Sunday, July 1, 2012

Not the Original plan

My plan after Ironman South Africa was to spend more time on the bike to build strength and get a swim coach to prepare for Ironman70.3 Worlds in Las Vegas in September.

All was going according to plan. I did a lot of Mountain Bike races and spend a lot of time on the bike. I also found a swim coach in a nearby town and she helped me a lot improving my swim technique. For the first time in my life I could feel that I was making progress in the water.

Well all of this changed when I went to do a Bike race on the weekend of the 9&10th of June. For the past five years, I think, I've been wanting to do the Kremetart Cycle race but every year something happen just before the race which force me not to go.

On the Saturday it was the 175km Stage road race. It was four stages making up the 175km and the stages were spread over the entire day. I enjoyed it and was really happy with my time finishing in 5h14.
The Sunday was the Mountain bike race and it was a 50km circular race going up the Soutpansberg mountain and back again.

It was going well up until the 42km mark. At some of the water points the volunteers would give us the position we were in and at the last water point they told me I am in position 13. I was pushing hard and overtook two guys and could see position nr.10 a few meters ahead of me. They warned us about the single track and I negotiated that well and was going down a gravel road which was smooth and probably five meter wide. So nothing serious or technical or so I thought.

As I came round the corner I lost control and couldn't make the corner and took a big tumble. According to my Garmin 910xt I went from 39.9km/h to 0km/h in 4 seconds. I got up and was feeling OK, gathering all my water bottles and bike computer that was a few meters away and started going again but soon felt that my shoulder was not good.

While I was cycling I was feeling with my left hand what was going on and felt some bone in my right shoulder moving. That's when realized something was wrong. The next 8km was the hardest of my life cycling with one hand and only able to use my front brake, but at least I finished the race.

Long story short when I got to the finish line the medics checked me out and send me to the Hospital. After X-rays they confirmed that I broke my Collarbone in two places and will have to undergo surgery. Within two hours I was checked in and in the theater where they inserted a plate and screws.

When I went for my post opp X-rays and check up, two weeks after surgery, they discovered that I also fractured one rib and cracked another.

For now it seems that the Knysna Big5 event this coming weekend is not going to happen. I am spending now a lot of time on the indoor trainer to keep the legs going and the Physio is also giving me a good work out to get the shoulder ready.

Luckily Ironman70.3 is only on the 9th of September and if I look after myself now I should be ready.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Post Ironman Activity

What do you do the week after Ironman and you have plenty of time during the weekend.

I buy rubbish from street vendors and irritate Eddy.

Well it's not that I don't wanna get out and ride my mountain bike or do an easy run but I've been booked off for two weeks. My breathing didn't get any better after IM, still struggling to breath and developed a nasty cough. I eventually went to the Doc. Reckon I have some lung infection and has put me on antibiotics and some forced rest before I can get back into training.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ironman South Africa Race Report

This past weekend was Ironman SA and it was definitely my hardest Ironman to date and a big disappointment after all the long hours and hard training the past few months.

Finished in 11h59:54 (my worst time ever)
Swim: 1h26:58
Bike: 5h48:50
Run: 4h38:51

The weather was just terrible, it was cold, raining and the wind was pumping at more than 60km/h.
This wet and it's before swim start

For someone who does all his swim training in the pool at the gym and is not used to open water swimming in the sea the swim was just terrible. The swell and the chop was so bad that I became sea sick but I could carry on although it was awful.

To put it in perspective I suffer heavily from motion sickness. I must always take tablets when I'm flying and can't even sit in a Bus or Train facing the opposite direction of where it's going. It's so bad that I can't even watch these angling programs on TV where it shows a boat floating while they catch fish, I get sick just looking at the boat going up and down on TV.

The day really went pear shape when I swallowed/inhaled seawater at the second turn buoy on the second lap, about 3km into the swim. I couldn't breath and it felt like I was about to drown. I tried looking for a life guard but couldn't see one and decided to just slowly swim breast stroke until I could see someone.

I couldn't find anyone and struggled along until I felt a little bit better and swam back home for the last odd kilometer.

Well that was my day, although I didn't realized it yet. My chest just tightened up and I couldn't breath properly for the rest of the day.

Onto the bike and I was puking my lungs out for the first 10 odd kilometers from being sea sick and it was just sea water all the way. As soon as I drank some water it all came out again. After a while I felt better and decided to start pushing the pace but then I had develop stomach cramps and before I knew it I was looking for a bush to do my thing.

Stopped at about 30km and then again at just after 65km and lost almost 8minutes just spending time in the bush with diarrhea. Luckily that stopped but my days was slowly falling apart. I still tried to push and get my heart rate and power levels up but as soon as my heart rate went up, I couldn't breath and had to slow down just to be able to breath.
portaloo nr 2

Not to mention the 60+ km/h wind that kept me hanging on for dear life on my bike. Have heard people say that they've seen athletes being blown off their bikes in races. Well this was the first time I saw it myself, when a guy about 30meters in front of me at about the 90km mark was on his bike and the next moment lying on the road.

I took the last 20minutes on the bike easy as it was a strong tailwind pushing me along and thought that it  might help to regain my form on the run.

Onto the run I could manage just over 5min/km for the first few kilometers but as soon as I tried to up the pace, I just couldn't breath. I then knew that this is not my day and went into survival mode just to finish.

At the end of lap one I saw Kim and DJ next to the road and asked them to meet me at the personal seconding station to hand me my long sleeve running top as I was freezing. When I met them coming back I told them I think I must call it a day as I can't breath.

Then Kim told me to finish no matter what, even if you walk the next 25km and as long as you walk you will finish. DJ gave me also some encouraging words and I realized that they are also having a bad day as spectators in this crap weather and I can't disappoint them.
Die-Hard supporters
I then jogged until I struggled to breath and then walked until I felt better, repeating this until the finish line.

As I said not my best day but sometimes you need these days to appreciate the good ones. For now it's back to the drawing board and to the beginners class and some well deserved R&R to bounce back stronger.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Buffelspoort Half Ironman Race Report

Buffelspoort Half Ironman was this weekend and also the final race before Ironman SA.

Before all the detail here's the result, then you don't have to scroll down to the end to see my result and won't be bored by the detail (for all those non Triathlete readers)

Time: 4h56:09 (incl 5 minute swim penalty. Wanna know why, read the report)
Swim: 43:04 (38:04 actual time)
Bike: 2h42:03 ( including T1 and T2)
Run: 1h31:02

4th overall Individual and 2nd in 40-49 age group out of 226 entries of which 184 finished. The same old same, 64th after swim, 5th best bike time, 4th best half marathon time ending up in 4th overall, missing the podium by 2 seconds. Crazy, missing the podium by 2 seconds after 5 hours of racing.

Race Report:
This was my final race before Ironman South Africa and I used it as a dress rehearsal for IMSA.

The swim was a non wetsuit swim with the water being 23c but with so many athletes using this race as their final prep the race organizers gave the athletes the option to swim with a wetsuit but start 5 minutes after the start.

As I was using it for final prep and not being a good swimmer I opted for the wetsuit and took the 5 minute penalty (now I know it wasn't a smart moved, 5 minutes vs 2 seconds).

The swim was a two lap affair and everything went OK, not my fastest swim but I managed

Out of the water and onto the bike. At race briefing they said that the route changed from last year (first time I did this race so I didn't know what was waiting)

To summarize the bike course, it was brutal! I just couldn't find my rhythm and I wasn't prepared for the hills with the bike set up I had. Going uphill at 9km/h and then coming down the same hill at 92km/h summarize it.

My bike is set up for IMSA with a 54/42 crank and a 11/23 cassette. Going up a hill at 15% is not fun even if you are in the 42/23 ratio.

Apart from the difficult bike course I had to remind myself that this is a dress rehearsal for IM and to focused on what I trained for. My nutrition was spot on, a gel on the hour, Rehidrat sport at 15min and 45min of the hour and Energade at 30min of the hour.

This is how I trained taking in something every 15 minutes and balancing it. Being a hot day I took 2 salt tablets on the 2 hour mark.

My Power and Cadence was a little bit lower than I wanted it to be but it was difficult maintaining a constant power output and the rpm's I wanted with all the up and downhills. At the end I managed 251watts average at 81rpm.

Race with my new LG Vorttice helmet and it was great. My previous LG aero helmet cracked and I had to get a new one. Some reviews suggested that the helmet doesn't have enough air vents and can become hot but I didn't experience any of that and it was a hot day out there.

I must thank Antonie for helping me getting the helmet. With the helmet not being available in SA, he bought it for me in the US, he arrived back in SA Saturday evening and I raced with it Sunday morning. Thanks A, appreciate!

Off the bike the run route was 3 laps of 7km and I felt good from the first step. Nutrition was again spot on with Coke at one aid station and water at the other with 2 salt tablets every 30minutes together with a gel.

Coming down the final straight me and another athlete was involved in a sprint for the finish line but he just beat me to it by 2 seconds to take 3rd place and the final podium spot.

Only negative about the race was the entry fee and what I feel was a bit of a rip off. R600 entry fee and the Goodie bag has October 2011 Triathlete SA magazine in it and a cheap T-Shirt, that's it! The prizes were also only awarded for top 3 male, female and teams overall with no category prizes.

Well I am now in the final stretch before IM with three weeks of HARD training including some killer brick sessions. Then it is a week of race simulation training before 2 weeks taper.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Family Member

Meet the latest addition to the Family. I've finally decided to upgrade from my entry level Steel frame Mountain bike to something better.

Thanks to my friend Russell, who supplied me with a Token carbon frame and from there on wards I added the rest.

Must say it is one huge improvement going from a steel bike 26" to a carbon 29". I took it for a ride on Saturday and couldn't believe how easy the climbing and riding uphill has become. The handling is also much better. At first I thought it will take me a while to get used to it but after about two hours I got the hang of it.

For now I won't be riding it that often but after Ironman, end of April, I think I might get addicted to mountain biking.

I've become so use to train with a power meter that i decided to add a Powertap power meter to the MTB as well. One advantage is I have a Powertap on my road bike so I basically just swop the head unit around when I change bikes.

It is amazing to see the difference between the watts produced on the MTB vs the TT bike. Once I've used the MTB more it would be interesting to compare the wattage output between the two bikes and the different styles.

Here's a summary of the main components of the bike.

Frame: Token Carbon 29er
Group set: SRAM X9
Fork: Rockshox Sidi XX with remote lockout
Saddle: Fizik Gobi
Tyres: Continental (tubeless conversion)
Pedals: Shimano XT
Handlebar and Stem: Deda
Rear hub: Powertap power meter

and all this weighing in at just more than 10kg's

Monday, February 20, 2012

Still on Track

Long overdue blog post but here it is.

I am still on track for Ironman South Africa on the 22nd of April and in preparation I did the IM70.3 in East London end of January.

Ironman South Africa 70.3 went rather well and the last three weeks of training certainly helped. I took my annual leave during the first, two weeks of January and had a "training camp" while we were down at the South Coast. Back at altitude for one week recovering and then it was down at the coast again for the race.

Results wise I finished in 4h58:44, giving me a 5th place in my age group out of 410. Overall I managed 57th place out of the odd 3000 athletes.

My swim was below par and almost 4 minutes slower than before but I could make up on the bike and the run. My Bike split was 6 minutes faster than 2010 and my run almost 3 minutes faster.

My trusty old P4, waiting for me in T1.

With the result I managed to qualify for Ironman70.3 World in Las Vegas in September. Very Happy with that.

During the first week of February we visited my home town Polokwane and I saw they had a bike race the same weekend. As part of my training I decided to do the race instead of cycling on my own to do my bike training for the Saturday.

There was no taper for the race and I did some hard intervals on the bike the Thursday and also did a 17km run on the Friday before the race on Saturday. I didn't expect a great result as I raced on tired legs but I guess doing the smaller races also help building the ego as the field wasn't big with just more than 100 entries for the 100km.

One thing I am not used to doing bike races is the drafting. I am so used to non drafting races and from the word go I was at the front. For the first 35km it was just me and two other guys working at the front. The rest of the riders just sat behind, doing no work.

At one stage I fell back to see how big the group was and to my surprise it was almost the whole field, having a leisurely ride while drafting all the way.

I had to remind myself that I was doing the race to train for Ironman and coasting along at below average heart rate and wattage is not going to do it for me even thou I was at the front all the time, rotating the lead. Can just image how easy the guys had it at the back.

When we hit the 35km mark and I saw an uphill I decided that this is it. I broke away and for the next odd 10km I rode at the front and was increasing the gap by the minute. At about the 45km mark one guy caught me. From there on I was riding in second place and was holding a gap of between one and two minutes.

When we hit the 70km mark, my legs were screaming and I could see the guy pulling away. In the end I managed to hold on to second place by about 1 minute, with a small group of three chasing me. At prize giving I saw the winner was in the 20-29 age group and I was the first 40+ year old and 2nd overall.

I was happy with the result, especially after the hard week of training and that I rode 65km on my own without drafting.

Just for interest sake, I had a look at my power file and for the 1st 35km my average watts was 220. During the last 65km my average watts was 267. Just shows you the effect of drafting.

Just some pictures of me and DJ having fun at the supermarket with the Star War masks while Kim was buying groceries.