Friday, August 28, 2009

Muskoka 70.3 training update

One of the reasons I have been so absent lately was because I went on vacation to visit my sister in Nashville.  Holidays coupled with dual workout days, leaves little time for blogging. I have been trying to visit and comment sporadically on your blogs.
Also congratulations to Mel on her recent triathlon completion!!!! She signed up for another one right away. Awesome, and just posted some great pictures of her tearing up the course.

I had an opportunity to ride most of the Muskoka 70.3 bike course with some friends that are also racing the Ironman.  The race takes place about 2.5 hours from where I live, and my friend has a cottage nearby,  so I was fortunate to be able to go up and ride the route. The bike course route is actually 94Km (~58 miles) instead of the usual 90Km (~56 miles). This is because the course is basically shaped liked a lollipop,  and goes around a huge lake called the Lake of Bays. The course map can be found here if you are curious.
I snatched a video from the Ironman website. In the video 11-time Ironman Lisa Bentley previews the Muskoka course:




Don't those Ironman videos give you the chills? I need to give props to Lisa, who is a real role model for Canadian female triathletes. A few years ago, my sister Melissa was given full paid trip to compete in Ironman Canada (Ontario to BC) from Lisa's winnings (my sister had won her age group at a triathlon in Peterborough, Ontario). She is very supportive to budding triathletes!


On another note, did you see that elevation chart? The course is super hilly! I really felt it on my practice ride, I certainly had moments of doubt - can I do this??!! I know I can, but let me tell you - it won't be fast or easy!

I know people who have completed several full and half Ironmans that say its the hardess 70.3 course (its actually longer than 70.3 since the bike is 4km longer, I think the swim is 1.9K instead of 2K). But although its hard, its super beautiful, so I am going to try to focus on that during the bike and run. I am going to ride it again on Tuesday with a friend, we are driving up early Tuesday morning so I think that will help with my mental and physical preparation.

While in Nashville, I had a chance to ride an equally challenging and wonderfully scenic route on the Natchez Trace Parkway. What is the Natchez Trace?


What Is The Natchez Trace Parkway?

The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway commemorates an ancient trail used by animals and people that connected southern portions of the Mississippi River, through Alabama, to salt licks in today's central Tennessee. Today, visitors can experience this National Scenic Byway and All-American Road through driving, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping.

So basically the road is for recreational use only - no transports, and has a relatively low speed limit. Heaven for a cyclist!!! We rode 91Km of the Natchez Trace and it was challenging but AWESOME. The road goes through the Alpalachian Mountains through Tenessee, cuts through part of Alabama, and ends in Mississipi (which is apparently flat but the part near Nashville was not). 

Here is most of our route from Map our Ride. We rode 25 miles out, 25 back.


The Natchez Trace starts in Nashville at a cute little tourist area, where there is a hotel famous for smoked ham called the Loveless Cafe and Motel.  Cute.  Hubs and I went in and shared a meal (although not ham, we had smoked turkey- we don't eat red meat or pork) and it was HUGE!!  More than we could finish between the two of us.   They really cater to cyclists and had even a bike shop right there called Trace Bicycles,  and other cute art and crafts type shops.

It hard to tell,  but this is an area that is about 100 meters up in the air called Birds Hollow.  Hubs didn't want to pause long to take my picture.  You kinda of had a feeling of flying through here- cool and scary at the same time,  my bike computer hit over 60km/h (36 mph) at several points of the trip!



We saw flocks of wild turkeys and even a snake that was large enough to eat a rat!! (sorry no pics, we gave the snake a wide berth!)

Lots of climbling....
Lots
and lots
of climbing!!
Entrance and exit to the Trace..
The route has washrooms,  bed and breakfast hotels, and campsites along the route. I was thinking I would like to ride the entire route - all 444 miles maybe in the spring. Anyone interested in joining? I think it would be an awesome experience!

If you haven't yet, go visit Tall Mom and enter her Pearls of Wisdom Giveaway!
Happy Friday Thanks for reading!!


22 comments:

B.o.B. said...

Very cool photos. Glad you had a great trip. Ironmen folks are just crazy. I am so freakin' stoked at anyone who attempts or completes even the half Ironman. You go girl!

MCM Mama said...

Looks like an awesome vacation! Sounds like your training is going well. Keep up the good work!

Marlene said...

Holy riding! Those are some incredible pics. Sounds like quite the experience.

Got to love an extended course on your first HM. :)

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Glad you had fun in Nashville. I've never been there - photos make me want to head out that way.

My little upcoming hilly tri is freaking me out and it's only 15miles. I can't imagine 56 miles of bike torture!! lol

X-Country2 said...

Oooh, you make me want to sign up for a 70.3 right now! Looks like an incredible ride.

Ali said...

Great pics!

I've heard the same thing about the Muskoka course ... hilly

Good job on riding it first, you'll be prepared for the big day

RunToFinish said...

definitely gives me chills...but more in a holy shit I couldn't do that kind of way! I am in awe of you!

Lacey Nicole said...

remember: 40 mph speed limit!!!!! :) so much fun you went to nashville. ah, sisters. :) is your sis still doing marathons, too?

do you recommend riding/running race courses prior to the race day? i haven't really done this, but before my 20 mile race (on the way to the start) elliot and i drove it backwards, just to see where it went so he could follow along with me since the start and end were 20 miles away from each other, lol.

Jenn Jilks said...

Best of luck! Thank you for visiting My Muskoka , even if you are just riding it! All of you bring attention and love to our region.

Plus, you stand up for all women and show that we are strong and tough. Good luck.

Trigirlorlando said...

Thanks for your kind words on my blog!! Definitely have put you on my "must read list" :) You go girl!! Keep up the great work!!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Thanks for the shout-out :D So amazing that you're already doing the half IM... maybe i will one day too :) Great job on all the riding! Beautiful pics. Muskoka IM is supposed to be excellent!

joyRuN said...

You are totally going to smoke that tri! The scenery is definitely gorgeous, which I think would help immensely on race day.

36mph?! I'd be freaking out & riding my brakes the whole time :)

randy said...

Great pictures. Hope you get to ride the entire Trace sometime. I own/operate the Natchez Trace Bed and Breakfast Reservation Service. Our website NatchezTraceTravel.com has info about over 35 B&Bs along the Trace, pictures/info/map of each of the stops along the Trace and a "Biking the Trace" section.

The Happy Runner said...

Great pics! Sounds like training is going well -- it's just amazing to me. I'm training for a dinky 5k and you are going hardcore tri! I can't imagine...

Julia said...

Wow, beautiful photos! The sky is just amazingly blue! That's awesome that the road is for recreational use only! Its so scary to ride when cars are whizzing by!
OMG I would LOOOVE to see a real live turkey one day (I've never seen one before! lol)

lindsay said...

that's it? a little vacation drops you off the face of the blog planet? ;) and doubles? psssh, no excuses marci, no excuses.

just kidding of course! i'm so jealous of your double workouts / energy / incredible fitness!! glad the trip was fun and safe and full of calorie-burning.

EndorphinBuzz said...

Looks beautiful. You will have a great race in a setting like that!

SwimCoachFinder said...

Natchez Trace Parkway sounds interesting. Thanks for the info, experience and post!

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