Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Welland Half Iron Bike/Run.

Two words for this race:


..Definitely had to adapt and re-think my effort level to dial it down a notch because of the hot weather.

I did a 5k warmup at easy pace before the start and was already sweating like a pig before the time trial start of the bike/run! 

Thirsty before the start! Oh no!
Unlike the triathletes, I wasn't going to be cool coming out of the water at the beginning of the bike...
Aero pose! haha!
90 kms: 35.4 km/hr | 2:32.5 moving time (2:33 official time) 
Average Power / Normalized Power: 190AP/192NP
IF: 0.80
VI: 1.01

Off we go!
 It was windy. Steady headwind wasn't as bad...maybe 20 km/hr but it was the nasty 40-60 km/hr frequent gusts of wind that were a pain.
I paced it very well overall, but got distracted between 20-30kms as my Wahoo iPod bike computer stopped working so I had no metrics on the bike in front of me from then on. Tried fixing it on and off for 10kms, getting out of aero position frequently and slightly soft pedaling before I wrote it off and just went by RPE. (the Timex on my wrist was recording everything anyway..I just couldnt see it in front of my face...). As it turns out, this was probably the section that I should've kept my focus on the most, with constant headwind/crosswind. Lost a lot of time here as power went down by at least 15-20W. Whatever.
Then the cross-winds winds got me bad between 35-55 kms. Suddenly, the disc wheel seemed like a bad idea!

Hammering on the way out in the nasty headwind/crosswind
The way back after 68 km was pretty smooth with a nice tailwind and was able to keep up the power...averaging 40-41 km/hr in the last 20 kms! Eased up a bit in the last 5k to spin up the legs for the run.  Pretty pleased  with the bike today since I was 40th overall (including all triathletes) in the bike portion.

On the way back into T2
Ate regularly and drank well...finished 2 CLIF bars and a gel along with a concentrated bottle of gatorade, 2 salt tablets and 3 bottles of water.

A bit too chaotic than I would've preferred. Took me way too long to get my running shoes on. As I was running out of the transition, I remembered that I didnt take my left over water bottle from the bike to hydrate for the 1st km on the run. Thought "Ah well, there's an aid station 1 mile in, it can't be that hot". Little did I know... 

Flying out of transition trying to hold back for the 21 km in an oven.
21.1kms: 1:37:02 (4:35 min/km pace)

Decent run for me this year. Nothing spectacular at all in terms of time. So HOT. Where did the wind go? Well, it didnt get any cooler by 12pm when athletes finished their bike and got onto the run course.

However, I've improved a lot from last year when I tended to cramp up in the last 20-30 mins of every race I my goal was just to push as much as I can without seizing up my calves!
The aim before the race was to go 1:30-1:32, but I adjusted it to 1:33-1:35 after I felt the muggy/feels like 40C conditions in the morning. 

Good call! I'd like to think I do better in hot weather than most people, my Indian roots probably have something to do with that!
I was pretty much bang on pace for 1:32-1:33 for the first 15-16 kms, hitting 4:22-4:28 min/km until the last turnaround when a guy walking the aid station at the end decided to swing in my way as I was about to reach for some ice/water...fumbled but OK in a few seconds. But in the chaos, barely took in any water there and ran with a really dry mouth not able to ingest my last gel till right before the next aid station 2.0 km away where I forced it down my throat with 2 splashes of water. Bummer. Too late. Speed dropped to 5:00 min/km and the same slowing down as last year ensued.
In the bike/run...none of the fast people from last year showed up so I knew I was in the lead (I was in no competition with the fast triathletes I saw, though! haha!). Dehydration and fear of cramping made me just lose motivation since I wasnt trying to catch anyone. I mentally switched off and went into cruise mode till the finish until I realized I wont beat my last year's run time and tried to make it up in the last km! Fail. 

Totally dehydrated. Couldn't speed up in the end at all!

Did I mention it was HOT? LOL. 

After comparing the results from last year and the relative performance of other athletes in this year's weather conditions, it is safe to say that everyone slowed down on the run by at least 3-5 mins. Heck, even the uber fast pro triathletes combined, my run was 15th fastest amongst 500+ people. 
Considering that my run time this year was identical to last year which had cool and calm conditions, I'll take it as a good sign!

Total time: 

4:12:30 official time. 1st overall in the bike/run. 

(Hold your horses, there were only 11 people here compared with 500 in the triathlon!! The second person was over 50 minutes behind...thats why I compared my splits with all the triathletes!)


Met up with Garima and Riddhi, who had been patiently waiting in the heat while we raced! She took lots of pics for us, so thanks Riddhi!

What happened to Garima's race, you say? Well, long distance isn't her thing. Too BORING as she put it! So she just went and rode the 90 km bike course and didn't do the race.

Ready to hit the road.
Zoom zoom.
 After 2 bottles of water, 2 hero burgers (best part of the day, seriously!), 2 cokes and 2 chocolate milks, I was still 3 lbs underweight when I got home. Damn. No stiff/sore feeling and NO debilitating calf heart attacks like last year that left me unable to walk for 2 days post-race! Yay!

My shoulders hurt the most! Again! Thanks Tracey!
Had an awesome massage from my favorite torture RMT at Absolute Endurance, grabbed some sweet deals on tri clothes from Champion Systems, got my medal and thanked the Race Director for putting up a great race. Also made special mention of the little volunteer kid at 19km mark who ran after me for a good 100m to get me the sponges I needed. Great enthusiasm!

Bike/Run Podium
Keep pedaling.

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