I've got the 1,000-yard stare down cold today. That unmistakable look worn by those who have pushed themselves either to their physical or mental limits, or both. Four hours on the bike with a monster climb followed by an hour run can do that. (Thank goodness I opted to bring the road bike today and not the tri bike!) I haven't uploaded the Garmin data yet, but I think I burned north of 2,000 calories today. The amazing thing to me is that I didn't even come all that close to completing a 70.3-mile distance and I'm pretty spent. Granted, I dipped into heart-rate zone 5 on the bike and zone 4 on the run a little too. But still, I didn't swim, biked two miles longer than the standard Half-Ironman 56 miles, and essentially ran half of a half-marathon. Total time: roughly 4:50.
I know I'll be fine in less than two months when the starting gun at Vineman goes off. But getting to that point now is harder than I realized. I'm climbing a new fitness peak after plateau-ing the past few weeks.
Speaking of climbing, my Fortius teammates and I slogged our way up the big peak on Portrero Road. Most people carefully steer down that road at very cautious speeds. The climb was most certainly the steepest I've ever encountered, and it didn't help that I was accidentally in my big ring -- which I didn't realize until the peak when I started my descent and tried to switch into that gearing. Darn it, I was already there! That would explain the 35-45 rpms up the hill and feeling like I was going to tip over at any moment. The upside, of course, was the next big climb of the day -- "baby" Portrero hill by Sly Stallone's house -- was much, much easier.
The "toughest luck of the day" award went to none other than Fortius teammate and friend Mike. He got a flat as we started our big Portrero climb... and then a bee flew into his helmet on the way down the hill and he got stung on the head! As weird as that sounds, almost exactly the same thing happened to me in 2008 when I was a rookie rider with the San Fernando Valley Bike Club. The only difference was that I got stung by a yellow jacket, and I was all alone.
For me, the best part of today's bike ride was cycling on some of the roads on tomorrow's final stage of the Amgen Tour of California. The same streets I ride on regularly will now be considered holy as the likes of Cavendish, Shleck, Zebriskie, Leipheimer and all the other amazing pros blast through them. I can't wait for them to show me how it's really supposed to look.
That's all I got for today. I'm going to watch the Amgen Tour of California time trials on Versus, go to Fortius Coach Ray's house to try on our new K-Swiss sample racing team kits (woohoo!) and get ready for Stephanie to head back into town after a night out in Palm Springs with her best friend. Go go go!
One last note. I'm inside of six months until Ironman Arizona on November 21. Yet my blog countdown is WAY off. I'm nine days off. So, I'm resetting my countdown clock to 179 days and counting with this post.
Wait for it...
179 DAYS AND COUNTING!!! Less than six months to go!