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My first time! (long!)(4 posts)

My first time! (long!)Rich_Racer
Aug 27, 2003 7:12 PM
Having recently (a year ago) given up rowing and taken up cycling, I recently found myself cycling with some triathletes who have become buddies. So I thought I'd do a triathlon. Summary:- okay - but really not great position - basically because I'm a crap swimmer! I went very slowly on swim, fast on bike, ok on run. Finished 103rd (!!) out of about 300 people (men women) who took part.

So I was pretty nervous actually. Didn't sleep well the night before then had to get up at 4.30am to get there and sort myself out on time. I was most nervous about the swim as I really haven't done any ocean swimming at all! Mostly in a pool and not a lot of that! Big waves, cold salty water, and being 500meters from land make a difference! The atmosphere was good at the start and there was more of the attitude of "let's go everyone" rather than being very competitive - I really liked that. The swimmers were set off in "waves" of about 100 people at a time - in 10 minutes intervals. I was in the first group. Most of the next group
overtook me at about the half way point and I think the group after that were on top of me once I was getting out of the water. In other words, I lost about 20 minutes on the fastest people on the swim! On an event that should take about 80 minutes, that's a hell of a lot! A few people gave up on the swim because of the size of the waves - which were indeed big! Good for surfing - not for swimming! I didn't even think about that - I was just kind of thinking that it was going to take me a long time but I had to do it. And I'd get a bit of revenge on the bike! (I hoped!)The worst part of the swim (which I heard a lot of people complain about) was the "in" leg was straight into the early morning sun and I couldn't see a thing - or really where I was going. Looking at the adjecent pier fairly often seemed to help.

So I think the point of the swim is to just not lose too much energy. I'm not sure if I managed that! I got out feeling pretty blurry. I didn't do the swim in a wetsuit, as a lot of people did (the pacific ocean is cold!) (well - and they help you float on top of the water better and go a bit faster - aledgedly) so my transistion onto the bike was pretty fast. I did the whole thing in an rowing unisuit, actually. I think it worked really well and I'll do that again.

So, after a couple of minutes of getting used to being on a bike and not in the sea, plus drinking a bottle of gatorade (which really helped), I got my head down and tried to claw back some time on the only leg I knew I was good at. It definitely went well as I overtook a lot of people. I was planning to count how many but I lost count! It was particularly nice passing people on ridiculously expensive carbon time-trial bikes with their solid rear wheels. I held over 25mph for the most of the course (no drafting allowed) - apart from tight corners. It was a very flat circular course. There was one scary tight corner where, for some reason, it entered a military airfield. The motivation to get the corner right was not hitting the huge soldier with a big gun at the entrance!

On the way out again I almost did though - shouted "f**k" and a marshal amusingly threatened me with disqualification if I sweared again! I got one of the fastest times on the bike - the results give a break down.

My legs felt pretty heavy after the bike but I'd actually done a bit of bike-run training and I think it really paid off when I got into the run. I didn't feel I was running that fast but I felt comfortable and, to my surprise, I was still passing people - if now at a much slower speed. I would pass one then set a target ahead of me. This worked really well. I was planning to do
My first time! (long!) (part 2)Rich_Racer
Aug 27, 2003 7:24 PM
My legs felt pretty heavy after the bike but I'd actually done a bit of bike-run training and I think it really paid off when I got into the run. I didn't feel I was running that fast but I felt comfortable and, to my surprise, I was still passing people - if now at a much slower speed. I would pass one then set a target ahead of me. This worked really well. I was planning to do this on the bike but just concentrating on speed and rhythm worked better. Only one guy passed me on the run. He had one leg! I kid you not! He was going damn fast. Impressive! I did 24 mins for 5k which isn't fast but it's ok at the end of a tri and better than a lot of people.

So I finished. I was just pleased to finish and totally didn't think to check for my time or position. I wasn't pleased to finish because I was so tired, or even that it felt like it took a long time, but just that it was my first triathlon and now I have something to aim at and the knowledge and experience of having done one - how it feels, what the transitions are like, and lots of other little things.

They had lots of promotional free food and drink at the finish which I took advantage of! The lemon/lime protein-bar ice-lollies were strangely nice!

So now I have to decide how much, if ever, to do more tri. The thing is that I've trained more as a cyclist that did a bit of running and the odd swim, than a triathlete. Doing tri from now on would have to involve a lot of ocean swimming - and probably therefore a swimming wetsuit. Well - probably better improving my technique in the pool first for a while - especially as winter approaches.

Sorry this was so long - I hope it helps other first-timers, perhaps! (Just read some of the advice in posts below on swimming - good stuff - thank you - I'll take it on board.)

Rich.
CongratsSkooter
Sep 1, 2003 3:02 AM
Sounds like you had a good time. Get a wetsuit. You will noticet the difference. What did you ride? Chow Skoots
CongratsRich_Racer
Sep 3, 2003 8:45 AM
Cheers.

Will be doing lots of pool swimming until next year I think - then I'll get a wetsuit.

I ride a Trek 2300.