Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Trouble With Google Maps

My plan for today was:
B: 80minutes out-80 minutes back. Try to ride each leg in approximtelky the same time. Keep any pacing issues in mind for what will happen race day.
Last night, I got on Google Maps and planned out my route for today. It looks so innocent on here, doesn't it?

Pete told me where the hills would be, and I thought, "Ok, some hills will be good." Today rolled around and I just didn't have a very good attitude about my ride. I really just wanted to stay home with my family, but Pete reminded me that I should be happy to be going for a ride, and I decided to try and enjoy it. I brought a 2-hour bottle of perpetuem, a bottle of water and one serving of Hammer Gel. I took it pretty easy for the first half an hour, then I got to Bountiful, and you can kind of see what the hills really look like (follow the road up through the shadow and past the snow line, that's where I was headed):

I almost made it up those hills without stopping. I knew that if I stopped, there was no way I would be able to get back on. And I was right. I got to about 20 yards from the top, and I just had to get off and walk. It was so steep, I was standing up and it was taking all my weight to just push the pedals down. My heart-rate got up to 189 at one point. That's way to high. Now those are some good hills. More like a mountain. Thanks Pete.

Bountiful Blvd. was really nice and fun to ride on, though. The view was fantastic! I had to stop and take some pictures:

You could look down on The Great Salt Lake, and I rode right up behind The Bountiful Temple. What a beautiful building:

I was riding along Bountiful Blvd., and it was just about time to turn around, when all of a sudden, I went around a corner, and was plummeting back down into the valley! "Nooo!" I thought. I didn't want to have to ride back up that hill! I was going too fast to turn around until I got to the bottom, though, so I decided to just turn and see if I could get back onto Bountiful Blvd. a different way. I stopped for a minute and took my Hammer Gel, then I saw a guy out walking, and asked him the best way to get back up. He gave me some directions, and also told me that I could stay on Bountiful Blvd. and it would take me right down to Beck Street which I could take all the way into Salt Lake. I didn't give much thought to this since I was planning on going back the way I came. That's what my plan wanted me to do.

I learned that there is no easy way to get back up a steep hill once you come down it, so I had to struggle to get back up again. This time I walked a little longer because my gears locked up (I wasn't thinking strait, and I don't know that bike well enough yet to remember how to shift right) and I had to get off. I found a side street, though, and got back on there. I didn't think I'd ever get back up onto that road, but I told myself that once I got there it would be downhill all the way home. This was a lie. Just like the lie that the St. George Marathon is all downhill. Maybe it's more like a myth. I shouldn't have believed that myth, though, because I had a friend who had done the marathon and she told me there was a big hill in it. Anyway, this wasn't all downhill either, but nothing as bad as what I had just done.

Actually, I was enjoying that road so much, when I got back on it, that I totally missed the turn-off that would take me back the way I came, Indian Hills Drive. Before I knew it, I was seeing signs that said "15%" grade and "Trucks Use Lower Gear" and I thought, "uh oh." I started careening down these crazy steep and curvy hills, and all I could think about was Pete's X-ray and I could just feel the wheel trying to slip out from under me every time I pushed my breaks. I just kept thinking, "Don't break on the turns, don't break on the turns." But I was going so fast, and I had to keep pressing my breaks every few seconds. It was scary. 

I don't think I've been that scared since I was dating Pete and just getting into rock climbing. One day, we did a route where he was belaying me from the top, and when I got there, I climbed up and sat there with him. Then I could not get myself to climb back over that cliff and rappel down. I was just sitting up there crying and sniveling for quite a while. I can't believe he married me after that.... Anyway, it felt like that, and I was actually on the verge of crying as I came barreling down that hill. Now that I look on Google Maps, I can actually see the switchbacks. (The top white dot is where I had to get off and walk, and the bottom one is where the switchbacks started and it got really crazy.)

If I would have know it would be like that, I would have been more careful about missing my turn. But I had the directions from that guy...

He had also told me to turn onto Beck Street, so I did this when I got to the bottom of the hill. I must not have been thinking strait because Beck Street is almost a freeway. I got onto it, then cars were coming to merge on my right, and they were going very fast. I stopped at a little median, still shaking from my terrifying ride down the hill, and now scared of all the fast cars and wondering how to get off this road.

I called Pete. I knew it would freak him out because by now I was really crying and he would think I had been in an accident or something. I just had to talk to him, though. I needed him to calm me down and talk me through it, just like he did that day up on the cliff. He has a really good way with calming me down and talking sense into me. He told me just to walk my bike back up to the intersection where I could get across to the bike path on the other side of the freeway. I got off the phone with him, took a few breaths and walked my bike up. It was not a big deal at all. I got to the top, crossed the street and got on the bike path. I could have kissed that bike path! It was so beautiful to have something so safe after all that!

When I got into Salt Lake, the bike path ended and I had to cross Beck Street. There was a light there so I stopped and waited for it to turn green. And waited, and waited. I probably stood there for 5 minutes, and there was no sign this light would ever turn green. I was wondering if they have it set to only change every half-hour on Saturdays or something. Finally I just waited until there were no cars and went across anyway. It was really weird blatantly running a red light like that. (I hope there are no cops reading this that will come arrest me now.) I was very happy once I was across, though, because I had ridden here several times and knew what it would be like. In a manner of minutes I was home. 

I had to apologize to Pete for freaking out like that. I know it gave him a little scare. I am just a mess sometimes. While I was coming down those hills, I was wondering what in the world I was doing trying to do an Ironman. I can't even do a 29-mile (that's how far it ended up being) bike ride by myself, how can I do 112? I was thinking, "Why can't I be like a normal mom and spend my Saturdays playing with my kids, cleaning the house and baking? Maybe that wouldn't be so bad." I just felt like such a baby out there on my bike today.

Well, I guess, technically, I did do this bike ride by myself. I just needed a little encouragement, and I will probably have that at the Ironman too. 112 miles does seem really daunting right now, though. 

And despite that fact that I put spf 50 sunscreen on before I left, I still had 2 people ask me if I'd been in the sun today or something. Apparently I'm going to need to re-aply sunscreen more often than every 3 hours.  That's how long it took. I guess that's not too bad, considering how much I had to walk. I only went 20 minutes over my planned time.


  1. Oh my gosh Colleen! i felt everybit of what you went through. I would have done the same thing. Thank goodness you have such a kind husband to call on for help. I am lucky that way too.

    You are going to do this, and you are going to make your entire family proud. Your kids will be talking about this for the rest of their lives. Any Mom can just stay home and play. What you are doing is a gift for all of you. They are all proud of you. I'm sure of it.

    xxxx lori

  2. Yes, I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband! I don't know what I'd do without him!

    Thank you for your encouragement! I know I can do it, and I really hope my kids are proud of me, and not just sick of me having to workout all the time! :)