Kona, Baby!

As a postscript to my blog post on Ironman pacing, I’m happy to report that Athlete B took his considerable fitness to the new Ironman Canada in Whistler and got himself a well-deserved Kona slot. I’ll leave aside the specific strategies around slot allocation, late-season Ironman races, etc., and look at the numbers:

  • Whistler is an impossible course on which to ride evenly. It is very hilly and rolling in the first half, flat in the third quarter and uphill in the final quarter (by quarters and halves, I mean by time). Athlete B’s VI (Variability Index) was 1.11 for the entire race; NP was 214 (almost exactly the same as he had in IMCdA). Bike time was 5:19 compared to 5:14 at IMCdA.
  • In his division, he had nearly identical placings after each leg. IMCdA: 35th after the swim, 16th off the bike, 11th at the finish. IMC: 36th out of the water, 18th off the bike, 9th at the finish. Of particular note was a 3:22 run at IMC vs. a 3:26 run at IMCdA after what is, on paper, a harder bike course.

Although it isn’t possible to divide the Whistler bike course into comparable segments, we can look at how Athlete B rode the course by looking at peak power numbers. Climbs are usually going to produce the higher power numbers, so as we might expect, his Peak Power for 20, 30 and 90 minutes all come in the hilly first half. What is interesting, though, is his Peak 60:


This graph illustrates the he actually had his best 60-minute power in the final part of the race, which on this course effectively means he rode negative splits (there isn’t enough time in the final quarter of his ride to have his Peak 90 there).

One other interesting data point to look at is cadence relative to power.

First half:

  • Peak 20: NP 253W, avg 247W, avg cadence 80 rpm
  • Peak 30: NP 251W, avg 244W, avg cadence 79 rpm
  • Peak 90: NP 227W, avg 205W, avg cadence 82 rpm

Final quarter:

  • Peak 60: NP 227W, avg 215W, avg cadence 71 rpm

This correlates with the cadence drop that we saw in IMCdA — Athlete B’s natural inclination seems to be to reduce cadence rather than gear. Based on the athlete’s heart rate during this segment and his subsequent solid run split, however, it doesn’t appear as though this had any negative effect on his overall race.

Regardless, now he can put this data to work in Kona, which is the best news of all!

The sweet smell of Kona

The sweet smell of Kona

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