With it being March, daylight is going to last longer, temps are gonna get warmer, and you’ll be getting outside. What are you going outside with though? Is it time to replace those ratty old shoes? Is it worth it to spend $100 on a bike tune-up and another $100 on a fit? Sometimes it’s just better to move on and upgrade. As Barney says, “New is always better.” Well, newer anyway. Most stores are going through a clear out of last year’s stuff, so you might find yourself some good deals before the 2014 season officially starts. Besides, what else is better than a shiny new bike to get your butt outside.
So, as it usually goes for me, it was time for an upgrade. Truth be told, ASI was having their yearly warehouse sale and I couldn’t pass up the chance to get a barely used demo bike on the cheap. So, what did I get…
Fuji Altamira 1.3 CX
Basically, it’s a Fuji Altamira with disc brakes. And Sram Force. And heavy wheels. And it’s NOT red. Well, it is matte black with blue and yellow accents, and I can add red bits. The Sram drivetrain does worry me a bit, and to honest so do the Avid brakes, but those are things that I can upgrade down the road. First, I need to get rid of my Scott. If I don’t, my fiancé may leave me. Ha!
Well, besides the new bike, there hasn’t been much going on in the way of endurance sports because of me getting sick last week and having my neck go out on me Monday morning. This weekend, however, the Endurance Sports Expo comes to the Philadelphia Convention Center in Oaks, PA. (I know, the PA Convention center is in Philly, but the Philly one is 20 miles outside the city.) If you have nothing to do this Saturday and Sunday, I will be at the Expo with D and Q and Fuji Bikes with our rep and fellow Philadelphia Union compatriot. My coach/Sports doc will also be there and giving a few seminars. The Expo is a good size and has plenty of things there for all disciplines. Endless Pools will also have a pool on-hand and will do a video swim stroke analysis.
So, what does one do when they are sick or physically incapacitated for a couple weeks during the base building phase of training? First, rest. Second, rest. Third, keep drinking fluids and remember to eat. Fourth, rest. DO NOT start training again until you are recovered. In a lot of ways, this untimely inconvenience can be a blessing in disguise. Most endurance athletes have done too much training by this point. It’s a side effect of being an A-Type personality. Giving your body the chance to fully recover will pay off dividends later. Especially when you’re building volume and strength training in the winter.
Well, until next time…
There’s sometimes nothing you can do except do your best or drop out. If you decide to race, you’re probably not going to do well, but that’s if you compare yourself to your normal self. When you’re sick, you can easily lose anywhere from 20%-50% of your endurance. Not only that, but your loss increases exponentially through the race no matter how short.
This recently happened to me at my “A” race during TriRock Philly. This race was my first Olympic distance race. Two weeks out I felt great, but at 10 days I developed a sinus and upper respiratory infection. This meant lots of rest, no training, bad sleep, and a horrible taper. So, there was plenty to think about leading up to race day. I was raising money for a great cause and I knew I would be able to get through the distance, so dropping out was not an option, but I had no idea how to pace myself in order to not come in dead last.
Most Olympic distance races are still a “red-lining” endurance event, but you have to play to your advantage as much as you can. For you track and field peeps, think of this as an 800m race. Well, my breathing had cleared up a bunch by race morning, but I was still far from 100%. With that in mind, I adjusted my plan. I didn’t go out very hard on the swim and conserved a good amount of energy. I took my time in both transitions just to make sure I was fully ready for each leg. I knew the bike would be my best event, so I went for it. The course is a mix of fast flats, steep climbs, technical descents, and mass chaos. I still posted a top 200 time on the bike, so that made me happy. The run is where I knew I would struggle b/c of what I did on the bike. T2 was slow and controlled and mile one was a great warm up into mile two, but then I fell apart. I was so hot and cramped so badly, that I had to walk every aid station for the remainder of the race. At mile 4 I had to stop and stretch. Even so, I still posted a decent time and was able to “virtually” beat my brother-in-law from two years ago. Ha! (Sorry Mike)
What did I learn? First, I need a good week of solid tapering. Second, I need a warm up before go time. Third, if there’s a separate swim start, BRING WATER!!! Fourth, wear tri clothes that keep you cool. Fifth, take in more calories on the bike. Lastly, wear a hat! Visors do not work for me. Silly bald man.