Where is My Mojo

An expensive sport? Let’s talk biking.

In Bike, Triathlons on May 31, 2011 at 5:00 PM

I had drafted this entry a month ago. Between training, work, the Dude, his family (my new family), my Pochos, exhaustion, feeling blue, having to put one of my Pochos to sleep, laziness, lack of inspiration, and … I can go on forever!!! In any case, I’m almost back. Let’s see how this streak of inspiration lasts…

So, back to what matters. Triathlons. The bike. Now, here is where it can get pricey. For starters you need a bike and you can find those at any price… from $600 to $20,000. Now this can be a nightmare and to be honest I’m still learning differences in types of bikes (road or tri-bikes), frame materials (aluminum, carbon), etc. So choosing one is difficult. Additionally, with the bike come many other gear and accessories you will need. Some may be “luxury” but others are a need.

Our coach took us on a bike store tour so we can get a better understanding of the subject, the options, the store services, etc. It was very enlightening and confusing at the same time, because that’s when you ask yourself “What the hell should I get?”. After the tour I came to some conclusions: 1) I had no clue of my level of seriousness and commitment to this sport and 2) I didn’t have the budget to go out and spend $1,000 for a bike. I needed a bike that if I didn’t continue in the tri arena, I could put a basket on the handles and a ding-dong bell to move people out of the way. So with that as a filter I started my quest. I went for a road bike.

  1. Bike – as said before these can go from accessible to ridiculously expensive. You pick. No judgement. Hey, if you have the money go out crazy and get yourself the Rolls Royce of the tri-bike world. I got an aluminum Cannondale road bike for women, and paid $600 because it was on sale. Because I have no previous reference of racing on a bike, this one is perfect. I’m sure one day if I become super serious with the sport and trade up I will notice a huge difference in performance. But for now this is perfect for me.
  2. Bike Shoes – Now, if you are going into the tri-world, why not get the click shoes? You can compete in your running shoes with regular pedals, but hey, como on, go all the way and get the shoes and install the corresponding pedals. What does this do for you? Well, aside from attaching your feet to the pedals and feeling you are glued to the bike, hence you fall with the bike on you, unless of course you detached from the pedals on time, they keep your foot rigid, for more-efficient transfer of power from the cyclist to the pedals, weight, a method of attaching the shoe firmly to the pedal and adaptability for use on and off the bicycle. I got mine for no more than $100, but they come in different prices. After a couple of months, I heard they were not great shoes, but for now it’s what I have and what I will stick to. Maybe next year, if I continue with the passion for the sport, I’ll get a good pair.
  3. Helmet – not much to say here, other than it’s a MUST. Helmets have saved many cyclists’ lives. Our coaches do not let anyone ride if they do not bring their helmets. Mine was a gift from the Dude. ❤
  4. Gloves – Essential especially for training and long rides. When you are racing, forget about them. They will just add time to your transition. Mine cost me around $30.
  5. Ride Glide – You might ask yourself what this is, just as I when my coach told me about it. It’s a cream you spread on your little parts to make the ride less uncomfortable. Read me well… less uncomfortable, not more comfortable. What I feel is a menthol-ish sensation that kinda numbs the area. However, you will still feel discomfort while riding. The ride glide I use is Hoo Ha. Now that said, there is NOT enough Hoo Ha in the WORLD to make the ride a pleasant one.
  6. Bike Pump – You need one. I don’t have one because, yes, I use the Dude’s. But do need to get myself one because the Dude is also training, and we do not train together. We train with different groups. So, sometimes he’s in need of the pump, and the thing is laying in my car trunk riding around Miami. So, I’m getting one.
  7. Biking shorts – they are horrendous! So not glamorous! It’s like wearing a pair of short running tights with a huge diaper inside, and sometimes it looks more like a soiled diaper than a fresh one. BUT, it helps cushion the impact of the road, a bit. I guess if you ride more eventually, one day, a callus will develop there and you will not feel a thing. In my case, I haven’t riding that much. I really can’t imagine how this discomfort will ever go away. Now price wise, these can go any where from $60 to $130+. I got mine on sale. I can’t remember how much I paid for them, but somewhere around $40 I suppose. Now, these shorts are not intended to be used during a race. If you do, you will probably drown because of dragging that wet diaper around.
  8. Cadence and Speed monitor – or what some call a computer. And no, it’s not a laptop strapped to your handles. It’s more like this. Cadence tells you how many revolutions per minute you are doing, basically how many times you spin the wheels per minute. Our coach will us what our cadence should be throughout training or during a race, so you need to pedal all the way while maintaining the said cadence by shifting gears.
So many things to get, and I’m just mentioning the obvious ones… On top of that you want to look good and have the latest, so you’ll be shopping for nice tops, socks, shorts, etc. So the bottom line is… look for the places where they have a good selection, great brands and regular sales. Also, if you are part of a training group or club sometimes the organizers have negotiated discounts with specialized stores to give group/club members discounts. These really help.
In any case, take your time, do your research and have fun, because this thing is addictive!!!!
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