Certainly! Make sure the brakes work, tires are true & the chain is clean. I know mtn bikes aren't allowed in some iron-distance triathlons, but you'll see there are many mtn bikes at sprint events.
And make sure you have a helmet, required.
How far out is the event?
Sara Cox Landolt
Thanks for the reply. The event is June 21. The event description sounds very do-able for newbies. I swim a mile a day and run a few miles a week. Everything I do is self directed so I'm leary of competion event rules, etc.
But, I didn't want to drive 150 miles to the event and get disqualified for having a clunker bike. The bike has dry rotted tires but is other wise in good shape. I'm thinking of putting a street -type tire on for the event.
Thanks for the helmut tip. We didn't wear them when I was a kid so I wouldn't have thought of that.
Great idea on changing to a smooth tire. Another thing you can do is look up the event's pictures from last year and browse through the bike pics, then you'll see all sorts of bikes. I didn't grow up wearing a helmet either, but I love my helmet now, feel naked without it.
6-21 is coming up! Let us know how it goes. Have fun!
Sara Cox Landolt
Good luck in the sprint! I've done about 6 sprint events on my mountain bike. For five of them I had smooth road tires and clip on aerobars. There have always been plenty of people on mtn bikes in the races (in KS and CA). It's all about being there and having fun, don't worry about not having the best equipment. I'm always amused when I hear a "whump whump whump" sound from behind me in the ride, and somebody comes flying past with a solid rear wheel. no big deal - it's about you turning out and enjoying the race.
Have you tried riding a few miles then getting off the bike and immediately running a mile or so? That's the hardest part. It's a good idea to try it, because your legs will probably feel locked up after the bike ride and you just have to run through it as best you can. The feeling goes away pretty quickly, but it's best not to try it for the first time on race day. (people refer to these training sessions as bricks)
Yes, you can use your old MTB. I did my first tris on a 15 year old mountain bike (higher quality than WalMart but nothing to brag about). Two additional tips:
Make sure your bar ends are plugged (the end of handlebars need plugs/covers) or you risk disqualification.
I highly recommend getting "slicks," narrow road tires/tubes for your bike. You still use the same wheels but for $20-$40 a bike shop can swap out your fat, nubby tires for narrow, higher pressure, road bike type tires. Makes a big difference (for me about 20-30% faster and just way mroe pleasant).
You can definitely use an old mountain bike but be prepared to get passed A LOT by people that are not necessarily faster than you but just have a road bike. If you end up liking triathlons, it will probably be worth it to buy a road bike just so you don't have to use up so much additional energy due to the extra weight of a mountain bike. You can find used road bikes for really decent prices now-a-days. Good luck!
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Lots of sprint tri's even have a mountain bike division that way you can see your times up againts others on the same bikes. I would recomend rewarding your hard work by getting an entry level road bike for $600 or so from performancebike.com they even had fuji aloha tri bikes for $899. Also check out your local craigslist.org you can get a good used road bike for $400 or $400. After you train hard it might be worth it to invest in a little bit better of a bike.
Ditto Accent Fitness. I did my first two on mountain bikes. THen I bought a used road bike for $200.00. I still use my mountain bike for training.
My sister-in-law did a sprint tri on an old beach cruiser. It was hilarious.
As for me, I'm doing my first sprint tri in July and, being that I'm not much of a biker at all, I went on craigslist and bought an old hybrid bike for $150. It's like what they described above--a mountain bike with road-bike wheels. I know a road bike would be easier and it will probably cost me a little bit of time on race day, but I'll live. This is my first tri and I want to complete it without stopping and then go from there.
I had a Wal Mart bike before this and this cheap hybrid bike is WAY lighter. I would definitely recommend getting the smaller wheels, so you don't kill yourself for no good reason.
If I get to where I really like triathlons, I'll throw this bike back on craigslist and pony up for a real road bike. But until then? I'll be one of the rookies out there trudging along and loving it.