I know for many of you this is nothing new, but I also know I have a lot of bloggers that follow me that are runners vs. triathletes and after a few questions about cycling I thought I would give you some basic information and terms from the triathlon world.
Disclaimer: I am in no way a subject matter expert. I am just starting my second season as a triathlete. I still have a lot to learn. The whole gearing thing on the bike is still pretty much a mystery to me, but I’m improving. Hopefully this provides you some of the basics so when you read these on blogs you know what people are talking about.
Brick – A brick is a workout that contains 2 of the 3 sports in order. Traditionally a brick is the bike to the run, but some people also call a swim to bike a brick workout. Rumor has it the term brick was used because that’s how your legs feel when transitioning from the bike to the run – like a couple of bricks.
Transition – The period of time it takes you to move from one sport to the next. Referred to as T1 and T2 – T1 is the swim to bike transition, and T2 is the bike to run. It is important to be fast during your transitions because this time is counted in your total race time, so if you have a 15 minute transition you add 15 minutes to your total race. Most people spend a minute or two in transition, the pros can do it in seconds.
Cadence – I’m sure most of you know this term from running, but in cycling it’s the number of revolutions (one complete pedaling circle) you make per minute. People have different theories on the ideal cadence, but a generally accepted rule of thumb is to have a cadence between 80 to 100. You should try to keep your cadence consistent, even when doing hill workouts. This is difficult for me. You can purchase a cadence sensor that attaches to your bike and monitors this for you. I have the one that goes with my Garmin.
Drafting – This can be done when cycling or swimming. When cycling you ride closely behind another rider to reduce the wind resistance so it requires less effort to cycle. Drafting is generally not allowed in most triathlons and can potentially cause disqualification from a race, but is common to see among cyclists that will draft in a pack and alternate the lead cyclist so they all get the benefit. You can also do this in swimming by swimming closely behind a faster swimmer. This is legal in most triathlons but is generally considered unsportsman like behavior.
Granny Gear – Slang term for the smallest chainwheel on a triple crank set. Some people call their lowest gear their “Granny Gear” but it actually specifically refers to just the smallest chainwheel on a crankset with more than two chainwheels. I do not have a third chainwheel on my bike so I really don’t have a granny gear.
Clipless Pedals – If you missed my early post that describes these in more detail – click here. Clipless pedals are oddly named because you are actually “clipped” into the bike. Before clipless pedals cyclist used toe clips (cages). Many cyclists still use these. The term clipless refers to the lack of toe clips. Clipless pedals are more efficient than toe clips and are preferred by most cyclists. And I am told, after I stop falling over everytime I use them that I will love them.
Trainer – If you hear people talking about doing workouts on their trainer. They are talking about a piece of equipment that you can set your bike up on to work out on your own bike. It is much better than using a stationary bike if you have to be indoors. It allows you to change gears, etc just like on the road, but you can also do things on the trainer that you can’t do on the road like stationary one legged – “leg cranks” – where you cycle with only one leg at a time to build leg strength.
|Your bike wheel goes up against this for resistence and your front wheel is free.|
Sprint/Super Sprint - Sprint or Super Sprint races can vary by distance by you will generally hear anything less than an Olympic distance race referred to as a sprint. They are typically a 500 – 750 meter swim, a 12 to 16 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile run (5K).
Olympic Distance – Also referred to as the “standard” distance. It consists of a .9 mile swim, a 25 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run (10K).
Half –Ironman – Often referred to as HIM. It consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run (half-marathon). This is the distance I hope to do in the future.
Ironman – The ultimate Triathlon distance, most famous is the Kona race in Hawaii. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 (full marathon).
If I’ve left out any other common, popular terms, feel free to leave them in the comments section. Thanks, hope this helped!