The Wildflower Triathlon Festival is a must do for any triathlete that loves our sport. The event is so well run and the energy surrounding it is something you have to experience to understand. But if you want to perform well at this event then make sure you fully understand the difficulty of the course and cliamte. I say this from experience now that I have raced there and performed poorly. I ate an entire humble pie on Saturday May 2nd in the quiet little California county park known as Lake San Antonio.
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It would be hard to write this blog post if I hadn’t actually put in the training time and effort. . . . . But I have trained hard and seen very steady progress in my training numbers since last December. I have watched my swim continue to get a little stronger each month, I experienced the joy of watching my FTP on the bike increase by over 30 watts in 5 months, and I ran a strong 33:51 10k road race on April 26th. So what happened during the race on May 2nd? Well I made some ridiculously rookie mistakes. I won’t bore you with the details of these mistakes or pass on negativity by talking about all the crap that went wrong, but it is safe to say (again) that my fitness by the numbers at this point in the year passed the test but my race specific preparation failed this first test of the year. Here is a quick recap of each race leg.
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I came out of the water with the group that included Matty “Boom Boom” Reed, Jesse Thomas and Mark Bowstead. So I know my swim training is where it needs to be. The start of the swim was fast and furious as normal, but it chilled out to a pretty comfortable pace after about 500m.
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I will make this explanation as quick as possible. 1) Make sure you know everything about the functionality of your power meter before your first race with it. 2) If your Garmin reset screen comes on when you turn on your watch in a foreign place make sure you recalibrate your watch to your power meter. 3) If you have a power meter that uses ANT Plus technology then make sure your computer is calibrated to your power meter before you take it to transition where there is other power meters. 4) Be aware that if your Garmin is not matched and calibrated to your own power meter then it will pick up which ever power meter is wants to when you turn it on in transition on race morning. 5) I hope you never have to try to recalibrate your power meter in T1. 6) I hope you never have to stop on the side of the road 2 miles into the bike leg of a triathlon and match and recalibrate your power meter to your watch.
Seriously Adam? You stopped in the middle of a race to get your power meter to work? Yes I did. I have been training intensively with my power meter in an effort to become a better cyclist and I needed / wanted to have that data to race with and examine post race. This is the first race of the season and my long term plan outweighed the result I was going for on this day, at this point in the season.
Coming from doing almost 100% of my training indoors I got eaten alive by the terrain and conditions of the course. I have done quite a few races and I can quite safely say this is one of the most challenging triathlon bike courses in North America. Nasty Grade is nasty. . . . . it is awesome in a challenging kind of way, but it is nasty and I agree with Jeff Symonds in that you should have a 27 tooth ring on your cassette.
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Not good. My body was quite shocked from the unfamiliarity of the stress imposed upon it from the bike course and so I did what I could with what I had. I stuck to the advice I give my son when he is doing a kids run or any form of sports – “try your best and it will be a success”. I did try my best and the feeling of bordering on light-headedness leading into each aid station over the second half of the run course indicated that I was in the red zone and my poor performance wasn’t from lack of effort.
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Attention over the next week is to a) spend quality time with my family and b) recover properly and c) get back to full training by the weekend. Challenge Quassy Half is in 5 weeks and as you likely gathered from this blog post, I will be sure to get the heck outside on my bike and not be so ignorant as to think that low RPM work on a trainer will translate to performance on a very hilly course in a desert with a scorching sun. . . . . . Note: Quassy is in Connecticut, so therefore not in a desert. The fitness gained from this race is certainly a positive and carrying that into the training for Quassy will certainly be beneficial.
After a discussion with my wife last night we are planning for me to take a break from Challenge Penticton this year and instead go back to a race course that I feel I can properly prepare for and suits my strengths – Challenge Cedar Point. I will certainly be looking to improve on my 8:47:30 performance there from 2012.
As always I hope that anyone who reads this can learn a thing or two from my mistakes.
In my next post I plan to outline my goals for the rest of this season and the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Truly setting long term goals and then and putting them out for everyone to see is something I have, perhaps, thought I was doing by have yet to actually do it.
Thanks for reading,