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Difference Between Triathlon Bikes and Road Bikes

How to Know the Difference Between Triathlon and Road Bikes

Triathlon Bikes vs. Road Bikes: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to triathlon, a bike is, well, a necessity. How are you supposed to know which bike is best suited for you if you’re new to triathlon or limited on options? In this blog, we’re going to talk about two types of bikes: road bikes and triathlon bikes. Keep reading to understand some key differences between triathlon bikes and road bikes so you can decide which fits your style best for your triathlon journey.

How They’re Different

The most notable difference is the design, or geometry of the frame of each bike. Triathlon bikes have a steeper angle of the seat. Seats on a road bike are positioned at, on average, 78 degrees while the angle on a triathlon bike is closer to 72 degrees. The steeper angle allows the user to travel at a faster rate because you can bend your body down lower which reduces wind resistance. Another huge difference is that a triathlon bike includes aerobars instead of regular handlebars and many models have specially shaped frame tubing and special wheels. These design features are intended to minimize drag and increase speed which is important in triathlon racing.

Triathlon Bikes

Tri bikes allow you to get into a more aerodynamic position by lowering your upper body and bringing your arms in-line with your torso. This is a result of the tilt of the seat in combination with aero bars that cause the cycler to lay lower on the bike with elbows rested. The goal here is to be in the optimal position for a smoother, faster ride.  Unlike other handlebar positions, aero bars serve as both handgrips as well as armrests, allowing you to significantly reduce the pressure on your wrists and hands throughout a race or riding for an extended amount of time.Key Traits of a Triathlon Bike

Key Traits of a Tri Bike

  • has aerobars
  • more aggressive frame geometry
  • can be more expensive
  • better for speed
  • more aerodynamic

 

Road Bikes

Road bikes are great when aerodynamics are not the top priority. These bikes are typically easy to maneuver during longer rides. Road bike frames are slim and also come with thin tires for riding on the road. The handles on road bikes offer different hand positions. Because of this, most people find road bikes to be more comfortable because you can alter your riding position as needed. For beginner triathletes, we recommended trying a road bike before a triathlon bike.

Key Traits of a Road Bike

Key Traits of a Road Bike

  • more versatile
  • less expensive
  • lightweight
  • can add clip-on aero bars
  • easy to customize

 

Now it’s Time to Make a Decision! Which Bike Will You Choose?

Now that you know the key differences between the types of bikes, take a moment to weigh your options before deciding which bike is better suited for your riding needs. Keep in mind: comfort is key, but you don’t want to compromise speed for comfort or vice versa. It’s all about finding a bike with a balance that works best for your body and your cycling needs. Whichever bike you choose, either will do for the day of your big race. Now, all there’s left to do is choose your bike, grab your shades, and start logging those miles!

Which type of bike do you prefer? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter and tell us what you decide to name your new set of wheels!

USAT-Certified: Why It Matters and How You Benefit

USAT-Certified: Why It Matters and How It Benefits You

Benefits to CapTex Tri being USAT-Sanctioned and having a USAT-Certified Race Director

When researching triathlon events, you’ve probably come across the terms USAT-sanctioned and USAT-Certified Race Director. So what exactly do these terms mean and why should you care about the benefits of a USAT Certified race?

USAT-Sanctioned

USAT is an acronym for USA Triathlon, which is the governing body of the sport of triathlon in the United States. Additionally, since triathlon is a sport featured in the Olympic games, USA Triathlon is part of Team USA. Therefore, they must adhere to the rules and guidelines of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committees. When you see the phrase “This is event is sanctioned by USAT” or “This event is USAT-sanctioned” it means that the event organizer has completed a thorough questionnaire regarding how they plan to conduct the event. They have also received approval from the USA Triathlon Events staff. As a potential participant in a triathlon, the term USAT-sanctioned should give you confidence. You are registering for an event that meets minimum standards for safety and fairness.  

Participant benefits of a USAT-sanctioned event:

benefits of a USAT-sanctioned eventAs a participant in a USAT Sanctioned event, you must have a current membership with USA Triathlon.  Annual memberships and one-day memberships (purchased per event) are available. Most adult triathlons in the United States are sanctioned by USA Triathlon. This helps the individual event. It also helps keep the national governing body strong so that it can support race directors, growth of the sport initiatives, and Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

USAT-Certified Race Director

Additionally, USA Triathlon has created a Race Director Certification program that goes above the standard sanctioning process. Race Directors who choose to become certified go through approximately 16 hours of coursework and complete an exam. They are required to recertify every two years and complete a background check through NCSI and take SafeSport training. The recertification and coursework ensures that the race director remains current in their knowledge and engaged in the triathlon community.  There are two levels of Race Director Certifications. Level II is the most difficult to obtain and retain. Only the most qualified race directors reach this level. Dan Carroll of High Five Events was among the first race directors to achieve Level II certification. He has maintained that certification since the program was created in 2007.

Choose USAT Certified for Your Upcoming Tri

So the next time that you register for a triathlon like CapTex Tri, look to see if the event has the benefits of being USA-sanctioned and if it is produced by a Certified Race Director. That way you’ll know you’re safe in good hands and you’re in for an awesome experience!

Beat the Heat! Training tips for the summer

Beat the Heat: Tips for Training this Summer

Summer is setting in, take precautions when adjusting to training in the heat.

Even with the occasional summer thunderstorms, temperatures in Central Texas consistently hit the mid-90s. High temperatures won’t keep you from training, so you need to make some adjustments. Training in the heat does have some benefits, but being smart and altering your schedule/plan will help uphold your training regimen, and continue without any bumps. Incorporate these 5 tips for training in the heat to be prepared for the Virtual CapTex Tri, or your next race.

Ease Into It

Give yourself some time to get used to the temperature adjustment. Although some athletes have less trouble adapting to training in warmer temps, that may not be the case for you. If you know you struggle with adapting to training in the heat, it’s important to take baby steps. At first, shorten your runs or rides as you adapt to handle the heat. Then, work your way up to the distance you are training for.

Listen to Your Body

You know your body better than anyone. Paying attention to the way you feel while out on a run or ride is the first thing to do in establishing a baseline for keeping you cool as the temperatures soar during your training.  Early signs and symptoms of heat illness include fatigue, discomfort, lightheadedness, disorientation, and nausea. This will be your indicator of how you need to adjust the following in order to keep up with your tri training during these hot upcoming summer months.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Hydrating on the CapTex Tri course!

Hydrating on the CapTex Tri course!

This is the most obvious and most over-looked tip for training in the heat. You know to hydrate in the summer months, but you don’t always do it. Perhaps you get caught up and forget during your day-to-day schedule. Even if you are hydrating, it may not be enough. It’s recommended that we drink 64 ounces of water a day. In the summer months that should increase, especially when training in the heat. Your body is losing fluids and you need to make it a priority to replace them. Don’t just drink water either, incorporate an electrolyte-enhanced drink.  Alternate between water and electrolytes. If you’re training in the heat you should aim for no less than 100 ounces of water/electrolytes every day. So start early, and drink up!

Train in the mornings/evenings

It’s no secret that the hottest part of the day is noon – 5:00 p.m. If you can avoid training during that timeframe – do it!  Your training should occur earlier in the mornings or later in the evenings during the summer months. Training early in the morning before work is your best bet. That’s the coolest part of the day. For those of you who love your sleep, try to move your workouts to an evening time like 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. It’ll be warm, just not as hot as midday. Bonus – without the sun angled directly over you like it would be in the middle of the day, there will be more shade on your run or ride.

Dress to Sweat

Runner in light-colored clothes to prevent over heating

Wear light, breathable clothing to combat the heat!

You’re going to sweat, so aim to wear light-colored, breathable clothing when training. Darker colored clothing attracts and absorbs more of the sun’s heat. Cotton shirts and shorts absorb and carry sweat, and can weigh you down. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing when training in the heat. The lighter colors will reflect the sunlight and not absorb as much heat. The same goes for breathable clothing. The fabric is less absorbant so you’ll wick away sweat and prevent your clothes from weighing you down. This allows your body to stay cool and work more efficiently.

Run/bike on the Trails

Hit the trails! The pavement’s temperature can soar as high as 140 degrees when you’re running or cycling. This heat can last well into the evening. Visit some of the many local trails for your next run or ride. The shade from the trees helps keep the temperatures down. There’s often little-to-no vehicle traffic. The ground is softer than the hot concrete. Often times there’s a creek or river nearby that you can jump in if needed. Check out some favorite shaded spots to train from Jack’s Generic Tri. Bonus – the trails will make you a better runner/cyclist!

As you can see, there are many ways to beat the summer heat and stay in shape. Use these tips to stay cool this summer and continue to tackle your triathlon goals.

Why You Should Wear Sunglasses When Riding Your Bike

Why You Should Wear Sunglasses When Riding Your Bike

Wearing sunglasses when riding isn’t just for looking cool

In addition to looking hip, wearing sunglasses regularly can have several benefits. This applies to running, hanging at the beach, driving a car, and especially when riding your bike. If you have some sweet specs that make you look cool, all the better! We recommend the UA Igniter II Sunglasses by Under Armour.

Protectionprotecting her eyes during a bike ride!

  • Dust and debris – You will encounter visible and non-visible projectiles whether you’re riding the trails or commuting to work. Wearing sunglasses when riding your bike to protect your eyes from flying debris might be the most important reason. Flying debris doesn’t care if you’re riding solo or with a group. Cars kick up rocks, bugs are everywhere, even other cyclists can kick up debris on the side of the road. Dust is everywhere. It’s often stirred up by cars, other riders, or Mother Nature. Glasses won’t protect you from all the dust, but it’ll surely help. If you wear shades when riding then you know you have to clean them after every ride.
  • UV exposure – Repeated exposure to UVA and UVB radiation from the sun will have negative consequences on your vision. Protecting your eyes is critical to the short-term, and in this case, the long-term health of your eyes. Make sure your lenses are polarized and have a coating that absorbs the sun’s rays. Lenses also need to be a neutral color, not crazy tints and extreme colors. Your goal is to protect your eyes while replicating what your eyes see naturally.

Safety

  • Clearer view – The correct lenses will help clear your view when cycling. Cyclists have a large amount of information to process when riding. You’re watching for vehicles, intersections, signaling turns, avoiding potholes, tracking other cyclists and runners, the list goes on. Any time you can eliminate distractions you free up the ability to pay attention and process more information. Proper lenses will also help reduce the sun’s glare. Glare could shine in your eyes from street signs, windows on buildings, or the hoods of cars. Proper fitting sunglasses will also reduce the amount of wind that hits your eyes. Wind alone can cause dryness and irritation when riding.

Next time you’re logging some miles for your CapTex Tri training, be sure to wear a pair of sunglasses when riding your bike. Even a cheap pair will provide protection until you can get a pair that you’ll love. Taking care of your eyes now will pay dividends down the road.

Swim Faster with Fins

Swim Faster with Fins

Use fins during your swim training to become faster in the water

Do you want to improve your kick strength, ankle flexibility, body position, and increase your speed in the water? If you’re thinking, duh, try adding fins to some of your swimming workouts for your upcoming tri! With the right amount of training and the right tools, you’ll be on track to improve your swimming abilities for CapTex Tri in no time.

Why you should use fins

Wearing swim fins increases the amount of resistance your muscles experience as you kick, guaranteeing you’ll put your leg muscles to full use. Stronger legs and the additional strength will carry over into normal swimming when you’re not wearing your fins.use fins to become faster in the water.

Another benefit of using fins is improved ankle flexibility. This stems from the extra force the fins place on your ankles as you kick. Increased ankle flexibility will result in a more efficient flutter kick through better angles of attack in the water. When you are unable to fully flex your ankles into a streamlined position the ankles remain somewhat bent, catching water instead of propelling the body through it.

Do you have some other new swim equipment? This Rookie Tri blog shows you how to incorporate other swim equipment into your triathlon training.

Technique-focused workout

You’ll want to focus on a slow-motion, over-exaggerated flutter kick. During this workout, focus on slowing down the kick cycle and dramatically increase your range of motion. The over-exaggerated technique allows swimmers to more easily tune into ankle flexion and proper body alignment throughout the kick. As a bonus, this drill is also quite taxing on the legs and core – the increased workload of a large kick also makes for a great strength-building exercise.

2 Rounds

use fins to become faster in the water2 x 25 over-exaggerated flutter kick (with kickboard)
4 x 25 freestyle, easy
2 x 25 over-exaggerated flutter kick (no kickboard)
4 x 25 freestyle, mid-level effort
2 x 25 over-exaggerated flutter kick (with kickboard)
4 x 25 freestyle, easy

6 Essential Skills You Need to Know for Race Day

Essential Race Day Skills You Need to Know for Your Upcoming Tri

Leave no room for surprises during your upcoming tri with these essential race day skills you need to know

Despite all the planning and prepping to make the morning of your tri go perfectly, we all know that some things are out of our control. Expected the unexpected and prepare yourself by mastering these essential race day skills to handle whatever comes your way on race day.

How to Fix a Dropped Chain

6 skills to know before race day

Get off the bike and steady it in an upright position against something sturdy. To add slack to the chain, push the rear derailleur toward the pedal (forward or inward), and then use your other hand to free the chain from the chainrings or pedals. Line the chain back up with a chainring and cassette to put the chain back in place. Lastly, lift the rear of your bike a few inches of the ground and give the pedals a few turns to allow the chain to find its gear. This seems insignificant, but it’s an important step to keep your chain from more wear and tear throughout the rest of your ride.

How to Ride in the Rain

Check the weather on race morning to see if you should be prepared to ride in the rain. Throughout the course, avoid standing water. You never know what could be underneath a puddle, and you don’t want to risk a flat tire in wet conditions. Also, be on the lookout for rainbow-colored oil patches to avoid slipping. Stay within your comfort zone, and take your time and be cautious around corners to prevent losing control. Last but not least, bring some protection for your eyes! Hopefully, you do this when out for any ride, but you will be glad you did in the case of riding in the rain.

How to Ride While Taking a Drink

You’re bound to get thirsty during the bike portion, so be prepared to ride with one hand during a race. Practice makes perfect. During your training, practice this race day skill by removing one hand at a time to build up your confidence. Start with shorter distances, and before you know it you’ll be pro at riding with one hand. This will allow you to eat, drink and signal to other riders while making your way to the finish line.

How to Sight in the Water

To avoid swimming a further distance during your tri, sighting is an essential race day skill you should practice before an open-water swim. You need to look where you’re going every few strokes to make sure you are staying within the buoys. The best method of sighting is to incorporate glancing forward before you go to take a breath. It is recommended to sight every 2 – 3 strokes, but in order to find what works best for you, you will just have to practice. Pro tip: Look at the swim course before-hand to see if the course goes clockwise or counter-clockwise, then you’ll know to stay on the right or left side of the buoys.

How to Look Over Your Shoulder on the Bike

Once you perfect riding with one hand, you’ll be ready to look over your shoulder during your ride. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings during a ride to keep yourself, and others around you safe. It’s all about shifting your weight correctly and keeping your knees, pelvis, and front-wheel facing forward. We advise performing this drill in a parking lot, or on an empty street to make sure you can still ride straight while turned around.

How to Change a Flat

Follow these 10 simple steps to fix a flat, and you’ll be back in the race in no time.

1. Pull over and find a safe place off the road to change tire
2. Remove the wheel from the bike.
3. Remove the tire with levers from the wheel
4. Check your tire for large punctures or sharp items
5. Check the rim of the wheel for anything that might have punctured through the rim tape
6. Pop one side of the tire back over the rim of the wheel
7. Put the new tube back inside tire
8. Push the free tire wall back onto the rim
9. Inflate the new tube.
10. Put the wheel back on the bike.

Once you’ve conquered these essential race day skills you need to know for your upcoming tri, there will be nothing in your way as you head for the finish line!