So I talked a little bit several weeks ago about the swim at Louisville so now it's time to talk about what I think the bike and the run will be like. I mention them as a "unit" because for me (and anyone) to have a succesful race it's important to look at those two different sports as one continuum (so to speak).
The bike course in Louisville is difficult. Of that there is no doubt. While it may not have the pronounced climbs that races like IM CdA, Canada and/or LP, it has almost constant rollers can really leave a mark on the ol' leggies. Considering the likely forecast it will be exceptionally important (critically important actually) to take the first lap of the bike course (up to mile 60ish) relatively easy. It would actually be prudent to wait until mile 80 to put forth any effort at all (not literally of course but you get my drift) because that is the section when you can REALLY make up some time on the competition. Although, if you give up too much time too early in the bike there is no chance to get it all back. So the bike will be all about striking a balance between going hard enough to produce a decent bike split while going easy enough to not smoke the legs. An astute observer may point at my B2B bike/run combo (5:00:xx bike, 4:11 run) as being a very improper balance (and they wouldn't necessarily be wrong just looking at the times) but that race was more about improper fueling and not improper pacing. I was completely within myself during that bike ride I just forgot to continue eating once I turned right at mile 80 for the trip back in to Wilmington. That was dumb. This Louisville bike course is DECIDEDLY more difficult than B2B but I am in DECIDEDLY better shape.
The run at Louisville will likely begin when it is sunny and 90ish degrees. The run at Louisville will be about surviving. It will be about getting in the zone and sticking to a process to get through the miles. It will be about suffering mightily. It will be epic. I don't have especially high hopes for my run at Louisville because this year I've had a tendency to be mentally weak on the run. As a counterpoint to that, at almost every race this year I've felt like I could have run much longer just not any faster. So I take that for what it's worth (not much). As long as I continue to improve in my running in long course racing (sub 4:11!!) then I will be at least moderately happy.
I've only been racing triathlons for 18 months so I have to be careful with my expectations at times. The guys that I've been training with have been doing this longer and are a lot tougher than I am (both mentally and physically). I certainly think I have the ability to run well at Louisville but ability doesn't necessarily translate into a good run split if you wuss out on yourself.
That being said, I'm in the best shape of my life (for long distance racing anyway...) and I'm exceptionally fortunate to be able to do what I'm doing right now. Have no doubt that I appreciate that fact. Without the support of my family, friends and training buddies there is no way I could be enjoying the current life I'm living. I am very, very lucky.
BIKE/RUN goals for Louisville:
Anything 9 hours or less. Bang.