house cleaned up for your family to return!

Cory Reese

I think your little man has better aero position than me. Great pictures and write-up. Your run was smoking fast. You are going to do amazing at this race. Guaranteed.

Colleen

Of course I love that that little boy of yours is already eying out daughter! :)

Great job with that run - dang... you are smoking fast these days!

Glad you enjoyed the ride. it's a bummer that you had to ride it alone, but that's probably some good mental prep. It truly is beautiful and it doesn't surprise me that you felt like the last 30 were into the wind. Remember us telling you that it's not downhill... I forgot about the headwind! :) Way to get it done!

Meghann

Great to hear about the IMLou course, thanks for doing this and posting about it! Sounds like you have had some great workouts too! Caffrey is super-cute - will he be supporting at IMLou? Hope to see you guys there!

Emily

nice work on the run! i wouldn't be too worried about the bike. sounds like you held your pace well, which is hard to do solo! race day will be easier with more company on the course :)

Erika

You are awesome! What a great ride and I know how hard those are to do solo- mentally and physically tough for sure!
Your run was incredible!! Way to go- your training is paying off :)
I have to admit - I was super close to signing up for IMLOU on a whim the other day...but then I came to my senses ;) I think Rob would kill me!

Caratunk Girl

Awesome job!!! Holy crap you are FAST!!!! 8:52 for 15 miles????? That is incredible!!!

Now here is the thing about your bike - that bike speed "goal" could be part of the problem with your legs pooping out. You know you need to do this thing like you are going 140 miles for the FIRST TIME - so it is a little risky to have your eye on a specific MPH. I know lots of folks who have an awesome first IM loop only to suffer through the second loop and have a miserable run. Set yourself up to have a GREAT second loop and a good run. Or..at least a more comfortable one.

My unsolicited advice is to take it easy(er) on the first loop. Let people pass you. You will pass many of them back on the second loop. And your body will thank you on the run. This is hard to do because you are excited and want to go go go!!

See, if you go to hard on that first loop and worry that your MPH is whatever (you are going to make the cut-off with the bike speed you have), you are going to blow up on the second one and the run is going to be miserable.


It is hard to believe, but the marathon will come to you and you will be able to do it after the bike. I promise!

Luke Powell

Do you train with a heart rate monitor? If not, I would recommend you get one. When I did IMLOU in 2011, my only goal on the bike was to keep my HR around 80% of threshold (which was 140 for me)...regardless of what my speed was. This allowed me to have plenty of legs left for the run and I wasn't constantly worrying about my speed.

Coy Martinez

I wish I would have known you were out there Saturday! I did the IM Louisville course as well that day. I rode it many times last year and I've been on it a few already this year. A lot of what people have said above is right on but I'll give you my take. Last year I was averaging 18-20 mph in my races, my 70.3's and when I went out onto the LOU course I had these grand notions of carrying that over. NO. I got my you-know-what handed to me the first day I did that course. If you don't respect the out and back along with that Old Ballard School Road and Sligo, it will tear you up, QUICKLY! You're right on the $$ about being able to spin up those hills. Get a better crank. I don't attempt any of those hills out of my saddle. I spin up each of them seated keeping my heart rate as low as possible. You're a good rider, now you have to be smarter than that course! Whatever time you lose on those hills will be minimal compared to the mental edge you'll lose coming back home and going into that marathon if you barrel up them. If you play you're cards right, you'll have a strong downhill ride back into town. If you have any questions you can email me, I know those roads in my sleep! :)

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