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