IMMT is now just over three weeks away and I have one last weekend of heavy training before the taper begins. I'm feeling strong and pretty confident about how my training has gone. For this post however, I'm going to focus primarily on the bike, which is my strength, and where I feel I underperformed two years ago at IMMT.
In 2013 I biked a 5:06 on 232 watts. My goal for 2015 is to bike 4:53 on 245 watts - 13 minutes faster on 13 more watts. If it was strictly the same setup as before, this would be hard to attain by simply pushing 13 more watts. However, I've made several little changes that I feel will add up to a significantly faster bike time on only 5% more power.
A few things have changed on my bike that should make me a bit quicker. I've changed out my front brake to a TriRig OmegaX, which has a smaller front profile. I've swapped out my Adamo saddle in favor of a Dash one, which is a savings of around 300 grams - nothing aero there, but, with climbing, any weight savings help. It took me close to three months to adjust to the minimal padding of this saddle but I now love it. I've also dropped my bars by about an inch, slightly lowering my frontal profile to get a bit more aero.
In terms of clothing, I'm wearing a PI Octane suit this season and have gone from the Lazer Tardiz helmet back to the Giro Advantage2 helmet. My flat kit will be split in two parts - the tube and levers jammed under my seat and CO2 and inflator in the tail of my helmet. My bike will be free of most crap that people throw on for an Ironman - as aero as possible. I'll also be running latex tubes inside my Continental GP 4000s tires.
On race day I've decided to use the on-course nutrition for the bike, which is Gatorade. I'll start the bike with two pre-mixed bottles so that I won't have to visit an aid station over the first 30+ miles. I'll be taking SaltStick caps due to the lack of extra sodium in the regular Gatorade - I keep them hidden behind my BTA bottle in a M&M's mini container that's velcroed to my stem. I'll be concentrating gels in a small watter bottle that is in a cage zip-tied under my seat - again out of the wind and as aero as possible.
Based on riding a 2:18 on 275 watts at the 70.3 WC at Tremblant I feel that 30 less watts should result in a time of around 4:53 - about eight minutes slower per lap. I've also used Best Bike Split, and, depending on wind, temp, and other conditions, the prediction on my time is in the 4:53-4:55 range. One thing I'll be doing is printing out and taping a piece of paper behind my bike computer that simply says: STAY AERO! I'm amazed how many people don't remain in the aero position during an IM. I've noticed that I tend to come out of aero around 16-17 mph when starting to climb - if I can remain in aero down to 12-13 mph it can pay big dividends come race day.
Finally, I've decided that on race day I'll be shaving any exposed hair. This means in addition to the usual legs I'll also be going smooth on the arms. Videos posted by Specialized regarding time savings (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_C8K9x47q0) have shown that simply shaving arms can be good for over one minute saved during an IM - if eyebrow shaving would result in time saved I just may do it. Overall, I feel that all of these small changes should result in a big chunk of time saved.
Pushing 13 more watts is a decent change from two years ago. I've had longer rides this year than in 2013 and am feeling very strong on the bike. Just yesterday I did a 3 1/2 hr ride and averaged 264 watts: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/842006462. The middle 2 1/2 hours were at a average of 272 watts, and my HR was only 143 for the ride. 245 watts is a number I'm capable of and I should be able to have a strong run to follow.
Finally, I'm feeling pretty good in the water of late. I had a swim this morning in Echo Lake near Jackson, NH, where I did 5 laps of the small lake. The swim resulted in 4600 yards swam in 1:03: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/843128861. If I can have a swim close to this at Tremblant it will be a good start to the day!