This is the second installment of my first triathlon adventure. Part one “the swim” can be found here, along with the giveaway for a pair of Swim Elite Goggles. If you haven’t read part one, go do it now… seriously it’s the most fun part of this event! Disclosure: Links in this post may be affiliate links meaning I earn a small commision on sales through the links. This pays for website hosting, race entries and new camera equipment!
Stumbling onto the shore of Zuma beach after an 850 yard swim and getting tumbled by some waves I had never been happier to be back on land. I did it! Sure, I’d done it multiple times in training but this was race day. THE DAY! I did it, but there was no time to celebrate now… I had to get out of this wetsuit and onto the bike.
After watching videos of triathlons I knew to start taking my wetsuit off as I walked/ran to the staging area. So I partially disrobed and power walked to my bike. Honestly, I was relieved I managed to find it in the throngs of bikes there and then I gladly took that wetsuit off. On went the cycle jersey, socks, shoes, heart rate monitor and helmet. I tried putting my cycling gloves on and realized they were inside out. After fiddling with wet hands for about 30 seconds to turn them right side out I decided fuck it, and threw them down, I didn’t need gloves…. mistake! I shoved a snack in my jersey pocket, grabbed and my GoPro and then it was time to bike. In case you don’t know the transition area for triathlons is a strict NO-RIDE area. You have to walk your bike to the start, cross the white then get on and ride. When the ride is over you get off your bike and walk across the white line walking the bike back to the rack. Riding in the transition area is a disqualification. It was weird that I was headed out, others were coming IN and onto the run. I’d later discover the actual winner of the event Alexander Romanenko finished in 1:19:41.64, so he was in fact finishing his race just as I was getting into the ocean!
Across the line I got on my bike, clipped into the pedals and pressed my Garmin and started to ride! In my rush to transition I’d failed to put my Garmin on the handlebar mount nor my wrist so instead I just figured screw it, and put it into my jersey pocket… mistake! We’d ridden the bike course a few times in training so I knew it was a flat for a few miles out the parking lot, onto the Pacific Coast highway, and then… hills. After the hills, a turnaround, and the hills in reverse followed by the flat, back through the parking lot and DONE.
Settling onto the bike I realized my sunglasses were kinda useless. I always wear sunglasses usually, but the foggy air was causing them to mist up interfering with visibility so I took them off. The first hill came and I realized I had no idea of my bike cadence as my garmin was in my back pocket. Damn. Time to wing it. I teach indoor cycling and I’ve done the course before so I had a good ‘feel’ for the cadence but I like to SEE it, so this was another change to the ride. I’d left my gloves, taken off my sunglasses and now I don’t know my speed, distance, cadence, heart rate or time! After a few swear words the first hill was done and I was on the flat and then a short downhill. That was when I regretted not being able to have the sunglasses and my eyes were watering from the wind/speed. Shit.
By the second hill I’d become aware of a noise. Swoooooosh, swoooosh… every rotation of the wheel another noise. Trying to see what your bike is doing while you’re on it = no good. But I managed to figure out it was the brakes. The front right side brake pad was rubbing against the wheel frame. Eventually I stopped the bike adjusted the pad and continued on my way, wondering how much that had slowed me down? Shit I could have put my Garmin on while I’d stopped! Too late, keep peddling! Of course I HAD put my GoPro on my wrist and was managing to take some video of the ride occasionally, but the thing that actually would help me during the ride I’d left in my back pocket.
In the days prior to the event Nautica had sent out emails saying the staging/transition area would be further along parking lot due to beach erosion and the bike and run courses would be altered a little accordingly. This meant the usual turnaround at Leo Carrillo beach was no longer, and in fact we had an extra hill to do. Not only that but due to the location and traffic some riders may experience a short stop while the police let traffic pass. Yep you guessed it, that was me. So at mile 9 I reached the turnaround and found a bunch of riders stopped while the police let traffic pass. I took this opportunity to put my Garmin on my wrist, grab some water and a bite of a Clif bar and then we were on our way.
On the way back up the hill after Leo Carrillo I heard a familiar sound…. swooosh, swoooosh. Shit the brakes! Screw it! I’d stopped twice now on the ride, it was annoying more than impeding my speed, as it was just causing a rub not really affecting my speed any – I think. So I continued on. In hindsight I should have taken the 10 seconds to stop and sort out the brakes, but I was annoyed at having to stop for traffic… In my head I know that but the urgency to ride won out.
With every new event you learn a lot. This first triathlon was no different. I’d done many rides, done duathlons and this event I’d left my gloves behind, wasn’t wearing sunglasses, had no ride data for the first half of the race, and my brakes were rubbing, and I was realizing that all my practice for the swim had been great but the ride needed more practice. During the second half of the ride I was thinking of all the things I’d do differently “next time”. Holy shit, next time? I really am crazy.
During cardio like this you start to play mind games. The number of people you overtake vs those that overtake you. The ages of those that overtake you (your age is written on your calf in black pen). I had one gal that overtook me in the “Athena” division (165 lb+) which started 5 minutes after me. She was 36 years old. I made “Athena” my target, but she was fast on that bike damnit! I lost her around mile 14. I was too busy trying to get some GoPro footage of the ocean, and the road and my bike… you know, to document the event. In hindsight maybe putting the bike attachment for the GoPro on my bike would have been a good idea! Duh another mistake!
Around mile 15 my hands and wrists were sore, and I was starting to feel some saddle soreness. I missed my gloves, I wanted to get off the bike and run! WTF? Who was I? Three miles to go and thankfully mostly flat. I’d set my sights on two male cyclists on the Time Warner team and managed to catch them up before the Zuma beach parking lot, then zip through the lot to the white line. Get off Di! I stopped the bike, and dismounted. The woman in front stopped the bike and fell off. I felt so bad for her. She wasn’t disqualified as she had got off the bike before the white line, but OUCH! I did the same kind of fall in training a few weeks prior and had a bruise on my leg for weeks.
I walked the bike back to the rack, switched my shoes out to my trusty Brooks and got ready for the final stage of the triathlon…. the run!
…. to be continued….
5 Mistakes I made on the Bike Ride.
The swim went, well, swimmingly (fog aside) but the cycling was where mistakes crept in. Which is kind of ironic as it’s the thing I’ve had more practice at. Which shows that mistakes happen regardless of experience. Again though, learning from it with these 5 mistakes I made on the triathlon bike ride.
- Mistake – not wearing gloves. My wrists have been super sore all week and it took me a while to realize WHY! I always wear gloves when cycling. lesson learned, turn the gloves right side out BEFORE you get wet as they are impossible to turn out with wet hands. Especially the small ones!
- Mistake – not putting the Garmin on the bike mount. In fact for “next time” (and cycling in future) I’ll be getting a Garmin Edge for the bike. I like having my data easily visible. I have a watch mount for my Garmin 920 but I need the watch on my wrist for the run/swim so taking it on/off the bike is unnecessarily wasted time.
- Mistake – not sorting the brakes out properly. I should have lifted the little brake lever and then if I needed to stop use the back brakes only. Not ideal, but for race day I should have done this. My time was similar to training (plus we had the extra hill) but I do wonder if it hindered me any during the ride.
- Mistake – I have never changed the chain or tire on my own. The night prior to the race we’re faffing around getting basic tools together and inner tube replacements. My plans for future are to learn basic bike maintenance so if I needed to I could change my own tire “on the road”. Again not ideal, but I need the skills.
- Mistake – Ride your own race. I say this for everyone, you compete against yourself. But it’s so hard isn’t it when you’re adrenaline is going? I need to ride MY speed, MY cadence and My ride so I stay at a comfortable cadence. The grind up the hill in the wrong gear killed my legs!!! I needed more saddle time, but due to work schedule and crazy hot weather I couldn’t get outdoors on the bike more than once a week. Next time you’re training suck it up buttercup and RIDE!
Remember to enter my giveaway for a pair of Swim Elite Goggles!
Let me know in the comments your experiences riding a bike….