Reminder : It’s ALL about the bike

Last night I learned a lesson, one that I already knew, and should have been mindful of over the last few months. But one that I’ve neglected, and I paid the price for it. Let me explain.

I took part in the Capenwray Sprint Triathlon, it’s less than 10 miles from my house, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Em and Charlotte were out, so I had a free night. It would have been rude not to race. The race kicked off at 7pm, so it was a bit of a mad dash to get home from work, get my stuff together and get through rush hour traffic in the car park that is Lancaster’s awful one way system. I made it then with half an hour to spare, quickly said hello to fellow COLTs Ian and Danny as I joined the big queue at registration.

Ten minutes till kick off and I was still not ready, quickly rack the bike, set up transition and get the wetsuit on. I couldn’t get my bloody number to attach to my number belt ( press stud version ) and in the end I think Danny saw how frustrated and panicky ( not like me ) I was getting, and did it for me easily. I felt such a muppet.

We all got into the water for the deep water start in the crystal clear waters of the disused quarry that now serves as a dive centre . I don’t think I’ve EVER experienced cold like that, not even in our club lake in the middle of a storm. But it was wonderful and the most enjoyable swim I’ve ever had in a race. I quite simply loved the fact that I could see underwater for miles ( well not literally but you know what I mean! ), I was surrounded by fish, I could see the scuba divers below us and the famous sunken plane. Before I knew it the 500m swim was over and I emerged from the water, stride for stride with Danny. The stoney run to transition hurt like hell, I need to harden my feet up I guess, but I was soon on my bike and that was where my night took a nose dive.

I felt like I was pedalling in squares, I just didn’t get into any rhythm the whole way round the 18km route. People passed me, I had no response. My frustration just grew and grew, and in my head I figured “Just enjoy the rest of the race, it’s not an important one.” And you know what I probably cycled better after that.
It was a hilly course, and that was my downfall. I’ve just not done enough time on the bike this year, or enough hills, and I was found severely wanting. At least I know what I have to work on over the next couple of months as I prepare for a half ironman. I need to get my bike legs back.

surprisingly I flew out of transition onto the run, my legs felt fresh as I focused on the person in front, about 100m away. I would eventually catch and pass them as I ran along the canal tow path. Shouts of encouragement from clubmates as they passed me coming back spurred me on and I ran with a smile on my face. The 5km flew by and pretty soon I crossed the finish line in 1:22:37.

I was knackered, frustrated, relieved and happy. The race had been a useful  one in keeping me in a racing mindset, it had been fun ( especially the swim – did I really just type that!? ) and it had been a learning experience, in that it reminded me that it’s all about the bike. Quite simply if I was bike fit I would have been a lot higher up, several minutes faster, and probably would have enjoyed it more. All this week I have been contemplating entering Ironman Lanzarote 2012 but if I can’t cope with the hills of Capenwray how the hell would I cope with Lanza? One dream too far maybe?



5 responses to “Reminder : It’s ALL about the bike

  1. spot on, here’s another example, I spent all my training time this year on my tacx stationary trainer and put off going out on the road, finally when I did go out I made a massive mistake, crashed, and now it looks like I may be out of my 70.3 this weekend! the fitness was there but my actually bike skills were not! arghh, lesson learned!

    • Sorry to hear that Matthew. Hope you recover quickly and that you manage to make the start line of the 70.3 and more importantly the finish line.
      The main thing is we learn from our mistakes I guess, I have a 50 odd mile hilly sportive on the 9th July, am away for 2 weeks in the mean time, so will have to use it as a ‘training race’.
      My bike fitness will come back, as will your handling skills 😉

  2. SofaShoes – I wrote such a blog myself a few months ago and have spent the last 2 months getting it going. Learn the lesson and make the changes to get yourself on the bike. Your better than that !!!!!!

    • Thanks for the pep talk – will do. Need to focus away from running ( which will take care of itself ) and get more bike sessions in. Plus riding up and down hills will reduce my weight. Got to work hard, I don’t want to be last at the SO220 Ely smackdown.

  3. Hi Andy, Not sure if it helps, but at least you inspired me to write a blog post. Decide, Commit, Plan, Execute.

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