Alright, finally ready to head out for the first race of the 2011 year. I forgot how much shit you have to pack for a triathlon! Wetsuit, bike, wheels, shoes, runners, shorts, shirt, spare workout clothes, regular clothes, nutrition the list keeps going and going and going. Thankfully I remembered this little resource from last year, the Triathlon Checklist, as it came in handy again. Using this list I didn’t forget anything at my two out of town races last year, and I am hoping I didn’t forget anything this time. I know I have the important stuff but really would hate to have to buy something I have but left behind.
It’s a long way from Burlington to Knoxville. When I signed up last year I convinced myself that it was only a 10 hour drive when in fact it is a 12 hour drive. Somewhere along the way I realized this and decided to drive to Cincinnati on day 1 and then finish the drive to Knoxville the next day. Gas prices are a bit nuts here, I filled up today and it was $1.40/L but after looking at prices in the US I can’t wait to cross that border and pay $1.00-$1.10/L
Still all added up this is costing less than the Muskoka 70.3 last fall. Hotels are cheaper, no minimum night stays, registration was cheaper and being downtown the food variety and prices should be pretty decent too. In Muskoka the hotel was pretty pricey and on top of that a minimum 3 night stay plus the area is not exactly a cheap area either. The strength of the Canadian Dollar is pretty good right now, I picked up $400USD today and it was only $390CAD
I also scored a free night in a hotel in Pittsburgh, the Fairmont Pittsburgh, using a left over perk from my old job at Microsoft. That alone saved me $100 plus I have $100USD in restaurant certificates to use at the Fairmont. $100USD to spend of food after racing a half iron distance? I hope it is enough :)
This will be interesting as there is a limited taper for this race. Coming off 37 hours of training over the last two weeks there are only two full rest days today. The week started hard with speed swim, bike and run workouts but I was happy with the way they went. The speed swim went really well and I knocked out 1000M in 15 minutes. Best part was I wasn’t tired at all. I actually contemplated swimming longer but didn’t want to over do it. My technique felt great and I wanted to remember that feeling.
Literally an hour before my speed workout my new shoes arrived and I went to pick them up. I was waiting for the release of the Saucony Hattori, a new minimalist running shoe. I’ve been running in my Vibram’s and managed to get up to the 22KM mark in them but it became clear that while I can run in them and run long distances in them that I need a little cushioning to make it more comfortable. The 4mm of padding on the VFFs just wasn’t cutting it but at the same time I can’t find a “traditional” running shoe that I like. My Nike Free are pretty good but there is too much heel that was tripping me up. The Hattori is a cross between a VFF and the Nike Free. Just enough cushioning to make it comfortable with the feel for the ground and a zero drop heel.
I took them out and did my speed run in them and they felt great. Super light, great feel for the ground and just the amount of cushioning I was looking for.
For my speed bike I rode the trainer. It was nice outside but I thought I’d give it a try. I have a Tacx computer trainer and I created a workout using the workout plan from Mark Allen Online and went at it. After a 10 minute warm up it was time for 3×5:00 at full tilt. It was hard but the fun part was watching the power meter. I would get up over 300W and hold it for the full five minutes and just before the end of each set, with dead legs, try to hit the highest wattage I could. I averaged 312W over the three sets maxing out on the last one at 438W.
After that my legs felt like Jell-O. Luckily that was it for that day as I had to mount the new tires on my race wheels and install my WheelBuilder disc cover. I bought some Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX tires last year and love them. Light, smooth and fast but after a few thousand KM they were showing wear and then I sliced one on a ride that lead to a flat. I ordered a pair from Wiggle in the UK and they showed up on Monday. Locally they were going to cost $180 but from Wiggle, including duties and taxes they cost $127. It took two weeks to get them but I ordered well in advance. I am interested in trying out the wheel cover. I’ll give it a test ride on Saturday on the run course but from everything I have read it should make a big difference. We will see, if it doesn’t it still looks cool and it only cost $100 shipped as they had a sale on back in December (shipping to Canada is normally $40).
Other than that it has been a crazy few days. I soaked the wetsuit, let it dry and tried it on, still fits and the repair from last year is holding strong. There is a long road in front of me but I am looking forward to the drive. Camera battery is charged, memory card is cleared and I even found my Flip video camera. Matty O. might be a little upset as I plan to blog daily over the next few days and he has troubles keeping up with all the blogs. Suck it up Matty!
So the car is packed and I am ready to go. A good nights sleep and off I go tomorrow. I am not sure if there is live tracking like they do for Ironman brand events but I’ll post those details when I find out. If not you’ll just have to follow my Twitter and wait for me to post a race report!