Sunday, March 20, 2016

LPC Florida Tri Camp - Day 5: Starbucks, Swimming and Sugar(loaf)

After a week of working, I am getting back on track with my blogs from last week’s LPC Florida Triathlon Camp….Sorry for the hiatus! On the plus side, since I felt guilty for not updating soon enough - I wrote a lot. Just what you wanted, right?

On the sad side, my phone I don't have many pictures until I can figure out how to get them off my phone. I do have a few, but not many. Sorry!

In all seriousness, the fifth day of camp started off at River Island over at the Orange Lake Resort. According to the schedule, we had a 20 minute run to start the day – but Coach Mark told me not to do the run (because I’d done some good running in the brick workout on Wednesday – and then had a long run on tap for Friday) so my run turned into a walk to Starbucks for a coffee. Can’t argue with that option! I finished my coffee just in time to join the group for a mobility session before the swim – led by Coach Liz. This was a nice way to start the day.

Following the exercises, we jumped into the Lazy River. I really do love this pool. One day, I need to see it when it’s full up with people and inner tubes. Bet it’s an entirely different place.  Today’s swim was fantastic. We did some warm-up, and then did some practice turning in one particular section of the river. I only managed to scrape myself against the wall once. That’s pretty good for me. I was following someone and didn’t notice the wall was so close. Where are the lines when you need them? 

Part of the Lazy River at Orange Grove Resort (Photo Jenny Clark)

We also did some work on sculling – which is a skill I am much better at after a fair bit of practice this past year. I still prefer mid-sculling, but even with front-sculling, I’m not too bad. We then did some more drafting practice. This time I was partnered with a friend who is a stronger swimmer than I am. But it worked beautifully since I was able to draft off her quite well. This rarely happens for me, so I was quite happy for the opportunity. At times, I had other people on my feet somewhat by accident, and another time someone snuck in behind her, so I drafted off her hip. That was great practice too – and I actually found it easier than drafting off the feet.

All in all, this swim was a great success. I felt really good coming out of it.

Back at the house, we had time for a quick bite to eat before heading off to the Irish Pub – where we gather for the ride to Sugarloaf. On the plus side, when we finish the ride, there happens to be an Irish Pub to toast the triumph. Isn’t that fortunate?

It was starting to get warm (i.e. hot) on the way to Sugarloaf. I was riding with the B Group again – the group doing the 95km loop. Everything started out pretty well. Other than one road that is a bit busy to get away from the Irish Pub, it’s a wonderful route. We spend a bunch of time on paved bike paths which is awesome, followed by rolling country roads to get to Sugarloaf Mountain. 

About 40 km or so into the ride, I had to stop abruptly in the middle of a hill when a friend came from behind while starting up. This caught me by surprise and I had to stop. No worries. I was able to put my foot down so had no mishaps. The challenge was getting back going again since I wasn’t in the right gear. It took me a good couple of minutes to finally get my bike going again. I was able to catch up with Paula and we road together for a bit as we slowly caught back up to the rest of the group.

Little did I know, that was an out and back section – so I could’ve just sat and waited for everyone to come back to me. Ha. As if. As I was riding back, one of the guys in our group had a flat. He was fine when I passed him, but apparently broke a tube so Paula stopped to give him hers. Back at the original corner where I’d managed not to fall, we waited for him to catch up. When he did…he flatted again. Seriously, how much bad luck can one person have. But I think that was the last one for the day. Better on a training day than in a race though. And at least it was a nice day.

Thank goodness I had my Speedfil bottle since I drank a ton of water over that section of the ride. As we approached Sugarloaf, I admit I was looking forward to the water up at the top of the hill. I made it up Sugarloaf – it felt harder than previous years, but in reality it wasn't really. I just think I went a bit harder than in the past.

At the top, C Group caught up to us, so we waited and got a picture of all of us in front of the house. The nice people who live there keep coolers of water by their front gate for riders to use – so I refilled my water bottle and drank about 10 little cups worth of water. Yes, I was hot. I finally remembered to bring some cash, so left a donation in their donation box for the Wounded Warrior Project.  Apparently they’d just sent about $2k in donations in according to their sign. Glad to see cyclists being so generous.

Top of Sugarloaf - B and C Groups
With half the ride to go, I was pretty tired. Thankfully I convinced Paula to stay with B group because the two of us rode much of the rest of the way fairly close together, while the rest of B group was a little ahead (although they waited for us at different points). We weren’t too far behind – but it felt like it at times. C’est la vie.
The funniest thing that happened on the way back was the fact the store kept getting farther away. Honestly, I could’ve sworn we reached the store within 10km of Sugarloaf last year…but this time, we didn’t reach there until around the 75km mark. So funny.

Apparently the store was never where I thought it was. Mind you, it wasn’t wear Coach Nissim said it was either since at one point he said it was about 5km away…and it was more like 25km. I tell you, the store kept moving on us!  

But we made it to the store around the time I ran out of water – so I filled up my bottle again, and also drank a Coke. I admit, it was delicious and much needed. I think the Coke gave me some extra energy, since I didn’t have any issues with riding that last 15-20km. I actually started feeling good again. Maybe I needed to eat more – although I thought I’d been pretty good with my nutrition. While training for Ironman, I really got pretty good at it. But maybe it the heat, I needed a bit more than I was taking in.

We got back to the Irish Pub where I was able to stow my bike in the trailer, and then change out my shoes. Inside, I was more than happy to have a beer (aptly named ‘Fat Tire’) and some French fries. Sadly, their patio was under construction, so we couldn’t sit outside.

All in all, I’d say this was a challenging ride – moreso than I was expecting – but nothing I couldn’t handle. After riding 180km with 100kmin the rain at IMAZ, riding 95km with hills, even in the heat and a bit heavy legged I wasn't worried. After riding much longer distances, this never felt like it was going to kill me. I knew it wasn't that long relatively, so I'd reach the end eventually. So hilarious how your perception of distance changes following an Ironman. Don't get me wrong though. I would not have wanted to ride another 5km on this particular day!
I think my overall pace was a tad better than last year (although we rode a different course – since last year we did 87km including Sugarloaf twice), but since I lost my data from the last 2 days of camp, I will never know for sure. I do recall I did this ride in ~4:13 of riding time, compared to ~3:58 riding time for 87km the year before – which suggests a very slightly faster pace.
This was also my longest ride ever at a CampLPC - 95km compared to last year's 87km Sugarloaf ride! Awesomesauce.

I learned afterwards it actually hit 90F or so on the ride, so that’s a good reason I was hot. But who cares. It was such a fantastic day and I wouldn’t change it. I find this ride is constantly challenging – partly because as you get better – you work harder. Can’t wait to do it again next year!

That night, one of my Missouri friends offered to lend me her PowerTap wheel – which is a back wheel that has a power meter as part of it. I’ve never actually used a power meter on the road; my only experience with one has been doing my FTP test last year and then this year. After making sure she really was serious, I gratefully accepted. It will give her a great excuse to come visit me in Toronto, so she can get the wheel back. Well, if I don’t hide it of course. She swore I was going to love training with power.

It took me a bit to get the wheel on, but everything seemed to work just fine once it was set up (although I will take it to a bike shop when I get home, just to make sure everything is well aligned – and to get a new chain since mine is getting worn).

I said I’d test it out the next day during the bike – and would report back to her on the results. Alas, she was leaving after the run – so wouldn’t be there for my inaugural power ride!

Still – big thanks to my awesome friend (you know who you are!). I still can’t believe she’s lending this wheel to me. That really goes above and beyond. I owe her big time! But if I get faster this summer – it’s going to be her fault!

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