Thursday, July 30, 2009

Estela gets washed up in prep for the big day

This has been a quiet week for me, mainly resting, with some walking and stretching thrown in. Today was a bit more ambitious, with a 45 minute ride first thing this morning before it got hot. Warmed up, then spooled up to race pace, or so, and did that for about 10 minutes. Then alternated between some easy spin and some almost all-out intervals, then some nice easy spin to end up.

I did a somewhat leisurely transition then headed out for a run. Started with some short stride high cadence work, then settled in for 10 minutes at race pace or so. Then some short high turnover work with easy run in between. That ended up being a half hour to get back to the house. Walked a bit to cool down, nibbled, then stretched for a while. My left calf is still a bit tight, even with the rest and stretching. There were a few complaints, then it settled in for the run.

While getting ready for the ride, such as it was, I realized my bike was just filthy from road dust and other guck. There was a bumble bee tangled up in the shifter cables, poor little thing. So I set up Estela in the driveway and gave her a thorough cleaning. Cleaned and lubed the chain. That whole process goes much better when wearing rubber gloves, though my hands were so sweaty I wasn't sure I was going to get them off again.

I'll pick up my race package tomorrow. Saturday will be prep day. I'll have to drive out to Ghost lake for bike check in, which is about a 2.5 hour round trip. Before that I'll do a last quick spin and run to tune up my legs. This should be fun. There will be lots of people I'll know in the race. The weather is looking great. I probably won't post again till after the race.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A pooly swim

Not much to say here. I had an appointment in the far NE for 9am, so even though it wasn't on the schedule, I thought I'd hit the pool. I mostly tried to relax in the water and not think about meeting. Did some golfs, and was happily surprised at the time, even though the number of strokes was up a bit. I felt fairly strong in the water, which might be why I kept losing lane mates. People would join, swim a few laps, I'd pass them, and they'd swim elsewhere. Then KickingGirl joined. She does lots of kick only drill, and she is very fast. Her front crawl isn't much quicker, and is very splashy.

In spite of being well prepared, the meeting did not go well. They hadn't done their home work and it was essentially a waste of time. Sigh. I'll run tomorrow, with any luck before it rains.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Ghostly swim

Today started with the roads drying up from an overnight rainstorm. It went from being cool and damp to being warm and damp very quickly. About that time I headed out for a quick 1 hr ride. Not much to say about it, warm up, some easy spin, some higher effort spin, a bit of a push up some hills, coming back to the house strong. My legs felt good.

Then at noon I met Leaha and Shannon up at Ghost Lake, where the Calgary 70.3 will start. There were lots of people getting out of the lake when I got there. Let's just say there was some evidence of the water being cold. However, it really wasn't that bad. I think it's about the same as Canmore, and Leaha thinks it's a bit colder. In the end we were in the water for a little over a half hour, and had no problem with numb hands or feet. Shannon and I swam toward the bridge and looked up toward where the course is, but we didn't swim it. There was just too many boats. We swam back to the dock then did another lap.

I tried out different strokes to see what feels good, and think I'll be ok. For a little while I was drafting Shannon, then he veered right to avoid some shallow bits while I was breathing the other way, and I never caught him again.

If you get too close to the shore it gets very shallow. The bottom is very rocky, mostly. I nearly grounded myself on a huge rock. The water is fairly clear, which is a nice bonus. I'm not sure exactly how we will be guided around the boats moored near the ramp. It looks like we'll sort of have to curl to the left, then right around the dock, to end up at the ramp. The run up the boat ramp ought to be ok. Under water there are concrete pads with a bit of gravel in between, which ought to give good footing. The ramp itself is grooved concrete. I hope they get someone to sweep of the mound of gravel just above the water line. From there, it's only a couple dozen steps up the ramp to the grass where I think the wetsuit strippers will be stationed.

Weekly Summary
Swim 1.25 hrs
Bike 3.0 hrs
Run .25 hrs (not counting a couple walks)
Total 4.5 hrs.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A quiet ride in the country

Today is humid for Calgary, and fairly warm. For some of my readers it would be a deliciously cool and dry day. It was hot enough last night that I didn't sleep well, which tells me I finally caught up on my sleep. This morning was a bit of a slow start, sleeping in a little, and getting some errands done.

At last I put on the tri shorts I won at Canmore and got everything ready for a ride. I didn't want to bite off too much, nor did I want to weenie out. I ended up riding 1:55, at an average pace of 28 Kph, out 22X and down 22. Warmed up, then did 5 min spin between 90 and 100 rpm, then 5 minute tempo, repeat for a while. It's a bit weird spinning that fast up a hill, since I'm going slower than I normally would. Just after I turned around I was passed, and gave chase. For about 20 minutes I was going at race pace or even a bit faster trying to get into his draft, but never made it. Rode a tempo pace the rest of the way home, with just a bit of spinning to keep my legs moving.

2 minute transition, mainly to relieve internal fluid pressures. Then headed around the block. I found my run legs fairly quick, though I didn't get solid on them for about 1.5 K. Ran 2 K in 13 minutes, walked to cool down. Legs felt ok, nothing special. Stretched afterword, especially working on calves and achilles tendon stuff. Somebody once mentioned some kind of stick that is good for getting at tight muscles, any details?

Lastly, a link to some photos from Canmore, courtesy of Jason. You get Cath's story of her day at Canmore, and some photos, mostly of her, which is as it should be.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lots of sleep = no bike

It's not often you read other blogs and have them write the title for you.

I thought about going for a bike ride today. That was before I went back to bed again, and slept till 10. After getting a pretty good night's sleep last night, and a nap yesterday, and a pretty good night's sleep the night before. With a 4pm massage, and other stuff to get done, I didn't really have time to go for a bike ride. Oh, I admit, I suppose I could have if I'd been really ambitious about it, but since Canmore I haven't been ambitious about anything. Except for resting and eating. I've been eating my head off the last couple days. Only this morning did I wake up not hungry.

Did I ever mention I love my massage therapist and would happily have her babies if that lead to more massages? Maybe not that much, but almost. Still she worked me over good, especially at both ends of the achilles tendon, and the back of my shoulders.

Tomorrow is supposed to be nice. I'll go for a ride tomorrow. For sure. Maybe even with a short run after. How about that?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My swim showed up with a pink ribbon

The schedule didn't call for a swim today, but it was the day to change the oil in the car, and that is really near the pool I often swim at. Plus, sometime during the night my swim slunk in. It was much neater and tidier than I had expected it to be if it had been out carousing with my inner shark. (Inner sharks tend to be very hard on their playmates.) Julies comment and the pink bow gave it away. Thanks for finding it and sending it back Julie! There will be some cookies waiting for you at the post 70.3 party.

I slept much better after writing my fingers off yesterday. This morning I woke up and knew I was going to have a better swim than it's been lately. Not sure why. When I got into the pool I said to heck with the drills and trying to think about my stroke. I'd go back to my old stroke, not worry about roll, about pushing my hand all the way to my thigh, about my hands crossing center line, about where my recovery enters the water, and all that other stuff. Well, I thought a bit about keeping my left hand to the left side, since that's the one that drifts a bit.

And whaddya know?

I had a great swim, feeling very solid and strong in the water. I admit, my stroke was a bit choppier, not quite as pretty, but geez it's faster! Today was the fastest I've been in almost 3 months; 19:10 for 1000 m. I had a really steady pace, with the first couple laps being strong, and the rest consistent at just under 60 s per lap. There were a few times I started thinking about stroke, and I was very firm with myself about that. Things got a bit shaky towards the end, but a woman swimming in the next lane was doing laps in such a way that I was chasing her a bunch. She was doing intervals or something, and swam faster than I do. I pushed hard in the last 150 m to finish strong. Oddly enough I was never out of breath, though I made a point of starting to breath deeply before it was really needed, and being conscious about doing it throughout. I felt really good and decided that a short good swim was better for me than pushing longer, and having things fall apart on me. I did another 20 minutes core work in the dive tank.

I'm not sure why a technically imperfect stroke (being generous here) works better for me than a prettier, more efficient stroke, but at this point I'll go with results. Maybe over the winter I'll get video analysis done, take my stroke apart, and put it together again for next season.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A quietly gurgling river

No fitness in this post. None at all. I was resting. And thinking. Which is hard work, when you think about it, especially when you're thinking about the thinking process. That's enough recursiveness for now.

It's a beautiful day out, and instead of riding I took a note book and a chair down to Fish Creek. I found a nice shady spot and scribbled. There's been all sorts of stuff going through my head lately. I got some of it down, and some of it was headings for future scribbling sessions. Like tomorrow, probably.

Fish Creek isn't a big river this time of year. At one point a small class of kids waded upstream, and the water seldom came as high as their knees. I was right beside a bit of a gentle rocky slope. The sound of running water is very soothing. There was enough other sounds, like people talking or the occasional dog barking to keep me awake. What you can't hear is any city noise. The creek runs through a wooded valley (Fish Creek Provincial Park) that is beautiful to walk or ride through any time of year. The west end, very near where I was, is open to the Tsuu T'ina First Nation so it's very common to see wild animals such as coyotes, deer, fox, and occasionally couger, wolves and once a bear was sighted. None of that today.

Writing stuff down is one way of getting it out of my mind so things don't spin around like a load of unbalanced laundry. I get stuff on paper, and I can focus on particular things, and get myself organized. I make notes of things to look up, or think about more, or tasks to do. I can sort out how I feel about various topics, or what the pros or cons of a particular decision might be. Once I'm done writing, my brain is much more relaxed.

One thing was writing down is why I want to do IMC next year. Oddly enough, I've never really thought about it that much. I know I want to do it. People say you need to have a good reason handy to explain to your legs why they need to keep going when the going gets tough. I'm signed up as a finish line volunteer so I'm going to see how people look at the end of IMC; not just as they cross the line triumphant, but 10 minutes later when the pain sinks in. It just occurred to me that the first tri I ever did was a half IM, and the first tri I volunteer at is IMC. That seems a bit unusual based on what I've read in blogs.

I wrote "Semi-Retired" at the top of one page, and started to bring up all the things that phrase brought to mind. On first consideration, I'm very much liking the thought of that status. I never thought I'd work to some age, then retire and play for the rest of my life. My thought was that as long as there was things I liked doing that people were willing to pay me to do, I'd keep doing them part of the time, and play the rest of the time. I am seriously thinking about how much income I need to earn to buy food, pay the utilities and property tax, and have some fun. It turns out to be a surprisingly small number, but I'm still working on it.

One thing a co-worker said to me once that is making a big impact on me these days. "I strive to schedule my work life the way most people schedule their vacations."

Monday, July 20, 2009


One swim. Size Large.
Might be with an inner shark.
Probably somewhere with a good view.
If found, placate with a cookie or two, and send back to me.
More cookies as a reward. Thank you.

I tried to swim this am and it didn't go well. 200 m intervals. Started slow, and got slower. I couldn't believe the first 50 m was 55 seconds. I thought it would be under 50 seconds, and the second 50 m was about the same. The next 100 m were 60 seconds each. Barf. Tried harder the next time, with the same results. The next one I tried to relax a bit and slide through the water rather than powering through it for the first 50 m, and that was 60 seconds. The rest of the 50 m were even slower. I was horrified. It went downhill from there, and I stopped. I see no reason to practice doing badly. The dive tank was empty so I did some core and stretching. .5 hr total.

I'm seriously beginning to think that I've forgotten how to swim. Going back through my blog I realize the last good swim I had was the beginning of May or so. I used to think that swimming was my best sport of the three. Now I've lost confidence. Last year I struggled with the swim a bit, and it came together during the races. The struggle is worse this year, and it hasn't come together for the races.

And the number is up again, 232. Here I thought I'd been good about eating.

I'm going to go for a nice walk down in Fish Creek later today, and listen to the river, and the wind through the trees. That should be relaxing.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A hodgepodge

Slept like a baby last night, but was up early anyways. I'm reading The Joy of Not Working by Ernie J. Zelinski, borrowed from Alan, and have been trying out the flavour of "semi-retired" as a description of me. Hmmmm.

Went for an easy spin ride this afternoon. 1 hour, and got some photos of a looming thunderhead building over Calgary. Legs feel pretty good.

Weekly Summary, counting Canmore as training.
Swim 1.0 hr
Bike 3.75 hr
Run 1.75 hr
Total 7.5 hrs

Some photos for your enjoyment. All these will embiggen if you click on them.
Here's a trick I tried to make sure I had everything for race day. Lay it out, and walk through putting stuff on and taking it off, right from getting out of bed in the morning, to the finish line. Then figure out what stuff goes in what bag. With 2 transitions it doesn't make sense to jam things into one bag.

This is just a random shot from T1. Canmore is right in the mountains. The scenery is stunning. The mountains, forests, and critters are just amazing.

Dan and me in T1. There were 3 racks last year, 5 racks this year.

Me in T2. The photos that include me are courtesy of Linda. She is very suspicious of camera technology, like zoom, and is still working on it.

That red spot on the track is me just before the finish line.

This isn't the most dramatic ever thunderhead building over Calgary, but it just happens to be the one happening today. This is from the Glenmore Reservoir looking NE toward downtown, if you look carefully you can just see the tops of a couple buildings. An hour later it was way to the east of us.

Lastly, after all sorts of pressure from my fans, here is me holding up one of the pink T shirts from Missy's contest. They are small enough that trying to put it on would probably damage the shirt. Kelly will note I'm not holding a glass of wine, but I've got the same glassy expression. I'm not good with getting my photo taken.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I recognize you by your moustache! (updated)

That was how I met three people today. Dan was a few bikes down in T1, and said that as he introduced himself. Julie's friends Cath and Jason said that, actually she did, as we were waiting for the pre race meeting to start. (Note their blog is for a B&B they are opening in beautiful Fernie BC.) Saw Leaha in T1 as well, and other places throughout the day. I saw Chris from spin class in T1, cheering on a nephew. Unfortunately, I didn't run into Shannon (shifter cable snapped) or Jarrett (don't know what the story is, but I suspect a delayed flight.) Plus, a big thank you to my buddy Alan and his wife Lori for letting us stay in their swanky Canmore Condo, to say nothing of feeding us BBQ.

Yes, yes, I hear you saying. Get on with it! As a one word summary, it was ok. I raced without a watch, but saw results in a prinout with teeny tiny print that was THAT small. So I'll do some numbers later. But you'll have to wait for them.

Once the moose got out of the lake they let the first wave go. Yes, a real live moose. I didn't see it myself, though. I warmed up a bit, then got a good start, and swam with the pack for a bit. I even passed a few people, but in the last two laps I slowly slipped behind the main pack. I got out of the water ok, just as they were starting the next wave. I managed to run all the way up the long carpet to T1; not fast, but faster than last year.

In T1 I was trying to get my wetsuit off and it was struggling. I stood on part of it, and ended up slipping and falling on my butt, and, you guessed it, my right elbow. At least this time there was nothing but a couple light scrapes. Since I was down I stayed down, and eventually worked the suit off. Somehow one leg had become locked in an illicit affair with the timing chip, and the other simply didn't want to leave my leg in spite of gobs of body glide.

I eventually got on the bike with no further issues, and got started ok. It took 10 K to find my bike legs. Up till then they felt weak and feeble, and after that just ok. The wave starts make things interesting. There's always lots of people on the course. There's people passing the slow people like me, and I even found a few people slower to pass. Which is nice. There were some real rockets on the bike course.

T2 was quick and uneventful. It took 3 K to even begin to find my running legs. I had a nice stride for the speed I was doing, I'd just hoped to be faster. I tried a couple times to shift to a faster gear and it just wasn't there, till almost exactly the 8 K mark, when I picked up quite a bit, and left mr. annoying behind. He'd caught up to me, would run barely faster than me, get ahead a few paces, then walk, and as soon as I'd catch up, he'd run again. We did that for a bunch of K, and I finally left him behind somewhere along the way. Saw Cath and Dan on the run. She is fast, and looked great on the podium for her age group! Congrats!

The meal was really good. I got a few prizes, having caught a T shirt, and won a bag of TCR stuff. There were some XL tri shorts I'll have to try on and they said I could exchange them for large if needed. A monster huge bottle of chocolate Hammer goop. Not sure what to think of that. A pair of Ladies large socks in black and white. Chatted with Dan, Cath and Jason over lunch and the awards.

As I said, there was a print out. I think I've got the numbers right, but will check the official results and update if I need to. As I said, I didn't wear a watch, mainly because I didn't want a device telling me if I was having a good day or not.

Last year
1500 m Swim 28 min 48 seconds
T1 6:19, including the 300 m waddle
40 K Bike 1:31:38 (avg speed started at +28 Kph, gradually dropped to 26 Kph or so)
T2 3:08
10 K run 1:09:51 (split 34:35 and 35:16 for the two 5 K loops, which is essentially 7 min/Km pace.)
Total time 3:19:46

This year total was 3:10:35 and 8/9 for my age group, overall 166/240.
Swim 31:17 or 113 overall
Bike 1:33:08, including both transitions, 161 place
Run 1:06:10 or 195th.

There's lots of ways to crunch the numbers, but I read this as losing ground throughout the race. Mid pack swim time, somewhat slower bike, and much slower run.

So, as I said, it was ok. Totally in line with training to date, but my legs were flat. They were a bit heavy and slow through the bike, and just slow throughout the run. I admit to being disappointed a bit in the run. I'd nursed myself through the rest of the race and hoped to turn it on and come in around 1 hr for the run. Still, it's better than it was, and as I say, in line with recent training. I think if I'd had a good day, I could have broken 3 hrs, but it just wasn't there today. I think my nutrition was good, toast and honey for breaky, a gel before the swim, a gel early on the bike, and late on the bike, and about 1/3rd of the way through the run. This was the first no socks race and it worked out fine.

The race was very well put on, with super volunteers and great prizes.

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's never too early for a post-race restorative cookie

Yesterday I was a slug. I had such good intentions, but I blame Amelia the Cat. She snore-onerated me about lunch time and I was good for nothing the rest of the day. I suppose that's not a bad thing before a race. Oh, except going to get the race package. Normal stuff plus a few goodies.

I got a little carried away and bought a new bike jersey. Can you believe it's a medium? A MEDIUM!!! Imagine that! I haven't fit into a medium anything since well, I don't know. A long time. XL was way large and flapped. They didn't have a large, but I really liked it, so I tried the medium, and it fits about the same as the large Speed Theory jersey. Today was a short bike and run just to remind my legs what it's all about. By 9am it's already warm and sunny.

I had fun on the bike for a half hour, going out and around the neighbourhood with some short accelerations. I tried my bike shoes with no socks to see how that feels, with the intention of doing Canmore without socks. So far so good.

Mom, Linda, don't read this para. Just let your eyes look over it. I was supposed to do several short accelerations. The first one, after a nice warmup, happened to find me at a stoplight. I raced a cement truck off the line on Anderson Road, easing up only after he passed me, when I was going 48 Kph.

The run was really good. Less than a 2 minute transition, and found my run legs almost right away. Started off brisk, with a really high turnover rate, then settled into a good pace. Did periodic sprints or pickups or whatever you want to call them. I was shocked to find the first K at 6 minutes, and the second at 5:30! I'm not sure, but that's pretty close to a record for me, and I wasn't even working all that hard. I was mainly concentrating on keeping my feet light and fast.

Linda made cookies last night. I take my cookie QA/QC duties very seriously, and these are excellent. They should hold me over between the race finish and the excellent lunch well be getting. I'll start gathering my stuff up for the trip out to Canmore after hitting the publish post button. I'll be staying in Canmore with my buddy Alan and his wife Lori this evening. Thanks guys! If you aren't familiar with the race, there are two transitions, so it takes careful packing. I'm feeling rested and relaxed about it. More when I'm done. I'll even pack the camera so there might be pics.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It arrived!

Once upon a time, Missy ran a contest on her blog, with the winners announced here. These are worth reading just for the pictures.

Lot's o'stuff. I already tried the Grab the Gold snack bar, since I was just finishing lunch when the Canada Post truck arrived. Very yummy. The Swiftwick socks fit, and feel great. They fell over just as I was taking the pic so it's hard to read the label. (Though Missy, re: your comment about sending a pair of unworn socks, there are some people who appear to make a living by selling previously worn garments. I know, ew. But just in case your education was lacking, or you were looking for alternative career opportunities.) The coffee mug is huge; I've seen smaller fruit cups and cereal bowls. One can never have too many water bottles. Lots of stickers and magnets. Two swim caps, neon pink, from Missy's Master's swim club. And lastly, two bright pink T shirts. Sort of a purply pink T shirts. I'll have to think about these, since they don't even come close to fitting me.

So a big thank you to Missy for running the contest and sending the stuff! Go read her blog, you'll enjoy it.

A nice day, at last!

There was a large bright thing in the sky this morning. It was warm out. Amazing!

Swam a half hour. Warmed up, did some 50m and 100m sprints. Pulled hard. My arms felt pretty good, and I could feel the water actually moving past me. Sort of. Still not as fast or as strong as I'd like to be, but at least my arms are feeling rested.

A bit later I did some joint mobility stuff and some light stretching. Started walked, then running slowly. It took a while to feel warmed up, and even then I stopped to stretch more. Ran 10 minutes fairly hard, in fact, it was pretty darn hard. For a while in the middle I thought I'd gone out too hard, but kept pushing. My reward is that in that 10 min, both google maps and mapmyrun say I ran 2 K. Now if only I could keep that pace for more than 10 minutes! Even so, it still wasn't a smooth dialed in stride.

I was supposed to do some short all out sprints, but when I started into the first one I got a very unhappy feeling pull in my achilles and heel even before I got fully up to speed. I backed off a bit, then pushed some more being careful about stride, but it still hurt. Ran easy to cool down and this was not smooth at all. 30 minutes total. Walked some some to help stretch it out, and stretched more when I got home.

Last year about this time I was still recovering from Chinook, and wasn't sure if I was up for the Canmore race. This year I'm feeling rested, relaxed, and I've got a plan for the day. It's going to be another training day, just doing all three things. No watch. No heart rate monitor. My feelings and the official times are going to be good enough. I want to have fun and enjoy the day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A 45 min ride is weirdly short now

It wasn't so long ago that 45 min on the bike nearly killed me; my ass was about to march up my back and kick my brain. My legs were ready to hand in their resignation notice, and my hands would be long since numb.

It's been raining here, and that means it's cold. It rained hard yesterday, pretty well all day. There was spots of rain off an on today. By this evening it still wasn't warm, but at least the roads had dried up. I figured go anyway. Dressed up a bit, and headed out for some race pace and spin work.

Churned around the neighbourhood, which was far more exciting that it really needed to be. One driver backed out of his driveway, then saw me coming along. He didn't really pay attention, but then I could see his eyes figure out how fast I was going. He didn't know whether to finish backing out, or go back into his driveway. Abort, retry, panic. He settled for freezing, which at least I could cope with. In the end I rode around him. I nearly ran over a human being walked by a dog. The dog was paying attention, but the human just walked out on the street without looking. I think he couldn't hear a car so assumed it was ok. Idiot. I was thinking of yelling when I got to perihelion, just to see if I could make him wet his pants, but I didn't. I was working too hard. I'm not sure he ever noticed me, since he was turning the other way as I passed. Maybe I should have yelled.

In between all the obstacles I warmed up, did 10 min at race pace, some easy spin, then two 5 minute sessions essentially all out. Easy spin to cool down. 50 min total. Stretched after. Legs feel pretty good. Forecast for Sat in Canmore is good, which is meaningless at this point. I don't know why I looked.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'll have the grease wheel, please

That was after I'd ordered the Guinness. Did I never tell you that our book club usually meets in a pub? And seriously, one of the entrees is called the grease wheel. It's actually a pretty good burger with bacon, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, and isn't particularly greasy at all.

I felt no guilt, since in fact I had worked out before the meeting. Rode 25 K taking just a hair under an hour, nice and easy, spinning well. There were a bunch of times I got in the groove, relaxed, and let my legs do their thing. They were going so well, and it was such a nice day I almost regret not having loaded up on nutrition and gone for a much longer ride.

I wanted to try the same workout as earlier this week, ride then run, but this time ride a bit longer. Like last time, I set water bottles in the shade, and took Clif shots with me. I've discovered the flavour of the chocolate is good, but it's much thicker, and takes more work to get out of the package, and more work to swallow it. After a 2 minute transition the run started. Same idea, run 15 K in 3 laps, with the first two easy and relaxed, and the last the fastest.

It took a little longer than normal to get into the groove. My pace for the first lap was quite unsteady, and I was almost tripping over the tilted sidewalk slabs during one section. I don't really attribute that to having been on the bike, particularly. There's days it just takes that long to find the groove.

The second lap felt much easier than the first. I got into a nice groove, my legs relaxed, and my breathing relaxed to the point where I felt I could not only keep up my end of the conversation, but give a speech. I was getting tired towards the end though.

I didn't think the last lap would set any speed records, but I tried to run smooth and lightly. By now it was getting hot. As planned it was the fastest, so I'm pleased about that. My legs were heavy and tired and my stride was getting a bit sloppy, so it took a bit of encouraging to keep them going. Well, except for one point. about the 3/4 point I found myself running really well, really strongly, breathing well, good stride, covering ground like there was no tomorrow. I wish I could do that more often. Of course, as soon as I noticed and started thinking about it, the stride fell apart.

Here's the times for the laps.
1 35:54
2 36:37 (I'm pleased the first two are much more consistent than they were earlier in the week.)
3 31:38 (total 1:44:10)

Not as fast as last time, but that's sort of what I expected given there was more bike up front. This has been a lot of running for me this week, so most of the running I wanted to be easy and natural. It was really important for me that the first two hours of the workout were to set up the last half hour, and worked hard mentally trying to stay strong and focussed. Walked and stretched after. Need to stretch more, my calves feel a bit tight now.

Weekly Summary
Swim 1.75 hrs
bike 3.5 hrs (bike is down from missing Tuesday's ride)
Run 5.0 hrs
Total 10.25

Friday, July 10, 2009

Road to Nepal <2 hrs!

I LOVE the Road to Nepal! It's such a sweet ride. Great views, great hills, perfect pavement, very little traffic, and the wind usually cooperates to make the ride harder as a training aid. What more could you want? According this bike computer it's exactly 51 K from my driveway to 549 and back. I think of it as my calibration track.

It's all hills, all the time. The flat level spots can be measured in a small number of meters. I can't go any faster downhill, since I spin out of my gears about 65 Kph. The only way to be faster is to go up the hills faster. We all know what that means.

The first time I rode it, March 23, 2008, it damn near killed me and took 2:40. That link includes a map so you know where I'm talking about. Somewhere along the way I formed the goal of getting down and back in less than 2 hours, requiring an average speed of a hair over 25 Kph. On a very hilly course.

Even before I got on the bike, just puttering around with breakfast, I knew I was going to have a good ride today. When I started I felt strong and smooth. I decided to push hard to see if I could get under my goal, and at the same time nibble Clif's bars to see what solids to to me when I'm working hard, on a hot day. (For Calgary, peeps.) Took two bars, and ate 1.3 of them.

I caught the lights out of the neighbourhood for the left turn, and passed a pickup pulling a trailer. That was a weird feeling. There was some wind, but not as bad as it's been lately. Normally I take it easy down 37 but pushed a bit harder today. Made it to 22X in just over 17 minutes. Good traffic, crossed over the highway and got tore in.

Estela was a champ as always. I GRRRRRRed up the hills. I sang parts of "Whatever Lola wants" to myself. I kept checking what gear I was in and if I could push a bigger one, or spin it up faster. I tried to save standing up till I was near the top of the hill so I could power over and onto the downhill. Even knowing where the top is, and some are very deceptive, I'm still needing to work on this. But I'm standing longer, long past the time I'd normally sit down again.

The Garmin's have a feature that compares your pace to a planned pace, or previous efforts on that course, and uses a little guy to show you how your doing. Feel free to correct me if I've got that wrong; I've never seen it. But I was mentally comparing myself to previous versions of myself riding this course. Thinking of them gradually losing ground behind me.

I got down to 549 in just over 1:04. I still didn't know if this was good enough to get back under my goal, even though coming back is faster. There's still some good hills. I put my head down, said Grrrrr and powered up the hills. I was an animal, trying to ride smooth and strong. I wanted to be up at the top of zone 3, breathing hard all the time.

On the way back, just south of 22X a pair of riders was heading south. I waved, said "great day for a ride!". She waved, and he recognized me to call out my name! I was astonished! That's the first time that's ever happened to me. I was frantically going through all the people it could be. Eventually, I landed on my neighbour Jim and his wife Susan, and sent them an email asking if in fact it was them.

I knew I was within range of my target when I got to 22X. I had no problem getting across, and I went very strong up 37 St, though I didn't catch the light where I have to turn left to head north. I had to stop for some cars. The little hill back into the neighbourhood usually slows me down, but I leaped on it like a big cat on it's prey, and I powered up it faster than ever before. I knew I was close, and didn't want to miss it by a a few seconds. I put my head down and pushed for the finish line over the last K or so.

1:59:32!!! Yeehaw!
25.6 Kph.

I went past the house, and cooled down with a short easy spin, so I can't totally trust the bike computer numbers. Stretched. My legs feel great! I feel great! hmmmm, now for my next goal....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

reverse semi-brick

Today's brick was a run then swim. Long time readers might remember me parking under the 8th Ave bridge and running along the Nose Creek Path last year. Today was overcast and cool when I started, and it turned to rain about 20 minutes in. I ran all the way up to 32nd Ave and most of the way back, starting slow. The plan said to start slow, and after the run yesterday it was sort of a necessity, even after some walking. Ran easy for a half hour, then picked it up a bit, but there wasn't much there today. Ran to 50 minutes and walked another 5 to get back to the car. Stretched. Last year I could only get up to 32nd in a half hour by pushing really hard and just barely making it. Today was 27 minutes and change, running easy. I guess there has been some improvement.

From there it's a 5 minute drive tops to the pool. Does this still count as a brick? At first my arms were tired in a weird place. I was exploring the novelty of this, since it's the first time I've done my swim after a run. Did a nice 500 m warm up, fairly slow, then did some 50, 100, and 150 intervals. Some of these actually felt moderately fast, though to be honest I wasn't paying much attention to my times. Today a reasonably pretty stroke was moving at a reasonable pace, certainly faster than the other people in the pool. The guy in the next lane was doing all out 50 m sprints, or at least I think so. That's as far as he was going, with lots of splash and thrash and gasping, and without even trying I could pass him. Then a really slow swimmer joined my lane, and once she got the idea I was going to pass her even if she didn't get out of the way, life was good. Then some putz swimming head up crawl joined my lane. He was considerate at least, stopping at the ends to stay out of my way. Still that was enough for me, and I bailed after 45 minutes total, with another 15 core work. Plus some time in the hot tub. This one is really warm, with some good jets right at calf height. Of course, this same putz was in the locker right beside mine, with his stuff all over the entire bench. Sigh. I blame it on Stampede.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A nice reverse brick

I took photos of two holes yesterday, and I could post them if my adoring fans really wanted. Of course, a certain element of my fan base would be brutally disappointed to find out that they relate to a different kind of plumbing. One is about a 4 mm hole in a copper pipe, and the other is a much bigger hole in a concrete floor to get at the copper pipe. That all went really well. Breaking up the concrete was much less dusty than I thought it would be, and things were dry till we got right down to the leak. It turns out a chunk of gravel had wedged between the copper water supply pipe and the plastic drain. Over time it wore a small hole in the copper pipe. Everything is all put back together now, and the house is quiet again.

Today's workout involved a lot of thinking. The swim started ok, thinking about stroke. I got so involved in thinking about stroke that it took a while to realize I wasn't going anywhere. That pretty stroke was shite for getting me down the pool. So I went back to my somewhat sloppier stroke, put a bit of elbow grease into it, and picked up the pace. I ended up doing 1500 m in 30:30. Which is on the slow side for me, but I can feel the rust falling off. I haven't swum much since Chinook. My shoulders are feeling pretty good with it.

Once I got home I ate and chatted with a buddy for a while, getting ready for the rest of my workout. I wanted to get right at it since it was supposed to cloud over at noon, and start raining later. Sure enough, from a clear, cloudless sky at 10am, it got overcast and started raining at 1pm. It's about 2pm writing this and I can hear thunder. Gotta love Alberta weather.

My run has always been the weakest part of races. It's the sport I've done least since leaving high school. Learning to run again is hard. There's a real trick to balancing the required rest time with pushing hard enough to improve, but not so hard that you injure yourself. If you're big, like I am, there's also the element of trying to bring the weight down gradually, and yet not starve your body of the nutrients you have to have.

I occurred to me that I've done lots of bricks where I do a long bike ride, and a short run. I have been told that all you need to do is find your running legs and you're good to go for the race. Well, excuse me. I beg to differ. I'm still barely finding my running legs at the best of times, and my "running" is still very, very slow. When I look at my races, I can run for a while and then the wheels fall off. Nutrition is a part of that, and I was behind the 8 ball right from the start at Chinook. Even during the Police Half Marathon, I was on top of nutrition, and still slowed down a lot in the last several K. Part of this is mental; I need to train myself to keep going when it gets hard, and learn to work past fatigue.

So, I need to get better at running, especially running longer off the bike. That seems plain enough to me. Today I planned a short bike ride, about a half hour or so, just enough to get my legs warmed up, and take the freshness off them. Then I was going to run 15 K. I mapped out a nice 5K circuit through the neighbourhood, and then set up a little aid station in my front patio. At first I was going to get all carried away with a cooler, choice of iced drinks, cookies, bars, fruit, ect, all served by a bikini clad beauty, but then realized my neighbours would be over having a party. So really, the aid station was a bottle of water sitting in the shade. I brought some gels to suck on just before getting home at the end of each 5K. My plan was to run easy the first 10 K, then make the last 5 K the fastest.

The bike ride was fun. I didn't really pay attention to the numbers, but rode for a half hour and averaged about 27.5 Kph. Quick transition. It's still sunny and hot when I started.

5 K 33:13
It took maybe a K, or 1.5 K to find a nice pace. I wanted to go nice and easy, staying on top of my breathing. This is a very typical time for me. Still hot and sunny, but starting to cloud over.

10 K 35:32
During the second loop I was a bit more uneven in pacing. My legs wanted to run a bit faster, but I wanted to hold back and stay easy. My gait wasn't as smooth. Being nearly run over by someone backing out of their driveway, and having two people attack me with their lawnmowers was interesting. I wanted to be at the same time, or a little bit slower, and certainly not faster. My legs were getting tired, but I was deliberately not doing anything to encourage myself. I just ran as best I could. This lap includes both aid station stops, where I had some water while walking in a circle on my patio. Took a quick pee break on the second lap. Clouds building up, and it's starting to cool down, which was refreshing.

15 K 30:55 (total time 1:39:41)
I won't quite say I let'er rip here. I did pick up the pace, and my legs felt good for about the first 3/4 of the last loop. The pace felt good, and my legs were ok with it. I was breathing pretty hard, but I wasn't gasping or panting. Toward the end I was getting tired, and my feet weren't landing quite as certainly as they had been. I was beginning to scuff my heel a bit as I placed my foot on some steps. I was pulling out the mental tricks to keep going. One of the best was posture. There is lots of low branches over the sidewalks, and after playing dodge'em I started making an effort to make sure that my posture was good, and that my body lean was consistent from my ankles to my head. I was trying to keep my body relaxed, but the muscles at the base of my neck and across the shoulders were a bit tight throughout. Not sure what that has to do with running. The last several hundred meters I picked it up and brought it home. Fully clouded over and cooling off, with perfect timing.

My legs were pretty tired, but I was nowhere near puking. I certainly didn't want to go on at that same pace, but I'm not sure how much longer I could have gone on if I'd slowed down. This turns out to be almost exactly the pace I ran the Police half in, and there was no bike ride at the beginning of that. Next time, I'll make the bike a little longer and harder, then try the same run again, pushing harder on the last lap.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stampede. Again

If there is one curse about living in Calgary, it's Stampede. Traffic goes to hell for 10 days, plus varying degrees of hell for varying numbers of days before and after. And the geezers all come out of their coffins. One bastard was crossing Elbow Drive. I stopped for him even before he hit the walk light. He shuffled across looking like a heart attack about to happen. Slowly. Fortunately I wasn't in a rush, but I was in the curb lane and had to waaaaaiiiiiiiiit. I'm pulling away and can see a pack of cars coming along behind me. The bastard hits the walk light again just before the first cars come along, and he sloooowly shuffles across again. I hope someone kills me before I'm reduced to entertaining myself like that.

The other thing is what people are wearing. I'm certainly not going to win any fashion awards. Ever. But some people use Stampede as an excuse to wear any old thing they please. It can be frightening. I'm sure there are small children traumatized for life. Hell, *I'm* traumatized after seeing the wide load of cellulite being delivered to an LRT station while I was waiting for Linda. Seriously, I thought the main duty of female's friends is to look at them from behind, tell them the truth, and if necessary, forcibly prevent them from going out in public.

Anyway, I digress. The swim yesterday was ok, nothing special. About 20 minutes in the water and my arms were falling off, but at least it wasn't painful. Another half hour or so of core work in the pool.

The run was pretty good, an hour easy around the neighbourhood. I tried some small things to see how they worked out. Mainly I concentrated on posture and being aware of how much I was leaning forward and how that was affecting my pace. To make sure I was running easy, several times I ran ~100 m breathing through my nose. Which is an odd feeling. I made sure I wasn't carrying any tension in my shoulders. I spent a bit of time trying to get my pelvis and shoulders doing the counter rotation thing, where your core acts as a bit of a spring, but I'm not sure how well that worked out.

Today I'm supposed to do bike hill repeats, but we've got some major plumbing stuff happening today. Major, as in breaking through the concrete floor of the basement to repair a leak in the water supply line. Should be fun.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Potential tragedy narrowly averted

And here I thought seeing a flat tire late Friday night was a bad thing.

I was busy doing something else last night, though now I can't remember what, when I noticed that Estela's back tire was flat. No biggie. I replaced the tube, finding a tiny little piece of wire about the thickness of a hair and about 5 mm long in the tire. Then I put everything back together, and reloaded the little saddle bag. Only then did I notice something odd about the back tire. It wasn't black. There were small gray diagonal stripes on it. I looked closer, and indeed, there were lots of gray stripes and even a couple small holes. All around the business end of the tire. I had worn away all the rubber. I would have taken my bike on a 100+K ride out into the hilly boonies on a tire that had very little rubber left. I don't like to think about how that could turn out.

My original plan was to head out early this morning to try to beat the weather. It turns out that MEC is the bike store that opens first on Saturdays. I went and bought a new tire, and a new tube, and some Clif's Shots. I figure it does no harm to have 2 spare tubes on the bike, and another in the house. There will come a day when I need all of them. The morning looked kind of cloudy, but when I was home and done tire changing stuff, it looked quite nice out. Still, the forecast called for thunderstorms late afternoon, and at this time of year that's a safe bet.

You can see a map of my route from a year ago here, and some info about that ride. I'd been wondering what to ride when I found that blog post, and decided to redo the ride. Hoping for some improvement over the year.

Out 22X was nice, with wind out of the south. There were clouds building ahead of me so I wondered if that was the day's thunderstorm. I could see away to the south it was still sunny, so I expected I might get rained on a bit, then break into the sun again once I got going south. I made pretty good time out to 762 with only the lightest sprinkles of rain, not even enough to get the road wet. I wasn't feeling strong or comfortable on the bike like I was the other day. I kept shifting around. My hands were going numb quicker than usual. My left ham was very slow to get with the program. Rode fairly easy till everything was tuned in.

Going south is a nice ride, not too much traffic, nice views, lots of hills. Into the wind. Firmly, directly. I barely made it to 50 K at the end of 2 hours. Across to Millarville is mostly downhill, and went fast. Last year I went into Millarville and stopped at the general store. This year I kept riding. I think that's the difference between the milage numbers. I hit 3 hours and 75 K just as I turned right to head east again on 549, going past the Millarville Racetrack. Into the wind stronger than ever. On really rough pavement. I'm so glad I've got a carbon fiber bike when I ride that road. Sometime when riding with someone my size who has an aluminum bike, I'll have to offer to swap bikes, just for a bit, to see how it feels.

This was beginning to hurt. I was getting sick of hearing the wind in my ears. There's a spot where the road goes up and around a big hill. Even more directly into the wind. I tried to stop thinking about it. I just put my head down and pedaled.

Just before turning north on 733 there is a tough hill. From a distance it looks like a wall. Up close it's still pretty wall-like. Getting up that was brutal. I was getting tired and there's still the Road to Nepal between me and home. At least this is the 'easy' way. Turning onto the new pavement is such a relief. Especially since I was mostly going with the wind. I sat up, relaxed a bit, nibbled, drank, and took stock of how I felt so I could figure how hard to push. Ah, not very.

I made good time to the top of the road, passing the 4 hour mark at just under 100 K. Or if you prefer to think about it this way, passed the 100K mark about 4:02. By now I was done the Clifs bars, and took in a gel just as I got to 22X. My neck, shoulders, and the top of my back were killing me. I was trying to stretch it out a bit by looking down at my cassette, and still riding safely.

By the time I got into my neighbourhood, my toes where on fire. They were sick of being in the shoes. I'd been spinning it out, trying to flush out my legs, but it wasn't going so well. The last few hundred meters to the house are a slight downhill. I took my feet out of my shoes and oh the bliss! I hit the button on my watch at 4:33. It took a few seconds to stand up straight.

Quick transition, then out for a short run. It looked pretty horrible for the first bit, but I was into a nice stride about 3/4 of a K into it, and the the second K was actually fairly quick, about a 6:30 K if I did the watch arithmetic right. My feet and legs felt pretty good, and my lungs were on top of things. I could have gone further than a couple K, but I didn't particularly want to. I have a strong suspicion the wheels would have fallen off the wagon about the 5 K mark, but who knows? Maybe not. Or maybe yes, considering I had no further nutrition since I was only planning to do the 2K

It was so nice to lie down on my yoga mat in my nice cool basement. I put my feet in the air for a while, and did some stretches. That felt so nice. No ice bath, but I ran pretty cold water over my legs for a while. What hurts now the most, after the fact is still my neck and shoulders. Just for the record, we had rain, thunder, and lightning less than an hour after I got home.

111.8 K ride distance
4:33:00 Watch time
4:31:35 bike time (I stopped once to pee, and that's the only time my feet touched the ground.)
24.7 Kph average speed
85.7 Kph max speed
69 RPM average cadence, which is lower than I like.
3:22 T2
13:53 run ~2 K.

4:50:21 Total workout time.

Weekly Summary
Swim .75 hrs
Bike 9.5 hrs
Run 2.25 hrs
Total 12.5 hrs

The astute or obsessive of you will note the swim number is really low. I decided to give my arm a bit more of a rest, while working on massage and mobility. My left shoulder is a bit creaky too, and I figured a rest would be good for it. Back into the pool on Monday.

For all my buddies in GWN tomorrow, HAVE A GREAT DAY! I'll be thinking of you all. I'll be sure to have my feet up sipping some fresh coffee during the swim start. For the cheering section, scream your lungs out, shake that bootie, and have fun. Can't wait for pics.

Lastly, for my American blogger buddies, Happy Fireworks and beer Day!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

You never know what you'll find at Costco

Another nice day, perfect for running. One hour's worth up to South Glenmore park and back. Warmed up 15 min, then 8 x 90 seconds of fast turnover, with 2 min easy in between. I wasn't trying to run faster, but that's sort of hard to avoid. I didn't know how fast the turnover should be; I counted a couple times and ended up with 140 and 139 right foot strikes in that 90 seconds. I sure was breathing hard at the end of each. The rest of the time was an easy run home. Stretched after.

Today I was thinking about relaxing my legs, and visualizing them just going round and round, as if I was spinning madly on my bike in a small gear. It seems to have worked; my legs aren't sore afterward. I was trying hard to get that feeling of flow, which is normally the kiss of death. But it came during the last fast interval, and then stayed during the easy run home. I could have run for much longer. Flow is good.

Then we went to Costco for some odds and ends, hoping to beat traffic. It's easy to tell all the geezers are in town for Stampede, traffic was bad, and it's going to get worse for the next 10 days. In Costco I like looking over the enormous variety, the sheer overwhelming quantity of goods for sale, of all levels of quality and usefulness. It never ceases to amaze me that somebody thought of going to the time and trouble of producing these goods, transporting them here, and leaving them in a pile for people to select. A fricking HUGE pile, when you think about it. I like it when the nice lady comes up with the hand scanner and zaps all your stuff so you don't have to take it out of the cart for checkout. How much simpler and faster could it get?

I was moderately surprised to find Clif's bars there, hiding near the candy aisle. I noticed that aisle is just a bit wider than the others, and given some of the people I saw in it, it needed to be. Anyway, MEC sells these bars for $C1.40 each, and Costo sells a box of 18 for $C15.00 or about 83 cents a bar. Hard to go wrong there, even if the box doesn't include my fave flavour. And Lara Bars, sold in large boxes right beside them. My only association with Lara is from Tomb Raider (I'm a guy, imagine that, huh?) so what's the scoop with these? Are they good? Next to that was a very healthy looking bar, with fruit and nuts, and light blue packaging I think, but I can't for the life of me remember what they're called. I guess it speaks a lot about our society that there are nice people frying all sorts of frozen food substitutes for people to try eating, and nobody willing to give people a taste of bars that at least claim to be good for you. Or at least not actively bad for you.

I was choked at how the James Bond movies are packaged. There are only a few good ones (Goldfinger, From Russia with Love, The Spy who Loved me, Casino Royale (Craig's not the 1967 monstrosity)) and so, of course, they package a good one with a bunch of turkeys. Sigh. I simply won't buy them like that.

Here 2009 is barely half over, and they had an enormous selection of calendars. I bought the polar bear one, of course. Yay polar bears! I often think that adding polar bears to the swim portion of triathlon would make it much more exciting for the spectators, and provide motivation for the athletes. Of course, you'd have to time the release of the polar bears carefully. You want to give them a chance at catching someone, after all, or they won't play. I guess we need to hope that the Michael Phelps of polar bears isn't in the mix. Wave starts might be very interesting. I can just picture polar bears waiting on the buoy for the next wave, watching for the athlete that most resembles a seal. I just hope the material that wet suits are made of isn't bad for polar bear digestion.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Riding in the happy (but windy) place

Today is perfect summer weather, warm but not hot (at least not yet), sunny, and a gentle breeze. Unless you're on a bike and it becomes a howling wind. Which is good in it's own way.

After the great ride yesterday I wanted to get out on the bike again, and go a little longer. Not hard. Steady, just a little faster than just riding along. Where I could converse, if there was someone to converse with. Pedaling smoothly, shifting smoothly, getting better at standing. Getting more used to being on the bike for a long time, and still pedaling smoothly at the end. Trying to ride smoothly and keep a steady line.

I went through a bit of a checklist to make sure I had everything. Three Clifs bars chopped into 6, to eat every 10 min. An extra gel just in case. Two bottles of energy drink, two of water. Sunscreen. Pumped up tires. Started off about 10am, riding easy to get my legs warmed up.

The wind picked up as I got out onto 22X, kind of gusty, coming from all directions, but mostly from the south. I settled into a nice pace, breathing easy, becoming one with my bike. Turned south on 22 at just under 45 minutes, and settled into a big headwind. Started nibbling nutrition. At one point, on the flats, I was on the small chainring, head down at about 85 rpm, and 15, yes one five KPH. Or about 9.3 Mph for the metrically challenged. I saw a ton of other bikers going the other way, almost all of them waved. And get this, a motor cyclist going the other way actually honked, and headed towards me a bit to get my attention, and gave me a really friendly wave and a big smile! How about that? Either they get out on a road bike, or somehow recognized me. Normally the motorbikes blow by at something approaching mach 1.

So far my legs felt really good. I decided to turn around at the 2 hour mark, regardless of where that was. As I was going through Turner Valley I watched a bit of a triathlon. I knew about it from having lunch there at Route 40 a week ago, but had forgotten. (For my Calgary readers, Route 40 is a stunningly wonderful place to eat, well worth the drive.) I've never seen so much traffic there, but it didn't slow me down much.

I actually got into Black Diamond and turned around at the public library, just over 50 K in 2 hours, much of it into the wind, and not pedaling hard. Back towards Turner Valley again, and this time I noticed the run turnaround was on the bike path next to the road. I waved and gave the volunteers a big thank you. They looked thrilled to hear it from someone that wasn't in the race. I had to wait while some racers crossed. And a geezer that couldn't make up his mind if he was coming or going. The odds were even the guy in the big pickup would get him, but not. I was disappointed.

Going north was sweet! Mostly with the wind, so my average speed went up to about 27 Kph, and still not riding hard. Still nibbling nutrition. Chatted briefly with one guy that passed me. I thought of trying to keep up, but then remembered I was trying for a steady pace.

Turning onto 22X was back into a much stronger wind. I'd decided that I'd try to make this last 20 K strong and try to maintain the speed. That took a bit of doing, and even so, my average speed dropped. I passed 90 K at 3:20, and still feeling reasonably strong, though I was beginning to get a bit tired. I passed 100 K as I came into my neighbourhood at 3:45!! Pedaled nice and easy to spin it out. I had the spare gel, 1 cube of Clif's bar, which I ate when I stopped the bike, and about half a bottle of the energy drink left, and half a bottle of water left. So that worked out really well. I thought about going for a quick run, but decided not.

I'm totally thrilled with this. I felt really good on the bike, which takes some of the taste of Chinook out of my mouth. I didn't push hard, my breathing was under control the entire time, probably low zone 3 at most. Maybe mid zone three when pushing the hardest in the last half hour. Just as important, I was consistent through the entire ride, and could have gone on longer. What with all the waving I felt like I was part of the bike community out here, which doesn't always happen. I wore exactly the right clothing for the weather. Oddly enough, my shoulders are what feels creaky now; my legs feel great. My toes were going to sleep a bit the last few minutes of the ride. Stretched out, and that feels really good too. This one goes down in the books as a nearly perfect ride!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering. Dinner was barbequed roast lamb, rubbed with herbs, drizzled with some exotic olive oil, with fresh asparagus lightly steamed (which is ok but not my fave) and corn, which just about is my fave veggie. To say nothing of a Chilean red wine. mmm-mmmm.