Training for the Portland Century

The Portland Century – Part 1

I’m writing this recap freshly showered, foam rolled, fed and wearing my compression tights. I have a few hours before my massage. When I signed up for the Portland Century Ride I had only one goal:

I’m not a fast cyclist. I’m pretty steady and consistent rather than speedy. I had no expectations of completing the ride in a certain amount of time. I just wanted to complete the 70 miles successfully. Michael and I woke up early Sunday morning, 6 a.m. early, and ate our normal breakfast before heading downtown to PSU. Michael was silly in his suggestion “we just bike from the house to downtown.” Hmm nah. If I’m going to do 100 miles it’s going to be on a course not commuting home. 😉

We parked the car and checked our bags at PSU and then we were off!


It was about 7:45 a.m. and 65 degrees–no need for arm warmers or warm cycling gear at all! Michael and I set out following the yellow signs. I almost bit it right off the bat. We were biking down the street from PSU when suddenly the street ended in a sidewalk. Michael went over the sidewalk with his bike and was okay. I knew I would not be okay and I slammed on my brakes–of course forgetting I was clipped in. I came “THIS CLOSE” to just falling over two blocks from the start. Luckily I caught myself and did not crash at the start of the race.


We rode through downtown in the quiet of early Sunday morning. They had part of Naito Parkway closed near the waterfront. We biked along the water and then up to the top of the Steel Bridge.


I’ve never ridden over the top of the Steel Bridge–just on the lower deck. It was a little nerve wracking being that high up. We got to the Rose Garden transit area–part of where we’ve been riding during our training! It felt comfortable and familiar.


The trail changed from the familiar after that. We biked up Interstate to Greeley-which is a very slow, long, gradual hill up passed the Adidas Campus.


I’ve never biked over in that area. It was really scenic. It winded around to Overlook/Willamette and overlooked downtown and the city. I wasn’t familiar with that area at all and basically just followed the guy in front of me.


The bike paths through the neighborhoods in North Portland ended when we got to I think Columbia and the route turned onto a path that wound through the area to the first Rest Stop.

So far I was feeling really good. I think the first rest stop was at about Mile 10.


Bike N’ Hike (a local bike store here) was one of the sponsors and they had a booth set up helping people fix bike issues–which made me feel pretty safe and confident that if something happened along the course I’d be okay. I honestly wasn’t that hungry at the first Rest Stop. Our breakfast was pretty big and filled me up. But I did eat a few donut holes…


There was a lot of options but like I said, I wasn’t hungry. I skipped the Larabars, bananas and bagels. Michael had a bagel with peanut butter on it and then we continued on.


The first half of the ride was the most comfortable. The weather was perfect–not too hot yet. We left the area and biked through winding roads in the middle of nowhere and finally looped around to Marine Drive! Familiar territory!


For most of this part, including the Marine Drive path, I drafted off a group of riders in front of me. They were going about my pace and it made me work less! Smart Lisa. I barely had to pedal. It was a nice break. After Marine Drive the route diverted. The 33 Mile Route people crossed Marine Drive to the 1-205 Path and the 70/100 Mile Route people turned left onto Marine Drive. This was a pretty long chunk in areas I wasn’t entirely familiar with it. This part was a bit hard–my lower back started to ache. I was worried and anxious about it but tried to put it out of my mind.


We made our way to Blue Lake Park– the second Rest Stop. By that time we’d done about 24 miles I think.

I got off the bike and used the port-a-potty (which was super fun when you’re wearing bib shorts under your jersey!), reapplied lots of sunscreen and stretched a lot. At this Rest Stop I ate two mini cookies, half a banana, 1/4 of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and some cantaloupe slices. I just wanted a little pick me up before we got to the hard part…

 To Be Continued….

QUESTION: If you are a cyclist, which part is more challenging: hills or sitting in the saddle for long periods of time?

 

August Goals


I can’t believe it’s already August. It seems like summer has just started here in Portland. The weather is finally consistently nice enough to enjoy outdoor activities and I love it!

I set the bar pretty low for July because I knew that I’d be really busy with a few vacations. How did I do for July?

July Goals

1. Commute to work by bike whenever I can. YES!

2. Practice getting in long rides on weekends. Yes, most weekends did include bike rides.

3. Incorporate more free weights in my workouts. Yes, that’s part of my normal routine now.

4. Enjoy the summer! Most definitely.

5. Read more books (I already read like 3 a week but I’m hungry for more!).  I’ve read some really great ones lately.


July was a challenge for a lot of reasons. The biggest challenge was the food. Between birthdays, parties, out of town guests, festivals, camping, road trips and family reunions it was like everything revolved around food. Potlucks. BBQs. Brewfest. I believe I made good choices, splurging on things that I really wanted– but within moderation. I don’t think I really went overboard on any of the food or drink choices I made other than the frequency of the indulgences.


Summer is a challenge time because of all these temptations. The weather is nice. I want to hang out with friends and family and food is always going to be the focus of those events. The biggest gift I can give myself each summer is the permission to enjoy it. That does NOT mean bingeing on everything in sight. That does not mean avoiding all the “fun food” and only eating the “diet” food. Fun food can be healthy too.

So I balance the indulgences with the exercise choices I make. I go for long bike rides and strenuous hikes that challenge my body. I challenge myself by swimming and lifting weights. And after I indulge (like at weekend trips and BBQs) I get right back on track when I get home. Back to “normal” eating. Like grilled chicken thighs and corn on the cob with butter and chili pepper:


Or how about my absolute favorite steak dinner with fresh zucchini from our garden:


All good meals! And they taste good without being high in calories.

August Goals

1. Continue the Scale-Free Summer. There have been a few times where I was tempted to weigh myself. Going scale-free was a struggle at first but sometime in July I seemed to find a comfortable oblivion to the scale. I stopped thinking about it all the time and stopped feeling anxious about whether or not I gained weight.

2. Go on long bike rides training for the Portland Century.

3. Relax more. I tend to go-go-go and never really have any downtime. I want to enjoy my summer!

I think that’s doable.

QUESTION: What is your biggest challenge in the summertime? What are your August Goals?