I seem to be developing the dangerous habit of coming into races undertrained. With less than a week to my first Olympic(ish) distance race, I am barely ready on the bike, just OK on the run, and I MIGHT be able to finish the swim IF it’s wetsuit legal, which is borderline at this point. Somehow I failed to notice that this race (Tinman Triathlon, Topeka, KS) has some odd distances. The run is slightly long, at 6.5 miles. The bike is pretty short, at only 20 miles, but the swim is almost half Iron distance, at 1 mile.
Can I swim a mile? Yes, but it won’t be pretty (when is it?). I’m going to do that today (if it doesn’t rain… again…) and I will swim it without a wetsuit, I just don’t WANT to… 8) Hopefully the weather gods will smile (or Livesay will take another one of his miraculous water temperature measurements and find a wetsuit legal spot someplace) and keep the temps tolerable. Weather Channel says 84 degrees and a slight chance of rain for Saturday. The two concerns I have are that this far out the Weather Channel is wildly inaccurate and the start time is listed as 8am. That’s an hour too late/hot in my book. But, no matter, it’s just as hot for everybody. Could be MUCH worse…
On the bike front, I still love my Specialized Transition but it is slowly starting to show some design flaws. The thing is so aero that they even moved the back brake from the normal position to just behind the bottom bracket… on the BOTTOM of the bike. I’m just not sure the minuscule improvement in aerodynamics is worth the constant attention you have to give it to make sure it doesn’t get jammed full of crud coming off the wheel/road. I spent an hour yesterday disassembling, cleaning and lubricating it. See, the WORST feeling you can get on a bike is grabbing the brakes on a screaming descent… and nothing happens because your brakes are screwed up. The SECOND worst feeling is grabbing your brakes on a screaming descent and having the back one LOCK UP and refuse to let go because it’s full of crud. One should never smell one’s own tire smoke on a bike at 35+ mph… just sayin’.
It’s not a big deal… but it is something to monitor closely. Also, the ridiculously tight tolerance between the rear wheel and the frame (about 1/8 inch) means that any schmutz, pebble or critter that happens to get stuck on the wheel for more than a half revolution gets crammed in the space and either rips up the frame or makes really annoying scraping noises until it dislodges. Again, not a big deal, and the trade off in aero IS important here, but it just makes this bike a little more high maintenance than I’m used to.
It’s all a part of the learning curve, I guess. Other things (that everyone told me but I had to see for myself to believe) I’m slowly getting are that, yes, the faster you spin the pedals, the faster you go. Sounds simple, but to an old mountain biker used to mashing big gears, this concept is hard to master. Also, no matter how crappy I feel on the run after the bike… I’m running WAY faster than I think. It’s. Just. Weird.
And did I mention that no matter how much I train… I don’t feel like it’s enough? …again… just sayin’.