It’s been a while since I posted and there are few things to catch up on. Here’s the latest with me
Yep. I’m going camping. Well sort of. My coach and a friend of his are putting on a training camp in Steamboat Springs over a three-day weekend at the end of June. They’ve apparently gotten a deal on some decent looking condo space and there are plans for running up Steamboat Mountain, swimming at the local hot springs and pool (I don’t believe we’ll actually be doing laps in the springs) and a long bike ride including some hill work. It ought to be very beneficial and I’m all for nearly anything that can help me prepare. More on this as we get closer to the date.
I took the plunge and ordered a pair of Flo 90’s. They are slated to ship around May 1 and I expect to have them within a week or so of that. While they are not pure carbon (the rims are aluminum, the faring is carbon) I was also able to buy two aerodynamic wheels for less than the cost most companies want for just one. They certainly were not cheap, but they were not more than the bike. I’ve been impressed with the company for some time and I’m happy to finally be a customer. I’ll post more on how they perform (yeah and how they look) after they are installed.
Boulder Bike Course
After much delay, this was announced this week. I don’t want this whole post to be about the course, but I do have both good and bad things to say about it.
The worst of the bad is that it is short. I may end up being happy about that 100 miles in, but it is not even 110 miles. I am aware that this is often the case for Ironman course to come up shorter than the typical 112 and I know that no one is going to put an asterisk next to my finish, but I still wish they could have found those extra two miles.
Being two laps is not necessarily a bad thing, but I noticed that the entries seem to be as high as last year with something just under 2800 athletes. Last year that was on a big ol’ single loop course that spread the field out pretty quickly. Maybe this one will do the same but I’m not sure. I guess we will see.
On the plus side, it does appear to be an interesting course. There are familiar stretches such as along Highway 36 rolling north out of town and a segment along the Boulder-Longmont Diagonal Highway where you can actually pick up some decent speed on a calm day. There are a lot of sections on the back roads north of town and the scenery out there can be fairly spectacular.
I had spent some time guessing where the course would be and I struggled with how you can cross that highway without creating some fairly major traffic nightmares. The decision to use a bike path tunnel actually makes a lot of sense. It’s late in the race (over 85 miles) and it connects directly to the highway which means no riding over unpaved sections of road.
It would not be fair to criticize the two big hills that occur late in the course, but I am a little daunted by them. The first of these goes east up Highway 52 and by my estimates is about a 3.5% grade and just over a mile long. I know this hill well since I often drove it heading to and from college in Boulder back in the day. I’m not looking to win any KOM awards here; just getting to the top without totally frying my legs is reward enough. Despite these concerns, I don’t think any of the climbs will compare to what I did last summer on the MTCC Experience Ride. Nevertheless, I’ll be happy to hit all of my difficult training rides between now and August if it means I get through this without too much pain.
Speaking of training, I’ve been doing that at intensity levels I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced before. A recent bike ride had a set of 5X5 minute intervals in power zone 5 and I had to skip the last one because I was getting sloppy. It was a trainer ride so no harm done, but I’m sure I looked pretty pathetic. I keep telling myself that all of this pain and suffering will pay off.
Less intense, but very successful has been the running strategy of 10 minutes on at easy pace (around 10 minute miles) and one minute of walking at around 16 to 17 minutes per mile. Last weekend I was able to nine of these repeats and including my warm-up and cool-down, I logged just under 12 miles in two hours. Better still, I felt tired but not totally exhausted at the end of this. While I doubt I could keep it up for the full 26.2 miles, I feel confident I could have extended that distance out to 16 miles before needing to take longer walk breaks and run for shorter intervals. Of course it will be harder after riding 112 miles, but for the first time, I’m feeling just a little bit confident about the run. I expect my coach will continue to increase the number or intervals on this workout (we’ve already gone from four to seven to nine) and that will continue to inform me on how ready I am to go the full 26.2 mile distance of the run leg.
That about sums it up for now. I am hoping to do some training on both the bike and run courses in Boulder as the weather gets better and if I do, I’ll do my best to take a few pictures to post.
For now, thanks for reading!