Satisfaction on the bike

A friend asked me this week, ‘Which your my strongest discipline?’  A year ago I would have said ‘running”, with my weakness being swimming. If you’re going to have a weakness in Ironman, swimming is the best one to have.  Having pondered this questions for a day or so, I’ve concluded that my strength is cycling. I love running and have more experience there, but I’m making good gains on the bike at present. My running gains are much slower. Again, I feel fortunate that my strength is the best discipline to be ‘strong’ in.

In the past year,  I moved from being a non-cyclist in May 2014 to completing the 180km bike leg of my first Ironman, in 7 hours 05 minutes. I’m  keen to get that time under 7 hours in 2016, and at present my training is on track. Today was my longest ride since the 100km Flyer (Taupo to Rotorua), back in April. I took the same route that I followed for a long ride a couple of weeks ago, adding on a ride around Mount Ngongotaha at the end. With a total of almost 1000 m of climbing, I was happy to average just over 22km/hr for the 91km ride. Since I love analysing numbers/statistics (the teacher in me), I have reviewed my Strava data for from last August until now. I’ve made some significant gains of some segments of rides, and managed three personal best times on today’s ride.  What took me 24 minutes back in September, now takes 18 minutes.  I’m writing this on a Saturday evening while I’m feeling fresh. If last week is anything to go by, a  two hour steady state session on bike tomorrow morning will change that.

I’ve had three runs this week; none of them over an hour. I’m finding that I can run my target half marathon and 10 km pace times on tired legs. Although it’s not easy, I know the good this is doing me,  with my end goals in mind.

This week’s total training time will be fourteen hours, which seems to be the norm for the time being.  It’s only two weeks until school holidays and I’m ready have a couple of weeks where the work/training/life balance is a little easier.

On the nutrition front, I repeated last week’s approach to today’s ride, riding with only a pre-ride coffee with cream, a bottle of chia seeds, water and lemon, as well as the Nuun for electrolytes. I did eat some solid food (nuts), on the second half of the ride and didn’t feel the need for any carbs. I took some BCAA capsules half and hour before the ride and took a few more mid-ride. These are making a huge difference to muscle fatigue while riding, as well as to recovery.

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