Big day today - I was down to do 80-90km cycle with 4 x 4km at race pace, followed by a 10km run at race pace.
I decided to ride up to Hawi which is the northern turn around part of the course. It's also the steepest and most wind exposed. The round trip was 120km but I thought it would be worth it to see what was in store.
1. Very hot. I think the overall advantage of an aero helmet is small as it may be faster but there's less cooling.
2. Hills - the profile looks steep but it's all fairly gradual. No really steep parts like Bolton.
3. Wind - Yes this is a major factor. It seems to be cross winds that can knock you sideways. I wanted to see if i'd be ok with my only pair of race wheels. These act like discs when going fast but apart from a couple of occasions they were ok The main problem is going from a sheltered to an exposed part.
4. Hydration - It's easy to get behind with this. I took all the water in a camelbak and I tired to spread it out for the duration. This led to me being very thirsty by the end. There are aid stations every 10km on race day so a bottle from each should be OK
5. Drivers - Hopefully this wont be a factor on race day but it seems that 18-30year old males think you shouldn't be cycling on the road. The youngest ones think it's cool to shout out the windows. The motorcyclist think it's fun to get close and then rev. It was the same in Australia for my 12mile commute to work. In both places I wrongly assumed everyone was into fitness etc, when actually only a small percentage are.
6. Road surface - there are a few surprises but overall it's much better than the UK.
It was definitely worth doing. The goal inflation I had been experiencing is now well and truly silenced. I think now I would be delighted with 6hours for the 180km. I probably averaged about 27km/hr but with better hydration, more adrenaline, a steady stream of carbohydrate and no lunatic drivers I could be lucky enough to get 30km/hr.
There was also the constant position issues - I lowered the saddle a bit. That made a world of difference compared to earlier in the week. Far from what i'd like but good enough to get round.
I then ran off the bike for 40mins with the last 2miles at race pace on the treadmill. This felt really good. I've been training to run 3hour marathon pace but think i'll start at 3h20min pace and see how it plays out.
I've also got to admit defeat with the bike gears - they just aren't shifting well. Do the cables stretch in the heat???
The P20 sunblock seems to do the trick - don't think i've caught too much sun. I've also been eating loads of tomato puree for the last few months as this has been shown to stop sun burn (honest!)
The boys had a good day and came up to Hawi (pronounced Ha-vee) to meet me at the turn around. They have taken to moving anything I might need and moving it somewhere else - it is time to get a lot more organised.
Ella's mum and dad have gone snorkelling tonight to see manta rays.