3 weeks to go, preview of Etape course

I had an incredibly enjoyable 8 hour bike ride last weekend and felt strong. The training in Portugal set me up well for hill climbing. This week I went to cyclefit and Rapha preview of the Etape course held at the Charlotte Street Hotel in London. They have been out and ridden the course and have come back with tips for all entrants in the race. The evening was filled with mainly first time Etape riders and it was a valuable seminar to attend.

In the evening we learnt that the course is suited to the strongly set rider. It is a long course and is constantly undulating with the section between 90 and 154 kms being relentless up and down climbing. There is another hill at 190km which is 2km long and the first 90km is gradually up hill climbing. We were advised to “bank” sleep, nutrition and hydration the week before and plan for complete rest. On the day it is important to eat and hydrate well as the temperatures could be hot and it is going to be a 9-10 hour riding day. There is valuable information on the cyclefit website for preparation for a race like this. It is sensible advice on riding and nutrition and preparation.

This week I have had a physio course for 4 days and my training plan had to be revised. There were not enough day light hours to do a long ride. I did 2 rides, a 3.5 hour fast ride to boxhill and 10 hill repeats in Richmond Park. I can see this is not ideal but next week I am increasing my training again. I am hitting my biggest weeks of training and now is important to get it right.

My bike is needing maintenance. I am changing my rear cassette to have a 28 or 29 ring and the front small ring to a 34. I noticed the riding in Portugal was much easier than my riding in London so I have decided to  copy the same gearing as the bikes I had ridden in Portugal. I will also get a new chain and new brake pads.

At the moment my bike is making noises when I get out of the saddle and ride. I think the chain is getting longer and now it must be replaced. My plan is to have every thing planned from training kit to bike well before the event to test my gear and have less to think about closer to the race.

I am looking forward to training this week and maintaining my fitness. The cyclefit team said endurance fitness can be maintained for 7 days but strength and power can be lost in 3 days. I know my hill climbing strength is reducing at the moment but there are no long hills for me to climb and simulate the hills of France.  It seems my coach has me on fast training sessions to keep my power going.

Lets see how I feel at the end of this weeks training. The weather is glorious at the moment. I am very grateful.

Zipp wheels on the bike and improved nutrition

This weeks training was the last hard week of training before I start to taper. My coach has put in speed sessions to help with my pace.

A friend has let me use his Zipp wheels on the bike. I have 404 on the front and 808 on the back. I went to see my bike mechanic, Dave, and he replaced my wheels and adjusted the brakes and gears. He said the chain had plenty of life left in it so no need to change it.

The bike is riding much faster with the Zipp wheels on them. The bike feels lighter and it glides faster. Over the 3 hour ride today I was at least 4 km/hr faster and the effort to ride the bike was much less. Instead of a cadence of 90rpm I was at 99-100rpm. Over the 180km bike ride I think this will save me 20-30 minutes in time and more importantly energy. It is like having a shark styled wetsuit in olympic swimming events because the wheels have given me a definite advantage over my normal wheels.

I completed all my speed sessions in the swim and run and my body has been feeling full of energy and relaxed with less tightness throughout my muscles. I have started Mannetech sports nutritional supplements and I have noticed I feel stronger and have good energy through the training and afterwards. I will be taking this to the race to use.

My torn wetsuit has been repaired and I put it on very carefully. I use body glide all over my body, pinch the wetsuit between my finger pads avoiding my nails, and pull it up from the skin side of the wetsuit as much as possible. I will also try using plastic bags over my feet and hands to get the wetsuit on easier as well. My neck is getting rubbed so on race day I will use vaseline and kinesiotape (flexible tape).

This week I have spent 2.5 hours with a sports psychology coach. I wanted to get my mind ready for the race and for the next 2-3 weeks. It was very rewarding and I clarified my pre-race and race strategies. The purpose of my race is to appreciate the opportunity and physical ability to compete in the race, appreciate the support of all my friends and family, enjoy the atmosphere and location (Zurich) and have fun.

To give you an example of a swim strategy…I have three words to rehearse in my mind; space, sight, and breathe. This means get space around me to be comfortable, sight the bouy to know where I am going and get my breathing pattern correct.

On my marathon there are 4 laps and on each lap I will think of a different topic, e.g. love, business, technique and celebrating the finish.

I also have several mantras to get me into states of gratitude, power, and relaxation so I can call on these at anytime in the race.

My psychological coach has asked me how I want to feel at the end of the race and has suggested I feel that way right now and leading up to the race. The primary feeling at the end of the race is gratitude so I am feeling that now and throughout the next 2-3 weeks. This has increased my enjoyment of  training now and I am living in the moment. All the hard work has been done and I am relaxed about the race date coming up soon.

I went to my swim coach and he fine tuned my technique. He then swam with me 1500m and he thinks I will complete the race in about an hour. I think it will be 1.20 hours based on my times in training and also the race conditions I will contend with on race day.

Yesterday I completed my packing list and I have time to check all my equipment and get anything else I need. I want a relaxed mind and body heading into the race and I am very meticulous in my preparation.

2 weeks to go ….25 July..all my friends who are coming to the race are just as excited as I am.

pose of my race is to be

Preparation for West Cornwall Middle Distance Triathlon: equipment to pack

I am glad I left this weekend to prepare for the WCMD triathlon. I have received emails with details of the venue, my responsibilities on the day and safety issues. I have receied two emails from my Coach Fran and my swim coach Emile with useful information in preparing for the race and also the day before and race day tips. Fran has done it before so he has first hand experience of the venue.

I am confused with all the directions I have been given to learn for the bike course. I will check it on the day but will rely on road wardens to direct me on the day. The swim has a 200m run to the transition onto the bike. It is on grass so easy on the feet but got to watch pot holes. The distances for this race are 1.9km swim, 83 km bike and 20 km run.

I am writing the list of things I must take on the day. The list is as follows:

Googles x2 (light and dark pair for different weather conditions)
Racing shorts and top
Race number and pins
Liquid food and power bars
Extra swim cap (to put on under goggles and race cap to help goggles to stay on better in the race)
wet suit
glide cream
Sea sickness bands
Maps and registration details, course details
Race belt for number
Arm wamers
Nutritional drink and power bars/gels
bike shoes and socks and vaseline
Chaffing cream
sun cream
shoes with orthotics
Friction free socks
chaffing cream thighs and feet/ vaseline
Know the course
Read Emiles notes
Read Frans notes
Alkalising and ionising booster
Udos oil capsules
Breakfast foods/ honey and raisens and nuts
On the day I plan to follow my coaches advice. These will be on the next blog.
I am getting a nervous excitement doing this list. I am excited because I want to race. I am nervous because of the unknown. The mental preparation my coach has got me to do will help get me in the right state of mind and I am doing this for a whole week before the race.

Preparations heating up. www.physical-edge.com

Went to see Fran this morning and look at my bike, look at the list of equipment I have and look at a gym program. It was a brilliant session and a shame my camera had a flat battery as you would all like to see him talk. I will get him next time.

The bike I have must be comfortable as I will be in Aero position for at least 3 hours in one stretch. He thinks the frame is good and the bike will be fine for the ironman. I will drop the pump and get CO2 cannisters, get an aero bottle and may change my aero bars. The key is to look at the position on the bike today with Dave at SwimBikeRub and decide if it is right. Fran explained the bike has to be sorted now as he does not want me to change later in the training. I could spend more money on wheels but we are weighing up the value of that to me. We are focussing on good training and technique.

My brother is a leading sports podiatrist in New Zealand and his client is Cameron Brown, a leading world and NZ triathlete. He is going to get me in touch with him to ask him for some advice. I hopefully will get a video for you all to see. Tips from one of the worlds best.

Fran then looked at what I own and need to buy. The bike is the biggie but other key points were wear tight fitting clothes to stop wind from coming between the body and the clothing. This will prevent the cold in winter. He said he runs in tight tri- shorts and not normal running shorts because it helps keep his Testicles supported (funny). He explained it is more comfortable and reasearch has suggested this can help reduce infection. Fran is serious so this is the reality of the event. He also advised getiting  a cycle specific winter jacket. This is different to a normal windproof jacket and requires less layers to keep me warm. It appears each sport has specific clothing and it does matter.

In the gym I am focussing on strength training. This is 6 rep max and supersets with a tempo of 2 second up and 2 seconds down. I will be combingin Sumo Squats with lunges, Chin ups with dips and Deadlifts by itself. I do this 2 x week and for the other sessions I will focus on my swimming.

Really looking forward to meeting my Physiologist and nutritionist Dr Justin Roberts next week in London. Fran wants to come to get his advice as well. The more team I have around me and the better they understand what I do seems to make all the effort more rewarding and less effort. Even my orthdontist is interested in my progress.

The power in letting people know what I want to do seems to create more opportunities for me. I will tell more people and let the flow of people come to me even more. I will start keeping a database of my supporters and my team. I big thank you at the end will be needed.

Fran said training starts next week and I am looking forward to it.

Entering the Switzerland Ironman 2010, August 1. www.physical-edge.com

Physical Edge specialises in the treatment of triathletes of all levels. It has entered Rhys Chong into the Switzerland Ironman 2010 on August 1. The following Blogs will describe the process Rhys goes through as he takes on this event in one years time. The purpose of the event is to help Physical Edge better treat its clients by understanding the training and competing demands on an Ironman athlete.

Rhys…..It has been exciting to enter the event at last. When the money was been paid and the email confirmation came through I realised it was actually going to happen. I immediately told 6 of my friends. I needed the help of my friend Fran to fully commit and enter the event. Fran is a personal traininer, ex military and a consistent ironman competitor over the past three years. He helped describe the training that was involved and that it was possible for me to do it with a year of preparation. He has accepted the responsibility of coaching me. Fran called to check I entered the event and he made sure I did not miss entering as these events are full within 1 -2 weeks. I wanted to enter the Frankfurt or Austria Ironman events as they are flatter courses but they were fulll within days. The Switzerland Ironman has some hills in the bike leg but the run is a flat course.

Running is my weakness and an easy course for the marathon would help me in the race. For those that do not know the event is a 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42km run (marathon).

I have found the support from my friends really encouraging. Many have said they will come to the event to support me. This would really help me on the day and also calm my nerves.

My first step has been to get a plan. I want to find a mentor. Someone who has been successful at the highest level in Ironman events. I want to see a nutritionist at the england institute of sport and also get tested for a trianing plan by a physiologist.

My bike was fitted at Cylce fit but it is not 100% comfortable. I rode the London to Brighton bike ride (90km) on it 5 weeks ago and it was ok. I will see how I go on the longer rides and if it is uncomfortable I will invest in a fitted bike probably at cycle fit. I currently have a Felt racing bike.

My brother, Justin, is a podiatrist and he has assessed my feet and will be shipping me orthotics and running shoes from New Zealand. I have also started pilates as I get bilateral ITB Friction syndrome on both knees when I run long distances. I am rolling the ITBs on a foam roller in the gym.

I think having a clear precise plan for the training will help me get focussed. I have booked two training camps in Lanzarote where they have purpose built training facilities for triathletes. These will happen in May and June of 2010.

I plan to use the community on the ironman.com website to gather further training tips and I will be joining the Ful-on triathlon club to help with my training through the winter months.

The support I have around me will help me get over the long hours of training alone.