Monday, June 11, 2012

The Importance of Course Reconning

On Saturday I was back up at Quassy (for the 3rd weekend in 4 weeks) to recon the Pat Griskus Olympic bike and run courses again. Hey! I don't take a DNF-ing lightly! I am serious about redeeming a botched race!

The main reason why I was doing the Griskus course again was because the first time I got scared out of my cycling bibs from the hills and some of the twisty downhills. I wanted to know this course this time, unlike Rev3.

So Coach had me do two loops of the bike, then brick it for 45 mins. The first loop was to go easy, the second loop to "work it." I did just that, not quite sandbagging the first loop, but mostly small ringing it. Yes, the hills still suck but I forced myself NOT to think about time and just ride to get to know the technical parts of the course.

I did the first loop in 1:22:43, which for a course this hilly, isn't that terrible of a time for an Olympic, right?

For the second loop, I basically race simulated it. I know I would do it faster, so what's 1:20 at threshold? It will hurt, but it will be over soon. So I gunned it and held on, big ringing the entire course (yes, the hills still suck!) minus one tiny section where it is too steep, and felt 100% confident on the twisty downhills. I now know where exactly I can stay in aero and where I should be sitting up hitting the breaks.

I now KNOW the course, and I finished the second loop in 1:12:35. I think that is a pretty decent time for an Olympic and actually matches my time from NYC three years ago, which is a MUCH easier course than Griskus.

So the dream of PR-ing the distance still lives!!!

The run is a double out and back. 1.5 miles downhill, 1.5 miles back up. Repeat. The uphill portions are gonna suck. A lot! But at least you get 3 miles of downhill too.

Gonna switch gears here a bit and talk POW POW POW POWER (wheels).

So 1:12:35 at near race threshold was a good sorta kinda FTP test. I averaged 240 watts for that period of time, and while it was slightly longer than 60 mins and I wasn't going ALL out, it gives me a rough estimate of my actual FTP, which is prolly in the 250 range. On Thursday I did 6 x 6 mins and nearly held 260 watts for each one, and the other week I did 2 x 20 mins @ 260 watts.

What I am getting at is that my power is UP! for this time of year compared to previous years. I am continuing to improve on the bike, and it feels good!

Sunday was a 2 hour run. I included 4 x 15 mins @ 7:30 pace to break it up. Wow, does that kill time quickly! Was mentally one of the shortest 2 hour runs I have ever done. This run was mostly meant for Mont Tremblant 70.3 in two weeks. Can't spend all of my time dwelling on an Olympic distance!!

How did your weekend go?


  1. Nice training this weekend. I think anything under 1:20 is a good day for a 40k

    Weekend went ok, did an olympic tri, not aquabike, included the run, ouch ouch ouch

  2. I always race better when I fully know the course and know what to expect. It sounds like you've know it super well and are going to dominate it come race day. Go get some, Jon!

  3. Nice job!!! It seriously puts my mind at ease to know even a bit of a course before the race. That's fantastic about your power on the bike getting better and better.
    The bike is def my weakest leg. I have a lot of bike work ahead of me before Madison.

    I did a whole lot of relaxing in preparation to hammer out some training these next few weeks.

    Have a great Monday!

  4. I love riding the course before a race if I get the chance.

  5. I bet you pop around a 1:05-1:08 on race day if conditions are good and your wheels are shard free!

    Your power numbers are great Jon and they just keep getting stronger and stronger.

  6. I always either ride or drive the course before a race, just makes me feel more prepared.

  7. I race better NOT knowing the course. It's all mental for me.

    Great job man, love seeing the constant improvement from year to year w/ your training. Keep up the awesome work!

  8. Wish I could pre-ride the IMMT course, but I'm just counting on your EXPERT race report from the 70.3 to fill me in!

  9. Your 70.3 is only two weeks away? The season is really picking up speed quickly!

  10. I really don't care about this Oly. I just want you do jump ahead to the IMMT 70.3 so you can recon that one! haha

    Good luck this weekend! Crush it out there!

  11. It really does make workouts fly by when you do interval work doesn't it? That is unless those intervals suck the life out of you.....haha!

    Race recon this way is very smart. Race recon in a car doesn't really help me. Great I saw the whole course (did this in Puerto Rico) but doing it at 30-40mph makes those hills seem a lot shorter and less steep.

    PR in 2012.....continue the streak!


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