Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Orleans Half Ironman Course Ride

Made the trip down to New Orleans this morning to ride the New Orleans Half IM course with a bunch of peeps (about 15 of us) from Baton Rouge Tri. This was my second time to ride the course, so I already knew what to expect. Of course since it is south Louisiana, the only elevation changes are overpasses or bridges. There are three of those on the course. The Senator Ted Hinckley Bridge is the biggest. At the apex of the bridge there is some metal grating that gets very slippery when wet. It was wet this morning, so we had to walk it to avoid the chance of slipping out. On the way back in, the group of three I was with decided to ride it, and I tried to track as true as possible but could still feel my rear wheel getting squirrely. They are supposed to carpet it for the race so we don't have that problem. Two of the overpasses/bridges are within the first couple miles, which means they are also in the last couple of miles. There is one other small low bridge at mile 22/34 that shouldn't be an issue.

The course overall is very flat. When you leave the start, the first couple of miles is along the lake shore, then over the bridge and overpass. Then you have a few miles through some neighbor"hoods" along the levee.
Neighborhood on the course
The levee near the neighborhoods.
More levee and course.
You then get on Hwy 510 for about a mile and then on the service road for about a mile. The service road on the West side is pretty rough, but the one on the East side is great. Hopefully, they are using the one on the East side. After the service road is Chef Mentuer Highway. There is commercial business and gas stations until you get to mile 13ish. After that, it is all desolate except for some fishing camps along the marsh. The course if very low traffic and should be great for the race. However, if it is windy it is going to be miserable. Since it is out in the marsh, there is not a lot of trees or structure to break up the wind.

The first time I rode it, we had a 8 to 10 mph wind out of the west which meant tailwind on the way out and headwind on the way back in. We averaged 21.5 on the way out and 15 on the way back in. That sucks. Today, there was a light wind (4-5 mph) out of the NE so it was a little bit slower on the way out, but not that much of a difference. I went there intending to ride 80% heart rate for the entire ride, and I accomplished my goal. My average heart rate for the entire ride was 144 which is right at 80%. Every thirty minutes I did a 2 minute pick-up and the last 6-7 miles we rode at about 21 mph. I ended up averaging 17.8 for the 56 mile route. I want to get that to where I am close to 19 mph at 80% for the route, so we'll see how that goes. Would like to be able to keep it at 80% on the bike for the race so I can have some gas left in the tank for the run. When I finished today, I did a short 2 mile run at 9:20 pace just to start to get the feel of running off the bike. By the end of my training, I will increase that to 45 min to an hour of running after riding . The race is only 10 weeks away, so it is getting time to start getting serious.

Me trying to figure out what I am taking a picture of. What a dork!

Dork picture #2. The crooked helmet just frames the whole thing...

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