The three-time Olympian will race his second-ever 70.3 tomorrow, with the strategy of “let’s see what happens.”
Three-time Olympian (and two-time medalist) Bevan Docherty placed 12th in London and fourth at last weekend’s highly competitive Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship. While those results are solid, it’s his win at February’s Ironman Panama 70.3 that shows he has the long-course prowess that could be a threat to the podium tomorrow.
Despite his Panama result—against the likes of Lance Armstrong, Richie Cunningham and Rasmus Henning—the 70.3 distance still holds a lot of unknowns for Docherty. Take the wattage difference on the bike. “Non-drafting [Olympic distance] is a consistent high power around 350–375 average watts. Whereas the Olympics are a lot of short, sharp peaks hitting 800 or 900 for 20 seconds at a time. Other times you’re coasting at 50 watts. That can be draining in a sense, if you’re not specifically trained for it.“
Tomorrow’s strategy is void of specific goal paces. “I have no idea what sort of wattage I should be pushing or intensity, so I’m just going to sit in and stay my 10 meters back and play the game,” Docherty says. “That’s probably the best strategy with the heat tomorrow. It’s all new to me—I don’t know how hard I can push myself. In Panama, I ran out of transition and thought I was just jogging, and I ended up running 1:11.”
Docherty admits his last few weeks have been “kind of up and down,” getting sick after the Olympics. But with a big base and an Olympic campaign behind him, he feels good about the race. “I think the non-drafting format is better suited for me. It turns into more of a strength game than pure speed,” he says. “I’m really looking forward to this race. I don’t know how it’s going to go, but I’m really excited about the long-course now. I think I’ll slip into this quite comfortably.”
“This whole pace is new to me and it’s going to take a while to adjust to it,” Docherty says. “I guess my race plan is to key off the others and see what happens.”