Race day tomorrow!: Half Iron Sunday, July 3

So tomorrow morning, all things being equal, my daughter and I will be at the start line at 6:30am Pacific time for the Subaru Vancouver International Triathlon, for a lovely Sunday morning 1.2 mile swim, 56 miles on the bike and a 13.1 mile run…in what is predicted to be a cool day…58F (14C) to start, 62F (17C) at finish…’with a few showers from time to time’, wind 5-10 MPH from the SW.

The website, which is supposed to have live tracking is: http://www.triseries.ca/vancouver/
Race Numbers: Daughter: 136 / Dad: 232

Sooo, there it is.  The temperature is perfect for racing…well, maybe just a _hair_warmer would be nice, particularly if it starts raining.

I did get in the ocean this week for a 30 minute swim to try out the temperature…it was definitely ‘brisk’…estimated to be 16-17 C (60-62F)…I’ve found in the past when it gets below 60F, I’ve had congestion/breathing issues…but was fine in the test swim, which was very good…although hands and feet were cold by the end…it’s a warm day in Vancouver today, so hopefully that’ll add a degree or 2…I do have a thermal swim cap, which I may use, although it can be tight with the race cap over it…so we’ll see what they have to say about the water temperature at the race meeting today.

My plan on the swim is a simple one…get through it 🙂

It’s 2 loops, so for the first loop my plan is to go out easy, maintain form, which for me is a focus on keeping arms, and head relaxed, and stay easy…and see where I’m at the beginning of the second loop…the swim cut-off is 1:05, which on a reasonable day I should be well under…all things being equal, the swim should take me 50 minutes or less, so 25 minutes or less per loop.  If I’m at 25 minutes or less for the first loop, I’ll just repeat, take a 50 minute time and get on the bike…if at 30 minutes, I’m running too close to the 1:05 cut-off, so will add in bit more effort…if I’m coughing and congested, unless it’s _really_ bad, I’ll just keep on going.

Coming out of the water, with the air temperature right around 59-60F, this is typically where I just wear a short sleeve bike jersey…with the cold water swim though, I expect to be quite cold, so will probably add on arm-warmers…adds a bit of time to the transition, but should help me warm-up a bit faster…I’ve decided to stay in the same triathlon shorts for the entire race…I typically change into cycling shorts…this will be less comfortable, but with the hills I’ll have the chance to change up positions on the seat, so will save some transition time, and if it’s raining, less to deal with in transition…I’ll probably buy a rain vest today, in case it’s cold and nasty when I get on the bike.

The bike is 4 loops on the same course, featuring a very steep 2 mile hill.  Going uphill is not my strength, since I’m carrying a few more pounds than the classic, perfectly formed triathlete body, and when I get ‘dropped’ on a fast group ride, it’s inevitably going up hills that I’m left behind.  The gearing on my bike is suitable for ‘normal’ hills, but not setup for the very steep stuff, so my cadence going uphill here is going to be a lot lower than my best power range which is right around 90 RPM.  I had considered re-gearing the bike for a couple of hundred dollars to get it setup for this race, but then decided to just ride it with what I have, since I’d then just have to put it back to my current setup again…and there’s the ‘break-in’ of a new gearing setup to get it dialed in.

A little extra challenge on the bike course, is that the single aid station is on the uphill, just so that you get to carry the extra weight of any water that you want to add, up the hill…nice.

My bike plan is to keep around 210-220W for the course…ideally it would be the same power at all times for the entire ride…with the BIG hills, though this will be a challenge both up and down, and I may then allow a bit more power going up, just to get me there, in the 240-250W range…any more, and I risk burning up the legs for the run.

If the roads get wet, those BIG downhills will be a slippery challenge and bleed off a bit of speed to stay upright…my Michelin bike tires are probably up to the task…but I doubt that my head will think that taking long sweeping downhill turns on wet pavement at 40 MPH is rational.

Soooo, on the bike at 210-220 Watts power, on a ‘normal’ dry pavement day, with gentle hills, I _should_ be able to average 19-20 MPH (31-32 KMH), so accounting for the BIG uphill x 4, probably closer to 18 MPH (29 KMH) or less (towards 17 MPH) with slick roads…so let’s call it around 3 hours for the bike: 18 MPH would be 3:07…19 MPH 2:57…17 MPH is 3:18

So with without any mishaps, 50 minutes swimming, around 3 hours on the bike, a couple of transitions totalling 10-15 minutes, I _should_ be out on the run at around 4 hours, or a bit more.

First 3 miles easy, to get my running legs, and then see if I can get to and sustain my target pace of 9:00/mile (5:35/km) for the next 6 miles (10K), and then hang on for the final 4+ miles (7K) at whatever pace I have left.  9:00/mile (5:35/km) = 1:57 for the run, 10:00/mile (6:12/km)= 2:10…so with an easier first 3 miles, the run around 2 hours would be ideal.

So on a great day, I’d be at the finish line just over 6 hours…on a reasonable day, under 6:30, and on a oh-well-at-least-I-finished day, under the cutoff of 8:00 hours…well let’s say under 7:00 hours anyway…if I’m over 7, something went awry somewhere.

Race Day!…how fun!…at least that’s what I’ll tell myself at I get my wakeup call at 4am tomorrow morning

…racing with daughter…priceless 🙂

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