Training Tips -- The Bike
Once you have finished the swim, you will head to the transition zone and attempt to find your bike. When you check your bike in the day before the race, make sure to note some visual landmarks. These will help you find your bike when you get to the race site in the morning to get ready and when you are running up from the swim.
It doesn't matter what kind of bike you have. You don't need to be riding a multi-thousand dollar, professional-quality bike to compete in your first triathlon. We have seen beach bikes with fat tires and no gears, recumbent bikes, and even bikes with baby seats on the back (but no babies, please). Before you get started on your bike training, here are a few pointers:
- Take your bike in for a tune-up. This is especially important if it has been gathering dust in the garage.
- Check your brakes. Squeeze the front and rear brakes to make sure the pads grab firmly. They shouldn't slip or make annoying noises. If they do, have them checked.
- Closely examine your tires for signs of wear and tear. Know what the recommended pressure for the tires is and make sure they are inflated properly.
- While riding in a controlled environment - a quiet street without any hills - shift through all of your gears one at a time to make sure they engage properly and shift smoothly.
- Make sure your seat is adjusted properly. A seat that is not in the right place can make for an uncomfortable ride. You should be able to sit with your elbows slightly bent so that your arms absorb the shock of the road, not your shoulders and back. If your arms are straight, your bike may be too big or not properly adjusted.
- Learn how to fix a flat on your own. Carry a spare tube or patching materials with you. This could be important on race day.
Don't push the pedals when you ride. Instead, think about spinning them. This allows you to work more efficiently by increasing your pedal speed while decreasing the workload. Practice holding your line; you should be able to ride in a straight line while shifting, drinking and climbing. Lean into corners instead of turning your handlebars. Practice all of these skills during your training rides so that you will be ready to go on race day.
During the race, make sure you ride on the right and pass on the left. If you need to pass someone, call out "on your left" before you start to pass. On some race courses, you will be sharing the road with vehicles. There will be monitors on the course enforcing the single-file rule.
Make sure to ride at a steady pace throughout this section of the race. Remember, you still have a 5K run to finish.
Written by Marion Burch Cimbala and Heather O'Keeffe Gardner to help women prepare for the Danskin Women's Triathlon