Today was a big day for me training wise: It was my first day riding the bridges since my last race. The Florida Challenge bike course is 56 miles of rolling hills, and the only way you can really get ready riding hills is to, well, ride hills. lol
Tampa is pretty flat, so I go to the closest place I can to get some hill training, which is in Clearwater, Florida on the big bridges.
Even though I've done this race many times, I get nervous with the hills. They're my biggest challenge. I've been fortunate enough to finish this race each time I've started it, but I had trouble on the hills every race. They BURN! Towards the end of the bike, my legs hurt so bad sometimes I want to quit and go to McDonalds!! LOL But of course I never do, and that's why I like this course: It pushes me to my physical & mental limits.
There's no faking it riding uphill. When riding on a flat road, you can coast pretty much as long as you want, pedal a little bit, coast, and you'll keep moving. Same with riding on an indoor trainer. You can put out minimal effort and keep moving. Can't do that on a hill. No coasting allowed! Either keep moving or you'll literally fall over! Unfortunately that has happened to me TWICE in a race. Your legs burn, yet you MUST keep moving. The last thing you want to do is get off your bike & start walking up the hill. Mentally it demoralizes you.
Then your weight can play a factor too. You're fighting gravity: The lighter you are, the "easier" it is to go uphill. The heavier you are, the harder it is and the more energy it takes to lug your big a** uphill. Doesn't matter if it's fat or muscle. Weight is weight. But no matter how much you weigh, you gotta get your legs used to the hills!
Which brings me to my ride. The goal was to ride the bridges for 3 hours today, back & forth to simulate rolling hills. Here I am before I head out.
I'm not a Heinekin drinker, but I sure do like the jersey! lol
It was a perfect day for a bike ride! This time of year is picture perfect. I rode the 1st bridge back & forth for a little more than an hour when I stopped & took these pics:
This is the Gulf of Mexico, and straight ahead is the state of Texas, but it's too far away to see it.
I liken this type of riding to running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike, only the scenery is a little better! lol
Here's a quick video I took after I snapped the pics:
I've been coming out here for years and still can't get enough of it. Something about the water is relaxing!
All in all, the 1st part of my ride went well. I didn't have any leg problems, and to be honest, it felt as if I didn't take a 5 month layoff from riding the bridges. I rode up the bridge seated, in an easy gear, at a relaxed pace. I wasn't racing up the bridge, but I did try ride at a good speed. It takes about 90 seconds to ride up this bridge, so I try pace myself and was pleased with my effort.
After 2 more laps I took this video and rode over to the other bridge.
I park my car at this bridge so I stop for a quick minute to exchange my water bottles. This bridge is harder than the 1st, so I like to do this bridge last. Why do the hardest bridge last? It's simple: How else will I get better?
I get up the bridge & I'm feeling pretty good. At this point I've been riding almost 2 hours and feel VERY good. I'm starting to feel confident in my biking. At this point, I know my swim is on point. I'm ready for the swim. My biking is better than I anticipated. I don't have the speed yet, but I think I'll be ready for the 56 miles much sooner than I anticipated. The run is my weak link. It's the worst of the 3 at this point. I can't run 13 miles yet. MAYBE 10, but even that would be a stretch.
Anyway, after the 1st lap I notice that my bike feels funny? My rear wheel seems to be slipping from underneath me. I stop & check my tire: I got a flat! Mother-Father!! I have no idea how I got it. I didn't hit anything or roll over any glass. Who knows. Those things happen. Just gotta go with the flow!
I head back to the car to change it:
I change the tire in about 10 minutes time. I was about to finish my ride when I had a thought: why not do a quick run? You had a great ride, let's test your legs real quick? Why not?
Yeah, why not??
Sometimes a little improvisation is good! It keeps you on your toes. Besides, I had never run over here for training. A little hill running might dome some good. Besides, my run sucks right now anyway! lol So this brick might do me some good.
So, that's what I did: I did a 40 minute run/walk. I got to the top of the bridge and took these pics:
Did I mention it's Spring Break? People were OUT today! Traffic to get to the beach was backed up for MILES.
Thankfully, they have bike lanes & barriers on the bridges because I HATE riding on the road. Hit & run drivers are a major problem down here. People will hit you and keep going w/o a 2nd thought. I refuse to be a statistic, so I ride as far away from traffic as possible! Eff that!!
My total workout was 2:40 minutes. All in all, it was a great workout. The spur of the moment brick was a nice twist. My legs responded well to the change. I was tired, but not as tired as I thought I'd be.
After the ride I laid out & just relaxed and enjoyed the day:
There were a lot of people riding by on boats & jet skis from my vantage point. I wasn't on the beach, but can tell you it was jam packed with tourists & people from all over the U.S.
All in all, it was a GREAT workout. I feel really good as I type this. My legs feel good, and it was just an overall nice day. People were out just having a good time.
Next weekend I'll do another run on Bayshore. At the end of April or early May I'll do a beach run. Running on sand is TOUGH, but it'll be a great training session. Just gotta build up to it first!
Thanks for reading! Till next time, Peace!