A week before the race and time for my final big day. From here on in it’s mainly taking it easy and getting lots of rest.
The day started as usual with a swim at 7am. All of our little gang wanted to swim the full course. It was pretty good conditions and I felt strong. Stuck on Rachels feet for a little while and even got back on after emptying my goggles of water but it didn’t last for long. We regrouped halfway out and at the turnaround. Treading water in the middle of the Pacific still gives me a buzz and it really makes me smile when someone swims up that I know. “Fancy bumping into you out here”. Swam hard all the way back. Total time in the water was 75 minutes so I’m guessing about 65 minute swim time.
Nice social breakie in Tantes before I got out on the bike. The plan was to ride to Hawi and back (ie almost the whole course). The aim was to ride much of it pretty solidly and to test out the new aero position by spending extended periods on the aero bars. Early on I did a full hour or so on the bars and it felt pretty comfortable though it still feels like I’m going too low as I get in to position. This spell came to an end when Lou Collins and Lucy Gossage came by together with some other chap. They said hi which was very nice as I’d not really met them before. I joined them and chatted quite a lot with Lucy… she’s very chatty. Those girls can ride… helped me maintain a solid pace all the way to Hawi where I left them. I continued back to the shop at the Hawi turn. This meant I managed 114k in 3h40 on only water. I was quite pleased and quite ready for my large Ice Cream and 42oz diet coke … well it was more like 50oz as I swigged a load in the shop and refilled it (tut tut!)
Back on the bike ready to hit it hard with all these new carbs in the system. Not gone more than 20k and my thirst was raging again. Pulled into the food court at the holiday resort. Another 42oz soda plus refill ! As I sat drinking this a guy comes over and quizzes me about the race and tapering. Whilst we’re chatting four more people start to hover almost forming a queue so that when he finishes they get their turn to quiz me about race ! I think I was an unusual sight just there. It was really nice that people are so enthused about the race.
Back on the road in to the headwind and I was feeling a lot better for the 6 (US) pints of diet coke ! Completed the 172k in 5:35 feeling reasonably fresh at the end. Put on my new Vibram KSO Treks and headed for a short run along the beach. They were great on rougher ground (I will be using them for fell running). Did about 3 miles and felt really good running. Glad I didn’t wear the Garmin as it may have stole my thunder. As it was I ended the day feeling I was running superbly. Thats the thought I want to stay with.
Now to taper ! Well … I think taper is the wrong word. I’ve found formal tapers don’t agree with me and instead I maintain a decent level of aerobic work till about 5 or so days before and then rest heavily. I think I’ve mentioned before what my broad plan was for building to this race. 5 x ~30hr weeks, 5 x ~40 hr weeks, then two weeks easing in to the race. The graph shows my weekly hours this year. I’ve hit this plan pretty much spot on. This week after tomorrow will be about 26 hours which is close to what I’d hoped for – all pretty aerobic. After that I’ll have five days in to the race which will go something like:
- MONDAY: swim full course ~1h15
- TUESDAY: 30 min swim, 2hr bike, 20 min run
- WEDNESDAY: 30 min swim
- THURSDAY: 30 min swim, 1hr bike, 20 min run
- FRIDAY: 20 min swim
With a little luck I’ll be ready to rumble some saturday.
The only remaining issue is my aero set up. I’m still tweaking it this close to the race but thats inevitable when you change bike only a month before. I’ve now ridden just over 1,000 miles on the QR and it’s pretty close. It was comfortable on the aero bars but there’s this tiny doubt at the back of my mind that I’m too low. Tomorrow I will try something new and make my mind up.
[in case you haven’t worked it out the piccie is the Queen K highway]