This week may just be shaping up to be my biggest volume week of the year so far! I’m in my final build towards the Lake Stevens 70.3. I had my last 120K ride on tap for today. The only thing was I didn’t have anyone to go the distance with! The majority of my team is in Penticton for an Ironman Canada training camp. I couldn’t go since I didn’t have the vacation time to spare for it, it has all been earmarked for other trips. Those sticking around in town are racing the Calgary 70.3 next weekend, and who wants to ride 120K the weekend before a race?
After chatting to a couple of friends the perfect plan started to come into place. My friends Tara and Joel would be up for 80K with me. I looked on MapMyRide and it was about 20K from my place to Joel’s. It would then be just under 80K from there to Bragg Creek and back. Perfect! This would give me company for a big chunk of the ride. The other 40K on my own would be on roads I ride all the time and if I got into trouble it would be an easy call to a friend for help. Let’s just say that last weekend’s chain incident had me worried!
The weather was slated to be awesome for today! 30C (86F) and sunny. As I started getting ready I began to throw breakfast together. It was then that I realized that I didn’t have any cereal left in the house! Not a ton of options in the fridge, but thankfully had some yogurt and fruit to fill up on. For this ride I was planning on trying something a bit different for nutrition and hydration. Prior to Great White North I relied on Gu Chomps and Honey Stinger protein bars. I wanted to toss around the possibility of just using liquids for nutrition on the bike. Enter Infinit to the mix. I ran through the questionnaire to come up with my own customized bike formula. Protein, carbs, electrolytes…all specific to me! Nutrition and hydration all in one. I decided to wear a Camelbak…maybe not so cool (and really not effective if you want to get into aero), but it makes drinking a whole lot easier. I mixed up about 2 hours worth of Infinit in the Camelbak, then mixed up another 2 hour bottle to carry with me, along with a bottle of plain water. This way I could mix it up in the Camelbak halfway through my ride.
I set off at 7:30 from my place. A few minutes later than I wanted to. The route was pretty similar to what I normally ride when I bike into work. Nice downhill the whole way. The ride from Joel’s out to Bragg was interesting. I didn’t exactly realize that it was uphill the whole way. It must have been a false flat with a headwind. I looked down at my Garmin at one point and I couldn’t believe it. Heart rate in zone 4 on what I thought was a flat? Wow… We rode highway 8 out of town which is a pretty busy thoroughfare. Luckily the shoulder is nice and wide the whole way. Pretty popular for bikes despite the traffic.
We made it to Bragg with a mile or two left for my halfway point. We rode the extra distance, then turned around for a quick pit stop at the Shell station in Bragg. I refilled the Camelbak with my extra bottle of Infinit, diluted it down, and picked up a bottle of Coke just in case I needed it for the end of the ride. So far the Infinit was working out really well. It was sitting nicely in my stomach and the Camelbak was great for making sure I was drinking enough.
The way back was awesome! We were really booking it thanks to the slight downhill and a tail wind. What took 1:34 going out took 1:16 coming back. I dropped off Tara and Joel and started the last 20K going home. This way would have some good uphills, and I wasn’t sure how they would go considering how long I had been riding for. I got a little nervous approaching Home Road’s 11% grade. How would it feel 67 miles into the ride? Turns out, not a lot different than when I hit that hill on my commute home from work! The rest of the ride went off without a hitch. I barely felt like I’d even ridden that long of a distance… I dropped my bike off at home, switched into running gear and took off on a quick brick run. It was supposed to be a 30 minute run, but given the heat and that it was 1:00 I cut it slightly short.
All in all it was a great ride. I’m really happy with how the Infinit worked. Surprisingly I never got any hungry stomach rumbles at all on the ride and I was out there for 4:39 today. Good stuff! Thanks Tara and Joel for keeping me company on the middle 80K of my ride!!