I was a serious runner in the late 70's/early 80's, quit in the late
80's (ankle sprains), got fat and start triathlon training again in
4/96. I got myself back into reasonable shape and entered two tri's
in late 1996. But the old ankle sprain problems returned and I was
unable to compete in either of the tri's that I entered due to ankle
My last ankle sprain was in 1/97 so I just gave up and became strictly
a road biker. But I'm a runner at heart and was really enjoying the
variety of tri-training, so I've set up an appointment with a local
orthopod who is sports oriented and I'm going to give this one more
try. But this experience has generated some data that might be of
interest to the group.
I had built my tri-training up to roughly 7-10 hours/week (depending on
schedule) with a typical mix of roughly 25% swimming, 35% running, and
40% biking (with an hour or so of strength work thrown in). In late
January (on the day of my last ankle sprain)
I upped the training maybe 10% and started strictly biking (plus my
hour/week of strength work). Note that my total training time/week was
roughly the same whether tri-training or biking.
I'd estimate that my aeorobic pace (estimated after my first run
following 7 months of strictly biking) dropped 30-40 seconds/mile.
The other big difference is that my ability to run a long distance
at an aerobic pace was dramatically reduced - no surprise here. So
far I've just done a couple of 20 minute runs on a treadmill, but
the 90 minute runs that were comfortable before are well beyond my
current capabilities, even at the slower pace.
I didn't have alot of good data regarding my biking performance when
I was tri-training, but I would estimate that my average speed for a
given distance/effort went up between 1 and 2 mph after strictly bike
training. I could tell that my climbing was alot better (basically no
change in weight), but the only data that I had was that I used to do
'virtual climbing workouts' on a Lifecycle (max load, low cadence).
When tri-training I was doing 5 sets of 5xmax load/2 minutes/90 sec
difference, but time to exhaustion at a given workload increases much
more dramtically than increased workload for a fixed time.
I was pretty much a neophyte swimmer when I quit tri-training in 1/97,
but let's just say that my first swim after 7 months of biking was a
disaster. I used to be able to go out and swim for 30 min and cover
somewhere around a mile and not feel pretty good at the end. I could
hardly hold this pace for 100 yards this week (UGH!).
I've entered a couple of CatIV/V road races and done OK, but I just
get enthused about road racing - at least not in the same way that I
was about running and tri'ing.
Now that I'm typing I think I'll include a Ca. Life story that is
pertinent. I moved to Ca. from Ky. around the end of 1995 and I send
notes back to my co-workers in Ky. about my life in Ca. (it is different
and except for the day that I make my mortgage payment, I like Ca.).
Keep in mind that none of these folks are bikers or triathletes.
Ca. Life (Joe Cool hits the road)
After a mercifully uneventful Thanksgiving with some friends in
Sacramento, Fran and I spent the rest of the holiday weekend in Monterey
and Carmel (yes, just like an earlier lesson it is still buetieks all
way down). But this time Joe Cool California has it covered. While Fran
went shopping in Carmel on Friday, I was going to go on a 50 mile bike
ride. I had found a really nice ride out Carmel Valley via the
NEWSGROUP rec.bicycles.rides. It is a route that starts in the parking
lot of a little bike shop just outside of Carmel and heads out Carmel
Valley Rd and is supposed to be a route favored by the really cool
in the area.
So Joe Cool California dropped Fran off in downtown Carmel and took the
car to the Carmel Bike Shop on Carmel Valley Rd. Joe Cool changed into
his cool bike togs, including a cool new bike jersey that he had just
gotten for his birthday 2 weeks ago. It was 65 degrees and sunny so he
just tied the jersey around his waist in case it got cold on a long
downhill stretch. Joe Cool headed off.
Joe was maybe a mile or two down the road (Joe Cool isn't exactly sure
because Joe's bike computer - speedometer for you neophytes - had quit
working) when a loud BANG was followed by a loss of control of the bike
and sudden deceleration. It was a flat tire, but Joe had this one
with a spare tube and the proper tool to pry the tire off. The only
problem was that the brand new jersey tied around Joe's waist had gotten
caught in his rear brake calipers. Over half the jersey had jammed
past the calipers, and the resulting mass of ***, jersey, and caliper
had ripped a large gash in Joe's rear tire. Joe Cool did not have a
tire with him.
Now a mile or two down the road is not a big deal, except that Joe was
wearing his cycling shoes that fit his clipless pedals (excuse me, I
forgot about Mr. Miller's confusion - make that "clip-free") and they
have these two large cleats sticking out the bottom making walking
hard. This was complicated by the fact that Joe couldn't get his jersey
out of the calipers, so the rear wheel wouldn't turn. Joe ended up
walking back around 2 miles barefooted while holding the rear end of his
bicycle up in the air. Joe Cool was not pleased.
When Joe got to the Carmel Bike Shop he was greeted by some other cool
California bikers who were very impressed with what they saw. Now really
cool California bikers (like Joe) tend to speak in coded terms and
phrases, so I'll have to do a little deciphering for you. But this is
gist of the dialogue.
Statement: "How in the hell did that happen?"!!
Decoded: "I'm really impressed with the depth of penetration that
have achieved with your bike jersey".
Statement: "I tie my jersey around my waist all the time. This never
happens to me".
Decoded: "I can occasionally get maybe 25% of my jersey stuffed into
my rear brake calipers, but I have never even come close
50%. I'm honored to meet someone with abilities such as
Statement: "Well, I guess that will take care of any loose gravel that
you have on your tires".
Decoded: This is not a coded statement. Loose gravel is a common
cause of bike flats and this biker was simply commenting on
how effectively I had avoided this mode of flat tire with
bike jersey approach (along with the large gash in my
But Joe was going to do some serious exercize. The most aggressive thing
that Joe had done on Thursday was to open a particularly stubborn bottle
of wine and to perform some esophogial stretches while forcing one more
bit of turkey into a space where there was no space. So Joe put on his
running stuff to go out for a 90 minute run. One of the cool biker gals
in the bike shop even made a helpful suggestion when she passed Joe on
her bike while he was running. It was "keep your shirt out of your
shoes". But she missed the point, as you will see.
About 40 minutes into the run Joe turned around (OK, so it had turned
into a 80 minute run. So sue me). About 10 minutes into the return Joe
rolled over on his left ankle. Now ankle sprains were the main reason
that Joe quit running back in the mid 80's. But this one wasn't too bad
he could actually continue to run at a little slower pace. But Joe is a
wise person and had learned not to push these things.
So Joe walked until he got chilled (he was only wearing running shorts
and a t-shirt that was pretty wet with sweat) and then ran slowly until
he warmed up and then walked again. Believe it or not, Joe Cool rolled
over on his ankle AGAIN! This time there wasn't going to be any running
and walking was very difficult. Joe Cool ended up flagging down a ride.
nice gentleman (maybe 60 pounds overweight) in a Mercedes stopped and
gave him a ride to his car. He also made the following comment:
"I don't usually pick up hitchhikers, but you looked pretty pitiful
Joe Cool plans to take up billiards.