Sage Rountree: A dozen thoughts for novice triathletes

Sage Rountree enlightens a wrapt audience on the basics of triathlon Thursday evening at Great Outdoor Provision Co.'s Cameron Village store.

“For how many of you is this your first triathlon?” Sage Rountree asked the 70 or so women who had shown up for last night’s informational meeting on the Ramblin’ Rose women-only triathlon series.

Nearly every hand shot up.
Predictable, but a good thing considering Rountree’s presentation was a Triathlon 101 primer for newbies. Of course, Rountree being perhaps the Triangle’s best-known and accomplished trainer/coach/yoga practitioner, she likely would have done fine had nary a hand gone up.
So, what does a first-time female triathlete need to know? Here are a dozen thoughts on the subject from Rountree.

  • Only an 8-year-old should do an entire triathlon in a bathing suit. Lots of good reasons why, most involving chaffing.
  • Pump up your bike tires before the race (and every training ride) and spin ‘em beforehand as well to make sure they aren’t rubbing against your brake pads.
  • “Do you need a $4,000 bike,” she asked. “Not yet,” she answered. You might if you become ultra-competitive, but for your first race a hybrid, a mountain bike, a cruiser will do.
  • You must wear a bike helmet, you must have it buckled and you should remember to take it off when you transition from the bike to the run.
  • You should be fine doing the bike and run in running shoes. If you’re looking for a speedier shoe transition from swim to bike, consider bungee laces. “But try them in training first,” she advised. “You may not like the way they feel.”
  • If you’re looking for an even speedier transition from swim to bike by not donning socks, sprinkle your shoes with baby powder.
  • Place a dab of baby shampoo in each lens of your swim goggles, then rinse. That will keep them from fogging.
  • If you eat breakfast within three hours of a short event such as a sprint tri you shouldn’t need additional nutrition during the race. If it’s more than three hours, you might consider eating a banana or doing a power gel in transition.
  • Your bike should feel comfortable. If it doesn’t, take it to a bike shop and have them tweak your fit.
  • Indoor cycling, while good aerobically, is no substitute for doing the real thing.
  • In training, you should do the actual distance of each individual event at least once, perhaps a week before the event. In the case of the Ramblin’ Rose, that would be a 225-yard swim, 9-mile bike ride, 2-mile run.
  • Practice your transitions. For instance, Rountree says you can replicate the transition from swim to bike in the privacy of your driveway. “Spin in circles for a minute, then get on your bike and pedal away.” (Though probably not out into the street.)

While much of this may be new to most of you, Rountree told the gathering at Great Outdoor Provision Co.’s Cameron Village store, you already have one key strength.
“For those of you who are mothers, you’re already good at equipment management and planning. Moms always excel at that.”

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For more information on the Ramblin’ Rose race series, visit its website here.

Wondering what makes the Ramblin’ Rose special, what makes it appeal to so many women? Get a sense from last night’s gathering in this post on the Great Outdoor Provision Co. blog.

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