It has suddenly come upon me that the Lonestar Quarter (600 meter swim, 28 m bike, 6.7 m run) is quickly approaching. Like less than three weeks approaching! What happened? I still have a lot of training to do, serious training, not just the let's go out for a spin that I've been doing for the past three months.
So today, to honor that panicky feeling, I just went out to Decker Lake. The Danksin/ Couples bike course is 11 miles around the lake with three killer hills. I planned on doing three loops, with a minimum of two, because of the hills. I slept in, so didn't get on the bike until 10, and got to see a little bit of the rodeo action at the Expo center just down the road from the lake. I felt pretty good going out, and decided to add a little bit of the Longhorn course so I wouldn't have to go past all the horse trailer traffic again. Then doubled back to get the first killer hill again. This hill is such a pain because there is a sharp right hand turn on to it, so you can't carry any momentum up. And it is steep! And while it is only a medium length, it has a false flat right near the top so it feels like it never ends. Even in my easiest gear I'm struggling to go 40 rpms and doing the huffing breathing. It is painful.
I slowed at the top of the hill and thought "I could just turn around here at the top of the hill and not have struggle up it again." But the endorphins were flowing and I wanted to see where the road went on the other side, under the new toll road. So down the hill, which is a lot scarier going down so steeply, and then over to the new section that ends only about 500 yards from the highway. I soon found that going down the hill was a big mistake. That endorphin rush was the last gasp before the tiredness started to settle in. And there is no momentum to go up the hill- if you start from the toll road it makes the hill twice as long! I actually had to get off and walk up, which is the first time I've ever had to do that on the new bike. I was tanked, and still had 7 miles and two more killer hills to go!
The last two hills are called Bitch and Bastard on Hwy 969, which has quite a bit of traffic. Bitch is the worst because there's no shoulder, so when you're huffing to go up, cars are waiting behind you to pass. Bastard is longer but has a good shoulder. Both are pretty evil. When I finally got to the top, there was only about a mile left back to the car. I stumbled off and was still trying to catch my breath for about 5 minutes. A short pit stop at the convenience store on Decker Lane to get cold gatorade and Nutter Butters- yum! Then home for a shower and a three hour nap. I was toast.
So back to the panic for Lonestar- imagine that bike ride, followed by 6.7 mile run, after a 600 meter swim. Though Galveston is supposed to be pretty flat. And I have a large endurance base from all the half marathons this year. But if I could switch to the sprint, I would do that in a heartbeat, but I can't get off work on Friday and the sprint is on Saturday, while the quarter and half tris are on Sunday. That is one positive- there will be Half Iron triathletes that will still be out on the course when I finish so I can't be last! Thank God for small blessings!