Second Star to the Right…And Straight On Till Morning
If you don’t get my post title, watch the end of Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country, or Peter Pan.
Well, today was the big day. The moment of truth of the Ironman training program. The race rehearsal. Lets get it started.
Believe it or not, I do realize the extreme time drain training for an Ironman has on a family. As such, I remain committed to training as conveniently as possible for my wife and kids. As such, when it comes to a seven hour training day, earlier is better. So I set up my bike with a headlight and a tail light, and at 6:30, at temps of roughly 35 degrees, I started off into the blackness.
And I mean blackness. It wasn’t pre dawn. It wasn’t a sunrise. Looking up from the cone of light in front of me, amongst the farm fields, I saw the Big Dipper burning brightly. Truly a surreal moment. Also a FREEZING moment. Despite my jacket, gloves, and shoe covers, it was plenty cold to make almost everything numb. To make matter worse, while the light I had would be great for commuting, it really didn’t give me enough ahead light to make moving at 18-20 miles an hour safe. So for the first hour and 15 minutes, I was stuck going pretty slow.
At 7:45, the sun finally rose which let me thaw slowly. First, I headed down south towards Kila and the Cottage Inn. Check it out next time your in town; they make a mean stew. You can also get a shot of Bourbon from a ski. Anyhow, from there, I rustled up some deer along Brown Meadows Rd before flipping and heading back home. At 3 hours in, I made it back to the house for a quick special needs break. That meant switching to a new bottle of Perpetuem, hitting the potty, and packing in a quick Peanut Butter sandwich.
After that, it was back out for the second loop. Headed out towards the Lower Valley and met up with my buddies for a quick group ride. Thanks everyone for helping break up my torture; would have been miserable without your company. After about six hours, I finished up roughly 97 miles. Other than being chilled, I felt pretty great transitioning from the bike to the run. In fact, honestly, I felt too good. I was quick to set in at roughly 9:20-9:40 pace. I was too lazy to pack my nutrition with me, so I cut it short to 4 miles. In the actual race, I will have a nice aid station every mile filled with Coke and Cookies. Today, I only had lungs full of forest fire smoke.
All together, everything went great. I was slower today than I wanted to be, but that is to be expected with all the stops, weather, and non-aero gear. Based on today, I’m thinking I will aim for roughly 6:30 for Arizona. My pnorm for the day was 126 watts, way low for my goal of 140 watts. As I felt great on the run, I think I can plan on giving it the 140 watts on race day.
I am disturbed by my VI of 1.1. VI is a measure of how “surgie” my ride was; the less “surgie” the better for the Ironman. Ideally, I want as close to 1.0. Will have to work on it; at least better than 1.2 for CDA.
Nutrition plan seemed to work great. I mixed 4.5 scoops of Perpetuem in a regular water bottle for 3 hours. I took sips every 15 minutes and that seemed to suffice my fine. I need to work on taking plain water in though; I barely went through TWO full aero bottles, or aobut 50 ounces for the day. For the race, I will set my watch to beep every ten minutes to remind me to drink.
Another thing I need to fix is the aero bottle mounting system itself. The velcro straps appear to be wearing out, causing the whole apparatus to dip low between my bars and rest on my front brakes. The last thing I want is to snap off a brake in a race. I may switch to a Torhans unit or the Torpedo mount. I appreciate any of my readers thoughts on either.
The most important aspect of today is that my back felt GREAT. No pain. Again, I kept focusing on moving my left leg through its full circular motion. For whatever reason, this seems to keep my back in a good place….and I’ll take it.
At this point, I feel I can at least finish Arizona. Again, I have only one goal for this race. One goal only. To have fun. I want to experience the fans, the noises, the crowds. That being said, I hope my back holds out and that I can finish the bike less than 6:45 and the run less than 4:45. And of course, I would like to be faster than CDA as this course is flatter.
This year, I have focused on more outdoor riding, and so far, I have braved the asphalt at least once a week for Arizona. But frankly, it looks like my outside days are near over. The temps are dropping and today, we finally have snow appearing on the mountains. At least I was able to get one 6 hour outdoor ride in. And at least I will have lots of time to study on the trainer in the next few weeks. Now…sleep…followed by bacon in the morning.