2013 Marshalltown My Y Tri Indoor Triathlon

This is a nice indoor triathlon in February, to get a little break from the winter training season.  It’s a well organized event, in the very nice Marshalltown, IA YMCA facility.  This event is a little different than a “normal” triathlon, as it is timed for each leg and the winner is determined by total distance travelled.  For the adults, it’s a 7 minute swim, 18 minute bike ride and 15 minute run.

Results:                                                          swim        bike           run           total

Grandgeorge Greg 47 M 450 (0.26) 5.69 2.25 (27) 8.2 miles

For this event, you get a lane by yourself.  You have the option of starting off the blocks or the wall.  Since I wanted to start my Garmin, I chose the wall for my start.  They have people to count your laps for you, and a large projection screen at the starting end to show the overall time.  I used my Garmin in the vibrate mode to help me maintain my pacing.   Overall, I had a good swim, finishing 450 yards in 6:53, at 1:32/100y.  Although I had 7 seconds left, I stopped as they do not count partial laps.

Transitions are timed in this event.  Basically everyone in your wave starts the next event at the same time. There are about 8 people per wave.  Although I went to the locker room to change between the swim and the bike, next year I would just wear my Tri shorts for the whole event, and not bother changing clothes.  Instead, I’d just put shoes, Garmin, and HR strap in a bag by the side of the pool.  I noticed that many of the guys did the race without a shirt, which helped keep them cool.  By just grabbing my HR strap and shoes, I could sit down and get my HR down without running to the locker room to struggle changing when wet.

Although biking is my strongest event, I once again struggled with the indoor biking.  The indoor bikes used were not spinning bikes, but rather upright bikes that didn’t allow you to clip in.  They had shifting mechanisms that allowed you to add resistance, which also increased your speed.  I found a gear (9) where I could maintain 90 to 100 rpm, and rode at that level for most of the time.  As I got closer to the end of the ride, I decided to push to a higher gear.  I found that there really wasn’t a lot of resistance change until I got to level 13… so I missed a lot of opportunity to go faster by not testing the linearity of the gearing sooner in the ride.  In retrospect, it also appeared that more people made better distance headway going with a lower rpm and mashing the pedals harder.

The run is around a very short track (1/12 mile), irregular as it is not quite oval shaped and I felt no banking.  They have a person dedicated to counting your laps for you, and they yell out your lap count as you go by.  I had my Garmin beeping at my projected pace, based on time per lap.  This strategy worked really well.  I had my foot pod on showing my pacing as well. I think the track may be a little short on distance as at 27 laps I was averaging 6:30 a mile, while my foot pod had me at 6:52, which is more realistic.  I finished with 15 seconds to spare (again no partial laps counted so I quit early knowing I couldn’t make it around again).

Overall it was a well-run event.  Note that if you stick around for the awards ceremony, plan on being there for a while, as you have to wait for all of the waves to finish.  The bonus for me was being able to do the event with my daughter in the same wave.


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