We all have a weaker discipline and right now it is definitely the bike. When I got into the sport of triathlon, the bike was the discipline I didn’t know how to do. Growing up I had a bike complete with streamers and a basket, and I rode it everywhere, but that is nothing like riding a road or triathlon bike. I had so much to learn. I still consider myself a learner. In 2015 and 2016 I rode 5x a week and my bike fitness was the best it has ever been. 2016 was the year I invested in a power meter and that took my fitness next level. You can look at speed, but that doesn’t tell you how hard you’re working. You could be hauling ass up a hill into a headwind and see 9 mph. A power meter would tell you that you’re right on target, but only looking at speed would imply you suck. I trained and raced wiser once I got a power meter. So when you’re ready to ride with more clarity, get yourself a power meter! Worthy and wise investment!
What’s my bike fitness now? Not even close to what it was when I was riding 5x per week. Not.even.close. I’m riding 1x per week at our Monday Club ride from the gym. Just a comfortable ride and great conversation. Pairing that ride with 3x week CrossFit and I feel strong on my rides. My goal is to be strong, in shape, and have fun. My seasons and goals are different this time around. Word of advice – this is often a trap triathletes get into. Comparing one season to another. You have to make every season a fresh start.
You can’t compare your past to your present. It’s not fair to your present self. I would even venture to say that comparing your past self to your present self is more dangerous than comparing yourself to others. We can be our own worst critic.
I decided to ride my road bike on race day. The reason is because I threw my back out two weeks prior to race day riding my Shiv triathlon racing bike. I wanted to do a race prep ride on it and the result was a back that seized while climbing a hill. I need an updated fit (it’s been a year since I have had one), but more than that, it was how I was sitting on the saddle. My pelvis was tilted back and not forward. My back was NOT happy about that. After 45 minutes of riding, my back seized up. I stopped the ride and didn’t do any training for 4 days to rest it. I also missed my one club bike ride leading into race day (no babysitter), so it had been 2 weeks of no riding, along with limited fitness, so my race goal was to ride safe, conservatively and just.have.fun.
This bike course was deceptively challenging. Lots of false flats. So if you’re looking to get better at climbing, Don’t Tread On My Tri is a must do! Great bike course, very little traffic, great road conditions…I really liked the course.
During the ride I was getting passed a lot. This can start you down a spiral of negative thoughts if you aren’t proactive. Speaking positive affirmations helped a lot. I kept saying “you’re strong, you’re capable, you can do this…” I also made a point to encourage those that passed me. I kept thanking God for the opportunity to race, for my health, and all the ways I am blessed. It’s all about focusing on the positive.
While I could have pushed a little harder on the bike, I didn’t want to fall prey to a common race day error. The error of pushing too hard on the bike and not having much left for the run. The trick is to “under-bike” so you can have a strong run. Pushing too hard on the bike can turn your run into a walk. Being that there were hills and my bike fitness is limited, I rode conservatively and intentionally held back. I also didn’t have a power meter on my road bike (it’s on my Shiv), so I was riding blind. Learn to be okay with people passing you on the bike. Ride your race and stick to your goals. Also, it’s possible you will catch up to them on the run. So if you’re super competitive, still hold back on the bike, and try to catch them on the run.
I made sure to drink plenty of water (an entire bottle) on the bike because of the heat and humidity. I wanted to set myself up for a good run where I wasn’t dehydrated. It’s important to ride smart and fuel up so you can run strong.
At the bike dismount line, I did a flying dismount. I literally don’t remember the last time I did that in a race and it was really fun! Alamo 180 Triathlon Coach Matt was already asking me to show him how to do it. Maybe I’ll do a video!
Also, a special thanks to my hubby for cleaning my bike and airing it up so it was ready to go! You’re a keeper. It was also our 12 year anniversary on race day.
Up next is the run report!