I have just come back from watching and supporting at Ironman UK in Bolton. It is a fantastic achievement for anyone who manages to reach the finish line, especially on such a demanding course. However I observed lots of things during the course of the day that I would not recommend and by making small changes, could turn an already long and hard day into a far more ‘comfortable’ one.
1 Wearing your wetsuit an hour before the start of the race- Every time I see this it always baffles me. Make sure you put it on in good time so you are not rushing but an hour (or more) before just isn’t good for you!
2 Give your bike a service before the big day- You spend a lot of money entering and preparing for the race but one of the most valuable but overlooked requirements is paying someone to give your bike a good pre-race service. I heard so many creaking bottom brackets and skipping gears throughout the day.
3 Have enough air pressure in your tyres- It sounds simple but having your tyres at the correct pressure could save you a lot of time. Again I saw lots of athletes bouncing around on what looked like 60 psi, rather than a firm 100 or so.
4 Get set up well on your bike- This doesn’t have to be an expensive bike fit, just someone who knows what they are looking at. I saw countless athletes with either the saddle too high or too low, utterly negating any benefit that their aero TT bike was giving them.
5 Carrying excess weight on the bike- Ironman UK is a tough hilly bike course. So don’t make it harder by carrying 4 full water bottles! You can fill up your bottles or collect new ones at the feed stations. My advice would be start with 2 bottles at most.