Christmas Hits the Wall – Ironman Training Week 8

Christmas Hits the Wall - Ironman Training Week 8

This Week In Numbers:
Swim:  6600
Bike:  102.72
Run:  18.76
Total Time:  12:15:03

Mr. Germ vs. The Rue Household

Oh Goodness!  Christmas is here and my children have infected me with a cold 🙁  Yuck!  I played it safe this week when I realized that I didn’t feel that well after HIT class on Tuesday and took an entire day and a half off until I had to teach HIT again on Thursday night.

I couldn’t believe how difficult it was for me to take Wednesday off.  Coach M had a swim and run planned for me and all I did was stew about not getting in the workouts.  Why in the world are we so hard on ourselves?  Had one of my clients come up to me as asked for my advice about there budding cold symptoms, I would have sent them away to rest without a questions. Better to kick it quickly and take one day off than to aggravate the situation and be down and out for a week.  I KNOW THIS…..Why is it so hard to implement into my own life.  Thankfully Craig Coats (one of my training buddies) was able to talk me off the ledge and I let the cold run it’s course……I doubled-checked with Coach M, as well……Ha!

I was dead set on kicking the cold because I DID NOT want to miss our Saturday long ride.  Coach M is a bit sadistic, in a “it will be good for you in the long run” kind of way 🙂  No really………this woman knows her stuff and I trust her impeccably……..that is until I opened up Training Peaks (the software we use for our training plans……you gotta check it out!) and read that she wanted me to do hill repeats on THE WALL.  Five hill repeats to be exact.

As many of you don’t know what THE WALL is, you can probably guess pretty well.  THE WALL is about a one mile stretch on the St. George Ironman bike course that climbs up…….well……….a wall.  The grade is probably between 8-10% (maybe steeper in a few places).  The climb is doable.  Very doable, until you figure that it comes at about Mile 50 AND Mile 80ish.  So yes!  You climb this WALL twice……Oh, did I forget to mention all the other shorter walls on this course……they kind of factor into it as well.

IMSG "The Wall"

So, Coach M sent us out on the loop on this brisk Christmas Eve to tackle THE WALL not once…….not twice…..FIVE TIMES.  Strangely enough, I was kind of excited 🙂  I figure if I can do it five times, why can’t I do it twice.  The wisdom this woman has amazes me………or she may just be toying with me and laughing all the while 🙂

It was a brisk 25 degrees  when a nice group of us set out for the Veyo Loop from Snow Canyon Parkway.   Though starting temperatures seemed down right BITTER, the sun was shining and soon we were riding very comfortably down Hwy 91 through the Shivwits Indian Reservation.  As I took in the beautiful morning, I realized that there wasn’t a breath of wind.  NOTHING!  Not one flutter in the weeds on the side of the road.  Could it be?  Was this going to be the PERFECT Veyo loop?  No wind?  That never happens…………Well it didn’t happen on Christmas Eve either………

As we hit the “Y” intersection to head up to Gunlock Reservoir we were met by one of the meanest, nastiest headwinds that Mother Nature can dish out.  It was pelting us directly from the North.  It was COLD and it was CONSTANT.  I would have to say the wind was maintaining at least 20 mph with gusts that were almost unmanageable.

Our group broke into pieces and some even turned around.  We ended up with a solid group of 4 to tackle the hill repeats.  As we were headed out of the town of Gunlock I was unsure if I was even going to make it up the next HUGE hill.  That hill (Eagle Mountain) is steeper in grade than the Wall, but just not as long.  I was almost in my smallest gear going through town and didn’t know what I was going to do when I hit this hill……..Walk maybe?  🙂  Luckily, we all made it up still attached to our bikes.

The wind just continued to destroy us.  We hadn’t even done the hill repeats, but because the wind was so relentless, we hadn’t gotten a break the entire ride.  The silverlinning:  with a North wind, we would have a tailwind going up THE WALL!  As we approached THE WALL we wished each other good luck with a nod of approval and settled into climbing.  The climbing was the easy part……the descent was down right scary.

IMSG Descending SR-18 by Snow Canyon/The Ledges

When descending we were headed right into the wind which this close to the ridge was quite “squirrely”.  I hate descending in good conditions, but I really get nervous with a head wind like this.  I held on for dear life and just ticked off the numbers in my head until I didn’t have to go downhill again.  The five repeats were over before we knew it and we were on our way into Veyo.

The wind at the top of the ridge turned into a crosswind as we rode Eastward.  Let’s just say it was a crosswind that if I had been close to home, I would have called it a day.  It was worse than the head wind.  I was holding on for dear life as the wind would catch on my rims and aero bars.  It was all I could do to stay on the road.  The town of Veyo and the warm gas station was a welcome sight.

After a quick water bottle top off and potty break we were headed down SR-18 towards St. George.  We had one more significant hill to climb, the rollers of Dammeron Valley and then the descent into town.  We would have a tailwind and we figured we were going to fly home.  I knew there would be no hope of holding on to the boys, so I just did my thing and let the wind take them away from me.

As we climbed out of Veyo and around volcano I realized that the wind had seemed to have stopped.  Maybe it was just a tailwind that I couldn’t feel???  Nope!  NOTHING!  It was like we broke through some kind of a bubble at the top of the volcano and the wind stopped.  By the time we got to St. George the trees were barely moving.

IMSG Descending SR-18 with Snow Canyon State Park in the Background

I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it, “MOTHER NATURE HATES ROAD BIKERS!”  Well bring it one Lady!  We’ll ride through whatever it is you can dish out (except if there is precipitation involved) 😉  It never fails.  Just when you think you are due for that tailwind home, you get the wind in your face or no wind at all.  I guess I’ll just take what I can get.  I figure that you never know what race day will bring, so you may as well just shut up and ride.

What a fabulous way to spend a beautiful Christmas Eve!  I headed home to my husband (Kneaders sandwiches in hand) who had cleaned THE ENTIRE house in preparation for our holiday festivities that evening and enjoyed a kid-free afternoon (my parent’s had our kiddos for a sleep over the night before).  It truly was the best Christmas present an Ironman-in-Training could ask for.


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