Last week, I made a last minute decision to attend a beginner's triathlon clinic on Saturday before my triathlon on Sunday. The event wasn't posted until Thursday night and my plans had been to drive the 4 hours to the Dallas area on Saturday morning. So, Friday afternoon I made the decision and hurridly packed for the weekend... and the 3 sports.
The clinic was amazing! I was worried about the transition and the coach, Coach Tom, went over so many details. It really put me at ease where I wasn't near as nervous going into Sunday! They also offered a one (of two) loop bike ride and one (of two) loop run. I decided to do the ride and skip the run. The ride was wonderful!
First of all, when Coach Tom asked if there were any questions, I asked if we were going to go slow... I'd never rode with a group before. (Plus, I didn't want to wear my legs out before Sunday!) So, Coach Tom said that I could ride with him and anyone else who wanted to ride slow could go with us.
There were about 15 riders - 5 women & 10 men. 3 other riders decided to ride with Tom & me. The others took off and we followed a few minutes later.
As we rode, Tom taught us so much! He would take turns having us ride beside him or in front of him so he could give us pointers. And, we each had several times as his student. When I wasn't his student, I enjoyed falling back some and talking with the other competitors. It was a lot more fun than riding by myself!
One thing he kept reminding me was to put my knees in. Evidentally, I ride with my knees slightly out so I'm missing out on some of the power I could be using. I need to remember this!
Also, I told him I'd never used my left gear shifts and weren't even sure what they were for. He taught me to shift gears when I climb hills so that I'm spinning more instead of having to work so hard. Wow! What a difference! He also had me move my hands in to the inner part of the handlebars when climbing hills. (As you can see, I'm a biking newbie and don't even know the terms!)
I learned to pay attention to what terrain was coming up so that I could mentally decide what gear shifts I needed to make. And, he told us to have our bikes in the correct gear for the start of the race on race mornings! Great tip! You've got to know how the course starts to do this!
I learned so much and wish I knew of a coach like Tom around here. His name is Tom Ryan and he is with Dallas Athletes so I looked him up when I got home. I found out he was voted Triathlon Coach of the Year for two years in a row! www.dallasathletes.com/?
He's a GREAT coach!
If you are in the Dallas area, you might check him out! In fact, I hope to be able to do some more work with him in the future. He is amazing! Even with all of the crowd, he made me feel like I was the only athlete there and gave me undivided attention. But, I saw he did that with a lot of athletes! And, dressed in his caveman outfit (for the Caveman Triathlon), he was the announcer. It was so much fun to run across the finish line as he yelled out my name and some encouraging words!
What about you? Do you have an incredible coach? I'm hoping to find a coach (probably as part of a team) next fall. I think that would be so much more fun than training alone!