On this episode of The Kona Edge we head back to Australia to touch base with Jody Gilchrist. Jody races to feel and doesn’t use a heart rate monitor or power meter.  Brad Brown asks her if people rely too much on the numbers and not enough on how they feel on the Ironman Bike.


BRAD BROWN:  This is The Kona Edge, I’m Brad Brown and we head back to Melbourne, Australia today, another returning guest, Jody Gilchrist joining us, Jody, welcome back on, time to chat some cycling and you came from a fairly competitive running background, did you find the transition onto the bike fairly easy? Our first chat you said you just found that it was time in the saddle and consistency. Is that what the key to your cycling success has been?

JODY GILCHRIST:  Yeah, I think that’s spot on. I don’t know if I’m successful yet at it, but I’m trying to be, so 100%, we’re endurance athletes and the bike is more than half the time I race, so it’s just logical that you need to put time in it.

BRAD BROWN:  Are you one of those athletes that can just ride for the sake of riding or do you have set outcomes for every sort of session that you put in on the bike?

JODY GILCHRIST:  I have four rides a week, work, I ride Tuesday and Thursday mornings and they’re both reasonably easy rides if I’m out on the road, unless I’m getting closer to Ironman, then I’ll include maybe some efforts and possibly go onto the wind trainer to do some harder efforts. Obviously, living in a city, it’s hard to put some efforts in before work on a busy suburban street, so I use the wind trainer a bit.

Then on the weekends it’ll be either hills where there’ll be specific instructions like riding in a gear, one harder than comfortable or staying seated on the climbs or stay in the big chain ring for the climbs that we’re doing or work hard up the hills and then again, depending on the Ironman course, if it’s a flatter sort of course, we’ll go out into a regional area and do long TT efforts, included in our long ride.

BRAD BROWN:  As far as specific workouts that you love doing, is there one in particular that stands out in your mind that you particularly enjoy?

When friends make Ironman bike training easier…

JODY GILCHRIST:  I really do love riding in the hills in Victoria. It’s quite pretty, there’s a lot of, being a city girl all my life, going out and seeing kangaroos and wombats and the occasional echidna is pretty cool when you’re out with your friends and the sun is coming up, it’s really nice. I do like the long ride when it’s easy and with your friends and there’s lots of laughs and it’s nice to be alive then.

BRAD BROWN:  Jody, you also mentioned in our first chat, just in passing and I didn’t chat to you about it then cause I wanted to save it for this chat, but you said that you don’t race to Power or to heart rate, you do it totally to feel. Is that something you’ve developed with time? Have you got a Power meter, do you race with a heart rate monitor, but just ignore those numbers and just go to how your body feels?

JODY GILCHRIST:  I don’t have a Power meter, I’m intrigued by it and I’m not anti it or anything like that. I think people should do what’s right for them, but I think as a runner, I can judge pretty well my perceived effort. I know when I’m hurting, that I’m going as hard as I possibly can.

What is a good indication level of your Ironman bike efforts?

BRAD BROWN:  Hurt is a pretty good indication when it comes to level of effort. If you are hurting really badly, you probably should back off slightly.

JODY GILCHRIST:  Yeah, and depending on the effort and the distance that you’re doing, you know, for instance, if you’ve got lactic burn in the first 10km of an Ironman, you’re probably going too hard. I do some sessions where it’s only one hour and it’s in my garage and I’m doing one minute efforts and I think I find those the hardest session, by far.

BRAD BROWN:  Do you think we rely too much on those numbers?

JODY GILCHRIST:   Personally, I think people need to do what’s right for them. I don’t really think what I do would be right for somebody, a different personality type. Some people like to see the numbers and it’s important to them, but you also have to understand, you have bad days and I think probably heart rates a better guide because if you’re slightly off, you now your heart rate will spike. If I was to start training that way, I would probably go to heart rate.

BRAD BROWN:  Fantastic. Jody Gilchrest, thank you so much for joining us once again here on The Kona Edge, much appreciated, we look forward to chatting again and I’m very keen to find out a little bit about what you do on the run and what you’ve done over the years to get better in the final leg of the triathlon. Thank you so much for your time once again today and we look forward to that next chat.

JODY GILCHRIST:  Thank you, bye Brad.

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