On this edition of The Kona Edge we catch up with Roger Canham and chat about his Ironman Bike and how he benefits from the use of his Power meter. He shares with us how he has learned to distribute his power evenly throughout an Ironman bike training session yet not having become a slave to the power.  We discover more about him and why he finds it dull doing the Ironman bike training sessions on his own.


BRAD BROWN:  Welcome onto yet another edition of The Kona Edge, I’m Brad Brown and we head back to the UK now, we’re going to chat some biking, Roger Canham joins us. Roger, welcome back, nice to touch base.

ROGER CANHAM:  Hi Brad, good to be back.

BRAD BROWN:  Roger, the last time we spoke we spoke a little bit about your swim, but let’s talk about biking now and it’s the discipline, unless the wheels come off on the run, the one that you’re going to spend the most time out on course. Do you enjoy spending time out on the bike, especially when you have to do lots of it, it does help if you love it?

Structure on your Ironman bike makes easier training sessions

ROGER CANHAM:  Yeah, I guess I have to entertain myself on the bike, with some sort of structure on the session. Some people love getting out for 4,5,6 hours in the countryside and don’t get me wrong, it is lovely where I live, but yes, when I’m not with people, cycling in a group, then I do find it quite tedious and inevitably the work required to do the sport well is 5 and 6 hour rides regularly. I used to build to my long ride. I’d start in week 16 out and four weeks out I’d finally do my century ride and that would be tick. Whereas I guess more often than not now, most Saturday’s, certainly in the last 12 weeks, it will be a 100 mile ride, so you kind of get used to spending time in the saddle and a long time on your own often. So, yes, I endure it, I guess, is probably the way I’d put it.

BRAD BROWN:  Over the years, is there one thing you’ve done that if you look at your triathlon, particularly Ironman career, if you look at your performance on the bike, you go, you know what, I’ve done one thing and that is what’s given me the biggest sort of gains, can you pin it down to one thing?

ROGER CANHAM:  You know, I can pretty much. In 2008/09 I bought an SRM Power meter and ever since I’ve just raced to that and all I’d advocate is that for me, my bike leg needs to be really dull. Just cranking out the Power, given the parameters that I’ve established during my training and it really is, it’s not somewhere I would race or take any risks or that maybe I need to, but it’s something that is almost mechanical.

I know what I need to be doing, I know what I’m capable of on the bike leg, so it’s just executing that within the limits that I’ve set myself and such that yes, it’s dull, you’re looking down at your Power meter and you’re going through the numbers and the whole time it’s almost like being in a cockpit, just looking down, going okay, I know what I need to do, just keep cranking it out. I’ll get the results I want if I do that and then off the bike and then onto the run which for me is where the race starts really.

Don’t underestimate the use of the power meter

BRAD BROWN:  It’s a conservation thing and you talk about within the parameters, it’s easy to burn biscuits early on on the bike and pay for it later, we’ve all made that mistake, but the Power meter really helps keep you in check when it comes to that.

ROGER CANHAM:  I think so, I guess where I’ve got smarter is that I understand the correlation between Power and heart rate now. Whereas I guess mechanically, I would just work through the Power limits that I’ve set myself whereas now, in PE last year, my Power meter went down and in fact my heart rate monitor packed up halfway through the bike as well, but because of the experience I had, I could still ride to feel.

It’s not a question of being a slave to the Power, but nevertheless, you start there and if that’s working, that’s good, if you feel you can push harder, then absolutely do. But you’ve got an anchor to how you’re going to then race the bike leg.

BRAD BROWN:  You mentioned still being able to race to feel. Do you think that’s a mistake that some people do make is they become slaves to the numbers and forget what it was like prior to having those gadgets and things to help them train and perform better?

Distributing your power evenly on the Ironman bike works well

ROGER CANHAM:  You know, I think so. It is about thinking your way through the bike leg at times. The way you distribute your Power over a course is important as well, so you can set yourself some floors and ceilings, but nevertheless, you have to respond to what’s happening in the race, in the right way. You have to respond to the course, so rate to fight parameters may work well on a flatter course. On a hillier course you do need to distribute your Power well over that course and that’s understanding it before you set out, but also reacting to what’s happening around you. Absolutely, you need to be in the moment as well and understanding your perceived effort.

BRAD BROWN:  From a workout perspective, what do you love doing on the bike?

ROGER CANHAM:  I guess probably 30 minute intervals, long, hard intervals above race pace is something I enjoy doing and it only takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. So it’s soon over as well and you come away with a good feeling of where you ought to be on race day. That sort of validation of your plan is important during training, particularly coming up to a race.

Ironman bike training in a group makes it more fun

BRAD BROWN:  You mentioned the group that you’ve almost gravitated towards on the swim, do you have a group that you ride with or do you tend to do most of your rides on your own?

ROGER CANHAM:  Most of my shorter rides have been on my own and then the long ride on a Saturday. Again, same sort of deal really, in that it started to be two or three of us, triathletes, there’s 15-16 of us now that go out on a Saturday. Some pure cyclists, some long distance triathletes and the good news is we tend all to be racing at the same time of the year, so you can periodize the work that you do on the Saturday’s throughout the year and most people are on the same page. So if we’re going to do intervals or hill work or longer race intensity stuff, then most people are willing to do the same thing, so again, it’s worked well, pulling together a group of people that are like-minded and wanting to achieve the same goals.

BRAD BROWN:  What are you currently riding?

ROGER CANHAM:  Bike-wise?


ROGER CANHAM:  My Cervélo, P3.

BRAD BROWN:  Dream bike?

ROGER CANHAM:  Well, I had a P3 for a few years and then I needed to buy a new bike and guess what? I was so comfortable on the P3, I just bought another one. It’s very unoriginal, very dull, but it works and for me that was important. So the fit works for me and it won’t work for everybody, but certainly once you get onto something that works, stick with it.

BRAD BROWN:  Yeah, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

ROGER CANHAM:  Absolutely.

BRAD BROWN:  Roger, it’s been great catching up once again, look forward to doing it again next time. We’ll chat a little bit about your run and nutrition, but we’ll save that for another day. Thanks for your time today.

ROGER CANHAM:  Great, thanks Brad.

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