After pushing myself pretty good in the pool and doing some hill sprints, I wanted to get in another good day of training on Sunday. In the Midwest, we had some pretty hot weather going on, but it wasn't too bad. Most of the day it was in the mid 90's and fairly breezy. Hot enough to cut the Madison Marathon down to a half, but that didn't stop a lot of bikers getting out on some long rides. One of them being me.
I got plenty of sleep and got up a little later than planned, so I already felt behind. I generally like to get out the door between 7-8am on my longer days. Especially if the weather is going to get hot. But since I let myself recover, I didn't get out until around 9am. Mistake on my part. The weather was already in the upper 80's and rising.
I planned a loop out around Blue Mound State Park in Wisconsin to see what I would have done the day before in terms of the TT I missed out on. I knew it would be pretty hilly, but I wasn't totally sure how bad. I put my loop in the Garmin and got on the road.
The first part of my ride is part of the Olympic bike course for the Capitol View Triathlon I am planning to do in about a week and a half. It's pretty open and flat with a few short, somewhat steep hills. But nothing I need a triple up front for. However, once I got through Cross Plains, WI and started heading South and West, things started to change.
I ran into a few good long hills, and they just kept getting worse. But me being me, I was smiling and having a good time the whole way. I rode my Trek, so I had my granny little ring on the front to crank away at. I hit the first two larger hills pretty good, getting my HR up pretty high, but not overly taxing my legs. I caught an older gentleman on the second, giving him some words of encouragement as I scooted by a few mph faster. He wasn't riding a triple up front, so I was feeling a little sorry for him. These first two hills seemed like they could have been rated Cat 4 hills, but it seems they didn't quite make the cut. Probably not quite enough elevation change over the course of the hills.
The tricky part was that I hadn't scouted this area out, so each uphill was met with an insanely fast downhill, but right back into another large hill. I played it safe with it being so hot, and coasted most of the downhills. I wasn't looking for points hitting the 50mph mark or anything, even though I nearly got there just coasting.
Then came the back to back monsters. The first is a long, grinding 2-mile (+/-) Cat 3 climb that just keeps coming at you. You can probably find it on the map below. I stayed in the small ring, and switched my Garmin over to see how much elevation I was gaining. It seemed with every revolution of the cranks, I was going up another foot.
This hill plateaued out, I came around a corner, then stared right into another Cat 4 climb before I reached the summit. This one wouldn't have been too hard on it's own, but after climbing for what seemed like an hour, this extra push just drained me. So after I came over the top and to a good stopping point, I took a few minutes to catch my breath and get some nutrition in. I was around mile 45 at this point. Barely over halfway done with my ride...
The ride back around Blue Mound and back tracking wasn't terribly difficult. Just being so drained from hitting 5 large hills back to back made it a little more uncomfortable than I had planned on. I stopped twice to refill my water bottles on my way back. Otherwise I may not have made it home.
Throughout the ride I went through my camelbak full of water, and 4 water bottles. I carried two, and refilled each one once along the way. I would definitely reccomend having more on the bike than I did. I don't think having enough water while riding in heat like this should ever be an issue. Especially when you don't really have anyone to call should things go badly.
After I finished, I came right into my apartment and jumped right into a cold shower, still wearing my bibs. I grabbed some recovery nutrition in a protein drink, lots of fruits, then ate a huge salad and some nuts. I was hungry again in an hour though! But I think mostly I was just dehydrated. So I spend the next few hours rehydrating and having my feet up. It felt so great to be inside in the air conditioning.
It's rides like these that give me a greater respect for those who race professionally, and do rides harder, longer, and climb more, day after day. I covered around 83 miles in total and climbed around 4,000 feet. I can only imagine some of the rides covering over 100 miles and climbingg 8-10,000 ft. Maybe they wouldn't be so hot though!