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BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto this edition of The Kona Edge. It’s brilliant to have you join us once again. We head back to The United States to catch up with Jen Koester. Jen, welcome. Thanks for joining us today.
Your bike, you obviously make a bit of ground on the bike. In the build, up to your first triathlon, you said you had hardly done any training on the road. But your bike is not half bad. You’re decent at it.
JEN KOESTER: Yes. I try. Once I learned how to clip my foot in and out of the pedals that made it a little easier.
BRAD BROWN: And you don’t fall off every time.
Your Ironman Bike – ways it helps you out
JEN KOESTER: Not every time. Probably about every other now. So, we’re making gains.
BRAD BROWN: Fantastic. Jen, being on the bike, particularly because the bike in an Ironman is so long, it’s just a case of spending time on the bike. Particularly when you’re first starting out. You’ve got to get those miles under your belt. Whether you like it or not.
JEN KOESTER: Yes. For sure. Because your back is going to be one angry piece of your body after that. But the bike is fun. I think, for me, it’s one of my favourite parts because you have the machine to help you. You go down hill and it’s a little easier. Whereas on the run it’s just you and your body and that’s all you have. But the bike can help you out a little bit. It’s fun.
BRAD BROWN: Are you into gadgets on the bike? Do you train with Power? Cadence, that sort of thing? What are some of the tools you use?
Get ahead in your Ironman bike without the tools
JEN KOESTER: This is embarrassing. I have no tools at all. I don’t have a power meter. I don’t have anything like that. I am on a tight budget but it’s just me and my watch and my heart rate monitor. Seeing how it goes on the spinner and then if I get on the road, just measuring the miles per hour and seeing how quick I can do it.
BRAD BROWN: I know coming from tight budget, sometimes it can be depressing. But it must fire you up too thinking that you’re racing as well as you are without it. Imagine how good you could be if you did have it. It’s goals. You set it and work towards it.
Make that investment in your Ironman Bike
JEN KOESTER: Oh yes. For sure. And that’s a cool thing too. When you have all this money and you put it towards a bike. I remember when I got my tri-bike. I literally went into the bike shop and told the guy that I need the cheapest triathlon bike I can get. Nothing fancy. Just something cheap that will fit me and my size. And I ended up with a Fuji. Still love it. Still on it. But that’s kind of the cool thing. It’s an investment the way I see this sport. It’s an investment. Okay, I’ve put a couple of thousand dollars on a bike. Well, that’s a month and a half’s pay check. Good luck to eating the next few weeks.
What does it take to commit to your Ironman bike?
Then it’s with the races too. You put the money in and it adds a little pressure but in a good way. Where it’s like, okay, I paid for this, I’m going to commit. Because I’m not just going to throw my money away by paying 700 hundred dollars to race a couple of thousand people on a bike and just have a crappy race. I’m committed. I paid the ticket, I’m in. Let’s go.
BRAD BROWN: Well if it makes you feel any better, I downsized my car. I sold my car. I drive an old beat up Mazda. It’s about a hundred years old and I always joke about it. Whenever I put my bike on the back of the car, I double the value of my car.
JEN KOESTER: Oh yes. I feel you on that one.
BRAD BROWN: So, it’s all about priorities. It’s all about priorities. As far as workouts on the bike, what do you love doing?
Intense sessions to measure your Ironman bike performance
JEN KOESTER: My favourite workout on the bike? If I’m on the road I’m just so happy to be on the road. And it’s again, long, steady state. That’s my favourite. My second favourite is if I’m doing like a brick workout. Where it’s the intense bike and run because it gives you that chance to measure. This is how fast I am. Because normally on the steady state pieces I’ll have a heart rate cap and they’re always so much lower than I’d like them to be. It’s like, okay, I’m moving but I don’t know how fast I am. And then when you get to do that brick workout, it’s just like a bat out of hell, a horse on the track, you just got to go.
Ironman bike – competing against yourself is fun
And that’s the most fun because you’re looking at the watch constantly seeing I’m going 18 miles an hour. What’s wrong with me, let’s go 19, come on. And it’s just that internal competition that’s so much fun.
BRAD BROWN: What are some of the things you’ve done on the bike over time that you think has given you the biggest gains?
Patience on the Ironman bike will change racing perspectives
JEN KOESTER: On the bike, the things that have given me the biggest gains for sure, again, just the steady state. Because I’m super impatient. So, on the bike it’s been good to do the long rides and just establish that patience which then changes the perspective. I remember looking at the Ironman distance, seeing the 112 miles, I would laugh at it. It was like 112 miles, what the heck. And I used to think 56 was insane. But then with the long steady, state pieces, the 56 became the norm.
I look at a half distance now and it’s like oh yes, easy. 56 miles. I do that every weekend. So, I think the long, steady states are the best and I think they’re going to have the greatest effect for me in the long run.
BRAD BROWN: Brilliant. Well Jen, thanks for your time on this edition of The Kona Edge. Much appreciated. I look forward to getting you back on to talk a little about your run, next time out.
JEN KOESTER: Thanks. Can’t wait.
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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