Saturday, August 07, 2010

Me, Mr. Junk, and the bike. A real live cautionary fairy tale.

Today I did the Socorro Chile Harvest triathlon, and it has become my favorite annual debacle. They gave us a water bottle and nice bag. Pictures to come. 

The seeded swim is nice. It spreads out the course, and you can chat while waiting your turn.  I was going to relax on the swim, but directly in front of me was an extremely hairy man swimming with extremely loose and baggy shorts.  He was also one of those people whose legs just go all over instead of staying in a line while they swim, and so every time I looked forward, I had a nice full view of--well, It. Them. You know.

After two lanes of this, I had to pass him.  HAD TO.  If I tore a rotator something or sprained my shoulder--as gawd is my witness, I was going to pass Mr. Junk.  So, we were swimming about the same speed--me, him, and his junk--but I started kicking my legs harder and dug in to pass him.

The swim then felt okay, but I was getting breathless, and this is my punishment for being in the water exactly 4 times this year: when I got out, I was completely disoriented, running off to the right instead of in a straight line, like I was drunk.  I staggered over to the bike rack, slowly--oh, so slowly--dried my feet, etc., and headed out on the bike. 

You wouldn't think that I could pull this off AGAIN, but you forget who I am, for Behold: 

Once again I did a sprint triathlon. With my brakes on. 

After 10 miles on this course, I'd been passed by nearly everyone, including a 10-year-old girl in thick glasses riding a squeaky old mountain bike somewhat shakily, her knobby knees going out to the side with every upstroke as she peddled crazily away from me, up the hill.  My speedometer wasn't working, so I had no idea of how fast I wasn't going, and I didn't realize what was wrong until the bike course was nearly done.  

Instead, until then, I felt awful.  This is what I get for not getting in the saddle enough.  DP was right.  I tried peddling harder, but it didn't work.   I should never have done that 9 mile run yesterday, I thought.  This is my punishment for not taking this event more seriously. 

Then a friend of mine, Courtney, who I love to death, passed me--she quickly moved ahead and away from me, which normally she does not do in a race.  "What's wrong with you?" she tossed over her shoulder.

I pulled over, lifted up my back wheel, and it wouldn't move.  My brakes weren't just rubbing, they were fully engaged.  I couldn't move the wheel with my hand.  I tried prying the brake pads away from the wheel--they wouldn't budge.  I banged on the wheel with my fist to try to get them to pop loose--wasn't happening.

Finally, I just disconnected them completely, flipping the lever up and pulling them away from the wheel.  Meanwhile, between attempts to get them loose, I'd been shaking my bike and swearing at it.  This is the best thing to do to a mechanical thing with loose parts.  As for the swearing, it wasn't like anyone was going to hear me; everyone else had finished the race, even the nearsighted 10 year-old with the knobby knees.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) 

Obviously, while I was shaking the bike and swearing at it, the chain came completely off.  Obviously, that had to be fixed.

Well, and then I could ride a bike, don't you know.  It rolled smoothly.  Hills were easy.  All 2 miles of them, Dammit.

I came into transition steaming mad, and said to everyone that was unfortunately enough to be standing near me as I prepared for the run, I HATE CYCLING, AND EVERYTHING ABOUT IT, and, THERE IS JUST NOT ENOUGH TO SAY ABOUT HOW MUCH I HATE CYCLING.  

And then, 
  • I put on my shoes that never get flats.  
  • I grabbed my hat that never breaks down.  
  • I picked up my water bottle that never needs a tune-up.
Then I sprinted out of transition to the run course, and had a pretty good run.  I don't know what yet.  I'll find out tomorrow.  Sweet Baboo joined me on my run for what was his third lap of the run.  He ran extra laps after he finished the triathlon, in the mid-nineties heat just because and yes, he is that much of a freak.  Some of the people who passed me on the bike, I passed back on the run.  But not all of them, and not enough of them.  I did not meet my goal for this race, obviously.

I'm pretty sure at this point that the people I only see at this triathlon are thinking to themselves, this can't have happened twice.  I bet she really is slow, but embarrassed and made this up.  Nobody is that stupid.  Poor Misty.  Poor dear sweet, silly, slow, Misty.
Stupid bike.

Now, time for a reframe.  Reframes are my attempt to get the positive out of any crappy situation.  My reframe is this:

1) I must some pretty strong legs at this point to have pulled this off.  I think I managed about 12 mph with my brakes fully engaged.  That's gotta mean something, right?  I mean, other than I'm a complete idiot for not checking my bike before the race.  But honestly, who thinks that a ride in a car is going to mess up a bike that bad?  They were perfect the night before. 

2) for all the sprint triathlons I've done with my brakes on (3 or 4, I think) I think I might have had a brakes-on triathlon PR.

3)  Now that I've set the bar for my actual PR on this course pretty low, next year it should be pretty easy to best my time.  It will be a dramatic difference; people will gasp in awe, and I will not remind them that, well, after all, I did it without my brakes on this year.  

Okay. I was supposed to run 6 more miles today, and then 20 tomorrow.  As far as I'm concerned, I get credit for 25% of any bike toward my run.  That is my completely unscientific and arbitrary heuristic. So this afternoon, I'll get about 3-4 miles in. 

Next year.
Next year will be the year I show up and do the triathlon without my brakes on.

I'll show 'em.  I'll show 'em all. 



  1. You lost me at "stupid bike". It's all about the bike. Check your damn bike before your next race, Misty. :P


  3. LOL! Good luck for next year!

  4. Great post! Sorry about the brakes but you did very well with the reframe!

  5. Oh may be scared for life...not the bike but that swim....ick!

    Love the refame process!

  6. Hey, all I was thinking was how you were getting extra good training by increasing the resistance on the bike. It's not like it was a goal race or anything! (but check next time)


  7. One of the reasons I have yet to do a triathlon or any other bike-oriented event is because my mechanically-challenged brain refuses to engrave the knowledge it takes to change a flat or fix any of the myriad mechanical-type things that can go wrong while riding. Now that I know it's possible to ride with the brakes on as well? Yeah. I'll stick to running for now. At least I can tell my right shoe from my left.

  8. Moi, I can't believe you get away with statements like that without consistently being nagged by a certain person to ride, ride, ride.

  9. During one particular hill I have stopped, no less than, twice each time I ride it to check because I am CERTAIN my brakes MUST be on because there is NO WAY I am riding this slow and working this hard.

    Alas, I have never actually had the brakes engaged.

    Stupid bike.

    Congrats on the 'Brakes On' PR. I believe in celebrating all types of PR's. I have a 'Purple Sports Bra' PR from my when I ran a Half Marathon in a purple sports bra.

  10. Your eyes have suffered a great deal of pain. I hope guys reading this will take note that baggy shorts with no liner or undies is NOT ALLOWED. NEVER.
    Holy smoking brake pads. I'm surprised you didn't smell the burnt rubber. Great strength training session.
    Next year you will be so damn fast.

  11. LOL! But I'm laughing with you, not at you :) This is why I'm a skeered to try a tri.


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