Sunday, June 14, 2009

Today was my 3rd day in a row of hard workouts. Hard as in distances travelled not in effort.

This morning I set out to do my long ride on the Harvest Moon half iron bike course. This route is my route of choice because 1.) It's close and 2.) It's hard and 3.) Sometimes I don't think things through.

Still, I'm fortunate to live right next to Aurora Res where I can get my fill of brick workouts on the course of many different length races.

I set out to cover roughly 30 miles of the HM course. On weekends, there simply isn't a better cycling route. (Ok, in places the road can get a little rough because of the spring snows). But the positives are that: the locals give cyclists PLENTY of room; there is very little traffic; there are many cyclists, so you're never really alone out there.

This morning I left as soon as the fog lifted. As I rode east and into the sun, I was in awe at how beautiful it was. We've been plagued by droughts for about 6 years. This year, we've finally come out of it. The fields were green. The trees had life to them, and the creek beds were full of water.

As I topped one of the larger hills, I thought I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. Out here, we get to see all kinds of animals from antelope to deer to cows to various birds to rattlesnakes and I've ever seen a giant turtle. We also have coyotes. I've seen them in the distance while running, but I've never seen them out on the road. I looked to my right, but I couldn't see anything and figured it was a breeze blowing through the trees.

As I started picking up speed going downhill, a coyote jumps out and directly in line with my bike (now flying down the hill at 30mph). In that split second, I think I'm ready to have a horrific crash. Just then the coyote realized I was there, tucked his tail under, arched his back, and bolted across the street.

We came so close, I swear I felt his fur rub my leg.

It took me a few minutes to calm down. My heartrate was off the charts. I was getting ready to make the biggest climb, and didn't want to stop because I was (somewhat) on a tight time schedule. So, I lowered my gears and decided to take it easy getting to the top.

Even without running into the coyote, the ride was tough. After two days of cycling, I was starting to feel the same soreness that I experienced at Elephant Rock the previous weekend. Except that I realized, I've already gone further than E-Rock.

At the turnaround point, I was slower than I had been over the past few weeks, but I was also faster than I was the last time I did Harvest Moon (2007) at a lower heartrate.

Even before the weekend of hard workouts, I'd set some goals that I think are reasonable. Challenging, but reasonable.

I might as well share them here....

Last time, I placed 8th (I think. I'll have to check that) in my AG. I want to get into the top 5. The field is faster year to year. I really think this could be the year I crack the top 5.

This year, the swim is the wildcard. My swim was pretty good in 2007. Still, I think I can shave 4 minutes off my swim. Four minutes off a 1.2 mile swim is pretty substantial.

Next, the bike. My goal is to shave 18 minutes off my bike time. I think I can do this right now. 18 minutes over a 56 mile course is a reasonable goal.

The run is a gimme....I'm going to take off 27 minutes from my last time. Why so much? In 2007, we had a terrible thunderstorm with high winds, terrible rain, and hail. Several of us took cover in a porta-potty for about 20 minutes. Besides the storm, I've been focusing on my running and have made some significant improvements.

Of course, even shaving one minute off of each event will give me a pr, but we all need to have stretch goals.

And what's that saying? Reach for the moon because even if you miss, you'll still be among the stars.