Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Racing for Recovery Half Iron - Part 2

On the bike my race plan called for a conservative pace. In summary this is what Coach said.

1. HR Zone 135-145 for the first 30 miles
2. For the next 26 miles HR is below 150
3. Pick up the pace each lap
4. Race your race, zone in on yourself and what you want
5. It will be hard when people go by you, you will see them again and you will be passing them

Earlier in the week I told Angela that I was thinking about NOT wearing my HRM. She said that she could trust my “judgment” racing without the monitor. I decided by Thursday night that I would wear the monitor, but only use it for two readings; heart rate and countdown timer. The heart rate information will keep me from exploding in the middle of the race and the countdown timer would remind me to drink, take salt tablets and eat Clif Bloks. I would NOT start my watch or take splits during the race. I would go completely off the official chip times. Even the computer on my bike would only show RPM and distance. I didn’t want to get too hung up on time or speed.

So, this is what happened on the bike. After exiting transition Scott and I started passing people. I stayed behind Scott by 4-5 lengths. The opening miles of the bike course had multiple turns. There were volunteers at each corner and they did an excellent job controlling traffic. Some of the corners we worried about the night before were a non-issue on race day. Several of the corners I stayed in the aero-bars to maintain speed. Scott slowly started to pull away from me as we approached the intersection where the multi-loop portion of the course began. Scott trains with power so I knew his focus on the bike would be different. I was keeping a healthy pace and felt comfortable where I was heart rate wise.

I was drinking and eating well. At the start of the first loop I ate my first three Clif Bloks. I alternated between water and my Gatorade/Carbo-Pro mix as I saw fit. The bike course is pretty boring. Not much to see, very flat, not scenic at all. The bike aid station was positioned where the loops begin. Several miles before the aid station I peed on the bike. I saw this as an advantage because I would wash myself off with my water bottle and exchange it for a new one at the aid station.

As I approached the aid station I had to do a quick assessment of the intersection. There were cones in the middle of the road directing people to the left side of the road. All of the volunteers were on the opposite side of the road. This makes for an interesting left handed grab of the water bottles. I had emptied my aero bottle and refilled it with more Gatorade/Carbo-Pro. I dropped two bottles and picked up one water bottle from a volunteer. Now remember that this aid station is right AT the corner to start the loop portion of the course. I didn’t have time to place my bottle in the cage before I was into the intersection and needing to make a left hand turn. With the bottle still in my hand I managed to somewhat grab my handlebars with the fingertips and make the turn. I put the bottle in the cage and powered down the road getting back up to speed.

More people were on the course now and I lost sight of Scott up ahead. The traffic from the extra riders was not bad and I was able to pass people with no problems. Occasionally I needed to remind people to stay to the right. Despite the fact that we were on less traveled country roads, racers still need to ride on the right side of the road, not in the middle. I had to cross the center line several times in order to pass people. Approaching the aid station for the second time I peed on the bike again, washed myself off with water, dropped the water bottle and grabbed a new one from the volunteer. On this grab I slowed down enough to get the bottle in the cage before the turn, but I did drift into the intersection and had to turn sharply.

My condition up to this point was pretty good. Remember that Coach had planned for me to be 135 – 145 with the heart rate. Well for the first half of the ride, through lap two, I was maintaining 150 for my HR, or at least that is what I saw each time I looked at my watch and I tried to keep it there. I wasn’t spinning like I have in the past, but pushing bigger gears. I was using more muscle but still getting the heart rate up there.

I made the turn and started my final lap before heading back to transition. This last lap I upped the effort and pushed my heart rate up another 5 beats to 155 BPM. I was still comfortable with the effort and felt it would still leave me enough in the tank for the run. At some point during each loop I ate three Clif Bloks. The energy and calories were working out well with the Gatorade/Carbo-pro mix in the water bottles. During my final lap I finally passed someone I recognized, Jen. She was looking good, in the aero and I gave her some words of encouragement as I passed her. I peed one more time before the aid station. I couldn’t believe how I had to pee so much but I wanted to feel comfortable and not have any pressure in the bladder. As I approached the aid station I spotted a boy handing out water bottles on the right side of the street, which was great because this time I could turn right towards the venue and transition. I called for water and he was ready to hand it to me. I made the right hand turn and knew I only had 11 more miles to go on the bike.

During my last lap I had been passed by only one person. I could now see Scott and this other racer ahead of me on the road. They were not within striking distance but I still felt strong and it was nice to have some “targets” to go after. I tried to push the pace a little more but the inner thigh of my right leg began to cramp. I immediately eased up and slide further back on my saddle. Using different muscles being further back on the saddle helped release the spasm. I was worried that the muscle would bother me during the run, but that never happened.

Weaving our way back through the country roads, the volunteers at the corners were doing an excellent job with traffic and I was flying through the corners keeping up my speed and momentum. I think I peed one more time before re-entering the park. Inside the park I could see some of the leaders on the run course. As I approached the parking lot, I un-strapped the Velcro of my shoes. On the final straight into transition I pulled my feet out of my shoes and placed them on top of the shoes. I decreased my speed and swung my right leg over the saddle getting ready to dismount before the transition line. I ran into transition and re-racked my bike, helmet off, shoes on, grab hat and race belt, exit transition. I grabbed water from a volunteer as I started my run.


Bike
Time 2:29:11
Speed 22.5 MPH

T2
29 seconds – fastest T2 split overall

3 comments:

hak said...

Eric,

Looks like a great, solid race in the making. Looking forward to the next installment.

hak

TriSaraTops said...

Holy smokes, 29 seconds!!! I have visions of the Tasmanian Devil cartoon whizzing through T2...ha ha!

JenC said...

Thanks for peeing well after you passed me. : ) I wish I could do that, but my mind won't let it happen. Oh well. In Ironman, what's a few extra seconds here and there, right?