Bike Marker Set Sunday: Riding in a Bike Gang (Whirrr…Click!) – being “Out Of The Money” – Mom Tries to Kill Me

iron mel and mentor margaretSunday Iron Mel and I met the local “gang” at Nicasio for a Bike Marker Set. Our Mentor Margaret, Les the Marin Bike Coach, Jen, and one of Les’s friends, Mel and I did the set together. (The photo to the right is Iron Mel – on the left – and Mentor Margaret – on the right.) We rode out from Nicasio to the Petaluma road, then turned Left along Nicasio Lake, down past the cutoff road to Pt Reyes, and straight on, to Sir Francis Drake. On the way out WOW it was windy!!! The directions said to do the marker from Sir Francis Drake back to the turn-off from the Petaluma road; we didn’t quite get that right so did the marker from Bridge Road to Petaluma road, which is 3 miles instead of 5. I did the Marker in 14 minutes – the rest of the gang were down in the 12 minute range.

The only problem with the Marker Set was that I really went into it saying I would do it at my highest aerobic threshold pace, and there was just no way I could do it. I was anaerobic the whole time (average 161 BPM). I got WAY up there a few times, due to the wind, or a hill. It’s frustrating. I wanted to keep it under 150 (my aerobic to anaerobic point is in the high 140s) but the cadence that felt right to ride at kept my heartrate at 161 on average. On the way back I put my iPod in the little speakers; Les rode with me and got to hear my eclectic playlist. When the rest of the pack passed me (I started out first, then they passed me) someone shouted out “Wait! Wait! I like that song!” It made me really laugh. The set ended on the song “Unwritten” which I think is a perfect one for my whole IronTeam experience so far.

The best part of the day was getting to know my Mentor, Margaret, a bit better. She’s a cyclist. Yes and I’m the girl with the 20 year old bike, biking in tennies and foot cages. At one point she was riding behind me and trying to explain something by using Lance Armstrong as an example. I had to ‘fess up that I had never seen him race. I think that was a big shocker! Yup, it would be hard to Mentor me – the girl who does not watch sports (smile). Another time she was talking with Mel about her cycling group from Napa – Mel mentioned she had met someone from the group. She tried to describe the person, and Margaret said, ‘What was he riding?” I really laughed at that. Sounds just like horse people! “I don’t know her name but I know what her horse looks like…” (smile)

The best story I had for my husband had to do with riding with the “gang.” When we originally left from Nicasio, the bulk of the “gang” was (as usual) way far ahead of me. Mentor Margaret stayed back with me. But once we turned onto the Petaluma Road, Les said to ride ahead, and then the gang was going to catch up to me. I think they wanted me to feel what it would be like to ride in the “gang.” First Les and his friend passed me, and asked if I was ready for them to “latch on.” I said – um – sure – and then they moved on over, so Margaret was right behind me and the other 2 girls behind her. Imagine something out of Star Wars – with mechanical “whirrrrrr…click!” noises . . . that’s sort of how I felt. Like I was a hub and this “bolt” of people was latching on. Whirrrrrrrrrr – click! It lasted for a while – and it definitely made it easier to ride in the headwind with the other 2 people ahead of me. I couldn’t cosy up like they did but I was pretty close (about a bike’s length away from the back wheel of Les’s friend). I really made H laugh in explaining the “procedure” of it. Whirrrrrrr….click! Latched on, Captain! When we got to a fairly steep downhill I just couldn’t keep up (my bike doesn’t “coast” as fast as theirs do, and my gearing is such that I can’t pedal going downhill) and so the “gang” broke apart.

I booked home and actually was able to lie down and have a cup of coffee while H finished putting the siding on the new deck. Then we were off and running – first to Home Depot to get the 6 new doors, then to the Lighthouse Diner to get breakfast. By that time I felt super ill…though I had had a couple of nutrition bars between breakfast and then, we realized I had totally mis-gauged my blood sugar – H made them bring toast with butter until the meals hit the table. We took the new doors home and covered them up for the rain that was coming, then got back in the van and off to the Art Deco Show, then to Mom and Dad’s for Dad’s birthday. Mom had made up an appetizer and right after I had a big bite of it H asked what it was – Taramasala, a FISH based dip! (I am allergic to fish.) I looked at my Mom with one of those “Excuse me, are you trying to kill me??” looks, but the damage was done. I started to feel sick midway through dinner (cracked crab, green beans, salad) and unfortunately gave about 1/4 of my meal over to H to finish, then I couldn’t actually eat any of the key lime pie and ice cream. We wound up going home and I just curled up in bed with 2 hot water bottles. I don’t think it was the fish that did it (I didn’t get any of the super nasty reactions to it), but perhaps the stress, and the training and fairly long day. Today is an “off” day – but I looked at the schedule and yesterday we were supposed to Run, too! I can’t believe I missed that…! Not sure how I would have fit it in – probably when I had had the lie-down and coffee in the morning.

The best part of yesterday was getting a text afterwards from my Mentor Margaret (the cyclist). I had sent her an “I don’t think so” text when I did the math on the 14 minute marker – because IF the mileage had been 5 miles as it was supposed to be, that would mean I had done the stretch at about 20 MPH. (That’s what made me look back through the paperwork and realize we hadn’t started marking until 2 miles into the Marker.)  She wrote back:

You did great. I think you are on your way to be a really good cyclist. You certainly are strong enough.

I was excited ALL DAY about that! Those of you who follow me on twitter (@fempowerment) certainly know because at odd times during the rest of the day I would give a little Tweet about it!

SO, now onto the MATH as it pertains to Louisville…This is what their website says:

“Athletes will be required to reach the 61-mile mark on the bike course (located at the intersection of State Road 42 and KY-393) and start the second loop by 2:15 p.m. Athletes have until 6 p.m. to reach the transition area at the completion of the 112-mile course.”

Combining this with the following about the Swim:

“The swim course will close 2 hours, 20 minutes after the final athlete enters the water. Utilizing a unique time-trial start, the final athlete is projected to enter the water by 7:45 a.m.”

That means that the final Swimmer that does not get chipped starts Biking on or about 10:00 (10:05 per the “2 hours 20 minutes after 7:45 a.m.”). Reaching mile 61 by 2:15 means that you have 4 hours 15 minutes for the first 1/2 and then “until 6 p.m. to reach the transition area” means 3 hours 45 minutes for the 2nd loop, or 8 hours total for the 112 miles.

I did 3 miles (a pittance, I know!) in 14 minutes. If I just lay that down over 112 miles and assume that is the average (though the website states that “some of the downhills will get riders to 45 MPH and some of the uphills they will have to gut it out at 10-12 MPH” – oy that’s my current race pace!), then I’d do the course in 523 minutes, or 8.7 hours. That’s just not good enough. OY! I really REALLY liked knowing after the Swim Marker that I was already “in the money.” Not now. Iron Mel is in the money – she did it at about 12-1/2 minutes, which would be 7-3/4 hours or so for the course.

To NOT GET CHIPPED, the average has to be 14 MPH throughout and that gets you in RIGHT when they are nipping the Chipper at your heels. Wow – this feels scary to me. I gotta get serious about  this stuff. I am pretty doggone sure I’m going to face the same issue in the Run – I know I’m slow – but for SOME reason I thought I was at least “in the money” on the Bike, even if not by much. Nope – Outside. ARRRRGH!