On Saturday, July 23, over 15 members of the Northeast Multisport team met to ride the Ironman Timberman 70.3 bike course. The goal of the ride was not only to get a good workout in, but get a feeling for pavement condition, and to remind ourselves what the hills are like. Here’s how it went.
Transition is Where?
We parked right along Scenic Drive at the entrance to Ellacoya State Park. When looking at Lake Winnipesaukee on one side is the state park and the other is a campground. In less than a month, the campground will be converted in to the transition area for well over 2,500 athletes as well as providing some parking for athletes.
This main area will also be where Make-A-Wish will be setup providing an area for athletes who are fundraising. I happen to be one of those fundraising athletes. I wrote a post all about why I’m participating, but I would humbly ask for you to read my story and consider donating to our team’s cause. We need your support and we think you’ll agree it is for a very worthy cause. Any amount helps.
How the Ride Went
As there were not only riders of all abilities, some had very different prescribed workouts on their training plan. In my case, I needed approximately 3 hours with one hour power Zone 1, one hour in Zone 2, and some Zone 3 efforts. I expected an average speed of around 17 mph overall. Turns out, this was exactly what another guy named Ryan was planning on riding. We figured we’d attempt to ride together as much as possible. Given this was not as controlled as riding on a trainer, I knew there would be some variability in my power. This was my first time riding this course with my power meter so it’d be interesting.
My overall goal was to sit at 75-80% FTP for everything but the hills. My plan was to push the major hills at 80-100% FTP. For the downhills (of which there were several), I wanted to take it easy. The first hill comes around mile 10. It’s a pretty solid one too at two miles in length, gaining 400 vertical feet, an average gradient of 4% (with maximum upwards of 14%). First thing I noticed was how hard I typically go on hills. Looking at my power meter I was well above FTP in spots…like 200% FTP. This was my first, and best lesson with a power meter. I’ve did a shorter olympic distance race this year and didn’t focus much on the hill power output. I also rode the Kanc where I focused on smashing the hill as my workout. This ride was supposed to ensure that over the course of the ride I could pace myself to have enough left in the tank for my run as I didn’t last year.
So, note to self, keep the pushing on the hills at no more than FTP if you can help it. After descending, we hit Route 106. For 20 some odd miles it was false flat downhill. You feel great heading down it…that is until you turn around and slog back up. Again, focusing on power output, I took it easier on the way back. At some point around the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Ryan and I split up focusing on each of our desired workouts. I took the route back stronger than I expected I would with less fatigue.
Around mile 40, I started hearing a “ping” every wheel revolution. That’s odd I thought. It didn’t dawn on me until later, that halfway through the ride, my wheel rolled over a stick that popped up. Turns out it bent a spoke that gradually loosened over the course of the ride. I rode the last 15 miles or so with a wheel that wasn’t true and had a bit of a shimmy at speed. The good news was it was mostly uphill to the finish so I was going slower anyway.
After cresting the final hill, it’s about two miles back to transition. On race day, there will be traffic control, but on this particular day, you needed to make a left turn off Rt 11 where cars are coming at 60 miles per hour from behind. Once you make the left, you would be back in transition.
A Nice ROTB
In last year’s race, I had a terrible run. There were several reasons for it which I outline in my race report, but after coming in from this ride, I’d totally attribute it to not only having cramping issues last year, but totally overcooking myself on the bike. After throwing my bike in the car, I headed out for a short run. I was fully expecting to have dead legs and feel like garbage. After all, the weather was in the upper 80’s by the time I was done the ride. After exiting transition, you’d make a right onto Scenic Drive. It is uphill for at least the first 1.5 miles or so. Somehow, I managed an 8:45 pace for the first mile. Coming back down the hill was a bit quicker.
Of course I had to stop and take a few photos as there are a few sections on Scenic Drive where you have a killer view of the lake and distant mountains. I don’t care how fatigued you are, but during the race this always makes me smile and sincerely appreciate what I’m doing.
A New Saddle
Since I acquired my bike last year, I’ve never changed out the stock saddle. While it did have a more cushioned nose than traditional road saddles, it never was comfortable. So, I picked up an Adamo ISM PN 1.1. Two things happened on this ride. First, my body position was pushed forward and my hips rotated forward. This was key as I always felt like I was stretched a little too far out. Second, it did put more pressure on my arms and shoulders. Looking at the level on the saddle, I think it is pointing too far down so I’ll bring that up a bit and see if it helps.
I do attribute how good I felt on the ride to this new position. As a side note, I also didn’t experience cramping or tightness in my back which tells me my position is pretty close now. The only issue I had and continue to have is discomfort with the team tri suit. For whatever reason, they put a seam in a place there should be no seam. I think we’ll fix that with some chamois cream.
Last year, I didn’t feel like I succeeded in my nutrition. Prior to this ride, I had a change of nutrition somewhat forced on me, but was something I’ve wanted to try. See, I typically use plain Gatorade powder in half of my four bottles. I ran out and came in late from an out of town trip the day before this ride. So, all I had left were some Nuun tablets. My fueling strategy was:
- Nuun tablets in four of my bottles
- Three Clif bars (of which I ate two)
- Two sleeves of Clif Bloks (strawberry)
I drank twice as much as last year, but still about half of what I should have consumed. I had all but a half bottle empty at the end of the ride. I know my fluid loss rate is around 40 ounces per hour, but only took in 30. Still, I had no cramping issues.
I ate my Clif Bars approximately every hour and 15 minutes. I filled this in with 2 Clif Bloks every 30-40 minutes so with a few fill-ins as I realized I was missing the calories I usually have in Gatorade:
- 0.5 hr – 2 x Clif Blok
- 1.0 hr – 1 x Clif Bar
- 1.25 hr – 2 x Clif Blok
- 1.75 hr – 2 x Clif Blok
- 2.0 hr – 1 x Clif Blok
- 2.25 hr – 2 x Clif Blok
- 2.75 hr – 2 x Clif Blok
- 3.25 hr – 2 x Clif Blok
It worked well and the stomach was rather happy for the run.
What I Learned
There’s always something to learn. This time it was:
- Good job fueling and drinking. Next time drink more.
- Try Scratch Labs
- Eventually find something better than Clif Bars. They work great during a race, but a few hours after a ride/run, they cause some GI distress
- Try more consistent pacing. My variability index was 1.13. Given the hills, I understand, but work on getting that tighter.
- Ride Name:
- Distance: 0 mi
- Elevation Gain: 0 ft
- Moving Time: 15:59:22
- Ride Name:
- Distance: 0 mi
- Elevation Gain: 0 ft
- Moving Time: 15:59:22