Personal Goal: finish the 2013 NYC Triathlon on a fixed gear bicycle. No goals for time – JUST FINISH!
As I mentioned in my last post, I got a bicycle about one year ago (22 Jul 2012). Later that year, I entered myself in the 2013 NYC Triathlon lottery (8 Nov 2012) in order to hopefully win a spot to attempt my first ever triathlon. After just five days, I was notified that I was selected to race the “2013 Aquaphor NYC Triathlon!!!” This gave me about half a year to get started with training.
If you are curious, an Olympic triathlon is:
- Swim: 1500 m, 0.93 miles
- Bike: 40 km, 24.85 miles
- Run: 10 km, 6.21 miles
To be honest, I did not know until after I won the lottery.
Obviously, since I love riding my bicycle, I did it as much as I could. I did not start hardcore training until one month before race day – hindsight, NOT a good idea at all.
Here are some highlights from my training “schedule”:
- July 22, 2012 – My first bike ride
- September 30, 2012 – My first run
- June 4, 2013 – My first brick (bike/run)
- June 8, 2013 – My first four full bike laps (25 miles) followed by a 6.5 mile jog
- June 29, 2013 – My first swim in a tiny hotel pool
- July 9, 2013 – My first five full bike laps around Central Park
My parents took my brother and I to a YCMA when we were really young to learn how to swim. Apparently, my first swim lesson when I was three months old. I recall spending many days at the pool during summers and even invited to join a swim team. Needless to say, I am very comfortable in the water.
My first swim to prepare for the triathlon (June 29) was at a hotel in Rochester with the Texas crew which also consisted of the B(A)RST_R crew. I did a few laps and got reacquainted with the water. It was tons of fun, but definitely not qualified as a training session.
My second swim (July 8) was a little more like a training session – Ginette was my swim coach for the day! We found out that I have a really good freestyle stroke, but horrible leg kicks. Ginette explained to me that I was trying to kick my legs like I do with my bicycle, so she taught me how to swim with my core. It’s really tough!
I wasn’t too worried about the swim. In fact, with the Hudson current and my wetsuit, I had the notion that I could just float my way down the river. Probably not the best idea.
Shey was my bike coach. From helping me pick out my first bike in NYC to picking the right tires, he taught me most of what I know about riding/tuning/maintaining my bicycle, especially fixed gear. After my first ride, I was immediately addicted.
My first big ride was with Tom (Foxtrot) at the Twin Lights Ride ridden out in New Jersey on September 30, 2012. It was as 58.5 mile journey with lots of hills and gorgeous scenery. Foxtrot, Ellen, and I also did an Ad Hoc Tour de Queens on June 16 – 44.8 miles!
The biggest ride to date was on March 23 when we headed out to New Jersey and attempted to head as far north up the 9W – 63.2 miles! Anthony, Mari, a random Meetup member, and I braved the cold to get spicy soft tofu in Fort Lee and ventured into the Palisades. What an adventure!
On a weekly basis, Anthony was my biking buddy. Morning coffee rides, Central Park laps, and wandering along the West Side Highway were the typical activities. Lots of miles were spent wandering around New York City, getting a workout in, and ending with something to eat.
After Hurricane Sandy tore through NYC in late October, the lower Manhattan shut down and a bicycle was the best means of transportation. I was one of the few that had a bicycle, so I took it around to check up on friends and even rode down the FDR for a bit since it was shut down to car traffic!
Shortly after this, the bicycle crew got started. Everyone pretty much got a bike, if they didn’t have one already: Anthony, Chau, Chi, Ellen, Ginette, Jenn, Joseph, Mari, Mike, Patrick, Shane, Som, Tom (Foxtrot), Tom (me), Victor, and Yuwi. What an awesome crew!
My first run was with Jenn and Chau – they are super good runners. I
could barely did not keep up with them during the 4.5 mile jog. I was pretty disappointed with myself and my right knee was strained a day later. I was a little scared about how my body reacted to the jog.
The next time I put on my running shoes was a couple months later for my first two consecutive bricks (back-to-back workout) – in this case, bike/run. Each day started off with two laps around Central Park and then a ride over to Roosevelt Island. After each bike ride, I did a 5.0 mile jog on June 4 and June 5th. Again, my right knee was slightly strained a day later. I sucked it up and on June 8, I decided to attempt to complete the second and third legs of the triathlon. Success: 25 miles of biking, 6.5 miles of jogging/walking!
With my confidence boosted and right knee strains becoming less painful, I got in a few more laps around Roosevelt Island while the tennis crew played a few matches. I felt much more excited about the triathlon.
Taking a Break
For about two months leading up to the race, I pushed as many hours as I could on a bicycle. Morning, afternoon, evenings, whenever I found time. On average, I found myself on a bicycle for eight hours a week!
The hardest part of the training was the break – from both working out and alcohol. I’m no alcoholic, but I do love my beers and scotch. I promised myself that I would stop drinking the morning after the July 4th celebration.
A college friend of mine, Joseph, had a birthday party the evening of July 5th. I broke my fast in no more than 24 hours, but after that, I can proudly say that I was 100% sober up to race day.
The other tough part about the break was the sheer boredom. July 10, four days before the race, I did my last laps around Central Park in the morning. Sitting in my apartment doing nothing got old really fast. I saved myself by watching a few more episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.