About This Blog

As time permits, in-depth musings on myriad subjects will be posted. Abbreviated adages will be announced via Twitter.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Spenco Olympic-distance Triathlon

Remember that fortune from a few days ago? It was right: I really need to work on improving my exercise routine. Still, considering I'd been sick for two weeks prior and had done no training of consequence, my showing at my first race of the season wasn't too shabby. Here's how it went:

Swim - 19:47
The Spenco "Olympic-distance" Triathlon was somewhat of a misnomer. Typically, Olympic-distance (henceforth referred to as "ITU," as the latter is much easier/quicker to type) have a 1500-meter swim, respectively followed by a 25-mile bike & 10k run. Spenco, however, had only a 1000-meter swim, making my swim time appear faster-than-normal for an ITU race, even with fumbling out of my wet suit in T1.

Bike - 1:04:20
Woohoo! Bike split rocked. I was a tad concerned, given the wind, sickness, and lack of training. However, it appeared many people also struggled with the wind (and gravel on Old Bastrop Road -- thanks for the warning, Mr. RD) and minor hills. Part of the route being the same as that of the Freiheit ride, though, gave me somewhat of a mental boost, as I love that area. The Rudy Project Syton also helped cut through the wind whilst keeping my noggin' cool. I would so love to try the lid at Buffalo Springs, but, alas, a lack of cash-ola will keep that from happening this year. But, I digress.

Mount & dismount of the bike went nicely, courtesy of the new Quattro SL pedals (see previous post), so that was, indeed, well-spent money. Granted, I'll not make it a habit to change so much gear so soon before a race (cranks, aerobar position, tires, pedals, helmet). Lighter wheels may be a different story. The Sciracco wheelset is nice, but, dang, they are HEAVY.

In total, I was passed by one person on the bike, and I promptly returned the favor to him at the first hill we encountered. I love my bike.

Run - 49:03
Not my fastest 10k, but certainly not my slowest, even in a race. I got dropped by three people, two of whom were wearing the new Zoot running shoe; gave me cause to ponder my choice in footwear but (temporarily) dismissed the notion as my training was woefully inadequate for making it as far as I did in the time that I did.

The run course was not a straight out & back, as they needed to add a dog-leg to make it the full 10k. Volunteers on-course made it trouble-free, and the aid stations were frequent enough to keep us hydrated on the Sunday that was not too sunny. Apart from the stronger gusts of wind, it would have been hard to have asked for better racing weather.

Total Time: 2:17:05. AG: 3/6. OA: 16/57.
I've yet to contact the RD, but I think my age group classification was messed up. USAT rules state that I should have been in the 35-39 AG, but, instead, am still listed in the 30-34. I'll not complain about a 3rd place AG finish, although it is rather a rather sad note about my lack of training as to whom I finished behind. I really need to get my ride & run back. Swimming...well, the times will come down, but I know I'll still suck.

Full results of the race are posted here: http://teamats.com/SPENCO_OLYMPIC_TRI.HTM

The Thank Yous
The usual suspects, of course, especially to N---; you truly are the greatest. Thanks also to the Bike Heaven crew for having the B2 race-ready in record time, as well as to D--- B---, a parent of one of my PAPE2 kids, for turning me on to the race. For the record, the water wasn't that cold.

All of that said, I will definitely work on improving my exercise routine. I think I'll take today a rest day before getting back into the swing of things. Besides, I still have a mountain of synopses on TTC to get through. Now that is endurance.

See you on the flip-side. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Crank It!

I'd been fighting the urge for a while, but, today, I decided to actually purchase new pedals for my TT bike. It's the perfectly logical thing to do the day before a race: Change something. However, this change was not entirely unfounded.

For several races, I'd been wanting to improve my bike mount/dismount, but the Time Impacts were not permitting me to do so. Being a single-sided pedal, and with the Sidi tri shoes having their slick, carbon base, it was difficult to hop on & off the bike without slipping. The Eggbeater pedals I'd installed on my commuter seemed to remedy this, but the eggbeater lacked the broadness of base I needed for truly putting the hammer down.

Enter the Crank Brothers Quattro SL.

After much research and drooling at the upper end of the spectrum, I decided to give the Quattro pedal a try. Given my limited budget, I opted for the SL model, as its weight was comparable to the Impacts I'd ridden with on my TT bike for so long. A series of phone calls found a pair on the other side of the world, but N--- was willing to take a ride with me, as long as I was willing to take a ride with her when we returned from the shop. Twist my arm a little harder, why don't you?

Twelve seconds short of eternity later (gad, I hate the North side), we were back on my side of town, picked up my "packet," which is to say, my race number and swim cap, for Spenco and were back at home. The Quattros were quick to set up on the bike, as were the cleats, so after ten or fifteen minutes, N--- & I were rolling. And were we rolling.

Since my re-entry into cycling eight or so years ago, I've tried a lot of pedals -- just ask the guys at Bicycle Heaven. Literally, every pedal system on the market. I settled on Time, although the Campagnolo Pro-Fit system ran a close second. Both of those now get bumped down a notch, as the Quattros are one rocking pedal system. Why? Well, there's...
  • Low weight (yeah, the SLs are on the heftier side, but at a C-note for a pair, you cannot do any better at that price)
  • Double-sided entry for easy entry -- exit is quick & painless, as well
  • Broad platform
  • Rock-solid locking -- and with decent float, too!
  • 3-hole cleat system offers decent walking (or running, for racing scenarios)
  • Cleats are cross-platform compatible, so I can use any shoe with either my commuter or TT bike. Nice!
In all, I don't think I've ever been more impressed with a pedal system. I'll contemplate a set of the titanium-spindled jobs for the C-dale (the Quattro Ti feature a red spring, as opposed to the SL's blue), providing the SLs hold up well enough in tomorrow's race. In the meantime, I need to eat. Tomorrow is going to be a busy, busy day. Thanks for reading.

Friday, April 04, 2008

How Fortunate

The Lunch Bunch actually wanted to go out for lunch today, so we did. Fortunately, "Chinese" won out over Tex-Mex, as I was hunkerin' for some vegetables, and the local "Chinese" fast-foodry has such. They also had fortune cookies. Here was mine:


Yup, that's it. Not too good of an omen for Sunday's Olympic race, especially since I've been sick the past two weeks and, subsequently, have done precisely no training, save the occasional commute to work. Sunday is going to hurt.

Thanks for reading.