I just found a new and compelling reason to swim faster.
I was listening to an Endurance Nation webinar the other day while spinning off a few calories on the trainer…it was dealing with the pacing and power strategy on the bike portion of Ironman.
They were emphasising the importance of a tight discipline in the power range. They were talking about choking back the tendency to come up on another rider, or group of riders, and then push the pace/power to pass them, just to have them pass you back and then repeat…the point being that every ‘surge’ is counterproductive and uses up energy unnecessarily…the best being a very even effort.
Geez….the part where the light bulb went on, is that since I’ve been so slow out of the water, and relatively fast on the bike, I’ve typically passed around 600 people during the bike portion…many times just rolling by, but more often than not, having to nudge the power to get past them in the 20 seconds allowed to stay out of the drafting zone…I’ve noticed it more later in the race, and even commented on the challenge…particularly as you come up to long tightly packed conga lines, or even ‘pelotons’ of racers that still seem to be too prevalent in IMFL.
Although it’s sort of a cool way to do the bike ride, it suddenly struck me that I’m probably using a _lot_ more energy than I would, if I finished my swim up closer to the middle of the field, and get up there with the faster cyclists coming out of the water, and didn’t need to pass as many on the bike….may not be a much ‘fun’ as riding people down all day, but would certainly be more efficient.
Thinking of the race leaders as they go by on the bike in the opposite direction, they’re just rolling along, perfectly spaced just outside the drafting zone of the bike in-front of them…no need to surge…no need to push past others…much easier to ride the perfectly paced ride.
The only weakness in a faster swim that I’m left with is the ‘service’ in the first transition…right now, by the time that I get there, the volunteers are all standing around looking for things to do…it’s like having a couple of butlers, helping you get dressed, holding your stuff, handing you the next item, bike pulled out far in advance…crowds cheering just for you…sort of cool.
At a 1:15:00 swim, there are 100 racers a minute running into transition at that point…dang…that’s just _got_ to be crowded.
Hopefully I’ll be able to report on the difference in 2011 🙂