Monday, September 9, 2013

Triathlon Transition Workshop

I've been feeling anxious all day. I decided when I got up this morning that I would go to the Morgantown Multisport Transition Workshop they were holding tonight at 6pm. With all things new I, of course, was intimidated. Intimidated by the faster, fitter people. The experienced versus 'the newbie'. And then there was going to be a pre-workshop swim. Dear Lord help me now.

I am not good at swimming. No, I'm not being modest. I have no technique. I get winded quickly and after a certain point in open water I feel like I'm going to drown. If I decide that I really want to continue doing triathlons, then I'll get a wetsuit so that I'll be more buoyant. For now though, I'm just doing a duathlon (run, swim, run).

Anyway, thanks to this little blog and the thought that I should really overcome my doubts, I went. And it was great! Everyone was really nice and I met a couple of people that were completely new to the sport like me!

Transitions, by the way, refer to the time that it takes one to transfer from one event to the next in a triathlon (swim, bike, run). So a first transition (T1) is when you come out of the water cross a mat that records your time, change into your biking gear and then cross another mat with you and your bike. The second transition (T2) is when you come back over that timing mat, get your bike back on the rack, get all of your running stuff on (like changing shoes), then head out back of the transition area (yes, crossing another timing mat) to the run portion of the race. Hope that makes sense.

Even though I'm not doing the swim for the upcoming race that this was kind of a practice for, I decided to get in the water just to get the full experience from the workshop. I didn't go as far as everyone else, it would have taken me way too long.
Thanks to Morgantown Multisport for taking a few pictures!

I'm the one with the green swim cap walking to the water. I just swam a little past that bridge column and back. The rest of the group went to a buoy that was well beyond that column then cut back to one that is straight out from this platform, then back to the shore. Triangle shape, if you will. Most of them were done by the time I got back! haha Oh well, I don't mind. I know my weaknesses and when it comes to this sport, swimming is by far my worst!

After the swim, we walked ran to the transition area that they had set up. Sandy, the leader, explained about various equipment, food, and accessories that we might want on race, depending on what distance we were going. (Mini, Sprint - which I'm doing, or Olympic).

Yup that's me, in all of my white glory with the blue tank top on, on the left.
 I wore a blue tank top that is made out of a quick dry material, that I think I got at Target or somewhere. With a sports bra underneath it and swimsuit bottoms that have gotten way too big! I was afraid they would fall off during the swim, but thankfully they didn't!

Some tips were:

-Start taking your wetsuit off as soon as you get out of the water. Wetsuits are easier to get off while they still have a lot of water on them. Even if you just take them half off while you are running up to the transition area, this will be a lot easier then if you wait until you are at your bike to start taking it off. It'll be 100 times harder because it will stick to you!

-The easiest outfit to wear is a tri suit. That way you don't have to change clothes, you can even swim in them. They include a chamois that is not as thick as actual biking shorts that way it is still comfortable to run in, but thick enough to protect you while you're riding.

-Bring lube, Body Glide or Chamois Butt'r Cream for long distance races so that none of your body parts starting hurting (and yes I mean EVERY part of you!).

-Get a CO cartridge instead of a pump, it isn't as heavy.

-Use shoe laces that you don't have to tie. Like these.
 -Make sure to have your race fuel ready to eat on the bike where it's going to be the easiest to eat. Either get a bag that fits on the front bar of your bike
Kind of like this one.
  Or just duct tape your gels on at the top where you can rip them off to where the top of the gel stays on the bike and it's easy to access. Thought this was a fun idea!
-Make sure all of your equipment is easily accessible and don't get in your neighbor's area. Put your helmet with your sunglasses in it on your handlebars, for example.

-Have your socks rolled down so that it's easier to put them on. Especially when you have wet feet!

-Rack your bike opposite the person's next to you.
      Definitely did not know that one! You should also put your stuff under the rear tire of your neighbor.

-Bring two towels, one to wipe dirt or sand off your feet. Lay it right on the ground to easily step on.

-A bag to put all of your crap equipment is helpful.
Your helmet can go into the mesh part of it. Nifty.
 -Bring a plastic bag of some sort for all of your smelly clothes afterward and bring a change of clothes.

 I'm sure there are a ton more, but those are the main ones that I paid attention to!

So after Sandy went through all the tidbits. We practiced putting our clothes on, any shorts, shirts, socks, shoes with our helmets and anything else we needed, running with the bike to the "mount" start and then getting on the bike. This is usually the way that it is done in a triathlon. You aren't allowed to just hop on your bike. You have to take it to a safe zone where you can mount it and then start your ride. I definitely needed those no tie shoe laces!

Can you see me way in the back with the blue shirt on?

Then we would dismount from the bike, she would start the clock back up and we would run back to the transition area, rack our bikes, get our helmets off, some people would change shoes if they were wearing cycling shoes, and then we would run up a ramp like we were heading for the run portion of the race.

Sadly I was still slower than some, even though I didn't have to change shoes, but I got a little better. We did it three times. The second time we did it, I accidentally hit the bike next to mine when I was putting it on the rack. Oops! It didn't fall off though, haha.

Shew, I still have so much to learn!! Thankfully, I'm starting this process at a relatively young age, so I have plenty of time to develop and to buy all of the fun gadgets!. I'm starting to realize that I don't have to have everything right now, this second. That, hopefully, I still have time to work up to greater distances, to try out new gear, and to spend the crazy amount of money it takes to get set up for triathlons. (Thank you EBay and Amazon, haha).

Afterwards, Sandy the leader of it all, talked a little more to us new girls and gave us some more tips. I learned that it is not my bike that has been acting funny, it's the fact that I've been trying to change gears while going up hills. This apparently is very bad for your bike and could really mess up your gears! Woops! See, still so much to learn!

This made me really excited about the race that's on the 22nd. Honestly I haven't been giving it very much thought, but not I'm pumped and ready for my first duathlon! I won't even really have a transition since I don't change shoes to bike in! (But that might be changing soon, not for this race, but soon).

See you never know what will happen when you try new things and get out of your comfort zone!

P.S. The Monongahela River does not smell too pretty once you're out of it. Yuck.