100 Triathlons
Go to the early blogs to read how I got into triathlons. Click on any picture to enlarge it. I'm now in USA Triathlon's Century Club; go to
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." Theodore Roosevelt 1910

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Right Bike

Here I am in Chicago (Evergreen Park) in 1963; I rode this bike to school and back 4 miles (1 mile each way & home for lunch) everyday. For a child growing up in the late 1950s/1960s, a bicycle meant freedom and a chance to explore your surrounding. One speed, balloon tires, probably 45 pounds. I was totally unaware that bicycle racing existed.

1994 Softride Power V; before carbon fiber was light. This was my first tri-bike; before this I used a Specialized road bike for a few races. Great bike but the carbon frame was a bit heavy. It eventually developed a crack and Softride replaced it with the frame below. Greg Welch won the Hawaiian Ironman on the Power V in 1994. This picture looks so dated now.

1999 Softride Rocket TT7, very aero. Softrides were still a bit heavy and they had a higher center of gravity due to the frame shape. The aero shape was better than anything else at the time and amazing on long downhills. I hit 51 mph descending Hospital Hill during a race in Clermont, FL. Weighing 175 pounds helps on downhills!

2005 Litespeed Tachyon; light & fast! I love this bike! The titanium frame with the carbon fork/seatpost does a fabulous job absorbing road shock and keeps the bike nice and light. Litespeed discontinued this model in 2008 and their aero shape tri-bike was a half pound heavier. I added a FSA Compact Crank (36/48) to give my old knees a break climbing hills.
You can do triathlons with any bike but having a tri/forward seatpost frame certainly helps to alleviate the "dead-legs" feeling I used to get off the bike on the run. The theory is that with the seat forward, you're utilizing a different set of leg muscles to pedal. You can find bike bargains on Craigslist or Ebay (if you know what to look for) or check out your Local Bike Shop's end of year sales. I got the Litespeed in 2006 when a LBS dropped Litespeed and cleared out their inventory. At the last race of 2009, I got a kick out of passing a 30 year old on a Cervelo P3 Carbon (disk wheel/aero helmet). Bicycling legend Eddy Merckx is quoted as saying, "You want to go faster? Pedal harder". You can buy speed on the bike but you still have to train to go fast. So which is the Right Bike? It's the one that feels right for you.


  1. Has the clothing you've worn for training and competition evolved as much? Does your "Pedal harder." philosophy apply to all the new compression, advanced chamois, breathable material being used in shorts/shirts?

  2. Clothing has not changed that much to affect performance. I wear a tri-suit now instead of Speedos but that's just a style issue as doing tris in Speedos has gone away. I believe that training longer/harder/faster wil improve you more than anything you can buy. (Darn it!)

  3. Hi Jack

    I work for a publisher, currently working on a book about bikes. We are hunting for an image of the Softride power V 1994, which I see you have! Please get in touch zoe.smith@quarto.com