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Competing in the bike leg of a triathlon....advice ?

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Competing in the bike leg of a triathlon....advice ?

Old 05-19-08, 09:35 AM
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JoeOxfordCT
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Competing in the bike leg of a triathlon....advice ?

Good Morning,

I posted this question here rather than on the Triathlon forum because I'm riding this as a roadie....meaning I have no intention of training to do the swim or run or buy a tri-bike, ever. Besides, I don't think the Triathlon forum has the equivalent of a Botto...or Pcad even.

My company, Health Net, is the main sponsor of the event:

http://www.trifitness.net/HealthNet.htm

Employees are encouraged to participate and the company will pay for and put together cyclists, swimmers, & runners to form relay teams. (which is what I'm doing)

Here is the bike course:
24 miles with approx. 2,800 feet of elevation gain....

http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...ton/1070298984

I haven't ridden the entire course yet but I do ride many of the roads it uses weekly as the course comes within a couple miles of my house. Starting this weekend however, I plan to ride the course start to finish at least twice a week. I have just over a month until the event. (June 21st)

I was contemplating borrowing some basic aero bars from anyone in my club (Sound Cyclists) if I could find some but beyond that I wasn't going to get crazy about equipment.

I was wondering if folks could offer any advice on doing the ride.
Right now I'm wondering how much water to carry....if they'll allow drafting in a smaller event like this...etc.

Thanks,

J.

Last edited by JoeOxfordCT; 05-19-08 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 05-19-08, 09:45 AM
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It's a USAT tri, so no drafting will be allowed. If you can get some aero bars and move your saddle forward, that will probably increase your speed more than anything else you can do between now and then.

For training, I'd recommend a steady diet of 3x15 or 2x20 minute intervals once/week, plus VO2Max intervals. Mix this in with whatever long rides or group rides you normally hit. Ride in your TT position as much as possible.

During the race, just stay smooth and calm. Don't dig too deep -- save that for the 2nd half of the run.
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Old 05-19-08, 09:50 AM
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make sure your equipment is in perfect working order

find out under what rules the event is being governed and learn them (re. drafting, equipment, road closure status, safety, markings on intersections and marshalling, etc., etc., etc.). find a flyer on the event and it should give you rule and contact info so you can learn these.

24 mi = approx. 1 to 1.25 hrs., carry what you would for a ride of that length

if you're going to use aerobars, and have a month to learn to use them, get them in the next couple days and ride with them all the time, otherwise just ride what you've got

go as fast as you can go and have fun.

please do not wear a sleeveless midriff shirt and arm warmers, unless Joe is short for Josephine, then just dont wear the armwarmers.
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Old 05-19-08, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
make sure your equipment is in perfect working order
find out under what rules the event is being governed and learn them (re. drafting, equipment, road closure status, safety, markings on intersections and marshalling, etc., etc., etc.). find a flyer on the event and it should give you rule and contact info so you can learn these.

24 mi = approx. 1 to 1.25 hrs., carry what you would for a ride of that length

if you're going to use aerobars, and have a month to learn to use them, get them in the next couple days and ride with them all the time, otherwise just ride what you've got

go as fast as you can go and have fun.
Thanks ! I don't think I'm going to find aerobars with enough time to ride and be comfortble on them. I'd be happy if I could adopt the guy's position comfortably:



...but my forearms get sore....maybe I can wrap the tops with some extra tape the day of ??

Re: hydration....I'm thinking one large water bottle should be enough...unless it's really hot & humid....

I think the ride will be the (relatively) easy part.....but I have no experience with the transitions....my swimmer will have to find me and I'll have to find my runner....?
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Old 05-19-08, 10:59 AM
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Try to borrow some clip-on aero bars. They'll make a big difference over 40K. Maybe try to borrow a disc wheel?

And bring a trainer so you're nice and warm (sweaty) before you start. Avoid the temptation to push too big a gear. Stay tight on the aerobars as much as you can. And put the water bottle in the downtube cage (supposedly it's more aero).
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Old 05-19-08, 11:27 AM
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If you're doing a relay, you're basically doing a 40k TT. Treat it just like a bike-only TT, leave it all out there (do you do bike races?). I would advise you not to use the "arms hanging over the top" position on a road bike; if you're a decent cyclist, you will be passing many people and it's hard to react quickly in that position if you need to dodge someone or brake.

Practice the course, do long intervals, go have fun.
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Old 05-19-08, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by KendallF View Post
If you're doing a relay, you're basically doing a 40k TT. Treat it just like a bike-only TT, leave it all out there (do you do bike races?). I would advise you not to use the "arms hanging over the top" position on a road bike; if you're a decent cyclist, you will be passing many people and it's hard to react quickly in that position if you need to dodge someone or brake.

Practice the course, do long intervals, go have fun.
Thanks how I'm looking at it, a 40K TT. I don't race....this will be my first taste of any kind of competitive riding....but I do belong to a club and do do the B rides....

I have to correct the elevation listing on my initial post....a buddy of mine mapped it on mud.bikely.com and it's actually closer to 2,800 feet of elevation gain.......

http://mud.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...d-24-5m-2832ft
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Old 05-19-08, 11:50 AM
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If you're going to use aerobars, you definitely need to put them on now. If you don't train with them, you can actually be slower than a good position in the drops because the aero advantage is offset by the drop in power.

On race day get a good warm up, see the 40k TT warmup thread.

On the ride, bust it up into 1/3rds, go a little slower in the first third than you think you can hold for the full distance. Second third, if you're still feeling ok, ramp it up to the level you intend to hold for the whole ride. Last third, just gradually increase your effort until there is nothing left.

If you have a heart rate monitor, notice your HR as you do the 2x20's and use that info for pacing in the race.
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Old 05-19-08, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
If you're going to use aerobars, you definitely need to put them on now. If you don't train with them, you can actually be slower than a good position in the drops because the aero advantage is offset by the drop in power.

On race day get a good warm up, see the 40k TT warmup thread.

On the ride, bust it up into 1/3rds, go a little slower in the first third than you think you can hold for the full distance. Second third, if you're still feeling ok, ramp it up to the level you intend to hold for the whole ride. Last third, just gradually increase your effort until there is nothing left.

If you have a heart rate monitor, notice your HR as you do the 2x20's and use that info for pacing in the race.
Well here's what I was thinking as to how to approach the course....

Here's the elevation chart:


The climbing is all front loaded...my thought is to push that first hill as hard as I can without blowing up as once I reach the top the other hills spread out and aren't nearly as bad. Once I hit 12 miles I have a big downhill stretch to recover and then it's flats along the river. I do however want to have something meaningful left for the last 2 miles as I think many folks who don't scout the route may forget those last little climbs before the end and have a nasty surprise.
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Old 05-19-08, 12:31 PM
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General consensus is that make sense to push a little over threshold on the uphills, and recover on the down.

However, you've got to temper your plan with the fact that virtually everyone in their first TTs go way to hard in the first half and die coming home, losing valuable time.
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Old 05-19-08, 04:57 PM
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I did the bike leg of a USAT tri last summer. All of the relays had to hang their bikes on the rack and we were not allowed to ride a trainer to warm up. I met my swimmer at the bike and she gave me the chip. Had to run out of the paddock to some line where I was allowed to start riding. No drafting.

I did long intervals and a bunch of hard steady solo rides in the weeks before the tri. Eased up on Wednesday, off Thursday, Friday easy with a couple of short efforts and race Saturday. Seemed to work well for me.

+1 to getting the aero setup done early. I did a lot of tweaking of the position before the race.
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Old 05-19-08, 05:26 PM
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Just a thought:

Aerobars are not preferred on particularly technical or significantly uphill/downhill TT courses, like the recent TdG TTT. This course has a 600 foot/2 mile ascent (~5.5%) and a 600 foot/3 mile descent, in addition to a lot of little rollers. There aren't too many turns.

Question for the more experienced TTists here: at what point do you decide drops/aerobars, particularly if you're not experienced on the aeros? What would you chose for this course?
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Old 05-19-08, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by justinb View Post
Just a thought:

Aerobars are not preferred on particularly technical or significantly uphill/downhill TT courses, like the recent TdG TTT. This course has a 600 foot/2 mile ascent (~5.5%) and a 600 foot/3 mile descent, in addition to a lot of little rollers. There aren't too many turns.

Question for the more experienced TTists here: at what point do you decide drops/aerobars, particularly if you're not experienced on the aeros? What would you chose for this course?
Good points....

I drove the parts of the course on the way home tonight that I have not ridden before and while there are some parts of the course where I could benefit from aero bars there are lots of little rollers that I anticipate standing to get over....There is also a short section (approx. 4 miles) at the very beginning of the course where we're still inside Indian Wells state park where they will have us riding down a very narrow stretch of road, hitting the end and then riding back up the same road and eventually out of the park. This road is very narrow with little twisty hills that follow the (Housatonic) river bank. I'm concerned that folks eager to get a fast start are going to be flying here and the opportunity for accidents is a little unsettling....

I don't think I'll be worrying about aero bars for now......
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Old 05-19-08, 05:46 PM
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After looking at that profile, I think I'm going to retract my aerobar suggestion. Even the little up-downs look fairly steep.
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Old 05-19-08, 06:10 PM
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don't sell aerobars short - they're more comfortable than you think
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Old 05-19-08, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
After looking at that profile, I think I'm going to retract my aerobar suggestion. Even the little up-downs look fairly steep.

First 5 miles is all plus or minus 132 feet. Last 12 miles is again plus or minus 132 feet, Just looking at it on paper, there will a substantial advantage to a good aero position in those 17 miles.

The decision claculus thus becomes whether the cost of lifiting the extra weight on the one real climb offsets teh aero advantage.

Two ways to answer, 1) play with some assumptions in Kruezotter, or
2) do some tests on the actual course.
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Old 05-20-08, 08:44 AM
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I've done this before. I made quite a few mistakes, but one thing our team did pretty well was transitions. I assume you're doing a typical swim-bike-run sequence. Check the rules for the event, but we did the following:

1. While the swimmer was in the water, the cyclist (me) warmed up on a trainer. The runner waited by the water's edge for the swimmer to finish.

2. When the swimmer finished, the runner grabbed the timing chip from the swimmer while I moved my bike to the edge of the transition area. The runner ran up and strapped the chip on my ankle.

3. When I finished my ride, the swimmer grabbed the chip from my ankle and put it on the runner's ankle.

Our experienced triathlete (the swimmer) checked with the race officials ahead of time and they were fine with this procedure. Our total time in the transition area was something under 2 minutes. We finished second in our division (lost by 1 stinkin' minute out of ~3 hours).
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Old 05-20-08, 10:19 AM
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To somewhat hijack this thread, I'm thinking of doing the bike leg of a triathlon with my friends as well. The catch is , the Tri we're doing is not the usual swim/bike/run but rather run/bike/kayak. The bike course is 12.5 mi flat and drafting IS allowed but only off of other competitors I've not raced before but have done the the 2x20 HR test and could extrapolate HR zones from that. How should I pace the ride and what strategies should I use (ie. should I wheel suck?). Should I wear MTB shoes and SPD to make the transition a little less sketchy? I have a pair of Specialized MTB shoes and some SPD pedals but I usually ride Sidi 5.5's road with Look Keo pedals. I have aerobars and and will try that out in training and the race if I get comfortable in time. I'm not sure if we can warm up or not and I suspect if we can, it will not be in the waiting area. Is it up to us to figure our runners pace and "guess" when to be in the transition area if I was say warming up in the parking lot? Thanks for any advice.
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Old 05-20-08, 11:10 AM
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Enough With The Triathlon Talk In The Road Bike Racing Forum Already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Triathlon = Nerd
Road Bike Racing = Cool Guys (and Gals)

/thread!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-20-08, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
Enough With The Triathlon Talk In The Road Bike Racing Forum Already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Triathlon = Nerd
Road Bike Racing = Cool Guys (and Gals)

/thread!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm thinking that it's just another opportunity to do a TT.
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Old 05-20-08, 11:59 AM
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I would be really careful on the bike portion of Eppies. There will be some serious Fredishness out there.
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Old 05-20-08, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I would be really careful on the bike portion of Eppies. There will be some serious Fredishness out there.
I get that impression. We're going to be unofficially competing against my friend's brother and sister's team and their cyclist rides a department store mtn bike. I guess there will be quite a bit of that.
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Old 05-21-08, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I would be really careful on the bike portion of Eppies. There will be some serious Fredishness out there.
What are Eppies ?
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Old 05-21-08, 01:03 PM
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It's a funky local triathlon. It claims to be the world's oldest. I did it once a few years ago as part of a relay team and I get the impression that it's still mostly relay. What's funky is that the run is first, then the bike, and then a kayak or canoe.

And the bike portion is on the local MUP. It's fairly narrow and twisty in parts. There will be lots of folks on Next, Magna, and GMC Denali bikes probably. Anybody who actually knows how to ride a bike would do very well I'm sure.
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Old 05-21-08, 01:14 PM
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I know it's going to be like this:

I'll be cruising along somewhere between 20-28 mph depending on the terrain....reeling in newbies and feeling great...until some tri-geek flies by me doing 32 mph......oh well, everything's relative....
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