Saturday Night Bike Fever

For today’s edition of Kara’s Exciting Saturday Nights, I bring you: “Kara uses various race calculators to try to figure out how long it might take her to finish an Ironman and then she freaks out.”

My bike ride kicked my butt today.

There she is, my pretty bike! (In case you need a visual.)

There she is, my pretty, albeit entry level, bike. (In case you need a visual.)

On the schedule was 3 hours of riding. I met my team on the NJ side of the George Washington Bridge.

Good morning, NYC!

Good morning, NYC!

For the first two hours, I felt awesome. I felt strong, even amongst the millions (yes, millions) of hills. I was keeping up with the front of my group. It was a beautiful morning – the warmest we’ve had yet. After 2 hours up into New York State and back, we arrived again at our starting point. Basically all of my teammates come from the city, so they were going to get their last hour in by going back over the bridge and to their respective homes. Since I live in NJ and drove to the meeting spot, I needed to stay and keep riding for an hour. All alone. Wahhh.

I always get excited when I ride or run into another state. It's the little things in life...

I always get excited when I ride or run into another state. Even if it was only a few miles over the border. It’s the little things in life…

I suddenly felt exhausted. I was thirsty. I ate half of a gel but didn’t feel much better. I was riding on the hilly part of the course again and started going SO slow. I just wanted to be done.

This is insane...right?!

2,814 ft elevation GAIN. This is insane…right?!

As I went up the last big hill,  I looked at my watch and tried to do the math in my head (never a good idea) of how long it would take me to bike 112 miles at that pace.

Cue the widening eyes and sudden depression.

If I ride at that pace, I will never make the cutoff of 10.5 hours after IMLP starts (that includes the time for the swim portion, which we all know is my worst sport.) And never mind the fact that today’s particular ride was just insanely hilly…both Rev3 Quassy 70.3 and Ironman Lake Placid have hilly, challenging bike courses.



It took me almost THREE HOURS to ride 36 miles. My average moving speed was 12.4 mph. We did stop a couple times for a total of 17-ish minutes (didn’t stop my watch) but still. I’m under the impression that that’s really NOT good. I had a few miles with average paces of 16-17 mph, but obviously those huge uphills brought the average down.

I’d even dare to say I’m a little embarrassed. I should be happy that I completed a tough-for-me ride; one that I’m pretty sure is the longest outdoor ride I’ve ever done (wow, I have a lot of work to do). But now I’m overcome with an overwhelming sense of fear. I did, at least, complete at 20 minute run post-bike ride without any hiccups (literally and figuratively.) +1 for me.

I’ve been moping around all day. I know I need to work on nutrition on the bike, and I’m still getting used to riding outdoors…but what if I can’t meet the cutoff times? Not only do I not want to spend the whole race worrying about making them, but I don’t want to be disqualified. That would be absolutely devastating. Mental toughness alone can’t get me through this, I need to be a stronger rider.

It appears that I’m below average at all three sports (all sports, really) that it’s getting more and more frustrating. I don’t have a ton of time – July 28th will come quick. I can’t even fake a positive attitude right now. Help, please!

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!


  1. March 31, 2013 / 11:32 am

    I know everyone is going to say this but you will do great! You still have 4 months and a lot can change in that time. I wasn’t running 4 months ago and now I’m running faster than before my injury. You’re strong and you know how much a race atmosphere changes pace/mood/etc. have a glass of wine and have a happy Easter. And don’t worry yourself sick!

    • April 2, 2013 / 8:39 pm

      Thanks Ritsa :) I feel like 4 months is sooo short, but it should be plenty of time, right? So glad to hear you’re running again and are feeling stronger than before, that’s amazing!

  2. March 31, 2013 / 11:43 am

    Kara, you just started cycling, I am pretty sure you will improve fast. Do you know where you will be 10.5 hours after IMLP starts? You will be rocking the marathon! Don’t worry :)

    • April 2, 2013 / 8:40 pm

      Nina, thank you! I love this!

  3. March 31, 2013 / 5:10 pm

    You have so much room for improvement because you’re new to this. And how great is it that you are figuring out what you need to improve on now since you’re paying attention to things like data? You’re going to put in the work and I KNOW you can do it!

    • April 2, 2013 / 8:41 pm

      Thanks so much Jen…I appreciate your kind words! Now that I know what I need to work on, I will put in the hard work and hopefully improve, just like you said!!

  4. March 31, 2013 / 8:03 pm

    Yes!! I totally agree with all of the other comments! You have plenty of time! Your coaches know what they are doing and put your work outs up according to where you need to be!!

    It also sounds like you need more nutrition! Have you figured out how much you need to take in per hour to keep up your energy levels! I am telling you…if I have a bad ride…it is almost ALWAYS because of my nutrition!!!

    Don’t worry about your averages and do not crunch numbers!!! it is only going to make you more nervous!!!!! You are going to do GREAT!

    • April 2, 2013 / 8:43 pm

      I was hoping you would comment, I knew you would put me at ease! (Unless you confirmed my feelings that I suck, haha). You’re so right…for a second there I forgot I had coaches who know what they’re doing. I totally trust them and don’t know why I freaked out there for a minute (lots of minutes). THANK YOU!!

      • April 2, 2013 / 11:30 pm

        You are welcome!! I will continue to re-assure you until July 28th…(that is the date right?) :)

        • April 12, 2013 / 1:01 pm

          Yep!! :) Thank you!!

  5. March 31, 2013 / 8:43 pm

    The ride you just did is tough! I only did it once and I really can’t imagine IMLP being tougher than 2000+ feet of climbing with 1/3 of the ride completely alone. 4 months is a lot of time, and even your non-bike training will help you on the bike. Plus, race adrenaline is a really powerful thing! Don’t worry!

    • April 2, 2013 / 8:43 pm

      It WAS tough!! Thanks for the encouragement :) and yes – raceday adrenaline always kicks in big time for me…good point!

  6. March 31, 2013 / 10:35 pm

    I felt the exact same way two months ago – and I’m now two months out from my Ironman. Trust in your training, it will get you there! Also, go google Infinit Nutrition right now – that stuff saved my life. It definitely does sound like you bonked on your ride (I just did the same thing last weekend) and it is astounding what a huge impact nutrition can have on your ride. Order Infinit and try again next weekend (with me) and don’t stress about the race! You still have 4 months, and from my very recent experience I can tell you your training will get you there :)

    • April 2, 2013 / 8:45 pm

      It’s comforting to know that you felt this way too, but that it gets better. We really need to bike together soon…or swim…or run… :) I can’t wait for you to cross that finish line!

  7. April 1, 2013 / 7:35 pm

    Defeat is not an option! it is something I keep having to tell myself over and over again.

    • April 2, 2013 / 8:46 pm

      Thanks Felicia! I’ll put that mantra in my arsenal, I like it!

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