Tag Archives: USAT

Drafting versus non-drafting triathlon

Triathlon, just like distance running, cycling, or swimming is not just one sport. Within triathlon we have subdivisions of distances for example. Just like track has the 100 meter dash up to the 10,000 meter run, triathlon spans from a race lasting around an hour to a race lasting over eight hours. This is essentially equivalent to comparing a 5k to a marathon or comparing the 1500 meter swim to a 10 kilometer swim. These are drastic differences and about as far as any distance sport will span without the exceptions of the ‘ultra’ endurance athletes.

However, just like in road cycling or running, triathlon has different styles of racing. Continue reading Drafting versus non-drafting triathlon

Slow and steady loses the race: correcting Greg Mueller’s mistake

I recently read a line in USA Triathlon magazine that I felt needed some correcting. The article, titled Ask the Coach: Bike Training by Greg Mueller, was featured in the April edition of the magazine. Mueller made a pretty serious mistake on the subject of cycling pacing on hills. Mueller stated “if you watch a power meter, athletes tend to increase their effort on hills then decrease their effort descending. This learned behavior carries over to racing, where it is not optimal.” What I intend to point out is that this statement is extremely misguided and give the correct advice.

Continue reading Slow and steady loses the race: correcting Greg Mueller’s mistake

Today, champion is just a title

On the patio, away from the sight of others, my mom comforted me. I didn’t race poorly. I had won my age group and the title of Junior Mid-Atlantic Regional Champion. What upset me was that I didn’t have fun, I didn’t want to be there, and it hurt way more than it should have. I had suffered for the last hour and twenty minutes and after I crossed the finish line, I cracked. I had pushed my body to its limits physically, but more importantly, I was not emotionally capable of handling five races in one week.

Two days ago I laid in my bed with thoughts of pain and suffering swarming me. I wanted to be free of it all. I wanted to take the weekend off from racing. Racing is like burning a fuse and mine was merely a nub before the race even began. My attitude is usually that pain is life and should be embraced but the middle road is looking really enticing right now.

By the start of the bike, the lactic acid burning my thighs uncovered my negativity from the lies of optimism surrounding it. Towards the end of the ride, a typically unthinkable thought swarmed me. I wanted to drop out and return home to comfort and peace. But the shame of quitting still outweighed the overwhelming agony.

I raced on and still fourteen hours later, comfort has not returned to me. I have napped. I have eaten ice cream and pizza and let carbonation of soft drinks settle my stomach. I have bathed, watched movies, and wrapped my withered body in cozy blankets. But none of this has brought a feeling of comfort to me. My fuse burned its way all the way to an explosion of sadness, and I am still trying to return the flavor to my life.

I am ready to train hard but another race lies a ways in the distance. That is comforting but not quite enough to restore my usual full throttle drive. Maybe I need a hug.

At this point I wish I had not raced and I am not sure if it was macroscopically beneficial for me to have stuck it out today. I am now the junior regional champion but what good does that do if the champ did not have fun?

Sometimes I pump up my old basketball, move the cars out of the driveway, and goof around on the court or I go to the local public golf course and lose a few balls. And sometimes I head to a baseball field with a bucket of balls and a bat. I feel at peace when I do those things. There is no pressure and I can just mess around for however much time I want to. The other day I made eighteen out of twenty free throws.  I practiced none but there was no pressure. I just goofed around and ended up impressing myself.

Maybe if I raced with no pressure then I could do the equivalent of my free throw shooting. If I just relaxed and had no expectations maybe I could exceed my high goals. I’ll save that idea for next time. Today I try to restore the damage done from last time. What is being a champion without the feeling to match it?