My Bike is Garbage
Here’s a race report from the 2017 Echo Triathlon, which took place on July 8, 2017 at the Echo Reservoir in Coalville, Utah. It was my fourth triathlon and first at the Olympic distance.
The report: my bike is garbage.
A real bellend among cycles, really.
The swim went just fine. I mean, it’s hard to get going when you’ve got 10 sets of hands swatting you in the face or crawling up our legs. But that’s part of the swim in a triathlon; I was clawing the people around me as well.
The water was warm and calm, which is about all you can ask for. The only point of contention there is no one was quite sure if we were supposed to swim around or just by the final buoy. I swam around it because I don’t want to get disqualified, which probably added another minute to my 30-minute mile.
Still, I came out feeling well. I was even able to track down my flip flops, thanks to help from my lovely wife.
I went from my luxurious, floaty wetsuit to a gank ass bike.
A Brief History of My Bike
I decided to give triathleting a shot five years ago. Since I was uncertain of my interest in any of it, I went cheap. I used a borrowed wetsuit. I wore a hand-me-down bike bib and jersey. And I bought the bike off KSL.com, Utah’s preferred version of Craigslist.
The bike was a Specialized Allez, which is a nice leisure/beginner bike. It had decent parts to it, though they were from multiple vendors, hence the name Frankenbike. It’s lightweight, and ued to not make a ton of noise. I took it home for $500, which is about half of the typical entry point for road bikes.
It was good enough for the occasional work commute and short trip down the road. It still is.
It’s just a real bastard when it comes to racing.
Every year when I get it tuned up, they always tell me that it really should be put out to pasture. They say they can get it to a point where it’ll perform for another year, maybe two, but not up to race standards.
And every year I tell them it’s okay. I race the thing once a year. At intervals so long that I really forget how slow it is, and how hard I have to work just to get a decent speed going.
Back to the Race
So there I am, pedaling HARD and depleting my legs, which I had hoped to preserve for the looming 10k run.
I’m not the fittest dude in the world, but it hurts to get passed by the 300lb guy in cargo shorts on his mom’s mountain bike.
Don’t get me wrong – good for that guy! I think it’s great he’s getting out there and working to make his life better.
It made me seethe. The whole time I kept thinking, “As soon as I get off this bike and we start running, your ass is grass!”
Except this was mile 11 of 25, and big boy would be a mile ahead of me before I even rolled into the transition area.
I averaged 15mph on a course that could easily maintain 20. The only distraction was a pileup of bodies about 8 miles in, which was rumored to be the result of a bike/car collision. They weren’t really moving much, but the EMTs were on scene and everything appeared to be okay. It made me whine to myself a bit less. For a couple miles.
At some point Frankenbike decided to pick up a squeak.
Other cyclists were complaining as they sped by. “YOU SHOULD GET THAT CHECKED OUT,” one offered.
The one lady I managed to pass, who may or may not have been in the race, said, “Well, you’re not sneaking up on anyone with that thing.”
The only bright spot of a slow bike is one earns more time to stare at the scenery just outside Echo, with abundant red rocks jutting away from shallow canyons of gold and brown. I spent much of the ride staring off to the side, imagining I was exploring instead of wrestling a squeaky sloth.
Of 220ish Olympic distance participants, my bike finish was 180. My swim was in the low 100s, as was my run.
Speaking of the Run
The bike killed my run. I had been pulling 8-minute miles in the 10k distance, even on brick (or multisport workout) days. With my hamstrings howling and hips frozen in place after pummeling myself on the bike, the best I could manage on the first three miles was about 9:15.
Luckily the goos and gels I had been snarfing down kicked in around the halfway point on the unpaved trail. I kicked to around 8:30 on the way back in.
Again, the Echo scenery comes into play here. With no headphones (these are my favorites), I looked out on the water and watched the families on boats and waterskis. That’s where I was in my mind. It allowed me to ignore the searing pain in my quads and hamstrings.
Yes, I passed some of the jerks that zipped by me on the bike. Small solace. I was still pissed when I crossed the finish line.
I sound whiny about the bike, but really I’m glad to just finish. The races, for me, aren’t that important. I like to run, I like to swim, and I like to push myself. The races are like finals in college – I’m going to the classes and putting in the work, so I may as well take the test and see where I stack up.
On this day, I stacked up pretty average. But it’s okay.
TriUtah puts on good, no-frills events, and this was my third Echo race. It’s reliable and a good mix of newbies and beasts. Lots of distractions, which helps when you need to think about something other than the race. Next to a down-river tri like Spudman, it’s perfect for a first timer or someone like me who rides a hooptycycle.
We planned to stick around Echo after the race and try out my in-laws’ new paddleboards, but it was already crowded and there wasn’t a good “beachy” spot for the kids to play on the shore. So we drove about twenty minutes over to East Canyon, which was far less crowded (though the water a bit colder).
If you’re a longtime reader of mine, then surely you’ll remember East Canyon is where we do our training swims. You know who hates our training swims? Anglers. We make them deal with us at 6am on Friday mornings. But if you want to play around with the family and kids in the water, wait until they’re gone. Most of them will clear out close to noon.
Also, I’m slowly working my way toward a half-Iron. It’ll require a better bike and I need to get smarter about nutrition. If you have any tips, send ‘em my way.
Finally, I’m thinking of doing Spudman for next year’s triathlon. If you’re interested in a fast down-river swim and camping in lovely Burley, Idaho, hit me up!