Ok prairies are NOT flat. Apparently this prairie consisted of rolling hills!! Oh and thank you mother nature for wind gusts up to 28mph!!
I chose to ride the 55 mile course. It was a little short at 53.5 miles. And it took me 3:49:23 to ride it!! Ugh 14 mph average speed. With an elevation gain of 1,417 and an elevation loss of 1,355 it was slightly less hilly than Ride Thru the Forest and Hills. But throw in extremely windy conditions with wind gusts that nearly knocked me off my bike and this ride was even more challenging than Ride thru the Forest and Hills. I found myself in crosswinds almost the entire time!
This ride left me feeling very defeated. How could I work so hard and still be so slow. I can tell you the entire ride was a mental game. I often felt like I was in over my head. I began to question my ability to do IM 70.3 Texas. The bike leg is going to add a lot of time to my race. Am I cut out for this? I know I am. I know I can. I have to stay focused!
There are a lot of things I learned on the ride aside from the challenges. I worked on my hydration and drank the entire time which is critical and a huge step for me! Thanks to advice from friends I got a bag that has a magnet top, used baby food containers filled with goldfish and Perpetuem Solids cut up into smaller pieces, and I ate on the bike!! Woohoo! This was huge! Especially in such windy conditions! My last ride I was feeling really empty and had no energy at the end of my ride. Fueling during this ride definitely helped with that feeling! And I gained experience riding in windy conditions which is very likely race day conditions in Galveston.
So all in all, even though I left that ride feeling defeated, it was well worth it! I gained so much from that ride.