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Monday, July 21, 2014

Ironman Training - Can't Ignore the Siren Call of the Trails



Haven't had much chance to mountain bike lately with all the Ironman training, so figured I'd make the time.

Took both bikes (mountain bike + road) up to the forest, rode 2 hours in the trails with my buddy, then hit the road for 3 more hours to make up a full long ride.

Switching bikes was as jarring as the bike-to-run transition in a triathlon!

The road bike felt like a toy compared to the mountain bike with those little skinny tires and skinny light frame!  I don't usually get that side-by-side comparison.  The style of riding is entirely different as well.  The mountain bike efforts are very bursty and lactic acidy, while the road style is so much more of a steady grind. 

No idea if this kind of mixed training has any additional benefit, other than being a hoot! 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Ironman Taper - Keep it Short?


Just reading a few articles about tapering... many suggest that for Ironman, instead of the 3 or even 4 week taper many do, keep it to 1-2 weeks tops!

For example, this article.

From personal experience - I have found long tapers not particularly effective for myself, so I am inclined to keep the endurance work up right until the last week...

So here's my plan...

Week 34 (This week) - Endurance, decreasing speed/intensity work
Week 35 (July 21-27) - Endurance, endurance, endurance
Week 36 (Jul 28-Aug 3) 3h bike @ race pace, 40 minute run @ race pace... everything else long and lower intensity
Week 37 (Aug 4-10) - last long run mid-week, last long ride end of week... low intensity
Race Week (Aug 11-17) - short bikes/runs/swims to keep sharp but not long

Fake Bike Trip Report #14 - Welcome to B.C.!

It's been awhile since I updated my fake bike trip status.

In between I have had some big weeks of 240+km, even one of 255km.  I biked over 1000km in June.  It's been great!

Total mileage now sits at 4019km.  This puts me somewhere near Fort St. John, B.C... well past my original goal of Edmonton, and getting ever closer to my revised goal of making it to Delta Junction, Alaska.  Just 2129km to go!

No sweat.




Sunday, July 6, 2014

Race Report: Peterborough 1/2 Ironman 2014


You know I had a bad day when the swim was the highlight of my race.

Yikes!

Swim

Got in early to get a little time in open water, having not worn my wetsuit in ... well, a few years.

My goal was just to be calm, rotate well, and have a smooth swim.  It went great for the most part.  The only trouble I had was on the first lap, the sun was right in our eyes and I couldn't spot the course markings.  I followed the swimmers in front of me, who went rather wildly off course... so that cost me some time, but no worries.  Subtracting the run from the lake to transition, I was pretty close to the ~45 minute mark, which is where I wanted to be.  Consistent with my previous Ironman - slow and steady.  Slow, mostly.

Transition 1

I had some massive hamstring lock-ups in transition... so I ended up doing this:
How not to do transition.  Where all the bikes at?

For those not familiar with transition technique - this is pretty bad technique.  I'm just glad the race official (*ahem*) was there to snap this photo.  The jerk.

Bike

I didn't really feel comfortable on the bike at any point, not totally sure why.  The way out we had a tailwind, I picked off a few stragglers early on, but wasn't passing as many people as I had hoped.  It was a pretty small field, though, so might have just felt that way.

The hills were pretty tough, but way worse was the wind - holllly!  It killed me on the way back.  In my infinite wisdom I neglected to put my aero bars on the bike - mistake!!!  I managed to pass a bunch of people on hills, but I was already feeling a lot of fatigue and just not that "on".  My average speed was something in the 29's km/h, not what I had hoped for.

Transition 2

This transition was equally bad, although less comical (and nobody took a picture).

Run

I started out feeling surprisingly OK.  I looked at the watch and realized I only needed to maintain about a 6:00/km pace or so and I'd be in under 6 hours. I figured I'd kill that and end up with an OK time.

Except within a few kilometers my early 5:12/km pace went from feeling easy to hard to not even remotely possible.

I don't know if it was the heat, my poor preparation, or something else... but I was completely smoked by the first hill.

I wasn't alone - misery loves company, and I had a fair bit of it.  And these weren't couch-surfers overreaching - lots of Ironman tattoos and gear back there, some fit looking people who were just getting beat up.  Some people can deal with the heat, some can't.  I can't.

I was taking 3 Gatorades and pepsi at ever aid station - whatever my stomach would hold down.  Every so often I'd have a flicker of pace, things would feel OK, but I couldn't sustain it.  Walked hills, it was just brutal.  I'm actually surprised that I ended up anywhere near 6:00/km - it was awful.

I managed to find a little something for the finish - it was net downhill and there were a bunch of guys behind me motivating me by their very presence.  But it felt bad.

Port-mortem

I didn't give this distance anywhere near the respect it deserves and I paid the price.

Figured I'd wing it without aero-bars - mistake.  Had a few drinks last night - mistake.

The one thing I did get right was nutrition - I don't think I could have consumed any more than I did, I really hit the Gatorade / Heed hard, and took in as much as I could stomach.  5 bottles on the bike plus a whole bunch on the run.

Also the one good thing about hitting the wall is knowing you can push through it.  If I can get anywhere near a 6:00/km pace at Ironman I'll be pretty darned happy.  I think it's possible.








Thursday, July 3, 2014

Race Preview:Peterborough 1/2 Ironman


This will be my only triathlon this year other than Ironman itself.  And it's already a gong show...

Last ride, I dropped the chain on a climb.  It jammed, badly, between the carbon frame and the smallest chainring... upon examination it had dug right through the paint and into the carbon itself!

Nooooooo!   My beautiful new bike!

Took it in yesterday, the guy seemed certain it was no big deal and said they see it all the time.  Bad design, that!

In any case, I'm on pins and needles hoping my bike is OK.  As a backup plan i can always toss road tires on my cyclocross bike just to get to race... hopefully doesn't come to that though.

Update: my bike is OK!  Fixed and ready to go!

Meanwhile I managed to get in a long 1850m swim straight through.  Felt OK, just a bit boring (74 lengths... Zzzzz).  I haven't been in open water this year but shouldn't be a problem, been there, done that, and no major expectations.

Goal is just to go through all the disciplines and see if I'm missing anything.  The run is famously hot and shadeless so pacing will be a game time decision.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Race Report: Tour de Waterloo 2014 (130km)


Passed a few of these today - owned!!!
Well that was pretty eventful!

My Race

I had no expectations, and a large Indian buffet and a few pints last night at a wedding didn't exactly set me up for success.

As soon as we got to the "race on" point, the front guys hammered it... and the group splintered.  There were a few climbs, too, which landed me waaaay in the red.  Not a good start, I was very worried I'd be riding 133km solo.

In fact I ended up in a very small group, just 4 of us.  We took turns but if this was it, this was going to be a pretty long day.

Fortunately we began to collect people, from both ends - some large faster groups caught us, and some folks getting popped came back to us.  It ended up being really great - this would be the group I'd be with the rest of the day.

My buddy gave me some advice - to be at the front at the hills so if my climbing pace wasn't up to snuff I would not lose touch by the top.  This helped a lot, I managed to stick with the group on every climb.  In fact by the end I was leading us over the hills!

Big moment #1 - a guy swerved into me and our handlebars locked together.  I thought I was going down, fortunately neither of us overreacted and we managed to stay up and get separated.  Whew!

Big moment #2 - on a climb my chain popped off!  This was at a horrible time - things were just kind of gearing up for the finish.  I was near the front but even so, in the time it took me to stop and get it back on, everyone had passed... I killed myself going up the hill, and then on the downhill, even going so far as to draft the car that was trailing us!  But I made it back to the group... whew.

Coolest moment - sprint finish!  We got to the final 1km as a big bunch, I managed to get myself near the front, flew down the final descent and then absolutely hammered it Cavendish-style to the finish... as we battled for the very coveted 143rd place.  Still, it was cool.  Felt awesome.

Result: 3:46:27 (35.2km/h) - 148/258.

Thing I Did Right - it was a hot day, probably hottest so far this year... I brought 3 bottles with me but that was not enough, so had to depend on the aid stations.  At about the half-way point I saw one ahead, so I got myself to the very front of the group - managed to get two bottles of Gatorade and stuff them in my jersey.  A guy joked that it looked like I was "running a convenience store"... I bet by the end he wished he'd thought of it though!  Grabbed another bottle at a later aid station, so 6 bottles total - and I drank every drip of them.

Thoughts...

Despite the cool moment, I didn't actually enjoy most of the race.  I felt tense for most of it, always having to anticipate what the people around me were about to do (and sometimes that was impossible as they did some craaaaazy things!).

Worse than the unpredictable people were the self-appointed group leaders, with their little unwritten rules... and instead of sharing those rules with the obvious newbies in the group, they just bitch at them.

I had one female rider get pissy at me because the pace line (that only existed in her head) didn't go the way she thought it should... I didn't go as far forward and take a pull like she thought I should.  Except there was no pace line, it had fallen apart several kilometers ago.  Besides, I was in this group to suck wheels, not to pull!  P.S. if you're reading this (you're probably not) - I beat you in the sprint for 143rd.  Suck it.

So that was my big realization today - I don't really like this group road riding with random strangers thing.  I'm more suited to the lone wolf triathlon training, or the off-road stuff.







Saturday, June 21, 2014

Race Preview: Tour de Waterloo 2014


This is a 130km road race in the spirit of a Grand Fondo.  It's a race for some, a ride for others.

Race website

I did this one last year with very little road mileage under my belt, on my old Trek 1200.  Managed to stick with a good large pack of riders for the first 77km, but from there to the end I was mostly solo or with one or two others.

Result: 33.1km/h average, 153rd of 256

The average really demonstrates the benefit of being in a pack!  In fact I was almost 37km/h in the first 77km... way above what my normal speed would be for that distance.

This year I have my fancy new bike (Cervelo S2) and probably double the miles in my legs.  My average speeds on my solo rides have been good, and I'm climbing much better.

My biggest problem is always the hills - when we hit them, other guys jump out of the saddle and hammer it, and I find myself spit out the back.  I'm really hoping to avoid that this time... planning to get myself closer to the front whenever we approach a hill, so if I do fade back I can catch back on easier.

Should be fun!