That was a huge confidence-builder. Lauren and I rode from Fort Lee, NJ really almost as far as the base of Bear Mountain and back; it was the most beautiful day for it, so that it might even be that I can say that this was the most enjoyable workout of the entire week, something that would have seemed farfetched if I had proposed it to myself beforehand....
Lauren's bike computer said 72 miles, but my Garmin said 66.34, which I think is more plausible; we were strong but slow! It is a pretty hilly ride, one way or another - I felt very strong (mentally as well as physically) right up until the last half hour or so, at which point I think I was just calorically fading. Not even the hazard of a guess at elevation,* but there is a fair amount of climbing - the hill up to the Alpine police station and the hill outside of Nyack stand out, but 9W in general is rolling...
*[ED. Garmin says almost 5,400 feet, but it has been suggesting that my flat runs have elevation too, so I don't trust it one bit! Really it can't have been nearly that much.]
I only had one minor freakout, not long after we turned around to return home; there is a bit where you ride up a quite steep hill and over train tracks, you find yourself at a highway with highway-speed traffic and there is a very sharp dropoff to the left-hand side. It's the combination of drop-off, hill and traffic that basically hits me hard; we stopped for a moment to assess best way to cross over the highway, and I mistakenly thought we not only had to go across but that we were also trying to make it up a steep windy hill on the other side of the intersection. Once I realized that we were just doing a straightforward road crossing and then just riding the shoulder on the other side of the highway, I was all right...
12.7mph avg. pace
avg. HR 133, max HR 164
zone 1: 1:39:00
zone 2: 1:47:07
zone 3: 31:58
zone 4: 57:25
zone 5: 6:49
I feel much more confident than before that I really will be able to make the bike cutoffs at IMCDA. For an eight-hour ride (112mi.), I need to be riding at 14mph. It is reasonable to expect considerable improvement in zone 2 pace by dint of 5-6 more weeks of good training and a couple weeks of taper. I also probably have a little extra time if I need it - the bike cutoff is 10:30, and I am hoping that swim plus transition will still come in under 2:00.
Can't seem to find detailed data, but I get the sense that the total climbing feet on the bike course will be c. 5,000 over 112 miles (2.5K per lap), mostly in the form of rolling hills rather than super-steep long climbs. The Harryman Half has a very challenging (unusually so!) bike course, with 1,500 feet of climbing per 14-mile lap, 4 laps for the half-ironman. So that will have been twice as hilly - it is a good race to do for mental as well as physical training, though my time will be alarmingly slow. My riding in Cayman next weekend and the Montauk Century the following weekend are both very flat.
(Here is a good pace calculator!)
Week 6 summary: a success. I only did 2 bikes and 2 runs, but I hit both the interval workouts and the long ones with considerable satisfaction. My swimming was exemplary, as I did 2 x 1-hr. and 1 x 1.5hr. masters workouts. I do think I should make sure to do a few of the workouts Gale Bernhardt gives for the long swims, but I'm not going to sweat it - really as long as I swim two or three times per week with some higher-intensity work and some long ones, I will be absolutely fine.
This ride made me feel that I have earned my recovery week!...
Total training hours: 14.5