Luke: Hey Andrew!.. I have a great idea for some epic weekend training!!
Luke: Yeah, Let's run the Peak to Beak 18k foot race, then do the Test of Humanity 4hr mountain bike marathon!
Andrew: Have fun with that!
On paper, this challenge seems very doable and not all bad... After all, I was looking at a total of just over 5hrs of effort. 'Not so bad', I thought to myself. Classic case of 'What did I get myself into!!'
Order of business, start the day off with an 17.7k run, starting at the very top of Knox Mountain and finishes at the opposite side of the valley at Quail's Gate Winery. Don't take too long for this because you'll only have about 40 minutes to get to the start line of your next race, The 4hr Test of Humanity mountain bike in Summerland (30min drive away).
My Strategy, crush out a strong running race then try and contend at the ToH. Let's just say the way my day unfolded was not so much crushing and contending and more painful and character building.
In the morning Peter and Halyna were kind enough to shuttle me to Knox for the start of the Peak to Beak. This local race has been running for about 30 years and has a reputation of being a tough race. It is widely known that if you over charge it at all during initial descent down Knox, you will be in a world of hurt. Well, I'd like plead ignorant to this information, but I watched the race last year and was witness to the detonation of many after an over zealous Knox descent. It's funny how all the knowledge in the world sometimes can't save you from yourself. I lined up with the top guys and off we went. After about 30secs, I realized that the pace was pedestrian. So I settled into, what I thought was, my own pace. Soon enough I couldn't hear any foot steps behind me. Life was good!!
At the bottom of Knox is when I realized I had made a huge mistake! As soon as the ground stopped falling away from me and I started having to actually run, I felt like gravity had mysteriously tripled it's force. Not in general, just on how it was adhering my soles to the pavement. Not long after that, I heard footsteps and shortly after that I went from fighting for the lead, to fighting for top 5, to trying to control my heart rate so I could still muster a bike ride after. It is still surprising to to me just how much that descent beat me up. Short of walking, it was all I could do to get my HR down a few beats. I'd normally avg about 170 for a race like this, but my avg was closer to 180. Youch!
All said and done, my goal was 70min for the race and ended up running about 75min, so that I am happy about that given how it felt. I wanted to race it in 70min, one because I thought that was comfortably attainable, and two because I needed that much time to make it to Summerland to race mountain bikes.
After a very brief bout of public nudity in the Quail's Gate parking lot to get my riding gear on, I had about 35mins to make it to Summerland. Feeling a little bit cross-eyed after running, I had to keep both hand on the wheel and alas I met Jen, Woody and Stacey at the transition zone of the Test of Humanity. I was feeling adrenalized and good about riding my bike for the next few hours. Lining up at this, my second start line of the day, I glanced over at Stacey's HR, it read 105. I asked Woody, what's your HR? He replied, 98! Then I showed them mine... It read 128! After a chuckle at the novelty, the count down to go was on... Again! I knew I was hurting, but didn't know the extent. So I thought to myself, let's charge this first lap and if my legs are there, than great!.. If not, then I'll know for sure and I can make other plans. The starting gun went off and like I was born again, off I went! Did you know that your oxygen independent system can only last for about 15 to 30 seconds? Well, I can tell you! I can pin point the exact second when I shifted from oxygen independent energy systems to oxygen dependent. This is what cell phones must feel like right before they leave you with a half finished tweet! My strategy shifted rapidly from contend to survive by about half way through the first lap. This became painfully clear on a challenging little climb. The rider in font of me washed out, forcing me to step down. Upon contact my calf went into a full ballerina toe pointing cramp. I couldn't help but laugh as I hauled my bike off the trail. After finishing lap one, I sat down with Jen where she helped me make a plan for the rest of the ride. Every time Woody would come around I'd ride with him as long as I could then I'd get a rest in transition until he came around again. This was awesome, because it fulfilled my goal of getting quality functional training and kept me rolling. I can name my laps according to the muscle group that cramped. Lap one, calf. Lap two, rectus femoris. Lap three, inercostal and diaphragm muscles, and finally the leg locking vastus medialis. All this said I was feeling better as the day went on. On the last lap I was able to ride with Woody and watch him take home the silver medal overall.
Balance Point in general had a fantastic showing out there! Stacey was the fastest woman overall, Martin also took home gold for the 40+ men, one of our newest team mates Mark had a very strong day out there getting a personal best!
My feelings on this day are in order: Proud, Humble, and Sore! If my fingers were more involved with my day yesterday, I would not be writing this now! HA!! Now for a couple of days recovery with some much needed repair work to be done by Lindsey and Ben at Valeo and a whole lot of Compressport magic. I'm looking forward to a great Guardian Century Ride next Sunday. If you are looking for a fun and free group ride, please check it out here and rsvp.
Ciao for now!