Bike & run race rehearsal @ Ironman Syracuse course

Posted: June 10, 2012 in cycling, Running, Syracuse Ironman 70.3, Training, Triathlons
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Did it, done, over with! Yeh! All done with the last huge training day for Ironman Syracuse. 4.5 hours of training was the order of the day. I had planned to do this key workout on Saturday. Waking up to pouring rain, made it easy for an executive decision. Over the years I have done plenty of races, and training in the rain. Slogging it out for four hours of training in the pouring rain, just wasn’t doing it for me. I opted for the indoor trainer, boring but dry. There was rain as well today, but more scattered. It was raining at our home, but a quick look at the weather radar showed most of the bike course to be dry or a lightly raining. Either way, it had to be done this weekend, and I was all out of excuses.

I made it up to Jamesville park just before 7am. A group of riders for the CNY Tri Club was just getting ready to head out as I arrived. I pulled up onto the road just a few minutes behind the group. I would catch glimpses of them here and there. Even though the workout is basically a huge time trial, nice to have fellow riders around you on the course. The morning ride started out on a high note. It was a cool, but calm morning. As I was heading north along the park, balloons for the Jamesville balloon fest were getting airborne. A few were already up and away, while others just rising into the morning sky. A beautiful picture perfect sight to behold. Something about them just puts a smile on your face. No doubt a connection to one’s childhood.

The first hill out of Jamesville heading east, sure gets your attention. I spun easy, keeping the heart rate at bay. Knowing that I had miles of climbing on Sweet Road, no sense in pushing it. Having ridden Sweet Road before, the work came a little easier as I knew where I could ease up, and settle down, pulling my heart rate back from redlining. Today I managed to do more climbing in the areobars, and would sit up switching to the time trail bar when I needed to stretch my legs. Major improvement over the last time doing this climb, plus the added bonus of enjoying the beautiful view. The balloons would fly over head during the early part of the climb.

Heading into Fabius was a fast ride, and it’s a nice reprieve from the big climb. The big drop, and short steep climb going to East Lake Road came and went without a problem. It takes a little bit to recover from it, but not all that bad. The climb heading out of West Lake Road on to Route 13 did not seem as bad as I had remembered it. After passing through the metropolitan area of Cuyler (just kidding, a small town really), I ran into ten minutes worth of rain showers. Not that bad, as the cooling effect was most welcomed. I would pass through one more shower heading north on Route 91. The final miles were very fast overall with only a few small hills and or short climbs. Lots of places along the back stretch to ease up, and letting your legs recover before the run.

It was very different riding the course with the same starting point as the race. Having the big climbs early, changes the feel of the remaining miles. Having done upper and lower sections starting out from Truxton is very different than today’s ride was. Very happy to live close enough to train on the actual race course!

Finish the ride in 3:28. Riding the course much the way I had hoped to ride on race day, it is intended to have some legs under me quickly during the run. I can ride the course a few mph faster, however the Endurance Nation protocol sets you up with doing your bike in heart rate zones 2 & 3, and leaving plenty of gas in the tank to execute a very good run. They also promote the use of a power meter, but that is a budget item for next year.

Other observations: nutrition seemed to be ok, went through 32 ounces of fluids (diluted Gatorade today. Other times GU Roctane), a power bar and two gels. Early morning hours, brief showers, and cloud cover kept the bike ride very comfortable. Should race day be sunny and hot during the bike, I will need to drink more fluids and maybe another gel. Bike worked well today, no flat tires. I rode with trispoke wheels front and back. Feeling more and more comfortable on the bike, and especially in the aerobars. Pedaling felt smooth. I spent most of my time in the aerobars, although I need to do more in the climbs. Never needed to jump out of the seat and do any hard climbing. No wasted energy, concentrated on being smooth as I could possibly be.

After a relatively quick transition at the truck, I headed out to do a loop on the run course. It is a stark reality when you come off the bike and head out on a run. Your legs really don’t want to go to one degree or another. So easy to call it a day. What amazes me when doing the transitions, is after a half a mile or mile into it, you feel your legs open up, and your legs actually feel decent.  My target would be 8:45/mile + 30 seconds each mile for the first 3 miles, then target pace. I also factored in an additional 30 seconds a mile slower due to the heat. By 10:30am, it was getting hot. The clouds had moved off, and we were having a nice sunny day.  As I headed out, my legs complained some, but not a crisis. I found myself wanting to go 8:30-8:40. After the first mile, I was glad to pull it back. It was going to be very warm on the run.  There were a number of people coming and going either on the bike  or running. Plenty of “looking good” and hello’s on this run. I do like the social aspect of all this. I was very glad to actually preview the run course. The big hill up to the turnaround hits you a lot harder after coming off the bike. Not horribly long or steep, it still feels rude so late in the game. I will definitely want to save some to get back up this hill on the second loop. The trip back down the hill is most welcomed. Miles 4 and 5 are fine. You do get to go back up the hill you enjoyed going down coming out of the park. Again, not that long or that steep. Going out too fast on the first loop, may make for a pain fest on the second loop. Very glad I ran the course rather than just studying the course profile.

Other observations: should have had another gel off the bike. Very happy with getting my legs under me, and moving. I will need to review my pace plan for both loops. If I get it right, an enjoyable run leg, if not, enjoy not so much on the second loop.

Another great thing about today: I came upon a whole bunch of other riders who had started at different times this morning. Even on the way home I would pass by another 15 riders out riding the course in the hot midday sun. There are a lot of folks out there training on the course. Lot of women were out there training hard on the course. Guys, you may get chicked in a few weeks. Myself included.

I have one more swim rehearsal next Saturday on the actual swim course (Thanks CNY Tri Club), however that will not be the epic training volume that transpired today. Bike and run volume tapers down to June 24th from here on out. A few more interval sessions, although most of it will be half ironman pace work. That’s all for now, legs are toasted, time for bed!

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