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Who Wants to Get Active: Team First Triathlon

12 Posts tagged with the cycling tag

Wildflower had me a bit scared in the weeks leading up to the event. I never considered dropping out and I was pretty sure I had trained enough. But there were occasional negative thoughts lurking around my brain, popping up every time I had a difficult run or struggled on a hill climb.

 

Either my ego or my far-reaching ability to rationalize helped me tremendously in the last days before the race. By the time I was standing on the ramp ready to run into the water, I had effectively convinced myself of success. And it worked. Either that, or it was the training.

 

 

I kicked off my Wildflower adventure several days before in Tucson; sorting and re-sorting my gear, food and camping equipment. My husband and I left Thursday morning, stopping in Joshua Tree National Park for some sightseeing and stayed for the night. The next morning, we left before any of our camping neighbors had woken up in an effort to reach Paso Robles and Lake San Antonio by afternoon.

 

 

I had read and reread the material provided by the organizers of Wildflower. Still, all of those newsletters and updates didn't quite describe the chaos of the campground. We arrived, luckily having pre-paid months before, and parked in a designated area on top of Lynch Hill. We quickly reached the bottom of the steep walking path, collected my triathlon race package and walked around a bit before trudging back up the hill to our car.

 

 

That's when the camping site free-for-all began. We managed to find a spot and set up as the rain settled in for the night.

 

 

Saturday was sunny and not too warm and we spent the day watching the Half Ironman participants make their way through the course. I lingered a bit by the transition area, analyzing the pros as they sped up the ramp to their bikes, only to disappear within moments. I'm not sure I'll ever manage to transition that quickly. I spent the rest of the afternoon organizing my transition bag and bike, and drilling the two girls camped near us about triathlon tips. I even squeezed in a short bike ride.

 

 

My nerves were quiet and I slept well, only to be woken up by the announcers set up at the top of Lynch Hill. My endless organizing paid off and rode my bike, along with one of the women I mentioned before, to the transition area. I set up, chatted with a few women and waited. And waited some more. In between the waiting, I drank a few liters of water, smiled for the dozens of photos my husband took and stood in line for the Port-a-Potties.

 

 

OK. Race time. The wetsuit is on. Goggles on. Cap on. I'm in the correct wave. My stop watch is ready. My nerves kick in and I am momentarily overwhelmed and a little nauseous. I keep to the back of the pack, the gun fires and we're off. The first 400 yards were brilliant. Then I start losing my rhythm, it just falls apart. I'm slapping the water, not cruising through it. My wetsuit suddenly becomes a choking device. I flip over, backstroke for a few minutes and get my head back into the task at-hand. I control my breathing, flip back over and freestyle the remaining 900 yards. It was here that i managed to make up some time. When I got out of the water my stopwatch read 31 minutes, but I walked up the ramp and ended up logging a slower time.

 

 

The transition went OK. I felt waterlogged and bit out of sorts. I had trouble focusing on what I needed to do at first. I slowed everything down, drank water, put my shoes and helmet on and grabbed my bike.

 

 

The bike course followed steep rolling hills through a landscape of grasslands, the occasional cow appearing below one of the massive oak tree. My hill training paid off and the hills were manageable. All of that hydration caused me problems and lost about five minutes when I stopped at one of the aid stations to use the Port-a-Potties.

 

 

Transition 2 was easy and I was off on the run within two minutes. I struggled here. Yikes, did I struggle. I had an incredibly slow pace the first two miles thanks to a horrible stomach cramp. It may have been too much water or the gels I used although I have used this energy source before. I felt better by mile three and started picking up speed. By the time I hit the last downhill mile I was trotting along at a 9:30-minute mile pace. I sped up considerably on the last downhill section.

 

 

I finished in 3:39, not the most magnificent of times, but about average for my age group, gender and overall. I have a number of triathlons in my sights and I'll be back at Wildflower next year with a new goal of 3:15.

 

 

 

 

 

691 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: training, running, cycling, triathlon, race, wildflower, swim, kirsten_korosec

A few tri tips

Posted by danger prone Apr 8, 2009

 

I went on a nice rolly ride this morning with my best friend's brother-in-law. We headed out to my favorite spot in Tucson, on the far eastside at Saguaro National Park. We started north of there, but eventually made our way into the park and through its 8-mile loop, back out to the main road and finally back to our cars.

 

 

I mention this ride because my cycling buddy for the day has been in numerous triathlons and gave out a few tips for race day.

 

 

1. We've heard this before, but practice what you're going to eat before the race. If you decide on Gel or Gu, consider taping them (duct tape) on the top tube of the bike's frame. Tape them so the tabs are secure, that way you can rip them off as you ride and slurp 'em down. I have yet to try this. He said this also works for energy bars.

 

 

2. Hydration. It's good to hydrate, but he said drink water the first half or two-thirds of the bike portion. You want to eat and drink during this section and not too close to the run because you may run into digestion problems.

 

 

3. I thought this one was kind of neat. On race morning, at your transition area, put your socks on and then roll them off. Later, when you come in from the swim, you can roll the socks back on instead of struggling to put them on wet feet.

 

 

4. He keeps his transition area pretty simple. The bike has its own water bottles. Next to it he has four other water bottles. He will use one of them to quickly rinse the sand off his feet from the swim. A small towel is nearby, which he dried his feet off with and then rolls on the socks. He actually doesn't race with socks anymore, but warned this could be problematic for folks not accustomed to running and riding without socks.

 

 

 

 

 

677 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: training, running, cycling, tips, food, transition, hills, energy, snacks, kirsten_korosec

Century Sunday

Posted by MikeDiesel Mar 31, 2009

The thought of riding a 100+ mile bike ride has been on my mind for a while, but I had some serious doubts if I could do it or not. Not because I was afraid my legs would blow out, but a lot of other factors such as overall body fatigue, if I could sit for that long, how I could stay properly nourished, etc. All of those things made me fairly nervous about the concept, but I got over it pretty fast when my training partner invited/challenged me to a century ride this past Sunday. Just him and I on a 100+ mile loop which I ended up mapping out and putting together (big mistake). So let me go ahead and describe the various stages.

 

Pre-Ride: I went out into the garage to check my bike over, lube my chain, and adjust my seat. Immediately, i saw that I had a flat which I took as a bad omen. This forced me to head to the bike shop where I got some excellent advice on nutrition for the big ride. They loaded me up with about 1500 calories of food and suplements along with a freshly fixed flat and sent me on my way.

 

Murrieta - Fallbrook: The ride did not start easy. We took a bike trail pretty casually down to the base of the De Luz area and began our mission through the hills on our way to San Diego. The first hill is a 2 mile 700ft elevation climb which I figured was going to be the hardest of the ride. Not really something I wanted to start with, but probably good to get it out of the way right off the bat than deal with something like that towards the end... so I thought.

 

Fallbrook - Leucadia: Once we got into Fallbrook, we started descending for like 20-30 minutes, diving down to sea level from some pretty good elevation. I am not sure what the elevation change was, but it was the longest decent I have ever done. Once we got down into the Oceanside area on our way to Leucadia,  we started hitting some barn burning hills. None of them were unbearable, but it was just a nasty 15-20 mile stretch of rolling hills which were all unexpected. Here I was expecting a nice flat road that ran parallel to the ocean and it was not by any means. The last hill we hit coming into Leucadia was probably the second worst of the ride to this point as well which was painful. At this point, we were almost exactly 60 miles in.

 

Leucadia - Oceanside: Finally a break! At the turn around point,  we had a leasurely 15 mile trek up Pacific Coast Highway which was awesome. A nice tail wind was pushing us along and we were using this time for recovery. Unfortunately, some old man on a Townie decided to show me the wheel at one point which inspired me to take off and beat myself up for this stretch that was supposed to be relaxing. My friend got a flat  a couple hundred yards before the burger shop we planned to stop at, so he fixed that and then we rested for about 30 minutes while we refueled on some delicious french fries and hamburgers. Yum Yum.

 

Oceanside - S. Fallbrook: We took off from the burger joint, bellies full and relaxed, ready for a nice leasurely 15 mile stretch before heading back up the hills into Temecula. That lasted for about 3 miles until we hit an unexpected hill which got us right back to questioning how we were going to make it another 45 miles. Ahhh. Luckily, after that, we did get a 10 mile stretch that was pretty easy before we hit Gopher Canyon Rd. At Gopher Canyon, I think we still had another 35 miles to go and this is where it started to get brutal. At the end of Gopher Canyon, we hit a 9% downgrade which got me going 51 MPH. That was super fun! Though, this also meant that I was just going to have to climb that much more after I got to the bottom... the pain begins.

 

S. Fallbrook - Temecula: Oh my gosh... After I calmed down from that high speed descent I realized I was about 90 miles into my ride and had about 15 miles of serious climbing to do. This was the strongest test of my will that I had ever gone through. I've played through pain and injury before becuse adrenaline would just take the hurt away. That was different because I was playing in a game where I'd be able to rest and recuperate in between action. When I looked up and saw the road ahead of me I knew it would take more than a little excitement to get me all the way to the finish. I dug deep and started the climb.

 

    • Hill 1: This was the worst (it was possibly the hardest of the whole ride, but I was so beat by this point, its hard to give n honest opinion) of this climb. I believe it was about 3-4 miles in total length and half of it was up a 7-9% grade and that was at the top. This hill was the closest I came to actually clipping out and stopping, but I held it together and made all the way going 4-5mph at the top. The backside of this hill was a 7% downgrade that was another lengthy decent that I had a hard time enjoying due to the fact that it just made the next hill that much steeper and longer.

    • Hill 2: This will was the gift that just kept on giving. A 5-6 mile grinder that took you up and over the mountain range into Temecula through the small city of Rainbow. This was a diffcult hill to climb at this point, but i was thankful to be going up this thing compared to the last one I was just on. As a matter of fact, just about all I thought of for the rest of the ride is how much I never wanted to climb Hill 1 again.

 

Temecula - Murrieta: Payday! We hit one last nice decent through some windy rounds and a golf course into Temecula. Their were a couple very small hills that we hit on our way to a bike path which would eventually get us home. To my surprise, we still had some energy and ending up doing about 17-18 on the flats which I was pretty happy with.

 

Stats: The ride took us 9 hr 15 minutes total to complete with an actual 8 hr 15 minutes of seat time. We rode a total of 116 of the hilliest miles I have ever ridden. We averaged a little over 14mph and I burned over 6600 calories. I ate and drank about 1800 calories worth of food in order to survive the journey. We only had 1 malfunction which was a flat tire. 52MPH was the top speed of the ride. 4.2MPH was the low speed of the ride. 7 hours is how long I had to endure a stitch that was in the right side of my stomach before it went away. OUCH!

 

What I learned: 

 

    • Be prepared. If I had not loaded up on carbs a few days in advance and talked to the guys at the bike shop on how to stay properly nourished, I would have probably given up or had to stop more. Take spare tubes and a mini tool kit with you. 8 hours on a bike can bring up a lot of unexpected problems that you will want to be able to fix.

    • Do not do this alone. For one, you will want a friend with you to help motivate you and keep you company. Also,a lot of the ride took me places where I had no cell phone service. It would have been a nightmare if I was alone and my bike had broke or I got injured.

    • Pre-Run the Course: I had never driven on about 40 miles of the course and I paid for it. Looking back, I would never have planned the hardest hill to be at mile 80. That was a mistake and I won't let that happen next time.

    • Never give up: The longest ride I had done prior to this one was a 50 miler. It was my heart and determination that kept me going on this one. I found out alot about what I was actually made of and am extremely proud to say I accomplished what I did.If you set your mind to something, it will be accomplished.

 

Here's a snapshot of my route. Those little blue things are mile markers.

 

711 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: team, cycling, triathlon, active, bike, ride, wildflower, run, century, first, bicycle, sunday, mike, d, ellis, miked

Racking up a few more miles

Posted by danger prone Mar 31, 2009

 

I did not cycle nearly as many miles as I should have in the beginning of my training for Wildflower. I was getting out, but many of my longer rides I had to cut short. I tried to compensate for my lack of outdoor miles by jumping on the indoor bike, doing some spinning classes etc.

 

 

I have started racking up some decent "outdoor" miles on my bike this past month. My latest long ride was Sunday. Adrian had this ridiculously long run with a group of other ultrarunners on the very eastside of town. That area of Tucson near Saguaro National Park and Colossal Cave has some wonderful scenery and is popular with cyclists.

 

 

Adrian started his 27-mile "fun run" up to the top of Mica Mountain and back at 6:30 a.m. It was chilly, so I drove back a ways into town and grabbed some coffee, before returning to the trailhead.

 

 

I feel more comfortable on the bike than ever before. My clipless pedals aren't so scary anymore. I knew how to shift before, but now I am using the bike more efficiently. I took a meandering tour eventually getting on Old Spanish Trail Road, an awesome cycling road for any of you who ever get out to Tucson. I road past Colossal Cave, where the Colossal Cave stage race was being held. I stopped and chatted with some other accomplished cyclists and triathletes - I swear they are everywhere here - and watched the bike race for awhile.

 

 

I started back only to have the cycling couple/triathletes I had left behind 15 minutes before come racing up behind me and of course pass me. The woman called out, 'Jump on board' and for a little while I did. I couldn't maintain their pace for longer than 15 minutes though and eventually fell about 50 feet behind.

 

 

I think training would be much easier if I had someone, who was better than me, to ride with regularly. Until then, I'm going have to keep poaching rides with random strangers.

 

 

 

 

 

623 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, cycling, triathlon, wildflower, kirsten_korosec

Tips from a champion

Posted by danger prone Mar 23, 2009

 

As I mentioned in my earlier post, last week I met Victor Plata, the 2007 and 2008 winner of the Pacific Grove Triathlon among other races. I was attending the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association and had decided to participate in the Chain Reaction spinning event. The event, hosted by HealthCorps and Star Trac, is an effort to raise money in the fight against childhood obesity. HealthCorps is an non-profit started by Dr. Oz - you know the doc that's on Oprah all the time.

 

 

Anyway, Chain Reaction held hourly spinning classes led by an instructor and featuring special guests. I participated in three spinning events and that's where I met fitness icon Kathy Smith and later Victor Plata. After my last spinning session, which just happened to be the one Plata took part in, I had to ask him a few rookie questions. Like, so is Wildflower hard? And, do have any advice?

 

 

Here's what he had to say about preparing for Wildflower.

 

 

1. It's hilly. I knew that, but he had this advice for training. Go out on your bike and pick a long steady hill, work at 70 percent, and stick with it for 10 minutes in your big gear. Build up to three 10 minute reps for 30 minutes -- always on a long hill. He said this will prepare us for that first mile from the transition, which apparently is straight up a steep hill.

 

 

2. Unless you're a strong swimmer, let the pack pass and then get in the water. Plata says unless you're used to swimming in a thrashing, chaotic sort of scene it's best to stick to the edge and let the really fast guys go first. Victor wasn't trying to freak me out. He just said swimming in a pool is very different then running from a beach into the water along with dozens of others.

 

 

3. Do lots of brick workouts. So bike and then run. Swim, bike and run. This he says is the best preparation. Gale already has us doing this, but I thought it would be good to mention it here too. I know I haven't done enough of brick workouts.

 

 

Thanks Victor for the words of advice and encouragement.

 

 

 

 

 

510 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, triathlon, wildflower, spinning, kirsten_korosec, victor_plata

For weeks a friend of our family's and longtime cyclist has suggested we take a ride to together. We always had good intentions, it just never seemed to happen.

 

We found a few hours to hit the road Friday and my only wish is I had done this much earlier. From the beginning, it was relaxing, yet challenging and I blocked out the cars. Tucson, Ariz., is a great cycling town and dozens of professionals and other serious riders descend on the city each year to ride the hilly terrain of the foothills. The strong cycling advocacy in my town has resulted in lots of nice bike lanes. I was still afraid of traffic, even with the bike lanes and never felt totally comfortable with cars whizzing by.

 

 

Friday's ride changed all that. We took off from my house and made our way along River Road, an east-west hilly road that splits Tucson between the foothills to the north and the city to the south. We rode to Sabino Canyon, a beautiful desert park at the eastern foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains and then cruised through a variety of neighborhoods. We returned following the same path for the first half and then headed south into the city and finally back up to my house.

 

 

I am no cycling expert. I fall much closer to the rookie category. Our ride was mostly instructional and I've started to inch my self away from rookie. I learned a lot more about shifting technique, riding with traffic and even practiced - as silly as it sounds - drinking out of my water bottle more effectively.

 

 

I can't wait these days to get back on my bike. Everyone has got to find a maven for themselves. Although Mike, it sounds like you might be one yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

510 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, kirstenkorosec, tucson, shifting

 

I'm going to have one of those rants that addresses everyone generally, but really I'm only to talking about a few of you - and you know who you are. Actually, you probably don't, which makes it worse.

 

 

I'm talking about drivers. You know the people. They get into their protective steel one-ton boxes and fly across roads, talking on their cell phones all the while swerving into bike lanes, cutting into bike lanes when they want to turn right, and generally doing their best to kill me.

 

 

I am, of course, not in a protective steel box. I'm on my bike. So when I see a - faded black Honda Accord (shall I include the license plate?) - turning right as I make my way across the street just north of him, and then that person changes their mind, flips around to go left and almost nails me ... Well, I get scared and angry. I probably shout expletives. Yes, I shout a lot of them. And this really solves nothing. It only makes me more angry when the guy in the faded black Honda Accord shrugs and scoots around me.

 

 

I know a huge part of my problem is I'm simply not used to riding in a bike lane with cars whipping past me. The majority of cars are not trying to kill me. If anything they are trying to avoid me.

 

 

When I got my new bike and began practicing clipping and unclipping, I primarily stuck to this great carless biking and running path that runs behind our house. The path follows the Rillito, which is a riverbed, not a river because this is the desert. But on occasion a river runs through it so I suppose that's why the city built a path along its side.

 

 

I stuck to the bike path for far too long. For one, it is easy and convenient to jump on and off of. Plus, it is perfect if I can't get a ride in until around rush hour and the path is long enough to get 20 miles in or more. The problem is it's flat. The Wildflower, as we all are learning, is hilly.

 

 

I need to get used to what everyone else who cycles has had to learn. Cars, or more specifically the people driving them, will try to kill you. But that's OK because most drivers try to avoid cyclists and you just have to keep your eyes open for all the faded black Honda Accords out there.

 

 

517 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, triathlon, wildflower, cars, kirsten_korosec

Looking for some motivation

Posted by danger prone Feb 13, 2009

 

A difficult triathlon in less than 12 weeks should be all the motivation I need. But apparently it's not because I've struggled a bit this week to complete all of my workouts. Running and strength training went fine. Cycling and swimming took a hit.

 

 

I'm not too worried. I know I can make it all better by shaking it off and moving forward. I just can't get over the feeling that a giant Big Ben-type clock is tick-tocking away down to the triathlon in May - and I won't be ready.

 

 

My goal for the coming week is to ride, ride, ride. I like the swimming, so normally I don't need to be encouraged to get into the pool.  I manage the workouts pretty well and don't seem to struggle too much. I am pretty slow, however.

 

 

It's the cycling, which I thought would be my greatest strength, that is really suffering. Part of it is my lack of experience and my continued fear of clipless pedals and my relatively new fear of traffic.

 

 

I'm off to watch my husband enjoy himself in a 33-mile run. Perhaps that will be the motivation and inspiration I need. Thanks Gale for the swimming drills.

 

 

618 Views 4 Comments Permalink Tags: training, cycling, swimming, triathlon, motivation, preparation

Base Training Recap

Posted by MikeDiesel Feb 10, 2009

Here we are starting our first week of the full Tri-Training routine and I am excited. The new program looks a lot more intense and focused than the previous plan and I am anxious to start building on my newly found running and swimming skills. Below is a summary where I sit on everything so far.

 

    • Swimming: I accomplished the full 1,000 meter swim at the end of the base training and I could have kept going if I wanted to. I just was not very graceful and I feel like I was putting in way too much effort getting it done. The new training with drills and detailed instructions should help a bunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

    • Running: I can now run a solid 8 miles in a row at about an 8:30 a mile pace. I hope to be down to a sub 8 minute mile pace by the time the tri rolls around and I am sure I am capable of that.

 

 

 

    • Cycling: Climbing hills is easier than it was before and my recovery time is also getting faster. I attribute this to the cross training I am doing with the running and swimming. A race pace effort right now is about 18.2 MPH over 26 miles on relatively easy terrain. My goal is to be at a race pace of 20 MPH by the time I get to the Wildflower on hilly terrain. This is a pretty intense goal, but is also my favorite part of the training and I think I can do it.

 

522 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: running, cycling, swimming, mike, d, miked

Three good things

Posted by danger prone Jan 26, 2009

 

Gale thanks for the post about the rules and regulations. Very helpful.

 

 

Last week Gale asked us to talk about three positive things about our training. I had just returned from a ski vacation at the time, so I figured I would wait until I could reflect on a full week of training.

 

 

1.) Completing a half-marathon. OK, so this wasn't part of the training program and looking back, I'm lucky I didn't hurt myself. It was a major confidence booster, however, so maybe the risk was worth it afterall. I know I can run 13 miles. I know I can be out there having fun for more than two hours. Priceless in my eyes.

 

 

2.) Learning a new virtue: patience. I was patient enough to allow for proper recovery from my half-marathon. Patience isn't always my strong point. This was a big step forward for me. I forced myself to take a few days off and it made all the difference.

 

 

3.) Clipless pedals don't scare me. I am slowly gaining confidence on my bike and clipless pedals. I no longer feel as if I am locked into a speeding death trap. And that's a good thing. No more falls either!

 

 

782 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, halfmarathon, triathlon_rules

Swim. Bike. Run.

Posted by danger prone Jan 7, 2009

 

My training has gone pretty well, as far as I can tell. Here's a brief recap of my hits and misses and hopefully I'll get some feedback from anyone out there in the blogosphere.

 

 

Running: I figured this would be my strongest event. I've been really inconsistent in my performance. I feel great some days, completing the training easily and without expending a lot of energy. The next time around I'll struggle on short runs. Two days later, I'll bust out my long run without a problem. I think I'm going to stick to the 5-minute run and 1-minute walk strategy for a couple of weeks.

 

 

Swimming: I'm surprised how my swimming has been since I began training. I missed the first few training sessions because I did not have access to a pool. I was feeling a bit nervous when I finally hit the pool. My brother, who competed in the Lavaman Tri in Hawaii last year, gave me a few pointers. I've managed to complete a 500 everytime I swim and I'm tired, but not totally fatigued.

 

 

Cycling: I have not put as much time into the cycling as I should. I've completed the training, but until this week it was on a stationary bike. I love cycling and am looking to forward to learning how to make my bike work for me. I'd appreciate any advice on proper shifting etc.

 

 

766 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: training, cycling, swimming, triathlon

 

On New Year's Eve, I was shocked, surprised, elated. Anything else? Oh yeah, I think I may have cried. But before I start talking about my amazing bike given to me by my crafty husband, let's back up a bit.

 

 

My husband and I have talked about buying a bike for awhile and long before I decided to train for my first triathlon. Ultimately, we decided to wait. Or so I thought. Then came New Year's, the new bike sitting on our porch and the celebrating, tears etc. Two days later I was properly fitted and added clipless pedals (which actually means you're snapped into the pedals).

 

 

I was ready. I clipped in and took off. I started practicing clipping in and unclipping. I slowly began to brake, unclipped my right foot and came to stop. And then - for reasons I'm not entirely clear on - I attempted to step down with my left foot, which was still clipped in. Gravity won.

 

I love my bike. I'm going to have to work on my relationship with my pedals. My plan is to get on the bike everyday for a brief period of time just to practice clipping in and out and, of course, stopping safely.

 

 

850 Views 6 Comments Permalink Tags: cycling, triathlon, clipless, pedals