Wake Up Call

Well, I won't make that mistake again. "That mistake" was misinterpreting Coach Gerardo's directions this morning during the bike portion of our Vineman simulation brick workout.  At the first climb in Hidden Valley on Portrero Road (just shy of Sly Stallone's place), Gerardo indicated that once I got to the crest, I should come immediately back.  I thought he meant the crest of the entire climb, which would have been the peak of Portrero Road before the steep and tricky descent into Camarillo.

In hindsight, I realize how silly this logic was.  But, I was in a cycling groove, hypnotized by a consistent pedal cadence and from riding largely by myself -- though my teammates were nearby.  It's at those moments when I'm truly in a cycling trance.  Not really thinking about anything important, but rather the ride itself.  How I'm feeling, how the ride is going, what's next whether climb, flat or descent.

I had only realized my mistake when I returned from the second Portrero peak and didn't see teammates Jason, Richard or Karen anywhere, let alone Mike's sag vehicle.  It then became a frenzied solo journey back to Las Virgenes Road and Mullholland Drive.  To make matters worse, my cell phone died.  I didn't place it in the usual Ziplock baggie, and I finally paid the ultimate price.  While the phone itself turns on, it resets itself the moment I try to dial a phone number or punch in any key, for that matter.

Finally, after an added nine miles and 20 minutes of pedaling, I rejoined Mike, quickly changed clothes and ran into Malibu Creek State Park for a 6.6 mile workout.  The time was after noon, and this was designed to simulate the expected hot and sunny conditions we'll face at Vineman 70.3 in a couple weeks.  To better combat the elements, I tried a pair of DeSoto arm coolers.  It's hard to say whether they had a physical effect, but my arms were certainly cooler and my heart-rate remained closer to 160 bpm (low zone 4) compared to the upper 160s it had been while training in 90-degree-plus weather in Arizona.  I completed the running loop, which took me through rocks, creeks, scrub, and dust to the base of the Bulldog Trail, in just about 1:05:00.  It wasn't the fastest pace, but it wasn't the easiest terrain.

Like it or not thoughm, I'm about as ready as I'm going to be for a Half-Ironman.  I remember thinking during the run that the discomfort I was feeling at the end of the run is only going to be compounded on race day. Especially since I'd need to bang out another 6.5 miles before finishing, not to mention adding a 1.2 mile swim and nine more miles to my bike ride.

So while the physical aspects of today's training session were valuable, the most valuable aspect by far was the metaphorical splash of cold water on my ego that just because I can fare well in an Olympic distance triathlon...we're about to enter completely new territory.  What I've done in the past does not matter one bit at a Half-Ironman.

Wake up call received.

Just not from my defunct cell phone.

137 days and counting.