Friday, September 13, 2013

Powerman Zofingen Race Report

Well after another 24hrs of traveling I’ve made it back to Aus. The trip back home was not a fun one at all after the results of the day before. Guttered and frustrated are a few words to describe of how I was felling with my performance.

I woke up raced day morning and felt excited and nervous. Made sure I got to transition fairly late trying to spend as much time in my hotel resting so not to waste to much nervous energy mucking around down at the race HQ. In and out of transition in under 5min then back to the hotel room for a little more feet up time. thats the advantage of having the hotel within 5min of the race HQ. After going through my final little pre race warm up It was time line up for the start.

At 9:02am the gun went of and I literally strolled of the start line. This was pretty much the plan, even if it was a little extreme. I started towards the back of the pack and was not interested in getting caught up in the normal first 1km hustle for position. The plan was to get through the First lap slowly and build from there with a +40min run split the aim. Felt sluggish the first lap which I was expecting. First 4km lap done in 20.02. Built up the pace on the second lap as the legs started to feel alive and with a quick nature break went through the second 5km lap in 23:22. With a fairly quick T1 (would have liked it a little quicker) I was out onto the bike.

The bike started well and to plan. Coming down the Bodenburg the first little issues happened. Rear cassette came loose which was a new one to me. 4min lost on that lap and another 1 or 2 lap on the next lap but not the end of the world by any means. I kept my cool and went through the first lap done in 1:33 (the aim was 1:30). At the top of the Bodenburg for the second time things went down hill fast, and it wasn't the bike. It was like someone flicked a switch. My energy was gone. I pushed on for the rest of the bike hoping that come the run I may start to feel better. It didn’t happen and found myself walking within a km of leaving T2. With my body totally spent I pulled the pin, walked back to my hotel room and slept for 13hrs.

After a post race debrief with my coach Xavier and going though a few things of what happened race day it looks like nutrition/hydration issue, or more accurately me falling to nail and execute my plan on race day after the first time up the Bodenburg. Its really frustrating for me. I went in with what I thought was a solid plan. Was it a brain fade, was it my mind drifting after my mechanical, was it the drop in body temp when the rain hit on he decent, I’ll never no. What I do no is its back to the drawing board. I have already started to pencil out a new plan, totally separating fluid intake and calorie intake even more so then a standard gel and fluid system.

With this result there is also a slight change in my race scheduling for the Aussie summer. Ironman Port Mac is now off the table. Without being able to nail down a long course race its time to go back to basics and focus on races up to half IM distance this summer. Doing this will allow me to race more often and give me more practice racing as well as get a solid base of training into the body. As for Powerman Zofingen, I don’t know when I’ll be back I will be back, although under different circumstances. I’m starting to work out particular markers that I will aim to meet before entering again.

Its now back to light training for me with a bike and swim focus at them moment.

Until next time

Friday, September 6, 2013

Powerman Zofingen: 1 Day To Go!!!!!!

Well here we are finally. Tomorrow is race day! I can not wait to toe the start line as I haven’t had real race since IM Melbourne. Its something that I’m slowly getting used to coming from racing 40-70 times a year as a cyclist to racing less than 5 as a duathlete/triathlete.

The main objective for today for me is to make tomorrow and Monday as easy and stress free as possible. Just the little things like having all my bags virtually packed so all I have to do monday morning before flying out is pack my bike. May sound a little full on but when you cant walk the next day every little bit helps. And I know I will be struggling to walk Monday, that is something I came to terms with mentally ages to go to be able to push my body closer to its physiological limits and not just to its psychological ones.

For anyone wanting to track me on race day, follow this link to the Powerman Zofingen website. The one to best follow me would be the DS live service which provides splits from out on course. I haven’t followed this race live so cant comment on how good it is although I think you get splits every half lap on the bike and every 2-3km on the final run, from memory thats where there were timing mats anyway.

As for my race plan, its simple. Control the controllable and be patient. It was the plan laid out 20 odd weeks ago by Xavier and my whole training has revolved around that idea.  

Until after the race

Pre Pre Race Day

Well its pre pre-race day here in Zofingen. This is when the nerves really start to kick in for me, although its a slightly different look on my face compared to what my training partners usually see. Normally its me with a glazed look on my face often looking out over the water  shitting myself with the fact I have to get through the swim first. Here its more a feeling of I'm ready for this. Going through my head I’m playing out the race, not the results or times but the little processes I need to nail to get the result I want. All about controlling the controllable. The nervous feeling is a good thing, it means I want to compete. If I didn't get nervous before a race I don't think I would be racing anymore as I would have lost that drive.

Yesterday saw me do my last real sessions of this taper block. A nice easy ride to the top of the first climb and back with Oscar in the morning and a 45min run in the afternoon with some stride and 2 500m tempo efforts to keep the legs open. Today sees me with a day off before a easy 30min spin and 15min run tomorrow.

Today I also start on the long list of little things I need to do before race day. Things like lacing up 2 pairs of run shoes with elastic laces, changing my brake pads, giving my bike a wipe over, making race bottles, register, shopping for pre race breaky food etc the list just goes on and on. By giving myself as much time as I can it allows me to be a little less stressed through the process and save energy.

Until next time

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Zofingen Day 3

Hey all, Its now 3 days out from race day for me here in Zofingen. The towns slowly starting to fill with athletes now, which for me more English speaking people to talk too. 

The Body is starting to feel better and better everyday now which is a positive sign that the bodies responding well to the tapering. Yesterday was a double day for me with a ride in the morning and a run in the afternoon. The ride was about an 1hr long nothing special with a few more 5min race pace efforts and 1min hard efforts thrown in to keep the legs happy. Just focused on the false flat section out of town to the first climb for this.
10m draft zone makers

the 5km mark on the bike course.

In the afternoon I just did a nice easy 40min run. nothing crazy here just rolled the legs over. Also jog/walked the first 1.5km of the first hill on the second run up to where the first and second run courses meet up just to remind myself with how steep the hills actually are. This year I’m not scared of the hills thanks to the amount of work I’ve put into my running since being with Xavier, both volume and hill work, but still do respect them as much as ever. They are unforgiving these hills and if you get it wrong early you don't lose secs/km you lose massive mins/km.

the climb just keeps on going

Where the 1st and 2nd run meet

The last 200m before the finish stadium

After the run I meet up with Columbian Oscar Mendoza for a bit of a chat and to give him a little help with understanding the course.

Today for me sees another ride and run before my final rest day tomorrow.

Until next time

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zofingen Day 1 and 2

Well after a quick 50min train trip I arrived in the race town of Zofingen. Its a old walled town founded in 1201 with a population just short of 11,000 people. Now that's enough of a lesson for now. I’ll upload pics of the town in later post.

Not a great deal to update here today. Monday for me was a rest day and was about settling into my room. Im staying in the Hotel Engel here in town, about 500m away from race HQ and transition. Got to the hotel the 2 main staff members here that run the hotel remembered me from last year and even put me in the same room! Now thats service you don’t get every day but sure makes life a hell of a lot easier.

Tuesday was my first ‘training‘ day here in town. A 25km ride to the top of the first climb and back into town. The main focus of the session was to start opening up the legs a little. 2 5min effort at race pace, then 2 2min efforts at threshold. One thing I have learnt over the years on the bike is my legs need a little intensity during the taper after I have around 5 easy days just to loosen the up and make sure they remember what they are doing. They other focus of the session was really starting to work out benchmarks for the first part of the bike leg. By benchmarks I mean how slow i should be going in those early stages. This is done by riding at around the lower end of my HR race zone for on the bike fresh. I’ll use this number with some speed guidelines as well as my HR is usually 10bpm higher across the board on race day. Add to that a 10km run before hand , your HR could end up anywhere. My race plan relies pretty heavily on getting the early sections of the race right so this is key.

Today another ride is planned as well as a short run. Below are some pics of what the first km of this race looks like. All I can tell you is this hill starts solid and gets stepper as it goes.
top of the climb before we hit the forest paths.

Until next time

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Zurich Day 3: A Day In The Life Of

Hey everybody, as I said in the end of the last update this post is going to be a little different. I’m going to take you through a taper day for me here in Switzerland. I picked this particular day mainly as its the most interesting day, although its still pretty boring.

5am: Wake up. Thanks to go old jet lag I was wide awake. Pretty much when I’m jet lagged in europe, my body just wakes up after 8hrs sleep which I can live with. I’ll now try to replicate the 5-5:30am wake ups all week leading into the race as thats the time i need to get up race day. Being adjusted to waking up then will make race day that little easier. I have 1.5hrs to kill before breakfast so a few cups of coffee is  consumed, facebook people back home and watch some TV shows on the laptop.

A familiar sight on taper 
Come 6:30 and I make my way to to breakfast. Its a buffet here at this hotel so its get in as much as you can within reason. 2 plates of eggs and chicken meatballs, a couple of croissants with nutella and some apple strudel taken in to make my stomach happy. Then its back to my room for more Facebook and TV. I plan most of my training to be done in the afternoons mainly due to the time differences to back home. The mornings are the only real chance to communicate with home, which when you in a non english speaking country by yourself can stop you going totally mental.
Schwingen: Swiss wrestling
Around 11ish decided to pull my finger out and start to build up my bike. My rooms fairly small so left it packed up to save space. This is the time I find out Ive lost the screw that holds the cable on my front brake, easy enough to get but thanks to no sunday trading todays ride will be without a front brake. Once thats all done its a small lunch, then get ready to ride.



No Front Brake
Left for my ride just after 1pm. The session planned was just a nice super easy spin around Lake Zurich with a few little efforts thrown in to wake up the legs. Legs felt fairly good, quads were a little tight when I put the power down but its what I expected. As you can see from my Strava file the pace was very pedestrian like. Some of that was due to not wanting to take any risks with swiss traffic, which actually slow down for you and give you room. Something I’m not used to at all.

The Lindt Chocolate Factory
Once back from my ride recovery drink consumed then shower time and a quick feed. This was followed by a good 30min on the foam roller while watching GP Quest France and the Vuelta on German Eurosport. Once the Vuelta finished I head off down town for dinner. Went to this little Italian Cafe just of the Bahnhofstrasse, one of the most expensive streets in the world. I found this place last time I was in Zurich and they have the best pizza ever, better than I even had in Italy itself. The also have a pretty lethal tiramisu as well which I’m pretty sure you could blow over .05 after one.

After dinner it was back to the Hotel room. Packed my bike back up into my bike box as I’m of to Zofingen on Monday. Then its more TV and time spent on the foam roller till around 9pm when its time to sleep.

There you have it, a bit of a look into a day of tapering. As you can see pretty boring with a lot of time sitting around resting. Today I'm off to Zofingen which is 1hr train trip away.

Until next time