It's important as part of this "How to.." series that you realise Nick is not a flash in the pan. He puts in the work and has an appreciation of the pain. A few Ironman races and the odd Cape Epic here and there. His 2008 Epic is available to read here and he has a few more race articles which are pretty cool at the same site. It is surprising with his biking ability that he hasn't yet picked up a French accent.
Part II - Nick explains how The Bike went.
The weekday was riding hard on Tues and Thurs.(intervals) To get the bike volume up to 300km per week I also did a couple of Wed rides. Getting to 300km per week was very hard though with few +120km rides. The longer rides were well within limits. My mates generally rode too hard for me on the weekends. They also left too late in the morning. It was fantastic riding home at 8:30 and the guys were heading out. I didn’t want to be on the road at 11am frying myself and having to spend 2 days trying to rehydrate. Riding long on your own also prepares you for the solitude of race day. Max distance was 157km, which was definitely a bit light. Consistency was therefore the key.
Race Day Strategy (written for a work colleague)
I can’t stress more as to how easy it is to f’ck the bike up totally. You’ve just come off hard training, are well tapered and are ready to obliterate all before you. You’re stronger than you’ve ever been. There is testosterone everywhere and you don’t want anyone to overtake you. Let them, as hard as it is! I can assure you that you’ll catch them later. (If you don’t catch it’s probably because they’re very sh1t swimmers and would’ve beaten you anyway!) If you’re overtaking a lot more than being overtaken, maybe you’re going too fast. You’ll notice that towards the second half of the second lap overtaking becomes a lot less frequent. Just take it very easy on the first lap however, and try to negative split the rest of the laps (unless the wind is building). If you can do this you’re a legend! Finally, it is about the bike. You can be the best runner in the world, but if you’ve spent too much energy on the bike, well good luck with the run or most likely walk.
Race Day Nutrition Strategy
If you’re able to eat, EAT…because the rest of the time you’ll feel sh1t & nauseous. If you’re not able to eat, back off. Eat earlier, rather than later, i.e. before your body starts getting too stressed or distressed. You’ll also get sick of the sweet energy drinks (& powerbars), so aim to drink those in the first 2/3 of the bike, and the last 1/3 rd have gels with water. The bike is your preparation for the run. It’s very hard to eat anything while running. The general guideline is that if you haven’t stopped twice for a wee on the bike, you haven’t had enough to drink.
1st phase (Laps 1 & 2)
– energy drinks (750ml per hour) (I use Powerbar – lime flavour)
– have a bottle with straight water
– 2 * energy bar (I use Powergel)
– 1 * banana per hour
120km (Special needs bag) – end of lap 2
– High Protein energy shake (750ml) (Get from Megan @ Pace & Power)
– Baby potatoes with salt, or some form of sandwich (Whatever you like, you’ll need something solid that’s easy to eat and tastes real!)
– 1 * salt tablet (I use Enervit.)
2nd phase (Lap 3)
– Energy drink (750ml per hour) – if you can still handle, otherwise water with Gels (1 bottle and gel every 45mins)
– 1 * energy bar (or as much as you can eat!)
– 1 * banana per hour
– 1* Salt tablet
This is a rough guide, but if it’s hot, then hydration is obviously very important. You’ll also struggle with the sweet drinks and bars more in the heat, so take more of the gel and water combo. You’ll still need to get some food down, so back off on the pace and force it down. If it’s windy then you’ll need to take into consideration the extra time on the road etc etc
Race day actual
The bike was unbelievable. A SW wind was blowing which made for a fantastically fast bike course. Coming out of the swim a bit later than previous IM’s I was immediately overtaking people. “Fritz”, my bike, was flying, until 85km, when I realised that I’d c0cked up my pacing:nutrition. I paced (not drafting as outside the zone) behind a guy into the headwind and he was going too fast for me. 6kms did a lot of damage. A serious amount of recovery was required and I wasn’t feeling right until 135km when I fortunately really needed to stop for a pee. The break reset my body and I finished the bike in 5h14. Bike position: 95th
Race Day Nutrition
• 4 * 750ml Powerbar lime mix
• 4 * 750ml water
• 2 * Gels
• 2 & 2/3 * Powerbars
• 2 * Enervit salt tablets
• 2 * half bananas
Done heavy mileage in February and more rides on Wednesdays to try to get up to 300km per week.