I had the pleasure of supporting three of my athletes this past weekend through their biggest training ride in preparation for IM Canada. The plan was to perform an Ironman-paced ride from Ferndale to Artist Point, finishing with the epic climb to simulate the bike ride profile in Whistler. What a joy it was to observe Roxie Millsap, Rusty Millsap, and Sean Hackney progress through the day.
The early riding on the flats went very well, all riding strong in great aero positions. When we hit South Pass at mile 40, it dawned on me that the next 50miles would consist mostly of uphill, with the significant part at the end. These three stuck to their fueling plans and paced through the early climbing strong. All three looked fantastic riding the final stretch before the big 10mile climb to Artist Point. I looked down at my watch and discovered that the ride to the top was going to put the crew well over 6hours of riding. This was a bit more than I had planned for since all three had performed very solid training sessions earlier in the week. It was evident a few miles in that fatigue was building and the earlier smiles began to fade. This coupled with building clouds and plummeting temperatures near the summit lead to everyone cracking at about the same time on the day. At first you could see defeat in their faces, but by the end of the day, refueled, rested, and recovered, they all realized what they had just accomplished. 90+ miles with 50miles of mostly uphill. That is a hefty day for anyone.
For those that work with me, you know that a lot of my coaching and planning is based around learning pace, building effort, and finishing strong across sessions and through the week or season. Sometimes though, there is great benefit to hitting the wall and cracking in training. If we don’t occasionally hit our current limits, then how do we know where those limits are? Learning where our limits are will keep us humble on raceday, respectful of the distance and duration of our goals. These limits will be different year to year, and discovering them in training will help us when making our race plans to “finish strong” on raceday. If we never find these limits in training, then I believe that we can have a false sense of security, an indestructible, reckless approach to our race plan. These three superstars showed that they had things dialed in well through 5 and a half long hours of uphill. The lessons we learned from the finish to that day will give us much more valuable feedback on how to approach the last 3 weeks of peaking going into their big goal race on July 24th. I am crazy proud to have been able to support and witness the strength and courage they displayed on that day. Great things to come from these athletes in 3 weeks.
We also had some fantastic racing going on the past 2 weeks. Martin Ehrich showed great courage fighting through some difficulties with the cold water at CDA 70.3. He finished the run strong and learned some valuable information on what is working well with nutrition. As a larger strong athlete, CDA does not necessarily fit his strengths. We will find a course that will play to his strengths in the fall where he can crank big watts in the aerobars for hours. Jamie Morrison set a 50min PR at the Great White North Half Iron race this past weekend, despite dealing with 2 flats on the bike. Things are on track for an awesome race at ITU Long Distance Worlds later this summer. And last but not least, Rene Wendt ran a fantastic 5k in her hometown race in Montana to take 2nd overall female, 4th overall runner. She is building for the Victoria Half Marathon in October and will be aiming for a top spot in her age category.
Best of luck to all Advantage Multisport athletes that will be racing this coming weekend.