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Ironman, Training

Wisconsin Training Camp: Day #1

Well, I’ve been out of the loop for almost two weeks. Sorry about that. On top of a few busy days at work and a weekend away, my mind has been all over the place about all things IM. More on that later.

First, my trip to Madison for some pre-race training…

Endurance Nation was hosting a four-day camp for athletes to preview the IMWI bike and run courses. Since I knew a few people heading out from D.C. and really wanted the opportunity to find out what I was getting myself into before race day, I quickly booked a cheap flight on Frontier, made plans to pack up my bike and coordinated with Katie to share a hotel room. It was so great to finally meet in person, and we instantly bonded over our twin (baby) bikes, country music and a love for pizza and ice cream.

I debated renting a bike from a store in Madison, but more than one person convinced me that it’s important to understand how my own bike and gears handle on the course terrain. So I borrowed a box from Bonzai, took my bike apart — well, watched Adam do it and took mental notes — paid just $20 to put it on the plane and began my journey to the Midwest.

I arrived in Madison mid-afternoon and took a cab to our hotel, which, unfortunately, was well outside the downtown area. But my driver was fantastic — he’d been a volunteer on the IM course for several years — and pointed out Monona Terrace and the infamous helix and a few of the course landmarks along the way.

My first priority after checking in was to rebuild my bike. I knew that if I couldn’t do it, I’d need to head to Machinery Row, one of the local shops, before it closed to get some assistance. Thankfully, I was paying enough attention when Adam was giving me instructions to reassemble it without help. Katie, who drove up from Chicago — bike fully intact — agreed to do an easy spin down to the bike shop to pick up CO2 and some extra nutrition. While I was there, I had the very nice mechanic tighten all the bolts and check my brakes to ensure I wouldn’t have any emergencies over the course of the weekend. Turns out I’m not strong or skilled enough to tighten everything appropriately, and had I not done that, I may have seen my headset pop off on the bumpy roads out to Verona.

Bike ready to roll, we headed back to the hotel for our first classroom session with Coach Rich of EN. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t find much of what he had to say over the course of the weekend to be all that useful, and Katie and I more or less ended up doing our own thing. The good news is we didn’t pay a crazy fee to attend, and the schedule gave us the flexibility to follow our personal training needs. In any case, this first session was a general intro to the course and a Q&A about nutrition and aero tactics and anything else people wanted to talk about. Rich went over some strategies for riding the course, especially spinning up the hills. I appreciate feedback, sure, but not the “my way or the highway” attitude.

After the session, it was late and Katie and I were starving, so we headed to Noodles&Co for some pre-long ride carbo loading. Then it was off to bed for an early morning wake-up call. I was definitely nervous to see what was in store for me…



10 thoughts on “Wisconsin Training Camp: Day #1

  1. I can’t wait to hear about the rest of the weekend! Nice job on putting the bike back together – there’s no shame though in having the experts do a once over to make sure everything is set. Welcome back!

    Posted by Amy | August 2, 2011, 8:28 AM
  2. You are so smart for getting onto the course for a long training weekend. Can’t wait to read about how it went.

    Posted by Jon | August 2, 2011, 9:14 AM
  3. Congrats on the bike disassemble and reassemble! That is not something I want to have to worry about on race day but it sounds like you have it all taken care of.

    Looking forward to hear what you thought of the course.

    Posted by Kevin | August 2, 2011, 9:15 AM
  4. Wow, this is such a good idea to go check out the course before hand, plus it sounds like it’s a great chance to make new friends. And nice work putting your bike back together.

    Posted by Sarah | August 2, 2011, 9:17 AM
  5. it’s weirds me out that you keep referring to katie and it’s not me. the universe is bigger than JUST ME? weird.

    i’m glad you had someone double-check your bike. i kept thinking of that movie – can’t think of the name – where the airplane bolts all start sloooooowly loosening and they land with a propeller and a seat.

    Posted by katie | August 2, 2011, 10:27 AM
  6. i’m excited for the rest of your recap. i can definitely say with authority, that riding the actual course before the IM made a big difference in my confidence level and ability to execute a smart race plan.

    Posted by emily | August 2, 2011, 10:32 AM
  7. $20 to ship a bike! That’s awesome! I looked into checking it on US Air and it was $200!!!

    I’m impressed you assembled your bike solo. I need to learn how to do that!

    Posted by 321delish | August 2, 2011, 10:43 AM
  8. I’m very impressed that you could put your bike together by yourself (even if it ultimately needed a few adjustments)! This weekend sounds like a smart way to prepare for the race, even if the classes weren’t all that helpful.

    Posted by Allison | August 2, 2011, 5:23 PM
  9. OK – time to come clean. I think we rode a lot of the Conte’s ride last night together. I have been reading your blog for a few months, I moved to DC a few weeks ago and have been silently searching for new training partners 🙂 I wanted to introduce myself after the ride but didn’t see you anywhere! I was on the Cannondale in white and green Google shorts.

    Posted by Sarah | August 3, 2011, 8:41 AM
  10. Dang, that it pretty awesome that you can go and preview the course! Soak it all in and enjoy your time! Good luck!

    Posted by Page | August 4, 2011, 11:43 AM

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