Thursday, May 2, 2013

It's Only a Hill

Since I started competing in triathlons and duathlons, I have also started reading race reports. Race reports can give you a lot of good information and they can also freak you out.  I've got the Angels Camp Triathlon in a little more than a week and I am starting to get a bit worried/excited.  Some reports are encouraging, others not so much.

For example, in one race report (Return to Glory Hole), the author remarks:
"Despite my fears, I actually passed two or three women on the bike and, more significantly, did not get passed by any sprightly climber women. The last one I passed was riding her brakes on the huge descent back to transition. Women, let's please learn how to ride downhill safely and confidently. Seriously."
Seriously?  Uh, that hill is steep!  I'll ride my brakes if I want to ride my brakes because I plan on making the turn at the bottom!

The author of the Tandem Hearts blog wrote:
"The downhill was a lot of fun.  The pavement was beautiful and if I knew the road better, I probably would not brake on the hill at all."
I also got a little freaked out when Tony at Fleet Feet started talking about the hill and people coming down too fast...Ugh. Guess I need to work on my descents :-)

F'n Bike - Take 2

I went to Angels Camp last week to practice and will be going back again tomorrow with my coach and a couple team mates.  I've got my fingers crossed that the issue with my bike has been resolved and that I will be successful in climbing the big hill and that I will be able to descend without incident.

The cautious side of me keeps saying to bring the road bike.  The practical side of me keeps reminding the cautious side that I am going to be riding the TT bike in Barb's Race and that there are going to be hills. I'm bringing the TT bike.  Angels Camp is a training race.  Besides, it's not as if my TT won't handle the hills.  In fact, my Planet-X has better gearing for hills than my road bike.  It also got a good review at for how well it handles hills.
"Climbing was also better than I expected. I found I could comfortably stay in the aero position without losing power on gradients up to about 3%. This position was also OK for steeper hills, providing they were short. On longer, steeper climbs, it was necessary to ride on the bull horns, but this was no worse than riding on the hoods on a normal road bike. So much so that I intend to ride the Stealth Pro Carbon in the British national hill climb championships at the end of October. 
I really don't know what my problem is with hills.  I told Hot Stuff that I worry about climbing a hill and then not being able to pedal anymore and rolling all the way back down.  He said he would pay to see that because I would surely crash way before I made it to the bottom.  Thanks, honey!  Way to be encouraging!  I guess the way I need to look at it is that, when I am climbing, I am going pretty slow and that if I was to fall over, it really wouldn't hurt much...just my pride.

Honestly, my bike (provided the rear wheel is not loose) can climb hills.  I know I am fit enough to pedal my bike up the hill.  I just need to keep working at it until I have some more confidence.

Open Water Swim

We are also planning on swimming tomorrow while at New Melones.  Hopefully, I will remember to bring my cap and goggles this time.  I am going to work on relaxed, efficient swimming.  I am not going to race.  In fact, I am not going to race in the race.  I need to conserve my energy for the bike and run.  My plan for the actual race is to wade into the water and allow the faster swimmers to get out in front.  I will follow behind at a distance.

My goal is to be faster than I was at Folsom Lake during the swim portion of the Ice Breaker.  While the Angels Camp Triathlon swim is 200y longer than Ice Breaker, if I don't spend most of my time doing breast stroke and fiddling with my goggles, my time should be faster ;-)