Thursday, October 4, 2012

the bike course

coast road out and back
this last weekend i drove down to bunbury as i had been invited to a primary school reunion and i thought it would be a good opportunity to ride the ironman course and enjoy some different scenery as well.  the reunion was interesting to say the least and i will tell all in another blog.  it had been a big two weeks and after this ride and the 3k brick run to follow i would hit my biggest volume EVER.  for the week i rode 325k - 11.5 hours,  ran 41.5k -  4.25 hours and swam 6.5k - 2.5 hours (missed one swim - me bad again).  just over 18 hours.  i must admit that by the time i drove back to perth after the ride/run i was knackered.  very hungry (still) but also knackered. 

i managed to get away from the reunion by 10pm which was a bit late considering i had cycled 50k with a 11.5k brick run in the morning.  i never sleep well at the folks so when i got up at 5am i did not feel like riding a bike for five hours.  i arrived in busselton just after six and while it was a bit fresh it wasnt as cold as i thought it might be and it was perfect weather - no rain and a light wind.  busselton may be flat but the weather can be a killer.  

while i have ridden most of this course when doing the busselton 70.3 the ironman course is a little different.  the first part you head north out to layman road.  this road is long and some sections are totally exposed.  to the sun, the heat and especially the wind.  and as it turned out on sunday to an amazing amount of bugs.  bugs that got in your hair and mouth.  this road then runs adjacent to the beach before you are meant to turn off down coast road for an out and back - this is not part of the 70.3 course.  however on the first lap i missed this as the road sign said it was forrest beach road.  by a process of elimination (there are no other roads heading left) i determined that this road was in fact coast road.  it also ran along the coast so this perhaps was another clue.  

i continued on along layman road but i wasnt enjoying myself.  it was a bit breezy with a bit of a headwind and i was tired.  i thought this was going to be a long day.  but i have also noticed that while i may start out feeling like shit i usually come good the further i go and tend to warm up to it by the 50k mark.  layman road then turns right onto tuart drive.  this is part of the 70.3 course and is a little protected from the wind and quite shady so a nice respite from the sun.  the road is long and takes you all the way out to bussell highway.  on race day the road is closed so you can ride away from the shoulder.  which is great as the shoulder is very rough and usually covered in twigs and tree debris.  so you ride on the right of the white line but as close as you can get to it.  and you need to be careful as it has white bumps that are meant to stop drivers from falling asleep crossing over it and hitting a tree.  when you ride over it on a bike it is like a jack hammer on your private bits.  this is not fun.  

i headed back and at the tuart drive and layman road roundabout i was meant to go straight for approx 3k before turning around and coming straight back but i forgot.  i headed straight back into busselton along layman road.  when i arrived back at the start point i had been riding for approx 100 mins and maybe 45k.  i stopped and removed some clothes.  i am so sick of riding like i am michelin man.  i also had a cliff bar and got a little more organised.  like reading the map correctly.  i then rode out to complete the ironman course  correctly.  on race day i will have to do this three times.  

i was right as well.  i started to feel really good and had my legs back and i was enjoying the day.  i had one toilet stop and another stop further along to remove the last of my winter gear - the leg warmers.  now i can get my tan line back.  after the full lap i headed back out as i still had another hour or so to go.  during this time i saw very few cyclists.

i finished the ride feeling really good.  i consumed 4 bottles - 3 of brew and one shotz mix.  i had a gel on every 45 and ate a cliff bar and a banana.  i need to tidy this up a bit and be more consistent.  any warmer and i need to drink more.  the short 3k run felt extremely good and i was nicely surprised.  the only negative perhaps was that i rode the day a little harder than i should have.

BUT the biggest positive is that i came away from this ride really thinking that i actually can do this.  the main challenge with this course will always be the heat and the wind.  if i pace myself well and have my nutrition dialed in then this should be my strongest leg.  my training has a strong bike focus - not only so i do well on the bike but to also help get me through the run.  this has been a good confidence booster.  you can check out the course and my ride below - bought to you by garmin.

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