After a few setbacks over the weekend I was forced to adapt and move forward as best I could. It was frustrating at the time and I'd be lying if I said I just immediately accepted it and rolled with it. I hate admitting things are beyond my control and can't be fixed so it takes me time to accept the circumstances and shift plans. When I said this to a friend today she said an Ironman is all about adapting and moving forward. So in many ways, having things go wrong may have been the best training.
I was able to make up for some of Saturday's loss with a really great ride yesterday. We followed the Mad River Century route and I ended up covering 108 miles. The scenery was beyond beautiful and the course was relatively flat for Vermont. Normally I would seek hills but given how my legs felt from Saturday - totally beat up - flatter was better. Our pace was pretty leisurely, what we referred to as a "muffin ride," the kind of ride where you have coffee and muffins during breaks rather than just hammering straight through. Since I do a lot of riding alone I tend to go nonstop so this was a fun change. And yes, I had a muffin in Montpelier along with a latte and it was so much better than the Hammer Gel I should have been eating.
We stopped at mile 55 and some of the group was getting tired. We were planning another stop in Rochester, which should have been around 75 miles in and the plan was to eat lunch if the weather held up. The sky was dark and rain was on the way. But as most courses go, it wasn't measured perfectly due to where we started so Rochester didn't show up until mile 83. At that point, pretty much everyone wanted to stop except for me and one other rider. Quite honestly I didn't care if I finished either given everything the weekend had brought. If there were a quick and easy way to get back to the house I would have accepted it, but the group was struggling to find a ride and figure things out so I headed out on my own to finish the route. The rain started hard just as I was getting on my bike. I've ridden so many times in the rain this year so I'm used to it, but it doesn't make it any more fun. I was freezing for the first few miles, literally shaking and covered in goosebumps. My feet went numb right away, they always do. After 10-15 minutes I looked down and realized I forgot to start up my Garmin so I had no sense of how many miles it was to the house until I made it to the next town. As I passed through Hancock I saw the place where my first flat hit yesterday and was happy to still be riding even if I was alone, tired and soaked. I kept moving forward.
I saw various members of the group go by in cars as they found their rides. I half wished they'd just pick me up. They said if they made it back in time they'd grab me at Sugarbush but as I passed Sugarbush they hadn't made it back yet so again, I kept moving forward. But at that point I was feeling good because I knew I had just four miles to go. The rain had let up and I was in the final stretch. The house is on one of the steepest hills I've ever seen and I had decided I wouldn't attempt to climb in on fried legs, but as I turned the corner, I decided to keep pedaling and see what I could do. I was about to die when I heard cheering from behind, the rest of the group had finally arrived home and were cheering me on as I attempted the awful climb. It made me smile despite the misery. They drove on and I kept going but as I reached a small plateau and saw the 16% grade reading on my Garmin, I decided I'd done enough for one day and ended my ride there. I walked up the last few hundred meters in my socks leaving telltale wet footprints that the other rider who decided to continue later saw. I should have left the shoes on!
I didn't get to run after this ride and I don't care. I was just so happy to have recaptured some of the lost training and survive a ride on my seemingly cursed wheels. I had a lot of fun with a really great group of people and logged some serious training. I can't ask for more than that.
Distance - 108.03 miles
Time - 6:45:28