By Doug Dunbar
photo 14 70.3 Training: Trading A Road Bike For A Tri Bike

CBS 11 anchor Doug Dunbar and his tri-bike. (Credit: Doug Dunbar/KTVT)

KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) – Larry Mowry’s forecast called for sun and 60 degree weather on Sunday.

He was right, but the front slowed and his forecast was about six hours late in arriving.

Not his fault, for sure, but made for a cold, gloomy, overcast 56-mile bike ride. I thought of Larry a few times.

That’s how far I’ll have to ride in a half Iron. I’ve been cycling for a few years now, but mostly road bike until now.

With a half in my sights, it was time to get on a triathlon bike. If you’re not familiar, a tri bike lets you lay over in what are called aero-bars, to get a very aerodynamic position, and get a lot of your body out of the wind.

The end result? With hard work, you’ll go a lot faster on a tri bike versus a road bike.

I left Keller around 9:30 a.m., and hooked up with a buddy. We then started the long trek out to Eagle Mountain Lake.

The legs were working hard on the way out, into a small but steady wind out of the NW.

My mind goes lots of places when I ride. I also listen to very low volume music. I must always hear what’s going on around me, so I never blare my music, it’s way off in the background, but just enough to be able to hum along, and keep my mind occupied.

Laying over in the aero-bars, your legs work like pistons. It’s up and down, hundreds of times every few minutes. My legs felt fresh on Sunday; I made it 30 miles with no significant pain or wear.

That was a good sign! I took a short break after 30 miles to eat a quick granola bar, but within five minutes, it was back to the road. In the 70.3, there will be no luxury like a five-minute break.

There, it will be 56 miles straight; after the 1.2-mile swim, and before the 13.1-mile run that will follow.

It’s funny what we do on bikes sometimes. I actually took the time to practice eating during this ride. Cyclists all eat what we call “goo.”

Basically, a gel form of fuel, proteins, electrolytes, carbohydrates; you can get most anything in a ‘goo” form.

But one lesson I’ve learned is about salt intake during a very long race: When we sweat, salt is leaving our body rapidly, and in a long race, that has an enormous impact and a negative one, at that.

So, what’s been working in my stomach is a combo platter of Peanut Butter crackers, a protein bar, and a goo.

My stash bag for my meal on wheels is in a small fabric box that sits right behind my handlebars, on the top tube of my bike.

You’d be amazed how much stuff we can “stuff’ in that thing!

So there I was, riding along anywhere from 20 to 25 miles an hour, reaching down, and slowly bringing a cracker to my mouth.

Eating, then drinking from the straw that sits no farther than two inches from my lips in a front mounted water bottle.

As if often the case, the ride back toward home saw a shift in the wind. Wouldn’t you know it? We were into the wind again! Ugh.

But, the good riders will tell you that it’s these types of days that will make you stronger.

Believe them.

The quads began talking to me around mile 45 –– not too far from my finish mileage –– but remember, soon, I’ll need to hop off the bike, put my running shoes on, and head out for a half marathon.

I wasn’t excited to feel my legs, but they weren’t horrible, so I pedaled strong through the 56.

It felt good when it was done, for sure.

A few hours later, the legs were back to normal. I’d say this was a very good ride today, and felt strong. But I’ll need more in the tank come race day, and that’s why we train!