10 Days till Ironman Cairns and my 3rd Brick called for 20min w/u then 20min at goal race intensity, change in T2 followed by 1 hour run at race intensity. I had other plans.
What I’m trying to do is insure I have the correct FTP. I believe it was higher but I wanted to be sure so I could really insure I had the correct pacing in terms of TSS and IF. While I have tested and performed my Big Day Outs at planned race intensity, knowing that I’m performing slightly under my potential will mean a faster run. And while reading Jim Vance’s book Triathlon 2.0, I realized that I really needed to verify this FTP again. It was risky so close to race day, and I did a little bit of research to see what others thought. I went with my belief that my TSS wouldn’t be too great as compared with the suggested workout and thought I’d get more benefit from it so I took a crack at it.
My first FTP attempt on my new bike was a week and a half ago. I did a 20min test inside and had a miserable result going 327, 305, 304, 303 which gave me a 295FTP at 90%. Nope, that was way off. The fatigue from the 2nd BDO, 8 days earlier was still lingering… duh.
My second FTP attempt was 3 days later. This time I went with what I know I am good at. I left work and set a 327FTP for 30min but fell off slightly between 15min-22min. Good, but I think I have more. I finished that ride with another hour 15min at Zone 3.
Since my 2nd attempt, I had a phenomenal swim, recovery sessions, and a pretty poor Brick that was basically a fail on the bike since my recovery the 2 days leading into this was a 2 ½ hour ride and a 2 ¼ ride in zone 1; I’m not there yet, and it was too much volume.
My third and final FTP attempt would be 8 days later.
Wake up at 6AM for work, core at lunch, and a PM swim of high quality and my best ever. Went to Anytime Fitness for my final lift after the swim.
5:30AM wake up for a 35min 1,550meter recovery swim. Then a 55min recovery ride to work on 165NP and HR of 102. After work I headed to my chiropractor who I’ve been seeing for nearly 5 years now followed by my 3rd session of hypnotherapy. Yes, you read that right. That will come in the race report.
5AM Wake up for work and tired from an awful night of sleep. Maybe it was the 2 glasses of white wine last night? I didn’t have breakfast because I had a 7:45AM appointment to get blood testing done. I get this done each season, the full spectrum to see where my levels are at after 5-6 months of training. After I had 2 clif bars, 2 mandarins, a banana. Lunch at 11AM was leftover vegan pasta with cauliflower cream sauce and sautéed mushrooms and asparagus from the freezer. I started drinking some cytomax with lunch to get some energy in me. Gun time was 1:30PM so at 12:45PM I had my 200mg caffeine ARO supplement. 30min later I slammed down a caffeine-free Clif Blok package. The caffeine was kicking in and I was getting ready. I was telling myself I was going to smash this.
I headed out to Sami, checked the wheels, and put some air in the rear tire. When I pulled off the tape, I knew it would screw with me during the ride, which it did. I suited up with my Tri Kit and regular helmet. The flags were showing a tail wind but not as great as a week ago.
I saddled up, warmed up for 5minutes to my starting point and rolled right into it. My power immediately struck 445 watts. I obviously dropped it until I got settled in. I expected to be on around 335 so brought it down and found my rhythm within a minute or so. At this point I was moving at close to 50kph or 30mph on the mostly flat road with slight tail wind. I was hauling it. I hit the Stuart Highway clocking off my 2nd best effort on the Hatt Road Drag Strip Strava piece only 9 seconds off from last week. My power dropped to zero which is wrong and getting accounted for in my Garmin 920XT that I must fix. I was at 334 watts for the first 10:15 until my Garmin 500 auto lapped. Shit. Ok, 19:45 to go.
I maintained the effort till the R&R crossing before losing lots of speed and then power on the decent as my speed climbed back up to 49kph. I turned left again with the final shoot to Alice Springs and about 13minutes to go. I thought about the “Hatt to Gap” KOM that I just missed by 4 seconds last week but was also focused on maintaining the power. On the second “lap” my power had fallen to 324 but I was working hard to get this backup over 330 and see how far we could get it up from there. Shortly after the rain started to come down. Now this was awesome. I was loving this knowing that 100% humidity and average temperatures were going to be as close to Cairns Temperature as I could get, living in the desert. And I had a quick visualization of the pro’s at Cairns 2015. I was putting out around 340-350 watts but was also rather consistent in the 330’s for the bulk of the effort. Past the horse track I knew the Strava piece was mine but most importantly, I was going to smash my FTP. I just had to hold on for another 2min. Meanwhile, my HR was sticking on 158/159 with 5min to go. But I stayed in there I fought till the end. My 2nd lap finished on 335watts and a LTHR of 155.
I stayed aero and maintained some pacing through to the Tom Brown Roundabout and got the KOM by 13 seconds or 17 seconds faster than last week.
This gives me an FTP of 334 with additional potential of at least 345 where I tested once last season (but no, I’m not doing another test!!!). But besides that test (after 2 days of driving from Alice Springs to the Grampians, Victoria where I was completely fresh), this is the 2nd best test I’ve ever done. And, I know I have more which is a great feeling. I weigh 179 pounds, around 8.5% body fat. This gives me 4.1w/kg which is on the overlap between Very good Cat II rider and Good Cat III rider. Overall it was one of my most powerful rides ever of 304NP for 46min. I also held 24.6mph or 39.6kph which is the 3rd fastest ride I’ve ever done after my 2 fastest Olympic Triathlons in Nov’15 and April’16, but this included 16 minutes of non-race effort. The 30min piece was done at somewhere near 44kph.
Splits are in minutes/mile.
In T2, I put my old shoes on and visor and headed out and again in the rain. I took the same course as Brick 1. Larapinta – Stuart Highway – End piece of the Alice Springs Marathon course – past the casino and then across the FLOODED TODD RIVER!!! This dry river bed floods only a few times per year, although ANY water in the river is considered FLOODING. I ran through the water and was loving it. HR was high but humidity was perfect for final preparations and I was really knocking out the pace. I considered this to be a real positive after going all-out for 30min in a bike test. I headed through town and back across the river again where I nearly ran into the “Road Closed” sign. I ran through the ankle deep river overflowing the road and headed back home. An unfortunate pit stop at the only public bathroom around and then I was back on it.
I finished with a very consistent run covering 13.4km in 60minutes at 4:28/km. This was my 3rd fastest run of 60min or longer this season falling to a 75min progression run at 4:24/km and a 3 hour run at 4:25/km.
At home I quickly made my recovery drink: Vega Recovery, RawFusion Raw Plant Based Protein, 1T Chia Seeds, 1T ground flaxseed, and Almond Milk (filled with CALCIUM all you yoghurt bean-heads out there J ). I went back to the river to take some pics and then went straight to my massage appointment. Man, I felt like a pro with all this. But really it’s just about being fully committed. And just trying to do everything as best I can in the passionate pursuit of my goals.