Ironman Arizona Bike Leg- Nutrition Gone Wrong and Lessons Learned

My training for IM Arizona included 100’s of miles cycling with my nutrition, exactly the way I’d do it at Ironman. I narrowed it down to the right powder to put in my bottle. Something that stayed down, didn’t kill my taste buds (I went with unflavored), and something I could concentrate enough to not overdo fluids or osmolarity (avoiding the gut bombs). I went with 1 bottle per hour.

Every. Single. Training. Ride.

Mile 40 and 80 were for the caffeinated chews.  Mile 50 and the special needs bags, were the double stuffed Oreos.

Totally got this, right?


I was targeting about a 7 hour bike leg. About 3 hours in during Ironman Arizona, my appetite plummeted. I couldn’t convince myself to drink more liquid nutrition. I just wanted straight water. So I started switching things up.

Let me remind folks that I have been quoting all during training for Ironman the awesome logic from a previous interview on Triathlete Magazine:

  • Don’t do anything new on race day and
  • Don’t be a dumbass.

So ignoring points 1 and 2, I moved up the timing of my chews, tossed the idea of liquid nutrition out the window, and focused on my back up supply of double stuffed Oreos. Honestly, those chews are a bitch to open. One fell out as I opened the pack. I hate those long tubes. But otherwise, those went okay. I just couldn’t keep up with the volume needs.

Yes, it was a little cooler on IMAZ day. I had trained on 105 degree days, but also on 70 degree days. So, things shouldn’t have been THAT off.

My saving grace was getting off the bike a the special needs bags station at about mile 70-something, sitting on the ground, and downing my diet coke and double stuffed oreos. (For those of you about to lecture me on the diet coke instead of real coke, just stop. It was an emotional need, not a sugar bomb need).

I had the energy to do the final loop then.

It wasn’t until later that I realized I hadn’t had to pee the entire bike ride. Also, I came off the 112 miles, with a marathon yet to do, at only 50% of my calculated bike nutrition, at best.

Lessons learned for next time:

-For crying out loud, DON’T be a dumbass and try anything new on race day, and

-FORCE yourself to eat the planned nutrition and

-HAVE a freaking backup plan that will work.

-If you don;t have to pee at least once on the bike ride (how we do that in the race is a different story all together), then GET MORE FLUID onboard. Now.

So the big question is: Did I bonk on the run?

That’s the next post.

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