Tuesday, 26 May 2009

More Speed

I finally managed to get some time in on the new bike this weekend. In fact I managed three rides. The first ride on Friday night was actually a scouting ride. Most of my training has been longer rides at a steady pace but I want to start including some short interval sessions on the road. To do this I want to find somewhere flat and quiet, close to home where I can get a good 10 minute interval in. I haven’t really found anywhere yet, though I only had a look around for an hour or so.

My second ride on Saturday was a lap of the Ironman UK bike course from last year. This is a route I have done many times so provides a useful comparison. Though I may still not really used to the bike and I was still building my confidence on the aero-bars, I was about 2km/h faster than my fastest previous time around this route. That is a very significant increase for me and is very pleasing. I think I will get faster still as my confidence builds.

Sunday was another ride, this time a 4 hour trek up to Cheddar and back. The main purpose of this ride, other than just getting the miles in my legs, was to try out a new nutritional strategy for the bike ride. My big race this year is the Ironman and I need a feeding plan that is going to fit in with what is available there. For the bike that means Gatorade, PowerBars and water, plus of course whatever I want to provide and carry myself. Many of the reviews I have seen have been less than complementary towards Gatorade in the context of endurance sports so I have decide to try a plan based on PowerBars and water. This also means I can separate my fluid intake from my fuel intake and will minimise the amount I need to carry.

On the whole things worked quite well. I ate 5 PowerBars during the 4 hour ride which works out at around 300 calories per hour. My stomach tolerated everything quite well, the only time I had a minor issue was when I was not drinking enough. With my new bike I have fitted an aero drinks bottle between the bars which works well but has made it harder for me to keep track of how much fluid I have consumed. It was easier to see the level in an ordinary bottle and I used to calculate it in bottles per hour. Once I drank some more fluid I was fine. Now I need to try this plan in anger at the Weymouth Middle Distance triathlon in a couple of weeks. This will also give me chance to make sure everything holds together under race conditions.

On a side note, I passed through Somerton on my Sunday ride which was acting as the base for the Tour of Wessex, a multi-day cyclosportive around the South-West. On the way back from Cheddar I was held up for a few minutes while the related Kings of Wessex road race went past in the other direction. Good to see we still have some events locally even if we have lost the Ironman to Bolton.

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