Thursday, June 28, 2007

Not Faster, But Still Learning (Part 2)

A part of my brain noticed that I had really banged my foot getting out of the swim, but that part of the brain was muted by all the noise and chaos of the transition area. I knew that if I had any chance of catching Kona Shelley (who obviously passed me in the swim despite my head start), I would need some free speed -- i.e., quicker transitions. I had actually planned out a method for bringing this about, and it seemed to work. Last year's T1 was 3:42. This year, even with a little delay getting the wetsuit off my ankles, the time was 2:42. So, even with an easier swim, about half of the time I lost over last year was gained back in the transition.

One thing that BSLT is known for is the climb out of transition onto the bike course--over 7%. It's not that long, but it gets your attention--to the tune of a 155 heart rate, the highest of the day.

My plan for the bike was to do the opposite of Wildflower. No standing and hammering hills. Save the matches, even if I have a half-a-book leftover at the finish. Why? Because I knew that there was no way I would put time into Kona Shelley on the bike. Moreover, if I had any chance of catching Kona Shelley, I would need my matches and my legs for the run.

So, after topping the first climb (and after dropping and returning to retrieve bits and pieces of my nutrition due to fumbly fingers), I tried to settle in to a high zone 2/low zone 3 heartrate and ignore both my speed and my elapsed time.

In doing so, I had a super fun time on the bike, cruising the flats, rocketing down the descents, spinning the climbs, and (unlike last year) never finding myself in difficulty.

The course is a series of out and backs, and I knew I would see Shelley along the way. I took the opportunity to evaluate her lead (which increased every time I saw her) and to try and get into her head. Every time we passed I'd come out of the Aero bars and point at her, calling her last name and assuring her that I was coming to get her. The last time I did so, I provoked a response:

"I HATE YOU!"

Such a violent word, hate. I'm a lover not a fighter.

Anyhow, after climbing out of the last canyon and taking some more nutrition, it was decision time. I felt great, perhaps too good. So the choice was whether to expend a match in picking up the pace the last ten miles back to transition. It was flat and fun, so I chose to do so, never redlining it, but reaching a nice steady state pace that pulled back about 6 -10 cyclists on the course.

Last year's time was 3:19:07, and I was struggling in the last 15 miles. This year's time: 3:17:21--not appreciably different, but with much less effort expended (in part because the wind was less). Average heartrate: only 131 for an average speed of 17 mph notwithstanding the hills and velocity robbing pavement conditions. I could easily have kept going another couple of hours, and dropping a half mile an hour, I felt the Ironman distance was easily acheivalbe without destroying myself.

In retrospect, however, this expenditure of a match, plus the decision to take extra, unplanned nutrition just before T2 was probably a mistake . . . as you will see.

(to be continued . . . .)

3 comments:

mishele k said...

Niiice.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

I hate you. Oh my, them's strong words. Powerful strong. Ouch!

I'm envious of your ride - maybe next year I won't struggle so much on the last 15 miles myself.

Wendy said...

Superfun. Just how it ought to be!!!