As I reflect on 2 weeks of intense YYoga training for IRONMAN CANADA (literally ~10 classes this week) , I feel ready for my first bike ride of the year with my good friend and cycling coach Clarke Bayles.
Clarke is one of the most phenomenal and inspiring athletes I know. Clarke underwent surgery for a liver transplant in 2010 (see here) that saved his life. Shortly after Clarke went on to win multiple gold medals at the Canadian Transplant Games and his team won the GranFondo Whistler in 2015.
If I ever needed motivation, inspiration or a trusted guide on how to tackle 180km… this is my man.
As this is one of only a few bike rides before IRONMAN, Clarke suggested we do the “Triple Crown”. That meant 108km up 3 mountains with a total elevation of 3000m (see here). To be honest, I had to push my bike up the hill back to his house after cycling for 6.5 hours…
What did I learn:
- Functional Threshold Power (FTP): If you pass this threshold, then you will no longer be functional. So keep it low or you’ll expend too much energy too early. For IRONMAN it is advised to go 65% of your FTP, which is 190w for me.
- Heart Rate (HR): I averaged 119 bpm which is at the upper limit of my downward dog HR. This means I’m using too much energy and may jeopardize my hypothesis.
- Knees: Lots of tingly pains throughout both knees. Better get bike properly adjusted.
- Panic: My god – after 6.5 hours, 108km and 3000m of vertical… there is no way I can run a marathon. Perhaps on game day I will believe differently, but as it stands (or sits in my case), I’m at a 7 on the pain scale.
Was I mindful?
Not really – I fell into the trap of grinding, fighting and pushing through the long hills. I was not at ease… I was at war. Unfortunately, I can’t carry that mindset for 17 hours. So my focus will be on patience, holding back, conserving energy and NOT RISING to the challenge of attacking hills and competitors. I have ideas on how to do this…
I did manage to escape without any injury and although it was my first outdoor ride of the year, it shaped a reality that I’ll need to be holding chair pose A LOT more often.