IMWI - Day 1 and 2

We are looking at perfect conditions on race day. However, during our ride it was warm but nothing we were use to living in the South. Race day should be at least 15 degrees cooler and hopefully the winds will not be as gusty as they were when we were riding. The winds were so strong, even Karel was getting blown around. 
We find it so helpful to not only wake up the legs with a "long"-er workout on the 4 days out from race day but to also put our bodies in real world conditions before the race. Knowing the course is extremely important when it comes to pacing but also for knowing what gear to use for race day. 

Since I have raced IMWI and Karel has been on the course, we know there is very little time to settle into a rhythm on this challenging course (which I believe is the hardest course I have raced in 8 Ironman races ) which has a little of everything that can make for a tough bike ride - hills, bumps, winds, climbs, turns. 
We will be wearing our GIRO helmets (and not the standard "aero" helmets) because our bodies do a lot of moving on this course. We will not be aero through the entire race and unlikely that there will be more than 20 minutes of the race that we will not be sitting up or out of the saddle. Also, as for wheels, the "best" race wheels for race day is determined by the course and the rider. A disc wheel does not benefit me as a light, small rider who can not ride at top speeds (21-22+ mph) on these courses. Also, I tried Karel's deeper dish wheels in training and I found them much harder for me to climb with them as they were a bit heavier than the wheels I typical use as my race wheels. Climbing requires a light bike and this is why you do not see Tour riders using dish wheels during the climbs. Therefore, when it comes to selecting gear for your races, it is much more important to think about what is fast in your race day environment than on a flat course or wind tunnel. 
The IMWI course will have wind and it is incredibly hilly, with much more climbing than descending. Therefore, the right helmet and wheel selection is critical. 

With 3 bottles (for each of us) and INFINIT nutrition in each of those bottles, we set out for 1 loop of the race course (lollipop like course with ~91 turns total in the entire 112 mile ride) leaving from our homestay (which is a few miles from the race course). 

It was warm and windy but we were really happy to be on our bikes and to check out the course. 

Not only from a mental standpoint is it good to see/be on the course but it is also good to check out a course ahead of time to be prepared. 

We know that the IM crew will do their best to clean-up the course before the race but we encountered a few obstacles while we were riding and gravel on the roads was the easy part. 

Practicing my cyclocross. 

The course was marked with orange arrows but Karel also had the course programmed in his Garmin 810 Edge bike computer from Map My Ride (but we always seem to have a course downloaded that doesn't always match correctly). 

Well, this picture (above) pretty much sums up what it feels like to ride on the IMWI course. 

And this picture (above) pretty much sums up what it looks like when riding on the IMWI course (insert smells as well - love farm life!) 
And yes, I will talk to my animal friends on race day and will moo and neigh. 
That's just what I do. :)

In 3 hours, we covered around 51 miles with just a few steady efforts. We had an elevation gain of 2800 and for every climb you get very little downhill to recover. It's kinda like you are in between gears the entire ride with no good time to get your rhythm. Oh, and the course is bumpy so secure water bottle cages and the right tire selection/pressure is key.
For anyone racing, my Trimarni tip is DO NOT fall behind on your nutrition on challenging courses. Start early and be consistent. Repeat in your head "The bike portion is where I have to fuel for the run!"

So if you like challenging courses like us, IMWI is YOUR course. 

Here are a few more pics. I would have taken more while riding but it was SUPER windy (I think I mentioned that already :) 

After we arrived back home (around 6pm) we cleaned up, had a whey protein recovery drink (mixed with water/skim milk) and had dinner with our homestay family and their friends. Veggie lasagna, salad, local bread. Yum!
Then it was early to bed for us around 9:30pm - we were tired! 

With no alarm set for Friday morning and a dark basement room to ensure a solid night of rest, we woke up around 7am. Glorious! 

After a pre-workout snack (waffles w/ PB and Jam and fruit for Karel and rice cake w/ PB and bananas for me) we headed to the swim start to meet up with a Trimarni follower/friend Kayla around 9:10am for a great 1 mile swim in the open water. 
The water felt great but since it was rather warm out, it was a bit hot in the wetsuits. But since it is suppose to drop in temps over the next 48 hours, the water should be perfect for race day - not too cold, not too hot. And unlike Thurs am when we drove by the lake, the water was not choppy which made Karel happy. 
I decided to wear my tinted goggles even though it was cloudy. 

Yay! I met so many Trimarni followers on Fri morning - thank you for saying hi!! 

Love our Vector Pro Xterra wetsuits!

My happy place.
Karel get happy when he exits the swim. 

After our swim we headed to the athlete briefing which we never miss as we always want to hear of any last minute details or changes. Three important questions I had 1) Do we need to wear bib numbers on bike? NO. 2) Where is Special Needs (SN) drop off on race day morning. BY STARBUCKS. (I will be using SN on the bike - for the first time and on the run). 3) Can we access transition bags on race day morning. YES

So many soon-to-be, first time Ironman finishers in this room! Can't wait to race with everyone!

We headed to registration and as AWA (All World Athletes) we were able to bypass the long line which was rather nice of Ironman. We also received special caps that we can use on race day if we choose and also we each got a ticket for a friend/family to attend the post race banquet for free. 

New swag to add to the Ironman collection. 

After registration, Ed (our homestay) picked us up and then we headed home around 12pm to eat a meal and then chillax for the rest of the afternoon.

110% Compression on and watching the Vuelta a EspaƱa on the iPad thanks to DishWorldd!