Friday, June 23, 2006

Windy City, Etceteras

Whew. Back from the whirlwind tour of Chicago and back. Lots of time in the car in a 36 hour period - does anybody spend much time in Chicago? What is the freaking story with the damn traffic? Cripes I thought Minneapolis was bad - Chicago makes it look like a Sunday drive. And the bloody toll road - honestly. Seriously. Honestly. Just when traffic finally gets going, you have to slow down and deal with the Complete Fiasco (that's code for another term that begins with of merging and moving and slowing and dealing with the tolls. Obnoxious. 4 or 5 stops on a single 120 mile stretch of interstate. How absurd. So anyway, back in Madison tonight before heading out tomorrow afternoon in the direction of race day. The weather looks eerily like my last Half IM - cool, with a high only around 70. Showers, too.

The conference was good, in case that matters to you. Like most conferences, some useful stuff and some snoozers. We spent some time talking about blogging. And Flickr. And YouTube. Apparently I'm all caught up there.

Speaking of Flickr, they're apparently doing some maintenance presently, as I get the message "Flickr is having a massage" when I try and access the site, so you'll have to enjoy these embedded images from my ride on-course Thursday - I wasn't able to blog before I left for Chicago.

I extended my ride to include the section I rode Tuesday and the next section, essentially covering 10 miles (20 miles round trip) that brings me from Mt. Horeb to Cross Plains. It's an interesting combination - the front half, as I described the other day, is pretty hilly. The second half is really technical - some long descents that wind around and require quite a bit of awareness for turning, and which comes to a pretty abrupt right turn at the base of the descent, requiring enough braking to be safe, but not so much that you lose momentum. So I practiced taking all my turns at speed and being comfortable on the descents. This is also a particularly beautiful section of the IM course - though there are many others elsewhere on the course - where the road narrows and the Flora surrounds and you feel protected and hidden and secret. It makes for some really, really fun riding. Farms and barns and silos edge the road, and if feels made up it's so cool.

It's been an atypical race week, and I'm okay with that right now. I've had so much else to do that I haven't been obsessing about it like I can tend to, but I've also not felt distracted from its presence. It's been of mind, but not always top of mind. Which is keeping me relaxed and maintaining perspective. I've eaten well all week, but haven't loaded up the last 2 days like I did last time - I think some of my GI issues in my last race were exacerbated by what might have been too dense a load of carbs and sodium in my system, so I've been doing water instead of Gatorade, and I haven't been increasing my caloric intake like I normally would, but I have been increasing my carbohydrates proportional to the whole. The idea is to start the race feeling well fed but not full - that way I can monitor better (I'm hoping) what and how much is going into my body throughout the race. I'll also be cutting down my caloric intake just a bit on the race - 280 calories an hour or so rather than 330-350 - as I think I was asking more of my body than was reasonable - and, I noticed this week, much of my nutritional formulas were concocted at the beginning of the season when I was 15-20 pounds heavier. A significant difference there. But all that said, I'm just feeling more relaxed going into this race. Not quite so much the scientist. Not quite so much the obsessive. I hope that's good.

One last thing before I go - this image was chalked onto the road when I was biking. Not sure who it's for - I imagine some training club or something - or when it was left there or what (I don't think it's "official"), but either way I was happy to see it and it spoke its instructions to me clearly. Ironman Ahead.


Kylie said...

Along the line of notes along the roads, I noticed a number for both the full and half when I rode the Vineman course recently. Perhaps it just makes their lives easier for setting markings and aid stations, and since the race has run for so long the city allowed it. They were actually paint, not chalk. I thought it was nice since they confirmed I was in the right place :)

Anonymous said...

yes, ironman is indeed ahead and for it you are and will be well prepared!! 76 days away... and countin :)

How did the race go? I am sure that you flew! :)


Pharmie said...

Hey! I am patiently awaiting a race report. I can't wait to hear how it went. If there is no post by tomorrow, I'm going to have to assume that the course ate you since you were out there all by yourself :)

qcmier said...

I saw those markings too. A few locals said they were painted for IM a few years ago.