Monday, July 27, 2015

Triathlon blog: The next generation

Time for Mik’s annual triathlon race report, the one time a year this blog returns to its origins, if only in the most tangential way imaginable!

Actually, after you hear the tale, you may be inclined to be disappointed in me for falling down on my job as a supposedly experienced triathlon mentor, but please remember that I was never much of a bike person. (Foreshadowing!)

Anyway. Mik was in great shape for this race, despite the fact that he never trained for it, at least specifically. No biking, no running, no open water swimming—but he was swimming in a pool an average of three or four hours a day and doing three hours a week of dryland training. I figured that was plenty, especially since he had finished last year’s race without any tri-specific training.

The swim went really well, obviously. He was one of the first out of the water, had a good transition, and took off on his bike. But when he was about 10 feet out of the transition area, he tried to shift gears and the chain fell off. M.H. went running over and got it fixed for him, and we were all cursing his terrible luck to lose all those precious seconds.

Then he rode out of sight, and we waited, and waited, and waited. I was expecting his bike leg to be faster than last year’s, so I started worrying pretty early on and continued worrying for about half an hour. Had he crashed? Was he lost? Was he walking his bike up the hill?

It turns out that the chain had fallen off again almost immediately, and although he was able to get it back on himself, he was afraid to change gears again after that. So not only was he riding on a mountain bike rather than a racing bike, but it was a FIXED-GEAR mountain bike. He made it through the race in a middle gear, but I’m sure getting up the gigantic hill on the course was a total nightmare.

Finally he arrived in T2, and 29 minutes later, he was done. See?

His time was actually a few seconds faster than the previous year, and he won his age group of one, but his legs were shaking like crazy. I felt bad—not because I could have done anything at all with the bike personally, but just because it would have been smart to have him ride it long enough to discover any mechanical issues beforehand.

A lesson for next year, I guess.

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