What A Triathlete Does In Vegas

21 10 2015

Last week, I spent 4 days in Las Vegas for a conference. I’m three weeks out from Challenge Florida, and though my training generally hasn’t been as stellar as I would have liked, I didn’t want to totally throw the race away by not doing anything while out in Sin City. So, I did what any normal triathlete would do, and rented a bike (**sarcasm**). Yes, you heard that right, I rented a BMC road bike with 105 components and walked my fully-geared up self out of the casino I was staying at at 6:30 in the morning to go for a bike ride. Totally. Normal.

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(In case you were wondering, yes, there were people gambling at 6:30 in the morning.)

Let me back up a second. One of my colleagues who was also going to be at the conference is a bad a$$ and is a semi-professional cyclocross racer. She races in Belgium representing the US. Yeah, she’s legit. Anyhow, Corey had a race coming up and was planning to rent a bike to get some saddle time in while in Vegas. Though quite scared about being royally dropped in the desert, I asked if I could tag along. Thankfully, she had an easy ride scheduled for Friday so I was confident I could hang. I called up Bike Blast Las Vegas, where she was renting from, and reserved my bike.

Quick review of Bike Blast: When I tried calling from home on Tuesday and Wednesday, I had a bit of difficulty getting a hold of someone there. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to get a bike and would be stuck at the hotel gym. Thankfully, I was able to talk to Matt on Wednesday afternoon when I arrived in Vegas to secure my bike. The great thing about this company is that they have an option to deliver the bike to the hotel where you’re staying. And, it’s $69/day, which is, in my opinion, a great deal. Sign me up! They dropped our bikes off the afternoon before we planned to use them, and they helped me put on my pedals because I didn’t have the right sized allen wrench. Whoops. You don’t need to bring your own though- they have clipless and regular pedal options that come as part of the standard rental! The rental also included a helmet if you needed it, water bottles, and a local bike map. And, when you’re all done, they come pick up the bike! How awesome is that!? I would totally rent from these guys again- just make sure you call often and early to make sure you get your bike!

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On Friday morning, we met up at 6:30 to attempt a ride Corey found online from someone who at attended InterBike. We got a little lost at first, but then rode down the strip for a bit before turning off and then heading towards the mountains. Of course I had to grab a selfie while we were stopped at a traffic light:

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Once we were out of the craziness of the strip, we found a nice bike lane and made our way to a quieter part of town. We rode out about 45-50 minutes before turning around. Unfortunately, it started raining on the ride home. The way home was all downhill, so there were a few times where I was a little nervous about stopping. Thankfully, we weren’t going to fast, and we made it safely back to the hotel.

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I didn’t realize how dirty I had gotten from riding in the rain- I got in the shower with all my gear on in order to wash my kit!

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I debated whether or not I was going to keep the bike another day because Corey was planning a more intense ride on Saturday. I was definitely scared. But, I absolutely loved riding in a new place and I really wanted to make it out to the mountains to do a little climbing. So, I called up Bike Blast and thankfully I was able to keep the bike another day. Ready or not, my legs would be up for a beating tomorrow!

On Saturday, we met up at the same time and now that we knew exactly where we were going, we got to the bike lane about 15 minutes sooner than we had the day before. Corey asked if I would rather ride out to the mountains at tempo/endurance pace, or if I would rather do some intervals when we got to the quite streets. Uh, mountains please! So, I got on her wheel and we headed out. Thankfully, our pace wasn’t anything too crazy. I was riding hard, but I wasn’t struggling to hang on. Phew.

We ended up riding out to the Red Rock Canyon Visitor’s center, which happened to be an entirely uphill ride. I kept looking down at my watch and wondering why the pace we were riding felt so hard. Oh, it was because we were slowly climbing the entire way.

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 (elevation listed in meters)

It was cool to be out there in the valley, with mountains rising up all around. It was pretty out there; a welcomed change from the trail along the highway where I normally ride.

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About a mile and a half from the visitor’s center, the sky opened up and it started raining pretty hard. We booked it to the shelter of the entrance to the canyon, where we waited a few minutes for a break in the rain. The staff checking in cars warned us that we shouldn’t go up the mountain, since it was pretty muddy/flooded thanks to the rain. You don’t have to tell me twice!

When the rain slowed we decided to head back to the hotel. The way back was great! I was a bit cautious because of the wet roads, but we could pretty much soft pedal the entire way home (see elevation chart above). I would love to do this ride again when it’s dry out and see how fast we could actually make it back.

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#teamSOAS in the house!

When it was all said and done, we had ridden 60.6 km in 2:20. Not super speedy, but I’ll take it!

Later in the afternoon, the nice folks from Bike Blast came to pick up the bike as scheduled. I’m so glad I opted to rent a bike- I had a blast checking out new scenery and riding in a state I’ll likely not ride in again (however, there’s always Silverman…). It was fun to ride with a colleague and talk about things other than work. I definitely want to ride with her again- I’m sure I’ll get my legs torn off- but I would love the challenge! I didn’t let the time away from home put a damper on my training, so let’s do this Challenge Florida! I’ll see you soon!

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Last Week’s Workouts {2/17-2/23}

24 02 2014

Sometimes you have ups and sometimes you have downs. That’s the lesson I learned this week. Not every workout is going to be stellar, and that’s okay. The biggest thing I need to remember is to listen to my body and not get injured. This week I was plagued by pain here and there, which I am most certainly monitoring quite closely. Gotta make it safely to the start line of the Gator Half in 8 weeks!

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Monday: Long run, 15K

I started off the run with Felipe and Jess, and we were holding steady at about 5:00/km for the first half. At the turn around, Felipe put in his headphones, which is our indication he’s about to pick it up, and he immediately started running about 20 seconds faster than we had been. I knew I wasn’t going to hang on, so I decided to focus on my own run and do my best to stay at 5:00 or faster per km. Right around the 10K mark, my right calf got really tight and I felt a sharp pain. Uh oh. After a few more steps, I stopped, massaged my calf, and then started to run again. The pain was pretty much gone, but it definitely worried me. I finished the run, surprising myself by averaging 5:03/km. I went home and took a bath and foam rolled my legs.

Tuesday: Swim, 3000 yards

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If you’ve read my recap from the past two weeks, you’ll know what workout we did. So, I’ll leave you with a pretty picture of the pool.

Oh, and a picture of my fellow SOAS Ambassador, Cynthia who I met up with after practice. She was in Tampa visiting friends before heading to Disney for the Glass Slipper Challenge!

IMG_2250Cynthia’s daughter is adorable, by the way!

Wednesday: Bike, 29km

So, Wednesday’s are usually brick days- ride the trainer then run. It was a pretty night, so I decided to ride around Davis Island instead.

IMG_2257I have not perfected the art of the selfie on the bike yet. Working on it.

When I got home, I grabbed my shoes and started to do my normal 4k loop. I got outside my complex gate and said Nope, this ain’t happening. My calf was again giving me trouble. So, I went back inside and opted to foam roll/lacrosse ball the heck out of my calf, IT band, and PFT. I started to get nervous about a little 8K I had signed up for on Sunday!

Thursday: Swim, 2200 yards

I was late to practice, and it was only me and Courtney. She was half done with the workout when I got there, so we did 3 x 300s together before she got out and I did my other 3. Nothing super exciting to report here!

Friday: Run, 9km

The workout was 5km easy, 4km steady, sub 5:00/km. It was just Courtney and me, and we headed out along Bayshore. We shifted the workout slightly, doing 4.5 out easy, 4km steady, .5km easy cool down. The first 4.5km was fine, we held back because we wanted to make sure we’d be under 5:00s for the 4km. My calf was surprisingly better, but unfortunately, the humidity got to me. On our fast 4km, the first two km ticked by: 4:55, 4:51. I could definitely feel my legs tightening up. As we started the third, Courtney started to pull ahead, and I just couldn’t hang. My legs were like lead and I was a little light headed. So I stopped to walk for a few seconds to bring my heart rate down and breathe a little easier. That third km was not pretty, but I was able to settle in at 5:14 for the 4th. Not pretty.

Saturday: Long ride, 80 km

IMG_2353(love the new app FitSnap, which helped me make the super cool photo above!)

I met up with Chris and Heather to ride the Suncoast. I was a little worried we wouldn’t get in a ride- it was pouring when we left Tampa, but Chris assured me that up north the radar was clear. He was right- it was cloudy when we got to the start, and it only got warmer and sunnier. Evidence:

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Whoops, I should have put on sun screen. I guess I shouldn’t really complain about getting sun burn in February though 😉

The ride wasn’t super exciting-the trail is parallel to the highway and there’s not much else to see. HOWEVER, I did see my first wild alligator! There was a young gator, maybe 5 feet long, fully exposed, taking in the sunshine by the water’s edge, right off the side of the trail (behind a fence, thankfully). Had we not just started to settle in to our ride, I totally would have stopped to grab a photo!

The ride was a straightforward out and back. It was the first ride in a long while that I wasn’t sitting on Jess’s wheel, or anyone’s wheel for that matter! That meant my time was a little slower than usual, but I was actually pretty proud that I rode the entire time without being pulled, and still maintained just under 19mph. Looking at my Garmin stats, I actually stayed consistently in the 19mph range, but those darn road crossings killed my average! Oh well!

Saturday: Gasparilla 8K

I’ll save the details for another post, but I ran a PR and rocked my new SOAS kit.

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Photo courtesy of Meghann and the FitSnap App





Mountain Biking Tips From a Newbie

6 09 2013

Ok, so I may have only been once and I my experience is limited to Florida riding, but I wanted to share some of my lessons learned from my first experience mountain biking:

1) Bring nutrition (Gels, powerbars, etc) and carry your water in a Camelback. When I prepare for my normal rides, I pack plenty of nutrition and I bring lots of water bottles. When gathering my things for this ride, it didn’t even cross my mind to grab a Gu or Luna bar- I guess I didn’t think that I would need some mid-ride calories? I definitely could have used a little pick me up in the middle of the ride, and I could tell I really needed it by how exhausted I was at the end of the ride. Water bottles also aren’t ideal for a ride filled with lots of bumps in the road- use a Camelback instead.

2) There is no shame in walking. I was riding with a great group of guys and not once did I feel bad about getting off my bike and walking down a hill that scared me or an incline that would have send me backwards. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

3) If you get off your bike on an incline, hold your brakes, otherwise your bike will want to slide down the hill and take you too!

4) Shift often. When road biking, especially in Florida, I don’t really need to use my shifters all that much. When mountain biking, you are CONSTANTLY adjusting because the terrain changes so quickly. Anticipate the hills, so that the hill doesn’t stop you in your tracks!

5) Stand up and/or stand and hover back on the bike when going down hill. If you’re on the seat or your weight has moved forward, you are at a high risk to flip over your handle bars. And that wouldn’t be good.

6) It’s not as scary as you think.  This is a lesson I’m still trying to learn. Bill reminds me that he would much rather fall while mountain biking, where he’s not on hard pavement and he’s going a lot slower than 20 mph. Good point.