Monday, October 19, 2009
New Moon Century -- 100 mile bike ride
As of late, my training has been focused on running. Cycling has been reserved for recovery days. My last 40+ mile ride was over a month and a half ago! So, needless to say, I was a bit worried.
However, this event supported a good cause, the Jewish Federation's Fed Up With Hunger campaign to feed hungry people in Los Angeles. It was also an all-vegan ride!
The ride started in the West Valley community of Oak Park, headed south to Agoura Hills, west toward Thousand Oaks, south to Pacific Coast Highway, PCH into Malibu, then up Mulholland and when I say up I mean up up up with some serious climbing. We stopped for lunch at mile 56. The last 44 miles were full of climbing -- on Mulholland and up Topanga, and then back to the start.
I felt okay at the start. I went out with a group that seemed at my level. A couple riders were a bit faster. I ended up riding much of the way with one person, who was on a commuter bike, and when it started getting windy on Las Posas Road and at the westernmost edge of PCH near Poing Mugu, I drafted off of him. I'm not sure he realized I was drafting him, but when I gained enough energy, I rode in front to give him the chance to draft off me, but I'm not sure he took advantage because I'd turn around and see him behind and to the left of me. Is there shame in a man drafting off a woman cyclist? I'm not sure.
Once we reached Mulholland, around mile 39, the ride really began -- in other words, the climbing! I really surprised myself that I had it in me to climb those mountains given my lack of recent cycling, but I passed a few riders in our group.
I was so thrilled to get to mile 56 and enjoy some lunch. Since all the food was vegan, it was easy -- I fixed myself a whole wheat Tofurky sandwich with avocado, tomato, and Vegenaise. Yum!
The last 44 miles were rough. I found a couple of men who were about my pace to ride the last 35 miles with. When struggling to achieve a goal, it's great to be around others -- that's why I do my long training runs or track workouts with a group -- I get energy from being with other people with the same goal. I'd say I "hit the wall" at mile 85, climbing on Mulholland heading west back to Las Virgines Road. My legs were tired, my knees ached, and my energy was sapped. One of my riding companions flatted at mile 90, which made for a good excuse to stop and wait for him to change his tire.
When we finally finished, it felt so good to be done! I slept so well last night. Yesterday's ride helped me gain the confidence that I need going into training for Ironman Lake Placid, knowing that I can complete a long hilly course. Also, I got to practice staying fueled while training, with both electrolyte solution and food.
No more endurance races for me for a while... not until the California International Marathon on December 6.