For the flat countryside of Mississippi the cycling portion of the race is challenging. For the rest of the country you could call it rolling hills. I have biked this course dozens of times. Towards the end of the bike leg the tendency is to start shutting it down preparing for the run. And once you turn back to the subdivision you really start spinning easy.
I am always surprised how just how far it is from the entrance to the subdivision to the transition area. Mentally, the bike portion is over. Although it does not seem like it is very far to the transition; the time adds up quickly. Most people shut the bike down once they leave the public roads. They spin easily; they start preparing for the run.
However, they lose minutes of time. They are taking it easy and resting on the bike. This is a sprint triathlon – there is no time to rest on the bike.
Leaving T2 they are a minute or two behind of where they should be. No big deal? How hard do you have to train; how hard to you have to race to gain 2 minutes in a 5k? Just to let you know, 2 minutes off of your 5k times is 38 seconds per mile – try subtracting that off your next tempo run – not easy stuff.
So what should you do? You must race the bike course until the bike course is over. Pretend that the end of the bike is just past the transition area. Only start scrubbing speed when you see the volunteers telling you to SLOW DOWN (always be safe). Then hop off the bike, transition to the run and then get up to speed.
It is better to take the first mile of the run a bit slower, to legs your legs come back, then it is to give up the time on the bike. Think about it, most of us run that first mile too fast anyway. So take it a hair slower.
Even if you slow down by 30 seconds a mile (which is huge) you still saved 90 seconds over the lollygag on the bike. Let the fast parts be fast.
TIPS: Riding through the ride
- don’t kill it at the end of the bike
- don’t take it easy at the end of the bike
- ‘ride through the transition area’ – don’t stop riding the bike until you start running the run.