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Becoming a Triathlete... UPDATE

posted May 12, 2007 @ 11:18 PM  |  Triathlon category

Originally posted April 28, 2007 @ 4:18pm

A Dynoswimmer (guess who) is thinking of taking the plunge, and moving over to the other side. Could be a great opportunity to expand some horizons and get a better understanding of the challenges some of our swimmers face outside of the pool.

Any advice for a veteran swimmer evolving into a newbie triathlete?

Here's another question for you bike snobs:

Orbea. Road or tri?


So I wanted to thank everyone for offering me such great advice both below in the comments section but also from all the great emails and phone calls. I really feel that I've made the right choice, and it sure helps a lot when you can weigh the pros and cons of all the notable points you've made. Yeah, I'm a well informed consumer (tongue in cheek).

I have to tell you though, some of the advice I received was especially helpful. For example, Thorsten's insight regarding legs really shed light on one of the most overlooked aspects of cycling. I mean, without legs, I'd probably only go downhill.

I also liked Scott's perspective very much. I've even seen Scott in action, and hearing the comments he lobs at people as he moves through the pack is pretty funny and exciting. He does have a cool bike too.

Seriously though, I did want to say thanks and the perspective you all offered me was incredibly helpful. So here's the verdict: after test riding a Serotta earlier this afternoon, I ended up purchasing the Orbea Onix today. I do have some plans for it already, so stay tuned and I'll share those new adventures with you real soon.


Orbea and both-amy

Posted by amy on April 29, 2007 @ 8:44 AM

It's not the bike, it's in the legs :-)

Posted by Thorsten on April 29, 2007 @ 10:05 AM

You have the million $ question.

The challenge you face is deciding the type of riding you will like prior to making the purchase decision. Not to sway you but how it has worked for me is.... I love to ride. I do triathlons and that is how I started riding but by far most of my riding is done in groups. Therefor I have a road bike.

A road bike can be converted to use at a triathlon. Add aero bars, change the seat position and you can compete.

A tri-bike is a tri-bike. It will not be comfortable on group rides.

I dream of a tri/tt bike but so far it has not been in the cards for me.

Felt makes a very nice carbon fiber bike. The machine I dream of is the Cervelo P3. A carbon fibre speed machine. Scott has also come out with some very light weight bikes.

I also just read an article on, Heather Gollnick, a triathlete from Bradenton FL. She is smaller at 5'0" and has had to address the fitting issues associated with that. You may find some interest there.


Posted by dave on April 29, 2007 @ 1:16 PM

I think you should just get a road bike. A road bike is much more versatile than a tri bike is. If you got into triathlons you can change the geometry of a road bike by adding a different seat post and clip on aero-bars. It is much, much harder to convert a tri bike so you can ride with a group.
Choosing a road bike can be hard. Some people like the smoother ride of a carbon fiber bike while others (like myself) like the rigidity of aluminum or titanium. It really all depends on you.

Posted by Doug D'Angelo on April 29, 2007 @ 5:07 PM

I'm quite impressed at the quality and variety of answers. Yes, it's the legs. And Amy's got a point - you can never have too many bikes! You've been to our place; the only problem with having too many bikes is where to keep them!

Orbea's are great bikes. I had tried to get James a track frame from them, but he's such an odd size, after 2 years of them not having one, I gave up and went with Giant. I'm a Giant girl myself, but we each have our own preferences. I just really like pink!

Whatever you get, make sure it fits. Don't let anyone sell you a bike just because that happens to be what they have in stock. You're going to love cycling - I predict it will feed your competitive nature and add fuel to your training. Have fun & don't crash!

Posted by Diane Bixler on April 30, 2007 @ 8:55 AM

There's some nonessential things that make training and racing much simpler, such as aero bars, bike computer with cadence sensor, aerobottle for the bike.

My local running store did a much better job of fitting me into the right shoe than one of the mall stores. They also sell Yankz or speed laces, which are great because you will never have another untied shoe. Race belts are nice too because you won't have to safety pin on bib# on race day. Just clip on the race belt and go.

Except for a decent pair of running shoes, none of this stuff is truly necessary. Just do it and have fun.

Posted by christine on May 1, 2007 @ 1:00 PM

Hey Guys, This is incredibly helpful. I still have a couple things I need to consider on the Tri-Bike side before I make my decision. Sounds like you all are leaning toward a road bike though. On the other side of the equation I was speaking to a tri-athlete last night who leans towards a tri-bike, but I'm thinking that's because he's a bit anti-group rides...

Posted by Dean O. on May 2, 2007 @ 11:56 AM

Do you want to join the team in a race?

Tri Y Triathlon Information Here!

Posted by amy on May 2, 2007 @ 12:55 PM

In the group I ride with in Ormond, there's more tri bikes than road bikes. And many of the people on road bikes, myself included, would like to get a tri bike eventually. So you may not be precluded from a group ride. It just depends on the group. It would be great if there was an active tri club in your area that did group rides.

Posted by christine on May 2, 2007 @ 3:26 PM

How it was explained to me was that the seat on a tri bike it up over your hips/legs more putting less emphasis on your quadricep muscles, saving your legs for the run portion of the race. That sold me when deciding between two bikes. I figured I could use all the help I can get when it came to the run—my least favorite of the three legs of a tri but I’m working on that.

From my understanding, I have the best of both worlds. A cross between a tri and a road bike. The comforts, control and maneuverability of a road bike with the aerobars and seat angle of a tri bike. I’m happy with my decision—so far anyway.

Here are some good sites I found that explain the pros and cons of both.


Thorsten’s right though--it’s all in the legs! Start pedaling. Hope you decide to join us May 27th—it’ll be fun.


Posted by Judi on May 2, 2007 @ 3:37 PM

Two things... I have ridden both in triathlons and done well on each (slight advatage tri bike) so for the most part it is the archer and not the arrow. Next...I love passing people on their latest and greatest technology so I can say 'Nice bike' while I cruise by on my older and cheaper ride. More time on the road, less time in the bike shop looking. You can't buy speed.

Posted by scott on May 3, 2007 @ 7:55 PM

I rode 80 miles today. From Darien CT to New Canaan, North to Westchester County, NY through Pound Ridge, Salem, Cross River, Katonah, and Golden's Bridge. On the way back I went to Norwalk, CT, then South back down to Darien.

Lots of hills, and a lot of beautiful historic areas. (thank goodness for bike shorts).

Posted by Dean O. on May 13, 2007 @ 9:27 PM

Congrats on the purchase of a new bike. Is it a road or tri bike?

Posted by josh on May 15, 2007 @ 7:54 AM

It's the road bike; there's a link in the update.

Posted by Dean O. on May 15, 2007 @ 9:16 AM

Had the bike up to 37.1 mph last night - on a hill in Stamford, CT. You already know what happened next: a car pulled out in front of me.

Posted by Dean O. on June 7, 2007 @ 9:53 AM

Did you crash? Are you OK?

Posted by Judi on June 7, 2007 @ 11:28 AM

I bunny hopped over the hood of the SUV. Just kidding. Steps I took:
1. Swerved
2. Described my feelings toward the driver and passing situation with a colorful vocabulary.

Posted by Dean O. on June 7, 2007 @ 12:16 PM

Interesting ride I had today from St. James through Stony Brook, E. Setauket then to Port Jefferson (LI, NY) around about then back. At one point had a guy in a mini-van pull up next to me and shout, "Hey you were going 41 miles an hour!" Actually I was going around 34 and change, but appreciated the sentiment. Thanks for sharing the road, mini-van dude. What I didn't mention is that 15 minutes prior some old man blew through a stop sign while I was sailing through the intersection. The point is that being pissed off is good for speed - hence the 41 (really 34) miles an hour. Made my top speed a bit later at 35.9, 1.5 off my personal record of 37.4.
Later struggled up a hill and exceeded my maximum heart rate (of 160). Heart rate stood at 175 for almost 8 minutes and thought I'd popped a spring out the side of my heart-rate monitor. Freaking almost blew out a the side wall of my aorta. Unfortunately though, I actually did blow out my rear tire at the 17 mile mark. I know the whole argument about bags on bikes, but I don't always wear jerseys, so the bag holds my cell and wallet, good thing though since I was 5 minutes from home and didn't feel like using the emergency pack to change my tire - that I'll reserve for 10+ from home.

Can't complain.

Posted by Dean O. on September 1, 2007 @ 7:59 PM

Isn't cycling fun? Not the flat tires and ignorant drivers, but the rush from setting a new PR. Yesterday I was on a road bike in Evergreen, Colorado and got up to 37.4 mph (my max), in spite on being on the brakes a lot. Completely scary and exhilarating at the same time and very different from riding in Florida.

Glad you are enjoying your bike.

Posted by christine on September 3, 2007 @ 2:28 AM

You need to find some routes that go uphill! You probably managed to find a route that goes downhill both ways, didn't you?

Posted by josh on September 4, 2007 @ 11:09 AM

Uphill, hence the 175 bpm. That was the hardest hill I've ever climbed.

Posted by Dean O. on September 4, 2007 @ 1:18 PM


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