Bolder likes to talk about declaring one's intentions prior to race day. "Okay, Nancinator, what's it going to be?" I can almost hear him asking now. All right, I'll put it down in black and white here and make it real.
Let's go step by step. The best predictor of future performance is past performance, so I'm going to base my predictions on some of my recent race performances, and hope that I can put it all together on race day.
SWIM 2.4 miles. This is highly dependent upon winds and waves and currents in the Choptank River. They had a calm day and a tail-current last year, gifts from the tri-gods, and the slowest swim of the day was 1:29. This year the currents won't be nearly as favorable. My dream goal would be to swim happy and relaxed and come out of the water at double my watch time from Steelhead, or under 1:38:10. My baseline goal is to finish the swim within the 2:20 time limit and gain a PR for distance in open water.
Transition. I've gone through this transition area twice before, at two Eagleman half Ironman races. Once in 4:31, but I had a near-perfect bike spot at the exit gate. The previous time I came out of the water very tired and had a transition time of 7:34. I'm also planning on changing into dry bike shorts and cycling jersey in transition, which may add a bit of time. I'll call it closer to the latter time and set a transition goal of under 6:50.
BIKE 112 miles. This is a pancake-flat course, but the winds can wreak havoc on your time. Doubling my time on the Eagleman course in June, minus the time I spent filling the flat, would give me a time of 7:04:30. With about 1100 miles on the bike deposited in the Bank of Ironman since that day, I think I can do better - and my pace on a hilly 56-mile course in August (until I flatted) was better than that too. I'm going to call my dream goal a sub-7:00 bike leg, which works out very neatly to a 16.0 mph average pace. My baseline goal is to finish the bike within the 10:00 combined time limit, and gain a PR for race distance on the bike. Assuming I'm out of transition in 2 hours, this will allow me about 8 hours on the bike leg or a minimum pace of 14.0 mph.
Total finishing time:
- Dream goal: under 8:45 (before 3:45 PM).
- Baseline goal: finish under the 10:00 cutoff (before 5:00 PM).
In the next day or two I'll write up and post my race plan, the method to my madness that is going to make the dream goal a few notches closer to reality.