Longest race of my life: four weeks to Ironman; even adults fall off bicycles


Airman 1st Class Clayton A. Wear’s hand after dressing his bicycle “injury” from August 13, 2017, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Wear takes pride in his first aid techniques, which he believes saved his hand from amputation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Clayton Wear/Released)


If you have been following this series, then you would know that four weeks from this Sunday I will be competing in the Ironman 70.3 Superfrog. In the previous articles in this series, I have written about why I decided to take on this race, my weaknesses, and the things I am doing to correct those weaknesses. For this article, I am going to write about my first hiccup in training.

I have tuned my training the last few weeks without issue, but last week I took a decent fall off my bike after a great workout.

A strong source of training for me has come from the stationary bikes at the gym. All of the bikes have gages with a real-time power output manifested in watts. This has been a great tool for me because it doesn’t provide feedback of my biking technique, just output.

Every session, I strap my feet into the pedals, set a stopwatch, pick my favorite music playlist, and dig my feet into those pedals as hard as I can. While I create a pool of sweat under me, I keep my eyes closed and visualize race day. This is great on a stationary bike, but not so fantastic when I’m exhausted on a real bike…

Which leads me to my first bike fall since I transitioned off my big wheel.

Last weekend I was riding my bike around the air field for a few laps. The goal, since I couldn’t manage my watt output, was to pace the ride with my watch. After some time, I had spent all my energy and was pushing to maintain pace.

In my exhausted state I taught myself a strategy of looking ahead to an identifiable marker, then dropping my eyes to my watch to maintain pace until I passed each marker.

I had passed at least ten markers after implementing this strategy, but I didn’t make it to the last one at the same pace.

While exhausted, looking at my watch, and only thinking about my pace I fell onto the pavement going 23.5 miles per hour.

Although I was only marked up a bit, and gained a small wrist bruise, the experience of falling off my bicycle at twenty-one years of age was humbling.

No more exhausted strategies for me.

Even adults fall off bicycles.



Editor’s note: This is an on-going 10 week series. You can visit www.vandenberg.af.mil and the 30th Space Wing Facebook page every Friday for a new feature.