Friday, May 18, 2007

Flash-Point Friday - Madame Pelee

Last year during my training for Ironman USA I often paid homage to Madame Pelee. I feel that the grande dame of Ironman should not only be appeased when racing on the Big Island but also during all Ironman training. There is much to be learned during training or racing when you are forced to endure high or low temperatures, humidity, torrential downpours, and gusting winds.

Madame Pelee has been visiting Northern Ohio for part of April and most of May this year. She has been flying in from the south which is weird because she usually hops over from Chicago which is a straight shot from the west.

Regardless, when she arrives everyone knows it. The flags are blowing stiff in the wind and no matter which way the wind is blowing, it always feels like you are headed straight into her face. Be it running or riding you know Madame Pelee has arrived.

Maybe she is just checking out the "competition". Seeing who will be ready for their IM races this year. Checking in on who is braving the elements so they are prepared for whatever race day will present to them. Eventually she will return to Hawaii where she will lay in wait for those individuals that have qualified or received lottery slots for the Big Show in Kona.

I only have three options for riding out of the house, I'm not driving to a ride with gas prices the way they are. I can go East, West or South. I can only go 5 miles North before this big body of water called Lake Erie gets in my way. East and West usually has more traffic and suburban spread. But when I head south I am on rural country roads in 15 minutes.

The country roads are usually smooth, light on traffic, and provide some different scenery. But with that comes the lack of protection from the wind. Madame Pelee knows this. She challenges me during these rides. She comes straight at me. She hits me from the side. Occasionally she will help push me along. But 75% of the time we are fighting each other.

She helps me work on my power. She tests my bike handling skills. She let's me play with speeds that I may not see otherwise. She is a good training partner.

I've been really happy with my speed during these rides with madame. I have tapped into the power stroke instead of spinning relentlessly until I turn out of the wind. This power stroke has made me stronger, similar to riding hills. Maybe the FP 60s are helping slice through the wind better. But contrary to what Matt Purdue says about crosswinds, I'm getting tossed around the road.

The 60mm rims are catching air like a kite. I'm finding myself leaning into the wind, making quick adjustments to gusts and Staying on Target so I don't swerve into traffic. When I race at the Racing for Recovery Half Iron I will be taking two sets of wheels, the Flash Points and my road wheels. Depending upon the weather/wind I will be ready. I will prefer to use the FPs but I am not going to waste my energy fighting Madame Pelee if she decides to blow into town for the race. I'm sending her a ticket from Chicago because a nice tailwind for the second half of the bike would be nice.

Game On


BuckeyeRunner said...

I hear ya on that wind! Seems like everytime I am out on a ride I am fighting the wind. I used to try to fight I drink it in and just roll with what it give me...which is a big change for me.

We are going to have to have a ride together one of these days.

PS. I am planning on the Race for Recovery as well. You will probably be halfway back to Cleveland by the time I finish!

Bolder said...

have you bought at ticket for Boulder?

will the FPs be coming??

DaisyDuc said...

Seriously though, it has been all kinds of windy!

Glad to hear your training partner is making you stronger!

TriSaraTops said...

A nice long ride on country roads.....


:) Enjoy it! This wind is pretty nuts, too.

JenC said...

Jodi and I did battle with her on Saturday after we saw you. It will make us stronger doing killer hills AND riding into the wind, right? : )