Rookie Triathlete: Part 1: A Work in Progress

Hi, my name is William. I’m a Rookie.

What started off as a small idea has now taken on a life of its own. I’m committing to my first triathlon, The Rookie Triathlon on May 6, 2018. My world-class/uber-talented triathlon coach is none other than Paul “Barny” Matthews. I have no tri kit. My only swim gear is a pair of swim goggles. I’ve never swum for an extended period of time. I don’t have a bike, I don’t even have a helmet. I haven’t biked for 15+ minutes since I was a kid 20+ years ago. But I do have all the running stuff I’ll need! There it is, the silver lining.

Paul “Barny” Matthews at 2017 Rookie Tri (credit: Ed Sparks)

Quick background, my name is William Dyson. I’m a runner. I love to be in the water. I can ride a bike. I’m also the Communications Manager for High Five Events and have been so for nearly two years now. I’ve never committed to a triathlon. Until now…

This blog will provide updates on my training progress, my research into the sport, and insight from Barny as to why he’s having me train the way he is. So let’s kick things off! My training starts this Friday, 2/2, at Barton Springs. I will complete (fingers crossed) a mock Rookie Tri (300m swim, 11-mile bike ride, 2-mile run) on Friday, Feb. 2nd, to create a database that I can use for training purposes and compare and contrast my (hopeful) progress (time, weight, measurements, etc). For updates, stay tuned to this blog, follow us on Twitter (@stay_vertical #feelthebarn @paulbarny), and check out Barny’s coaching website!

If it weren’t for my running gear I would have NOTHING needed to compete in a triathlon. So what am I doing about that? I’m leaning on triathletes, asking them questions. I have co-workers who’ve competed in many triathlons, including Kona. They’re helping establish my knowledge base.

Felt Z100

I’ve researched bikes. I’ve been in touch with Josh from Jack & Adam’s Fredericksburg about a Felt Z100 (hope I wrote that correctly). My thinking behind buying a bike as opposed to renting/borrowing one, I’d like to start riding to work to conserve on gas and mileage on my truck. Josh put together a ~$700 package that includes the bike, a helmet, flat kit, tube, and flat pedals (since I won’t get the clip pedals and the bike shoes needed for those pedals (aka more money). I haven’t bought it yet, but I’m leaning towards this route for my introduction.

My total swim gear consists of one pair of swimming goggles. Sounds like I should acquire some more gear before May 6th. When I complete my mock Rookie Tri it’ll be done in running tights and boardshorts. I’ll wear goggles too, but I don’t think I’ll wear a swim cap or any shirt. The forecast calls for chilly temperatures so I might rethink the top part and wear an Under Armour shirt. Full disclosure: I hold my nose when I jump in a body of water.

Like I said, I’m a runner. I have all I’ll need. My only real focus for the two-mile run is speed. I know you can’t make up much time on a short course, but I want to nail the Rookie Tri run course.

My first meeting with Barny took place on Jan. 26th. His father was visiting from Australia, fresh off a blistering time at 3M Half Marathon, and joined the meeting. Gerry’s advice helped establish my base as well. He mentioned triathlon training is just like any other training: make sure you control what you can control. Barny reminded me not to panic (yeah right) because there was a lot of time between now and race day. Focus on getting better, continuing to show progress.

That’s it until next week. I’ll provide a recap a the mock Rookie Tri, show my results, chat about next steps, and provide any other updates. If you’re like me and have never completed a triathlon, I hope this blog gives you the nudge needed to join me on race day. If you want to watch me transition out of the bed of my truck and pedal 11 miles on a cruiser with a helmet that’s a size too small, join us at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 2nd, at Barton Springs!

Four Simple Steps to Clean Your Bike

Sweat, dirt, grime. Over time, these can do serious damage to your bike. Clean your bike between tune-ups to keep all of your moving parts working optimally. This is especially true if you are going for longer rides, are a heavy sweater, or if you ride in the rain.

Clean your bike and it’ll make your next ride feel better while prolonging the life of your bike parts.

Supplies to clean your bike

  • Rag – at least three; two that can get greasy and one to dry off and polish the bike after it is clean
  • Brushes – one soft and a smaller stiff brush for the drivetrain
  • Water Bucket
  • Cleaner – Simple Green is a great general cleaner to use for overall cleaning of the bike
  • Bike Degreaser – get one that’s specific to bikes, not just turpentine
  • Chain Lube – there are a lot of options here and what you want to use may vary. Talk to your local bike shop about what might be best. When in doubt, go for a light, self-cleaning lubricant.

1. Washing the frame

Use a soft cloth or brush to clean the entirety of your bike frame, including the front fork and handlebars. Work from the top down. Finish by scrubbing the chainstays, cranks, and cogs. Let sit for a minute. Then rinse all of the parts in the same order you cleaned them.

2. Cleaning the drive chain

Depending on how often you clean your bike this can get really messy.

Apply degreaser to the chain, cassette, and derailleurs. Let that sit and then scrub with a hard-bristle brush. Run through all of the gears to make sure each section has been covered in degreaser. Rinse thoroughly and then repeat if needed. You should be able to wipe a clean cloth along your chain with little to no residue showing.

3. Let your bike dry completely

Kinda self-explanatory. You can use a clean cloth to wipe down the frame so that water spots don’t show after.

4. Lube the chain

Once your bike is dry it is important to lube your chain. You lube the chain by holding the bottle and steadily dripping it onto the chain while turning the pedals backward. It should not take more than a few drops. Run through all of the gears. You should be able to run your fingers along the chain and have little-to-no residue on your fingers. An over-lubed chain will just attract more dirt.