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Some Tips About the Bike Leg of the Ironman Triathlon

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Now its time for your Ironman-bike. Spin away from transition in a nice easy, relaxing gear. Watch out for other cyclists who will come flying by like they’re in the last 500 meters of the the bike course. Stay over to the right. You may just pass some of them later.

It can be pretty cool in the early stages of some Ironman-bike courses. If you think this might be the case(and ofen is in Canada)wear armwarmers. Use my suggestion of cutting off a pair of long sports socks at the heel. These are perfect for your arms and you can discard them at any aid station later on. Don’t use expensive armwarmers. Either you have to keep them with you or toss them and never see them again.

Give yourself about 15 minutes and then take a good drink to replace fluid lost during the swim. Make this drink your fluid replacement drink(sports drink) as opposed to water. Eat something 10 or 15 minutes after your drink. A power gel will do nicely.

Before the race you should set the timer on your watch to beep every 30 minutes. This works very well to keep you properly hydrated. Drink every 30 minutes and eat every 60 minutes. Start your timer after your first drink. Having a system set up before the race takes all the guesswork out of when you will eat and drink during your Ironman-bike.

Things to remember:

NEVER pass on the right. VERY dangerous!

NEVER draft. The Ironcops on motorcycles will definitely penalize you(a time penalty)and you just may need those extra minutes at the end of the day.

WATCH OUT for water-bottles on the road. Sometimes they will fall out of someones cage or they will drop it by accident. Hitting one of those the wrong way can end your day!!

STAY AWAY from the centre line. Its dangerous out there and the Ironcops could get you for a center line infraction. They are trying to make the Ironman-bike safe. ALWAYS stay well right.

Whenever you encounter significant headwind make full use of your aero-bars. This isn’t just so you can finish faster. Its so you can save your energy. By going into the aero position in a headwind you can travel 2-4 kph faster without working any harder! That’s exactly what you want. Everything you do on race day should be centered around saving as much energy as possible. Your goal is to finish the Ironman-bike as ecomomically as you can.

ON THE UPHILLS–A question you commonly hear is “should I sit or stand on the uphills?” My answer is to do both. Alternating standing and sitting gives you the opportunity to strech out your legs. As a matter of fact, in my later Ironman races I would stand every 30 minutes or so.(even on the flats). All you need is 25 or 30 seconds of standing to keep your legs from tightening up too much. It will pay dividends when you start your run. I used to do it in training all the time to make it more natural come race day.

ON THE DOWNHILLS–If you’re really new to cycling, some downhills can be very scary. Ironman Canada for instance has a huge fast downhill at Yellow Lake. You can easily hit speeds of 80 kph. Its just a huge opportunity to get free kilometers. If at all possible go into the aero position for the whole downhill ride. Don’t forget, highways like that are built for cars to handle 80 kph easily. It is safe. Just relax on your bike, stay to the right and let it go. If its too scary for you, simply sit up. This will scrub off some speed and you will feel more in control. Try and avoid using your brakes if you can. You work hard on the uphills, and deserve the fast, free downhill kilometers that appear in every Ironman-bike. Be aware however of courses like coeur d’Alene that have plenty of fast, sweeping downhill curves. Just watch for caution signs. If there’s a sign, use your brakes.

When you reach the final 10 kilometers of your Ironman-bike, its time to start thinking about the upcoming marathon. Do whatever you can to work out some of the stiffness in your arms and legs. Try and get the tenseness out of your shoulders. Do shoulder shrugs over and over as you bike toward transition. Stand up on your pedals and stretch out your legs. First one, then the other. Try and loosen your neck muscles. You want to be able to stay as relaxed as possible in the marathon.

Now as you approach transition, slow down. As you coast in towart the bike catchers, snap your shoes out of the pedals. Rest them on the pedals so you can just hop(well,,,,stagger)off the bike once they catch you. Leave your helmet done up until you’re off the bike. Take it off when you’re off the bike and take it to the transiton tent with you.

My name is Ray and I have an extensive background in triathlons including 14 Ironman races.

I’ve created a website full of training and race tips that might be helpful to those trying to reach the Ironman finish line.

The name of my site is “Ironstruck”

The address is

I can also be contacted if you have any comments or questions..

My contact page can be found at..


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  • Posted On September 27, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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