Cujo, Bewildered Moos and Ft13

What a day.

Looking at Saturday’s weather, with a 100% chance of rain/thunderstorms, I decided to move my 5 hour brick to today. I have a very understanding boss, who allowed me to take the day off. He’s very understanding, but he doesn’t understand why I like to do what I do; he just knows I like to do it and that I’m “crazy”. That and the fact that I have plenty of vacation time built up helps.

The downside to moving it to today was that I had a breakthrough bike session scheduled for Thursday evening, which went on as scheduled. Instead of the long hills that the workout called for (few of them to be had here in southern Kentucky), it was a overgeared slog-fest into the 15-20mph headwinds. It did its job – I was knackered by the time I got home. Absolutely thrashed.

So I fueled and slept to get ready for today’s brick.

Wouldn’t you know it, it was raining (lightly) when I woke up. And I still felt beat up. After putting the brick off long enough, I got rolling at 9am. The rain was light and luckily ended after about 15 minutes, while the temp remained anchored in the low 40’s. But my legs were gone. Absolutely gone.

Is it possible to bonk before even starting?

I thought long and hard about that for the first hour. At the end of the first hour, I seriously thought about turning around, calling it a two hour ride and then trying the brick again on Sunday.

But Sunday is family day. So far this year, I’ve always kept Sunday as my rest day. One of the things that I must do to keep balanced. The “downside” is that I must get my hours in during the week, with Saturday being my only long day. But the time spent with family is priceless and I won’t change that.

So I kept the pedals turning. Some times they felt like squares, some times they actually felt like circles. Grinding into the 10-15mph headwind that we weren’t supposed to have today (just like the rain). And I slowly felt the energy returning. But I still wasn’t feeling the run.

So I started making deals with myself. You know the drill.

“Since my brick is scheduled for 5 hours, if I ride 4:45, the 15 minute run is more than sufficient to get me ready for the transition and pain of a 1/2 Iron”, which turns into “You know, if I ride for the full 5 hours, then I can tack on extra time to my run tomorrow”.

I turned around at 2:20. Now that’s not cheating, trying to get in only a 20 minute run. That’s my analytical mind, realizing that if I turned around any earlier (e.g. 2 hours), with the new tailwind, I’d make it home at about 3:45, which would give me a 1:15 run. And I didn’t think the legs had that kind of run in them.

So with the tailwind, increasing energy and a slight downhill, I discovered that I can go from fully tucked in the aero position at 35 mph to a dead stop in about 50 feet.

That’s when Cujo appeared.

I’m glad I missed him the first time around, when I was headed into the wind and going up the hill, although stopping would have been easier. And I’m glad that he barked as he was sprinting across the yard, which gave me enough time to un-tuck, brake and unclip. He crossed the yard and the highway, stopping right in front of me. I would have T-boned him at 35 mph. That would’ve been ugly.

He wasn’t going to let me get by without extracting a pound of my flesh. “Lucky” for me, I had an encounter with a few other dogs earlier in the ride, so I had a few extra rocks in my Bento Box. The first one bounced off his head and didn’t phase him. This was going to be fun. Luckily there was a steady supply right at my feet. A shot to the haunch got him moving back across the street, which is where I wanted him. Then I started pedaling. So he came after me, then thought the better of it when he heard the car coming (I heard it.  Tthat’s why I started pedaling). After the car passed, he started after me.

You know how hard it is to sprint, shift and hurl a rock on a tri bike?

He kept up for a good quarter mile. Cujo had some legs. But I had gears.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with dogs barking and chasing after me; most time’s it’s fun. But once they cross their owner’s property line, the dog transitions from defending territory to attacking. And I’ll protect myself accordingly.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. I was pleased to see that my fueling strategy was working and that I was feeling much better than I was at the start. I was actually starting to look forward to the run.

The tough part of the fueling strategy is that I’m choking down the rest of my can of Perpeteum Vanilla-Orange, which to me is about as unpalatable as a drink can get. But it works. In the 75 miles of today’s ride, the three bottles of Perpeteum, along with six servings of the Espresso Hammer Gel and two Endurolyte capsules every hour and I was raring for the run.

So you think I like Hammer products? I have since I got my first order of Hammer Gel back in 1996. This is the first year I’ve used their other products in conjunction with the Gel. I am impressed. But they gotta do something about that Perpeteum “Dreamsicle” flavor.

So after covering the 75 miles in 4:14, that meant that I had a 46 minute run to round out the five hours. Having fueled heavily the last hour of the ride, I popped a Nuun in a water bottle and got going. Turned out I’d need more than that.

Right off the bat, the run felt great. I started off at a 9 minute pace and was able to ramp it up throughout the run. As I approached the 20 minute point, I decided I was going to go for another 10 and make it a full hour run. Right after that, the bewildered moos appeared.

Ever run past a dairy farm? Along a field with 60-80 cows all watching you as you go by? It made me think that I was being watched by 60-80 Nancy Pelosi‘s.

I turned around at 30 minutes and kept focusing on form. Right about when I got back to the cows, the whole road shifted. Not really, it was just my eyes. If you’ve ever worked the graveyard shift, you know the feeling; right about 3am when everything in sight shifts really fast, even though nothing has moved.

What was that about bonk? That’s when I realized I should’ve brought some fuel.

I made it home with no problems, save the occasional shift. And I was able to maintain my pace. Luckily I was just in the first stages of a bonk. It had been quite a while since I felt that sensation. Not something I want to experience again.

But it was another good experience, to let myself drift just inside the dark cavern and then work through it.

Back home and refueling, I hooked my Suunto T6 up to the computer to download my files. That’s when Friday the 13th came into play. Not that I’m a superstitious person, but it fit in this instance.

For my entire ride, all four hours and 14 minutes of it, I was apparently dead and going nowhere. Flat lines for both fields. So no useful data at all for the entire time, even though the display showed my heart rate and speed as I was riding. At least I keep a bike computer mounted as a backup.

It would have been interesting to see how slow I was for the first hour, what my heart rate reached when Cujo charged and how I was able to pick up the pace through the latter half of the ride. Gotta hate glitches. But they are very rare with the Suunto.
Luckily I stopped the watch and started a new session for the run, so at least that data was there.

In hindsight, I realized about a mile into my ride that I hadn’t “connected” my HR belt. With Suunto, for some reason you have to “connect” each of the sensors in order for it to register the signal. When I realized that I hadn’t “connected” the belt, I did so immediately and it showed. But apparently if it’s not “connected” before the session starts, it doesn’t record the data. Another lesson learned.

Ah well, enough rambling. Good luck to those racing in IM Arizona and the Boston Marathon this weekend.

And if you aren’t racing, hopefully the weather cooperates with whatever you have scheduled.

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