This past Sunday, my husband and I competed in a very unique race called a Ride N Tie: two people, one bike - start and finish together by leap-frogging eachother over a 9-mile course. Going into the race, we were unsure of our strategy since we had never done a race like this before. In retrospect, this was one of my favorite races I have ever done. It was SUPER laid-back - no timing chips, very basic race bibs, no finisher medals or food. But, there is something beautiful in getting a bunch of people together that just love to exercise.
Up at 5:30am - drank 2 cups water immediately
6am - began eating breakfast of 1 banana with 1 tsp peanut butter, 1 mini bagel with 1 tbsp peanut butter and 1 tbsp honey, 2 cups milk, 1 hard-boiled egg
6:30am - drank 1 cup of water
6:35am - 2.5 y/o daughter woke up; paused in fueling to get her up and ready
6:45am - sitter arrived as 6 month old son woke up; husband got him up
6: 55am - after a few last-minute instructions to the sitter, running around trying to find my phone that ended up already being in the car and grabbing an extra banana "just in case", we took off
7am-7:20am - drive to race site; pump in the car (not pumping iron...nursing mama)
7:15am- arrive to race site; husband took off for warm-up while I finished pumping. drank 2 more cups water
7:25am - run warm-up and stretch; bathroom
7:45am - meet husband at start line; last-minute review of bike (we were using his bike); he decided he was still hungry and ran back to the car so we could split that banana I had grabbed just in case; 1/2 cup water
8:05am - race started; we had two 24 ounce water bottles on the bike
We decided that he would start on the bike with me on foot. Our strategy was that whomever was on the bike would ride 1 minute, drop the bike and go back to running. That strategy would have worked well had I been in better running shape. We soon realized that going from running to biking and back to running again was a bit more grueling than we had anticipated. While my husband was a great sport (and in much better running shape) and stayed running longer so I had more rest on the bike, I had to decrease my time running as the race went on. However, we still consistently switched back and forth on the relatively flat limestone trail. Our strategy became: each time the person on the bike caught up to the runner, the biker would yell "time" and the runner could then decide how far ahead the biker should go...i.e. 15 seconds, 45 seconds, etc. and yell that back. Somewhere around mile 6, the chain on the bike came off when my husband dropped the bike on the trail. What seemed like 5 minutes was actually probably closer to 45 seconds and I was able to get it back on. We finished the race somewhere around 50 minutes (we both forgot to stop our watches). We went through only one of the water bottles.
Lots of water! Then a run through Panera for a delicious black coffee and part of a scone followed by 2 eggs and ham when we returned home. Delicious!
What I should have done that I didn't:
1. Trained more: Parents of infants will understand that sometimes you have to choose between exercise or sleeping. Unfortunately, my son's sleeping schedule was pretty rough the 1.5 weeks pre-race, leaving me choosing sleep more often that I normally would have.
2. Worn less clothing: The weather was that odd temperature where you are warm in the sun but there is a nip in the wind. Plus because we would be switching between biking and running, we had a hard time deciding on the amount of clothing to avoid being too cold on the bike or too warm on the run. We still ended up being too warm.
3. Drank more water: Because the race style was entirely new to me, I was pretty revved up the entire race and generally was sprinting (or felt like it) at all times. I was also a bit uneasy on the bike, as we were using a cycling bike with typical skinny tires vs. wider tires that would have been a bit more steady on the limestone. Between those two things, I wasn't really thinking about hydrating or would remember once I was off the bike. Though I did improve after the first 15 minutes or so.
What I would do differently next time:
1. Train more: see above
2. Use a bike with bigger tires: We knew this would be an issue, but we didn't have a choice as we actually own no hybrid or mountain bikes. Maybe we can borrow one next time.
3. Have two bike helmets vs. one: Although only one other person in the entire race wore a bike helmet, we chose to wear a bike helmet for personal reasons. I'm sure having to take this on and off slowed our time a bit. Next time, I would simply keep the helmet on biking and running versus pulling it on and off.
I thought I would regret not having any fuel (calories) during the race and just sticking with water. But, with my pre-race fueling and the total time of the race, I actually felt fine and didn't miss it.
I don't have an official time or an official place; I'm not sure the organizers even kept track. But, I can tell you that this race was awesome. It is a great way to train and was fun to be able compete with my husband. We will definitely be doing it again. If you have a Ride n Tie in your area, give it a whirl.