Monday, April 1, 2013

Countdown to Ironman France - 12 weeks to go

This is the first countdown post where I didn't have to look up how many weeks were remaining. That means we're getting close. Also I didn't sleep so well last night - another sign that the race is closing in.

This week's news - meet the mountain goat.

Yes, I bought another bike. Cervelo S2 2012.
There is a saying that is perhaps true for me. The correct number of bikes to own is N+1 where N=the number of bikes you currently have. Another forumla is S-1 where S= the number of bikes when your spouse will leave you. :-)

This is a road bike and the plan is that most likely I will take this bike to France for the race. Why this bike and not the Shiv? Well, in all honesty I could take the Shiv. I love the Shiv. Well I don't always love the fuelselage but mostly I do love the Shiv. But if you search for online reviews of the Shiv you will see that it's not known for great climbing or great handling in technical situations. After a year of riding it I agree with this assessment. I take the widest turns out of anybody in my whole group. It is known for being super fast and aerodynamic in flat races. Since that's 99.9% of what I do here in Florida it is a perfect fit for that. But not for France.

The France course is hilly (understatement, 6000 feet of climbing) and technical descending. It is very hard if not impossible for me to train for the technical descending part of the course because even when I find hills they are pretty much straight up and down. And part of my Ironman training program is stacking the deck as much in my favor as I can. For me that does not include a lot of hilly training rides. It does include finding the best bike for the situation at hand and taking that bike to France.

Step one - research the bikes. I'm not tall. I'm 5 feet and 4 inches possibly an extra 1/4 inch depending on who measures me. My height is in my legs. I have short arms. (my brother is chuckling here ... family joke about my short arms ... moving on).

The research shows that for people under 5'6" without long torsos (read: many women) the best choices are Specialized Amira and Cervelo.

Step two - visit the bike shops. Now many people have many opinions about many bikes. This one's good, this one's great blahbity, blahbity, blahbity. One consistant opinion - Cervelo makes fast bikes. Even people who don't sell Cervelo will say they are fast bikes. Sadly after visiting the three stores in Miami who sell Cervelo ... nothing in my size except the newest S5 (starting at $5000) sadly out of my price range.

So I look at the Specialized Amira. It's available in my size but I don't love the look and it's $4000 because it's not on sale. So I think I'm taking my Shiv to France. It's okay - it's a great bike. But I go ahead and check on Ebay because a lot of people buy bikes and then don't ride them and used bikes don't hold their value even if they are in great shape. I find one and it's local but I don't know enough to pull the trigger. I call my posse of experts and get advice on buying a used bike and what the price should be. I go back and the bike I was watching isn't there. I can't tell if it sold or the auction just expired. Oh well. Then one of my posse forwards me the same bike now on Craigs List. I email the person. They email me back. They appear not to be a serial killer. They provide the details - my posse reviews them and we agree on a price. I head to Fort Lauderdale and buy a bike. Ta - dah!

I ride the bike a little bit. It's very light. This is good because I have to haul this thing up some very big hills so I'm focused on what the bike weighs. Historically I've never really cared about an ounce here and an ounce there. Now I am actually paying attention.

I have a fitting (they take forever). I add aero bars (to hold the water bottle not really to ride in much) and we spend an hour fitting the aerobars even though I keep saying ... they are just for the water bottle. Oh well, I suppose it's best if the fit shows they are in the right spot.
My fit was done by Mike Sinkover who works out of Bikes to Go. He does my comuptrainer training. I think it's a good fit but time will tell.

I ride the bike a little every day to get used to it. It's a bike - feels like a bike but does handle very well. I can tell that it is much more responsive than the tri bike in turns. I do have a pretty massive toe overlap but that's on all bikes my size so it's something to be aware of more than a problem.

I install the torpedo bottle thingie. Those bolts are a PITA to tighten.

Underneath all that tape are light carbon aerobars. I sound like that stupid video now when I'm in the bike store, is this carbon? Which one is lighter?
After a week of short rides on the Adamo saddle I'm sore - it's not love at first ride for the saddle. Some people say it takes time to adjust. I'm thinking if you have to work that hard to be comfy it's not right.

Ahhh the Adamo podium. It was on the bike. It's not love at first ride for me and actually Adamo themselves say the podium isn't the best saddle for me so I think he's on the way out. We'll see.
Also in my first training rides I feel slower on the bike - like it's more work to get to 20mph I'm guessing that's due to the non-aero wheels but that's a guess.

Saturday was the first long ride on the bike.  90 miles and 6 hours total time. The bike is fast and handled well in the wind. I had no trouble getting to 20 with my group. My right thumb is a little numb from the long ride and my right foot. And my butt is really unhappy with the saddle. Really unhappy. Not my sit bones but the flesh at the top of my thigh is bruised/chaffed on each side. I think it's not a good saddle for me and part of the reason I think that is that I love my Specialized saddle and never have issues with it. I think the Adamo is too wide in the middle for me and when I peddle rubs against the flesh at that spot. So I'm probably going to buy another one of the saddles that works for me.

The Speedfill A2 also bottle didn't work perfectly for me. This is user error I think (read: it's my fault). So on Saturday's ride I was short on fluid and calories which was a good lesson. I have 12 weeks to get it figured out. What happened was that the bottle was tilted down toward the top but the straw went to the bottom of the bottle. So the bottle had to be 100 % full for the straw to work. Which is also to say ... it didn't work. So I mostly drank at stops which isn't enough.

I think what I want to do is go with a concentrate bottle of Infinit. Basically 8 hours of calories in one bottle (that's gonna be some potent mix) and then water from the course. I haven't trained like this so I'm going to try it this week. The advantages of this method are that I don't have to carry 8 bottles (impossible anyway), I don't have to mix on the way and I can separate calories from hydration. The disadvantages are if I lose that bottle I am in trouble, it may taste like total shiskabob. (Shiskabob is a code word here ... use your imagination.

So that's the Mountain Goat. I think I'll call her Maggie. With so many bikes in the garage - they need names. Actually they don't because they are all different but somehow Mountain Goat reminds me of Maggie.

Last Item: March Totals according to Training Peaks and my lousy record keeping :-)

Swim7450 yards - this seems low and while there was a week not in the pool I think I must have been sloppy about recording the yards. Or maybe I need to pick this up a bit.
Bike - 311.36 miles this is always low because I do 2 workouts a week on the trainer so whatever.
Run - 73.91 miles this should be right unless I ran a bunch without my watch. Probably not.
Some 57 miles of brick? I have no idea what this is and when I double click on it ... I get nothing so who knows.

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