Making Lemonade with Life’s Lemons

JoshBikingLong story short — my car was in the shop for most of the week for some unexpected repairs and I had to get a little creative on transportation in the interim.

Time constraints forced me to utilize ride-share services on the first morning. But after work I decided to ride my bike to the gym so I could jump in the pool and knock out some much needed laps. A relaxed pedal to the gym was the perfect opportunity to dust off my mountain bike, which was still outfitted with a pair of more road-friendly tires from races past. This was my first time on the saddle of the mountain bike since getting my first road bike earlier this year. I had almost forgotten how much fun this bike was to ride — the big comfortable frame and disc brakes that stop on a dime.

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Riding the ol’ mountain bike also made me realize just how much faster and lighter I am on my new road bike. It’s almost hard to imagine that I completed four triathlons on this bike. It’s heavy. The geometry isn’t the most aerodynamic. And most of all, you run out of gears way to fast. I’m really thankful to have a road bike this year.

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Anyhow, back to the gym. 32 laps are about equivalent to the .47 mile swim I’ll be tackling in the first leg of the Minneapolis Triathlon next weekend. So that’s what I did; I swam 32 consecutive laps and finished with a time of 00:14:52. Not bad. For perspective, last year I swam a 00:16:05 at Minneapolis. It’s really hard to compare pool swims to open water given the contrasting conditions, but as least I know I’m in the ballpark. I took a short break, swam eight more laps and called it a workout. It was a short one, but I was a little excited to jump back on the bike instead hopping into a car for the ride home. In a way, it was almost like mini brick workout, transitioning from one sport to the next. This one just had a longer transition time from pool to bike. Still good practice.

Sure, it was frustrating to be without a car for a few days. But that part was out of my control. The car needed repair and I needed to wait for the work to be completed. Rather than getting down about it, I found a way to get to the places I wanted to go and got to have some fun along the way. It was surprising how much joy was found in riding an old bike. And now I want to get the knobby tires back on it and hit some trails. Sometimes we can’t control what happens in life, but we can control how we react to it. We might even be surprised with what we find along the way.

Cheers to the glass being half full.

The Need for Speed

NewBike

As someone who’s not the strongest of swimmers, the bike leg of a triathlon is a perfect opportunity for me to make-up some time and build momentum. I’m even more excited about that possibility now that, thanks to my dad, I’ve added a road bike to my race day gear.

Last year, I completed all three triathlons using my mountain bike. Sure, I swapped out the knobby tires for thinner, smooth road tires to reduce rolling resistance. But I could still only go so fast. I felt like I knocked out some respectable bike times, averaging over 17mph in two of the tree races. But I vividly remember being maxed-out on gears and pedaling as hard as I could, hitting about 19mph max on smooth straightaways, and getting passed by guys on road bikes going so fast that I felt like I was standing still. There was literally nothing more I could do. I was going as fast as I possibly could.

Split Time Split Pace Distance
Trinona

43m 40s

15.12 mph 11 miles
MPLS Tri

51m 4s

17.63 mph 15 miles
Maple Grove Tri

37m 58s

17.39 mph 11.5 miles

Bike times from my three 2016 triathlons

Excited turn the pedals and shift some gears, I took the new bike out for its maiden voyage last weekend and boy was it a night and day difference from my mountain bike. I was hitting 17mph with a steady pedal. I continued pushing, reaching 19mph, realizing I still had a couple gears left. Reaching 21mph on a smooth straightaway was a joy. Then maybe a little more scary, mixed with fun, was speeding 32mph down a winding hill. Don’g get me wrong, flying down the hill was a thrill, but I was still getting used to the caliper brakes. The mountain bike I had rode for years to had disc brakes that stopped on a dime. The caliper pads on the new ride still needed to be broken-in. But all went well. The 14 mile ride was over before I knew it. The first ride was a success.

I’m pumped about the possibilities this bike will bring this year. It’s light. It’s geared for faster speeds. The tires are thinner and capable of holding higher air pressures. I should definitely see some improvements in my times.

But I also know that equipment can only take you so far. And Trinona is only a little more than six weeks away. Time to get back to training!