Friday, May 27, 2011

Hot new ride

Just a quick update. I bought this bike yesterday off of Craigslist. It's a 1984 Centurion Dave Scott Ironman Expert bike. And it's salmon-colored with yellow tape, steel frame, 12 speed with shifters on the downtube. It's got a few dings, but it's been pretty well-maintained (new cables, new Shimano 105 gears, new brakes, new tires) and hasn't seen many miles in the last few years. With the Boston weather finally cooperating, this will be my traffic-beater bike for my commute to work, and it will allow me to try my hand at doing my own maintenance, if I'm brave.

I love the idea that this was a pretty serious road bike in its day: it has a sticker that proudly claims it was designed in the USA, but made in JAPAN! It may have even done a triathlon in a former life.

And extra bonus: I had a little time to spare before my track workout last night, so I practiced my mounting and dismounting. And I did not fall, not even once. I'm still not totally confident, and the bike got a little wobbly there at times, but it's a start.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Transition training

Last weekend, I organized a transition training session, aka. the Triple Tri, inspired by Coach Mark at the Brisbane Tri Squad. The basic idea is that you do 3 mini-triathlons in a row to simulate race conditions and allow you to practice doing your transitions. As this was the first time hosting a transition session, there were lessons for me, not just about my transitions, but also about the session itself.

1. I had been worried about the prospect of getting back into wet wetsuits after the first round, but it turns out, this was not an issue, since we did not swim. Not something commonly faced in Queensland, both air and water temperatures were in the low 50s, so the decision was made that it was not advisable to swim, then strip down to nothing and ride a bike for 3 miles. Instead the event became the Triple-Du.

2. One consequence of the missing swim was that none of us was particularly warm when we started the bike. In the future, I would recommend an easy run/bike to warm up before trying to push race pace.

3. LVOR kindly offered to come be our bicycle guard and purveyor of homemade granola bars. With this small of a field (just the 4 of us), I think we were all grateful to have some one keep an eye on things, even if it was just to keep the dogs from marking our territory as theirs. Thanks, LVOR!

4. The transition rack that I borrowed from Landry's is awesome. And the fact that they let me borrow a $300 rack for the weekend is even more awesome. It's 2 tripods that lock together. The whole thing folded up and stored in a handy canvas bag that easily fit in the back of the car. Honestly, I sorta want to buy one of these now.

5. Lauren had us review what worked and didn't work after this practice. This was a great addition to the practice. On one of the runs, I could hear Lauren and her nice, quick cadence catching up to me. I consciously increased my turnover to match hers. It felt hard, but it did the trick. She reminded me afterwards to drop my gear at the end of the bike and spin the legs up.

6. The other thing I struggled with was mounting and dismounting the bike. I've never been one to master the flying-mount (despite many attempts). Right now, my current mount involves, coming to a complete stop, throwing my leg over and stepping onto my shoe. It's not all that slow, but it certainly isn't elegant. I want to learn how to skate with one foot on the shoe and throw the leg over while rolling (and similarly dismount). I accidentally did this type of dismount at Cranberry last year. I was just so caught up in the race, I just did it without even thinking about it. I want to get comfortable with this type of mount, if not for the time advantage, then for the improved confidence and bike-handling skills. Any suggestions for how to get this down?

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