2013 Triathlon Season In Review: The Bike

20130530_194920Last year when I purchased my bike I knew I had made a commitment, I was not going to spend that kind of money to let it go to waste.  I bought a simple road bike that would get me started cycling.  A year later I am still cycling and loving every minute of it.  In addition to my triathlon’s this season I peppered in two bike events, both ended up being in down pouring rain.  When I started my cycling program I had very low endurance and often felt sluggish on the bike.  By the end of the season, while I do not think I was faster by the look of the numbers, I know my endurance and ability to go further and longer has definitely improved through out the season.  As I have grown stronger I have found the challenge of cycling to be both fun and rewarding and I feel there is still allot I need to complete to be a competent cyclist.

Cycling is in blue, it increased allot at the end of the year.

Cycling is in blue, it increased allot at the end of the year.

Looking at the numbers proves difficult as there are so many factors that go into each ride: elevation, duration, distance, training load up to the ride, weather… just to name a few.  Quantifying my cycling performance with all these factors has posed a challenge in my desire for analysis.  As I mentioned, feel wise, I feel like I have gotten stronger as a cyclist.  I know I can now cycle for 30 miles before I start to hit the limit on my physical ability.  When I started cycling at the beginning of this training phase I could barely do 10 miles with 20 miles proving to be a stretch.

Mileage per 4 week phase.

Mileage per 4 week phase.

By The Numbers

  • 71:43:41 hours:minutes:seconds of total cycling. This averages out to 6:31:15 per training phase (most phases are four weeks)
  • 850.01 Miles total distance with an average of 77.27 miles per phase.
  • Average speed per outing 12.65
  • Average Distance per outing 16.83

cyclingNumbersThe rest of the number are really hard to determine patterns and improvement. Looking at distance, its obvious I started to put more miles in later in the season and I was completing more riding distances and hours.  Speed wise seemed to get faster then drop again.  It appears at one point I hit around thirteen mph just to drop back down into the upper twelves.  I guess from the standpoint of the start of the season into my first triathlon I did gain roughly a mile per hour.

One of the goals for this season was to  participate in two cycling events. I originally had my goal set for sixty to hundred mile distances, but changed the idea to match more realistically my abilities.  The first event I participated I rode 37 miles and had to ride the last 10 miles in high winds, down pouring rain, falling branches and trees and the worst possible weather (read about it here).  My second ride proved a better experience in all regards except for  the rain.  The entire 48 mile ride was accompanied by a deluge of water at various velocities.  Overall these experiences were a fun diversion from my triathlon season.  I probably will not do these next year as I am going to focus on my Olympic distance triathlon races.

The one sore spot with the bike for me was my final triathlon, my first Olympic.  I had a great swim and was pumped to get on the bike and start the 24 mile ride.  Immediately my steady stead abandoned me and an hour later I was DNF due to blowing three tubes on the back tire of my bike.  On a flat and fast course the bike took me out.  Next year I plan to revisit that race and finish it.

Right now the run and the  bike are competing for my worst sport, but I might have to just give them both credit.  Since I bought my bike zero last year I have grown into a better cyclist and I feel like I have grown stronger.  I need to look at the numbers more to gauge my goals for next year but I know I certainly would like to get above 12.5 to 13 mph average speeds.  It getting cold and money has been tighter with a new cat and existing cats bills, so I still have not fixed the tire and I have already moved indoors.  Can’t wait til next spring when I can start logging some open road miles again.  Its been a good cycling season, but I have work to do. Til next time.

Suggestions on increasing speed in the off season?  

 

 

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21 comments

  1. mytravelmateblog · · Reply

    Great progress. I am trying to get there all though i would only do Duathalons (fear of water).
    Are you really tall? just asking because of your bike.
    I ride MTB as i just can not get any comfort from road bikes.

    1. 6’3, I ride an extra large frame road bike. Keep with it and you will get there.

      1. mytravelmateblog · · Reply

        Thank you for your kind words, and for creating this blog.

        1. Thank you for reading my story. How I may inspire others through my story.

  2. Tri Madness · · Reply

    Awesome stats, and great progress on getting more mileage and faster! Sux about your race at AmeliaMan – that is a really fast course; I’m sure you would have done really well.

    1. Yeah, but after 4 sprints and several 5ks and a 10k and 15k, I have matured to where I can just know that things happen and somedays its just not your day. That really is the definition of maturation as an athlete in my opinion. Had an awesome first mile in the ocean experience and I know I will finish that course next year. Thanks for the follow.

  3. That’s an interesting question right there brother. The real answer is frequency and intensity. The way to get faster is to ride faster – assuming your bike fits correctly.

    1. Got it. I took your other advice and started throwing in low gear 110-120 spinning for an hour through out the week. At first it was hard staying at 110 for the entire time. Now, I often find myself staying at 115 steady for an hour or more adding in bursts higher with more tension. Not sure how this will pay off on the saddle when I get back on the road, but it feels good to push a high cadence for so long. As always thanks for the suggestion.

      1. It should help a ton brother.

        1. Good thing is I have numbers to build off of for next year.

  4. Those are some impressive stats right there! Well done. As far as measuring progress, the only way I have really figures out to do it is to ride the same course as your own personal time trial and compare the results over time. I have a one mile course I ride laps around and over the last year I went from barely being able to keep it at 12.5 mph average for 8 laps to hitting 14.0 mph average for 12 laps. a definite improvement.

    Keep up the good work! You will be surprised at how much the spinning pays off come spring.

    1. Good advice. I have an 11.5 mile course I like to ride for the same reason. Difficulty exists in being a multi-sport athlete and having other factors effect my training rides. One thing I need to do is push harder. I love spin and its how I got to my current endurance levels, just does not replace the experience of real riding. Thanks for the suggestions.

  5. Great progress. Having an injury during a race has to be the worst, but a close second is equipment failure. Hopefully, the scales will balance and you won’t see a flat during a race for a long. long time. I like your ride. I also bought a road bike, and am looking at the redshift switch system to possibly improve my aerodynamics next year. Hoping it will allow us semi-serious bikers avoid buying a TT bike for races.

    1. When I get above 18 miles per hour, I might look at upgrading to a tri bike. For now I am working on getting the engine working fully. After doing a few races, you learn things happen and you make what you can out of the experience. I had a great swim and it was an awesome experience. Thanks for the suggestion, might have to look into the switch system you are mentioning.

  6. ichoosetolivestronger · · Reply

    When scrolling through my WP reader, I was so happy to see your bike picture. It told me immediately that you were still kicking butt and taking names. Your stats are impressive. You are a great example that it takes hard work to see results. my blog is now private…so you have to request access…long story. 🙂

    1. Thank you. The hardest thing with measuring progress as a new athlete I think is the lack of a previous season as a base line. I am excited to get to next year and then compare the progress of this season with the next. Should be fun.

  7. […] 2013 Triathlon Season In Review: The Bike (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com) […]

  8. […] 2013 Triathlon Season In Review: The Bike (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com) […]

  9. […] 2013 Triathlon Season In Review: The Bike (chatterdoesfitness.wordpress.com) […]

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