Coming out of sickness.
In my case – nutrition is super important. Two days prior to the race – lots of clean carbs. Ideally complex carbs. Start the race with some food in the stomach. Half-full. I’ll have pasta, maybe some dried fruit like dates or cranberries. No fat. No meat. No fiber.
The swim is going to be in very cold water: 58 Fahrenheit (14 Celsius). I’m concerned about getting a “brain freeze”. That happened before, in Toronto open water race, when I almost lost consciousness in the water. Not a very pleasant experience. Couldn’t find a neoprene cap on site. Will wear two regular swim caps + earplugs.
Swim’s leg is very important in this race. The goal is to get out of water in a group of leaders – top three/five.
The swim starts IN the water, so no running off the beach. I will go very hard the first couple of hundreds and find some “fast feet” to follow. I will break out from the crowd, catch up with top swimmers and hold on to their feet for the whole duration. I will not hold myself back and go ham on the swim part. Never done before, I will practice dragging in swimming.
No waves. Wet suit swim. Sitting on the front feet, I expect to average under 1:28 /100m. If I can do the swim in 20 minutes – that’s 1:20 /100m – that would be an incredible performance.
Quick transition, as always. First two-five kilometres – 80% effort ~240W. Warm up, and come back to your senses after the swim. Have a gel. Then open up a throttle to hit ~280-300W. The goal is to average ~270W for the whole duration of the bike.
The course is very flat and windy, on a way back. Going there, I could average 43+ km/h. On a way back, with strong wind, maybe around 35-38 km/h. I will use every opportunity to hide from the wind and shave off a couple of seconds. The bike leg will be very fast. I expect to complete it in under one hour. Anything under 55 minutes is awesome.
Will have 5-6 gels, which means approximately 120g of carbs. One gel every 10 minutes.
I could use a fuelling tactic, that most pro’ athletes use: mix all gels in the water bottle and have 1/1.5 gulps every 15-20 minutes. In this case, absorption is improved.
Quick transition. Take it easy for the first 2 km – 80% effort. Don’t smash it! Pace would be ~4:10-4:20.
The recommendation is to maintain the pace, however, if I feel good, I feel free to complete the second part faster – 4:00 or under. Anything under 40 minutes will be considered fantastic.
Super cold race. The swimming part was an absolute mess. About 60 people in my age group started together. I don’t remember wrestling in water to be so bad. Several times I got hit in the head so bad that I saw stars. Could do a proper stroke because every time my hand would go in the water, there would be someone’s leg or ass. On top of it, the water was just ice cold and dirty. Couldn’t see anything. Bottom line – I didn’t enjoy the swim part. I did not get to swim to my potential. I think that the swim was poorly organized and chaotic. Complete fail.
Coming out of the water with enough frustration and anger I felt as if I could rip those pedals off the bike. I felt great and went straight to work. In the first half, I did about 85% effort, riding solo and being careful with the traffic and other athletes. The second half and three gels down, I opened up the throttle and went harder. Nose to nose competition with a guy from the Stanford University team made it more fun. We passed each other two-three times, after which I realized that it is more efficient to stay on his tail, rather than flex my muscles and pass him once again. I followed him, within the drafting rules, for about 5 km until the transition zone. We dismounted at the same time and I told him “good work”. Fast transition – under two minutes.
I and the same guy left transition and went to the run. His pace was 4 min/km, which was fine by me until it wasn’t. Two spasms in my abdomen forced me to slow down, however, I was able to maintain a 4:10 min pace. Haven’t had any water or food on the run. Finished with a strong sprint against another Stanford team guy. I didn’t let him beat me.
6th in my age group out of 58 guys. Not very satisfied because I didn’t get a chance to race to my potential. However, I know what to work on and keep my head up. I know I can do it.