Recon debrief: The new Lake Stevens 70.3 one-loop course is a killer. As many of you know, since its inception into the 70.3 family, it has been a two-loop bike leg. And those two laps around Snohomish County were relentless in their rolliness. While I am not 100% sure that rolliness is a word, I AM 100% sure they presented a race day challenge not soon forgotten. I am also sure you know what I mean when I invoke that word (or non-word.) Not quite climbs, and no signature grades but a constant laughing roller-coaster with a few screaming technical descents and the always present and irritated locals to make it interesting. You need to keep your eyes open (and ears closed.) That was then.
This is now: More rolliness up to Granite Falls and down to (almost) Monroe. The popcorn machine is back in vogue. Up ya go, down ya fall, repeat for 56 miles. Everyone on this planet knows I prefer a one-loop course to two or, gasp, three, and this one is no exception. For the first thirty miles of our drizzled-out scouting ride this morning I was thinking, "I like the change," but by mile forty it was more, "I think I like the change," and by fifty, "The old course was fine." By the time we circumnavigated 60 miles (we went off course once) I was ready for blueberry pancakes. A double-tall stack, with extra compote, please.
The intel take-away: With a puny thirteen days prior to dance day, there isn't too much positive you can do to prepare for this somewhat intimidating scenario. Either you can climb TODAY, or you can't. Adding a two week hammer fest will only give you tired legs come 8.14. But what you CAN do is this:
1) Make sure you have a solid nutrition plan in place.
2) Take the first twenty miles a touch slower than what you feel you could do.
3) Keep a steady and efficient HR.
4) Hydrate often in addition to your electrolyte replacement beverage.
5) Pay attention and keep a vigilant focus.
6) Make sure your bike is in PERFECT condition prior to racking it Saturday night.
7) Pick and choose your hammer spots and race your strength.
8) Make sure you leave enough in the tank for a snappy 13.1.
There is eight you can add to the constants of racing happy and carpe diem. I trust that whatever contractor is repairing the washout pictured above on the Robe Menzel Rd near G. Falls gets it done by race day, otherwise we'll be doing a little early season cross. (Or going back to the old course.)
It was a great training ride, Bob is in outstanding shape and riding RSVP next week as his final tune up. Race day should be an interesting test. Hope we get some sun to go with all that rolliness.
Pix: Bob and Phoenix Red at the giant hole in the road. Afterwards it appeared that not even IHOP blueberry pancakes could fill that hole.