When I moved to Utah from California in April, I was super motivated to ride my bike because I had a 70.3 Half Ironman distance triathlon that I was doing in Quebec, Canada, with Tyler that was just 2 months away. What I didn’t realize was that riding my bike would be the number one thing that helped me to adjust to my new surroundings. Before my new colleagues in my new office became colleague slash friends, I would head off and ride the same route over and over again (that I discovered by lightly stalking the majority of the Ogden bike riding population on Strava). It was a 20 mile out and back route that felt “safe” because of the out and backness of it (couldn’t really get lost). I knew that I would need to get some longer rides in because of that 56 mile 70.3 bike thing. After asking around in the office, I met a few people who liked to ride who introduced me to more people who liked to ride that resulted in group rides with the ENVE crew (ENVE Components are owned by the same parent company that I work for – which makes the proportion of co-workers to total Ogden population quite high!).
Fast forward to mid-summer.. the Half Ironman was done but I wanted to keep riding because riding bikes is fun. The only problem was the sweltering heat in Ogden. On the weekends when I was in Utah, my colleague slash friends slash buddies (+ Tyler when he was in town) and I would head off to do longer and more challenging rides at higher elevations to escape the heat. I realized on one of these rides with my friend Dave that if we just kept riding, we would have hit Wyoming. Going all the way to Wyoming and back would have made the ride over 100 miles and at that moment, the idea of doing a century 100 mile bike ride before Winter was born! After googling “best century rides in Utah“, I found a 100-miler in the Unitas that had a nice charity component called “To The Moon and Back”. The next step was recruiting a crew… good thing I work for a company full of active people who like a good challenge! Soon, there were four of us ready to rock the century.
I was a bit stressed about the training component as I had back-to-back out of town commitments the 5 weekends leading up to the ride (Work travel to Toronto, Oregon Wine Country half marathon, a wedding in Santa Barbara, work travel to Seattle, my sister’s birthday in San Francisco, and labor day weekend in San Diego). Since I couldn’t get long miles on all but one of those weekends, I was committed to the pre-work/post-work ~35 mile pedal sessions. The rides were on the shorter side but they were intense and they were frequent. Most of my training rides were recorded on my Suunto GPS watch and are documented on my Movescount page. Again, very thankful that I work for a company full of supreme athletes who also have a high sense of FOMO – I rarely rode alone!
100 MILER WEEKEND
The night before the race, we all drove the 2 hours to Tabiona, Utah, where the race was set to start. We got our campsite all set up just as the sun was setting and temperatures plummeted (6,500 feet in elevation + September made for a chilly night!). For dinner, we cooked up pasta and veggies. My number one fear for the ride wasn’t that my legs weren’t ready, it was that I would run out of fuel (The weekend before -Labor Day Weekend, I was in San Diego and did a 65 mile/6,000 climb ride with Tyler and friends and I didn’t eat enough for breakfast and on the bike and I was a complete waste case by the end!). We also drank a few glasses of wine because we figured the French are really good at cycling (Le Tour de France anyone?) and they MUST drink wine before races. Around 11pm, I headed to bed ready to dream of lycra, snacks, and DZ Nuts.
After a tasty breakfast of Kodiak pancakes and camp coffee (the best!), we were rolling at about 8:30am. Again, the elevation + September weather proved to be a bit chilly and my gloveless hands were frozen for the first 15 miles of the ride. Right before mile 20, I flatted my front tire which has made my total number of flats in Aug & September 2016 more than the total flats in all the other months I’ve been riding bikes combined. After a quick change (and help from Dave!), we were rocking again.
The ride was insanely gorgeous and I managed my hunger by eating about 200 calories every hour (most bars are 200 calories so I alternated between the new Nut Butter Clif Bars and GoMacro Bars). I kept the gels to a minimum (did one Clif gel & one package of Pro Bar Bolts) because too many of those sugary delights have caused me stomach issues in the past. As we ticked off the 47th mile, we reached our turnaround point at the beautiful moon lake. The race organizers had set up a beautiful spread of snacks and sandwich ingredients. I opted for peanut butter & honey on whole wheat bread. The ride back was very fast minus a flat from another colleague slash friend – we bypassed all of the aid stations and Isaac and Dave took turns pulling. It was amazing how my new ENVE SES 4.5 wheels performed in the drafting situation. Those guys did all the hard work and I am thankful!
When we returned to the start/our campsite, we realized that we had only done 94 miles so Dave and I rode past the finish line and clocked another (painful) 6 miles. It wasn’t until we saw the finish line and then passed the finish line that the pain set in! Proof that a lot of it is so mental.
When we got to the finish line for the second time, we cracked open a (full-strength, non-Utah regulated) beer and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery. But before I had a sip of said delicious full-strength beer, I downed a Designer Protein Organic Pro 30 protein shake. Yes, I used to work for Designer Protein but they truly make great stuff and after six hours on the bike, I needed that 30g of plant protein + glutamine, electrolytes, BCAAs & probiotics.
In the end, the frequent and shorter (~35 mile) but intense weekday rides over the course of 6 weeks was the perfect way to prep for the 100 mile ride. When you take out the time spent on fixing flats and eating lunch, we averaged about 20 miles per hour throughout the entire ride (again, thanks for the pull Isaac & Dave!) which is a lot faster than I thought I could manage.
Now it’s time to
hang up the bike and get ready for ski season continue riding my bike as I keep the legs strong for the Tour De St. George Gran Fondo on October 22nd. And this time, Tyler is riding too! Who else is in?