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.
Results 2014: swim bike run total
Results 2013: swim bike run total
The event planners try to coordinate speeds and put people with similar projected times together in one wave. You do share a lane with another participant. The swim was good for me, equating to around 1:34 per 100… slightly faster than last year although I had been swimming quite a bit less. I really held back on the first 100 and then started pushing the pace at 150 yards, finishing much stronger than the prior year.
Transitions are not counted in this event, and they require 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 well for me this year. I learned from last year how to reset the bikes so your setup times are not counted in your bike time, and that “1 unit of distance” on a Keiser does not equate to 1 mile. Instead, it equates to 200 revolutions of the pedals. Based on last year, I had decided to target around 125 rpm, which would equate to 16 minutes. Through experience I’ve found that the Keiser spin bikes vary in terms of resistance / power output, at the same resistance level. Unfortunately the bike I happened to choose this year was creating significantly higher resistance at level 12 setting. Last year I averaged 254 watts normalized power and this year 274 watts (per my PowerCal), but ended up with a slower bike leg. In the end, it’s a bit of the luck of the draw on the bike choice.
Again, I took a little time to get my HR down between bike and run. I changed shoes and walked around slowly.
With more focus on running this off season, I decided to push the pace harder on the run leg. I set the treadmill at 9.5 mph, and tried to hang on. Unfortunately the sufferfest began fairly quickly, and within a half mile I started backed off gradually ended up at 9.2 mph. As I got to 1.75 miles, I ramped back up to a 10 mph finish. I ended up taking a minute off my time from last year, and had the fastest run time in the event.
I ended up first in my age group and was the first overall male finisher this year. My daughter also did this event this year, and she really enjoyed it as well. It’s a family friendly event, and a great place to try a triathlon.