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Ironman Week
by Denis Oakley in

I flew from the UK on Monday morning arriving back into KL at lunchtime and straight into the office. A miserable night was had looking after Maya, who hadn't adjusted to the time change, to allow Senay to get some rest, and then up at 0600 to pack.

Feeling great (not) I left work at 1200  to collect my bike from TBB. It was closed and locked up. Panic. Panic. Deep Breath. Daniel's phone number is on the door. Ring Daniel. Daniel has my bike. It's in Langkawi - Brilliant :)

Off to the airport and chatted to Iskander from Singapore and some American dude (both virgins) before passing out on the plane. I think I just went to sleep that night as I have no memories of very much.

Next morning it was register, collect my bike from Daniel and get the new bike shoes I'd bought in the UK fitted. It felt a little funny to be back on the bike after 5 weeks as I rode back to the hotel. In fact I'd forgotten how small my bike was. In fact was this actually my bike? After a bit of fiddling I figured out someone had moved the tape that marked my saddle height . . . .

I went out on a ride that approximated a loop that afternoon. I wasn't fast but hadn't expected to be. I was concerned about ho hot it was. I did 50 k in an hour and a half and was burnt by the time I got back. Glad I did the ride in retrospect as it really loosened up muscles for Saturday.

Went to the Carbo-Dinner which was a long walk and sat with Meng, Juliana, Rashid and Abu. Food was OK but I was eating entirely salad for some reason. Conversation never really lit off so went back to the hotel played a bit of Farcry in the evening and went to bed.

Friday I got up a bit late, having intended to run to the Jetty and swim with Rashid, Steve Lee and Juliana at 0800. As I got to the entrance I bumped into Sam and Co who had a mini bus. Great so I hitched a lift with them. They faffed around talking so I swam probably 200m out and then back. Swim was comfortable and I was pleased with the buoyancy that the sea gave me. It was worth training with a pull buoy after all. Got out of the water. The guys were still talking and so I pulled on my trainers, said bye, and trotted off for breakfast. Felt comfortable on the run and had a quick breakfast before leaving the hotel to hire a scooter.

No luck on the scooter which I'd though would be great to get around and so I had to scarper to the race briefing. Not that interesting and after getting a taxi back started prepping my bike and race bags. 

The first thought was how was I going to manage my gels. I'd dropped so many bars over the months and found that gels worked well in training that I'd decided to stick to a gel and powerjuice diet on the day. In training I'd found that 2 gels an hour + bottle of go juice was great for a long ride. Given that I'd have an energy debt from the swim and that I'd need to create a buffer for the run I decided to go for a gel every 20 minutes. One of the advantages of the SIS gels is that they're isontonic - so no need to drink water with them. On the basis of 7 hours I figured I'd need 22. Where to put them?

Quick note on fuelling. I figured that 3 gels would be the best part of 350 calories. A bottle of juice would add another 500. Over 7 hours that would be a cracking 3500! 

Tape them all over the bike and ruin the aerodynamics was my solution. 6 on the aero bars, 2 on the stem and another 8 on the top tube. Plus another 4 in each of my tri suit pockets (the max that would fit). For those who use bento boxes - I could have fitted in 6 so it wouldn't have been a great deal.

Next was the power juice. I use SIS GO for Endurance in the heat. 3 bottles plus the Profile straw thingy give me a good 3 hours feed in most conditions. The choice was whether to have bottles in my special needs bag or top up with the race drink once I ran out. I decided that the time cost of stopping was bad and so went with my usual load and intended to get gatorade along the way.

Final big decision was in what to wear. Did I go for comfort or speed. First choice was swim trunks, then bike shorts+cycling jersey, then running kit. Alternate was tri suit. Tri suit would save time and look cooler but the padding was thin. How much time would extra pain in the ass lose me?  I compromised and popped my bike shorts in my bike bag to wear over my tri suit in the race.

I was by this time focusing on hydration and drinking Nuun - tablet per 750ml bottle (weak) - to make sure that my electrolytes were in balance by race day.

Shen rang midafternoon to say that she was going to miss the plane. Wasn't particularly worried as I was in a kind of weird state. Focusing on the race the whole time with a quiet confidence, thinking about final tweaks and plans and how to bring everything together. About the race itself I didn't really think at all. Not hether I could do it, whether I would do well or have a problem. I'm not sure if I was confident or disinterested or just indifferent but my pre-race arousal was very low. 

I dropped the bike off and had a quick flash of nerves as I got on the bike with the run bag and the cycle bag. This was the moment of commitment. Decisions had been made and I'd bear the consequences of them tomorrow. Then I cycled away and got rid of the bike. Back to the hotel and found that Senay, Maya and Olfer had arrived. :)

We went out for supper and I had a couple of beers which were great - Arif and Senn Lai who were on the next table gave me a bit of grief but I thought why worry - better to have a good sleep.


Emma said...

Hi Denis, Well done mate. PLEASE I want to see a picture of your bike loaded up with gels:) WOW WOW WOW. I counted one bike with 16 but you win hands down.


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