Bottle Rockets

Before I get started, I want to say that I hope my Canadian readers had a very happy Canada Day and are enjoying (or enjoyed) a Monday off!

It’s hard to believe that I finished the tenth week of my 18-week Ironman-70.3 training plan today. I haven’t raced since the NE Season Opener more than six weeks ago. The closest I’ve been was the solo 5K I ran yesterday to find out my training paces. (I got several funny looks as I ran 3.1 miles along the Upper Charles River trail in 21:31.) Next weekend I’m competing in my first Olympic distance race—the New York City Triathlon—and I’m somewhere between mellow and eager to see how I do on a bigger stage.

Today was the longest ride to date on the plan: 56 miles. That just so happens to be the length of the bike leg in my race in 8 weeks. “Longest on the plan” doesn’t mean the longest I’d actually done, since I was putting in some extra distance for the century ride a month ago. Since then, I’ve been trying my best to stay on plan, and it seems to be going well.

It was the longest ride I’d ever done on my tri bike, though. Unlike the awesome and “cocky” Scully, who rode in aero for the first time on the day before her 70.3 relay last week, it took me a while to feel good about it. Previously, I had been heading uphill toward Grafton before turning around to come home before tacking on a little bit extra each week.

The last thing holding me back from going on a long loop was the water situation. My tri bike only has an attachment for one bottle holder, which earlier wasn’t a big deal. My rides were shorter, the air was cooler, I refilled at home after an hour on the road, and I could always throw an extra bottle in my back pocket. But 56 miles is too far—and it’s now too warm—for all that. Enter the XLab Carbon Sonic wing and Gorilla bottle cages.


It’s kind of a sexy-looking piece of hardware. It bolts onto the saddle post and allegedly is the most aerodynamic way of carrying normal water bottles, since they’re completely sheltered by my body. The Gorilla cages are light but have a strong grip on the bottles. I was hopeful that this rig would get me through the ride on a day that started warm and was supposed to touch 90ºF.

It almost got off to a bad start. I was heading out of town when I hit a big pothole at a stoplight. The cyclist who was stopped at the intersection shouted something and a few moments later I heard a thud. I stopped and noticed that I had launched both of my bottles. I saw one near my feet and the other w-a-y back at the intersection. Clearly, even though they hold well, I’m going to have to be careful with the sharp bumps, which is good advice in general, of course.

Newly restocked with water, I had a great ride. In the end I could have used another 20+ ounces of water, since I had to ration a bit, despite bringing three full bottles with me.

Everything went very well despite some mistakes. I forgot to set a temporary basal rate, which I didn’t realize until I was two hours into the ride. My BGs were very good despite this. (Perhaps because of this?) It could explain why I ate more than 160 grams of carbs and only needed 0.6 units of insulin for it. It’s something to keep in mind for the future.

I still need to figure out blood glucose testing on the bike. My CGM was not at all accurate today, so I had to stop and test a couple times, which ate up about five minutes. That’s something I don’t want to do during the race. It will be great if I can rely on CGM, but I’m not sure I can count on that. That’s something to work on another day.

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3 Responses to Bottle Rockets

  1. Scully says:

    So I was out riding with a friend on Saturday and without thinking I tested on the bike. Seriously. we were just casually going down the road and I did it on auto pilot but it’s something I’ve never done before. I pulled out a strip first and put it between my teeth. Then I pulled out the meter and inserted the strip. This is all while holding on with one hand. Then I pulled out my lancet which I can cock and poke with one hand (Delica love). So with one hand holding the meter with strip inserted on the bike I was able to reach over and get the blood on it. Done like DINNAH. I was kind of impressed with myself.

    I keep my meter bits loose in my jersey pockets.

    I’m off today and going riding!

  2. Jeff Mather says:

    I’m going to practice this on my next ride, which of course will be on my new bike. If that goes well, I’ll try again on Speed Junkie. Practice, practice, practice!

  3. Celine says:

    I would like to take this moment to brag that I can finally drink from my water bottle while riding down a long straight road with no potholes, no headwind and no one within fifteen feet of me. Oh yes my friends – just try to beat that!!

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