Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ironman Miami 70.3 Pre-Race Prep

The 2012 Ironman Miami 70.3 triathlon is only days away.  To prepare for the race I thought I'd swim some, bike some more, and run a bit too.  However, in keeping with my standard training plan I've done none of that recently.  My good intentions were thwarted by work and life having kept me either tied to a desk or a steering wheel.

Susan and I drove down to Destin, Florida for a few days of vacation after the Ironman Augusta 70.3 triathlon.  I did open water swim a bit while we were in Florida and Susan and I rode our bikes about 20 miles each day.  I guess I started my taper early.  We went to Destin looking forward to some delicious seafood at the annual Destin Seafood Festival.  We would be sadly mistaken.  In fact the best meal we had was at a food truck in Seaside.  They hands down beat out the likes of The Crazy Lobster (sucked and expensive) and Harbor Docks in Destin, and Bud and Ally's in Seaside.
The Melt Down food truck in Seaside, Florida
Susan before our ride
The last warm day of the year in Destin
I learned a few things from my M50-54 age-group 29th place finish in Augusta.  If you're really bored you can read my race report here.  I thought I'd put some of that new found knowledge to good use.  What I learned was, with the right (cool) weather conditions, three full large water bottles totaling 72-ounces of fluid nutrition is at least one 24-ounce bottle too much.  I also deduced from my Augusta run that I should limit the amount of protein powder mix in my bottles to just enough to make it taste good.  I don't know what other racers might think but, for myself, I'd rather not haul around any more stuff on my bike (or in my stomach) than I need to.  To achieve my objective of reduced weight, I chose to remove one of my behind the seat water bottle cages.  I also removed my wing mounted CO2 cartridges and inflator.  They went into the baby powder laced zip-lock baggy with my spare tube and tire levers.  I tucked it all nicely into the void of my X-Lab Carbon Wing and secured it with electrical tape.  That's the extent of my back end changes.

X-Lab Carbon Wing with 1 water bottle cage
The front view of my new wing configuration
The rear view of my new wing configuration
On my front end I felt compelled to use my Garmin 910XT in Miami after forgoing the hassle in Augusta.  Miami will likely be a no wetsuit race.  With no wetsuit I won't have to worry about getting my suit off and dropping my watch in the process.  With no K-Edge or Barfly mount available for the 910XT I set about re-configuring my cockpit to allow for this added equipment elsewhere.  My past experience with the watch worn on my wrist was less than ideal.  I found myself looking at the watch when I should have been paying attention to the road.  With my 910XT way out in front that issue should be resolved.  In addition to being able to keep my eyes on the road it has the added advantage of allowing my old tired eyes to see the tiny numbers on my watch display.

I started my front end cockpit reconfiguration by moving my aerobar pads in one notch which is equal to over 1" total.
VisionTech Aerobar pad
The VisionTech Aerobar pad and riser removed
After my aerobar pads were reattached I perused the Internet looking at various options to mount my Garmin forward of my shifter and ultimately decided on the following.  I had already purchased a Profile Design Universal Computer Mount.  I found that the one I purchased was too long to fit between my aerobars.  I also found that the threaded plastic band provided was too small to fit around my taped aerobars.  To fix those problems I popped off the logo-ed end cap and trimmed the mount about 1/4" so it would fit.  Then I drilled 2 sets of holes on each end just large enough to accommodate a tie-wrap.  I'd seen this done with a small piece of PVC pipe but since I knew the small holes wouldn't eliminate any future use of the mount as designed I decided to use it.
Profile Design Computer Mount with cap

Profile Design Computer Mount with cap removed
Profile Design Computer Mount threaded end
Profile Design Computer Mount threaded band/fastener
Profile Design Computer Mount before trimming
Profile Design Computer Mount installed (tie-wrap ends on bottom - uncomfortable)
Ideally, I plan to installed a K-edge, Barfly, or Garmin (or otherwise) computer mount off the front end of the Profile Design mount to allow easy access to water bottle.  In the current configuration a water bottle is going to knock the heck out of my watch all day long.  That's not something I can live with.  I'll remove the bottle cage and use my Bontrager Aero Pack instead.
Cockpit with bottle cage and watch quick release installed and aerobar pad moved in one  notch
Part of this whole process is to see what is doable and what is not.  I plan to purchase a different bottle cage and several X-Lab Velcro Utility Straps to attach the cage.  I've gone through about 50 tie-wraps recently.  You would be surprised how easy it is to mount a water bottle cage backwards.

Before Stem Replacement
 I went to my local bike shop to have some minor adjustments made to my bike fit.  The aerobars on my bike always seemed too short.  My hands were right at the edge of my shifters and it just didn't feel right.  I decided I needed a longer stem.  Trey at the Atlanta Trek shop in McDonough counselled against too drastic a change since I have a race so soon.  He removed my VisionTech Sizemore 70mm/10-degree rise stem with a Bontrager RXL 80mm/0-degree rise stem.  The 80mm stem is only 4/10 of an inch longer and the zero-rise adds a bit more reach.
After Stem Replacement
I thought the red lines on the images might highlight the change.  They don't!

The end of the tie-wraps are on the top side of of the aerobars because I found that when they were on the bottom my hands were uncomfortable as I searched for a smooth spot.

Profile Design Computer Mount installed (tie-wrap ends on top - comfortable)
Garmin 910XT on the tie-wrapped Profile Design Computer Mount
Final Cockpit setup
As you might have guessed, my bike setup is a work in progress.  I'm always looking for that balance between weight and aerodynamics. The Bontrager Aero Pack is over 4-ounces heavier that the tie-wrapped bottle cage but, again, I couldn't use my Garmin without a different mount.

Thanks for reading.

Update (10/19/12): I rode my bike in the new race configuration for the first time today.  I have one small change in the front end to note.  I've got to wrap a small piece of electrical tape around the aerobars to cover the tie-wraps.  My hands are as soft as a baby's bottom and too tender for those rough tie-wraps. 
Electrical Tape in place
On the back end I found the lone water bottle was too far back for me to securely remove the bottle without dropping it.  To resolve this larger issue an X-Lab Delta Wing will replace my Carbon Wing.  On the positive side, my new position was much more aerodynamic and I was able to easily use and see my Garmin.