The weekend was a mix of omg-I-just-did-that and omg-can-I-really-do-this?
Saturday morning I met with a few team members for my first Ironman Wisconsin bike loop of the season. When we started the roads were wet from rain a few hours before. It was windy, kind of chilly and I thought this ride was going to take me forever. I’m a wimp on wet roads and wind.
I pedaled my butt off to keep up with two guys leading the ride, but doubted I could keep pushing that hard through the whole ride. About an hour into the ride I realized I was in my big ring! John cleaned my bike the previous night and left it in the big ring. This solved the mystery of why my effort felt so hard! After that, I was cruising!
To keep my head in a good place for the Ironman loop, I only let my Garmin show me the live/current mph, not the average while riding. I allow myself to check the average while in Mount Horeb. Why? No reason really, it’s just a checkpoint and it works for me. When I got to Mount Horeb my average read 17.5 mph.
That’s the fastest average I’ve ever had going into Mount Horeb, ever. Ever, ever, ever! While impressed with myself at that point, I also knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain that average as we were headed towards the rollercoaster of hills to Cross Plains. My head stirred up some mental arguments about that average, noting I got it while accidentally in the big ring…cue a “give yourself some damn credit” pep talk!
I didn’t allow myself to check my Garmin for the rest of the ride. I still had a hunch I would PR the loop that day. I shyly told one of my teammates I thought it was going to happen and pedaled on ahead.
When I got back to the parking lot where we started I did my Garmin average “reveal” on Instagram story to share that moment. It was important for me to share even if it wasn’t a success because this journey includes tough training days too. On this day I got to share a proud moment, the Garmin read 17 mph average. I was in disbelief. I just did that.
I have never ridden the loop that fast in five years of riding it. My fastest average was 15.4 previously.
Variables that make this training accomplishment standout even more to me are:
- Wet roads at the beginning of the ride made me ride cautiously
- Stop signs and stop lights that I stopped for
- Roads with loose gravel that I had to slow down for
- I hung back for a couple of miles to chat with a teammate at a leisure pace
- This was only my first loop of the season!
Though I have the above variables that boost the confidence… spectating the Ironman 70.3 Madison on Sunday gave me quite the reality check. The weather was….I’ll just say it–miserable. Pouring rain, wind, high 50s/low 60s, just gross. Like I said before, I’m a wimp on wet roads and in the wind. I wondered how I would have handled that morning if it were my race day.
While questioning my own strength I got to witness many friends and teammates show theirs on the course. This is a tough course to begin with, and they were out there battling rough conditions. Cheering for them filled my heart. Watching them overcome and triumph was such a gift. I’m so impressed and amazed at all who endured Sunday–no matter the outcome.
Spectating that challenging day made me question my #sub6orbust mission, but observing triumph from the sidelines at the Madison 70.3 is motivation to carry into my training and race-day what-ifs.
Newly added mantra to my summer training: Anything is possible.