We met up with a friend of Mike’s who is also doing the Oceanside 70.3 for a bike course preview. Since we had a 70 mile ride planned, we rode up to Oceanside (which is about 13 miles from home) and met up with Steven first. Once we joined up with him at the Oceanside pier (location of T2 and the run finish), we rode our bikes to the Oceanside Harbor (the location of T1 and the bike start) and got on the course. Unfortunately about half of the course is on a portion of the military base that isn’t accessible by civilians on a regular basis and we were only able to ride the first half. We also weren’t able to enter the base at the same point as we will on race day so the route wasn’t exactly the same, but pretty close. The first half of the course was not exactly what I expected in that there were some roads that were pretty dilapidated and covered in weeds and dirt and also a significant portion of it was through a beach parking lot.
The 2nd half of the course, however, is the part I would really like to preview so I can anticipate the 1,500 feet of climbing that we’ll be doing during miles 30-56. We rode all the way through the base from the San Diego entrance to the San Clemente exit, which is a part of Orange County. It felt pretty cool to ride to another county! We rode a few miles in San Clemente to make sure we got to 35 miles and then turned around and headed home. On the way home I focused more on getting aero and picked up the pace. We had a nice tailwind coming home so the way back was much faster.
A couple of things that I noticed about this route – there was quite a strong headwind going out and there was a gradual incline as well that I hadn’t anticipated. From what I had read, the first half is quite fast and usually the headwind is on the way back, so I was surprised about that. My effort level overall on this ride was medium. I took it easy for the first 20 miles or so and then picked up the pace for about 30 miles and then eased back into the last 15-20 miles. I had a pretty large dinner/dessert Friday night and a bagel right before the ride, so I didn’t feel the need to eat a lot of calories (not sure if that actually matters but it seemed right at the time!). I had 3 water bottles with 200 calories of CarboPro and Nuun plus 2 Stinger Waffles during the entire ride, for a total of 940 calories over the course of just over 4 hours. The thing that surprised me the most about this ride was that when we finished, I definitely felt like I could keep going. I remember the first time that I rode 40 miles I felt more tired than this ride (that 40 miler was through a bunch of hills however!). My overall pace was just about the same (a few seconds per mile slower actually) as last week’s 67 miler with 2,500 feet of climbing – so that shows you that my effort level was definitely less this week. My average HR was also down to 140 (zone 1 for me) on this ride compared to 153 last week (low zone 2).
As soon as we got off the bike we changed into running clothes and ran 5 miles.We felt really good and surprisingly completed it at a 8:38 pace! If only I feel this good during the run on race day (and can maintain it for 8 more miles…). My recovery for this brick was also better. After a big lunch, I relaxed on the couch and then took an hour and forty-five minute nap, then was in bed again by 9:30 for another 9+ hours of sleep before Sunday’s 7 a.m. wake-up call. Sunday’s workouts were much better than last Sunday’s, most likely due to a combination of less hills and more sleep.
Do you find it helpful to pre-ride the course before your race? Have you ever not been allowed to pre-ride? How do you familiarize yourself with a course before a race?