Thursday, April 7, 2011

Riding through the ride

Our local race is the Mighty Magnolia.  Like many races, t is sprint distance and starts in a subdivision for the swimThe bike  winds around the subdivision and then ventures onto public roads.

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

  1. don’t kill it at the end of the bike
  2. don’t take it easy at the end of the bike
  3. ‘ride through the transition area’ – don’t stop riding the bike until you start running the run.


Big Daddy Diesel said...

Great post, I never knew what it felt like to race on the bike till I did aquabikes, grant it, I didnt have to worry about the run and it was drop the hammer the whole distance, twice I got off the bike and my hamstrings froze up, now I know I cant go that hard in a triathlon

Tri4Success said...

Great post! I've just started in multisport but in both duathlons I participated in this was a common occurrence. Frankly, I was shocked how early people started "shutting down" the bike. You can pass a lot of competitors between the point the course "feels" over and transition by simply maintaining your effort level.

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

I agree completely. As someone who has a lot of improvement to make on the bike (aka, I get passed a lot), I'm surprised by how many people I in turn pass in the last 0.5 mile of the bike. I get up out of the saddle to start getting my calves ready, but I definitely don't quit.

And I always run the first 0.5 mile of the run rather slow for my typical pace, mostly to get my running legs out and shake off the biking legs, but after 0.5 miles or so, I'm into it and it's 5k pace time.

In a sprint, you don't have time to rest; it's efficiency at it's best.

Matty O said...

Too funny, I have a few stories about racing the bike til the end. They have a dismount line. I race until I am within the minimum braking distance on my bike haha.

They panic and freak out a bit, but to be honest, I need those extra 10-30 seconds to catch the guy in front of me!!!

My best races to date have me hopping off the bike and stopping the bike at the dismount line.

I agree with you on this post. Are you going to write a training book just from your blog alone?! Don't ever take your posts down!

Anonymous said...

Feel that TJ....def a helpful tip..thanks!