All Posts by Mike Rich

Your Questions About Sprint Triathlons

Sharon asks…

Can somebody explain “drafting” and how not to do it in a triathlon?

I am competing in my first sprint distance triathlon this weekend, and want to make sure I understand the drafting rules for the bike portion. Drafting is illegal. So how do I avoid it?

Mike Rich answers:

When you’re behind someone, you need to maintain at least 3 bike lengths between the two of you except to pass. If you attempt a pass, you must complete it, regardless of how long it takes or if the other person speeds up. They will have officials on motorcycles monitoring the bike course and they will not penalize you for taking too long to pass someone, but they will penalize you for a failed attempt. If you start a pass and the other person speeds up, just stick it out until you’re ahead of them and then let them pass you back if you have to.

Since this is your first race, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If you do get dinged for drafting it’s a 2 minute penalty, but you’ll still be allowed to finish the race, which I hope is the most importaant thing for you on your first tri. Also, with this being your first race, stay to the right as much as possible except to pass so that others can pass you on your left. If you want any other advice, email me!

Congratulations and good luck!

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Schwinn Mountain Bikes

Schwinn Mountain Bikes Review

“Schwinn Mountain Bikes are popular among Triathletes. Read this review and decide for yourself if this is also the bike for you!”

Schwinn Mountain Bikes

Schwinn Mountain Bikes

What To Look For
Schwinn bicycles have attempted to enter the mountain bike market since the late 1980s without much success. The company has gone through multiple ownerships and bankruptcy, and never really put out a solid line of mountain bikes. It did come out with the Homegrown bike models in 2000 before going bankrupt again in 2001.

The 2010 Schwinn mountain bikes come in a hard-tail frame with the choice of either steel or aluminum. In 2009, Schwinn had a full-suspension mountain bike with the Active Link Full Suspension System that offered up to 4 to 5 inches in travel. However, these bikes are not listed on its website as of 2010. The three models offered are the Frontier, Frontier Sport and the Frontier Expert, both for men and women.

Common Pitfalls
When buying a Schwinn mountain bike you should know what kind of bike you are purchasing. The Frontier series is for the recreational rider who enjoys easy, nontechnical trails and riding with the family on the weekends. The components and frame material are designed accordingly. If you use one of these mountain bikes for a more advanced and technical trail, you may find some of the parts could break.

Where To Buy
Commonly retail stores that sell Schwinn are Walmart, Kmart, Target and Sears. There are also still some bike shops that are Schwinn distributors, and you can search your local area on Schwinn’s website. You can also purchase them online at places like, Bike Nashbar and Performance Bicycle.

The price for a Schwinn mountain bike averages between $300 and $450 depending on which Frontier model you chose to buy. Previous-year models the cost could average between $300 and $1,000, again depending on model. The full-suspension bikes are normally more expensive because of added components.

More at Schwinn Mountain Bikes Review

Also, watch this video on how to tune up Schwinn Mountain Bikes:

More Reading for Schwinn Mountain Bikes here:

Your Questions About Best Wetsuit For Weak Swimmers

Nancy asks…

I am doing my first triathlon in a month?

I can’t afford a full body wetsuit. all I have here is a longsleeve wetsuit top. Will that do?

Mike Rich answers:

It depends. What is the water temperature likely to be?

If it’s too cold for you to swim without a wetsuit, then by all means wear it! It will keep your core warm even if your legs are getting cold. I would recommend buying a neoprene hood to wear under your swim cap. They aren’t very expensive but will keep your head warm. I do a lot of open water swimming in cold water (under 60F) and usually wear a neoprene cap and just a regular swim suit –though this takes some practice to get adjusted to!

If you are not worried about the water being too cold for you to swim in without a wetsuit, then I would not bother with it. The wetsuit will restrict your arm movement while not giving you the benefit of lifting your hips like a fullbody suit would. The reasons triathletes wear wetsuits are to a) stay warm and b) keep their hips up since they often are relatively weak swimmers with poor body position/technique. So, wearing a wetsuit on top only can actually lift your shoulders up more, which will result in dropping your hips more –this is the opposite of how you want to swim. You do not want to drag your hips through the water like a barge. You want to float them up to the surface as much as possible.

In short, if you won’t be too cold, leave the top-half wetsuit at home.

Either way, you should be able to save time in your first transition over folks wearing a full wetsuit!

I’m a swimmer who just started doing triathlons myself. I saved up my money to buy a road bike, so I couldn’t afford a wetsuit either. I borrowed one from a friend for a couple of really cold water early-springtime practice swims. I hated wearing the wetsuit (but was happy for the warmth). I’m glad I spent my money on the bike instead. The triathlons I’ve done were in water warm enough for me to leave the wetsuit at home.

Best of luck to you in your first tri!

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