Starting a bit before the Huatulco WC, I began a specific Rio training block. While swimming and running are always important, this block’s focus was riding. The Rio course is notoriously difficult: it’s hot, hilly, and the best triathletes in the world would all be converging to earn an Olympic berth.
The riding was volume and hill oriented. Sundays would be about 4:30-5:30 hour rides (pedaling time) with runs at the end of the day, with total weekly volume in excess of 15 hrs. Half of our block was done at 7000 ft in Flagstaff, so we used a local landmark climb, Snowbowl, for the hard Thursday threshold set. Fortunately this perfectly coincided with a Strava segment, which always adds some excitement. Thanks to the Legend and holding 340 watts for almost 30 mins from 7000ft-9000ft, I stole that segment from local Strava King Drew Miller: https://www.strava.com/activities/333067061/segments/7892652714 That’s not saying we didn’t run. I got to go for long runs for the first time in a couple years at the incredible Aspen Corner.
And we had some solid tempo runs and shorter 30-60 second repeats at Buffalo Park:
Training partner Joe Maloy and I also broke up the monotony with a local 10k road race, which, at 7000ft, is no jokes and essentially controlled dying for about 30 minutes. I learn a lot of things in races, like people sponsored by Under Armor can apparently be fast. Well-Armored 2:11 marathoner Nick Arciniaga took the W and I came in second maybe 10 or 15 seconds later.
After a few weeks at altitude, we returned to Poway to put the finishing touches on our fitness. The hard rides became more paceline into hill repeat work. After a bit of practice, team Red Helmet got it down. My Kestrel is a pretty awesome climbing machine, so I was especially happy to have this bike for the hilly Rio course.
We also did a bunch more running. Not much of the running we do is directly after biking, but I’m usually so tired that it feels like I’ve just finished riding. Generally we’ll have 2 hard runs per week – one’s a track workout:
I also spent a ton of time practicing my transitions, which I thought would be key. I’m generally right on the cusp of making the front pack out of the swim, so if I have any chance of doing that it meant everything had to flow very smoothly. Those guys in the front are swimming ridiculously quickly and the podium almost always comes from about a 9 man breakaway that forms out of the water.
These transitions meant that after most of my rides I’d spend 10-15 minutes perfecting sliding into my shoes after a flying mount without using my hands. I’d have to reset my rubber bands after each round in order to make sure my shoes stayed right way up, but shaving a few seconds off the first minute of the ride means few seconds fewer at 700 watts or makes it more likely to hang onto a good wheel.
With a week to go, I’d done everything I could and had somehow stayed healthy. While I’d had spectacular training, or maybe because, I had to work hard to stay relaxed. Once the work had been put in, the only thing to do is relax and be ready to drink a bunch of coffee and crush some Brazilian hills