Entering the crucial phase

It’s been a long stretch of training preparing for the Ironman Wisconsin in September.

For several reasons, I haven’t done a lot of racing so far this year. The Fargo Half Marathon, two sprint tri’s with indoor swims and then Dakotaman, which was converted to a duathlon because of water conditions.

What that all means is that I haven’t done an open water triathlon since last August at Superiorman in Duluth.

That all changes, hopefully, this weekend in beautiful downtown Racine, Wisc., and the Ironman Racine 70.3.

It’s not a full Ironman, which is 140.6 miles, but it’s not for nothing either.

A 1.2 mile swim in Lake Michigan, 56 miles in the countryside on bike and then the 13.1 mile run.

The good news is that Racine is flat, very flat.

The bad thing about that is that Ironman Wisconsin in Madison is not flat, not at all. In fact, it’s fairly renowned for being a hilly bike ride. Just looking at the elevation map it doesn’t look that bad, less than 3,000 feet of total climbing, something my road biking friends would giggle at.

But friends who’ve done this race before say it’s not just the elevation but the way the road twists and turns, with momentum-robbing corners at the bottoms of the hills. That’s nasty. Plus you’re riding a TT bike, not exactly a machine built for climbing. And it’s 112 miles, so there’s that.

I’ve gotten some quality bike miles in the past couple weeks, two 80s and a 100.

Need a few more before the big race.

And a couple long runs in the 18 range.

In positive developments, I got a new helmet, the Giro Air Attack with shield.

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I’ve only worn it once but I like it.

I considered getting a traditional TT helmet with the big point off the back but the Air Attack seems like a more versatile helmet.

The shield eliminates the need to wear glasses, which is more comfortable and easier to see when in the aero position. I will say that the shield collected some sweat on my inaugural ride but not so much that it caused problems. The shield is attached with three magnets, with two riding positions plus you can take it off and flip it over to get out of the way.

It’s heavier than my Giro Aeon road helmet, but it would be hard not to be. That Aeon is a sweet helmet.

I’m not endorsing Giro here. I’ve just always worn their helmets and I’m a creature of habit.

So that’s the latest.

I’ll try and post some pics from the race scene.

The Ironman experience can be a little over the top but it’s exiting to go to an event with that many people all dedicated to the same goal. I have a feeling that Racine will be better than Kansas overall. There’s only one transition, for instance, less hilly, hopefully cooler since it’s on the lake, and not based in a park way out in the country.

Lawrence, Kan., is a great town but the race is pretty isolated. There were some good things about it, like how I beat Hines Ward, and the people in the campground for the run. But limited services and civilization posed some challenges for Ms. Hyphenation, which just stresses things for all involved.

Some other family stopping by Racine and later in August in Duluth and in Madison. So that’s going to be fun and fan friendly.

It’s all got to be considered when you’re racing in triathlons. It’s a long, hard process and the more you can accommodate your loved ones, the better it’s going to be for everyone.

Stay tuned.