By: Brice Winkler
First, congratulations to all of the Avia Wildflower Triathlon finishers! All three of these events (the Long Course, Mountain Bike, and Olympic) are brutal in their own unique ways, and especially in this year's long course event, mother nature didn't want to have any cyclists finish the bike segment. What an incredible wind from miles 19-40! Wow! Up next: The San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island. There is no need to worry about a long course option here, so your training in the next few months should be focused more on quality, sustained efforts lasting around 2-3 hours on the bike and around 45min-1hr on the run. I would recommend swimming as long as you normally have been.
Having a few extra yards or meters in the bank is not a bad thing. However, please keep in mind that you should throw in some sprint sets to prepare for the shorter swim distances. In my last post about Wildflower, I emphasized the importance of a “dress rehearsal”. That is, knowing quite accurately how your race is going to go before it even begins is essential. Please keep this idea in mind. As Andy Potts
once said in an interview, “Race how you train.”
How many calories are you going to consume in 24.8 miles on a very technical and almost criterium-style bike course? Are the turns and other technical aspects going to stand in the way of your nutrition? Are your bike handling skills good, satisfactory, or do they need improvement? These are a few of the questions I ask myself prior to Treasure Island each year. Considering I've crashed hard twice in a 4-mile span during the sprint distance race, I would definitely take a good solid look at how you handle your bike. I have a set of rollers that I use religiously year round, and they have definitely helped how I handle everything out on the road. Rollers help you be able to make micro-adjustments that could very well keep you upright. I would definitely recommend looking into purchasing a pair.
If rollers are not on your radar, I might recommend a local criterium race just to get a feel for close contact with other riders and technical courses. Wildflower has a whole different flavor than Treasure Island: Big open roads and a cross country style run that weaves through the countryside. If I
were to assign an ice cream flavor to Wildflower, it would definitely be vanilla. Treasure Island, on the other hand, is a good strawberry ice cream with multiple loops on the bike and multiple loops on the run. Unlike Wildflower, it's really hard to get in the aero bars, keep your cadence high, and find a good rhythm. At Treasure Island, keep those hands in the drops, and be ready to brake hard if necessary. The course is tight, and even if you know what you are doing, the athlete right next to you may have trouble with a turn or may brake suddenly to get through a difficult, technical section. See everything. Be careful, and please do not crash like I did. However, it was very fun being invited to so many Tegaderm fashion shows (just kidding)!
To summarize, “technical” is the key word for the Treasure Island Triathlon. To do well in this event, you must have confidence in your ability to handle your bike well, and you must be aware that sharp turns are going to come up quickly and quite frankly, be a bit dangerous. I crashed when I made a left-hand turn much too early near the start of my second loop. I slid across the pavement and lost a lot of skin. Ouch!! Please learn from my mistakes, and keep your eyes open for everything.
All that hard training should definitely not be interrupted by a fall. You are going to do great at Treasure Island! :)
Stay positive, stay focused, and please remember what I emphasized last time: “Race how you train!”