Monday, June 6, 2011

Running into the Escape from Alcatraz Expo

After the storm passed through on Saturday, I decided to get a run in as it was 10 days since my last one. So I set off on my usual route the Embarcadero (after stopping to watch the Giants game for a bit), Fort Mason, and Marina Green. I'd planned on coming back on Filbert or maybe Lyon. But approaching the Green I passed first one then another rider on time trial frames with numbers markered on their calves. No doubt about it, there was a triathlon in town.

I came across the Expo in the Green itself. I had to stop to check it out. Trithletes were everywhere. I hoped nobody confused me for one. I'm a cyclist, not a triathlete. Sure, I've been running a lot lately, but there's a big difference between someone who mixes running with cyclist and a "multisport athlete". It goes way beyond the time period which expires between the activities; it's a deeply cultural difference.

Trek Speed Concept time trial frame: the head tube almost disappears from a head-on view, even with the front wheel slightly turned. From EscapeFromAlcatraz2011

The Scott Foil mass-start road frame has clean cable lines and a contoured head tube, but has a far more subdued aerodynamic character than that Trek time trial frame. From EscapeFromAlcatraz2011

Cervelo P4 at the Front of the Pack booth... this frame is always impressive, but I must admit the Trek has displaced it on the "coolness" scale. From EscapeFromAlcatraz2011

Highlights of the expo were first the Trek time trial frame -- the thing simply disappears from view head-on, and the new Scott Foil. I've written about that bike here but had never before seen one in the flesh. Clean cable lines, some contouring at the head tube, and sure enough the "Kamm tail" design which looks like a truncated parabola tube cross-section at the down tube. But assuming the test data is good, it hides its "aeroness" well. I approve: it seems to be a nice all-around bike.

So after stopping for a few samples (tasty Enervit chews, Cytomax which apparently switched from acesulfate-K to stevia) I was ready to go.

But then they announced an "athlete briefing". I wasn't in a rush to get back home so I decided to sit in. I stood off to the side. Again I didn't want anyone thinking I was actually in the race.

The briefing was interesting. Participants were warned about the 52-54F water and about the strong western current ("Current is to the west; swim south; magically you'll go southwest"). Then they were warned about a rough descent passing the Legion of honor on the bike route. And finally they were advised to walk the famous Sand Ladder at Baker Beach, using the cables for support. Wow -- what an interesting course, I decided. I'm coming back tomorrow...

And so I continued my run. But as I approached my planned turn-off, I couldn't resist following the triathlon course a bit further. Soon this was turning into quite a lengthy run. When I saw 25 km on my Garmin, I extended it a bit further still to take it over 30 km. I saw 30.3 km when I'd gotten back home. I was to pay for my enthusiasm a bit the next day when I was still a bit sore, but not too bad. I felt good I'd not suffered any real pain on the long run.

1 comment:

rkhill said...

You may (probably) have been through this in the past somewhere on your blog, but can you estimate how much a bike like that can help mere mortals? Let's say (hypothetically) someone (6', 148lbs) enters a local (Dunlap) 30km time trial with absolutely no aero equipment -- regular road bike (Calfee, round tubes), no aero bars, 32 spoke (OpenPro) wheels, etc... Flat roads, minimal wind... Average speed 23.5mph...

This calculator estimates some pretty significant advantages of "triathlon bicycle" vs. "hands on the drops" -- taking that 23.5 mph average up to 24.9mph. Think it's accurate?