Thanks for all the emails and positive feedback on my race report. There have been several people that asked questions, mostly about the same things. For that reason I thought I’d make another entry answering some of those questions, and I’ll add in a couple more stories about the race.

I’ll start with a photo that I stole from Henk’s facebook. Thanks Henk!

This looks like the finish line, and yes, I see there was a girl that nearly passed me. I’m sure she was a pro!

Anyway, there were some comments and questions about the power data I shared, and about my nutrition plan. George Vargas noted that the Garmin data for the bike and run seem to show that total climbing is high, especially for the run. I didn’t really look at that, and rarely do except on some long rides. I’ve heard many discussion and explanations, and I don’t profess to know which ones are correct, but wide ranges in total climbing are common between people doing the same rides. One explanation is that small bumps in the road can add up to significant elevation changes that never really happened. Another is that GPS units don’t use the roads, but use the natural topography to calculate elevation changes. Some units use an altimeter for calculating elevation, but there can be errors when there are changes in barometric pressure. I have looked at my elevation when I pass elevation signs, and it usually within 10 feet of what the sign says, so actual elevation seems to be accurate. It is the total climbing that is questionable.

Most of the questions I received were about nutrition. I used to think that I wanted to eat as much as I can tolerate, which is what many people still profess. In training I found I could eat a lot of calories on the bike and be fine, but during long training rides when nutrition is needed, the intensity is increased, gastric emptying is slowed. The goal still was to eat as much as I could tolerate, but on occasion I would run into gastrointestinal problems (i.e. bloating, gas, diarrhea, frequent voiding). Last month I went to a talk that Jim Vance (coach and professional triathlete) gave on nutrition, and he said the goal should be to eat the least amount you need, not to eat as much as you can. I have a feeling that I could have eaten less, but wasn’t willing to test this more than I was comfortable with. I did eat less than I had planned on before the race. Was this a reason why I was slower than I had expected? I really don’t think so. I slowed on my run purely because I had only been doing short runs (3-6 miles primarily), so my muscular endurance was lacking. I never felt hungry or weak, and I also never had any GI problems. Also I never had to use the bathroom during the race, which worth some time.

As far as training with power, I can’t imagine doing it any other way now. I was resistant to getting a power meter because of the cost, and it has taken some time to learn how to use it. I know I still am not using it (really the real time data and post workout/race data) to the fullest. I’ll just comment a little on the charts I posted from WKO+ just to give you an idea, but also remember that this is a very small fraction of the analyses you can do with the power data. If there are specific questions about any of the charts, feel free to post a comment.

The first chart was my Performance Management Chart, and I only included the past 4 weeks because this includes my taper. Usually I look at the previous 6 weeks. The blue line is the Chronic Training Load (CTL) which represents the work load over the past 6 weeks as well as my fitness, the pink line is the Acute Training Load (ATL) which represents the work load over the past week. The yellow line is the Training Stress Balance (TSB), which shows how fatigued (or rested) I am. In short, I was able to maintain my fitness and be rested for the race. Whenever you rest, you sacrifice some of your fitness, so it’s a balance.

The summary data I posted for the bike shows some interesting things. First of all, it shows the highest average power for certain lengths of time. Notice that the difference between 10 minutes and 60 minutes is very small, because this was a time trial without surges and sprints. The power would go up some on climbs, but overall I was able to keep my power ranges fairly narrow. My normalized power was 277 watts, and my weight that day was 185, so this is a power to weight ratio of approximately 3.3 watts/kg for the 2.5 hour bike. I can use this number to monitor my progress in other similar distance races. Comparing times between different courses can be a difficult gauge because of differences in terrain and winds.

My choice of power meter has been the CyclOps powertap. There are a lot of options on the market, and I primarily chose this one because of cost and I can easily move my rear wheel to different bikes.

And now just one quick story. As I was loading my bike on the car at 0345 on race morning, there was someone across the street doing the same thing. He of course was doing the race as well, and said that he had done it the last nine years. He had come out from Colorado and was staying with his in-laws that live across the street. After the race I find out that he had one of the best performances of the day. Tim earned third in his age-group, 32nd overall. Tim would have earned a Kona spot, but already had one. I guess I’ll be seeing him there! Congratulations Tim!

Place  Time  Lname Fname Age  Swim  Bike         Run

3    04:22:25   Hola, Tim    36     25:08   2:30:29   1:22:37