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Ironman Bike - 180km
by Denis Oakley in

Take the first hour easy the book said. And so I did. It seemed that I spent most of it worrying about my heart rate. To start with the heartrate monitor wasn't being picked up so that took about 10 minutes of fun. Then to my horror I saw it was well into the 150's. Not good. I'd trained for the bike at sub 120 for 6 hours on the principle that I'd use my legs and save my aerobic system. At 150 or even 140 which it sooned cooled down to I could be in trouble when it came to the run.

Of course the high HR was due to the swim and the change from horizontal to vertical but it needed to be lower. I watched Meng disappear in front of me followed by a train of others. Easy, Easy, Easy. Go slow. You'll take them later.  

The best bit about the first lap was my misreading of the rules. I thought the rules said no drafting off bicycles. As there was a large concrete lorry driving through the kampung at the same speed as me . . .The first lap past the airport was hot and I was a bit worried about the heat later. 

Then round to the hills. We went over these 4 times and after a while the laps blurred into each other a bit. I liked the hills and I think it was here that my speed started to increase whilst my heart rate stayed below 140 that (about the 60km mark) that I started to knock people off. I'm not that fast on the flats but most hills I overtook a couple of people - in fact I think I was only overtaken by 2 people the whole course whilst I was going up. Pleasing.

The second lap my concrete lorry was waiting for me at the same place again and I had another easy 5k. Feeling happily cheerful by this point I said hello to Sofian at the backside of the airport before stocking up on Gatorade. My gels were happily decreasing so far and I was feeling more and more comfortable. The bike was getting more aerodynamic and lighter by the mile. 

Gatorade unfortunately was really acidic and didn't agree with my stomach. The last couple of hours on the bike where an effort in low grade GI discomfort and some hugely noisy vapour expulsions from the rear.

One mistake that I made was not spending more time in getting to know my bike shoes. There wasn't enough time but after a wall sensation did decrease quite a lot and I was left with a painful tingling in my feet. Aaaah

The third lap the concrete lorry wasn't there but the fourth lap Aaron was and I decided to try and draft off the Race Marshall's bike. fortunately I just got told to keep left before he roared off into the sunset.

I enjoyed the fourth lap as I was going home and the best bit was climbing the hill by the navy station (or the shrimp farm) and seeing Kuah ahead  - with what looked like rain clouds above it. 

6.20 was really pleasing. My target 6 months before had been 6 hours and while that might have been possible if I had peaked properly achieving it with my preparation would have come at a large cost. That said I had expected to be under 7. 

What would I do differently. The gels were fantastic but lost track of time a little bit in the last couple of hours and missed a few. They were really easy to eat all the way through being just slightly sweet. Next time I will put additional bottles in the special needs bag - or have some powder ready to add to the bottles with me on the bike. Other than that I was pleased. Oh one more thing - I need bigger gears.


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