No matter how hard you train for your first Ironman race, it won’t necessarily guarantee that you will reach the finish line if you don’t pay attention to details.
When it comes to your bike, there are mistakes that are made over and over again by triathletes new to the Ironman and hopefully I can point them out to you and help you realize your Ironman dream. Some of these mistakes I’ve made myself over the years, and I’ve had to learn the hard way.
Don’t have your bike tuned up a few days before the big race. I would suggest 3 or 4 weeks would be the best time, so you can put in some mileage on it to make “sure” that everything is working the way it should. You don’t want to be out on the bike course race day and find out the mechanic doesn’t have the gears set properly and your chain comes flying off as soon as you stand up on the first hill. It happens. All you should really do the last few days is give your bike the best cleaning possible and make sure its lubricated properly. If its shifting o.k. and the brakes work fine, don’t mess with it.
This goes for your fit on the bike as well. Race week is not the time to be adjusting your seat height or moving your handlebars. Go with the way it was set all through your training.
On average, the chances of getting a flat tire sometime raceday is pretty slim. However, every race you will see people who “do” have flats. As much as it bugs you, take the time to learn how to the change a flat properly. Do it over and over again in your living room. Practice on the back tire. Don’t worry about the front. If its your first Ironman, and you’re just trying to make the 17 hour cut-off, you don’t want to be spending 30 minutes on that tire change. It could ultimately cost you reaching the finish line in time to be recorded as an official finisher. Every year there’s people who miss the cut-off by minutes.
If you’ve trained for months and months and have come to rely on your bike computer for cadence, distance and speed etc., be SURE that your battery isn’t going to quit on you 10 miles into the bike. I would spend the ten bucks and put in a new battery for the race.
Also, new battery or not, make sure the computer is working properly on your last bike ride when you get to the race venue. Sometimes travelling can knock the sensor out of alignement with the wheel and it won’t work properly or not at all. This used to happen to me all the time when I travelled by car to the race and had my bike on a rack.
If your race is in a very humid, hot destination, I would suggest NOT pumping your tires up over 100. Just put in 70 or 80, go to the start area early on raceday and THEN pump the tires up to your race setting. If its really humid, tires can expand overnight and burst if they’re pumped up to the max. Don’t worry about dragging a bike pump to transition. Without fail, every Ironman race I’ve ever done, the race organizers have plenty of pumps around and someone to help you. (usually from the local bike shop).
I would really suggest you have “two” spare tubes with you(or tires if you use sew-ups)for the race. Should you get one flat, you don’t want to spend the rest of the race worrying that you have no spare left should you get another. In other words, for your peace of mind, take two.
I hope these suggestions help you have your best possible race.
My name is Ray and after years of trial and error and plenty of mistakes I hope by passing on what I’ve learned, I can help you reach your Ironman goals. I have built a website that is full of racing and training tips that you may find useful.
The name of my site is “Ironstruck”
The address is http://www.triathlon-ironman-myfirstironman-ironstruck.com
You can also contact me with comments or questions. My contact page is: