Aero Tweaking

AeroTweakingThis morning I woke at 4:30am and decided to enter Ironman Wales !  Ever since it was announced I knew I wanted to do it. It’s in a beautiful part of the UK . I was keen to do an UK Ironman next year so was considering Bolton but this cannot fail to be a more scenic course and Tenby looks like a lovely place. My mum tells me I’ve been there but I think I was about 8 and don’t remember much other than wanting to buy toy soldiers.

I’m now very excited about that race which is a little bizarre given how much there is between now and then. It’s important to make sure I enjoy it all and don’t wish the time away. Made me think about Jo’s excellent article on Tri247.

This really is the start of my season. I took a break after the European Long course with an eye on how much I had on this winter. Here’s whats in store:

Kona – the season opener.

We then travel to New Zealand and pretty soon after arrival we do the Five Passes Tour as part of the Scott Browns team. Pretty chuffed that we’ve got ourselves on to a team for that.

After that it’s head down to get ready for Ironman Western Australia. My hope is to have a good go at a new Ironman PB there. Christmas in the southern hemisphere again, almost certainly aiming to repeat last years epic ride. Then it’s Epic Camp which ends with Challenge Wanaka. I’m hoping that I will be willing and able to do the Full Challenge though the half is whats required for camp completion.

Then heads down again to get ready for Ironman New Zealand.  I’ve always felt this is a race I could do really well at largely because the training environment in Christchurch during the run up to it is fantastic. This may be the last time we winter down there so I’m keen to make the most of it and try and nail this race. In order to do this I may have to temper myself on Epic Camp which I know I will find very hard to do.

Once back in the UK it’s not long before we head to Lanzarote to host our first EverydayTraining Camp. We’re very excited about this, it should be great fun. A brief period back in the UK before back out to Lanzarote. For me it’s a 2 weeks training camp to get in shape for Ironman Austria. Jo will be racing. I’m looking forward to supporting her as well as five of my athletes who will be racing. That is going to be some race day.

Then it’s head down trying to get in sub 9 hour shape for Ironman Austria before I can really start focussing on Ironman Wales. Hopefully I will be heading back here soon after that with the 2012 slot in the bag.

This Ironman Malarky certainly gets you’re life planned out. I rather like that but have to keep bringing myself back to the present. So this morning at 4:30 I entered Ironman Wales I then chilled out before heading out to swim the full course with Roger. This was a two pod swim … ie I saw two pods of dolphins. At this rate it’s going to be a special swim if I don’t see dolphins.

With not much planned I had a relaxing day ahead. A long breakfast with Roger and Mary then a slow walk home bumping in to a few people I know. It’s started and it’s what makes it fun – being halfway across the world and knowing more people walking down the street than I’d know in my home town.

And now to the title of the post. Yesterday Jo had noted that my aero position looked a lot lower than on my P3. I could feel this and was slightly concerned that I wasn’t able to put the power down like I could. It felt like I needed to raise the bars a little. Unfortunately on this frame the steerer has been cut too short (not my fault but I guess it was cut short when it was being displayed at shows). It’s very marginal whether I can really put an extra spacer in so instead I switched the stem around. This raises the bars but also the aero bars since with the Oval SCCS system the aero bars always run at the same angle as the stem. It certainly looks odd but I thought I’d give it a go. Boy oh boy was it comfortable – I felt way better on the bike. My arms relaxed onto the aero bars and it felt like my hips were slightly more open. Tomorrow I plan to ride long and see how I can hold this aero position. It’s not something I think I would have tried but now I have I’m quite optimistic about it. If this doesn’t work I may move to the aero bars above the bars with proper elbow pads on it. This should get me back to my previous position almost exactly.

It was a short ride as the key thing was heading out on my run. I now have use of “our” Garmin as Jo found one at the bottom of the sea in Lanza and is now using that. It means I am running on pace which is something I knew I should do and planned to start using it in my training after this race. I want to push up my default pace and to do this I need to run a little faster in all my training runs. It’s something I discussed with Clas post Ironman New Zealand. He felt that in the Ironman Run you fall in to your default pace. During Epic Camp this seemed to be 5:30 / KM and thats more or less what I ran at New Zealand. Todays run I was knocking out just over 5 min / km pace for the full 16km. It felt comfortably and made me feel just under 3:30 is realistic but low 3:20s is a stretch. It also confirms the feeling I have that I’m not yet running as fast in my vibrams as I would in racing flats. This may make you think I should race in flats. Two reasons not to. Firstly I ran in them once in the last 3 months. Secondly I believe that though my pace is slow in the vibrams (this is only a feeling as I’ve not measure it) I don’t seem to tire as much over the long haul in them. We will see come a week tomorrow.

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