Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesdays at Tahoe

Settled in here in Tahoe.  i would say about 5-10% of the athletes are here--the lodge I'm staying at is mostly deserted and it's very easy to walk into a restaurant and sit down.  The WTC gang is building IMLT City right outside my window--it's fascinating to watch it grow.  They set up the merch tent and a massive tent structure that I gather will be the pre-race pasta/mtg place.  Transition is set-up as well.  It looks somewhat smallish but the bib numbers go up above 2800 so I guess it's the usual IM thing.

Today was a challenge.  Last night I could hear the winds picking up and this morning i awoke to major gusts and sustained wind--20-35 mph!  I went down to King's Beach around 8 am or so to see about swimming and decided against it.  It could have been done and several folks did it but the waves were huge and it didn't seem like it would really help me--I hope the winds die by tomorrow morning.  The winds were so strong that they had issued a small-craft advisory for lake--If this had been race morning I'm pretty sure they would have cancelled the swim--I think it would have been impossible for the safety kayaks to stay upright.

I decided to ride up from King's Beach to the Ritz up at the base of the Northstar ski resort up around 7200 feet.  To get there I climbed up the Brockway descent and then descended the Brockway climb.  the later was terrifying--they are paving the road in preparation for the race and there are lane closures and lots of traffic.  I then climbed up to the Ritz and turned around to do the 2 major descents of this race (which we have to do twice each).  The Ritz drop is about 800 feet or so over about 2 miles or so, which works out to about an average grade of 8%.  It's full of twists and turns and is exposed in many parts of it so I was fighting some gusty crosswinds, which is not a calming experience with an 808 front wheel.  I stayed on the brakes a lot--I'm sure I'll be one of the slower ones in the race--I'm just too chicken.

At the bottom of the Ritz descent I then did the 4+ mile climb up to the Brockway Summit.  This I found fairly manageable in my 34/27 although it spikes up to 9-11% at the top and for a short period of time I was thinking a 34/29 might be nice.  My NP was 202 watts btw, which indicates that I was working at an intensity facor of 75-76%, which is above the target of 70-72%.  there's not much to be done about it however.  I was careful with my power spikes--the physics of this climb (and I suspect the one that leads up to the Ritz) are such that for at least 4 times (and probably 7 if you throw in the 1-mile climb up Dollar Hill), I'll have to be burning more matches than is optimal for an IM bike--I suspect even if I try to recover on the flatter sections and average down my NP and AP that the variability of the ride will come back to get me on the run....nothing that I can see to do about it however.

The drop from Brockway was once again unnerving for me.  I just really dislike high speed sustained descents on my bike.  I was very conservative again.  This second descent is about twice as long but it has less technical challenges and it is modestly less steep.  Bottom line, I'll be a lot happier after I get to mile 95 or so and I have these 4 mothers behind me!

I do seem to be handling the altitude pretty well although when I went for a 2.5 mile run this afternoon, I was a bit short of breath for the first 4-5 minutes and then I seemed to settle in....

More tomorrow.....

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