I went into this weekend feeling confident – perhaps a bit over-confident.  I’ve prepared well, stayed on top of my goals, pushed myself to the point of approaching over-training (and then backed off just a tad), but overall I felt strong and ready to do some serious damage in my run and bike events.

Dedication wall at LIVESTRONG Philly 2012

LIVESTRONG is a charity foundation founded by Lance Armstrong to raise awareness and provide much needed dollars for cancer treatment, support and research.  A good buddy of mine put a team together 6 years ago, when he was just a few weeks out of chemotherapy.  I didn’t own a bike at the time, but I always wanted to get involved, so I donated a little money when I could and kept up with my buddy and his biking exploits.  Entering Fathers’ Day Weekend, I was toying with the idea of grabbing a used bike on Craigslist to begin flirting with the idea of TRIATHLON, and low and behold the perfect Trek road bike was right there waiting for me.  Immediately I decided to put it to use and began the ascent of the steep learning curve.

Isn’t she pretty?

I had committed to the 10K way way back in December of 2011, as I was cooling-down from my first 5K race.  Mid summer I decided to add the 20 mile bike ride.

(The 10K went really well yesterday.  I was shooting for sub-75 minutes, and around mile 5 it hit me that I was within striking distance of 60 minutes!  I cooked it pretty well over the past 1/25 miles and scooted in at 58:22!)

As I added distance and road/saddle time over the summer, I took to it pretty well.  This morning as I woke about 5:15, I had an inner dialogue with myself.  20 miles is nice, and certainly compatable with the sprint tris coming up in Sept/Oct, but could I do 45 miles?  My longest ride to date was 21 miles one week ago.  I would have really liked a 2nd bottle cage on the down tube, but as of yesterday evening it never entered my mind.  Luckily the temperatures were expected to be low 70s with overcast skies.


I met up with my buddy and his crew in the starting corral.  He introduced me to two of his brothers-in-law that would be doing the 45 mile ride, however both were experiences riders accustomed to century rides (100+ miles).


The gun sounded and we were off.  The first 15 miles were cake.  We were held up for a few mechanical problems with a faulty front tire (not mine), but we stopped periodically to pump it up.  The 2nd half of the ride is much more challenging than the first.  We saw an awful accident at the bottom of a steep descent/serpentine where someone on a backboard was being loaded into an ambulance.  I said a quick prayer on the way by.


As for my riding – I only dropped my chain once, and it was on a very steep hill that I misjudged and neglected to downshift before hitting it.  I also dropped my (only) bottle on another hill where I had to stop, unclip, and grab it.  The hills were very challenging, and it did prove to be the toughest part.


Big realizations:

(1) I need more hill work.  Much more.

(2) Always plan for the unknown.  I should have thought to have a 2nd cage on the bike prior to today.  I actually had a 2nd bottle with me in the car, but no where to put it.

(3) I need more group work.  Climbing in a pack is especially difficult in a pack with a wide disparity of abilities and skills.  I was by no means a weaker rider, in fact today might have shown me that I am pleasantly above average, at least at the 45 mile range.

(4) My bike is flat-out fast on flats and descents.  I was actually catching people by coasting, so the rolling resistance on the wheelset is very low.

(5) My RunKeeper app came up small today.  It had me riding 37 miles and change, instead of the 49 miles that the ride actually measured out to (based on everyone’s on-board GPS equipment).  I can’t wait to get my Garmin 910XT!

(6) Adding impromptu miles on a bike is MUCH EASIER than adding longer runs.  You simply cannot just decide to double your max distance, as your body will fail you.


Next year I will most likely not do this ride again, since there was a great nearby triathlon at my tri-team’s home lake (Lum’s Pond).  LIVESTRONG was a great experience, and I highly recommend the top-notch production.



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