It didn’t take me long to figure out that during a triathlon the bike portion is where you make your money. It is by far the longest portion of the race and has the biggest opportunity for time to be gained and lost. So, what is the essential element to a successful bike portion? Well, training, of course, but a decent bike is an absolute necessity.
Unfortunately, bikes aren’t cheap. I’ve spent the last few months perusing Craigslist and talking with bike friends about good deals, but at the end of the day I couldn’t justify dropping a few hundred dollars on a bike on my nursing student/ part- time bartender salary (unless I wanted to relocate my residence to a cardboard box, which doesn’t bode well come hurricane season). I was finding myself in quite the pickle, as I really didn’t want to ride 56 miles on my $100 single speed Target bike- yikes!!! I’ve done all my shorter races on this bike and it has served me well, but now I’m racing with the big boys and I needed an upgrade.
Luckily for me, my friend Brian offered to loan me his awesome road bike for the half Ironman. He used it to compete in an MS 150 bike race in Texas so I was confident this bike would serve me well. I picked it up last week and Brian was even nice enough to give me a crash course on general bike mechanics and tire changing, as apparently calling AAA isn’t an option during an Ironman.
I took his bike out for the first time last Wednesday and I fell in love. This bike flies! The gears make a world of difference and the skinny road tires cruise effortlessly along the pavement. It was like I just got given keys to a Ferrari after driving a clunky Oldsmobile. This bike will be a game changer for me during the race- I’m going to be buying Brian many a beers as a thank you! Tomorrow I’m taking it out for a 30 mile ride along the lake front, as I now feel comfortable clocking some serious bike mileage. I can’t wait!
It’s going to be a sad day when I have to return the bike back to it’s loving home after the Ironman, but I’ll certainly be cherishing the next few weeks I get to spend with it.
Here are some shots from my foggy ride this morning.