Glad I'm back home alive. Freaking bear dragged me along for 40 miles and when I had no energy left in me, he started pounding me.
Today was the day to ride the course of the Black Bear HIM. My first 56mi ride (previous longest was 50). The course is one of the most sadistic in triathlons. Last year when I did the sprint as my first tri, people were saying the HIM course is worse than a Lake Placid loop. Total climbing is around 4100 ft. Everything was fine for a while. I was taking it easy, wanting just to cover the distance. I handled the big hills alright, often in the largest cog wishing for an extra gear, but I was climbing. Part of the course is a double loop, so when I started the second loop it was much harder than the first time. And then.... at around mile 40 I realized I'm out of fluids. I had 70 oz with me, and it was almost gone. Did I mention it was the hottest day of the year? 78 degrees, something I haven't seen since September.
So it was getting bad. With 4 major hills remaining, all my bottles were empty. I decided to walk them if it gets hard, to conserve energy, and indeed I walked my bike 3 times (hate to admit that). But I thought I was dying. Even the easy rollers seemed impossible to handle. After mile 48 I knew it's all downhill, but each small incline was like a wall. I had nothing left. I felt like all my energy and life was slipping away and I think I hit a big bonk, since my vision was getting blurry. As I was going very slow, I didn't have the benefit of the breeze, and felt like the sun was burning me. I don't even know how I climbed the last short but steep hill.
Getting back to the parking lot was the greatest feeling. Took me 3:50... which after all is not that bad, since I'm aiming for 3:30 at the race (based on last year, this is exactly average).
So, a few positives: - at the race, I'm counting on having liquids all the time - also, I do much better in races, with the adrenaline and support and competition - I know I survived it once, so I can do it again - I saw two A-10 aircrafts in a low flight... they looked very cool - there was no traffic except for the main road, maybe 10 cars over 40 miles
Negatives: - all above - today I couldn't run the proposed brick, not even half a mile; when I got back, I crashed on the beach for 20 minutes and just laid there - 2 mean-looking dogs added a high-intensity, high-HR sprint workout - on the hottest day of the year, I should've used sunscreen. I'm preparing for an itchy night
Oh, and biggest positive: I didn't give up. Some people wouldn't understand why I took the 7mi out-and-back loop with the two big hills, when I knew I didn't have much fluid left. Also why I didn't cut back to the park near the end, as I was hurting, dehydrated and de-electrolyzed.
Anyway, this was my longest training session ever (longer than any 20-miler I did in marathon training). Also, besides the Marathons and the Bear Mt Challenge, longest workout ever. A few more comments:
AERO BOTTLE Was perfect. I secured it extra-well and although the road was sometimes very bumpy and I hit a few big bumps, it didn't budge. I rolled the sponge like they say, and there was no danger of it coming out. There was only some minor splashing.
INFINIT It worked great, while it lasted. I never felt tired over the first 40 miles. No GI problems, I think it was absorbing very well.
FITTING No discomfort on my longest ride yet. I remember how painful it got in some places earlier in the year, even in 20-30mi rides. The only thing hurting is below my neck (upper back), probably from looking forward so much.