I'm still stuck on a definition but let's go with that the Branson 70.3 bike course is a challenging, difficult course that requires one to be tough.
With our longest ride at 3:30 hours (majority of rides around 2:45-3 hours) and no idea as to how many miles I did within each bike session, the intervals we did were very specific and I became an efficient rider thanks to steady intervals (mostly Z3) focusing on power and cadence. I really enjoyed my entire 3- month training block (specific to Branson) but I felt as if I became a much stronger rider due to a few things....
I'm not sure if this is exactly part of our course but a good idea as to the looooong climbs that made for a challenging, tough and difficult bike course. I felt a little cool on the first descend on the highroad (after the aid station that came after the turn around of the loop course) but it didn't bother me. If anything, it was a constant reminder to stay hydrated for the 90+ degrees in Florida make it easy to sip away. Karel use an aero bottle and 2 other bottles on his bike and I used 2 rear cages (which I can easily reach - this is a common mistake for athletes. If you have something on your bike, make sure it is practical and useful) and my front frame cage, with three bottles filled with my Hammer Heed Strawberry mix (240 calories). I didn't grab anything from the aid stations although they were well - stocked w/ wonderful volunteers. I also had a gel flask filled with 3 Huckleberry gels (a good amount of BCAA's to keep my head focused and muscles energized) that I sipped on at each turn around point). I tried to sip my drink at appropriate places on the course, where the HR was controlled. I avoided sipping during or immediately before a climb or right after a climb so I took advantage of parts of the course where my power and HR was low to ensure proper digestion and absorption of calories. I had no troubles with nutrition on this course and felt alert strong and well-fueled.
|0 mi||20 mi||1:07:38||1:41:07||17.74 mi/h|
|38 mi||18 mi||1:01:38||2:42:45||17.52 mi/h|
|56 mi||18 mi||58:31||3:41:16||18.46 mi/h|
|Total||56 mi||3:07:47||3:41:16||17.89 mi/h|
|20 mi||20 mi||58:48||1:36:36||20.41 mi/h|
|38 mi||18 mi||54:55||2:31:31||19.67 mi/h|
|56 mi||18 mi||51:42||3:23:13||20.89 mi/h|
|Total||56 mi||2:45:25||3:23:13||20.31 mi/h|
When Karel finished the bike, he was unsure of his place. In looking at the results, he was 6th off the bike. With the questions as to how his legs would perform for his first time running a half marathon after a 56 mile bike ride, Karel said this was the hardest thing he has ever done....embrace the unknown and push through.