So what did I learn from the NYC Triathlon as it pertains to the bike portion of the race? Where do I begin….
1. When you rack your bike early in the morning before the start of the triathlon, make sure the bike is set to a VERY easy gear. That first hill coming out of transition is steep and technical. I watched someone with clip on shoes slow to a half in front of me…and then simply topple over. Not the way to begin a 25 trek.
2. Practice taking your water bottles out of their holders while biking. If you don’t get used to the feeling of leaning down and grabbing water, you can easily make a mistake and crash. Saw that happen within the first 5 miles of the bike portion of the race.
3. PRACTICE ON HILLS. There isn’t a flat piece of road on the bike course…of so it felt. Lol.
4. Learn how to fix a flat. I counted 8 riders pulled to the side of the road fixing tires during the race. Flats happen. Be prepared.
5. Hydrate! I saw riders pulling over and basically quitting 12 miles in to the race because of the heat and their corresponding looks of exhaustion.
6. My chain de-railed at 13-14 miles into the race. Fortunately I remembered my grandfather’s saying about working on engines – or anything else mechanical: ” slow is smooth and smooth is fast. First think, then act”. I stayed calm and got the chain fixed – but it took me 20 minutes. Nothing like riding 12 miles with bike chain grease all over your hands!
7. About 17-18 miles into the bike, I watched as two riders crashed into each other, both taking nasty falls. It happened approximately 500 yards in front of me, on a rather decent downhill. Myself and another rider pulled over to the side to help them out. Handed out some water to clean the wounds, and made a makeshift bandage for one of the riders before saying our goodbyes and carrying on. Accidents happen in triathlons. They aren’t abundant – but they do happen. It’s not how you fall – but how you get up. From what I understand, both men finished. That’s hard core.
8. Sunblock is pretty important on the bike. I felt like the sun, combined with the lack of fuel and water really screwed me up. By the time I got back to transition to change for the final leg of the race – a 10k run – I was physically and mentally wiped out. My gameplan was flushed down the toilet. And worst of all – I was as close as I have ever been to electing NOT to finish an event….