Aug 06

Double Metric Ride

Well, the vacation post is still coming – I promise.  I’ll eventually get it finished. In the meantime, I wanted to post about my bike Saturday brick workout.

I had a 6 hour ride scheduled and 45 minute run scheduled.  I realized Friday night that I had a typo in the electronic version of my training plan and was 30 minutes short on my bike ride. Normally, I wouldn’t care, but in my searching for a Saturday route, I found an awesome double metric century course.  This would required more than 6 hours of riding so I figured that I would make up for lost time and do the longer route.  I found the route on MapMyRide (http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/21346740) and it actually started really close to our house.  Perfect.  A metric century, if you don’t know, is a 100k bike ride (~62 miles).  So, a double metric is 200k (~124 miles).  This would make it my second longest ride ever (The 155 mile Ride Around Kent County being the longest)

I got up early (7:00) with the intention of leaving before 8:00. Well, breakfast took a little longer than usual to “settle” if you know what I mean so that pushed me back to 8:00.  Then, I got on the bike only to find that the course data I uploaded to my Garmin wasn’t working. It took some finagling to get it working and I think I know how to fix it in the future. (If you are Garmin course user: Basically, the MapMyRide GPX export contains way too may data points creating a super large file.  In GPSies (which converts the GPX to a Garmin CRS file), I needed to select the option to optimize the number of data points.)

The first 100k of the ride was pretty uneventful.  I had some light showers early on, but this was to be expected.  I checked the forecast before the ride and there was a 60% chance of showers at 9:00AM but only 10% the rest of the day.  After 2 hours of riding, I arrived in Saranac to fill up my bottles. I bought a couple of Gatorades at a gas station as well as a pack of mint gum to hopefully settle my stomach.

As I was leaving the gas station, a group of about 12 triathletes pulled up.  I recognized a couple from previous rides and chatted with them for a bit.  They were all training for the Steelhead 70.3 this weekend and IMWI as well.  Lots of them were veterans who had done IMWI multiple times as well as a slew of other IM races, but there were a couple of newbies as well.  They invited me to hang with them, but I was ready to get moving and they seemed to be taking an extended break so I moved on. I go back and forth about training in a group. I’m sure it is fun and helpful to work in a group, but I like the freedom of doing my own thing.  What do you prefer? Group training or going solo?

The second half of the ride is where it got interesting.  Almost exactly at the halfway point, the skies opened up. 

Photo Aug 06, 12 41 45 PM
So much for 10% chance of showers. Thankfully the t-storms and
lightning stayed north of me and all I got was rain.

To say it was a torrential downpour would be a huge understatement.  There were rivers of water in the gutters and the rain stung as it pelted me in the face.  If I put on my sunglasses, it was too dark to see.  With them off, the rain drops felt like knives in my eyeballs. I couldn’t win.

I turned a corner and all of a sudden was staring down a massive descent.  I held onto the brakes for dear life and controlled my descent as much as possible. I ended up moving to the middle of the lane because the sides were like troughs of water from where the cars wore grooves.  Despite laying on the brakes, I was still descending at about 30mph (in a 35mph zone mind you).  Still, some d-bag had to swerve around me and lay on the horn.  Real safe buddy. Real safe.

At the bottom of the hill, just when I thought I was in the clear, I hit a massive pothole which I will call the Demon Pothole.  I didn’t/couldn’t see the pothole because it was filled with water. I hit it at about 25mph and immediately my front tire when flat. The impact coupled with being startled by the impact sent me on a crash course off the road. Somehow (and I still don’t know how), I managed to keep the rubber side down and coasted to a stop just inches away from crashing into a bunch of trees.

Photo Aug 06, 12 40 20 PM edit
How lucky is this? Nice soft grass to control my stop. There was a nice drop off to the side of the road that isn’t really visible in the picture, but it wasn’t too bad.

Photo Aug 06, 12 40 28 PMThe Demon Pothole up close. Even up close the rain
hides it demon qualities

If you can believe it, this was my first ever on the road flat.  If it weren’t raining (and for nearly crashing) I would have actually been happy to have a flat to get some practice changing one.  I impressed myself with how quickly I got the tire swapped out for a first time change.  I probably could have gone a bit quicker but my nerves were a bit shaken and I took some time to take the pictures and collect my thoughts.

Question for all of you though. When I put my inflator on and pulled the trigger, the tire valve and inflator immediately froze.  There were ice crystals on the inflator and my fingers would freeze and stick to the inflator when I touched it. I had to carry the tire over to a puddle and splash water on it to thaw it.  Is this normal?? Did I screw something up?

With the flat taken care of, I got moving again.  The rain eased up a bit but I was already completely soaked so it really didn’t matter.  To add to the excitement of the ride, I was nearly taken out by a woman in a near-hit who “didn’t see me”.  You’ll have to forgive the poor Paint skills – I’m not an expert like Lindsay @ CTK.

Near Hit

Basically, the woman pulled turned left into the closest lane (like she was supposed to), but then proceeded to attempt to turn right from the outer lane in front of me.  Thankfully I was up on the horns and cranked hard on the brakes while I yelled “Hey! Hey! Hey!”.  I actually ended up skidding sideways because of the wet roads and ended up next to her.  I yelled “What the hell?!?” and she just looked at me with hands up like she didn’t see me.  Seriously?!?! I was the only fricken person on the road. If she didn’t see me, she should have her vision checked.

Thankfully, the rest of the ride was fairly uneventful.  I started to struggle a bit after 110 miles but that was mainly because I forgot a part of the course.  The final 20 miles or so wasn’t physically tough but it was a lot of stop and go because of traffic, stoplights and what not.  All I wanted to was finish up the ride and be done.

I ended up finishing ~127 miles in 6h42 for a moving average of almost 19mph which is right where I want to be for IMWI.

After the ride, I headed off on a quick 6 mile run. I took a little bit longer than normal between the ride and run mainly because I wanted to hose off my bike before all the grime dried on, change my clothes, and grab a Snickers bar.  It probably took 15 minutes or so to transition – not ideal, but this wasn’t technically a brick workout, just a bike and run day. 

Jennie came with on the bike to carry water and for support. I actually felt really good once I got started and quickly settled into a good pace.  I clicked off the miles and in no time made it around Reeds Lake for a 6 mile run at 8:05 pace.  The best part is that I felt like I could keep going.  I didn’t though.  I have a 2h40 minute run tomorrow that I need to rest up for. Totally not looking forward to that.

Once I was finally done, Jennie helped kick start my recovery with this delicious chocolate milk shake.

Photo Aug 06, 5 58 22 PM

And I think I’ll just leave you with that. 

Thanks for reading!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/08/06/double-metric-ride


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  1. Matt Smith

    What a crazy eventful ride. At least you’re not a “flat-virgin” anymore. I’m sorry that you had all that rain to change it in. Great ride, though! That’s a really long ways, AND, to follow it up with a 6 miler is just awesome. You’re going to smoke IMWI!!! Good luck on your run tomorrow.
    Matt Smith recently posted..11 Days Till D-Day

  2. Jon

    Um, how are you alive? Torrential rain? Flat tire @ 25 mph? Blind woman trying to kill you?

    Nice job on the ride! You are killing it on the bike this year. Gonna be great watching you kill IMWI!…..as long as the training doesn’t kill you! 😉
    Jon recently posted..Three Things Thursday……for the first time!

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      I don’t know honestly. After that ride/run yesterday and a 20 mile run today (my longest run since the Honolulu Marathon last December), I’m running on empty. We have officially left “cute” territory my friend.

  3. rachel

    You’re clearly tougher than i am! The demon pothole and the crazy lady would have left me quite shaken…

    This is perhaps a silly question but I’ll ask anyway. I do plenty of riding in the 17-18.5mph range (average over the course of a 2-3.5 hr ride) but want to move more toward 18-19.5 range. Am wondering if perhaps I am riding in the wrong gears. Do you spend most of your time in your small or big chainring? What sort of cadence do you keep (on the flat and/or on hills)?
    rachel recently posted..July – By the Numbers

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      No silly questions on this blog. 🙂

      Regarding speed, it varies depending on what bike I am on. On my roadie (which has a triple gear on the front and 9 speed on the rear), I average about 17.5 – 18.5 when riding semi-casually. I usually stick to the middle gear on the front and middle gear on the rear. With all the gearing options on the roadie though, I end up shifting a lot more than on my P2. The P2 has a compact crank on the front and 10 speed on the rear. If you don’t know the difference between a compact vs. standard crank, check out “The Professor” Jon’s post from a while back explaining it all. If you can’t find it, let me know and I’ll take a look for it. With the compact crank, I spend about 90% of the time in the big chain ring on the front and the bigger rings on the rear. The only time I drop into the small front ring is really only for climbing. That said, it took a lot of time on the bike to get to this point. My first year of riding the roadie, I don’t think I EVER left the middle chain ring.

      As for cadence, this has been a major focus in my training this year. I found that if my cadence was too low, I would end up with knee pain about 70 miles into a long run. So, I try to keep my moving cadence at 95+ RPM. I’ve seen lots of information that show that 85-95RPM is the ideal range, but for me, I need to be on the high end. There are even stretches where I am spinning at 100+RPM just to go easy on the knees. My cadence obviously slows down on the hills a bit, but I try to main the same cadence as much as possible. If it is a gradual climb, I’ll drop down to the small chain ring and maintain that 100RPM cadence.

  4. kc

    First I must say great job on the ride. You changed the tire efficiently and you did not die at the hands of a stupid driver or a demon pothole. I find the long rides to never be without some crazy event. Luckily nothing too damaging just shaken nerves. Glad you are good! Second, your training looks awesome heading into IMWI. Keep up the great training! Third, i hate and i love riding in groups. I’ll keep it simple and just say that the more people in a group, the more issues there will be. The group is only as strong as its weakest link. Someone always has to stop and pee 5 minutes after we just left the parking lot where there was a perfectly good bathroom, someone always drinks all of their fluid too early and we have to stop at a store. I could go on but I’ll stop now. A few good things about riding in groups is you are more visible as a group vs. by yourself and there are plenty of people to share the workload and push you more than you would push yourself sometimes. Thanks for the comment on my blog regarding the WP switcharoo. I may take you up on that offer. Oh yeah, and if you could send me that plan you mentioned that you and DRog are using that would be awesome. Thanks!!
    kc recently posted..july training numbers and other crap

  5. Dr. Cocktail

    Hi Kevin! I just saw you running this am (with Jenny) while out walking my dog on Lake Drive. You may remember seeing me at the GR Tri. Any way – great work!! The weather Sat and today was not at all conducive to training, you are doing great.

    Yes, because the gas is expanding the container gets cold and when it is wet, it is possible to get ice. In fact, it is possible to make frozen CO2 (dry ice) that way, but the CO2 would have to be at a higher pressure.

    I really like riding and running in groups – I find it motivates me to go faster. With riding I need to be selective about who I ride with, but there are few things as much fun as a strong pace line!

    Thanks for posting/inspiring us all! Keep it up.

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      I thought that was you! I was about 9 miles into my run and the heat/humidity were starting to make things fuzzy. It sure is nice to have someone out there cheering me on by name!

      Thanks for the info on the CO2 cartridge. Let’s hope that it isn’t raining (or that I don’t flat) on race so that I don’t have to worry about it again.

      What’s next for you? Any more upcoming races this season?

  6. Mandy

    Oh my god. That is all so crazy!! Amazing ride! WHOSE READY TO MOOO???? YOU!

    Good for you to change the tire quickly…and not get creamed by that crazy driver! And dealing with the rain and stuff.

    I have never ridden in a group, I can’t say anything about that. But you are a freaking rockstar Kevin!
    Mandy recently posted..Thursday Randomness

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      It is funny you should say that. I just read this the other day regarding the swim: “Be sure to moo like a cow when you make the first left turn, in true Wisconsin fashion! ” haha. Not sure where/how this started, but I’ll be MOO-ing!!!

  7. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    Dude, seriously glad to still have you in our lives. That is nuts. The moment I read that you hit that pothole at that speed all I thought was the next line was that you went head over heels so needless to say I am glad that you ‘only’ got a flat.
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..CTER Interviewed

  8. Jeff Irvin

    Wow! Lucky you and the bike are still functioning. A flat is the least of the bad things that could have happened ..whew! And your animations/drawings/renderings are top notch! Well done!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..The Next Year

  9. lindsay

    is it possible to bend your wheel in such demonic potholes? seems like you were lucky to only have a flat with ice crystals. is it getting cold up there already?

    your paint skills are off to a good start. you’ll be a pro in no time!
    lindsay recently posted..great greenville race

  10. Morgan

    I have so many questions I don’t even know where to begin!!! Gah! All this cycling stuff is overwhelming! I will skip the questions and instead just tell you what a bad ass you are and I probably would’ve cried after I hit the demon pot hole.
    Morgan recently posted..Foto Friday + 30 Day Photography Challenge Wrap-up

  11. Derek


    “thats when things got interesting”…haha
    ill say

    agree on group v solo rides….I cant be waiting around must get to it. maybe someday ill have more time to do the group thing…but it has to fit my schedule and that seems difficult

    nice ride

    closing in…1mo out!

  12. BDD

    COngrats on the long ride.

    Drivers sucks!!

    Were the mavic on the bike when you hit that pothole? Even though you flatted, they stayed true, one freaking tough wheel, not a great race wheel, but they sure take a pounding, its like “what pothole, that little bump wont crack me.”

    Glad you ended up safe after all the mishaps

    Yes its normal for CO2 to get cold and ice form on it.
    BDD recently posted..Answers to your Questions – Part 1

  13. Matt Oravec

    Wow man, total crazy day!

    Since you hit a pothole that big and defined… check your wheels, make sure there was no bending or crimping of the impact zone.

    My road flats have all been glass (except at Steelhead, that was a pothole 🙁 ).

    I prefer riding by myself (with Heather of course). You do your own thing, go your own pace. Groups mainly help when you are struggling or having a bad day (for me that is).

    Dude, your pace is ridiculous. CANT WAIT to check your results… if I am still alive that day haha.

    Keep up the awesome work man. Keep getting those check marks!
    Matt Oravec recently posted..Greater Cleveland Triathlon Race Report – 2011

  14. Chris @ Tri4Success

    Nice job with the ride despite evil Lady Luck throwing everything at you. Definitely check the wheel closely after a pothole at that speed. My bet is the driver DID see you but like most, misjudged the speed of your bike. Keep up the solid work in your training!
    Chris @ Tri4Success recently posted..The Triathlete’s Teeth – acidity in sport drinks

  15. Heather

    Wow! I am glad you are ok after all the “excitement” on your bike ride. Drivers these days are idiots and I am all for retesting for your driver’s license every few years.

    To answer your question, I prefer to workout alone or with Matt, not in a group. I have never liked running with people (even in HS CC), and that seems to have carried over to biking as well. I think its because I am easily intimidated by other people and I always feel like I am not good enough to keep up with others.

    Awesome bike and run though! You are going to do amazing at Steelhead and IMWI. I can’t wait to see your finish time for IMWI! When you are done with your race you will probably still have time to make it to Sandusky to see Matt and I finish our race…lol! Kona all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Colleen

    Well heck… if you can survive all of that, IMMOO is going to be a cake walk! 🙂

    I stopped using CO2 because they always froze on me like you talked about and they freaked me out. I got a carbon hand pump that’s like 7″ long and it fits on my back cages. I’ve only had to use it once, but at least I don’t fear it.

  17. Mike

    That’s a really solid workout. Nice work.

    I do and don’t like riding in groups. For big key workouts like you did, I go solo every time. It’s the only way for me to ride my pace, and I try not to stop at all if I can. There’s no way I could do my workout exactly as I like if I ride in a group. I live right off the IMWI course and ride it all the time and see groups of triathletes training by riding in groups chatting the whole time. That makes for a fun ride, but not a good training session. They draft and sit up a lot and then the struggle on race day.

    Riding in groups can be good sometimes, especially if you can ride with cyclists. They’ll force you to push the pace when you’re tired and you’ll improve your bike handling skills riding in a pack.
    Mike recently posted..An "Epic" Weekend

  18. Elizabeth

    Be careful out there! Drivers who don’t run or bike (or have loved ones who bike or run) do NOT pay attention to anything but other cars on the road. Personally, when running, I have jumped curbs, jumped into bushes, poison ivy and all, snow embankments, you name it, more times than I want to count to get out of the way of drivers who never even see me. So obviously I am not telling you anything you don’t know, but do be careful!! As for your question about whether or not training in groups is preferred, I imagine it’s quite different training in groups for runners compared to biking. I prefer to do my long runs with a buddy (not a group). I have run in a group before, and enjoyed it, but never for more than a 5 mile run. Long runs, especially once I hit 15 miles or more, I really like running with a buddy, even if we don’t talk–it’s just knowing someone else is there and is feeling your pain, more or less. Shorter runs I prefer to do by myself because those are my “speed” workouts so I need to be able to do it at my own speedy speed (which isn’t very speedy, but you know what I mean.)
    Elizabeth recently posted..Holy Workout, Heidi Montag!

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