Posts

Bicycle Helmets: The Breakdown

Bicycle helmets only work if you wear them correctly

That’s not breaking news, but anyone that’s new to triathlon might not think they’re necessary. Well, they are and you need to make sure the one you purchase if effective. Especially if you’ve started training for Rookie Triathlon, the first triathlon of your life! 

Your helmet could be the difference between life and death. Here's the lowdown on bicycle helmets, from choosing one that fits your head to avoiding common helmet mistakes. Click To Tweet

Why wear a bicycle helmet?

It’s simple: if you fall from your bike, the helmet will take the force of the blow instead of your head. Wearing a bicycle helmet when cycling is the most effective way to prevent a life-threatening head injury. Don’t assume that bicycle helmets are just for kids. Adults face the same risks as children. Even a low-speed fall from a bike can be dangerous.

Selecting a bicycle helmet

Bicycle helmets are cooler, more comfortable, and easier to adjust than ever before. There are plenty of inexpensive choices that will meet all these needs. Check out these recommendations from the staff at High Five Events.

Remember the ground rules:

Make sure the helmet is safe. Look for a seal of approval from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI). If it doesn’t have a seal of approval from them, don’t purchase it and most certainly don’t ride with it. Aerodynamic helmets should be held to the same standards as regular helmets. A few extra seconds are not worth risking serious injury.

Make sure it fits snugly

You shouldn’t be able to move the bicycle helmet more than one inch in any direction, front-to-back or side-to-side. The sizing pads included with every bicycle helmet can help make the fit more secure. If you have long hair, consider a helmet with a ponytail port. The rules for wearing a bicycle helmet are simple. Wear the helmet flat on the top of your head. The helmet should cover the top of your forehead without tilting forward or backward.

Think about visibility

If the bicycle helmet straps block your vision – even a little bit – choose another helmet. Likewise, make sure motorists and other cyclists can see you; choose a brightly colored helmet.

Fasten the chin strap just below your chin

If it’s not fastened, it won’t help you out much. If the bicycle helmet doesn’t feel snug, use the foam sizing pads that came with the helmet to get a better fit. The helmet shouldn’t rock from front to back or side to side. Some helmets are “one size fits all,” but others come in S-XL. Wear it before you buy it!

Bicycle helmets must be replaced after every crash

If a crack or any sort of puncture is spotted on the helmet, it should be replaced. No questions asked.

7 Steps to a Clean Bike

Not only does a clean bike look great, but it also performs better, lasts longer, and is easier to maintain

Perhaps you haven’t cleaned your bike all triathlon season. Maybe you just went on a long ride and it rained on you. It might be the end of your season and you’re putting your bike away for a few months. Whatever the case, it’s time to clean your bike! Follow the 7 steps below and your bike will be clean in no time. Take care of the bike that takes care of you. Remember, a clean bike is a happy bike.

Supplies

  1. An old shirt or a few rags
  2. Dish soap
  3. Small bucket
  4. Water hose
  5. Bicycle lubricant

Guideline for a clean bike

Step 1:

Set the nozzle on the hose to a light spray and spray down the entire bicycle. You do not want the pressure of the water to be too powerful. It could remove grease in areas that will be difficult for you to replace.

Step 2:

Tear the shirt into a few pieces and place in the bucket with a cap full of dish soap. Fill the bucket halfway with water and mix the water and soap around with the rags. Take one rag from the bucket and scrub the entire bike. Get the tires, frame, spokes, rims, hubs, drivetrain, and any other part of the bike that seems dirty. Check out this bicycle cleaning kit, it can make it easier to get to some of those hard to reach spots.

Step 3:

Take the water hose again and spray your bike off one more time. This should remove the remaining grime that has been loosened up by the scrubbing.

Step 4:

Take one of the remaining rags and dry the bicycle off. You can allow it to drip dry for a few minutes to make this easier.

Step 5:

Now that your bicycle is clean and dry, it is time to re-lube the drivetrain and other moving parts. Take your bike lube and cover the entire chain. Drip a few drops on the cassette of the bicycle. Now drip a few drops on each side of your wheels were your skewers go through the hub. Finally, drip a few drops on the brake calipers where the center bolt passes through and connects to the frame. This blog post provides more specifics on cleaning a drivetrain.

Step 6:

Now put your helmet on and take your bike for a little spin. Make sure you shift into every possible gear on your bike to spread out the lube. If you do not want to ride, just lift your rear wheel off the ground and shift the bicycle into every gear that way.

Step 7:

Last but not least, wipe the chain and drivetrain down one more time with a clean, dry rag to remove excess lube.

Happy cleaning!

My First Real Bike: The One that Started it All

You won’t find many triathletes who can’t remember their first real bike

Some of the High Five Events staff were chatting about bikes the other day during lunch. Then the inevitable happened: we started reminiscing about our first real bike. For some, their first real bike experience took place many years ago. One staff member purchased their first real bike earlier this year. One thing remained constant: everyone remembered their first real bike vividly. Read about our first bikes and their corresponding stories. Let this blog take you down memory lane, conjuring memories of your first real bike. Then share that experience with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Emily

I got my first real bike (silver Felt ZW) in 2013, two weeks after I registered for my first triathlon, the Rookie Tri! I hadn’t ridden a bike in more than 20 years! Getting used to riding was both scary and exhilarating. I dinged it up pretty good when I fell over at a red light and hit a curb. I forgot my feet were clipped in! Three people got out of their cars to check on me and all I wanted them to do was go away. HA!

Emily's first real bike: silver Felt ZW road bike.

Emily’s silver Felt ZW.

Stacy

My first bike was a Bianchi Giro 105. I got it in 2001 and remember being able to ride in certain parts of Austin that I wouldn’t even consider riding today!

William

Late last year I decided to train for my first triathlon, Rookie Tri. Earlier this year I traveled to Jack and Adam’s Fredericksburg and purchased my first bike, a black FeltZ 100. My first real ride took place on the Veloway. The entire time I kept thinking back to how often we rode bikes as kids. This bike was different that those of my childhood, but the feeling remained the same. Powering your bike, the wind in your face, leaning into turns, it all eventually came back. Now I love riding my bike to work to save on gas and help the environment.

William's first real bike: FeltZ 100.

Fresh off the rack with zero milage.

Tina

My first real bike was black with pink and purple stripes. I remember it came with a huge red bow! It was my first bike with gears and hand brakes. I crashed into a huge agave bush on my first ride and got all scratched up. I’m from Corpus Christi and my family and I would go on rides along the seawall.

Joey

Way back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth… I was just getting started in triathlon and ended up tearing my calf on the run at a race in North Carolina. Prior to that, I was riding a road bike when racing, but I really wanted a tri bike (like the cool). During my recovery I bought a Quintana Roo Kilo as motivation. I counted down the days until I could go out and ride my shiny new toy. 4 QR’s later I still have fond memories of that first race bike. Racing and training with friends led to hundreds of fun miles.

Do you have fond memories of your first real bike? Share your story with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

4 Reasons to Register for Jack’s Generic Triathlon

If you’re on the fence, these 4 reasons will push you to register for JGT

You’ve debated registering for Jack’s Generic Triathlon for some time now. Friends are racing. Your triathlon club will be there.

You plan to register, just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Why? Perhaps you forgot, maybe it slipped your mind. Every time you think about registering for JGT you’re not near a computer. When you’re near a computer, you forget. It happens. Well, you’re on the computer now. Read the 4 reasons to register for JGT, on August 26th, below and make it happen.

New date, venue, and distance

The Rookie Triathlon - Beginner Triathlon Runner Rookie TriJGT will take place at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park (aka Decker Lake) on Sunday, August 26th. Previously, the event has taken place at Texas Ski Ranch and Lake Pflugerville. JGT now features the sprint distance only. Aquabike and Relay options are available. The sprint distance will consist of a 600m swim, 11.2-mile bike, and 5K run. Here’s to slightly cooler temperatures at the end of August *quickly knocks on wood*.

Year 16

That’s right, JGT is in its 16th year. There’s a reason people return year after year: they’re more than a number, they’re a barcode. From Day One, JGT has focused on the participant. Sure there have been elites and awesome swag, but the focus consistently remains on you: the athlete. Plus it is fun and clever.

3rd Texas Tri Series event

If you’re taking on the Texas Tri Series then you need to register and complete Jack’s Generic Triathlon. That goes for volunteers too! JGT is the third event in the much-loved series. Triathletes are challenged to participate in or volunteer for four Central Texas triathlons throughout the summer. Many use it as a means to stay active over the summer. Some use it to advance in distance. There are folks out there who just want to challenge themselves. Regardless of why clubs and groups travel from all over to cheer on their athletes as they take on the Texas Tri Series. You can expect a supportive and energetic atmosphere on August 26th.

Sweet, we mean generic, shirt/medal combo

Now that you have this year’s Rookie swag, this combo is perfect for your growing collection. I mean, can you find a better looking shirt/medal duo? We’ll wait… This year’s shirt is perfect for wearing around town or during your post-JGT workouts. And the design is sure to catch everyone’s attention.

The shirt is super-soft and one you’ll gladly add to your collection. The medal matches the shirt and commemorates the accomplishment of crossing the JGT finish line. Make your triathlete friends who don’t race JGT jealous. Or challenge them to join you so they can join in on the fun!

REGISTER!

 

Texas Tri Series – One Down, Three Remain

The 2018 Texas Tri Series is underway

The Texas Tri Series consists of four triathlons (first of which was Rookie Tri) that take place in and around the Austin area. You can participate in the Texas Tri Series (for free!) as an athlete or a volunteer. If you completed Rookie Tri on Sunday, May 6th, and want to register for the series there’s still time!

The events range from sprint to half distances. There are many volunteer roles and ways to participate. This is a great event to complete with family, friends, and even your kids. To participate, you must register for the Texas Tri Series (remember, it’s free!) and participate or volunteer at all four events.

In addition to all the awesome goodies you get at each event in the series, you will get some awesome rewards for completing the series. Each series finisher will receive a 2018 Texas Tri Series finisher medal and a finisher item. Timing is not being tracked for the 2018 Texas Tri Series.

The series is composed of four events

  • Rookie Triathlon
    • Sunday, May 6th
    • Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park
    • Sprint distance (300m swim, 11.2-mile bike, 2-mile run)
    • Relay, aquabike, and virtual options
  • Life Time Tri CapTex
    • Monday, May 31st
    • Via Mathias (Auditorium) Shores
    • Super Sprint distance (.25-mile swim, 6.3-mile bike, 3.1-mile run)
    • Sprint distance (.46-mile swim, 12.3-mile bike, 3.1-mile run)
    • International distance (.93-mile swim, 24.3-mile bike, 6.2-mile run)
    • Relay and aquabike options

      Jack's Generic Tri is the third Texas Tri Series event.

      Jack’s Generic Tri is the third Texas Tri Series event.

  • Jack’s Generic Triathlon
    • Sunday, August 26th
    • Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park
    • Sprint distance (600m swim, 11.2-mile bike, 5K run)
    • Relay, aquabike, and virtual options
  • Kerrville Triathlon Festival
    • Saturday, September 29th, and Sunday, September 30th
    • Kerrville, Texas (Nimitz Lake and Louise Hays Park)

      Kerrville Tri is the final Texas Tri Series event

      Kerrville Triathlon Festival is the final Texas Tri Series event.

    • Sprint distance (500m swim,14.5-mile bike, 5K run)
    • Quarter distance (1000m swim, 29-mile bike, 6.4-mile run)
    • Half distance (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run)
    • Relay (sprint and half) and aquabike (quarter and half) options

Rookie Triathlete: Part 9: My First Triathlon

I did it, I completed my first triathlon

blog about completing my first triathlon

William and Barny. Photo – Ed Sparks

Back in January, I committed to my first triathlon, 2018 Rookie Triathlon. What began as a small idea quickly turned into a side bet complete with trash talk and a race-day following that formally introduced triathlon to newbies. I was fortunate to have one of the best triathletes in the world (Paul “Barny” Matthews) as my coach. I spoke with countless triathletes, both Rookies and IRONMAN finishers. Basically, everything they said could happen did happen at some point. Based on my training and my mock Rookie Tri in February, I figured finishing in 75 minutes would be respectable. Remember, I finished my mock triathlon in 1:34:43. I completed my first triathlon in 1:06:55.

When I set out to do something I’m all in. But I know for a fact I wouldn’t have been as successful and felt as good during my first triathlon if it weren’t for Barny. His training plan made me #feelthebarn before race day so I knew what to expect on race day.

Race day – Sunday, May 6, 2018

My alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. Why so early? My wife and good friend were volunteering that morning and needed to be there to help with parking. The night before I went through the entire race and packed my bag. Stickers were placed on my bike and helmet. Everything was quadruple checked. Hydration was mixed and placed in the fridge. I wanted race morning to be smooth.

Well that didn’t go as planned. Part of getting up a bit earlier was to ensure my bodily functions worked the way I wanted them to work in my own home. That didn’t happen. Porta-potties here I come. I checked my bag one more time because why not?! We took off on time and headed to Decker Lake. We get about halfway through and sonofa… I left both bottles of hydration in the fridge. So many scenarios go through my head. I popped off 35 at the next exit and booked it back to the house. NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY. We arrived around 5:30. Still early, but there were folks already parking! I parked and wanted to get my bike racked. I’d have plenty of time to get my bag and set up transition.

killing time in transition at my first triathlon

Passing time in transition. Photo – Ed Sparks

Killing time

Transition is set. Now I’m looking around thinking “Now what?” as I plot ways to kill time. I see friends and chat with them about my blog. Are you nervous they ask? Hell yeah I am. I spot my friend Rod Newlin before he took off to manage the bike course. We chatted for a bit and I wished him a happy belated birthday. He told me I’d be fine and shouldn’t be nervous. Easy for you to say Rod! But in reality, his words were helpful.

I found Raul Najera of RunFarUSA (timing company) and chatted with him a bit. Still killing time. He needed some help moving mats and re-wiring his timers. I quickly offered my assistance and asked if this gesture would help shave some minutes off my overall time. Apparently, that’s not the case. During this time I ran into my coach who gave me a sweet Ameican flag robe and boxing gloves. Something to ease the tension and create some laughs. I must’ve made three or four trips to the porta-potty. Man, I missed my own bathroom.

final preparation at my first triathlon

Trying to relax before the Rookie Tri. Photo – Ed Sparks

The race

My wife and friend join me after their volunteer duties are complete (thanks for volunteering!). I chat with some more folks. Find my arch-nemisis and his crew and laugh my ass off. His morning was more horrible than mine was. The race begins and we watch the Open wave cut through the smooth water. They make it look so easy. Barny exited the water and I cheered for him. He eventually won his second Rookie Tri in a row. A week after finishing 13th overall in the IRONMAN North American Championships. It’s almost game-time.

As we’re waiting in line, Paras (my arch-nemisis) and I start quickly re-thinking what we’ve gotten ourselves into. But we’re both competitors. When nobody was looking and we didn’t have access to our phone, we quickly slapped hands, wished each other the best of luck, and agreed we couldn’t wait for the post-race booze. It’s time to swim.

The swim

entering the water at my first triathlon

Entering Decker Lake. Photo – Ed Sparks

We were in line to be the last two of the Rookie male 30-39 to enter the water. Perfect. The next group would start a little after us and not as many would catch me. Wrong. We were the first to start with the 40-49 because Paras forgot his swim cap and his color matched theirs. Great. I enter the water in exactly what I’ll wear on the bike and run, minus shoes, plus goggles and nose plug. The first 50m are fantastic. Yes, this is all coming together as planned! Then someone hits my leg and it throws me off. Damn. Get it back together William. Get my stroke back and my leg is hit again, then my back. It’s clear folks are passing me.

My heart starts racing. My form goes to shit. I start kicking more. Welp, this isn’t good. Just keep moving forward. I breaststroke for a bit to get my breath back and return to my form. But the damage is done. My heart rate is high and my breathing is off. Just keep moving forward. I tried everything I could to get back under control, even swimming on my back a couple times. Nothing worked. I was already exhausted. I focused on making it to the next buoy. Then the next buoy. I’m in the home stretch and I can’t wait to feel solid earth beneath my feet. I finish the swim in a disappointing 9:52. Nearly three minutes more than my mock Rookie Tri swim. My first thought once I learned that Paras was ahead of me: makeup time on the bike.

The bike

Transition went smooth. I used the run to transition to gather myself and catch my breath. Arrived at my bike and everything is ready to go. I step on my towel to dry my feet while I put on my sunglasses and helmet. Slip on the shoes I’ll run in and head towards bike out. I cross the line and hop on, ready to chase down Paras. I quickly grab some nuun because I know I’m about to push myself like never before on a bike. Riding the course beforehand was a tremendous boost. Familiarity is huge. I was passing folks and feeling good. Everything was working out better than I anticipated. At every hill I’m looking for Paras. Nowhere. Shit.

starting the bike at my first triathlon

Playing catch up. Photo – Ed Sparks

But I’m in a groove now. Smoking the downhills and pounding the uphills. I’m getting after it. I finally see Paras on the frontage road and get this insane jolt of energy. He started more than two minutes ahead of me. I’m going all out now (which got me later). I don’t catch him until we turn right into the home stretch. Turn the corner, pass him, blow a kiss, and keep going. I need to make up time. Paras had more in the tank than I thought. We went back and forth on Decker Lake Rd. and eventually made it to transition at the same time. We had folks Facetiming people who couldn’t be there and streaming our race on Facebook live. I finished the bike in 37:44. That’s 24 minutes faster than my mock Rookie Tri bike. The Wrecker at Decker was living up to the hype.

The run

Transition went smooth again. Pre-planning helped. Took one last swig of nuun, dropped my bike off, and grabbed my SPIbelt. I leave transition right behind Paras. It’s on. I know he’s a top-notch runner, but folks on-course told me he incurred a couple penalties. He is faster, but I still have a chance. The course was changed because of flash flooding, so my day-before run didn’t help much. I’m feeling good, folks are cheering, volunteers are awesome. I see Paras start to disappear, but I don’t worry about that. I focus on passing one person at a time, keeping my pace.

crossing the finish line at my first triathlon

Crossing the Rookie Tri finish line. Photo – Ed Sparks

The new course weaved in and out for two miles. Every chance I got I poured water on my head. I turn the last leg and Barny is there cheering as loud as he can. Paras has penalties! You still have a chance! I catch my last boost of energy and head for the finish of my first triathlon. I’m asking my body to push itself beyond what’s it ever done. The finish is getting closer. I can hear Logan. Paras is at the edge of the finish chute and gives me a high five as I enter. He was three minutes ahead of me. I crossed the line of my first triathlon in 1:06:55. Eight minutes ahead of my 75-minute prediction. That’s a 28-minute improvement from my mock Rookie Tri in February.

I’m a triathlete

I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon and immediately fell to the ground. Exhausted. No medical was needed, just had to gather myself for a minute. I didn’t beat Paras, but I became a triathlete. The post-race trash talk wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. We were both that tired. We took photos, hung out with friends, our coaches joined the fun, we drank a few beers, and enjoyed the energetic finish line festival.

post-race photo at my first triathlon

The squads post-race. Photo – Ed Sparks

The entire experience was something I’ll never forget. My wife supported me through yet another endurance event and training cycle. Megan is a beautiful soul for putting up with my shenanigans and ability to consume great quantities of her amazing cooking. I appreciate Barny and all of his efforts. He’s a huge reason for my improvement. That is undeniable. I strongly encourage contacting him if you’re looking for a coach for your first triathlon or your first IRONMAN. I’m grateful my employer, High Five Events, allowed me to compete and not have to work the event. My co-workers provided a never-ending stream of insight and support.

What’s next?

I’m not sure what the future holds. I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon and said never again. But the more I think about it the more I realize I can still improve. I can get better at the swim. So I won’t say never now. I will say I’m a better runner because of swimming and cycling. My body feels better. I’m getting stronger. This cross-training thing is legit. I will keep swimming in the pool. I’ve begun riding my bike to work. My legs have more energy when I run. I really like what this journey has done for me.

If you’ve made it this far, then thank you. Thanks for reading and for your in-person and online support. If completing a triathlon is on your radar I highly suggest Rookie Triathlon. The entire event is well-organized (I’m biased), but I also approached my first triathlon as a Rookie triathlete, not the High Five Events Communications Manager. Most of my nerves were self-induced. Rookie Triathlon is perfect for that first-timer. There was plenty of room in transition, parking went smoothly, the water entrance was well-managed, and the finish line festival was one huge after party! If you’re like me and like planning ahead, 2019 Rookie Triathlon will take place on Cinco de Mayo. Don’t forget, I’m still a Rookie.

15th Annual Rookie Tri Introduces Hundreds to Triathlon

Huge finish line festival capped off 15th annual Rookie Tri celebration

15th Annual Rookie Tri Introduces Hundreds to Triathlon

Final preparations for the 15th Annual Rookie Tri!

On Sunday, May 6th, nearly 800 Rookies and Veterans participated in the 15th Annual Rookie Tri at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park in Austin, Texas. Temperatures were ideal for those competing in their first ever triathlon or the first triathlon of their season. Rookies, those who participated in their first or second triathlon, consisted of half the field.

“The volunteers were super helpful and really calmed my nerves on all of the “little things” that I needed to know (swim caps, transition zones, other rules),” said Paras Shah, who completed the 15th annual Rookie Tri (his first) in 1:03:29. “The crowd was very energetic and supportive and it was fun coming down the last mile and really hearing people genuinely excited for all of us first timers finishing a tri!”

Professional triathlete Paul “Barny” Williams repeated as overall champ with the time of 43:53 at the 15th annual Rookie Tri. Second and third place went to former pro Jamie Cleveland and Jack Cartwright. They crossed the finish line in 45:11 and 45:18 respectively. The women’s podium was topped by professional triathlete Natasha Van Der Merwe who had a winning time of 49:06. Second place finisher Haley Koop (50:50) and third place finisher Doreen Redenius (53:45) rounded out the women’s field.

Rookie Tri, Sunday, May 6, 2018

15th Annual Rookie Tri Introduces Hundreds to Triathlon

Hangin’ ten on the 11.2-mile bike ride.

The Rookie Tri has three different divisions: Rookie (first or second triathlon), Veteran (completed more than two triathlons), and Open. Rookies and Veterans start the swim in their division based on their age group. Two participants enter the water every few seconds. The Open Division allows participants to begin regardless of age, with a mass swim start. Rookie Tri introduced two new categories for 2018: Athena and Clydesdale. The inclusion of the categories, which had 79 total participants, created more energy and competition on race day.

The wetsuit legal 300-meter swim took place in a 72 degree Decker Lake. The 11.2-mile bike course featured rolling hills. The two-mile run course ran through the park. Participants received custom 2018 shirts and water bottles, swim cap, beer, a post-race meal, and the signature swag toss. Professional timing and photography, as well as a great volunteer crew and hundreds of supportive spectators, made this triathlon memorable for rookies and veterans alike. The Rookie Triathlon participants can see their times here. They can also relive race day by checking out photos from the event on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

15th Annual Rookie Tri Introduces Hundreds to Triathlon

Yes, the Oskar Blues was ice-cold!

Rookie Tri would like to thank all of the volunteers for coming out and making today’s event memorable for all triathletes. Their willingness to get up extra early to cheer on and support every participant truly made a difference in their experience. Rookie Triathlon would also like to thank sponsors City Limit Cycles, RunLab Austin, Oskar Blues Brewery, nuun hydration, Clif Bar, Ben Phillips-Engel and Volkers Austin, and SPIbelt.

All photo credits – Ed Sparks

Rookie Triathlete: Part 8: Rookie Nerves

My Rookie nerves finally kicked in at packet pickup

I knew Rookie nerves would kick in, I just didn’t know when. There’s something about a new endeavor that riles up your insides. Throw in the fact that my coach, Paul “Barny” Matthews, is a world-class triathlete and the nerves become amplified. Don’t forget that I might be the only swimmer with a nose plug! Top that off with a friendly wager with my triathlon arch nemesis, Paras Shah, and the butterflies grow larger.

Rookie nerves can come from anywhere, including competition.

My triathlon arch nemesis, Paras Shah.

What if I forget something that I need for Sunday? Can I apply the required stickers incorrectly? How do I keep from checking my checking list 16 times? What do I need to do to not leave too early and stand around, but not leave too late and miss a good spot in transition? How do I kill time between when the race starts and when my wave begins? Whatifmynoseplugcomesoffduringtheswim?! All of these thoughts are racing through my head on a continuous loop. It’s how my brain is wired. I need to have every possible angle covered and all boxes on my list checked, highlighted, marked through, and initialed. Then reviewed by a quality control supervisor.

BUT… Nerves are just that, nerves. There are tactics you can use to manage and even eliminate them. I have months of training and advice from Barny. He even helped make this video that’s useful for Rookie and Veterans. I have years of experience in other races that I can transfer to this Sunday’s Rookie Triathlon. While they can’t help me on race day, I’ve tapped into the never-ending triathlon knowledge bank that my co-workers at High Five Events have offered. I strongly recommend reading this Pre-Race Tips post on the Rookie Tri blog.

What I’m doing

Below are some specific things I’m doing to reduce my overall Rookie nerves:

  • visit Decker Lake today (Saturday) for a quick, easy swim to get accustomed to the water
  • scope out the run course, perhaps go for a relaxed run on the course
  • HYDRATE
  • layout everything I’ll need for race day on my bed
  • go through the race in my head and think about what I’ll need
  • layout and practice transition
  • HYDRATE
  • as I go through the race in my head, place all those items in my bag
  • watch the Kentucky Derby and attend Schrader 1600 (aka do something to take your mind off your race)
  • HYDRATE
  • trust my training
  • load everything by the front door
  • check my bike, especially tire pressure
  • HYDRATE
  • get up earlier than normal to ensure nature won’t call during the race
  • eat/drink my normal breakfast (Clif Bar + nuun performance)
  • support and cheer for Barny (and all athletes) in the Open and Veteran waves
  • HAVE FUN! (Barny has a few tricks up his sleeve to make this happen)

4 Ways to Reduce Your Rookie Tri Stress

Use these tips from a pro to handle pre-race stress

Rookie or Veteran, Rookie Triathlon stress, nerves, anxiety, jitters, whatever you want to call it, it’s real. Perhaps the butterflies kicked in when race week arrived. Maybe a co-worker asked about your confidence on Hump Day and your stomach turned upside down. You could be like William, who’s training for his first triathlon. Reality set in when he arrived at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop for Rookie Tri packet pickup. William met Paul “Barny” Matthews, his coach, for some advice and tips. These tips to reduce stress can be used by anyone. So if you know someone worried about final preparations for this Sunday, share this video with them!

Implement these additional tips to take your Rookie Tri pre-race preparation one step further.

To Wetsuit Or Not To Wetsuit

Let’s start by saying that wetsuits are completely optional at The Rookie Tri. The water temperature is 72 which is more than comfortable to swim in without a wetsuit. So what are the advantages and disadvantages to wearing one? We created a Rookie specific why or why not list.

For all of our true Rookies out there, remember the golden rule: Nothing new on race day. Unless you have an opportunity to swim in the exact wetsuit you will wear on race day at least once before, it is advised to not try something new the day of the race. 

A Quick Overview of the Rules and Water Temps

Here are the USAT’s rule on wetsuits and water temps. (all temps refer to surface water temperatures)

Under 50 degrees: Not suitable for open water swimming, even with a wetsuit
50 to 65 degrees: Suitable for open water swim, but a wetsuit is highly advised
65 – 78 degrees: Suitable for swimming with or without a wetsuit. Sleeveless suits are popular at this temp.
78 – 84 degrees: Race directors use their judgment to allow or not allow wetsuits at this range. Usually not eligible for awards at this temperature.
Over 84 degrees: Wetsuits not allowed

Why Wear a Wetsuit

Help Swim Ability

Wetsuits provide buoyancy. This can come in handy for any open water swim “panic” as the wetsuit will give you extra lift and make it easier to float while you bring your heart rate down and your focus back to swimming.

“Free” Speed

The buoyancy of the suit allows the wearer to swim faster than without the suit. The better the swimmer the less advantage the wetsuit may show. A swimmer can expect to save anywhere from a few seconds to tens of seconds per 100. Usually the longer the distance the more the savings is noticeable.  With the less exertion in the water, you will feel less of an energy drain as you are heading up to T1.

Warmth

The wetsuit can provide warmth to the swimmer in the cold water. If you are sensitive to the cold this can be great at making your more comfortable in the water.

Why Not Wear a Wetsuit

Cost

Wetsuits can be a big investment costing anywhere from just over $100 to almost a $1000.

Constricting

If you are not very comfortable and used to wearing a wetsuit, they can be constricting. Imagine wearing a life vest that is a size too small. This tight feeling across the chest can cause panic if one finds themselves uncomfortable mid-swim.

Added Time For Taking Off

While they may save you time while swimming, you still have to get out of the suit. This can add minutes to your transition time.

So to sum it up, for a short swim like the Rookie Tri the time saving can be negligible. It is really a toss up to how you feel on race morning and what you have trained for. Pack it in your bag and if it comes time to leave transition and you don’t want to wear it, simply leave it by your bike.

What else should you wear on race day? Check here