Alice Springs Triathlon Club: Olympic Triathlon Race Report. 11/22/2015
Success. That is what today’s Olympic Triathlon was for me. For 25 weeks now I have been training for Ironman Western Australia to be held on December 6, 2015. I’ve already put in 560 hours of training or 22.4 hours per week on average; 50% more than Busso 2 years ago. The distances covered in 2015 have been huge: 444KM Swimming, 14,400KM Cycling, 2,500KM Running and nearly 900 hours of training.
But, I haven’t raced a triathlon since May 2015, when I competed in Ironman Australia (9:42). I volunteered at the first triathlon the Nano and sacrificed competing in the Sprint because I had a 5 hour trainer ride in which I watched Rocky III, The Blind Side, and Kona 2010 on vimeo.com. However, being in the Peak Phase, an Olympic Triathlon (a true endurance effort), I knew it would line up perfectly only 2 weeks out from race day. I did do the Hatt Rd Duathlon (10K/40K/5K) but, thats not a triathlon.
My goals were simple. 1) Win, 2) Set a PB in each discipline 3) Break 1 hour for the bike. I did all of those so here’s how I did it.
I trained 19.5 hours in the week leading into the race, which acted as our 2nd key Brick session of this phase. Friday was our first Key Brick: 40min bike of 20min w/u, 20min IM Race pace of 280 watts. Then, we drove to Anytime Fitness and ran 1:30 on the mill. I covered 19.9KM which is the same pace I held for Big Day Out of 2 hours, 2 weeks prior. On Saturday after a bit of a sleep in (we were up till 12:30AM watching Kona 2015 on YouTube) we grabbed some brekky at the WaterTank. Then, it was a 2hour recovery ride followed immediately by a 30min recovery run, and 30min core. We brought Duncan Rogers his copy of Your Best Triathlon by Joe Friel and then headed to the pool for a 38min SS/Rec swim.
Dinner the night before was a feast. Sticking to our Vegetarian/Mostly Vegan diet, I made a Coconut Corn Chowder from The China Study Cookbook (vegan). Then, Fiona made Asparagus Pasta and Potato Samosas from the excellent vegetarian cookbook “Simple, Tasty, Good”. We then got our gear together and were in bed at 10PM for a 5AM wakeup.
5AM Wakeup. Down with a Medium Red Bull, English Muffin with vegan butter and Fruit & Chia Jam. Gear on & Out the door at 5:30AM.
Rack the bike and setup transition. Down 1 package of Clif Shot Bloks. 2nd Pit Stop and hear the race brief. Into lane 7, my lucky number with wife Fiona and FB FREEL-TT Squad member Matty Whitehead. 50m pool swim, no wetsuit. I was wearing my new Scody Half-Sleeve USA Tri suit, googles, cap. The race plan made with Fiona is that I would go out first, Fi would hang on, and if I slowed down, she would pass me and I’d hold on. Matty’s goal was to hang on as long as he could. No warm up for me, Just Go.
I can now tumble turn in Triathlons. I hit the 100m in 1:21. Good. I was quite Anaerobic for the first 200, maybe 500. After that, I kept breathing to the right side and trucking along. 7:38 500m, good. I wasn’t slowing down knocking em off at 1:34/100m and didn’t think Fi would take over. I saw her hanging on in the 15% efficient draft; the place I would find myself and then fall off in the past. Missed my 1K split but consistency was key. In the last 100 I focused on keeping it quick and fast through the water without digging the arms. At the wall in 23:19 or 1:33/100m. And Fi just a second or so behind me. I lapped Matty once but he hung on and set a massive PB on the day.
There are several highlights for the swim: I was the first out of the water, I didn’t slow down, I didn’t draft, I tumble turned the whole time, and I stayed mentally tough. It was also 1:01 faster than 1 year ago. It was also only 1s/100m slower than BDO when I used a wetsuit which means my goal for IMWA is solid. It was also 1:21 faster than my 1.5K test 10 days prior, that shows Races bring out the best in me. The only negative is that the time is still 5sec slower overall than Sean Loaders time from last year. Who knows what I would have done against him today. But, that led me to a very good analysis. His swim in IMWA’13 was an impressive 55:15. (I went 1:02:47). So, if I was 4seconds slower than his 1.5K race, this should translate to a great performance come race day and expected improvement over IMA 55:53 swim.
A quick transition with Rudy Project Wing 57 on, sunny’s, and then go. Shoes were clipped in, round the turn, feet in, out to Gap Rd, and time to rip it. By the time I was on the Stuart Highway, the Power and Speed were increasing nicely. 25% through and I was on 40K an hour. Maintain it. My 2 bottles filled with Coke over course were going all over my bike. Power was in the 290’s. I couldn’t hit my goal of well over 300 due to the 6 months of fatigue. I was on 25MPH at the 3/4ths. I brought it home averaging 40.1KPH and breaking 1 hour at 58:40. Analysis: This is my fastest ever ride of this distance or longer. In 1 year, I improved by 2:27. Now for the very technical. My Intensity Factor IF was only 83% which is too low. I held 288NP on 345FTP. Compared to last years Olympic of 264NP, I have become at least 9% more powerful. In terms of power, this is also the highest generating effort I’ve done for this distance or longer. The 2nd highest generating was the Hatt Rd Duathlon with 271NP vs todays 288NP or 6% greater. Lastly, cadence was 89 and Variability Index of 1% showed that I didn’t let up.
T2: Rack bike, helmet off, on the butt to put socks on. I did this to actually stretch the legs at the same time. Custom USA Visor on and off we go. Water on head.
10K Run: So the goal was to just go as hard as I could to maintain for the 10KM. I don’t have the full data because I completely stuffed up and reset my Garmin at the end of the race but I know it was all relatively consistent. Official results put me on 41:29, or 37seconds behind the wifey. She emerged out of T2 right as I was finishing on Lap 1 and I saw her sweet butt the whole time. On lap 4, she started picking it up but the legs weren’t fully warmed up yet. (yes, I did say that). Analysis. Well, of what I can analyze, I held the same pace of 6:48/mile or 4:13/KM as the Hatt Rd Duathlon 9 weeks ago. That day was warmer and half of it was on flat dirt trails, but I hadn’t swam 1.5K or biked 40K before it. It was also only slightly slower than the 6:42/mile, 4:09/KM for the ABC Half Marathon back in July. So that’s good too!
With 1K to go, I knew sub 2:05 was in the realm. With 250m to go I kept it up but didn’t completely drop it. So because I didn’t, missing sub 2:05 by 2 seconds is disappointing. Overall, this was a major success and everything is lined up for a sold Ironman in just 2 weeks time.
I’d like to express gratitude to the volunteers of which I expect you most likely wanted to be racing. And, a heart-felt congratulations to all of the athletes with some major personal bests by many across the field. While this wasn’t an “A” race for my squad members going to Sydney 70.3 in 1 week, or Ironman WA in 2 weeks, I know that you will have learned several things today which will benefit you all greatly as you put your racing hats on.
Thank you for reading, Kevin Coyle