Day 7 – Run 4 miles, Bike 25 miles, Swim 2 miles
We started the day with a 4+ mile run through woods near Ken’s house. He is so fortunate to live in such a perfect area for training with a variety of places for running, biking as well as swimming. After the run we had a hearty breakfast and then it was off to the YMCA on our bikes for our swim.
I usually swim in a 25 yard pool and the one at the YMCA is 50 meters. That is a seriously big pool. An advantage of a shorter pool is that you have a short push off at each end which helps—and when you are as weak a swimmer as I am every little bit helps 🙂
We broke into the fast and slow groups: Ken led the former while Tim, who had joined us from D.C., and I were in the latter. Ken insisted that we do 200 m intervals which are horrendous when trying to keep up with fast swimmers like Ken and Stacy. I would occasionally cut off a few meters off at the end of the pool to keep up with them. It was impossible to keep on the heels of the others—this makes it a lot easier for the follower due to the reduced drag. My arms were ready to fall off by the time we called it quits so we didn’t stop at all too soon.
It was then back on our bikes for a ride home and a quick turnaround: we were off to Guy’s Bike Shop for some bike fittings. Ken told us that people come from all over for bike fits and it was clear why: I’ve had several done but none of the fitters came anywhere near to Rob. He had just finished fitting Susie who was fuming: not only had she not been properly fitted by her expensive bike builder. Even worse, the company which sold her the shoes didn’t fit them properly. I’ve learned one thing in life: never mess with a lady’s shoes…
While Rob fitted Stacy he explained in great detail the various aspects of bike fit and I learned a lot. It was great to be able to ask him questions and have him fill in some of the gaps in my understanding of bike fit. I was even able to contribute in a small way to engineering a solution for Stacy’s arm rests 🙂 Afterwards he checked my fit and said that it was pretty well spot on. All my winter efforts with a plumb bob were worth it.
On the way home Ken drove us through Valley Forge which is where the Continental Army wintered in 1777-78 during the Revolutionary War. This whole area is full of Revolutionary War history and I was continually ragged Ken about these traitorous rebels—being a loyal Canadian and subject of the Queen.
They had this very large monument in the Park and Ken snapped the photo to the left. Was was interesting was that it was maintained by Free Masons—and there were Masonic symbols on the monument. I guess it is a reflection that George Washington and many of the founding fathers were Free Masons.
Day 8 – Bike 100 miles
Today was the day. We were going to repeat our ride of last Friday but this time the goal was to do it with some extra hill repeats, and I decided to push it out to do that magic cyclist’s number: a century.
It was a clear and warm day. I cycled ahead with Stacy, with Susie and Tim staying back with Ken. Fortunately, I have a good sense of direction and remembered the route from the previous week so I was able to act as ride leader. Stacy got the photo below when I stopped to wait for everyone to catch up.
From there it was upwards through St. Peter’s towards the park. Then it was time for our hill repeats. I zoomed down for 2.5 miles and then had a 2.5 mile climb. The first time Stacy was ahead of me and she dropped me at the bottom and went up ahead of me. There were some guys cutting a tree who said “better work hard to catch that girl”. In my dreams. She is one strong cyclist and I had no hope of catching her.
So it was up and down five times. Ken zoomed past on a very fast downhill run. He did the hills in about half the time that I did them and on my last run I worked extra hard so that he wouldn’t catch me—which he said was his goal. Stacy had left with Tim after 4 runs to head to the ice cream parlour and we were surprised on our way back to find Susie, but not the others.
After stopping for our mandatory ice cream, there was still no Stacy and Tim. Susie was very worried as the day was getting on and she was not confident of making it home in time to collect her son. Susie’s back was very sore so while we waited for the ice cream he manipulated her back. As you can see from her face, it was not pleasant. Fortunately some ice and the manipulation helped so she was able to continue the ride, once Stacy and Tim were refuelled after finding us. They had got confused by the complicated directions: two lefts and a right.
Since it was so late Ken decided to ride ahead and get Susie’s car so she would meet her son. Since I knew the route I was confident we could make it back. We headed out and I then played shepherd, cycling ahead and back to make sure we didn’t lose anyone. I didn’t mind as I wanted to get as much mileage in as I could: just over three weeks to Ironman Louisville.
As always, it was a beautiful ride, as the photos below show. The only downside was Susie constantly stopping to talk on her phone as she tried to sort out what to do about her being late.
We met Ken about 10 miles from the end of the ride. It transpired that Susie’s keys had gone missing! She had put them in the wheel well of her car and when Ken got there he was unable to find them. Susie got into the van with Ken and headed back while we finished our ride. We arrived to find Susie under the car and both her and Ken quite dirty: they had literally searched every inch. What followed was a run around by Mercedes as she tried to organize someone to come out and let her in. Suffice to say I would never rely on Mercedes support … if I could even afford one.
Since Stacy had only done 96 miles she did an extra four so we both cracked a century. What was really good was that I felt like I could still run afterwards: quite important as I’ll need to do a marathon after 112 miles in three weeks time. This is Stacy and I celebrating.
Day 9 – Swim 1 mile; Run 10 miles
Today was swim stroke practice day. We started off in Ken’s Endless Pool where I manned the video recorder. Ken filmed each of us for later review. We also filmed Ken so that we could see how it was supposed to be done. While he was swimming Stacy gradually increased the speed of the current until Ken got splatted against the back wall.
It was interesting to see how each of us had a different issue with their swim form. For me I was not keeping my arms in the correct position during the stroke. So when we went over to the pool later for an actual swim session I focused on that, except during those cursed intervals. There was a fellow in the lane next to us who asked Ken a lot of questions and Ken very kindly advised him as well. Nice guy.
Stacy left and went for a sauna and I decided to warm up in the sun so it was only Tim and Ken after a while. We then collectively decided that we had enough of swimming—OK, I was the ring leader—and called it quits to go on our run.
This was an out and back from Ken’s house and I did 10 miles at 8:01 pace, but was pretty worn out at the end. I need to get my shoes looked at as they are not quite comfortable. I passed Ken and Stacy on the way back to the house and was very concerned when after 15 minutes they hadn’t arrived. I hopped in the car and went to look for them and was even more concerned when I didn’t find them. I should have known, they were off in the bushes together—picking blackberries.
We ended the day with a pizza picnic. This turned out to be the last day of training as the following day it was raining cats and dogs and I decided to give the 100 mile bike ride a miss. After 9 days of training it was time for some rest. According to WKO+ I had hit –98 in terms of freshness, but had increased my fitness by some 20% to 122.
So ended a excellent camp with great company. I’m very pleased to have had the opportunity to train with Ken and I look forward to spending time with him again. His Ironman Brazil tour in 2010 is very tempting … For now, time to taper and get ready for Ironman Louisville.