Ironman Arizona is right around the corner. I have raced this race maybe seven times? Since I have been racing pro the conversation remains the same. Do I ride with the group I get out the water with, or ride my power? I am motivated by competition, so I like to be in the mix. I like to be riding with people and know I am placing well. The trouble is, this means a dynamic ride. The stronger riders will try to drop the weaker ones, there will be surges, accordions, and epic explosions.
The major allure is what if… What if I make it to the end of the bike with this group and we ride a 4:16? That would be huge! It would also set me up well for a PR. If I was talking to myself as coach, I would tell myself how ludicrous that is. Even if I somehow made it to the end of the bike with the group, the power spikes and intensity of the ride would fry my run, and I would likely run a 3:10-3:15.
The more likely scenario is that I would ride the first two loops with the group, then soft pedal the last loop and try to salvage a run. This has happened countless times. It is hard to explain the challenge of letting guys ride away in hopes of catching them later. I have rarely been able to do this. I have been really focusing my run in order to be more run confident. I am hoping this will make it easier to ride my race and set myself up to run well off the bike.
So, all that being said, here is the plan. The swim is always the same. I hope to start hard, and latch on to the fastest group I can. Once I am out of the water I will glance at the clock, but it doesn’t matter, on to the ride. I am going to try my hardest to hold 240 watts all day. If there is a group riding close, under 260 I might try to stay with them. I hope to be able to ride the last loop at 240 watts and not be forced to self pedal. According to best bike split, this will give me a 4:30. This is just about five minutes faster than last year. My normalized power would be just about the same, but the application of this power will be very different. That is the goal. To be steady all day.
If I ride steady, not only will I ride faster, I will also feel better for the run. I am hoping to run a 2:56. I plan on doing this by running steady 6:40s, just like my ride. I am hoping that will get me across the line in about a 8:26. Hopefully by writing this race plan down will help hold me accountable and help me to make good decisions while I race!
As I said, this is not what I am best at. I know it can help me get the best result. So, I am working on letting my ego go. This will aloha me to let riders go, and focus on my race. Ideally all the other details will come together, and make this goal attainable.