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TIM RAE: Thanks Brad. Thanks for having me back on. It’s always good to catch up for a chat.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about your Ironman bike. I haven’t asked you this. Of the 3 disciplines, which would you say is your strongest? Which would you say is your weakest?
Mixing it up develops a strong Ironman bike
TIM RAE: I’d probably say my bike is the strongest. Again, it was sort of the way with everything when I was growing up in the sport. I didn’t ever have, and wasn’t ever brewing at one thing. Or sort of good enough at everything.
Having run, I started triathlon knowing my run was alright. It has been a strong point for me. The Ironman bike’s been a strength which I’m continuing to work on now, and I probably least enjoy the swim the most.
But as I mentioned on an earlier podcast, it’s something I’ve been working hard at. I’ve have taken to it as a new focal point for my training and tried to put in the hours to improve. And it’s certainly something that is coming along.
Time on your Ironman bike because it’s your strongest
But I’d say my bike, as I guess a lot of triathletes would. Particularly not having a swimming or a running background. They tend to enjoy the time on the bike.
BRAD BROWN: It’s interesting. You had to think long and hard about that. Obviously, they’re similar. Even though your bike is the strongest. Previously, you mentioned the ITU guys coming into the 70.3, and they’ve got no weaknesses. Sometimes, having the 3 disciplines evenly matched is a bit of an advantage.
TIM RAE: Yes, it is. It’s just a different style of racing. Knowing you’ve got one leg and one discipline where people are going to make up time on you. You can land in a circumstance where you’re not a terrific swimmer, everyone is blowing you out of the water. But you’re an amazing biker/runner and it’s always about clawing your way back. Hopefully not running out of time to get to the front by the end.
Playing cat and mouse to get ahead on your Ironman bike
Or then in the other case you can be a strong biker but not be the best of runners. Then again, it’s sort of cat and mouse. Once you get on the bike you’ve got these young ITU guys and some of the top-level athletes who are getting out there. I think Javier Gomez ran a 1:10 in Dubai not long ago.
If you’ve got guys like that, I doubt you’re going to get to T2 ahead of him. But, if you’ve got guys running times like that in races, unless you’re right up there, you’re not going to be out in front for very long.
BRAD BROWN: I was going to say, unless you’re one of the Brownlee’s, you’ve got no chance. Yes, fantastic performance in Dubai, that was.
Let’s talk about some of the things you’ve done over time that you think has improved your cycling performance on your Ironman bike.
A good bike fit to improve your Ironman bike performance
TIM RAE: One thing that you probably hear getting thrown around, but getting a bike fit is a massive influence of the bike performance. I was lucky to get mine done by a guy in Sydney at Thread 8 Right Fit, Ryan. Over the years, he’s fitted Crowie, Timberhull, Jake Montgomery. A couple of top level Ironman 70.3 athletes.
Just getting in a good position where you are comfortable and you can get out good power. But not chew into what you can get on the run and not fatigue yourself too much. I think getting a bike fit and getting that right from day one is certainly paramount. Then it’s obviously, getting in and getting the work done. Making sure it’s a mix.
Focus and hard work to improve your Ironman bike performance
There’s so many aerobic miles that must get done to get the base up. You don’t want to do too many and a lot of us will talk about having guys who train less. Get rid of the junk miles on the bike and they get done what they must, and get off. Shorter, harder rides. Whether they be on the trainer or intervals on hills. As opposed to 5/6-hour rides. They both serve a purpose.
And quite dependent on the stage of your training schedule and what you’ve got racing. There’s such a variety of things you can do. As far as putting it down to a handful of things, there’s just so much that needs to be done. Especially if you want to see results, it’s something that I’ve worked hard on to see my bike times come down and my outputs go up. You’ve just got to focus and work hard, that’s all there is to it.
BRAD BROWN: Let’s talk about some of the things you enjoy doing on your bike. The bike is the discipline you spend the most time on. Those long rides for most people in the build up to an Ironman, particularly towards the end, you get to a point where you’ve had enough.
Short rides vs long rides – they both serve a purpose
What are some of the things that you love doing on your Ironman bike? Do you enjoy those long cycles? Do you like the shorter, more intense cycling workouts? Tell me about your favourite cycling workouts?
TIM RAE: I guess I enjoy a variety. I know some guys that hate the long, steady, ticking along, 5/6 hour rides. And then I know other guys who hate having to work an hour where you might be on a trainer inside, just flat out the whole time.
In my 2 builds towards Ironman which I did last year, at Ironman Canada and Ironman Kona. I enjoyed the long rides of just getting out there and physically riding, 150/160/180k’s. And I guess at the start it was the challenge of getting it done. Just making the distance. Then as I established myself and being able to ride longer distances more regularly, I got stronger on the bike.
Hill repeats and long rides for greater gains
Growing up in Sydney, it’s not flat and I love riding hills. I love high power, seated hill repeats. There’s great climbing in Sydney, sort of at Bobbin Head, 20-minutes north out of the city. Sometimes I can get a bike ride of 40-minutes to an hour easy speed warm up and ride up there. Maybe stop for a coffee on the way and then head down to the national park there. I might have 8 x 8-minutes at Ironman 70.3, half Ironman power. I’ll do those repeating climbing up the climb back out of the National Park.
A workout like that, there’s varied differences in doing those at power on flat, as opposed to the hill. Conditioning wise, I find the I’ve built some good strength on the bike, on the hills. It’s just a different type of riding and it’s a strong position. It’s something that having the hills and doing a lot of hill riding, has helped me establish myself on the bike.
BRAD BROWN: And as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Put in the hard work and it all returns to you on race day
TIM RAE: Exactly. There’s a couple of days where we’ve been in the low 40’s and it nearly killed us that day. But you get through it and tick them off one by one. You put in the hard work when you must, and then it all returns you in on race day.
BRAD BROWN: Unfortunately, there’s no substitute for hard work. I’ve never heard of anybody that’s drowned in their own sweat. But it’s one of the necessary evils I guess. And that’s why we do it.
Tim, thank you so much for your time here on The Kona Edge. Much appreciated. We look forward to catching up again next time. Thanks for your time today.
TIM RAE: Thanks Brad.
Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).
Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.
He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.
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