Triathlon Challenge: From spin bike to road bike
March 19th, 2011
02:16 PM ET

Triathlon Challenge: From spin bike to road bike

Joaquin Brignoni is one of six CNN iReporters selected to be part of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge.  He and his teammates each received a new Cannondale road bike as part of the challenge. They're learning to ride their new speed machines - slowly, but surely.

"It's time to ride!" my coach said as we reviewed my weekly training schedule. I felt a jolt of excitement to jump off the 6 a.m. spin bike and hit the real road.

We met on a Friday afternoon at a local trail near my coach’s home in Winter Garden, Florida. I was super excited because I had never ridden a road bike before. So, once I arrived, I quickly unhitched my new wheels, put on my helmet and I was ready to roll.

I decided priority No. 1 was to stay focused on remembering to unclip early with the same foot before every stop. I’m proud to report no falls on my first ride!

As I began to pedal the bike's rapidly increasing speed became intimidating. I had never moved that fast on anything without a motor before. I was fully aware that any sudden movements could send me flying over the handlebars like a slingshot.

I was nervous to take my hand off the handlebars to grab my water bottle. So hydrating for the first time while riding really made my heart rate jump! Yet, I successfully managed to drink twice without running off the road. I felt like a pro.

Once I got comfortable with the speed, I relaxed more, focused on adjusting my hand positions and using hand signals to communicate with riders behind me.

My first experience on a road bike was awesome and I can not wait to feel the thrill of racing through the streets of New York City!

Until then...I’ll work on shifting gears as I blaze the local trails.

soundoff (1,325 Responses)
  1. OK

    Spare us.

    March 19, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Graham

      Haha...amen. Sorry but this is a completely lame story.

      March 21, 2011 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
  2. SJG

    I HIGHLY recommend using a camelback water back. I've been riding for quite some time and am still uncomfortable riding and drinking. The camel back added time to my T1 transition, but I kept it for the run too and found myself much less dehydrated and confident on my bike.

    March 19, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Velominati

      No, no, no, no, no...

      See rule 32: http://www.velominati.com/blog/the-rules/

      March 20, 2011 at 08:28 | Report abuse |
  3. aitoman

    " . . . the bike's rapidly increasing speed became intimidating." I laughed to read this quote from the article. I decided about 1981 that I would do an ironman. I had read somewhere that they had held an event in hawaii that was intended as a test of endurance. I always had thought of myself as mentally tough, more so than athletically gifted. In 2001, I had the chance to begin training. With only two months to the St. Croix Half IM I knew I needed to buy a real tri-bike. My swim/spin instructors at the health club in CO were shocked, and told me' "Get a bike and get on it ! " So, I did. On my first ride, tucked over the handlebars down a big hill, I was struck with the mechanical elegance of the bike, and the efficient transfer of power from leg to road it facilatated. WOW !! Next thing I knew, I was tucked, in top gear, and pedaling as hard as my five months of spin training would support. Into a curve I flew on what always seemed in the car a very, very slight (almost unnoticeable) downhill). Instantly, I realized I couldn't hold it. Crash or lay it down? I layed it down in tall grass off the outside shoulder. Thank God for helmet technology !!! Road rash right side from knee, thigh, chest, inside arm shoulder to wrist. Decision time. If this were race day, what would I do? On the bike to complete a planned 40-mile test ride and 10-mile run. In my next spin class, my instructor, who is in the CO Sports Hall of fame commented non-chalantly, "I see you bought a bike." This was followed with, "You know, there are two kinds of serious triathletes. Those who know road rash, and those who will." I felt immediately welcomed to the club. This welcome continued at pre-race events, check-ins, encouragement during races, to post-race festivities. These welcomes came from professionals, elites, and from seasoned age groupers, until finally, it was I offering the welcomes. Please allow me to do it, again. Joaquin Brignoni, welcome. Become who you are on the course. And, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, 90 percent of the game is half mental. Be tough-minded in training, and soft-hearted on every race day. That way, race day will be even more memorable. Train hard, "put the hay in the barn," and then on race day, relax mentally and enjoy EVERYTHING . . . the good, the bad, and the ugly, but mostly the wonderful people. Go. Kick it to cross the line. Finish. You'll never forget who you have become. P.s. Yes, my new found triathlon friends eventually inspired me across the finish line of a full IM, the Aitoman (Warrior Man) in Tahaiti. I wish for you the same growth and inspiration. And, may you inspire others !!

    March 19, 2011 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • OK

      I'm not a triathlete, "just" a road cyclist for 32 years, and when I woke up in a hospital 30 years ago with a 10-day-old head injury from a crash nobody gave me a welcome to the club. Because I'd already been riding 175-200 miles a week for 2 years. (And, foolishly, without a helmet.) This was decades before people made a big deal out of rooms full of people riding stationary bicycles under the direction of somebody.

      March 19, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse |
    • Fran

      Such a wonderful post. I'm inspired to get on the bike!

      March 20, 2011 at 06:15 | Report abuse |
    • TriHardNina

      What a great post! Thanks for taking the time to share and encourage my new friend Joaquin. It will be inspiring to all of us "first-timers" in the CNN Six Pack!

      March 22, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse |
  4. charles s

    Helmets are for sissies. I rather be a sissie then ride without a helmet. What really gets me when I am biking is I will pass a family riding bikes and the kids all of have helmets but the adults seldom have one. It reminds of the good old days in cars before seat belts were mandatory. I would see Mom or Dad driving the car without a belt but their kids would be sitting in the back seat with belts. People are really strange.

    March 19, 2011 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DLaps

      Its human nature to protect what we value, so if you have a decent brain you will want to wear a helmet to protect it, those who don't wear helmets probably don't need one – nothing valuable to protect.

      I also find it strange to see the kids with helmets and the parents without. The kids are probably more coordinated than the parents and what sort of message does it send to your kids.

      March 20, 2011 at 20:58 | Report abuse |
  5. Spin doctors meet _allende

    The time has come to take the spin bike off the list and see the road. What if socialism is the very best word in almost any language? Perhaps that is why we will never know if it is or not.. Instead we are stuck with facebook and industrial varients of communism. Democracy is such an overused word like "growth". True socialism requires an intelligent people... So the spins continue to crash on the road. Who truly hates real Socialism the most? Wonder why? 🙂

    March 20, 2011 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Spin doctors meet _allende

    variations...varients...vary... Superior.

    March 20, 2011 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Deed

    Spinning classes is to cycling like crawling is to running. It isn't the same. It is a fun exercise, but has little benefit to riding on the road. Let alone help a person for the first time to ride a bike on the road let alone on an unpaved surface. I would of loved to have been there to watch this fellow. I bet he didn't get much of an aerobic workout.

    March 20, 2011 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eddie

      I respectfully disagree. There are only so many times convenient for road riding (in my life, weekends only, sadly), which means I need to do as much "simulation" as I can to get/keep myself in shape. Crank up the resistance, keep 90+ rpm and a high heart rate you're making progress.

      Is there any realistic way to spin your way up a killer climb? Of course not, but the idea that one doesn't help the other is hogwash. I spin on Wednesday and ride on Saturday (with runs and swims the other weekdays), and just past Saturday I noticed the hills easier than last year when I didn't do a mid-week spin.

      Also, check out real-ryder technology. Awesome stuff.

      March 21, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
    • Kreel

      You obviously haven't taken my class.

      April 4, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
  8. parker

    I taught spinning for 10 years. The controlled environment of the class can't prepare you for the actual road. Now my road bike sits on a trainer 95% of the year! 

    March 20, 2011 at 08:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Magali

    All I have is a mountain bike and I still haven't taken it off road, but I know what you mean by the speed being intimidating!! Keep practicing, trying new techniques and I'm sure you'll be a pro, (think I'll take my own advice too, oh and start wearing that helmet whether I'm off road or not!!), love you big brother.

    March 20, 2011 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. GlueckAuf

    Deed–Spinning classes don't prep you for road riding? Then you're not cranking up the resistance enough, bud. Spinning classes are like prepping and tuning a race car's motor on a dynamometer. If you use a heart rate monitor and push yourself hard and often, you CAN get the "motor" (heart, legs and lungs) tuned to perfection this way and never move an inch. But you can't practice, let alone perfect, the handling, pack etiquette, and tactical aspects road riding or racing require on a stationary bike alone. That is only possible by training on the road. Fortunately, though, those road-specific skills are easily learned and maintained, so the bulk of your training–MOTOR training–is possible rain or shine, winter or summer, on an indoor spinning bike or home trainer. Good road.

    March 20, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Eddie

    Yeah I remember riding my first bike when I was 6. The training wheels really helped me get down the driveway and back. Good times.

    March 20, 2011 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Paul

    So wait... lemme see If I got this report right...

    You rode a bike.

    WOW. Newsworthy stuff CNN.

    March 20, 2011 at 23:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Graham

    well stated.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Old Peugeot Roadie

    Stationary bike? That's about as much fun as running in place.

    March 21, 2011 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Gail

    Great story. so proud of you! Keep up the great work. We are all cheering you on!

    March 21, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Greg

    If you're looking to begin a road bike workout or a spinning workout, check out Holosfitness.com. Holosfitness.com is a free online fitness tool. The site offers step-by-step instruction on hundreds of exercises, video demonstration of workouts, and blogs posted by fitness professionals. The site is the perfect resource to begin a new exercise routine or improve the one you're on.

    March 21, 2011 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • a

      is this an automated post?

      May 17, 2011 at 20:57 | Report abuse |
  17. trihardstasia

    rock it Joaquin!!!

    March 21, 2011 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Ryan

    Keep up the good work Joaquin.

    March 22, 2011 at 03:09 | Report abuse | Reply
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