Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The bike leg - the moment of truth

The bike leg is when the 8% to 15% dnf probability kicks in. Pauls and Peters won't dnf during the swim or the run. Clear the bike, and you are home.
There is a very real possibility of a dnf on the bike. How you react when the moment of truth comes, is the key. More later.
0 km
  • Don't leave your cycling shoes on the pedals to do a "fly mount" start. Even pros have problems putting their feet in the shoes and become a danger to others. Put on your cycling shoes first, then mount the bicycle.
  • There are many ways to bring your nutrition, its not an issue. Even just having two water bottles is enough due to the frequent aid stations.
  • The bike leg starts just after the blue gate. The spectators are all pumped up here. Acknowledge your loved ones, they will be up for 22 hours just for you.
  • Off YOU GO.

0 - 20km

  • Everyone is flying, even you. No one can control their excitement.

20 - 60km

  • You slow down, however only a little bit. Everything is going fine, you wonder what all the fuss is about. This Ironman is a piece of cake. You are "on target".

60 - 90km

  • Why is the speed dropping? Time to take in the bars / gels / liquids.
  • Eh why is the speed dropping even more.

90 - 150km (your thoughts)

  • I didn't realise LGK is so hot. So long already I didn't see any cloud. My head is boiling. I think I am not well.
  • Did I get food poisoning last night? The food didn't taste right. Also I didn't sleep, the neighbour so noisy.
  • Why no ice lah just now. The aid station so stupid.
  • Why the drink taste so funny. I can't drink anymore. No mood to eat too, the power bar is so yucky.
  • The speed drops to 10km/hr on the flat.
  • Oh no, there is still a long way to go. How to finish. After this must run Marathon, Oh No.
  • Where's my wife. Everybody will understand why I stop. Its only my first time.
  • Why am I getting cramp spasms. I never got it before. I feel dizzy also. Why is my cycling pants white. The bum also so painful.
  • My stomach also feels so strange.

Basically you are going to feel just awful, mark my words, you will. How you respond is key. So what do you do?

  • Regularly take iced water at every aid station. Shout for it, they will give it to you. Consume it regularly, you won't get sick. Forget old wives tales.
  • Pour the iced water on your body. If no effect, keep on doing it until you feel fine.
  • Grab that banana. Absolutely force yourself to eat it. Take the oranges - they taste good. Keep on refueling yourself, force yourself.

Quite often, it will work and you will get a second wind when all the food kicks in and you will wonder how come you felt bad just a short while ago.

Lets say, nothing works, and you do stop and GIVE UP. OK last throw of the dice. "I will wait by this road for 15 minutes, then only will I get off the course". This is the key. Giving yourself the last chance.

You know what will happen? After only 5 minutes, you feel much better, you decide to cycle slowly and after 10 ten minutes you are flying right to transition, see the crowd and friends from KL and totally forget that you were feeling bad.

The run is not a problem, even if it takes 8 hours since you can smell the finish banner. Congratulations, you are an Ironman.


zulhassan said...

Selamat hari raya tuan. :D

sofiantriathlete said...

terima kasih Zul. Selmat Hari Raya

plee said...

Selamat Aidil Fitri to you and all your family!

TQ for sharing this personal phase by phase account. Inspiring yet it warns of dangers and obstacles lurking and to NOT take them for granted.
Note to self:
Regimented nutrition and body core temperature management -crucial...

Is there a recommended heart rate range to keep during the bike??? I find it hard to keep it down (160plus- Desaru) and then the stomach problems/IBS starts to act up in the run.

Want to join you for the Fraser ride but bike tyres cut from last weeks long ride. As my wheels are 650.. waiting for stock to arrive (hopefully before Putrajaya 70.3)..So it is a wait and see where Frasers is concerned. :D

Simon said...

A couple of additional points, I recommned that you drink as much water (not sports drink) straight after the swim and before you mount the bike - you will have swallowed some salt water, even a small amount, and also although you won't feel it you will have lost a lot of fluid sweating. So it's important to start rehydrating BEFORE you get on the bike.

Second point is start eating straightaway, as Sofian points out you won't feel like it later so if you've at least had a bar and a gel or two in the first 60k then that's a great start.

Nutritrion (fluid, salts, calaries) is often referred to as the fourth discipline in triathlon and it's probably the MOST IMPORTANT in Ironman and especially IMMY due to the extreme heat and high humidity.

plee said...

Much appreciated advice, Thx Simon

kev said...

Oops, I'm guilty of doing the fly mount. Looks more cool, hahhah.

Selamat Hari Raya, enjoy some rendang on my behalf :)

tryathlete said...

nice one sofian. i've been following your tips religiously and it's been really helpful. this one reminds me of my first IM in 07.

the only difference is i didn't wait the 15 minutes before quitting. i just quit. by the time the ambulance brought me back, i felt fine and could have continued. that 15 minute wait by the roadside is important. it can make the difference between seeing the finish line and a DNF

sofiantriathlete said...

I hope you can join us for the Fraser. Surely one bike shop has stock. This is why I stopped using the 650s.
Everybody has diff heartrates. I also stopped using the HRM. Its meaningless when u bonk.

More gems from you Simon, thanks.

I'm going to Perth for holiday. Not racing on 25 oct.

sofiantriathlete said...

I think about what happened to you in 07 when I write. It seemed like you quit too fast.

I also got off and quit in 2009. Luckily there was no transport around, so I had to cycle back and ended up with a Langkawi PB.

kev said...

Too close to IMWA eh? Okay, let me know if you want to meet up :)

peter chan said...

hi sofian. interesting, insightful stuff. thanks.

maybe another time you can write more on that 4th discipline simon mentioned - race nutrition. i usually take 4-5 power gels when running a marathon. when i did the sundown ultra this year, i just couldnt take anymore after the 6th gel. i brought along lots of digestive biscuits, ritz and dates, but ended up taking very little of that stuff over the 13.5 hour run/crawl to the finish :). i plan to be out there for 16 hours in langkawi :( how to keep the blood sugar level up?

peter chan said...

oh yes, selamat hari raya, sofian.
see you on monday for the ride.

paul - hope you can join us. just bring your son's bike lah. then i may have a chance of keeping up with you :)

Emma said...

what great pearls of wisdom...don't think I have nuff experience in IM racing to add much but I would say 2 things.
FORCE yourself to eat!!! Sofian is spot on.
DONT chow a whole bar/banana in one go...too much for your tum. Have half carry on 20mins have the other half. Rotate solids/gel/solids gel if you can. Longer you are on the bike the MORE nutrition you need to put in - it really isn't rocket science but common sense...but the body will start to ignore common sense if you don't feed it. EVERY 20-30mins...set your watch if need be...okay that was more than 3!
Selamat Hari Raya EVERYONE :)

sofiantriathlete said...

They were not helpful at all so I pulled out. Definitely trying to contact you will be on my mind. Its a rush trip, Dec more time. U doing the sprint?

We will do an item on the 4th event combining everyone's advice. With the latest from TTH its just about complete I think.

Take care in Spore

Abu Soffian said...

Selamat hari Raya Dato'. Mohon ampun n maaf ye!!!kalu nak buat open hause tu.....jemput le sekali...hehehhe

sofiantriathlete said...

Selamat Hari Raya Abu Power. Maaf Zahir Batin