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Monday, April 5, 2010

Good Friday BRICK

Having the day off for Good Friday allowed for me to get a Good bike ride! The weather was beautiful and I headed out with just a touch of chill in the air. I wore a sleeveless jersey but with arm warmers. You know this style is all the rage with the elite runners – yeah right. I was planning on a hard effort to try and determine my pacing for the 70.3 New Orleans half ironman – which is only two weeks away. I have not built much cycling fitness this past winter season. In fact, I believe that my bike is suffering and I am just a little anxious about this race. I have some aggressive time goals for myself and the bike is the limiter.

I headed out and I bumped the intensity by 5 beats per minute as compared to last weekend. I was able to maintain. I was taking splits at all of my known cross roads – Epley, Sumrall, and Bassfield. This let me know if I was on my paces. At Sumrall, the 10 mile mark I was making good time but lost a minute and a half do to traffic. This is unheard of! This is a little town in the middle of no where. But then I remembered that this was Friday and not Saturday or Sunday. I guess these sleepy little towns have more activity during the week.

I continued on to Bassfield which is another 15 miles away. Remember, this is Mississippi and I am on a rails to trails so there are no hills. But there is a gradual increase in elevation from Sumrall to Bassfield. This is the slowest part on my 50 mile loop. I continued to push the pace but still ride at my predetermined heart rate. I felt comfortable and strong. Last week my legs were feeling it – but that was probably from the BRICK the previous day. Sure, I did a hard running interval on the treadmill on Holy Thursday but I digress (and yes, that is what Thursday is called – I looked it up).

I arrived at Bassfield a full 7 minutes faster than last weekend. Seven minutes over the course of 25 miles is huge (that is a nearly 1.75 MPH faster average). I also only took 2 minutes for the rest stop. I could have been faster but I always like to take round number pit stops because it makes the math in my head easier. So I departed Bassfield at exactly 1 hour and 15 minutes into the ride. I was doing the calculation in my head and feeling pretty damn confident about getting a PR on this ride. I know that this is foolish. I’m not going to get a PR when I am not riding as hard as I can. I have ridden this out and back at a much harder pace and that nearly killed me. But, I did a 1:08 back last week. If I add that to my 1:15 out (which included the water stop) I get 2:23 for the ride. I am not sure if this is a PR but I would have to think it is near the best that I have ever ridden for the distance. For complete honesty, for the last few years I thought the Home to Bassfield loop was right at 50 miles – well actually my cyclometer always read around 49.XX (but high XX’s). Now that I have been using my GPS I know that it is actually a little shorter – more like 48.4 miles round trip. I still use this route and I compare it to my previous times but it is not quite 50 miles. This distance is just a benchmark.

Anyway, I turned around at Bassfield and felt the wind. I was being pushed (sideways by the feel of it) out to Bassfield. I was a little bit deflated by the wind. I would have fight this all the way back home. So I would not be getting a huge PR today but I was not actually expecting a huge PR during a zone 3 ride. I continued to keep my cadence up and keep my heart rate where I wanted it. I did negative split the ride by a minute (1:13 + 2:00 water stop + 1:12 back = 2:27 total) – it is not difficult to negative split this ride. Average speed for the ride was 19.7.

When I got home I performed a quick transition to the run. I simply ditched the bike shoes and helmet and put my running shoes on and a visor. No socks, no nothing. I was going to give the feet a trial by fire. A friend of mine taught me the term ‘summer feet’ a while back. That is conditioning your feet to running around bare footed like you did when you were a kid. This is critical for the transitions in triathlon. So I slipped the running shoes on with no socks. I am actually pretty good at running without socks. When racing anything short I will never put socks on but during this half IM I will be wearing socks. That is just too long of a run if your feet go south (like they did last year). Now back to the brick.

I really like the virtual nemesis on the GPS watch. I had already dialed in the workout for the brick prior to even getting on the bike. It was not going to be overly aggressive. I have failed too many times and simply blown up pushing these bricks – that is pushing the bricks after high mileage bike rides. I have been too aggressive and it has compromised some of my workouts. I was not going to let this happen this time. I wanted to make sure that I was going to get a solid 5 mile brick on this Good Friday.

I had set the trainer for 5 miles at a comfortable 7:30 minutes per mile pace. I should be able to run at this pace. By setting an easily obtainable goal I was freed to run at what ever pace felt comfortable. I quickly started to put time into the virtual nemesis. Although the first half mile was hard it was not unmanageable. I was able to clock the first mile at just over 7 minutes per mile. The next 4 miles were right around the same pace. I did lose close to 30 seconds stopping for a drink of water at Clyde Station. I finished up the 5 miles in 35 minutes and change. I felt like I could have continued on for a few more miles. Probably not 8 more miles but definitely a few more. This was the best BRICK that I have ever had after a substantial bike ride.

So the bike was solid and the BRICK afterwards was even better. When I finished the ride I took a post recovery shake and cold bath (no ice bath this time of year).


  1. damn good job my man. New Orleans yeah? I think you don't have much of a bike leg to be worried about, given the way this brick went.

    STAY ON IT!!!

  2. You killed that brick! what kind of recovery shake do you use?

  3. Sounds like a good brick! Sometimes you triathletes motivate me to get in a bike ride but other times you guys scare/intimidate me :) this was a motivator! (though I can't ride for awhile cause I'm not at home where my bike is) :(