Here are some links to video clips from the Half Challenge Barcelona Race 2009:
Firstly, some daft twit breaking the rules by drafting and cycling in a peloton and then struggling with some handheld camera. It’s idiots like this who should be banned for the rest of the season: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j__l2zHiQLg
Here is a clip of the start. The waves don’t look too bad but the clip doesn’t show how small the turn around buoys were which made it difficult to sight correctly! I was in the forth wave to start with orange or purple caps (meant to be purple but another organisational glitch resulted in some of us in the wrong wave and having the wrong colour caps) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNMOEbOLBpI
And a clip of the bike leg, T2 and run. Note the groups of riders all breaking the no drafting rule and all the while on their aero bars. (times in the clip of drafting examples 1min37 / 1min53 /3min39 / 4min00) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25Vgg4NZyOs
Well Challenge Barcelona half-iron distance race has come and gone. I can’t believe it is over a week ago already. Life has just been so hectic… Anyway here is a brief race report. I will try and gather some stats and put them in another post.
In short – I a had a great day.
Swim went well in the choppy sea. Battled to navigate as I could not see the buoys for the turns so I suspect I zig-zagged quite a bit. I was sighting against a building in the distance. On the return journey I must have picked a bad building since I ended up some 50/75m off course once I could actually see the last turn buoy so had to swim further out to make the turn. Oh well.. such is life. Apart from that I felt OK in the swim even though the wetsuit didn’t feel 100% on the shoulders when we set off. I just couldn’t get it comfortable before the swim. Was in the last swim wave with the slow swimmers (I think there was a mistake with many of the swimmers and their waves) which meant I was soon overtaking people from the previous waves.
T1 wasn’t too bad – apart from some idiot “borrowing” my T bag so I spent 30-60 panicky seconds looking for my bag. Eventually he returned with it and I set off.
Bike went well. So much drafting on the go. I suspect I ended up doing a bit of drafting at times in the narrow bits of course while trying to find a gap to overtake. (starting in the last “slow” wave meant I was picking off people along the way). Made an effort to try keep a constant power on the bike but ended up doing a few big spurt efforts to overtake or get away from drafting groups. Not a totally consistent power but not bad. The hill up to Dosrius was less steep than I was expecting. The last 15-30km of the return leg of the bike was a bit tough going as I had a head wind. Spent most of the day on the aero bars so ended up with a bit of a stiff neck. Was glad to be at the end of the bike leg though as I think I paced the bike almost spot on for the 91km.
T2 – not to bad. Met up with one of the girls in the group and said I’d run with her as she was also going for a sub-2h run. Set off not to bad at around 5:30/km which slowed to 5:45 and then stayed around 6min/km. She was having a shocker of a day with a sore tummy so couldn’t keep up a quicker pace. Since I was feeling OK and we were on for around 2hrs I stayed with her to keep her going. I felt good and think I could have done just under 2hours had I maintained a 5:40 pace. My stomach was as good as can be expected so was happy with the run. Slightly disappointed I didn’t actually do under 2hr but had a super run with her so it’s swings and round abouts – it’s not always all about the time after all – gotta have fun days too. The run was stinking hot and I probably didn’t take in enough fluids.
Bike nutrition may have been slightly low. I probably only had 3 bottles (2.5 energy drink and .5 water) (around 1.8l) rather than closer to 3l (3 energy drink and 1.5 water). I had 2.75 (yeah I didn’t finish one) gels too. So call it 3 bottles of nutrition and some additional water. So roughly 2.5*250Cal + 2.75*110Cal = 995Cal on the bike rather than a planned 1100Cal. On the run I had water, poweraide (or whatever it was) and then coke at the last two aid stations. I didn’t pee once during the race so should probably up the fluid a bit on the bike to my planned levels.
My plan for IM will be to have more fluids on the bike (600ml bottle energy drink and 150-300ml water an hour ) and 2gel/hr for the first 3hr and then 1gel/hr for the 2nd 3hr.
Well today I went on a brief trip to checkout the challenge Barcelona bike course.
The course starts in Calella and heads south west along the N-II to Mataro before heading North inland and climbing to Dosrius. The course turns around at Dosrius and heads back to the beach front along pretty much the same road. Once back to the coast, the route continues south west along the N-II to the turn around point at El Masnou. From El Masnou the route returns to Calella along the N-II.
The N-II road surface is pretty good for most of the way. There is a section approximately between Canet de Mar and Sant Pol de Mar where the surface is more bumpy with the road surface being more patch-work quilt like. The section of road between the N-II and the Dosrius turn around is not too bad either with only a few rough sections of road.
The N-II section south of around Canet de Mar is pretty much flat and runs along the beach front with a railway track between the beach and the road. There are certainly some false flats with subtle elevation changes of a couple of meters. North of Canet de Mar is slightly more undulating with a few climbs of 10-20m over a few hundred metres- meaning gradients of I guess roughly 2-4% for short sections. Nothing too taxing at all. Dosrius sits around 150m above sea level, based on my watch’s altimeter. There are some undulations in the climb to Dosrius, so the total ascent to Dosrius is probably closer to 200-250m. The climb to Dosrius is not too steep and did not seem to have any particularly large gradients – I’m guessing nothing more than 5-6%. Of course, going down a hill in a car makes is fairly difficult to accurately judge gradients.
I don’t recall the Dosrius loop being part of the original Challenge Barcelona route which would otherwise be very flat. The N-II section of the course is fairly boring: sea and railway track on one side and buildings on the other – no real scenery to appreciate apart from the first/last few kilometres around Calella.
I will try and find some accurate gradients and elevations for various points along the route and will update this post if I find any.