2013 Icebreaker Indoor Triathlon

The Walnut Creek YMCA indoor triathlon is a great way to start a new training year.  It’s held in January, and is very friendly to new triathlon competitors.  The event is a 400 yard swim, “10 mile” bike ride (spinning bike) and a 2 mile treadmill run.

My results for 2013 were:

Results:                                          swim         bike           run             total

Grandgeorge Greg 47 M 0:06:19 0:17:29 0:14:02 0:37:50

The event planners try to coordinate speeds and put people with similar projected times together in one heat.  You do share a lane with another participant.  The swim was good for me, equating to around 1:35 per 100. I went out a little too fast, and had a little hypoxia from around 300 to 400 yards.

Transitions are not counted in this event, and they ask you to change clothes to protect the spin bikes from the pool water.  They do ask you to keep moving between each event to keep people from having to wait on equipment, but there is plenty of time to get your heart rate down between each leg.

The bike did not go great for me.  I had not used the Keiser M3 spin bikes before, so I learned a couple of key things:

  • The Keiser Spin bikes start timing as soon as you pedal.  So, if you set the seat and get on and start to spin… it starts timing.  In this race I did some light spinning to warm up and check my seat height.  I got off, adjusted my height, got back on, spun, stopped and clipped in and then spun a little more. I asked how to start the race, and they said it started when I pedaled.  They would have reset it, but I didn’t ask.  I lost time on this.  One of the Tri-Racer spin trainers later told me that you can reset by moving the shift lever up and down three times.
  • Although they say the ride is 10 miles, Keiser spin bikes don’t really count miles, as they equate every 200 rpm as one “mile”.  In reality, at the settings used for this race (12 for men, 10 for women and 8 for kids), it’s closer to kilometers than miles.  At the 12 setting for men, it doesn’t apply that much resistance, which leads to high cadences.  I wasn’t sure how my legs would do with high RPM, so I started targeting 115 to 125. I kept building until I was running closer to 125.  Near the end I kept hitting the 140 rpm top limit, and the computer screen would go blank. It was telling me I was averaging 280 – 300+ watts, which I think was high.  My PowerCal HR (which I had recently calibrated) said I did 254 NP average, with first 7m at 233, next 5m at 255, and last 5m at 273 watts seemed more accurate. The better strategy is a quick setup and warmup spin, reset the computer by moving the switch up and down three times, and then target 120-125+ rpm for the first 5 minutes, and then try to maintain 130-140 rpm for the rest of the ride.

Again, I took a little time to get my HR down between bike and run.  I changed shoes and walked around slowly.

With my endurance down in the run, I decided to start the first ¼ mile at 8.5 mph (no incline on the run).  I bumped to 8.6 next, and intended to go higher at 0.5 miles, but was already pushing my AT point at 170. When I looked at the data later, I noticed my PowerCal HR monitor was spiking a lot on the run (I’ve seen this before), so it was probably higher than reality… but I felt like I was running out of oxygen. I stayed at 8.6 until 1.5 miles then went to 8.7.  8.8 at 1.75, then kept pushing it up until I got to 10 mph at the finish.

Overall I was the first overall male finisher, which felt really good as it was my first triathlon back after my bike accident.


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