Mountain Biking - Triathlon!
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04-12-02, 10:28 AM
Anybody here ever done the riding portion of a triathlon on a mountain bike?
I ask because I have signed up for the Mrs. T's Chicago Sprint Triathlon at the end of August and I was looking for any tips anyone may have for me.
My tires have to be 1.625" wide at the minimum and I'd like to mount up some slicks for the race.
Any advice outside of seeking therapy?
04-12-02, 03:35 PM
The infamous Mrs. T huh? My friend is from Chicago and he'd be jealous!
Are you part of a relay team and are doing just the riding portion, or the whole schabang? If you're planning on using one of your mt bikes, you're gonna get smoked by the road bikes unless they have a seperate division for mt bikes! Some of the triathlons down here have seperate divisions, but I'm not sure about relays!
Regardless, if you decide to use the mt. bike, go get some slicks. There are a couple of companies that are making slicks with pressures up to 90 p.s.i., that's about the only way you'll have a chance to hang with the roadies!
What else, drafting is NOT allowed, but everyone does anyways. Get there early & make sure you have everything you need ahead of time! If doing a relay, there is significantly less things to worry about! Drink a lot of water or sports drinks! Don't eat less than a hour before the race! Don't worry about energy bars, they'll take too long to be of any benefit, but gels might be the way to go. What are the distances? It's a Sprint right? That's about 16 miles. Since it's a sprint, just stick with sports drinks. PACE Yourself! Don't go all out too soon! Better to push it toward the end of the ride!
& Oh yeah: HAVE FUN!!!!!
After the race, drink a beer and have a, (What are they called?) Peorgi! Is that right? I can never remeber, the T-Shirt says, It's not a Samich, It' a Peorgi! or something like that!
04-12-02, 03:51 PM
I'm doing the whole thing and am not in any sort of relay.
Fortunately there is a mountain bike division, but there is a minimum tire width of 1.625" I have to work around. I've seen slicks at 1.9" and 1.5", but I'd like to get as close as possible to the min.
I've never done one of these before so I thought, "Why not do one of the biggest in the nation?" Silly me!
I'm not planning on winning the race by any stretch of the imagination. I just want to finish.
Post-race I'll have a few bowls of loudmouth soup and maybe I'll partake of a pleasing pirogie. (I don't know how to spell them either.)
04-12-02, 04:19 PM
Since you're doing the whole thing, Make sure you get there early and have all your stuff set up in the transition area. Lay everything out in the order you'll put it on. Some start with the shoes and work their way up to helmet and sunglasses last! Other, (Most) start with the helmet and work down!
I wouldn't waste time by using clipless pedals and having to change shoes twice. I'd put my running shoes on directly after the swim and just use normal platform pedals. If you were serious, and the distance was longer, then I could justify the time used by changing shoes twice.
Where is the transition? Will you be running through some sand or dirt after the swim as you go into the transition? If so, take a dishtub and fill it with water and set it up in your transition space. You can step into it and wash your feet. Down here, we predominately have to run through sand and it sucks to ride and then run with a shoe full of sandpaper!
Since this will be your 1st, and it's a BIG ONE! You are going to have a lot of people in your class. Don't be ashamed to go to "First Timers" The distances are the same, but you don't get hammered (or trampled) in the swim!
What else? Practice your transitions. A lot of time is wasted in tranny. You can do this at home, just have your stuff set up and run up to your gear and don't forget to time yourself. A few practices can shave minutes off your time! Practice the tranny to the run also! You can start stripping stuff off as you enter the tranny area!
Besides the slicks, I wouldn't make too many modifications to your bike. Aero bars are pointless in a Sprint distance for a first timer! If you change too much, you won't be comfortable on your bike!
The Swim to bike isn't bad, but next couple training rides, go directly to the run! Your legs will feel like jell-o after being on the bike and it takes some getting used to. Don't do this for the first time the day of the race! You can utilize this time to also practice your transition.
Let us know how you do! What's the date of the race?
04-15-02, 04:31 AM
most important: get the highest pressure tires you can find...
about 3 years ago i did a duathlon (supposed to be a triathlon but there was some dangerous bacteria in the water) and rode my MTB b/c i hadn't bought a road bike yet and thought it better to use a bike i knew than borrow...
anyway, they had a MTB division, so i actually got 2nd place from about 25 MTBers b/c there was less competition b/c most of the 'serious' racers had road bikes - anyway, i used wide (i think 1.5") but high-pressure slicks (100psi) and i think that's the real key - high pressure -- although be careful with your rims as most MTB rims aren't set up for high pressure - i blew 3 tubes and then used tripple-rim tape to protect the tube from the large spoke holes in the MTB rim which i think was causing the problem... a friend on a long-distance tour with slicks said the high-pressure destroyed his rims after 'only' 2000 miles...
yes, a road bike is faster, but after the high pressure tires it's mostly wind resistnace b/c of riding position more upright on MTB that slows you down - i used my bar ends to extend and get lower to reduce my wind profile and i easily beat a friend on his rode bike although lost by a minute or so on the bike to another who's simply a stronger rider... don't know what distance you're doing but for the Olympic distance i would think about aero-bars if you really want to do well but they're definitely not essential.
i do use clipless pedals for triathlon b/c i can't ride worth squat w/o them.
my biggest problem in triathlons is muscle cramps in the run - for some reason after cycling my calves and hamstrings are not happy - if i eat and drink well it's less although still a problem. i strongly suggest training with a ride, transition and run to practice the transition and running after riding - it's not the same as running fresh or even running a longer distance b/c cycling is different and the running muscles are still cold...
good luck and have fun. even more people have MTBs now than 3 years ago, but i still bet most in triathlons are more beginners so you might do surprisingly well in the MTB class if you don't ride low-pressure knobbies...
HI! Kima here! I have done 3 Sprint Tris. I had a blast. A couple of things that helped me. First I am a terrible swimmer so I start at the back of the pack. I put my swim cap on after my googles so they do not get kicked off during the swim. Oh a bit of anti fog helps keep the googles clear.
a2psyklnut is right on about practicing the tranistions. Depending on how many are in the race it can be really confusing. Remember where your stuff is. I wasted 5 min running around trying to find my bike.
Thinking about the Monument Sprint here in Colorado this year. Last time I think I came in second to last! But they serve Fat Tire beer at the finish so hey I was happy :D
04-15-02, 03:04 PM
The swim is the only part of the tri that concerns me at this point. (My legs are ready for the other two.)
I would like to thank all of you for the tips on what will be an interesting day!
P.S. Keep the tips coming! Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
04-15-02, 03:25 PM
Water Wings? j/k
04-15-02, 03:27 PM
Would they have a problem with me using a kickboard and snorkel fins?
04-16-02, 10:00 AM
snorkel and fins no, but if it's an outdoor swim you can probably use a wetsuit!
i think the rule is something like less than 20C or something... anyway, wearing a wetsuit makes a HUGE difference especially if you have a typical cyclist physique - thin, muscular with low low body fat - w/o the suit my legs and body sink and i must pull so much drag from my lower body through the water - put on a wetsuit and it's like i go from 4% to 15 or 20% body fat and i float and glide on top like a feather - it's a huge benefit and i can swim almost twice as fast with the reduced drag from improved body position with the wetsuit. kicking is almost unnecessary with the wetsuit (no kick w/o the wetsuit is a disaster)
anyway, i'm a horrible swimmer (started swimming b/c of knee problems from running and cycling too much and then decided to do a triathlon since i had to swim so much i needed some kind of goal) but if you can do it in training, you can do it in the race - yes, it's more difficult with all the kicking and pushing, but don't start at the front if it's your first race - start in the middle or back. do expect to get kicked anyway - at least be prepared.
although if it is open-water, practice following a bearing BEFORE the race - for my first tri, i trained almost exclusively in the pool following the black line and then in the race had a hard time doing the 'head-glance' to find my bearing and kept going right and then right (my non-breath side) and then would have to break my stroke to find out where to go.
but relax and you can do it. for my 1st tri i was one of the last out of the water, but it's still a good experience (and i kicked a** on the bike so i did OK overall)
Same here nathank, I find myself doing quite a bit of zig zagging. A waste of energy. A good point about kicking. Watching the good swimmers you will notice very little kicking, save the legs for the run and bike. While I do not kick a** at any portion typically the bike is where you can make up the most time.
Another thought, because I am direction impaired, I found it really helpful to walk the swim to bike transition a couple of times so I did not waste time trying to find my bike. Learned that the hard way. If your tri is smaller probably not a big deal. The Danskin here has over 2,000 participants so finding your stuff is a challenge.
I have only done open water swims. And again like nathank found it very different than a pool. I am an avid scuba diver so I assumed that the WATER would not bother me. But when I put my head down and all I saw was bubbles and feet it freaked me out! I was used to the clear blue water that I dive in. Now I follow my hubby in the pool to get used to the feet and bubbles. But nothing really prepares me for the waves and muddy water. Hard to find lakes to swim in here in Denver. To darn cold!
Wet suits are great, but if your not used to them getting out of one can be a hassle. The best advice I got was to remember to revel in the experience. So when I doubted that I could finish the swim I thought, I am reveling, I am reveling. Worked better than I am drowning, I am drowning!
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