Ironman NZ – 4 Weeks To Go

Summary of Week 5 : BASE 3 (4th of 5)
Training Hours: 15:19 (Swim 1:17, Bike 8:26, Run 5:36) checkmark2.jpeg
Training Stress: 803
CTL Ramp Rate: + 1.6 (to 108.6)
Distance: Swim 3.5 km, Bike 228 km, Run 62km

CTL with 4 weeks to go

The Highlights

  • Less than a month to go. That’s right, only 4 weeks to go. Actually, only 26 days to go! Wow!
  • The End of the Stupid-Long Stuff!…(maybe?) This week saw me (again) edge my longest ever run (33km – up by a mere 100m!) and my longest ever training ride (152km – up by 2km). By crikey, they were both painful! But the plan says that from now on, 3 hrs is the longest ride and 2hrs the longest run. Hooray!

    …but then I have to do an Ironman with a 180km ride and a 42.2km run. Boo!

  • The Bike is Fixed.. And boy it took some fixing! The mechanics needed 3 tries to get the rear end sorted. Strangely the gears were skipping on the middle three cogs on the rear cassette while it was in the big ring at the front. In the end the rear wheel had to be re-dished. I don’t think I would have got that one on my own! It came through todays 150km ride without a problem so, after a week where I had limited access to my bike, they are back in my good books!
  • Hydration.. Spot the triathlete – we don’t drink, we hydrate! We don’t eat, we refuel! We don’t sleep, we recover!

    The unusually hot and humid conditions over the past two weeks (temps have been 30+ most days with humidity often above 90%) I’ve had to really focus on my drinking, I mean hydration! I seem to be losing 1.5 litres per hour on the bike and 2 litres per hour on the run. That is a lot of fluid to replace! That means for a 4hr+ ride into the middle of nowhere I need to have 4+ litres of drink.

    Enter the Camelbak.

    I used to carry a Camelbak on most of my MTB rides because my MTB doesn’t have a bottle cage. When I dug it out after 2 years in the closet, the bladder had become just a little unpalatable. A quick trip down to the sports store revealed a new bag was cheaper than a replacement bladder (HUH? What’s with that!?) so $45 later I’m the proud owner of a styley red Camelbak. You just can’t buy style like this every day!

    This was awesome on my long ride. I could sip at leisure from my 2 litres of Horleys Replace (the IMNZ on-course drink) without getting out of my aero position. And a quick stop at Tumbulgum to fill it up from a tap near the river got me through my ride. I wonder how many people use a hydration pack in an Ironman?


  • Cleats. My cleats were pretty much worn though so I replaced them. Bad timing! The new cleats caused me wicked foot pain after 3hrs of my long ride. They are tighter and slighter fatter (due to lack of wear) and that tiny difference in foot position, repeated 16,000 times, means a bloody sore foot (which I have to run on once I get off the bike)! So now I’m faced with either breaking the the cleats in, breaking my foot in, or last minute cleat position changes – all of which are not good four weeks out from the race!

    Lesson learned: If you are going to train for an Ironman, put on some new cleats before you start training!

  • 180km #FAIL! I had my heart set on riding the full 180km Ironman distance this week. I found the ideal route alongside the Pacific Highway down to Byron Bay. It’s 90km of uninterrupted bike lane each way.

    Actually, it’s not the ideal bike route. There is the small matter of a steady stream of cars, buses and trucks going 70km/hr faster than you, only 1-2m away from your right elbow. That dropped cigarette, the fly in the window, the quick TXT message or the CD change is all it takes for my four kids to be without a Dad. Not a good thought! Spending 6-7 hours that close to open road traffic feels like gambling at Jupiters Casino – you might win today, you might win tomorrow, but in the end, you’re going to lose!.
    byron bay sign.jpg
    My plan to reduce the risk is to ride as early as possible while there is less traffic, and to light myself up like an Xmas tree. Two front lights – one flashing on the helmet at 300 lumen, and one steady on the handlebars at up to 900 lumen. Then there is a red Fibre Flare on the helmet and one on the frame, and a steady 80 lumen Exposure RedEye under the seat. Throw in a pair of reflective ankle straps and a fluoro bum-flap and I am pretty hard to miss. YEAH RIGHT! Like the drunk/doped, unlicensed drivers heading home at 4am in the morning are going to be woken up by my little lights!

    I was so nervous before this ride that when my alarm went off at 3:30am I turned it off and went back to sleep. Only, of course, I couldn’t get back to sleep! I was so guilty about missing the ride that by 5:30am I slunk out of bed and headed south for 150km through the canefields of northern New South Wales. Saved!

    NSW Valley.JPG

Coming Up?

Week 4. This is supposed to be a recovery week. I’ve changed my mind half a dozen times already about this week. I know I need to recover, but I also need to push my bike fitness along a bit. If I’m going to do one last big ride then it really needs to be this week. And then there is my second Big Day Training (the first of which failed miserably) that I wanted to do 4 weeks out – this week!

So, it’s all up in the air this week. I’m going to take it easy the first couple of days to make sure my cleat niggles have gone, which I’ll test with a good hills ride. Perhaps Friday I’ll take a day off work and revisit my 180km Byron Bay nightmare but use a more reasonable 9am start? With the day off work I’ll have the option of turning Friday into a Gordo-style Big Day with a 60min swim before breakfast and perhaps a 60min run after dinner. Options are good!

So who knows what I’ll do in the end. Somewhere between the 10 hours on the training plan and the 16 hours in my calendar would be a good guess! One thing for sure, I’m going to be giving my running legs a damn good rest! No more 3 hours runs!

Total training planned : 16 hours.

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