Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2013 Race Report - The Bike


The bike is 2 loops that are really 2 separate out and backs per "loop".  You have an out and back along the lake to the east that has a small hill (that you also get to run over.....) and the bigger out and back is a series of large rollers and climbs.  The steepest climb is ~6% and about 2.5 miles long. 

keep in mind that this is only one loop's worth of hills.  You get to do that
big hill 4 times if you count climbing both sides.
We drove the bike course 2 days prior and the steep part (which I call Cougar Gulch - and so does Strava) wasn't ridiculous and about half way up there was the tiniest of a not-as-steep section that you could use for a mini-rest and you rolled up.  It was not awful looking and was totally doable, although I had my doubts about how much fun it would be on the second loop.

  • 40 oz 1/2 strength EFS in SpeedFill (2 scoops, 200 cals)
  • 2 flasks of Liquid Shot (800 cals) (with markers for ~100 cals on the bottle)
  • 2 packs of Honey Stinger Chews in my bento box, 4 more in a bottle on the rear cage
  • 6 scoops concentrated EFS in a bottle on the back, re-fill every ~2 hrs
  • drink at a minimum of every 15 min, but really, drink everytime I thought of the word "drink"
  • :00 and :30 take a swig of LS
  • :15 and :45 eat 2-3 chews, alternating between regular and caffeine.
Per my pre-race plan:
  • Take the 1st hour / 15 miles EASY (especially the hills). Focus on getting feet under me and good cadence. 
  • Target HR is 135-140
  • Spin the hills and take them very easy (remember Elephant Rock)
  •  If windy, stay in aero as much as possible
  • Flats – stay aero as much as possible and hold 135-140 HR. Push a little bit but stay within comfort zone.
  • Turn around is at mile 35 and 90
  • Special Needs is at ~64 or 65
  • Pee at least 2x
I hopped on Merlin and headed out towards downtown which was PACKED with people.  Will, Jose, Michelle, Cristin were spread out, which was really cool.  When I saw Michelle I got a bit of a boost and told her that I killed the swim.  Honestly, having my coach up there was HUGE and so awesome.  Even the parts where she was yelling at me. 
The first part of the course is a bit odd, because you go through neighborhoods with a ton of 90-degree turns, so its hard to get into a rhythm.  Then you head out on Lakeshore Drive and finally you have a chance to eat, drink, and get your legs under you. 
Michelle wanted me to really take only 5 miles easy to get my legs under me, but in reality, it did take more like 10-15 miles.  I don't know what the deal was.  Maybe my legs were cold from the water or maybe I was excited, but my legs were sluggish and my heart rate was HIGH.   I spun EASY over the first little hill along the lake and my HR was 168.  Ugh.  And my right adductor was tweaky again.  Even with preventative KT tape.  Awesome.  I knew it was going to be a long day and I KNEW it would be ok, I just needed to be patient and wait for my body to chill out.
There were bagpipers on the front of the first hill, which was super cool.  (note, there were fewer bagpipers when I rode through the second time... not as cool)  And on the back of the hill there was a huge party with ballons and music.  This was also the ugly hill on the run course and I was looking forward to seeing this on the run (note: all of this was gone for the run. boo).  I went up and over the hill, saw special needs.  It was set up really nice.  A nice wide turn and your stuff (and volunteers to fetch your stuff) was all laid out.  However, I was at mile 7 and had no need for this stuff.  Still, it was cool to see so I knew what to expect later.  I went up and over the hill again (still feeling weird) and was on the flat part heading back into town where I heard a "hey, I know you!".  It was my buddy Ryan.  He must have had a good swim and flew past me on the bike.  I only saw him much later on at the Hwy 95 turn-around on the 2nd loop.  Also, it was a bit breezy here by the lake, and I wasn't sure what to make of that, since it was 8 AM and CDA has a reputation for being windy.
I came back into town and my people had all shifted around, sneaky.  It kept me on my toes because I kept looking for them.  
That yellow awning in the background was called Zips and they were advertising
huckleberry milkshakes.  That was supposed to be my post-race treat, but they were closed. 
*sad face*
We headed out of town and over to Hwy 95, where the real work began. 
Pro Tip:  I did a super smart thing, or at least it really helped me mentally.  I spent some time on Strava looking at somebody's 2012 CDA file and wrote down the mile marker for each hill and how long the hill was.  I then wrote this info down onto a ~2x3 sheet of paper and taped it to my gel flask (I had copies on both of them).  The flask was on my stem, so anytime I had a question about how far the next hill was, it was really easy for me to pull the flask out of the holder and take a look.  Mentally, this was huge, as I knew when to expect hills and it also helped me time my nutrition a bit so I didn't have a big block of calories right before the huge hill.

The first big hill (Cougar Gulch) was at ~mile 18.5.  My legs were better but my HR was still a bit too high, around 145 bpm.  I took the hill super easy, putting it in my easiest gear and spun up the hill.  I don't think I passed anyone, but I do remember people mashing up all of the hills, trying to be heroes.  I just shook my head as I knew they'd be hurting on the second loop.  HR was a bit better, with a max of 165 at the top of the hill.  Not great, but not ridiculous. 
On Lakeshore.  This was also the view for the run
After that, I pretty much just pedaled, ate, and drank.  It wasn't the most scenic ride I've done, since it was on the highway.  But it wasn't bad, either.  Probably a 7 in terms of scenery out of 10.  The next hill challenge was Mica Grade (again, name according to Strava) and this wasn't bad at all.  Just long, I think it was ~3 miles to the top, but it wasn't nearly as steep as the previous hill.  Then once you're at the top, you only have some small rollers to the turn around. 

The road surface was a bit chip-sealy and there was a point after the second big climb where I was wondering if I had a flat or or something weird.  Riding just felt *hard*.  My HR was still >145.  My right leg was tweaky and I had to pee.  And it was only mile 30 of a 112 ride.  Somehow, I managed to keep the bad thoughts out of my head and just focus on riding, eating, and drinking.  I knew I was trained for this and that things would come around, I just had to be patient. 

I stopped at the aid station around mile ~31 (about 2 hrs in) and decided to re-fill my Speedfill and to stretch my leg.  I also had to pee, but there was a line ~5 people deep at EVERY aid station.  I didn't want to wait, so I re-filled and stretched at the same time.  It was at that point that I realized my Garmin was still on auto-pause, which was not awesome, because that meant I would have no idea what my true bike split was.  I still had my digital watch, but I really don't know exactly when I started riding.  I thought it was around 1:22, but I wasn't exactly sure.  And this also meant I really didn't know how long this quick water/stretch break was.  Bummer.  I was also a bit of an idiot and only added in 1 scoop's worth of concentrated drink mix. I had 6 scoops mixed up (2 for every re-fill) and I marked each scoop "line" with a maker, but with my fuzzy brain, I only added one line's worth of EFS.  I didn't realize this until my next refill, but that sure explains why my drink mix was so light in flavor.....

The way back north on 95 was better.  My leg was feeling good(ish), so it was a good thing I stretched.  I always hate having to stop and stretch, but I'm better off when I do.  When I don't, I end up losing power, which in the end, makes me slower than if I had just gotten off and stretched my damn leg.  My HR had also decided to cooperate and was in the upper 130's now.  The way back on 95 is generally easier than the way out, since the only big climb was the backside of the big hill, and it wasn't nearly as steep as the frontside.  And my HR was definitely doing better - it topped out at 161 and went down to 158 at the top.  Finally, after 3 hours of riding my body felt like cooperating. 

The ride back through town was really fun because of all the crowds.  I think I may have heard my best friend and her kids (my "nephews") but I didn't see them.  I saw my pockets of fans, in different spots than before.  And then I headed through the twisty neighborhood and out onto Lakeshore.  At this point, it was 3:45 into the bike ride and I really needed to pee.  The run course uses the bike trail along Lakeshore and I saw port-o-potties set up at the run aid station.  The best part - no line!  I parked my bike and hit the port-o-pottie, keeping a watchfull eye on my digital watch for the time.  I then used the stop to take 2 more packs of chews out of my rear bottle and into my bento box since I was nearly out of chews and to swap out my Liquid Shot flasks.  And then I was on my way.

My HR was 10 bpm lower going over the little hill, thank goodness, and life was pretty good.  It was feeling a bit more blustery but I couldn't tell if it is just windy next to the lake or if conditions were getting more windy.  And then I decided I would just worry about things I could control. 

After the turn-around I was out of water, so I stopped at the next aid station (mile ~64) to refill my Speedfill.  For whatever reason, I couldn't manage to do everything on the fly while riding.  I think the cap of my EFS concentrate bottle kept closing as I tried squeezing it into the Speedfill and I think the caps of the water bottles were doing the same thing.  So it was just easier to stop and fix everything than risk a crash.  This is when I realized I under fueled on the EFS on the previous refill.  I thought about adding 3 scoops' worth to compensate but I decided to just stay on plan with 2 and not risk distress.  Besides, it was only 100 calories over 2 hrs that I was down and I'm pretty sure I made those calories up with extra Liquid Shot and chews.
Then it was back into town, where I saw my fan club again, in different spots.  I did catch Will (he was taking a movie with his phone) and he asked if I was ok.  I replied back yes and probably something else and headed back out of town to 95. 

Next up was Cougar Gulch for the second (or third, depending on how you view the loops) and I was curious to see how this would be.  The second loop is always the hardest and I was hopefull that all of my Fridays climbing Deer Creek and Highgrade would pay off.  And it did.  I passed 14 people up that hill, and with each one, I made a little mental notch on my bike.  I tried to joke with some people as I passed them, or if I recognized their kit, ask them how their training compared to the course.  Most, not suprisingly, were not prepared for long climbs.  There was also a guy wearing a CU Buff jersey that I kept passing up all the hills (and he'd pass me going down).  By this point, I was comfortable enough to joke around with him when I passed him ("so we meet again!")  I was suprised that he was having issues since he was wearing a Boulder-based cycling jersey and he admitted that he had only been on his bike 4 times for training.  Um, have fun buddy.  I also saw a guy later on with platform pedals and shoe cages.  Why would you do that to yourself?

The remainder of the ride was pretty much a blur.  Mostly because I'd seen it once before and thing all kinda looked the same.  I was on schedule for eating and drinking and things were feeling good.  My HR was definitely happier as it maxed out at 144 going up Mica Grade and things were fine.  It was a bit windy, which was sucky, and it felt like I had winds coming and going.  There was an aid station at 5:50  into the ride so I took a quick stop to refill my Speedfill.  Then more riding, eating, and drinking.  Then I stopped at an aid station (at 104? miles) an hour later for another pee break.  No lines (it was 7 hrs into the ride) but also hardly any volunteers.  I could have used a top-off on water or an extra hand with my bike, but there was hardly anyone there. Lame. I grabbed one more pack of chews from the back bottle for the last 8 miles.  Good sign I needed another pack, that meant I was eating well.  I did debate about peeing on the bike, but I also knew that I needed another pack of chews, which was in the line of fire.  I just couldn't deal with pee on my nutrition so I stopped.
Coming down the front of Cougar Gulch was fun both times - I hit 40 mph each time.  The second time was even better because there was hardly anyone out there.  I love to bomb down hills and on the first loop several people were just coasting.  That meant I was going 35+ mph on a 1-car width shoulder yelling "LEFT LEFT LEFT" at people as I passed them.  The second loop was much sparser, and therefore, involved much less yelling.  Those last 8 miles were FAST too. 

I came back into town, where I was pretty sure I heard "E" as I came off the highway ramp.  I was pushing a bit, hoping to beat my IMTX bike time of 7:19.  With my Garmin auto-pause issues and not knowing when I started the bike exactly, I estimated that I needed to see 8:40 on my digital watch.  That time came and went and I knew it wasn't a PR.  I was a bit bummed because I knew my fitness was better, but I also knew it was a much harder bike course.  Consulation was that I also knew I rode smart and to the best of my ability.
It was a few quick turns and into the bike finish.  The finish route was sketchy and I was actually glad I was on the slow end because they took you on a narrow blacktop path that had some pretty decent turns into the bike in.  If it was crowded with tired people, it could have been ugly.

I thanked Merlin for an awesome ride and I thanked Michelle for making me ride up Deer Creek every 2 weeks, because the CDA ride wasn't bad at all!  I was greeted by a happy volunteer.  He asked if I had everything I needed from my bike.  I grabbed my Garmin and made my way to the change tent.

I had a really nice volunteer for the T2 tent.  She dumped out all of my stuff and started offering it to me.  "Hat or visor?"  I opted for the visor since it wasn't going to rain.  I took off my cycling shoes, changed from my heavier tri shorts (Oomphs) to my Altitude Multisport tri shorts (which matched my top).  I put on my socks and running shoes and remarked "oh hey, my foot hurts.  I remember doing something to it 8 hrs ago on the swim.... weird".  Then I grabbed 2 packs of chews and my hand-held water bottle and headed out to start the run.

56.2 mi split: 3:36:20, 15.59 mph
112 mi split: 3:46:28, 14.78 mph (ouch)
Total: 7:22:48, 15.18 mph
AG: 62 / 112
Overall: 1605 / 2318

T2: 4:30

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You look so happy in all of the pictures! :)