As Kona approaches for the Britcon sponsored big man Steve Grocock he has started to write a pre Kona blog so everyone can keep up with how his plans are going. Check back in a few days for part 2
18 days to go
I think I must have been pushed for time but I found myself re-visiting Zwift again and paying my £8 monthly subscription. I was a little disappointed not to increase my FTP after a ride around Watopia. I assumed I would be stronger and lighter than I was earlier in the season but it seems not. I noticed my weight stats were set at 177lbs actually lighter than I am now! Then I realised I’d been on it a week before IM Austria so I guess I was in reasonable shape, fair enough but I won’t be happy unless I beat this time/FTP before Kona.
I booked the car rental, a Dodge people carrier at £600 for the fortnight. It isn’t cheap but it’ll mean we can at least explore the island. Paul & Faith are coming out with us so we can share the car & driving especially when I’m letting my hair down post-race.
I tried my HUUB swim skin on in the pool today. It’s extremely tight and doesn’t cover my trisuit top completely so I may leave the top in T1, we’ll see as these things aren’t easy to slip on when you’re wet. Not convinced it’s quicker but at least I’ll be wearing what the majority of the other athletes are wearing. Massive thanks to Dean Kirkham (Also Kona qualifier) for giving me a heavily discounted HUUB voucher towards the cost. I have to say I couldn’t justify paying the full price of £250, just for one race!! Thanks mate I’ll get you a few beers in on the Big Island.
Again I jumped on the turbo and Zwift after staring at the rain through the window. I joined a race around London and was going well until I got hammered up Boxhill by a dozen riders.
I managed to get one of my big runs out of the way today. It’s a relief once you’ve ticked this box. Again, I chose a similar course that I did just before IM Austria so I could gauge my progress. I started off terribly. In fact my second mile was 7:32 min/mile pace. My average pace for the whole of this run in June was 7:34 m/m so it wasn’t looking good. Thankfully I got into a rhythm and apart from the last few miles I steadied at around 7:10-7:25 pace making this run 7:29 pace, 5 seconds a mile quicker and a mile further at 17 mile. Not much improvement but I’ll take it.
Received some good news today from Clarky. Britcon (our Sponsor) have helped out again with a few funds/kit etc. I’m blown away with this as I have no connection whatsoever to the Scunthorpe construction firm. Until recently I didn’t know anybody that worked there. Several months back Clarky and Shaun from Britcon (after a chance meeting), managed to secure some funding for himself, Jordan Skelly, Ben Baugh and I, on the proviso we give them a bit of exposure.
I’m even more appreciative now as I received an email from my own place of work stating that they don’t sponsor individuals and won’t be able to offer any help toward my trip to Kona. Disappointing really when I look back at all the years I’ve raised sponsor money towards the Alan Smith Challenge charities! I thought with us being an American company that the World Champs in Hawaii may have been of interest to somebody within P66. Oh well, I should have seen it coming. Trying to get the time off work was equally disappointing, despite giving a year’s notice! Fortunately for me (and here’s another big thank you) the guys at work recognised the importance of my achievement and between them are covering my shifts, much appreciated guys.
An Interview with OTCF Coach Steve Clark.
So, where am I with training? There are 3 weeks to race day! So, yes I’m panicking but I’ve still got a bit of time to get my two big runs in. Aiden has been brilliant joining me on bike rides. He’s done several century rides with me despite not really benefitting as he’s just got sprint races planned. 120 mile to Skeggy and back was our latest. The ride prior to that was a solo ride to Boston on the TT bike in which I decided to trial my Adamo seat. Big mistake on a long ride. I stopped several times to move it either backward or forwards in an attempt to ease the pain whilst still trying to put the power down, all to no avail. Back to my old Fi’zi’ik I think. Thankfully my mate Matt bought me some Assoss ‘after ride balm’ which genuinely seems to ease things.
Clarky joined me for a 12.5 mile run this week on what was one of the hottest days of the year. Pace was poor (7:55 min/mile) with no drink but it was good practice, serving as a bit of a taster for what to expect.
A 2 mile swim in the weedy Ancholme yesterday and a 7 mile run today with Aiden wasn’t as easy as I expected. Now the weight is finally coming off I thought I’d be feeling lighter on my feet but I felt very heavy legged to start with. I gradually settled and felt stronger throughout the run with my last 3 miles being the quicker.
At present there are 5 days to go before the Sundowner Half Ironman. I entered this event for a number of reasons but primarily it should be a great build up for Kona and will still allow sufficient recovery time. There are over a dozen fellow Lincsquadders doing it and as I did it last year it should be a decent indicator of form.
I’ll just give a brief recap of the 2016 season so far.
January started as it normally does following the same old pattern of previous years. Qualifying for the World Champs unfortunately hasn’t turned me into one of those there disciplined types of athlete, in fact the opposite. As October seemed a millennia away it was a case of making the most of it now before having to knuckle down to the real hard work. As I’ve mentioned in previous logs I’ve only got a certain timeframe or ‘window of enthusiasm’ for training. Once exceeded, my love for triathlon wanes somewhat.
So, the winter started slow. Rides were few and far between. I’d study the weather forecasts and any hint of rain and I’d just bin it off, probably to then regret it later when the rain didn’t materialise. On the plus side I found myself catching up on a bit of decorating.
I suppose finding Zwift was my early season saviour. I found it so convenient to jump on the turbo for an hour and ride in this virtual world against other riders from around the world. Previous to this I never enjoyed turbo sessions, I found myself sticking on films and just spinning my legs for no real benefit but to clock up a few hours. Zwift is different, it brings out your competitive side and I can honestly say I was getting more out of one hour Zwifting than I would a 2-3 hour ride in the cold (including coffee stop). Sweat would pour off me and on more than one occasion, with the workout complete, I’d immediately projectile vomit as my stomach continued to retch, not pretty! My Zwift experience was elevated to a whole new level when I bought the Neo-Tacx smart trainer. I’d find myself out of my saddle climbing these imaginary 17% gradient mountains as the turbo resistance increased. Smart trainers, extremely smart!
Unfortunately the TT season never really got going this year. The Lincsquad series was cancelled due to roadworks. I didn’t get to do any at Barton this year leaving just the odd one or two at Gainsborough and I punctured at one of them. Although I did manage to set a new 25 mile TT record on the Gainsborough circuit.
In April, Aiden and I attended the OTCF/Real fitness Tri-Camp in Majorca. As usual this was a great week for fast tracking your training, lots of bike miles up lots of long hills. Again seeing as my ‘A’ race was so far away there was a lot more beer consumed than you’d expect from a triathletes’ training camp. I blame my roommates Dobber and Big Swede, they would possibly blame me?
Mallorca Tri camp
Mid-year I entered two 100 mile Sportives just prior to IM Austria. Matt Porter of Sportive HQ has allowed us to use TT bikes at these events now so getting several hours in the TT position was an opportunity not to be missed. I know these aren’t to be taken too seriously but it’s always a confidence booster posting the fastest times.
The Lincolnshire Edge ‘Sprint’ was a fortnight after my Ironman Austria. As I’d got a free entry I couldn’t resist signing up for the shorter distance to race my son Aiden. I wouldn’t normally fancy my chances against him if it was a 400m pool swim but a 750m open water swim tilts the balance back in my favour. 2nd out of the water and up to first place after the bike it was a case of running for dear life to the turnaround point and then counting the minutes before we passed. Aiden’s quite capable of a low 17 minute 5k, almost 3 minutes quicker than me!! Aiden was indeed the next athlete I saw but fortunately for me I’d got a big enough cushion and with it the win.
This was a proud moment having my son with me on the podium. The magazine Tri220 got in touch with FastFWD Events and they did an interview with me and as a result featured in their mag.
This last weekend was the Sundowner Half Ironman. I did this race last year & managed 5th place overall winning my age group. This year I only managed 6th place with Kev Dawson (also going to Kona) relegating me into second place in our age-group. It wasn’t all bad news as I was a couple of minutes quicker this time around (4 hr 31 min)which could have been more if not for some terrible transitions due to my cold hands not being able to open the helmet strap. The weather was lousy! It started raining before the swim and didn’t relent all race! My bike and swim were quicker this time and the run almost identical to the previous year. Aiden had a close Sprint race in the morning getting second overall by just 9 seconds, not bad seeing as he was a minute and a half behind after the swim. A good night troughing hog roast and drinking beer with fellow Squadders capped off a decent weekend.