My Wife, the Bad *** Cyclist – Triathlete

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we bring back #MonSort– where we will let the triathletes tell their story in their own words. To submit your triathlon history email [email protected] with “My Tri” in the subject line.

Today, Alex Harrison tells the story of his wife, Michelle Howe.

Michelle started her 2019 U.S. National Road Cycling Championships experience with a lost chain and a 19th place time trial. Like her husband, and her bicycle mechanic, it stung. In a triathlon, the cycling stage represents a little less than half of the race in time. In a cycling time trial, it’s just cycling against the clock and every second counts.

In 2018, Michelle underwent hip surgery, forcing her to give up running and triathlon, the sport she loved so much, and to cycle for a year. She spent the year road racing in the western half of the United States and eventually landed at the national time trial and road racing championships.

For her, the chain that fell in a race against time inspired anything but confidence in her bike or in her mechanic husband, yours.

The next two years were a journey through COVID, Everest, moving full time into a motorhome, resuming triathlon training after the surgery that took her out of the sport she loved most. Oh, and I, her bike mechanic, her husband, and her nutritionist, have gone all out to learn how to make bikes that are fast and, most importantly, reliable.

Its training methodology during the fateful 2020 could be described as “more”. More of everything. More hours of training. More disciplines (MTB XC, do you like it?). No more racing. No more swimming. A LOT more riding. The most important: more fun. That is, if “the fun” includes several 20 hour hikes, including night climbs of Mount Lemmon on both a road bike and a mountain bike.

When she returned to Knoxville for the 2021 US Pro Cycling TT Championships, she was still aboard the same 2013 Cervelo P5.

The rotor cranks had been replaced with an Ultegra 52-34 crankset (not a typo, it’s a mix of 50-34 and 52-36, and it shifts well enough that it’s worth it.) A new Hambini BB replaced the BB rotor, after a bit of dremeling on the carbon frame. An Ultegra 11-30 cassette and Ultegra chain with NFS lubricant replaced the old chain and worn 11-28 cassette. There is still a big hill in the TT.

For safety reasons, POC Tempor replaced Giro Aerohead, but let’s be honest, this decision was primarily based on the ability of each helmet to deflect air around its head and body.

Zipp 808 NSW replaced 858. Zipp Super9 stayed behind. Both rim brake rims adorned with Vittoria Corsa Speed ​​G + 2.0 with Silca latex tubes (yes, I drank the koolaid). 25mm front tire at 88 psi. 23 mm rear at 93 psi.

This time, with a K-Edge chain catcher installed, her mechanic husband stayed up all night working on the bike, making sure everything was perfect. Adjust, rip, tape, reroute cables, tie zips and tape some more. Test and retest the shifting performance both on the stand and under my own load outdoors.

When she crossed the finish line she was first, with around 10 other runners to finish. Among them: Chloe Dygert, Amber Neben, Leah Thomas (the trio now make up the 2021 Olympic team), and Tayler Wiles. It was these four who managed to beat Michelle’s time. Fifth of the day in his second US Pro TT.

I celebrated by going to bed at 5 p.m.

Lessons Learned Here

  • Hire a good mechanic. Details matter.
  • Enjoy your training first. Train hard, second. It’s much easier to train for hundreds of hours a year when you love what you do.

What did she do the day after the road race on Sunday? A six mile run and a three mile swim. After all, she’s racing Oceanside 70.3 in October.


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