Friday, December 4, 2009

Ironman Florida Race Report: Bike (part 2)

One of my nutrition rules on the bike is not to eat or drink anything other than water for the first 20-30 minutes. This mostly just applies to half iron+. It gives my stomach time to settle in. I usually swish and spit some water first too, to get rid of the salt water. I did all this on that first 6.5 mile stretch before turning onto the highway. Shortly after getting on the highway I started sipping my sports drink, Heed. My nutrition plan on the bike was built around 15 minute increments, all related to time on the bike. After the first 30 minutes, sip Heed, at 0:45, eat some Chomps with water plus an Endurolyte, at 1:00, more Heed, at 1:15 my first gel with water. After that I had specific plans: gels at :15, Chomps at :45, endurolytes at :00 and :30. Even though I expected to be on the bike at close to 1:30 which would make the numbers easy, I knew from previous swim-bike bricks that I found it annoying to have to do the math to figure out when I was at 0:15, 0:30, 0:45. Inevitably I'd forget what minutes my watch said when I got on the bike. So to fix this, I placed my old HRM watch on my bike computer mount with the plan to hit Start as soon as I got on the bike. Luckily I remembered to hit Start after just about 5 minutes, so I decided to move up the first few calories by 5 minutes but after that follow my :15 min plan.

So I had my regular HRM on my wrist, which doubles as a bike computer, and I had my old HRM on the bike. To see my speed and distance, I would have to look at my wrist, which wasn't handy (haha) to do while in aero, but I'd already decided I didn't care about my pace or distance so I didn't even change the view settings to display them. I was just going to focus on the here and now, and my heart rate. This worked well for me. Mostly I figured I had no idea what pace to aim for since this was my first IM. Even though I'd done the aquabike distances of IM, it was under such different circumstances (hilly course, hot, hadn't tapered) that I felt it wouldn't work to use that as reference. So my coach came up with heart rate zones I should aim for based on each portion of the bike. I set my watch to use those zones and I just followed it.

The aid stations were supposed to be every 10 miles. There were mile markers for every 10 miles, and various distances in km. I couldn't remember the conversion for km to miles, so I just paid attention to the miles. (I asked another rider and he told me you just subtract 15 from km and then you've got miles!) Well mile 10 came and went and there was no aid station. I had been thinking about a potty break already. I got a little worried that this event would be one of those where they say they have aid stations every 10 and really they have them every 15+ miles (Vineman seemed like this).

The bike course is very flat. The only real hill is at mile 12 and 100 - it's crossing a river. I was happy to have a hill to climb and to have a good excuse to stand up and use some different muscles. My plan was to stand up as much as possible and to bend over to stretch my back and hamstrings whenever I thought of it.

As soon as I got to the other side of the hill, I could see the aid station. I decided to stop but then I saw the lines. Ugh. I suddenly remembered reading race reports where people mention having to wait in long lines for the portapotties. I decided to skip this stop and wait for the next one. I think I dumped my water bottle at this point and got a new one from a volunteer. I figured it couldn't hurt to have more water. Better safe than sorry.

(Picture was taken Tuesday of race week.)

Riding on the highway wasn't as bad as you might expect. Dave and I had driven the course and there were more cars out there than I'd have liked, but on race day it seemed there were a lot fewer cars. I did see one woman on a bike fall right in front of a minivan though, but luckily the minivan was moving really slowly. The woman jumped right back up and a volunteer was nearby so I didn't feel compelled to see if she was okay. (She passed me a few hours later all bandaged up.) On this stretch along the highway various times I'd get passed by a guy and then he'd invariably slow to a coast to get a drink. Really annoying. I was pleased when I saw another woman yell at a guy when he did this to her, since he'd just done it to me too. Lots of leap frog going on.

Most of the bike course had the landscape shown in the above picture. Flat road with trees on the sides. I'd expected this because I'd used Google Map Streetview to check out the course almost as soon as I registered for the race. I thought it would be boring, but it wasn't really. Mostly because there was plenty of other things to think about.

At the second aid station there were still lines, so I decided to wait til the third one. Time was flying anyways. I got a banana chunk and ate the part that hadn't been touched by the knife and tossed the rest. I got more water to be safe. But what I didn't do was top off my Speedfil with water. Lesson learned: before tossing a water bottle, dump any remaining water into Speedfil and make some more Heed drink! By the time I got to the third aid station I'd been out of water for about 10 minutes. Somewhere between mile 20 and 30 I took off my arm warmers. I probably could've lived without them and not been cold.

The third aid station still had lines but I didn't think I could wait til mile 40. Plus with special needs being at mile 49, I thought it'd be better to stop now and then not stop again until special needs. There were volunteers holding bikes for us while we used the portapotties! So nice! I even got some volunteers to bring me water while I was in line so I could top off my bottles and make my drink. I was slightly jealous of the woman in front of me eating a PB&J sandwich. Mmm real food. But I haven't found any gluten free bread that works well for a PB&J sandwich *the next day* or even hours later. I used the time in line to put my arm warmers in my saddle bag to make my jersey pockets less bulky. At least I didn't feel like I was totally wasting my time by standing in line. I think this stop took about 10 minutes, but maybe it was less.

1 comment:

  1. Cycling is my passion and now I have bought a new wrist water bottle to cater my water needs during cycling.