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Did my first Sprint today

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Did my first Sprint today

Old 04-21-24, 09:20 PM
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Did my first Sprint today

So, I finished my first Sprint today. I did pretty well, despite several mishaps. I lost the little ankle GPS they fit us with to keep our time. I took it off when I took my wet suit off and started on the bike ride, before turning back and wasting a ton of time looking for it. It was stuck inside my wet suit! The whole mishap must have cost me 5-7 minutes. I also exited the transition area in the wrong direction on the run leg. So, all in all, I think I wasted about 8-10 minutes figuring stuff out.

But, by far, the most surprising issue was how difficult the swim turned out to be. This was very disappointing, as I've developed into a much better swimmer over the last 5 weeks (I used to swim comparatively.) The swim was only 400 meters, and I regularly swim 1400 to 1700 meters in training with no issues. I can go on much longer at a fairly quick pace (all pool.) I started at the back of the pack, and quickly overtook about 70% of the swimmers, but found myself bumping into people, constantly breaking my stride to look up to see where I was going, slowing and then speeding up. It turned out to be exhausting! The last 100 meters were TORTURE. I started to panic, thinking I would drown. Freaking horrible. I just went into a flat backstroke (elementary stroke) and finished up. I really have to practice swimming in crowded open water if I intend to get good at this stuff. But even with all of that, I did pretty well. What an experience! Thank you to everyone here for all your advice, particularly VegasJen!
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Old 04-21-24, 11:52 PM
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The first one is always the hardest. Glad you finished it and overall it was a good experience. The swim will get better with practice/experience. Most of it is psychological. You have to just know and accept you're going to get kicked and you're going to run into people. And thank you for the kind words.

I had a similar instance in a local club tri event last weekend where I lost my timing chip in my wetsuit. I did know it was off so I never made it out of T1 without it, but I had to turn my wetsuit inside out before I finally found it. That and it was a new-to-me wetsuit, I was in T1 for over 10 minutes! I was quite literally the last person out of T1. This particular event, the lake was really freaking cold so I wore my suit that has full legs. Normally I wear a "shortie" suit which is far easier to get out of, this one I really struggled to get off wet. I still managed to overtake 8 or 9 other participants on the bike, and even one on the run. But I really need to get better in transition, both T1 and T2.
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Old 04-22-24, 10:09 AM
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Jen, I'll tell you, I literally began to panic on the swim. And this is coming from a guy who has been dragged out by rip tides on ocean swims and didn't panic! I think that when I swim in a pool I get into a "groove" that allows the body to adapt and breath in pattern and go long distances. But that groove was totally absent on my swim. I was so gassed! I too made up some time on the bike. I saw a really huge difference in the performance of riders using a dedicated Tri or aero type bike, and those riding a straight-up road bike. I have a road bike that basically has old-school Tri-bike dimensions, with aero bars added. That alone gave me a tremendous advantage. the guy who won my age group was riding what must have been a dedicated $10,000 Cervelo TT bike!
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Old 04-22-24, 06:14 PM
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You would be surprised what you can put together on a budget with some shopping around. My current tri bike looks like it would have been competitive at the elite level just 10 years ago, yet I'm into this bike for less than $1100 as pictured. I have since changed the saddle and put on a different saddle-mounted bottle cage setup I like better, so add another $100 to that and I'm very comfortable on this bike for several hours. And it's fast too. On flat ground, I can hold a 20-21mph pace for 10+ miles. At least for me, that's a pretty strong pace.


But I agree with you about a dedicated tri bike being faster on a triathlon course than a road bike. Of course, that's what they're designed to do. The important thing, at least for me, is that the tri bike is actually more comfortable going fast than a road bike.
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Old 04-23-24, 07:09 AM
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Congratulations on finishing your first tri. That T1 situation must have been extremely frustrating. Personally, unless the water temp was in the low 60°s F, I wouldn’t hassle with a wetsuit for a 400m swim (and prevent the timing chip fiasco). But that’s me. I don’t think wetsuits make me a faster swimmer. Even if they did, how much time do I save in a quick 400m swim, compared to the time spent taking it off in T1?

Never underestimate the potential difficulty of the swim…even if you’re a swimmer. I have always been a strong, long-distance open water swimmer, and first got into triathlon in the 80s. From time to time I am approached for advice by someone who wants to get into the sport of triathlon. The first thing I always ask is about their swimming abilities. Many times the response I get is “I was on swim team in h.s./college, so that part isn’t a problem.” But it usually is a problem. I’ve seen the best of them just freak out when they get into the water. Open water swimming is A LOT different than pool swimming. Always, ALWAYS respect the swim.

Keep up the good work.

Dan
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Old 04-23-24, 10:04 AM
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Dan, I was SHOCKED at how challenging the swim was (400 lousy meters.) This is after putting in 1600 hard meters in a pool a few days prior with no problem. I will take your advice and respect the swim, always.

Oh, and I must mention. I received my time results and I burnt almost 13 minutes in T1 getting out of the suit, shoeing up, and looking for my GPS device! I think I can improve on that.
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Old 04-23-24, 10:14 AM
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[QUOTE=_ForceD_;23221464]Congratulations on finishing your first tri. That T1 situation must have been extremely frustrating. Personally, unless the water temp was in the low 60°s F, I wouldn’t hassle with a wetsuit for a 400m swim (and prevent the timing chip fiasco). But that’s me. I don’t think wetsuits make me a faster swimmer. Even if they did, how much time do I save in a quick 400m swim, compared to the time spent taking it off in T1?

Dan, my suit makes me considerably faster (in a pool at least.) I can shave 3-4 seconds off every 25 meters with the suit on. I'm totally buoyant and I just glide. That's a good reason for me to use a suit. BUT, I see your point of not using a suit for such a short swim. Many participants swam sans a suit. But, maybe a shortie would be useful?
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Old 04-23-24, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
Dan, I was SHOCKED at how challenging the swim was (400 lousy meters.) This is after putting in 1600 hard meters in a pool a few days prior with no problem. I will take your advice and respect the swim, always.

Oh, and I must mention. I received my time results and I burnt almost 13 minutes in T1 getting out of the suit, shoeing up, and looking for my GPS device! I think I can improve on that.

I'm only laughing because I feel your pain! That last tri I did my T1 time was over 10 minutes. I get that's still faster than yours but I've done over a dozen of these things and I still took that long!
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Old 04-24-24, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen

I'm only laughing because I feel your pain! That last tri I did my T1 time was over 10 minutes. I get that's still faster than yours but I've done over a dozen of these things and I still took that long!
Jen, so it's my understanding that the time spent in T1 and T2 are added to the overall time, correct? Just want to be sure. I also screwed up on my bike to run transition. I ran out the wrong exit, had to be turned around, and ran back. Probably burnt a good 40 seconds. Just newbie terrible. I'm set to do the Lake Castaic Tri on 6/15. The swim is only 400 yards. I think I'm going to ditch the wetsuit and start off at the head of the pack. That way I won't be slamming into people! I think that will allow me to get into my groove. And your bike is great!
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Old 04-24-24, 04:35 PM
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There is little else as frustrating in triathlon than to see someone you just passed in the last leg, leave transition ahead of you. It’s not a crazy idea to actually practice your transition procedures. I try to make it so that I’m taking off, and putting on as little clothing as possible in the transitions. If you don’t have a tri singlet that you can swim in, see if you can come up with something that you can swim, ride, and run in. I try to make it so that the only thing I have to put on, and take off in the two transitions is my shoes. You’re always wet, or sweaty. That moisture might as well be glue. Taking clothing off, or putting it onto a wet body is futile and time consuming. A lot of times, in sprints, I’ll wear just a spandex jammer, and nothing else throughout the race (shoes and helmet obviously). Out of the water, and a few seconds to put on cycling shoes (no socks) and helmet. Off the bike, just a few seconds to put on running shoes (no socks). My compiled transition time from both transitions is usually less than one minute total. — Dan
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Old 04-24-24, 04:42 PM
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Dan, that's a pretty fast transition time. I think a big time saver is to try not to use a full wet suit, if possible. I was really surprised, because the lake we swam in is at about 1500 feet above sea level in the foothills of some mountains. I thought the water temp would be very chilly this time of the year, but it was 65-66 degree. Maybe a shortie is more appropriate. I like the buoyancy a suit give me, so maybe a shortie? Or are they overrated? Thanks!
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Old 04-24-24, 10:47 PM
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For that temp, I think a shortie suit would be a pretty good compromise. Of course, for <400m, you really don't need it anyway. But a shortie reduces the difficulty getting the suit off around the ankles.

And yes, your T1 and T2 times are added into your segment times for your overall time. I've had a few tri events where I would have placed one or two spots higher, but I lost it on the transition. Oh well. Not like I'm winning or losing money here.
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Old 04-25-24, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
For that temp, I think a shortie suit would be a pretty good compromise. Of course, for <400m, you really don't need it anyway. But a shortie reduces the difficulty getting the suit off around the ankles.

And yes, your T1 and T2 times are added into your segment times for your overall time. I've had a few tri events where I would have placed one or two spots higher, but I lost it on the transition. Oh well. Not like I'm winning or losing money here.
LOL...my daughter asked me "how much did you win?" My concern is that my suit they gives buoyancy. I am also much faster with a suit on. So maybe a shortie or a pair of those buoyancy shorts?
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Old 04-25-24, 11:37 PM
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I like the full length suits because it does make my legs more buoyant. That's a little bit of a deal because I don't kick. For one, my kick is absolute garbage, but I also just save my legs for the bike and run. Even so, good form and pace will keep my legs up during the swim.
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Old 05-01-24, 01:18 PM
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Hi all. Did a Google search to learn about tips for beginners into the tri world and it brought me. So I figured I would join and read more. This was my first post I clicked into since I am planning on sprint in the next couple of months. Before I clutter the board anymore, is there a good reference to start reading. My big issue right now is trying to find an affordable used road bike for my first event. I have some friends who have done Iron Man and others who have been riding bikes for a bit. I keep asking them about bikes I see on Craigslist or other local market sites and keep getting mixed responses. So just looking for some other guidance on what would be a good buy or not. Thank you and looking forward to learning from the board.
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Old 05-01-24, 01:31 PM
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Hey TX! I just did my first sprint two weekends ago. First off, go join "SlowTwitch", as it's essentially a site dedicated to the triathlete. Huge source of info and the participants are ridiculously helpful. For a first sprint, you'll find that the bike ride is typically around the 9-mile mark, at least in California sprints where I'm at. I'd say about 30% of the participants at the sprint I went to were riding every-day type cruisers, mountain bikes, and such. Half were riding a variety of road bikes of all sorts. I rode a racy geometry road bike with aero extensions. The consideration is that if you buy a road bike and then subsequently get crazy about competing, you'll find your self wanting to move to a dedicated TT bike. I already have that tri bug and bought a TT frame just today! So,can you borrow a bike or get a quality road bike on the cheap? Just about any roadie will serve you well.
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Old 05-01-24, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
Hey TX! I just did my first sprint two weekends ago. First off, go join "SlowTwitch", as it's essentially a site dedicated to the triathlete. Huge source of info and the participants are ridiculously helpful. For a first sprint, you'll find that the bike ride is typically around the 9-mile mark, at least in California sprints where I'm at. I'd say about 30% of the participants at the sprint I went to were riding every-day type cruisers, mountain bikes, and such. Half were riding a variety of road bikes of all sorts. I rode a racy geometry road bike with aero extensions. The consideration is that if you buy a road bike and then subsequently get crazy about competing, you'll find your self wanting to move to a dedicated TT bike. I already have that tri bug and bought a TT frame just today! So,can you borrow a bike or get a quality road bike on the cheap? Just about any roadie will serve you well.
Congratulations on your first sprint! I enjoyed reading the recap. I will definitely be reading up more. Thank you also for the reference for SlowTwitch. I will check that out! I am definitely looking for a roadie on the cheap. Since I know nothing about bikes (but my buddy is helping me out as best as he can), just looking for guidance. I have my eye on one right now, but it is one I have got mixed responses about. I will go make a post about the specs elsewhere as to stop cluttering your post about your sprint. Congrats again on that!!!
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Old 05-01-24, 01:47 PM
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Thanks. I was road-biking well prior to taking on the tri thing. So, run any questions you have by me and I think I can be a resource for you. You can really go down the rabbit hole spending on a road bike, which may end up being a terrible thing for you if you eventually decide to get a dedicated TT bike for tri's.
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Old 05-01-24, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
Thanks. I was road-biking well prior to taking on the tri thing. So, run any questions you have by me and I think I can be a resource for you. You can really go down the rabbit hole spending on a road bike, which may end up being a terrible thing for you if you eventually decide to get a dedicated TT bike for tri's.
Appreciate the good will. So the goal is to do the sprint to get my feet wet (no pun intended) and if I find that I want to keep up with it, I want to train to do Iron Man TX next year. I am a marathon runner, but don't do any swimming or biking. So just getting into that. Of course I want to keep the spending to a minimal until I know I am going to keep up with it. A bike I found on the local CL caught my eye. It appears to be the size I need (I am 6'1"). I don't know the model year of the bike.

Specialized Transition Elite
°Frame: Max AeroTec E5™.
°Frame Size 58 cm. XL (Picture measurements in image)
°Wheels 700x23 C.
°Changes 2x9.
°Carbon seat post.
°IRONMAN Carbon Triathlon Handlebar.
°"FACT" Carbon Fork
°Shimano ULTREGA derailleur.

The price is right in the ballpark where I am looking to pay. One buddy said that it seems to be a great price for that back. Another one said no to that bike. So just looking for some more feedback.
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Old 05-01-24, 02:03 PM
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I'm pretty sure that's an actual triathlon bike (or "TT" bike - time trial.) TT bikes have a different geometry from road bike. They place you more forward, over the bars. You'll find that the seat tube angle on a typical TT bike is more upright and forward. For instance, my road bikes have a 73.5 degree seat tube angle, but the TT frame I just bought is 79 degrees. The fact that is come with a Tri handle bar also gives it away. The bike should be fine, I think it's going to be at least 10-15 years old. But I don't know if I'd want that for regular road riding. Ebay has a ton of bike for sale.
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Old 05-01-24, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
I'm pretty sure that's an actual triathlon bike (or "TT" bike - time trial.) TT bikes have a different geometry from road bike. They place you more forward, over the bars. You'll find that the seat tube angle on a typical TT bike is more upright and forward. For instance, my road bikes have a 73.5 degree seat tube angle, but the TT frame I just bought is 79 degrees. The fact that is come with a Tri handle bar also gives it away. The bike should be fine, I think it's going to be at least 10-15 years old. But I don't know if I'd want that for regular road riding. Ebay has a ton of bike for sale.
The seller is asking $480 for it. Maybe a little too much bike for me right now? Looks like I can't post a picture yet (not quite at 10 posts yet). I was looking at BikesDirect but both of my buddies told me to buy a higher quality used bike for that amount rather than a lower quality new bike.

I will see if there are any local sellers on ebay. I am eager to get out and learning to ride.
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Old 05-01-24, 02:58 PM
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$480 sounds good, actually. Funny about BikesDirect. My current set up is an older BD Motobecane "Record", with many modifications that I made. The frame is outstanding, for aluminum. I have new wheels, group set, bars, seat, the works. It absolutely flies. I really debated getting a dedicated TT frame that I can build out. The most important thing about a bike for a sprint, in my opinion, will be the wheels (assuming you go with a straight-up Roadie.)
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Old 05-01-24, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
$480 sounds good, actually. Funny about BikesDirect. My current set up is an older BD Motobecane "Record", with many modifications that I made. The frame is outstanding, for aluminum. I have new wheels, group set, bars, seat, the works. It absolutely flies. I really debated getting a dedicated TT frame that I can build out. The most important thing about a bike for a sprint, in my opinion, will be the wheels (assuming you go with a straight-up Roadie.)
Any entry level road bikes you think I should look out for?
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Old 05-01-24, 03:32 PM
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I really can't specify anything. In my opinion (and it's only mine), it really doesn't matter if it's carbon or aluminum. Just look to get a solid bike with quality components (Shimano or Sram, typically.) Unless your riding hills a lot, I'd stay away from 3x's (meaning three front chain rings.) Get something that has 2. Anything with 9, 10, or 11 gears at the back is fine. be sure to look at the rear derailleur closely to see if it is really banged up. Rim brakes are fine. Disc brakes are overkill for you. Make sure the wheels are quality. Aluminum wheels are fine. Good quality wheels at the cheaper end will say Shimano, Mavic, Easton, DT Swiss (and others.) If you're getting a first road bike to bang around and do a sprint, stay under $600 for the complete package. You can always modify it. My BD bike was a $450 when I bought it. It now has $1,500 in mods and kills.
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Old 05-02-24, 09:21 AM
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Kind of a side note with regard to obtaining a bike through Craigslist. Just be on the lookout for ‘trolls’ who aren’t really selling anything, but instead are scammers “selling” nothing, or maybe defective merchandise. I’ve bought and sold stuff on CL…and it can be a good source. But for every item bought or sold, I’ve had to deal with the riffraff. It really makes me give serious consideration whether or not I want to use that platform. If you’re on Facebook…check into the FB Marketplace for your community. You get scammers there too, but it doesn’t seem to be quite as bad (at least not in my area). And, on FB, it’s a little easier to vet the sellers…i.e. you can look for mutual acquaintances and ask about the seller’s reputation. Also…just want to reemphasize what Argo said about getting a non-tri bike and modifying it for your entry-level ride. — Dan
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