8 Weeks to Ironman 70.3 Augusta – A Tale of 2 Rides
Another week goes by and the countdown is now 8 weeks to Ironman 70.3 Augusta. As part of my positive affirmations this week, I chose to shelve away the tale of two rides on the same course. The first ride was 6 weeks ago and the second ride was this past Sunday. At a popular Atlanta cycling route called “Silk Sheets”, both rides were 50 miles. The route is similar to the Ironman 70.3 Augusta bike course – a few sharp hills, but most are long grinding inclines that go on forever and tire you out.
1. There is no point in worrying about things that I cannot control. Energy spent on things that I CAN control is much more worthwhile.
When I started the first ride, I was already so mentally beat up by so many things (out of my control, but ones I chose to worry about) that my goal was to ride without whining.
When I started the second ride, I pushed everything else out of my mind other than the ride (even though I still had plenty of things on my mind). I could not control anything else going on, but I could control how I would ride. I focused on the task at hand – ride the 50 miles for redemption.
2. Thoughts are powerful and can shape characters. Unfortunately, I/we tend to dwell on the negative things and forget the positives (hence the positive affirmation journey). Learning to let go of negative thoughts in that moment is a big accomplishment.
There is a hill on the route that is about midway and completely in the open sun – so no matter the time of the day, it is still hilly and there’s the sun beating down.
During the first ride, I named the hill a “B” word.
During the second ride, I focused on getting up the hill without wasting negative thoughts and energy on it.
3. Figuring out Nutrition & a tip – If you carry nutrition in a ziploc baggie in your fuel bag, open the baggie beforehand. Trying to open it with sweaty left hands was a HARD task!
Why left hand? Because I was nervous about being unsteady if I let go of my right hand. I ultimately had to use my right hand to open the baggie and guess what – I wasn’t as unsteady as I thought and I was fine. ANOTHER POSITIVE!
Six weeks ago, I was struggling with nutrition. I did not know that I was supposed to be eating on the long rides, so with just 3 scoops of UCan pre-ride in me, I’d bonk at about the 2-2.5hr mark. I’d try to hold out until 3hrs and then stuff myself with bonk breakers. Too late.
This ride, I made the most excellent “Salty balls” for ride nutrition and I diligently had one every 30minutes along with 1 scoop of UCan on the hour. It worked perfectly! And when I lost a bit of oomph around the 2.5 hr mark, I kept moving reminding myself that I had to just go on for 15 more minutes before I could eat another of the yummy balls!
4. If I can hit 13.3mph on a bike course similar to the race course, I can strive to hit 13.5mph on race day – the “cut off” pace that I’d need.
On that first ride, I averaged a whooping 11.1mph. I had never been more than 12.6mph on long rides (with the exception of one 13.0mph on a flat ride). But that ride was so slow that they actually sent out search parties for Marietta and me.
This past weekend, I averaged 13.3mph – my FASTEST average on a long ride so far. Although I did push it in a few sections, I don’t think I ever felt like I was pushing too hard.
There was a slight advantage since the temps weren’t as bad, but that’s not the focus. After a week of sudden panic waves thinking about the Ironman 70.3 Augusta course and wondering about cutoff times, the average pace was an unexpected reward for all the training that has been going in.
5. For all the things that was different between the two rides, there was a common factor – the ice cream treat afterwards!
And how exactly is that a positive affirmation? Well … Jeff Spires from TriAugusta assures us that the best icecream and milkshake treats are at a local Augusta restaurant. Complete motivation for me to finish the course and enjoy the treat. Don’t laugh! If cravings of a Ghirardelli ice cream can get me through Chicago Marathon in a flu-hazed mind, icecream/milk shakes will work the trick on the Ironman 70.3 Augusta course!
After the ride, I felt like I wanted to bottle the ride forever. And that’s exactly what I’m doing now. By pulling together all the positives from the ride to remember while riding the bike on race day.
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