Lasting up to eight hours, the bike will be the longest element of your race. So how should you prepare for 180km in the saddle? Over to the reigning Bastion champion, Matt Leeman
When it comes to picking your
long-distance triathlon, the 180km bike course is going to be the biggest portion of your race. Therefore, this’ll play a major part in choosing which one. It’s fun to pick a fast bike course to go for a PB, but a race on difficult terrain – be that technical or hilly – can be equally rewarding. It’ll take away that element of clock watching and allow you to just race and push yourself, which is what I believe triathlon is all about.
In the off-season, ahead of a season featuring an Ironman, quality over quantity will ensure you get the most out of your time. The days are shorter and colder, so don’t compromise your immune system by enduring long training sessions in bad weather. Use the time to build your speed and strength. There’s plenty of time to piece it together with your longer aerobic sessions as the season approaches and the weather improves. Be flexible to accommodate your training and make the most of good weather to get out on the bike. Use the bad weather to train indoors or get out for a run. Getting ill or injured will affect your consistency, which is the most important training component in Ironman.
Every triathlete should use a turbo trainer, particularly in the off- season as it enables you to carry out a specific session without being affected by the environment. Utilised correctly you can build a great deal of strength, which is of particular importance in long-distance triathlon. You can replicate hill reps and specific time intervals, a steady endurance ride or simply a recovery session where you can be warm and dry and take it as easy as necessary.
Long-distance races like the Bastion can offer some of the most varied bike courses you’ll find, with hills and descents as well as fast flat sections over the 180km duration. Therefore, you need a bike set-up to accommodate this. Using tri-bars – whether they’re on a road bike or a time-trial bike – can provide huge benefits, but only if you use them! Get used to the ‘time-trial’ position and try to stay in it as much as possible even on substantial climbs. You’ll be more efficient and preserve your energy for the run.