1. Learn to effectively race with a power meter.
2. Build durability on the bike to allow for faster run performances in long-distance races.
3. Find a nutrition strategy that works for races over 5 hours.
Based on these goals, I was confident outcomes I'd achieve would be to qualify for Hawaii at Ironman Louisville and have my fastest season of racing yet.
1. Learn to effectively race with a power meter: Result: solid cycle of building power and testing throughout the winter and spring, then maintaining those power levels through the summer. Ability to hold target watts in races then have strong runs indicates wattage goals were realistic.
2. Build durability on the bike: Result: Cycling volume in 2011 was 57% higher in 2011 than 2010, including a few weeks over 500KM and one over 600KM. While Olympic distance run splits stayed consistent, half-iron split came down ten minutes (1:29 to 1:19 on the same course) and Ironman split dropped from 3:50 to 3:03. Both the half-iron and iron splits were in the upper range of Ale Martinez's predicted run performances based on my Jack Daniels VDOT.
3. Find a nutrition strategy that works: Result: In training I ate anything and everything while riding at goal IM wattage and was able to digest, so was confident I could handle any type of food at that wattage (Snickers bars, sausage rolls, pastries, gels, bars, pepsi, gatorade, infinit). Through trial and error I got a sense that I can handle up to 400 calories an hour without nausea. For Louisville, I 'borrowed' Jordan Rapp's nutrition strategy in terms of calories and salt on the bike and the run. It worked OK (likely a touch low on calories on the bike and definitely low on overall fluids) so upped bike calories and fluids in Hawaii, and had high energy levels and a settled stomach all day. I now have a plan that works that can be tailored and tweaked as needed going forward.
Outcomes:Following my first race of the season (Muskoka Long Course) I revised my outcomes based on that performance:
1. Win the Peterborough Half Iron outright (won despite a 3K detour on the bike).
2. Break the course record in Ottawa (missed by 25 seconds).
3. Overall amateur win in Louisville and place top 5 overall (3rd amateur and 8th overall after cracking on the run, managed to beat the two guys ahead of me in Kona).
4. Top 50 in Kona and top Canadian finisher (44th and top Canadian).
Overall it was a very successful season, lots of knowledge and fitness gained. I have a few ideas for 2012 but no concrete plans yet - hoping to stay healthy and happy, and if any decent race results come my way then that will be a bonus.
Happy New Year!