Lake Stevens 70.3: T minus 1 week!
This race has been on my calendar since last fall. At the time I signed up it seemed like a really good idea and would serve as a great long training day for IMAZ. It was still early enough in the season to get a solid evaluation of where I stood 13 weeks out.
Last Sunday a group of us from coachlesley.com headed out to Lake Stevens to do some recon on the course and get the lay of the land. I had the pleasure of riding and singing my way around the 56 mile course with my friend Suzy!! In the end, it was time well spent! It was as challenging as the rumors made it out to be, but totally rideable with a plan!
Many years ago, I rode the old course as part of relay team and it was a fun course…that was then, this is now. The new bike course uses pieces of the old course, however, instead of making it a two loop course it is now a huge one-loop course that stretches from Granite Falls on the north and to Monroe on the south. It starts out innocently enough as you roll along through farm county up towards Granite Falls and eventually turn south and have a long, rolling decent to the out skirts of Monroe where the route turns north again back to Lake Stevens. This is the point of the ride where things get real very quickly! The hills start coming fast and furious and some are very steep. This is the point where you find out if you have been following your nutrition and training plan! The course continues to go up and down (mostly up!) for about 10 miles or so before you are finally rewarded with a long, fast, sweeping downhill to the flats you hope will lead you to the finish line! But, about the time you settle into spinning out your legs and are thinking about running you are faced with a short, nasty hill about 3 miles from the finish! After this one the course really does just roll back to the finish where you can make the transition to the run!
This is a challenging bike course and it will reward those who have put in the time and punish those who have not. Taking on nutrition early is the key…as climbing hungry or depleted is no fun at all! Playing catching if you fall behind will be nearly impossible as it’s hard to choke down a honey stinger waffle when you are winded from climbing! To quote a good friend, “this course is a hilly bit*&!” He was spot on!!
I walked away from the recon ride learning a few lessons and developing a plan of action. Lessons learned: don’t go for glory early on the bike; eat, drink, wash and repeat; and, have fun! I’m glad we went out rode the course for fun. It was a confidence booster and helped me formulate my race day plan!
I plan to treat the day as a long training day and nothing more…it’s not my goal race, but will help us pinpoint weaknesses that we need to improve upon before November! I expect to push myself on the bike and find the line on the run…I’m hopeful I can find the line and keep pushing it back! Race day will be fun and exciting as I have several friends who are racing either solo or as part of a relay! There will be friendly faces around every turn!
Best of luck to all athletes toeing the start line on August 17th! Have fun, enjoy and race strong!!