Things are heating up!

Posted: June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized
I have learnt a lot in the last few weeks.
It all started with the national 50 mile TT champs.  I went into this race a little fatigued but still hoping to put in a solid performance.  The race went OK I guess, having never done a 50 mile TT before I was not entirely sure how to pace it.  I have come to realise that you need to be really fired up for time trailing and on this occasion I don’t think I put in enough of an effort.  Don’t get me wrong, I was trying hard, just not hard enough.  As I headed off on a 1hr run after the race my legs still felt relatively fresh, which should NOT be the case after a 50 mile TT.
I clocked a 1:55:08 for the course and came in a slightly disappointing 35th.  After chatting to a few guys who finished in the top 20 and a full 7 minutes ahead of me, I discovered that I was putting out a good 20-30 more watts than them (my average was 343Watts).  These guys were roughly my size so I must have been loosing those watts somewhere.  My bike and wheels are top notch, so the only thing left is me.  Guess I am not as aero on the bike as I thought.
Three days later I was lined up for a local 25mile TT.  This time I was fired up and feeling fresh.  I was not going to leave anything out on the course today.  I went through the first 20mins averaging 408 Watts.  OK possibly a bit to hard!  Still I managed to hang on in there and finished with an average of 390 Watts in a time of 53:40.  Happy with that!  I still need to address the aerodynamics issue to work out where I am loosing those watts but I am racing IM Switzerland in two weeks so I am not prepared to start messing with things so close to such a big race.  That will have to wait till after.
Following the mid week TT I was entered in the Cotswold 113 on the Sunday.  The plan before the race was a little strange.  Instead of doing the two lap / 56 mile bike course I planned to do 4 laps / 112 miles and try out Ironman pace and nutrition.  The reasoning behind this was quite simple.  Before the race I guessed my Ironman pace to be around 300 Watts, but wanted to try this out before Switzerland with the exact nutrition plan I intend to use for the Ironman in two weeks time.  If I blow my doors, no worries and I will know not to go that hard in two weeks.
The swim was interesting.  A group on the right hand side started a good 20m ahead of the rest of the field and hit the lead.  To my surprise I caught this group with relative ease and as in the previous race sat in nicely behind the lead swimmer until the start of the second lap.  At this point the lead swimmer started on a short cut instead of following the marked route.  I let he go and headed on the correct course.  I ended up swimming solo for the second lap but happy to come out of the water in 27mins, fresh and in second place behind the swimmer who had taken a ‘short cut’.
Out on the bike my garmin was not working.  In days gone by this would have really pissed me off, but not today.  I have established a pretty good feel for power on the bike and just got in the grove and rode on feel alone.  I hit the end of the first lap after 1hr 05mins and took the lead.  Based on this pace I was on for a 4hr 20min bike split!  Not expecting to hold this pace I cracked on.  End of second lap was bang on 2hr 10mins, still on track for 4hr 20min!!!  Oh, I was leading by a good 5mins but happy to leave that for another day, I headed out for the third lap.  To my surprise the garmin started working at this point and I could see that I was riding in and around the low 300’s 🙂  I ignored the watch and just carried on riding on feel.  End of the third lap and my lap time had slowed very slightly to 1hr 07mins.  At this point I checked the garmin and my average power was 307!  Not bad at all.  On the final lap I managed to hit a 1hr 05mins lap time.  Average power was up to 311 and I was feeling great.  Legs felt fresh and I was pretty confident my legs would be good for the run.  My final bike split was 4hr 22mins!! But the real test would be when I hit the run.  I could not believe that after a bike split like that, I would be able to run well.
For the second time today I surpassed my expectations.  Something that does not happen a lot (I always set the bar very high).  I was running at 4:20-30mins/km and it felt like I was holding back.  Exactly how you want to be on the start on an Ironman.  I did one lap and called it a day.  I knew I had got the pacing bang on and did not want to over cook it out on the run course.
I was totally blown away by how today went.  I don’t want to think about things to much. I know better than anyone that racing an Ironman is a long day and anything can happen!  BUT…Ironman Switzerland is in two weeks.  Watch this space…….
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