…….A month or so back, my good friend Wade asked me to join him and another friend of his on a relay team at a local sprint TRI. I’m apparently the only cyclist he knows, which makes me fast……………hahaha! Truth be told, I had been contemplating giving up my mountain bike for something more road oriented than my Long Haul Trucker (she’s a bit hefty), so this was just the thing to get me moving towards deciding on, and locating such a ride. I settled on an All-City Macho Man that my go to shop Trinity Bicycles had on the floor in just my size. Being a cross bike, the Macho Man had enough relaxed geometry to keep me comfy (the LHT has spoiled me with comfort) and still be quick enough to keep up on some faster paced road rides.
I really didn’t train for the event, as training just isn’t my thing, however I did try to speed up my commutes to work and push myself up climbs a bit faster. All of this “training” happened on the LHT, because I didn’t actually acquire the All-City until just days before the TRI event.
I’ll start this part off with saying, I’m horrible at remembering to take pictures (especially when a bit nervous) and the few pictures I did take show the drawbacks and the learning curve of taking photos with a GoPro camera.
The forecast for the day was far from pleasant, and we’d been going back and forth about its growing intensity all week. The “Day of” forecast was 40% chance of rain, thunder storms, possible hail and up to 30mph winds. The event hadn’t been canceled, participant report time was at 6am, and the event was almost an hour away, so it was an early morning start to say the least. I picked my buddy Wade up (the running leg of the event) at 4:30am, stopped off for a coffee and a hand full of bananas and we were off. Rolled up to the event location at 5:45am, picked up our participant packets by 6am and proceeded to get our gear situated at the transition area.
By this time our third member had shown up, and after a brief pre race meeting it was a waiting game until our group started at 7:50am. We talked, stretched, joked about strategies and taunted Mike about the temps of the water and his lack of a wet suit. He wasn’t worried, apparently he’s no stranger to cold water (I don’t swim and certainly don’t partake in swimming in cold water). Sprinkles of rain began to come through off and on as we talked, never growing much of a concern until just before the gun went off for the swimming leg. Winds came out of the west hard, the open water got rough with small white caps and I could hear bikes falling over at the transition area. This was the point that I knew my recent acquisition was a keeper, not even a budge as it hung by the nose of the saddle with rear wheel in the air.
Mike wrapped up what seemed to be a pretty quick 500m swim, and passed the timing chip off to me to begin the short and somewhat wet 11 mile sprint ride. The cycling portion of the event was a simple two lap loop through a residential area with a fairly smooth concrete surface, and no major climbs, just a few gradual but long hills here and there. I exited out of the staging area, hung a right and BOOM, that long gradual hill and 30mph gusts weren’t so easy after all, and my decided confidence and statements of “I’ve commuted and ridden in rain and wind often, this should be a breeze.” came to an immediate halt and I began to rethink my entire ride. I quickly decided to lose a little speed and spin through the 2ish miles of headwind, and make up time with the tail wind on the other side of the loop. The first lap the wind wasn’t bad (after my change in strategy), but the second lap was worse when I rounded that same corner. I’m not sure if the winds had become stronger or if I was just coming down from a super fast, exciting and effortless 2 miles of tail wind from the other side. It was another tough 2 miles for me, and I’m sure I lost whatever time I had gained with the wind at my back.
2 laps complete, timing chip handed off and Wade was off on the 5k run. Wade is a runner, much like Mike is a swimmer and he tore up the 5k, so fast in fact that by the time I was done wrapping up my dismount and gathering my things in the transition area he was close to being done.
^ That’s Wade crossing through the orange cones.
I had hoped to average 20mph for the ride and close out my portion of the race strong, but I fell short of that mark with a 17mph average. Thanks to Wade and Mike, we did well…….well enough to take first place in the relay category at just over and hour and eight minutes total time to complete the course. Over all my new bike, handled great, rode fast (faster than the LHT), felt solid, shifted clean, and made me happy. A TRI bike it’s not, but FUN it sure is!!! I’m certainly no racer, but I enjoyed myself, felt I did the best I could and even hope to do another team event like this soon.