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How to Change a Bike Tire

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

I gotten many flat tires in my time riding bikes.  But they have always been on mountain bikes.  After purchasing my Pinarello road bike, I knew it was just a matter of time until one of my tires popped.  My concern was, how would my bike handle with a flat?  Mountain bike rims are huge compared to road bikes, so all my flats on mountain bikes were uneventful.

The seemingly giant rock came out of nowhere and I crushed it with my front tire, jolting my whole upper body.  Aside from startling me as I sped downhill at 25mph, I thought the bike made it out unscathed.  15 seconds later I realized my tire is not supposed to sound or feel like that, so I eased to a stop, hopped off and began my first tire change on the road bike.  I also was using the CO2 cartridge and tire levers for the first time.

Everything was pretty straight forward until I couldn’t get the Presta valve to stay out far enough to attach the CO2 nozzle.  So I had to take the tire apart again and realized there was a small nut screwed onto the valve.  My popped tire didn”t have it so I took it off and screwed it back on after the valve was through the rim.  It held the tube in place and gave support to the valve.  after the tire was inflated, I took the nut off.

Here is an unedited video of me changing a tire in a recreation of the event.

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Feeling Old…

July 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Really old. Maybe it’s because I slipped out of shape over the last 9 months. I guess ever since the NYC marathon, I was pretty whipped and after taking time off, my knee got messed up with the meniscus tear. Since then I’ve been just doing enough to not get out of shape, but wouldn’t say my current fitness level is anything to write home about. I’m actually surprised at how well I can still compete in the races and duathlons I’ve been in this year. Holding steady as far as past times have gone, but for some reason, I want more. I’m a competitor, an over-achiever since birth. I have learned to be happy with my accomplishment, but without fail, in the back of my mind, I know I could have done better with more training, better eating, more sleep, etc, etc.

The most frustrating part of the whole process is that when I get the motivation to step it up, I seem to have some setback. Whether its the knee, or stress fracture, or achilles, it seems there is something that prevents me from going full on into training, for running anyway. I have and will continue to step up the cycling and swimming. Biked 18miles on Monday and today swam 15 min in the morning and ran 5 mi in the evening. Achilles didn’t feel great on the run, but after icing, felt fine.

Triathlon is on Sunday. It’s a sprint, 400 meter swim, 13 mile bike, 5k run. The swim is in a 50m pool that we will “snake” through all 8 lanes. Should be interesting.

It is definitely a humbling experience to compete when not fully in the best condition. But I will say that I live to compete and couldn’t imagine not. It always boggles my mind when teammates say that “they aren’t racing because they aren’t in racing shape”, mind you they are saying this while being easily one of the 3 or 4 fastest guys on the team. Sometimes you have to race yourself into shape. I understand that feeling after completing a sub-par race and knowing that you got beat by people that you should beat, have beaten, and will beat in the future. But sometimes you have to put pride aside and put yourself out there. For the good of the team, and for the future motivation that racing provides. Even when you are in amazing shape, you aren’t guaranteed an amazing race. Everything has to line up on that given day. Weather, energy, race course, competition, race plan, all that. I’m not saying race every weekend to go for the “perfect” race, that would cause burnout. I am saying race more often than a few times a year. Vary the distances. Vary the goals. Have fun.

Bronx Biathlon 4/25/10 Race Report

April 26, 2010 5 comments

Haven’t blogged in a while….but I will be adding more soon 🙂

Completed the Bronx Biathlon, the longest running Biathlon in the country apparently. 26th annual.  (and no, there was no skiing or target shooting:)  not sure why they call it biathlon vs duathlon)

REALLY tough race. Starting with waking up at 4:45 AM after going to bed at 1:15 AM after a late night at work…

Took my bike on the subway for the first time ever. Thankfully the subway wasn’t very crowded at 5AM, but surprisingly there were a good number of people on it. (where are they going!?)
The other tough part is it was 45 degrees and forecast to rain all day. Of all the times for the weather forecast to be correct, today was the day. It rained all morning and was cold. The race was in Pelham Bay, right near the water, great scenery, but colder than it was inland.  I seriously considered not going when my alarm went off after my 3hr “nap”, but I paid for the race already, I love to race, and I wanted to test my skills in rain.  Besides I thrive in races where conditions are less than ideal.

The subway ride was unusually easy.  Once I arrived at the stop, I needed to bike 3 miles to the race start.  I found it fairly easily which is also unusual for me, being that I am a bit directionally challenged 🙂  Needless to say I was soaked by the time I arrived from my short ride over.  I brought dry clothes in a garbage bag inside my backpack for after, but I was hoping my warmup pants would be wearable for after…no luck.

There were puddles around the bike corral 4 inches deep, so there was no point in even trying to stay dry, just splash around and enjoy it.

I decided to do the whole race in my NYC Marathon jacket to maintain some warmth.  I realized that it would probably be too warm during the run, but would really help me stay warm on the bike, plus it was water repellent.  Great move.

Arrival

I did a quick mile warmup jog out the the waterfront of Pelham Bay and then went back to my bike to make final preparations to my area.  I got my bike shoes, hat, gel, and gloves out and put them under a garbage bag and headed to the start line.

They made the announcement that 109 people had showed up.  Pretty impressive.  Some people actually registered that day.  Even more impressive.  We waited at the start line for about 10 minutes while the police secured the course.  I stepped up the the front of the group (because no one else was).  Finally the starter counted us down and we were off and running.  I actually led for about 400 meters, there was a lead vehicle (a guy on a bike) showing us where to go, so that was good, but I didn’t really want to lead solo, a couple guys joined me at about 800 meters and then passed me.  I felt pretty good running.  I felt I could push a little harder than my last duathlon since I knew the bike leg would not be any more difficult if I did run hard.  The run was a little short of a 5k, I think they measured it at 2.8 miles.  I ended up coming into the T1 in 4th place, close to the leaders.  I was pleased with that.  17:08 was the leader, 2nd 17:12, 3rd 17:14, and me at 17:21.

Start line

First Leg Run

My run to bike transition was faster than last time, although I didn’t practice it at all.  I did however buy some bungee laces for my running shoes and I ran in my bike shorts, so that saved some time.  Last race I had to tie my shoes and pull my bike shorts on over my running tights.  I pulled my bike gloves on over my running gloves, grabbed my gel, put my skull cap and helmet on and I was off for the 20 mile bike.  T1 time 1:00 flat.

Bungee laces!

side note:  the bike leg was 20 miles.  I rode 20 miles for the first time the Monday before my race just to make sure I could do it.

Knowing the forecast was for rain, I was a tad bit concerned about riding on wet pavement since I never have.  I mean, I’ve rode in rain before on my mountain bike, but the road bike is a very different animal, and I’m racing.  It turned out to be easier than I thought.  There was no slippage and the bike handled very well.  Another part of the race also had me worried…here is what the race director put in the race notes…

“CAUTION/SLOW DOWN! Hold handlebars with BOTH hands and use extreme caution when cycling across the draw bridge near the Orchard Beach exit. The metal grating becomes very slippery on wet or rainy days. You may elect to walk across the grating part of the bridge if weather conditions make the grating too slippery to ride. Under no circumstances may you pass another competitor on any part of the bridge!”

OK, ummmm, a little scary for a newbie to biking.  Anyway, they changed it on race day to “everyone MUST dismount their bike on the bridge”  this brought some grumbles from the veteran racers, but I was happy.  When I actually got the the bridge the first time and dismounted, it was actually difficult to even walk over with cycling shoes on.  It did end up being a good way to shake the legs out and warm up the feet a bit.  We had to go over the bridge 4 times.  Stopping and getting off the bike for a 30 meter jog didn’t help the Average MPH very much 🙂  I ended up with a 18.07 mph ave.  Max was 26.9 on a downhill after the bridge.

Bike Leg, cold and wet!

There were a lot of turn-around points on the bike, so I was able to see the leaders and count what place I was in.  I guess I lost count because I was getting passed by so many people, I thought I was in 40th or 50th.  But I actually finished the bike leg in 28th.  I passed no one.  I’m doing a cycling technique clinic this Sunday to learn some tips on how to get better.  Hope it helps.  I figure it can’t hurt.  Bike time was 1:06:24

Coming into T2 I stretched out on my bike to prepare for the run.  Stretched my calves, hamstrings and back as much as I could and tried to warm up my fingers to get them ready for grabbing shoes, etc.  I got off, got out of my shoes, slipped on my running shoes, pulled my bike gloves off, got my helmet off and pulled on a cap.  BOOM, 40 seconds flat.  Impressive for no practice.  Bungee laces were key.

My feet were like ice blocks!  My legs felt better than the last race’s 2nd run though.  The giant puddles actually felt good to splash in!  They were warming my feet up!  I caught 2 guys in the first 800 meters and that got me fired up.  I ended up catching 4 more and was closing in on a couple more but ran out of real estate.  I knew I was running decent, but wasn’t sure how fast my 2nd leg was since I didn’t press LAP on my watch.  So when the results were posted and I saw I ran a 17:44 for the 2nd leg I was shocked and pleased.  I didn’t feel that fast.  I posted the 5th fastest 2nd leg, with the top 4 finishing in the top 6 overall.  I finished in 22nd overall.  Gotta work on that bike leg 🙂

Finish

SEE THE RESULTS

Run 1–17:21

T1–1:00

Bike–1:06:24

T2–:40

Run 2–17:44

Final Time—1:43:11

22nd/103 finishers, 3rd in age group

I wasn’t looking forward to my trek home, but I made it.  I changed into a couple dry shirts before I left, but had to put the wet jacket back on.  My teeth were chattering uncontrollably by the time I reached home.  A hot shower never felt so good.  Later that day I went to the Brooklyn Tri Club Member meeting.  Fun.  Met some cool people, and even won a prize in the raffle.

Mother Day Duathlon is May 9th in Prospect Park.  We will see if I improved from the last one.

PS  I won my first age group award for a multi-sport, but alas, I didn’t actually receive it since you had to be present to get it.  3rd 35-39 Male.  Oh well, it was either award or hypothermia….

Duathlon Splits for Prospect Park Duathlon 3/20/10

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Here’s the Link…

SPLITS RESULTS

Got my splits, kind of.  several athletes didn’t get recorded during the first run, but that’s OK because I timed it on my watch.  Looking at the splits, a couple things jump out at me…

1.  I am currently very slow on the transitions AND could have moved up a couple places if I was faster.

2.  My 2nd run leg was good.  20th best 2nd run leg in the group, so I had energy left

Went for a run today, 4 miles.  Felt good.  Knee was pain free, but felt a little funny.

I am surprisingly not sore from the duathlon, except for a little inner thigh soreness from the bike.

Very rainy today.  Wanted to bike, but not on wet road, so the bike will have to wait.

Joined the Brooklyn Tri Club.  They offer swimming with a coach at 6am, near my house, so that will be helpful.

An Amazing Start To My (finally) Outdoor Multisport Adventures, Race Report Prospect Park Duathlon

March 22, 2010 1 comment

The wait is over!  After completing 3 indoor triathlons, I finally got to race OUTSIDE.  I am happy on so many levels.  The indoor races were fun, but I didn’t really feel like a TRUE multisport athlete, and I got tired explain to everyone what an indoor triathlon is 🙂

So…where to start.  Think about this, I could probably break this up into several different posts…How to Buy a Bike, Completing your first Multisport event, Prospect Park Duathlon Race Report, etc, etc,  I’ll try to fit it all into this one, with more to follow

(note)  Total hits for this blog will soon reach 10,000.  I would like to thank all the readers for inspiring me to keep writing.

I decided to do this duathlon after I was denied entry into the NYC Half Marathon.  The indoor triathlons were my first venture into the world of swimming competitively and if there is one word I would use to describe myself it is competitive.  So to do something competitively that I have never done before is a little out of my comfort zone.  This duathlon would be my first attempt at a competitive cycling race.  The good thing about being out of my comfort zone is that it fuels me to prepare.  I didn’t really have much time to prepare physically with actual riding, but I did do enough time trials to give myself confidence not to embarrass myself.

I looked at last years results of the duathlon and checked out the bike splits of the leaders, which I expect to be at any competition (maybe that is naive, but that is just my mentality).  The splits were broken down into 5k #1 split, bike split (which included both transition times), and the 5k #2 split.  Now, I wasn’t worried about the 5k splits, I can run.  The bike splits varied greatly.  The overall leaders were at 23 minutes!!  That is untouchable at this point.  The be in the top 3rd of the race required being sub 40 minutes for the 14 mile ride plus transition.  OK, we have a starting point.  I took my mountain bike out to the park to see how fast I can go.

Now this is a nice mountain bike.  It’s a 1998 Gary Fisher, pretty light for aluminum, and I have clip pedals on it, my only concern was the shocks, they don’t have a lock option, so they absorb a lot of my energy, especially when climbing.  Nevertheless, I took it out for a spin.  The Prospect Park loop is where the race is held and it is where I train when running, so I am very familiar with it.  There are almost no flat parts of this loop.  One big up hill of about 800 meters, one big downhill and the rest rolling. In my time trial in February I managed 14:45 on my first loop, then really pushing 14 flat on the second loop.  The results a week later were about the same.  I am not impressed.  Could I be this slow on the bike?!!?  I check Google and investigate…..and I find that riding a mountain bike vs a road bike, you lose 20% of power.  Whew!!  It’s not JUST me. A 56 minute bike leg would not be a good thing for me.  OK, so now the mission begins…FIND A ROAD BIKE TO RIDE.

I scoured craigslist for a deal, but couldn’t bring myself to buy a used bike, plus there was usually travel involved to get there.  For now I would borrow a bike.  My friend had a road bike, so I picked it up, put some air in the tires and tried it out in yet another time trial.  I really appreciate the friend for allowing me to use the bike, but this bike was old school.  I think it may have been made of cast iron 🙂  It was very heavy.  It was actually 2 lbs heavier than my 29 lb mountain bike.  I took it out to the park to test it out.  I haven’t been on a road bike in about 15 years.  First lap–12 minutes…Nice!  Second lap 11:30.  That was about my max.  The bike would do the trick, but I was concerned about a few things.  One, the gear shifters were on the front of the handlebars, second the pedals were “regular” platform pedals, no clips, and third, I was frankly a little nervous about racing such an old bike.  Nevertheless, that was the plan.

The week before the race I started visiting local bike shops to look around, get sized, and just become more familiar with bikes in general.  What to look for, good components, etc.  And also did a lot of researching on the internet, of brands, reviews, and specials.  I knew I would eventually get a bike and I wanted to be prepared.

During all of this searching, I kind of got swept up in the thought of a brand new shiny bike.  That, coupled with my unending competitive drive forced me to the bike store on Friday morning in search of a bike to buy before my Saturday morning race.  I know, a little crazy, but let’s see what happens.  I was reccomendded R & A cycling store from a “facebook peep”, so I looked them up online.  They had 3 stars on Yelp, and a good website with some really good “closeout” deals of older model bikes at a discount.  It seems that every bike store in brooklyn has awful reviews from people that were ripped off, treated badly, rude service, etc.  I visited a few and all were really good experiences.  But, now that I think about it, I didn’t post any reviews of my good experiences…maybe I should.  Anyhow, I got there, told Phil my price range and he showed me a couple bikes, a specialized and a giant, but they didn’t have my size, a 56cm.  So we looked around a bit more, and I saw so many unbelievable bikes I began to wish I had an unlimited budget.

I knew some of the closeout bikes from the website and inquired, but Phil said the entry level closeouts tend to move pretty quickly, especially at this time of year.  Finally he pulled down a nice blue bike with a name I had never seen before, Pinarello.  Well, it had carbon fork, carbon rear stays, Ultegra components throughout.  It was an ‘o6 and another employee mentioned that it was a great bike for the money, and it was on sale.  I sat on it, pedaled backwards a little, the size was perfect.  They don’t do test rides at this store, so I wasn’t able to actually ride it before, but I liked it.  So, not to make a decision on the spot, I said I needed to run home and I would be back in an hour.  It’s 11AM, I have to leave for work at 1:30PM, so I run home, check the internet for the reviews…it’s a really good bike especially with the upgraded components.  That bike was actually a closeout online and the price they offered was the same, so they were at least being honest, which I find is unusual for salespeople.  So I decided.  Get it.  I ran back to the store and said I’ll take it.  Boom, got pedals, shoes, got fitted on it, all in enough time to get back home and get dressed to take it for a spin.  Time trial time.(bike weighs 19 lbs)

Race Day!

The shoes took some getting used to, and I’m still not really used to them yet.  They are a bit different than my mountain bike clips, but are also much easier to unclip so that’s nice.  I actually fell over on my mountain bike a few weeks ago when I forgot that my feet were clipped in and I stopped. Oops.  That’s one way to learn 🙂

I got it to the park and wanted to do one loop before race day, which was only 20 hours away!  The bike felt amazing.  The shifting was weird since it was on the brake levers.  I’d never had that before, all my old 10 speeds from the 80’s had the old school shifting on the lower tube.

I got around the loop in 10:10 without pushing too hard.  OK, I guess I’m ready, I told myself.  3 miles on the bike seems like enough before race day 🙂

I was so pumped up for the race!  It started at 8:30, but it was right down the street, so I got to “sleep in” until 6:30.  Working the night before for 10 hours on my feet until 11pm probably wasn’t ideal for fresh legs, but that’s life.

I was nervous, but excited.  It would be my first bike race ever and my first multisport race ever.  I was hoping the transitions would go smoothly.  I had never practiced it.

When I arrived at the start area, it was awesome.  Bikes everywhere, people checking in, riders setting up in the transition area.  Really cool.  All the duathletes got a chip to track their times, but it was in an ankle band that reminded me of what a person on parole would wear on house arrest.

I took my bike to the rack area for transition and hung it by the seat and looked around at what everyone else was doing and just followed along.  There were some other people there that had mountain bikes and I felt happy that I was not one of them, my new road bike was 10 times easier to ride up the hill than my mountain bike.

I didn’t clip my shoes in the pedals ahead of time since I had never practiced getting into my shoes on the bike before.  Down the road of multisport, I will perfect my transition time, but for now I would relax and take my time.

We all gathered for final race instructions.  Apparently the big storm last week blew a bunch of trees down on the running course, so the race directors had to make changes to the 5k course, thus making it hillier and harder.  I also discovered that this race was a “points” race for the triathlon clubs competing for the Gotham Cup, or something.

The race instructions for the run course were crazy, I stopped listening after he said “around the big meadow, past the waterfall, take your 3rd right, go past dog beach, then loop the ball field, take another right….”  blah blah blah.  Good thing the course was well marked!

We lined up and started our 1st run of 5k.  I got out fast but controlled.  I wanted to have a solid run and get to the bike early so there would not be as much commotion.  We were quickly strung out almost single file as we went up the first big hill before mile 1.  I didn’t actually see the mile marker until the 2nd run leg, so I don’t know my splits.  I was just trying to push conservatively.  I passed a couple people by 1.5 miles and was focused on energy management, not wanting to crash during the 2nd run. I had no idea how I would feel after the bike.

My fiance and friends were in the park cheering me on.  That was awesome.  A little home crowd support.  My fiance yelled out that I was in 19th place in the middle of my run.  I was happy with that.  I wanted to be top 50 at the finish and I knew I would get passed by quite a few people on the bike.

Run Leg 1

I finished up the run in about 20:28 and headed into the bike transition area. I ran in 2XU half tights and pulled on my bike shorts over them,  I slipped off my shoes, got my bike shoes on, helmet, gloves, ate a couple gels and I was off. It took me about 1:34 which seems fast to me, I’m happy with that. Hopped on the bike, got clipped in.  Here we go…

OK, I know one guy passed me in the transition area, so I’m in about 20th.  I get riding and I feel good.  There are TONS of people in the park today though.  So it is a little hectic.  The weather is amazing, about 65 degrees and sunny.  The first nice day of spring on the weekend.  I’m cranking pretty good, keeping pace with a Tri-Fit team guy in front of me.  I am expecting a wave of riders to go flying by me, but it doesn’t happen. I do get passed by a few guys on the first loop.  Some of them just ease by at a slightly faster pace and some FLY by.  It’s crazy how fast these guys pass me.  It definitely gives me hope for a much faster bike leg in my future races.

The first loop time is 10 minutes and change.  That includes getting out of transition and up to the loop, so I’m right on pace.  The second loop, I push a little more.  I’m more aggressive on the down hill and push the uphill a little harder.  I’m getting more comfortable on my bike.  I come through 2 loops with another 10+ split.  I didn’t press lap on my watch so they are estimates.  And I don’t have a bike computer or heart rate monitor yet so some data is missing.

3rd lap I’m starting to feel it a little and more and more athletes are entering the bike stage so the loop is getting more congested.  I’m finding that my strength seems to be the downhills since I am passing a lot more people on the down than the ups or flats.  That is actually true also in my running.

On the Bike!

OK, final lap.  This is farther than I have ever rode before.  I did 3 loops a couple times on my mountain bike, but 4 loops is uncharted territory.  I’m surprised my heartrate is up there and I’m breathing hard.  I know I must be working because that doesn’t happen easily on a bike for me.  Finally…4th lap is done!  I coast into transition, make sure to unclip one shoe as I approach 🙂  and I dismount my bike.  WOW!  That was unexpected!  I get off my bike and walk it into the rack area and my legs are done, gone.  My legs feel like they did in the last 2 miles of the marathon!!  The transition official says “Stings a little doesn’t it! (chuckle, chuckle)”  A little is an understatement.  I take off my bike shorts, helmet, gloves, get a quick drink of water.  Now shoes… my legs are dead and my hands are shaking and I’m trying to get my running shoes back on which is a struggle.  Finally I’m done.  Total bike time with 2nd transition is 43:29.  Now I hobble into the 2nd running leg.

I find solace in the fact that everyone seems to be hobbling.  I’m struggling, but I’m still passing people.  I pass about 3 people as I go up the first hill before mile 1.  I see the mile marker and come through in 7:30.  At this point I don’t really care about pace.  My legs finally feel semi-normal again and I start to push a little more since I can see 2 more guys in front of me that may be catchable if I keep pushing.  The 2nd hill comes at about 2.25 miles and it is a turn-around loop, so you can see coming back as you go up.  As I go up, my quads start to ache.  I can feel them wanting to cramp but they hold off.  As I come down the hill, I know there is only a few more minutes of running left.  I catch the 2nd guy about 4oo meteres before the finish line and come through the 2nd run in 21:51.  The overall results are posted now, but the split breakdown is not.

I finished 34th overall and 5th in my age. Official time 1:27:22, (the winner was 1:10:22)  Overall,  not bad for a first timer.  I am curious to see how I ranked in the 2nd run.  My bike will get better, so I’m excited about competing in this new event.  Bring on the swimming!!

Finish!

Run 1– 20:28

T1 –1:34

Bike–41:49

T2–1:40

Run 2–21:51

Final Time–1:27:22

Splits/Results Link

More Pictures Link

My 2nd indoor Triathon, Prospect Park YMCA (With RESULTS!!)

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

After all this drama with my knee and the go ahead from my doctor to resume regular training, I was very much looking forward to competing in this triathlon on my “home turf” at my gym, the Prospect Park YMCA.  I didn’t really have super high aspirations since I have been AWOL from consistent training for the last 2 months, I’m just itching to compete in something 🙂

I have recently taken a new job and have been working my tail off for the last 2 weeks.  For those that don’t know….I’m a chef and I’ve been putting in about 60-65 hours a week, 90% of which is spent on my feet and running up and down stairs.  In a way, I guess it keeps me in shape but it is also draining and not really race specific exercise.

I choose to do the 9AM wave, just to get started early.  Woke up around 7:45 since the walk over is only about 10 minutes.  I arrived about 8:15, signed in for the 9:15 wave, took a quick tour and went outside for a 1 mile warmup before my swim.

Got in the pool, they give us a couple minutes to warm up in the pool.  At this pool there is a little ledge about 4 feet down the wall, so you can stand on it.  So I did.  And as I pushed off to start my warm up, my left foot slipped off the ledge and the bottom of my shin slammed the ledge…OOOWWWW.  So for 1/2 a lap of my warm up I was cursing under water.  It really hurt, but I had no time to worry about it, oh well.

I’ve been practicing my swimming but not enough.  It’s funny…I actually thought I had made a giant performance leap since swimming my first tri, but today realized that the pool I practice in is only 20 yds 😦  In my training I’ve been steady at 24 laps in 10 minutes.  I managed 26 laps today so I was happy with the PR, and distance wise, it was longer than my first tri, even with the shorter pool.  1st Tri 475 yds, 2nd Tri 520 yds.  26 laps.  Felt slow, but I still was close to the top.  Not sure about official results, but I will post them here in the next couple days.

Out of the pool and we had about 15 minutes for transition, so I changed out of my swim suit into my compression shorts for the run, and over those my padded bike shorts.  I grabbed my Accelerade and shot blocks and headed to the spin room.  The guy that won last year was in the 9:00AM heat so I was able to check his performances as they recorded mine.  He swam 31 laps and now I see he is cranking on the bike.

I adjusted my bike and got comfortable, and then we were off.  This time I brought my ipod so I had some good “hype up” music for my ride.  I started off slower than I wanted.  My goal was 19 miles in 30 minutes, which is 3.33 every 10 minutes.  At 10 minutes I was at 2.90…lazy.  So I cranked it up and was at 9 miles at the halfway point.  I finished with 18.2 or something.  I was 18.4 last time.  It’s so weird riding the spin because there is no bonus for resistance so the wheel is just going, it is basically how fast you can move your legs.

On to my specialty, the run.  This was a much quicker transition since the spin room is right next to the treadmills.  We got 5 minutes to switch.  My running training has been light lately so my plan was to take it fairly east in the first 2-3 minutes then steadily increase depending on how I feel.  The run is 20 minutes.  I started off at 6:30/mi pace and felt comfortable, by 5 min. in I dropped it down to 6:15 and at 7 min I was really feeling a groove at 6 flat pace…then BOOM, all the treadmills STOP…Blank screen.  Are you kidding me!!?!?  This is BS!  Of course there was no way of knowing the stats on our wave, so the only option was to switch treadmills and re-start.  I really tried to play it off and re group, but I wasn’t running 8 minute pace like the guy next to me, I was hammering.  Not to say there is anything wrong with 8 min. pace, but this guy didn’t really look upset that we had to restart.  And an extra 7 minutes of 6:15 pace is no easy feat.  I mean, I can do it, but my plan was to keep dropping the pace down to finish the last mile in 5:30/5:45 pace.

We got about 5 minutes rest while they figured out we would restart.  The only bonus was I was able to get right back into 6:20 pace without a build up, but my mind had already planned on a 20 minute run and at about 15 minutes into round 2, I could really feel the burn, I actually had to back off the pace a bit at one point.  Plus it was an inferno in this gym.  I sweat a lot as it is, but it was really hot.  And they only had 2 little house fans mounted on the wall to circulate a 30ft x 100 ft room…NICE.  My weight before leaving my house was 197 lbs, 1 hour of exertion later I was 193 and that is including drinking at least 32 oz of fluid.  So I lost 6 lbs of water weight.

I ended up with a 3.22 miles score, my first tri was 3.4 and I know I could have beat that with out the power failure.  Tough break, at least it wasn’t the championships, just a tune up.  Not sure if the 3.22 will hold up as the fastest of the day, but I beat last years winner by .1 in the run.

Knee felt great.  No pain.  A bit of swelling but nothing major.  At home icing the knee for precaution AND my shin with a half inch slice on it.  Battle wound 🙂

I am looking forward to doing an outdoor tri where I can actually compete AGAINST people and see where I am at.  Fun times.

Top 10 breakdown

As you can see.  My swim is still my big weakness, but it is improving.  Let me add an ** to my run time which I am sure would have been at least 3.4-3.5 miles, this would lower the other run scores.  I wouldn’t have won, but I would have been in the mix for 2nd or 3rd.  (just sayin…)  We’ll see how it all shakes out in the finals in 2 weeks.

Indoor Triathlon Race Report! (with results!)

January 10, 2010 1 comment

Done.  My first ever triathlon.  Thankfully it WAS an indoor, as it was 0 degrees outside with the windchill…brrrrr.  It was a chilly walk to the subway!

As most people know, I’m a runner.  I don’t bike, I don’t swim…ever.  Well I shouldn’t say ever, I’ve gone on about 5 bike rides in the last 3 years.  I used to bike to and from work back in ’04.  In other words, not a lot of training, although I have been using the gym bikes for cross training during the last 4-5 months, so that helps.

Swimming?  I don’t think so 🙂  I swam for 12 minutes last week just to make sure I wouldn’t die in this triathlon.  That is the extent of my swimming in the last 10 years.  I never swam competitively in high school.

Running I was obviously confident about.  I’m in the middle of training for the Boston marathon and still have quite a bit of fitness from the NYC marathon build up.

The tri was based on distance covered during the time allowed.  10 min swim, 30 min bike, 20 min run.

McBurney YMCA

I arrived at the McBurney YMCA at about 10am, 1 hour early.  I had signed up for the 11am wave, knowing I had a restaurant employee annual party to attend the night before, so I knew I wouldn’t be getting to bed early.  The 11 o’clock wave was taken on a tour of the facilities and shown all of the location for each stage.  I wasn’t too nervous, a little anxious to just get started, but I had no expectations except to pace myself in the swim, go hard and even in the bike, and go after it in the run.

I was watching racers in the pool before I had to swim and saw a wide range of ability which was encouraging.  I knew I wouldn’t be the slowest 🙂  But my ultimate goal with these indoor triathlon is to eventually be in the top 3 overall at one of them.  This is already #3 in a series of 5.  The top finishers in each race will qualify to enter the Indoor Tri Championships at Asphalt Green on March 15th.  The next race happens to be at Asphalt Green on Jan 31st, which I plan on doing.

I knew I should warm up a little so I hopped on their indoor track and jogged for about 10 minutes, then did some light stretching.  I don’t really know how to warm up for swimming, but I remembered seeing Michael Phelps doing some arm circles and shoulder stretches, so I did that.

I showered and got to the pool just in time to hear the instructions of the wave before mine.  I overheard some ladies in my wave talking about how unprepared they were for the swim and had planned to train more before, but “December happened”.  That eased my nerves a little.  There were only 4 in my wave; the 2 ladies, one other guy and myself.

So it was 10 minutes, there would be a whistle at 5 minutes to go, 1 minute to go, and the stop whistle.  Jackrabbit Sports puts on the triathlons, so their employees were the officials and would be counting the lengths.  The pool was 25 yards and my goal based on how I struggled in my pool outing a couple weeks ago was 10 laps as a minimum, 15 would be a good effort and 20 would be my max if everything went well.

I spent an hour on Saturday (the day before the tri) studying video of efficient swim and stroke technique and learned some good tips.  The site is called Total Immersion and had a series of 6 videos of a seminar done by Terry Laughlin’s  at the 2009 New England Multisport Expo at MIT.

I picked up valuable energy saving tips like don’t cup your hands and why flutter kicking is unnecessary.  But I didn’t have time to test my new found tips…until race day.  Now, I haven’t swam much during my life, especially lately, but I do have habits in the pool, and they happen to be cupping my hands and flutter kicking.  It took all of my concentration to not do these things, and yet I still caught myself doing them.

I did 1 down and back to warm up and then it was Go Time.  Surprisingly my swim went well.  I felt better than I had at my training session, maybe because of the adreneline.  I was right on goal pace of 30 seconds a length.  At 3 minutes in, I touched for 6 laps.  At 5 minutes, right at 10 laps.  At about 7 minutes I felt like I was getting tired.  It’s hard to explain the fatigue of swimming, totally different from running fatigue.  I guess it is the forced breathing and gasping.  I fell off pace a little and made it to 18.5 laps and got credit for the last lap…19 laps.  Very happy with it.  I was in a lane by myself which was nice, it gave me a little more space.  Since I had the space I tried to backstroke a little to catch my breath, but I think it was worse than regular freestyle, so I flipped back over.  Looking back there is A LOT I can improve on.  I know I was turning my head to far out of the water to breathe for example.  I will take a class soon since I have no idea what I look like swimming and need some help.  But I feel good knowing there is a lot of room for improvement.

We had a solid 10 minutes to get out of pool, go change into bike/run outfit and make out way to the spin bike room.  I was able to change fairly quickly and got to the spin room with plenty of time to adjust the bike (which I had also researched…the proper adjustment of a spin bike).  With me I brought a water bottle, a bottle of Accelerade and a pack of Clif Bar Shot Bloks.  The bike had toe clips to slide our shoes into, bringing your own pedals was not allowed.  Not that I have any, but I guess some people do.  There was not extra bonus for having resistance on the bike, so everyone turned to resistance to minimum.

I had done a trial of the spin bike after my swim at Chelsea Piers last weekend and discovered 2 things, spin bikes can be pedaled very fast, much faster than a traditional exercise bike AND I needed to purchase some padded cycling shorts 🙂

I wore my cycling shorts over my compression running shorts, since the next transition was faster, only 5 minutes allowed to go from spin room, upstairs to the treadmills.  I got my bike set up and warmed up a little.  All the bikes had an electronic display showing mph and total miles.  At Chelsea Piers I managed to go 16.6 miles in 30 minutes, that was with a little resistance because it felt to weird to pedal without it.  When we got the tour the wave that was spinning were going so fast and frantic I thought a few of them might actually achieve lift off like a space shuttle.

We got the 5 second countdown, and we were off…pedaling like mad.  I quickly got the bike up to 35mph, a little quicker than my training session, but it felt good.  Spinning like this didn’t really get my heart rate up very fast and it seemed easy.  The struggle was to be coordinated enough to pedal so fast, it reminds me of boxers who workout on the speed bag.

At the halfway point (15 min) I was at 9.55 miles, 19 mile pace.  Nice!  I actually hit 40mph a few times, but settled in around 35-36.  My right foot started feeling sore at the halfway point, I think the clip was too tight.  I started sweating a lot at 15 minutes and finished all of my accelerade and half of my Shot Bloks.

I started to fatigue a little in the 2nd half and really focused on maintaining.  As I looked at others in the room, I felt like I was faster than most, just based on the cadence I was seeing.  I finished up with 18.3 miles and I can’t see how I could have gone much faster, but after getting home and looking at past race winners, I saw that one person got to 22 miles!!  It really becomes a leg quickness test rather than strength, I think.

Spin Fest

The bike being done, I got off and assessed the damage…a little soreness in the inner thighs, and some calf soreness, but overall, not bad.  My wave headed upstairs to the treadmill run portion.  We got there in about 90 seconds and had to wait a few more minutes for treadmills to open from the previous wave.  This gave me a little time to stretch and shake out my legs.  I glanced around at the other competitors to get a gauge of what pace they had set their treadmills to, I saw a 6.0 and a 7.5, which equate to 10 min/mile and 8 min/mile.

A treadmill opened up and I jumped on it.  I immediately cranked it up to 9.0 (6:40 pace).  There is no bonus for using incline so I kept it at 0.0.  Those of you who run on treadmills know that no incline almost feels like running downhill.  9.0 felt to easy so I went to 9.5 (6:13 pace) and then to 10 (6 min pace), I came through 1 mile in about 6:16.  I didn’t want to crash and burn on the treadmill and have to slow the pace down, but it really felt easy, so I went to 10.3 (5:50 pace) and hung out there for a while.  2 mile split was 12:01.

I had heard some guys from an earlier wave talking about the bike portion in the locker room and one guy said, he usually does 3.2 miles on the run portion but, didn’t get there today.  So based on that, I wanted to at least beat 3.2.  During the last 8 minutes a gradually increased to pace until I was at 10.9 (5:30 pace) for the last 1:30.  My final distance was 3.42 miles, the recording lady told me it was the best of the day 🙂  Hopefully it held for the last few heats after me.  Lord knows I needed to make up points after my swim…

So that was it.  I was proud of myself.  Especially of the run.  It was really exciting to have 3 different challenges…I think I have found a new event to attack.

I will know the results of the race tomorrow (hopefully) and will post as soon as I get them.

Here is JackRabbit’s blog about various news, including past results of their Indoor Tri Series

Treadmill Pace Conversions

My Tri Results

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