This past weekend I finally purchased a time trial bike. It's a used 2010 Scott Plasma 2 LTD. 16 pounds of wind tunnel carbon fiber love.
I took her out on Sunday for 43 miles and light weight and aerodynamics really do make a difference. A huge difference. Though this was my first time on a TT bike, I felt great on it. Yes, my arms did get tired from the aero position, but it was well worth it.
A few things that I did notice about riding on carbon fiber versus steel, aluminum, and titanium. Similar to aluminum, the frame lacks life. It just doesn't have the same soul as my CrMo Serrotta or Ti Mongoose. The bike is built for speed and no nonsense.
As I learned today.
I was doing a sprint distance BRICK (bike/run combination). It was very windy and the roads were wet from late night rain. I had a strong tail wind on my way back home, before changing shoes and heading for a run. I used the wind to my advantage. For a mile I was averaging ~27 MPH. As I reached the final mile, I wasn't slowing down. Not even to take a corner.
I was in a zone and feeling great. I approached the corner, opened my turn, got off of the aero bars, checked the roads to make sure it was clear, and went for it. I was booking at 28.4 MPH and about 45° into the turn, I realized that I wasn't gonna clear it. I was heading toward the median. I hit the brakes. Began to fish-tail to the left. I let off the brakes. The bike began to stand up again, but i was still heading toward the median. So I reached for the brakes again. It didn't matter. I over corrected and began to fall to my left.
At this point, I had to relax and let the road take its course. And that was a halt at the median.
I first made sure that I wasn't in the middle of the road. Then checked my limbs. Nothing was broken. I got up and checked the bike. It was fine. At least as fine as a checkup in the dark could tell. A few items fell out. Spare tube and CO2 adapter. I found the tube, but not the adapter. I wasn't gonna stand there looking for it, so I just grabbed my bike and walked up to the sidewalk.
The rear wheel was rubbing against the brake pad, so I fixed that and put the chain back on the rings. I was okay to slowly ride home. At home I told Colleen that I had crashed, as she was barely awake. Then I remember leaning against the bathroom door and all of a sudden Colleen was behind me and all of the lights were on. I had passed out standing up.
No, I didn't hurt my head, I was just in shock. After eating, drinking, and sitting in a hot bath I was feeling fine. Minus the scrapes and bruising.
First, I learned to be more cautious. Second, I learned that this new bike is fast. Stupid fast. TO the point where you do stupid things at high speeds. Below is a graph of my ride. I especially like how it went from 28.4 MPH to 0 very quickly. :-(
As I posted in July, when my tri season was at it's birth, I'm now posting as my short-lived season is about to end. I jumped into the triathlon season a bit late in the year. I ran my first 5k in June, then a duathlon that same month. Followed by more 5k races and one tri each month. Summarized it doesn't seem like much. But, as 5 5k races, 2 10k races, 1 15k race, a duathlon, and 3 sprint triathlons in 4 months. It's a lot more than I had ever expected. Especially when, in February, I couldn't run for one mile at a time.
After the Battle of the Bridges Triathlon on Sunday, I'll be gearing up for my first 1/2 marathon on December 1st. Then, it's time to plan my 2014 triathlon season.
I had this all planned out and had scheduled to have some rest weeks before tri races. That didn't happen. I just kept adding running races whenever my weekends were open. And some times when they weren't open at all. My body may not feel like running a long run come Monday mornings, but I still managed to keep it up. Best of all, I picked up a running partner. Kai. He's run at all of the same running races as me. He will run the 5k races when I'm running a longer stretch. At the Turtle Krawl 5k, he managed to run more than me. After we had both finished the race, he went on to run a 1 mile kids' run. I've created a monster. I still do my morning workouts before the rest of the family wake up, but I also get to do some running after work with the kids. If I never race again, this is more than I could ever ask for.
But, let's be honest. I'm not gonna stop any time soon. ;-)
In 2014 I would like to enter a few olympic length triathlons while still racing sprint lengths. I'd also like to keep running and hopefully the kids can enter some tri races, too. They'll be doing an aquathlon in a week and Kai might be racing in his first tri in October. If the scheduling for Daphne's gymnastics meet in Gainsville works out.
If you don't know me - I'm a skate punk, turned MTB racer, turned couch potato. Or I was. But I'll get into that in a minute. In college I raced. I raced a lot. At one point I was racing every week while training between classes or on my way to and from work. I was constantly scabbed and under nourished. But I was loving life. Then, I had to make a choice. Keep racing or focus on school. I chose school.
There are no regrets there. While I wasn't racing, I was still riding. And riding a lot. Through mountain biking I met the greatest people on earth. Some of which are still my closest friends. Then, we all got married, had kids, and did a lot les riding. In fact, I did none. The most would be a short ride to the park with the kids.
I had gotten lazy, tired, and extremely fat. Then, when my wife was signing the kids up for swim lessons at the gym around the corner, we decided to renew our family membership.
At first I worked out once or twice a week. I changed how and what I ate. And it was hard. I was hungry, tired, and frustrated. Then, I made it over the initial hump. I was losing some weight. I was starting to get used to eating less. And, best of all, I was feeling energetic. I started to work out more often and added walking and yoga to my exercises. Yes, yoga.
After a few months my walks turned into walk/run intervals and I was at the gym 5 times a week. I got into an eating routine and clothes were fitting again.
Losing weight was my initial goal, but it wasn't enough. I went to USA Cycling and was surprised that, while inactive, my racing license was still in the system. I looked at MTB races in the area and was pretty disapointed that most race venues were 3 to 4 to 9 hours away. And with no local trail, my dreames of racing again were quickly fading.
Then, I received an email from the organization that runs my gym. They were holding a free 5k fun run. It looked interesting and something worth trying. I signed up the whole family and set a goal. My walk/runs turned into daily runs and I was working out every day. The day of the run came and it felt great. I wasn't dieing and I didn't finish too badly either.
My pace was better at the organized run than it had ever been while training, but still not worthy of racing. Besides, I hate running. So, while Daphne was in gymnastics practice, I sat in the gym lobby and started to browse on my phone for events nearby. A duathlon stood out. I can ride for ever. That's a given. And I did okay running. Why not try it out. Then it hit me. I've been surfing my whole life. I'm comfortable in the water and after seeing the swim lengths in beginner triathlons, I felt like I could totally do it. So I signed up for my first triathlon. Yes, the same people that I mocked when I worked at bike shops.
For the next month I either swam, biked, or ran every day. I checked the event website, weighed my training times against past results, scoped out the competition, and read everything that I could find about tri races. Then the week of the event was upon me. I was ready. I checked the event Facebook page and there it was. A person had posted that the lake in wich the event was to be held was contaminated and swimming was prohibited. What to do? What to do? I called the park to see if they would open the lake for the event. They said that it was all up to the event coordinator. I panicked. Then, I received an email from the event team. The lake was, in fact, contaminated. If it didn't clear up before the race, all competitor will be running a duathlon.
Yes, I had looked at trying a duathlon earlier. But, remember, I hate running. And a duathlon includes a run, bike, then another run. I would have opted for a bike run bike. ;-)
It turns out that the lake didn't clear up and I was stuck running a du. I did alright. Fifth overall out of 12 newbie men. But I wasn't satisfied. I trained for a tri, and that's what I wanted to do.
Somehow, in the mix, I signed up for a running series and two more triathlons. This is without having run an actual running race or a triathlon. I did my first running race a few weeks later. As expected I finished well, but no podium. I finished 12th in my age group. Then, it was time to race in my first tri. The race was in the same venue as the first attempt. The water report wasn't good. The lake had been closed to swimmers for two weeks. I didn't freak out and had accepted that I might have to run a du again.
With the thought of another du on my mind, I didn't obsess as much as I did before my first race. It was a few days before the race and I received an email from the event team. The water was good and the tri was on. Now, I'm freaking out. I'm actually gonna have to do this thing.
The night before the race had come and I wasn't ready. My bag wasn't packed my tri suit was still in the hamper and I hadn't checked out the bike. I tuned up the bike, got my stuff together and before I knew it, it was close to 10:00pm. Crap. I'm not gonna get enough sleep before leaving the house at 4:00am. Double crap. I still have to shave my legs. Yes, I did it when I raced MTBs, too. Okay, I'm packed, everything's in the car, nutrition ready, legs shaved, and I'm ready to go to sleep. Crap! It's 11:00pm. I somehow woke up at 4:00am to take a shower and make breakfast before leaving for the race.
Well, the training worked out. I finished 1st overall for the first-timers. Now, I'm getting ready for another 5k race and triathlon in August. My biggest concern about the tri is that the run includes a bridge crossing. Twice. I'll start by adding the following to my 10k training run.
Some time nex week or the week after, I'll have to incorporate the Eau Gallie Bridge on my training.
But, this is my final target. Run this bridge twice after I've swam in the Atlantic and biked up and down A1A. All in a town that I've never visited. Woohoo!
I guess that now makes me more of a skate punk, turned MTB racer, turned couch potato, turned tri geek.
A few weeks ago they installed new rubber tread in the stairwells at work. And every day, as I walk to my floor, I'm reminded of the smell of bike shop showrooms.
For a few seconds each morning, when I leave for lunch, and in the evening I'm reminded of greeting patrons as them walk into the shop. Testing out new gadgets, accessories, or bike tech. Educating soon-to-be new bike owners about sizing, metals, gearing, and riding styles.
Working at a bike shop is a magical, exciting, and bizarre experience. You get the hard core, want-to-be core, tech geek, geezer, and ambitious groms that visit every day. Everything from the kid that's stringing every cent to buy new cranks to the guy that's spent far too much money on an all-carbon TT that is only ridden for a few miles every other week. The semi-pro that is just there to pick up his new frame that the factory sent in or to whine about his 3d gear not sliding up quick enough.
Sometime there are headaches. The MLC guy that pulled into the parking lot in a Porsche 911 trying to talk you down on an entry level bike. Saying how his Harley can go faster because it cost $100,000. The ocasional shop lifter. And the dreaded Christmas rush.