Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Loading the legs IM Mont Tremblant style

I'm at the point in my training now where it's getting tougher to get it all in.  The workout durations are long enough that they all need to be individually planned for each day so they get done.  I'm doing well with it, and this last weekend was no exception.

The plan called for a 3h45 ride on Saturday and a 2hr run on Sunday.  I flipped these around to ensure I got my wife to work on Saturday morning without being late (that'll be a common pattern right to race day).  On tired legs I was up again at 4.30am, met a good buddy for the run, and got a solid 2hr run in all through Kanata and Stittsville, an adjacent neighborhood.  I hadn't run with Peter for many weeks, and it was fantastic to catch up with him.  Another benefit is that Peter keeps me honest in my run - he's 15yrs older than I am, and can routinely kick my ass in the longer distances.  Easily.

Sunday morning was another 4.30am alarm.  I had a small breakfast, and packed up all my gear to head to Gatineau Park for a pile of hillwork on my long ride.  I hadn't ridden "the loop" yet this year, and to be honest I was nervous about doing it for nearly 4hrs.  The terrain in The Gats is very similar to that at Mont Tremblant, and I wanted to start getting this kind of work in more often, so I didn't really give myself the choice.
I started out on my own, and not 10min in, another rider on a sweet Cervelo P2C comes beside me and says "Doing Ironman?"  I answered yes, to which he responds "Thought so.  Out at 6am and three bottles on a TT bike kinda gives it away."  He introduced himself as Andy, who's also doing IM Mont Tremblant, and we rode the next two laps and kept each other company.  It really was great to ride with someone like that, and the time flew by.  Thanks Andy!  Hope I see you out there again!

My legs were still feeling the effects of the 2hr run the day before, but I ignored that and worked to find my pace and gearing to stay as effective as possible.  I can really feel the different stance now between my Felt TT bike and my commuter bike, a cyclocross bike, and the switchover took a bit of time on the first lap.  But I fell in well, handling the steep stuff at Lac Pink and up Chemin Fortune, handling most of the climbs while seated.  We rode all the way up to Champlain Lookout - that's the reward for the climb, the view was amazing overlooking the Ottawa River and the valley - before coasting down the one hill, hitting 70kph without pedalling.

We had to adjust for the second loop, as there were two races on.  One was a road race, where the lead pack was climbing at an amazing pace, well above 30kph - it was incredible to see, and we knew we had to work hard to hit the bottom before the pack caught us (I wanted to ensure we were out of their way).  The second race was an annual triathlon right in the park.  It's a tough one, but a lot of folks come out for it.  The second loop became an out-and-back from the parking lot, past Lac Pink and straight up to Champlain Lookout where the climbs aren't quite as steep but much longer.  This time, the climbs were hurting me more, with a few pings of tightness and fatigue making themselves known.

Alex left me after the second loop, and with some time remaining, I turned around and decided to climb Lac Pink one last time, knowing that the legs were basically finished.  It was hard just getting to that climb.  And it didn't take long on that incline to wish I hadn't turned around.  :)  I was out of gears and couldn't make it any easier other than getting off the bike and walking it up.  With the hamstrings and glutes spent, it was up to the quads for a while.  I forced myself to grind that crank around, being patient through the pain while keeping the HR from going too high.  Finally, with pride, I reached the lookout at the top of the hill, enjoyed the view, and headed back towards the parking lot.

3.5hrs, 91km, 2600cal burned, and 1750m climbed (just over a mile ascent).  All before 10am on a gorgeous day.  That's a lot of solid work to bank on.

But next time, I want three full laps.  Care to join me?

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