I'm doing the long drive from Montreal to Colorado Springs. The first day from Montreal to Cleveland was pretty uneventful. It's past Cleveland where I encountered the real heart and soul of America. I'd forgotten what the United States was like, and how AMERICAN Americans are (and I say this in the kindest way possible). Their accents are bizarre, their shops are massive, their highways are busy yet still somehow smoothly flowing, and the food... by god... the food in grocery stores is so cheap. As is their petrol. I nearly cried when I saw I had to pay 52c/lb for bananas, or 4$ for 2 cartons of blueberries. In Australia, I'd be paying 13-17$/kilo for bananas because Cyclone Yasi destroyed 75% of the banana crops in Oz.
I did drive through Louisville, spent one afternoon checking out the run course and transition, and another day riding the 180k bike course. I wish I could have taken more pictures, but my recon of the IMKY course can be summed up thusly:
- Smooth smooth roads to ride on, constantly rolling terrain. I need to practice minimizing loss in momentum going up and down these bad boys. Quite different from the longer climbs I am used to.
- It's hot and humid as all hell here, I'll need to manage that carefully. I'm thinking up strategies to keep myself hydrated and cool on the bike so that I'm in an optimal position for the marathon. This includes white arm coolers, grabbing an extra water bottle at each aid station to dump on myself, staying on top of my nutrition and hydration (well, duh), and minimizing the impact of the heat throughout the day, all while not gear mashing too much... which I have a tendency to do over "the small climbs"... Well, they are ALL small climbs, and all that gear mashing, out of saddle stuff are unnecessary power spikes.
- The run course is going to be electric, and definitely a marathon of attrition. I know it's going to be impossibly hot and humid (think 31-35C, with high humidity and relentless sun) so I've got to come off the bike almost rested and fresh, because here's where "taking it easy" on the bike will pay huge dividends on the run. I'm small and can thankfully manage the heat better than most while running, but it will still be a major sufferfest. I also have no idea where my running is. I haven't run in just about 3 weeks, and will start slowly again next week to see where my shin splints are at. This would worry me, but at one point marathon IM's are not about speed but about massive overall endurance, and mental strength. I've got both, just need to get the body used to some pounding a little bit. A combination of long hiking days (as a substitute for some of the long runs I won't be able to jump back into... to prevent shin splint reoccurence), and shorter 20k runs will do the trick, I think.
Until I reach Colorado Springs and the real beauty of THE ROCKIES begins, here are some shots of America so far... Some of the signs I've encountered have been truly bizarre.
|Here's one of a entire flock of artsy birds by the waterfront|
in Louisville, KY. For some reason, I thought they were
|Quiet, smooth KY roads... beautiful! Now... to get used to riding|
and driving on the wrong side of the street all over again!
... wait, what?
|My heart belongs to a truck driver!|