Saturday was the last workout of real substance before heading into real taper time. John & I had planned an Olympic Bike/Run brick (25 mile ride/10 run). We were scheduled to meet at my house before dawn to get the brick knocked out before John had to go home and pack for a weekend trip to New York to attend a wedding. Late Thursday, I was given 4 tickets to the Friday night Miami Heat game. In order to make sure I didn't get short sleep with John arriving too early and fresh for Saturday's workout, I invited John to join my wife, son Alex and me at the game. Of course, he saw right through the ruse, but graciously accepted the invitation. The game was great, with the Heat sending the Denver Nuggets to their first loss of the season.
I check on weather conditions for Saturday morning was not as pleasant. The forecast for the entire weekend was for steady winds out of the NE at 19 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph. As I got up Saturday at 5:15 AM, I could see the trees getting blown westward pretty good. After getting my pre-ride grub in my and checking my bike, I strolled around in front of my house. The forecast seemed to be pretty accurate; these were steady 19 to 20 winds. It looked like it would be pretty stupid to ride in such conditions, so when John arrived, I suggested that we bag the bike and do a 12 mile run. "No, let's stick to the plan," John said, "It could be windy in Tempe and this would be good practice for windy conditions." We compromised that if it was too windy after our 10 mile loop south, we would cut the ride short of the remaining 15 ride north and lengthen the run.
As we head south, I note that its too windy to risk going to the aero position. Getting in the aero position may be good to cut the wind, but it gives less stability for handling the bike during the gusts that regularly kicked up. Worse, the ride south goes past pretty much open beach. The wind blew sand creating wide patches of sand. Not friendly to a steady tire grip on the road. Living in South Florida, both John & I have done many long runs in "Like a Hurricane" conditions. However, there is a big difference running on wet, slippery roads. Its a wholly different experience riding a road bike in such conditions.
John rides very conservatively, but I take advantage of short periods of slower winds to pick up my pace and actually spend some time in the aero position. John does not follow suit. Every time I look around to see if he's with me, he is clear out of sight. I make two or three stops along the ride to wait for him to catch up. Of course, he pays me back later.
After pulling into my garage and doing our transition, we run out towards the beach for the 10K. When we get to the beach, we are sand blasted by the wind and sand. I'm running slightly ahead of John and when we get to the turn around point, John turns where he is about 50 feet short of the turn around. So now, he who was following, now has the lead. John being a better into the wind runner than I, not only crosses the street to get further away from the wind, but starts upping his pace. Yes, paybacks are Hell. I decide that this isn't a race, its a workout. I let him go off ahead and keep at my training pace. The winds are blowing the sand into my side such that I've got to turn my head slightly west to avoid getting sand blown into my eyes. I am coated with a fine misting of sand that has somehow been blown through my tri suit and is literally everywhere.
As we get off the beach and are running though the backstreets of my surrounding neighborhood, I come across my wife Salome on the outward leg of her morning run. I yell to her that John cheated by shorting the course at the turnaround. In reality, he keeps getting further and further in front of me and ends up with over a 300 yard lead. As I complete the somewhat winding road of the last mile to my house, I've completely lost sight of John. When I turn onto my street, I can see him finishing at my house at the end of the road. As I come up to him, I say, "Nice work, you negative splitting bastard." Of course, I say this in a nice, training buddy sort of way, mind you. We bump fists knowing we've just completed our last long workout.
The next morning, I note that I received an e-mail from John asking me to re-read the taper portion of "the Bible," Going Long by Joe Friel & Grodon Byrn. He asks me for my workout plan for the next 2 weeks. Of course, he asks for this information without disclosing his plans. I can see I'm being set up for a critique. In essence, the book recommends doing shorter workouts, but more interval work instead of a steady easier workload. I had already decided that this plan was for experienced Ironman triathletes that were trying to move up the competitive ranks. Me, I'm an IM rookie. I just want to get done in a reasonable time and survive this thing.
I spent Sunday working on my bike getting it ready for shipping out with TriBike Transport on Wednesday. I changed the tires, cleaned the bike, de-greased and lubed the chain and gears, and removed the carbon water bottle holders as instructed by the TriBike folks. I then went shopping for more goos and other miscellaneous supplies for the trip.
Monday morning, I take out the bike for a shakeout ride to make sure everything is in working order before removing the pedals (another TriBike requirement). The winds are again blowing at the 20 mph range. Again, a scary ride getting blown sideways by swirling winds and trying to avoid both huge patches of slippery sand and fast moving cars on their way to work. I cut the ride short at 12.5 miles. I've come too far to get in an event ending road accident in conditions that I would otherwise never ride in.
Tonight, I'll give the bike a last cleaning to get the sand from this morning's ride. Tomorrow, I take the bike to Miami to drop it at the bike shop that acts as a drop for TriBike Transport. I'll still get in a couple of easy rides on my wife's road bike, but that's it for tri-bike riding. Now, its mostly short tempo runs and 45 minute maintenance swims in the pool. I'd like one last open water swim in my wet suit, but the surf is again in "Like a Hurricane" conditions. Its supposed to be windy and a ruff surf all week long. Hopefully, it will calm by the weekend.