The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Losing my Metric Virginity

Prior to Saturday, my longest bike ride was less than 70K. And I only had a handful of rides over 50K. In less than 2 weeks I will be cutting my teeth at Half-Iron distance. Sandwiched between a 2K swim and a 21K run, is a 90K bike.

Saturday’s planned ride was a 100 km one-way trip from Cornwall to Brockville. All along highway 2. (I had forgotten that this was all uphill).

The day started off with a 2 hour back-breaking warm-up in the stifling sun, working in the backyard on the new deck.

700 calorie lunch – check.
Lube grundle – check.
Slip into Sugoi tri-suit – check.
Apply sunscreen – check.
3 bottles of Gatorade – check.
1 bottle of water – check.
Vector bar in back pocket – check.
Pump up tires – check.

On y va!

The ride was nice and easy. A lot slower than I had hoped, due to a killer head wind. I was discouraged at first, because it was very difficult to keep a speed over 25km/hr, but I knew that the wind was holding me back. If this were an out-and-back ride, the wind would have been pushing me home, and I’m sure the average speed would have been around 30km/hr – right where I want to be.

My original thinking was that it would be a 3-1/2 hour route, and that the 3 bottles of Gatorade and one bottle of water would be enough to see me through the day. 2-1/2 hours into it, I had finished my stash, and realized I still had close to 2 hours to go. Fortunately, a convenience store in the middle of nowhere (Iroquois) was the perfect pit stop for 2 bottles of Powerade, an extra bottle of water and a Mars bar. [It turned out that I only needed the one extra Powerade].

I pulled into Brockville after about 4 hours, and arrived at my final destination 108 Km upstream at a final time of 4:29. The whole family was out to cheer me at the finish line. And I was awarded the Yellow jersey.

It was a great ride. I enjoyed it immensely. Never did I feel fed up. Never did I feel burned out. I didn’t bonk. I was never discouraged, and I arrived feeling un-tired and not sore whatsoever. I fully expected to be zonked for the rest of the day, but I felt great, and didn’t have any residual pains the next day. The Sugoi tri-suit was fine, no chaffing issues. It was a perfect test-ride. I remembered hitting 45K (equivalent to the half-iron turnaround), and thinking that I would be totally ready for Tupper Lake.

The splits:


Lap 1 = House to Vincent Massey (edge of Cornwall)
Lap 2 = Cornwall to Long Sault (along bike path – not ideal, twisty)
Lap 3 = Long Sault to Ingleside
Lap 4 = Ingleside to Morrisburg
Lap 5 = Morrisburg to Iroquois
Lap 6 = Iroquois to Cardinal
Lap 7 = Cardinal to Johnstown
Lap 8 = Johnstown to Prescott
Lap 9 = Prescott to Maitland
Lap 10 = Maitland to Brockville
Lap 11 = Brockville to Parent’s house.

Side notes:
a. That burning sensation in the grundle was probably just the sun beating down - I didn't chaffe.
b. Garmin leaves a whacking big tan line around the wrist.
c. Going aero the whole way is more efficient that upright riding. I tried to stay aero as much as possible.
d. Even though I was comfortable on the bike, after 4+ hours going aero gets annoying.
e. It feels like you're going faster if you stare at the ground beside your front tire.
f. I was only able to put it into the big ring about 6 six times, for a total cumulative time of 20 minutes.
g. Next time I do this route, I'm starting in Brockville and coasting down to Cornwall.

Thanks Guylaine for giving me the time to do this.