Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Humbling Day on a Bike

This was going to be a comical entry where I boast about a glorious victory at the Kits open water swim race, however, after a rough day at work today, and a very humbling performance on my bike tonight I decided against it.

Sunday I raced the 3k and floundered to a victory in my age category swimming a season slowest pace of 1:37/100 meters. Why my victory, well thats simple, I was the only individual aged 20-24 participating. I wasn't going out with the intention of killing myself and only wanted to use this swim as a training tool. It was a much smaller field than most triathlons I've done, In my race I would assume there were only about 50 swimmers, the result of this being I swam most of the way on my own. This was good practice, I got to work on sighting and trying to swim straight. I wore a new pair of goggles and am pleased to announce they worked great. The blue seventy goggles were very comfortable.

One thing that I am pleased about with this race was that over the summer I have been having trouble with my wetsuit rubbing my right collarbone, and I think swimming this race I have figured out the cause. I am crossing my right arm under my body causing the rubbing. So thats what I need to work on next week.

I followed up Sundays swim by going to the Monday night ocean swim, and this was my first time without a wetsuit. The water wasn't "hot" per-say but it was bearable, and its nice to swim without the wetsuit once in a while.

With my swimming story out of the way, its time to describe my brilliant crit tonight.

I've developed a fairly large head on my shoulders after my previous triathlon successes, and I forced myself to race tonight with the intention of punishing and getting myself grounded. Sure, I am a decent triathlete, but the stereotypes are true, triathletes aren't cyclist.

This was my first time back to the Tuesday Night Crits since before my three half ironmen. I wasn't all too sure what to expect, but I figured I was in for some trouble seeing as how most cyclist would have been training hard building speed and power, where as over the past month I haven't done any of that with my racing going on. And seeing as how I haven't kept up with either of the two crits I did in May, this was sure to be a hard race. How hard was a little more of a surprise to me.

I raced with a heart monitor which I never do, and it led to some very interesting data which makes me pleased I wore it.

Problems started from the gun, as the official was counting down from 5 seconds some idiot lady decided it was a good idea to debate crossing the street. She ended up deciding this was a good idea just as I heard GO. The result being half the pack moved up the street while my side had to break hard and wait for her to frantically drop her bag and run out of the way. Nothing quite like racing to catch up right from the gun. 200 meters into the race, heart rate goes from 72 beats/minute to 156bpm. I know what my coaches back home are going to say, I should have warmed up. Well I did, its just that due to a crash out on the course in an earlier race, the staging time was very long and everyone was complaining about cooling down at the start line.

After the initial confusion at the start, I got into the pack and was riding well. First lap went by fairly uneventful, I was keeping my position (top 5 for once) quite easily. Second lap things started to fall apart, my heart rate on the second climb was reaching 170bpm and I just couldn't push out the power up the hill. My fears were realized, I raced up the hill at a similar pace to the previous races (36-42km/h) but the pack was pushing 42-44km/h. They had gotten stronger over the past month and a half while I hadn't gained any power. This did not bode well for me. After three laps I slipped back from 5th to last place in the remaining peleton (amazing how quickly people drop off, despite moving to the back, I was hardly last place, some 10-15 people had already dropped off). I kept on to the back for another lap watching 4-5 more people fly off from in front of me and unable to catch my wheel and just fly off the back. I was hopeful that I would be able to hold for at least another climb of the hill but it wasn't meant to be. Like an elastic being snapped I was gone. Instead of killing myself, I shamefully pulled out with my worst finish yet, only making it 4 laps of 15.

Ok, now I said I was pleased I had my heart rate monitor. Why, you ask. Because I realized that it was hardly cardiovascular that was slowing me down. My heart race never toped 171bpm, whereas I've gotten my heart rate above 190 on a bike in years past. This means that my legs are wimpy (I know we all knew that). I have noticed that my running and swimming have improved this year, but biking has not, this is because I have hit a plateau with my power output and despite my spinning legs with endurance, I can't increase my watts. I'm changing my training regime. Much more powerful rides, 30-40k at LT (Lactic Threshold) and no more of these 5-6 hour cruises where my heart race stays at 130bpm. I think 2/3 of the way thru the season is late enough to stop my base training. Hopefully thru this I can increase my power output and get more comfortable pushing thru my lactic threshold, because I know today as soon as I hit it, I was done.

There you have it, two pathetic races over the past week, but two very good learning tools for my focused training over the next month and a half until Sooke.

My little sister Lilia gets to town this week, so training may take a hit there, but thats probably a good thing, I don't think I have recovered fully from my last weeks of racing. My legs felt heavy tonight along with wimpy.

I'll leave you with a quote I've been saying all week.



Daniele Hohol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniele Hohol said...

Don't be so hard on yourself man. The truth of the matter is, as a triathlete you gotta pick your focus bro. You can't train and win for everything. Those long skimpy rides at 130bpm spinning those easy gears has helped you to dominate the 90km bike rides and give you age group wins in the half ironmans.

Speaking from experience, many of us think we can do this, train in that way and whatever...all at the same time. I suffered and learned it the hard way, that you simply can't....2 years of triathloning "down the drain" Well not really...I learned alot you can't do super big volume training(full ironman training ) and LT workouts at the same time(Increasing speed/power and endurance at same time), especially if you're a newbie :P *blush*(like me lolol)

Compared to someone here, you've gained a very incredible aerobic base so now you can focus on the LT workouts alittle more heavily now for the next season. Don't worry man, you're my hero...you'll rock next year on the crits :) They are tough to hang on to!

They're laughing at you now, but you know what? They don't know you'll be training hard all winter to show them up..cause you're hardcore.

I hope you have better days at work today and in future...don't worry, we all have our bad days. Just shutup, smile, and soldier on...life is not perfect.

Vincent said...

Thanks Dan, yeah, I think I was just more in a bad mood when I wrote this so was somewhat depressing.

I won't lie though, I am a lot more motivated to do hard run workouts than bike though

Anonymous said...

put vaseline where your wetsuit rash is. it works like a charm. before and after workout (after to make it heal, before to prevent further chafing).

Kevin said...

I went out for a hard ride on Wednesday with the intention of doing some speed work, but I couldn't get my HR over 165 bpm. With only 4 weeks until Ironman, I figure the speed work really is kinda pointless - I'm not going to be going much faster than 35 km/h at any point during the race. So I think I'm just going to focus on my long rides and throw in a few short tempos during the week to mix it up. I was doing more tempo work earlier in the year, and I think that has helped boost my LT enough that I can handle rides like Cypress way better than I could before. I think after IMC I'm going to do a lot more focus on speed and tempo to build up for next year.