Bike Training - What Bike training?

Event Stats:
Name Ford Ironman 70.3 California
Date 03/31/2007
Location Oceanside, CA, USA
Event Half Ironman
Finish Time 05:57:27

 People come to Southern California because it’s always warm and sunny, right? That thought went through my head, when I was standing in Transition at 6:30 with temperatures in the lower 50s, my naked feet on the concrete floor that sucked every bit of warmth out of my body. Waiting for my wave of the swim start was probably the worst part of the whole race. It actually felt warm when I finally entered the water, although it only had 59F.

The swim itself, a short out-and-back in the Oceanside marina was uneventful, and - due to the wave start - not even crowded. A quick transition and off I was on my bike.

I had ordered myself a brand new bike (a Quintana Roo Tequilo). It arrived a day before I started my trip to California, so I didn’t even have the saddle height adjusted when I got to SoCal. The last time I had ridden a bike before that day? Sometime in June last year, I think.

Punishment came instantly. Since I am a reasonably good swimmer (and a very bad cyclist) I am used to getting passed on the bike constantly, so that didn’t worry me. But after about 15 minutes, my hands fell asleep, my back started hurting and I felt ready to quit.

I had more-or-less ridden the bike porting of the race a year before, so I knew that it featured a VERY steep climb in the middle of Camp Pendleton. This year, with this bike, this gear-set and no training, it proved to much for me. When your standing with your full body weight on a pedal, and the bike doesn’t move, its time to step off and walk. Lucky for me, the climb wasn’t very long, so the embarrassment of walking lasted for less than two minutes.

Nevertheless, I got my act together on the run, and although it finally got quite hot and sunny and my legs hurt, ran a (for me very decent) 2:03 half marathon, allowing me to finish in just under 6 hours total, which was my goal time for this event.

Lessons learned:
  1. At night, even in Southern California, the sun does not always shine
  2. A great bike, without a proper bike fit, is a crappy bike
  3. Always pack a pair of throw-away shoes/flip-flops
  4. The pain in your legs at the start of the run really goes away
  5. When that happens, the end of the run isn’t too far away