6 Best Places to Train in Austin

Here is a list of our favorite places to swim bike and run in Austin, Texas. These are great for all levels of triathletes.

Swim

1.Big Stacy

Tucked back in one of Austin’s oldest neighborhoods, this pool has been keeping Austinites of all ages cool and entertained since the 1930s.  Best part is it is free to use year round. Added bonus for being heated during the winter months as well. There are a limited number of lanes so be prepared to share or come during non peak hours.

 

 

2.Barton Springs Pool

Constructed in 1940, it has been a summer staple for many years and is known for being Austin’s no. 1 natural pool.  It’s easy to see why.  The 3-acre, spring-fed pool remains 68°F degrees year round, making it a refreshing away to shake the heat. It is also a great way to practice open water swimming and swimming in a wetsuit. Get there as early as 5am on weekdays to swim without the crowds.

Bike


1. South Walnut Creek Trail

The Southern Walnut Creek Trail is Austin’s first Urban Trail. Not a car in site!  The trail is open for public use and begins at Govalle Park and ends in the vicinity of Johnny Morris Road and Daffen Lane. The trail is approximately 7.3 miles in length and consists of a 10′ wide concrete trail with 2′ shoulders. There are several creek crossings and trail heads on the trail. The lush surroundings can make seeing around corners difficult at times so this is not a great place for a speed workout.

 

 

2. Veloway

The Veloway at Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park was constructed in the early 90’s and was the first facility of its kind in the United States.  The Veloway is a 23’ wide, 3.1 miles (5K) long bicycle tract that traverses the natural terrain.   People travel from all over the metropolitan region to cycle here on a daily basis. This path is great because it is for cycling and inline skating only. Still be on the look out for the rogue walker or slower cyclist, slower traffic keep to the right and always pass on the left.

Run

1.Violet Crown

After years of strategic land acquisition and planning, the first six-mile segment is now open and the VCT is on its way to becoming the longest trail of its kind in Central Texas. Once complete, the 30-mile trail will provide a unique recreational experience as it passes through the urban wildlands of the Barton Creek Wilderness Park, the City of Sunset Valley, and eventually into Hays County. Be sure to bring your own water and prepare for off road bathroom situations as there are no water fountains or bathrooms on the trail.

 

2. Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake

The go to spot in Austin. The urban path that meanders along the water’s edge and passes by skyscrapers, neighborhoods, ball fields and cultural attractions. With the completion of the Boardwalk portion of the Trail in June 2014, the trail no offers a full 10 mile loop. The different street crossings at Lamar, 1st Street, and Congress make scenic and convenient cross overs for making this distance you are looking for. With more than 1.5 million visits a year, the 10-mile trail is Austin’s most recognized and popular recreational area.

6 Items To Check Before Race Day

Make sure and check your gear before an event. Training can put wear and tear on important items. Here is a good check list to follow

1. Goggles: Make sure you have used them recently and that the eye seals have not perished and leak water. Check that the strap and nose piece aren’t brittle and are securely attached. Make sure the lenses aren’t scratched. If your goggles have any of these issues, consider replacing them and bringing them as back-ups to your new ones.

2. Wetsuit: Check for potential tears and frayed seams. Look for holes and cuts; these can be patched and glued to prevent water entering the suit. Jack & Adam’s can help you decide if the suit can be repaired. Wetsuits aren’t required, so don’t worry if you don’t have one.

3. Bike: Make sure that the bike frame has no cracks, the wheels are not bent, and that all components are in working condition including brakes and shifters. If you do not know how to check for these things, don’t worry – just call ahead to your local bike store and ask them to safety check it. This can also be a great opportunity to learn how to check the bike yourself. On race morning, make sure tires are inflated properly.

4. Helmet: The plastic shell needs to be firmly affixed to the foam and the strap should not be frayed. There should be no cracks or dents as these will likely not pass inspection when checking into transition. It should fit snugly around your head. The general rule for the chin strap is within two fingers spaces from the chin.

5. Cycling Shoes & Pedals: Make sure that the cleat is firmly attached to the bottom of the shoe. Replace cleat if it is worn down and may inhibit safe clipping in. Check and make sure pedals are firmly attached to the crank.

6: Running Shoes: Look to see that they are not worn out of alignment or that the midsole is crushed. Cut down or replace any long or frayed shoe laces. If using elastic laces make sure that have not lost elasticity and that any plastic is still in good working condition

My First Triathlon

My First Tri

by Jack Murray, Owner of Jack & Adam’s Bicycles, Bicycle World, & High Five Events

Almost every day customers visit our shop seeking advice on participating in their first triathlon. When I have the opportunity to help someone in this situation, I share with them the story of my first tri in hopes of helping them feel more comfortable about their endeavor.

It was the summer of 1994. The event was the Victoria Splash & Dash in Victoria, Texas. I had trained for a few weeks and was sure I was in peak condition for an easy victory. I was, after all, fresh off a 1600 meter run victory and bronze in the 3200 at the Texas State Championship Relays. How hard could a little tri be? I thought I knew all there was to know about swimming, biking, and running. Turns out – I knew nothing!

The morning started with me loading my bike into the trunk of my mom’s car and driving with her and my sister to the event one hour away. I arrived around 6 AM for an 8 AM start. This was before on-line registration, so I registered for the event that morning and picked up my packet. As people started to arrive, I noticed the differences between my rusty old mountain bike and some of their $2000 race machines. My confidence, however, was not crushed; I was still sure I could win. After racking my bike, I headed over to the pool area where everyone was warming up. As I got closer, I noticed everyone was wearing tight swimsuits and goggles. I was sure, however, that my baggy Umbro “soccer shorts” and lack of goggles was the best way to go. My plan was simple – go as fast as I could for as long as I could.

They were letting swimmers go every 5 seconds and we had to snake up and down the pool for a total of 300 meters. I patiently waited in line until 5,4,3,2,1 go, I was off. I swam as fast as I could to the other side and then back again. 50 meters down 250 to go.

By 150 my arms started to hurt and my eyes were stinging from the chlorine. By 200 I was kicking off the bottom every few strokes and swimming with my eyes closed, by 250 I was just trying to get out of the water alive, and without my shorts falling off. After the swim, I was sure I was still in good position to hold my own on the bike.

I grab my bike out of transition and head out on to the 12 mile course. As I start to ride I realize I am not catching anyone. The rusty, old mountain bike that I borrowed from my high school track coach was not the stallion I thought it was. Riding around the block a few times for training was probably not the riding that all these people were doing. The fact that my bike could not shift was more trouble than I thought it would be. And looking back, my saddle was also about 5 to 7 inches to low. Towards the end of the ride I was being passed by a 10 year old girl and her mom; it was then that I started to feel my big victory slipping away. Still I was determined to blaze through transition and light up the run.

Transition to the run was probably my most memorable moment. As I speed to the transition area, volunteers are yelling at me to dismount my bike. As I go to lift my feet off the pedals, I forget that they are hooked in by cages. The combination of speed and my feet getting caught was enough to send me crashing like a bowling ball into a bike rack with about 6 bikes on it. The volunteers quickly help me up and as I throw my bike in the grass next to a picnic table (the rack was down), I remember thinking how much fun I was having. The whole day was something I had never experienced before.

It took about a mile into the run before I got my legs out of bike riding mode. I had no idea how riding a bike would effect legs on the run. As I rounded the final stretch I saw all these happy people cheering for me, eating, drinking, and just having a good time. I talked to people for about an hour. I met a guy my age that had been doing triathlons for years. I met some members of the Corpus Christi tri club and was invited to their next meeting. I signed up for their monthly newsletter. In short – I was hooked. It was nothing I thought it would be. It was fun and I discovered a whole different type of people that did not exist in my 5000 person hometown.

Through the years of collegiate running, duathlons, sprint tri’s, half Ironman events, Ironman events, and working in the shop, my first tri memory will forever help me keep our sport in perspective. It is not about where you finish, what type of bike you have, what you do for a living, where you are from or where you are going. It is about having fun and that is it. You can have many goals in our sport without forgetting this key element. I am constantly reminded of this by some of the greatest in the sport like Michael Lovato and James Bonney. If you ask either of them why they have dedicated and built their lives around this sport, they will tell you the same.

11 Commonly Violated USAT Rules

1. Helmets: Only helmets approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) may be used in USAT sanctioned events. Helmets must be worn at all times while on your bike. This means before, during, and after the event. Penalty: Disqualification

2. Chin Straps: Chin straps must be buckled at all times when on a bicycle. DO NOT unbuckle your chin strap unless you are off your bicycle.
Penalty: Disqualification on the course; Variable time penalty in transition area only.

3. Outside Assistance: No assistance other than that offered by race and medical officials may be used. Triathlons and duathlons are individual tests of fitness. Penalty: Variable time penalty

4. Transition Area: All equipment must be placed in the properly designated and individually assigned bike corral. The wheel of the bicycle must be down on the side of the assigned space. All participants must return their bicycles to an upright position in their designated bicycle corral. No person shall interfere with another participant’s equipment or impede the progress of another participant. All bar ends must be solidly plugged. No participant shall bring ANY glass containers into the transition area.
Penalty: Variable time penalty

5. Drafting: Keep at least three bike lengths of clear space between you and the cyclist in front. If you move into the zone, you must pass within 15 seconds. Position–keep to the right hand side of the lane of travel unless passing. Blocking–riding on the left side of the lane without passing anyone and interfering with other cyclists attempting to pass. Overtaken–once passed, you must immediately exit the draft zone from the rear, before attempting to pass again.
Penalty: Variable time penalty

6. Course: All competitors are required to follow the prescribed course and to stay within all coned lanes. Cutting the course is an obvious violation and going outside the course is a safety issue. Cyclists shall not cross a solid yellow center line for ANY reason. Cyclists must obey all applicable traffic laws at all times. Penalty: Referee’s discretion

7. Unsportsmanlike-Like Conduct: Foul, harsh, argumentative or abusive language or other unsportsmanlike conduct directed at race officials, USA Triathlon officials, volunteers, spectators or fellow athletes is forbidden.
Penalty: Disqualification

8. Headphones: Headphones, headsets, walkmans, iPods, mp3 players, or personal audio devices, etc. are not to be carried or worn at any time during the race. Penalty: Variable time penalty

9. Abandonment: All personal equipment and belongings taken out onto the course must stay on the athlete the entire time. No garbage, clothing, etc. shall be thrown on the course.
Penalty: Variable time penalty

10. Race numbers: All athletes are required to wear race numbers at all times during the bike and run. Numbers must face the front and be clearly visible at all times. Numbers may not be cut or folded or altered in any way. DO NOT transfer your number to any other athlete or take a number from an athlete that is not competing.
Penalty: Variable time penalty for missing or altered number. Disqualification and one year suspension from membership in USAT for transferring a number without race director permission.

11. Wetsuits: Each age group participant shall be permitted to wear a wetsuit without penalty in any event sanctioned by USA Triathlon up to and including a water temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water temperature is greater than 78 degrees but less than 84 degrees Fahrenheit, age group participants may wear a wetsuit at their own discretion, provided, however that participants who wears a wetsuit within such temperature range shall not be eligible for prizes or awards. Above 84 degrees, wetsuits are prohibited.

For a complete list of USAT rules, please refer to the most up to date version at: usatriathlon.org/events/rules.aspx