Something new for my site. As an experienced cyclist , and not an entirely bad one, I thought it could prove useful if I share my insights on the various triathlon bike legs I have ridden for those people who plan to take then on at some time in the future. What follows will hopefully be of more interest (and more use) to people than progress & race reports and as such will be more enriching for me to write. Here goes....
2016 sees the first year of the Lakesman (click here) full iron distance (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42km run) triathlon centered around Keswick. While I'm not participating this year I thought I'd take a look at the bike leg and offer up my thoughts and advice for anyone planning to do the event. This is a pretty comprehensive look over the bike leg and it's nuances which might be a bit intense but I hope their is something here for everyone. All feedback welcome!
Sunday 22nd of May saw me at Grafham Lake near Bedford for the UK AG Middle Distance Champs (70.3 or 1/2 ironman distance if you will) which was run as part of Nice Tri Events Grafman Triathlon.
My winning streak of good weather, literally going back to my first forays into triathlon in 2012, continued and a dodgy weather forecast improved all week for near perfect day.
Race hooter sounded at 8 a.m. and the 'rolling' start commenced with those with the fastest predicted swim times into the water first. This was probably the worst of all worlds as it just turned in to a mass start through a narrow entrance point and I've never received such a kicking. Lots of poor souls stood in the shallows groping for goggles that got knocked off.
Howdy partners, race time again! This weekend is the UK Middle Distance Championships held as part of the Grafman triathlon over half ironman distance. There seems to be a lot on this weekend so not sure how that will affect the depth of the field as, following my usual protocol, beyond checking I'm on the start sheet I haven't really looked.
This will be my third attempt at the UK champs which has not been my luckiest event is has to be said; 2013 at Beaver saw me crash on the bike while leading and peeling myself head to toe. Despite being urged by the organiser to perhaps quit and stop upsetting children with my bloody appearence I struggled through the run to finish 21st. Turned out I'd broken my pelvis when I crashed but I only found that out a couple of months later when I was still struggling to run.
I was back at it in 2015 in Bala but this race was stopped due to the tragic fatality of another competitor. So here's hoping it goes (much) better for all concerned than either of those outings
Training has been going okay if not brilliantly. I've been off running since early April due to a Achilles tendon problem but I have managed 3 short runs this week (total 16km) which has been a confidence boost. At the end of last week I thought I might just be using the event to test my swim & bike and pulling out at T2 but now I'm taking to the start line with a finish in mind.
With no pro wave the rolling swim start rather than a mass start is new to me and I'm not sure it benifits on hinders me. I don't like the madness of a mass start but there are big advantages to drafting and navigating, we shall see. Water temperatures are hovering at a heady 13 degrees which means the swim shoud be full distance. In the past I'd always have been pushing for a shorter swim if it was in the balance but given my improvements so far this year I'm not too worried either way.
Bike has been very solid and while I haven't been making top end gains (I'm not training to, so no suprise) my ability to sustain a higher proportion of my current threshold is improving so I'm upping my target power for the bike leg from 80% of FTP to 86%. I don't know the course at all but hope to squeeze in a drive around on Saturday evening to give me an idea of what it will be like.
So all in all, looking forward to pinning on a number again and giving it a 100%. See you on the other side.
By the time you read this I will be back in the UK after the long drive from the Costa Blanca but most importantly I have the first race of my season under my belt. I usually kick things off with something shorter like a duathlon, some time trials or fell races but this year I jumped straight in with a middle distance tri, just short of 1/2 ironman distance.
Hi, I'm Ali. I like riding bikes and coaching people to achieve their athletic goals. I've been coaching for more than 10 years now and have never failed to make an athlete faster (I can't quite believe this myself either). I used to race bikes, triathlon and in 2014 I broke 9 vertebrae and my skull. Follow my journey here and on Twitter.