Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I need your help!

Yes, it's true. I don't know anything about being a triathlete. :) I need your help. I've got two problems this week.
  1. My bike is a mess. I mean, it's sticky, it's dirty, the chain is making noise. I'll admit, I don't know the first thing about cleaning my bike/chain. How do I clean my bike? Do I just use soap and water? What about my chain? Do I have to remove the chain? Do I have to relube (he he!) the chain afterwards?
  2. In an effort to get stronger and be a better swimmer, there seems to be a lot of butterfly popping up on my workout calendar. Although I took TWELVE!!! years of swim lessons, I was never taught how to do butterfly. What I know I've learned on my own. I can make it a good 3-4 strokes before things start to go downhill and I start sinking to do the bottom. I don't know if I don't have a strong enough kick or my lack of flexibility in my shoulders is keeping me from doing the stroke correctly. How many out there can actually do butterfly? What are some tips that can help me? Do you have any good drills to build into a better fly? Do you do butterfly as part of your workouts?
Thanks guys, for your help!


D said...

I always told Harrison she could put as much damn IM/butterfly as she wanted in my swims, but I would only do free. That seemed to work just fine :D

Karen said...

We are in the same boat with the bike - no clue! Try doing butterfly with fins on. That will help you propel a little better with the kick. After a while, you might build up to doing butterfly without fins. Also, if you are having a hard time wth the full stroke try one arm for 3-4 strokes then use the other then do 3-4 with the full stroke. I haven't seen a lot of tri swim plans with fly so lucky you, right?

Molly said...

Baby wipes work just fine to clean the bike off. And there are some great self-cleaning chain lubes out there - all you really need to do is drip it onto the chain and then pedal it through all the gears to distribute.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

1 The bike - first spray the bike off using a light pressure hose to get all the easy top dirt off, second, buy a bottle of degreaser from a bike shop and spray generously on the chain and wipe clean with a throw away rag. You can use a tooth brush to get some of the really caked on mess off. Also use the degreaser on the rear cog and a tooth brush to get it as clean as possible and also on the crank. You can also use the degreaser on the bottle of the bike to get off all the dirt and grime that you tired have kicked up and also on the rims. Then use soap and water to clean your bike up (but not the chain or rear cog). To relube the chain, apply 3 drops on top of your chain, then spin your chain a couple times and repeat 3x's. Wait about 30 minutes and use another rag to wipe away any excess lube (this will get your chain and cog looking clean longer, if you leave the excess on, it will fly off your chain and onto your bike and its is also a magnet for dirt and grime when you ride outside)

2- I wish I could help with the butterfly, I have swam competively for years, BUT i have never completed a butterfly race ever that I wasnt DQ'd in.

Betsy said...

My BF is a true biker and works in the bike industry. He is one of the few who crosses into the tri world too. He always says that triathletes are notorious for not being good at takign care of their bikes. Personally- I've assigned pretty much all bike cleaning and maintenance duties to him :)

Soap and water to wash it down are great. A tooth brush to scrub the chain and cogs is great. If you really need some cleaning power try Green Fizz. It's awesome at cleaning up spilled Gu and sports drink! Put on a little chain lube, lightly wrap the rag around the chain while giving it a spin or two to get off the excess and your bike should be sparkly clean.

The butterfly? That's a dumb, pointless stroke (and one I can't do!) so I'm no help there.

a runners' life said...

Butterfly is a tough stroke but awesome for the abs. :)

Have you tried separating the stroke by doing a few laps working on your kick, then a few laps using just your upper body, and finally finishing up with the full stroke?

Velma said...

As a few have noted, there are some easy clean products. I am also taking a nerdy class through my LBS on how to better maintain my bike.

Jamie said...

I was about to explain how I clean my chain, but I'm defaulting to BDD. He explained my technique exactly, and much better than I could.

As far as butterfly? Hell if I know. I don't even bother. I just stick to freestyle and breast. I throw in backstroke on rare occasions when I'm bored, but that is all.

Andrea said...

No offense to Molly, but don't use baby wipes on your bike.

I try to clean/lube my bike after every race AND before every race. I spent a lot of money on that rig, I want it to run 100% efficiently on race day.

On the cross bike I am borrowing, if I don't clean and lube it before every race, it won't shift for me!

As for the fly ... I'm right there with you sister. I'm going to give it a go on my own, and then "hire" a friend to give me swim lessons.

Melissa C said...

Andrea- Thanks for saying not to use baby wipes on the bike. My husband does that, and it annoys the heck out of me b/c they are expensive and contain moisturizers, which makes no sense to me why he would want his bike "moisturized". Nor does the bike need to be "sanitized" or anti-bac-ed, as the other wipes we have in the house do. He would just rather use a "wipe" style instead of a cleaner and paper towel/rag to do the job. Other than the baby wipe thing, BBD pretty much does what Ryan does.

Michelle said...

I swam butterfly for years but now can barely make 25 yards!! Put the fins on, it'll help!

Andrea said...

I forgot to mention that you should replace your chain every year and replace your cassette every other year.

Chains stretch over time and this can lead to shifting issues and other things.

You want to replace your cassette everyother year, especially if it is your only bike and you are putting big IM miles on it. The chain can wear down the teeth on the cassette and that is not good ... or efficient... or whatever the technical terms are. :)

Brandon said...

I love coaching butterfly, it's one of the coolest looking strokes and isn't as hard as some people say it is. This will be tough to explain through text, but I'll give it a wirl.

1st - When I teach my swimmers fly, we start with the body motion, not the kick. If you do the body motion right, the kick will come naturally. We call this drill Head, Hiney, Heels.

Your going to start on your belly, arms down and your going to focus on the movement of your head, shoulders, and chest. Your going to tuck the chin and press your shoulders and chest down into the water. As your begin to dive down, you'll want to look underneath you and try to get a glance at your toes. At this point your hips are up at the surface. Once you see them you will take your head, shoulders, and chest and roll them back up (opening the chin up to expose the front of your neck). Roll the upper body up till your head breaks the surface, at this point, your heels should be at or above the surface. Once your head breaks the surface, repeat. (Hope this is making sense so far.)

2nd - You will do head hiney heels, with the arms leading. Everything stays the same by pressing the upper body into the water and then rolling back up. The arm's are not meant for pulling, so keep them still. You can bend the wrist down or up as you press your upper body down or roll it back up.

3. Once you have mastered 1 and 2, you then do three cycles of head, hiney, heals to one fly pull. During the 3 cycles, your arms MUST stay up. Kind of hard to pull when the arms are at the hips. On the 3rd cycle, you must allow your head and shoulders to begin rolling up, THEN you will pull. The pull needs to be hard and will EXIT at the belly button (like a karate chop to the side). As they exit the water, fully extend the arms at the elbow (no bent elbows on the recovery). The recover over the water should be relaxed on the shoulders, and as the hands come forward, you will press the head and shoulders into the next cycle of head/hiney/heels. The head leads the stroke. Before you pull, your head needs to be rolling up already. Before the arms enter the water on the recovery, the head needs to be rolling down already. Makes sense so far?

4. Regular fly. Take it nice and easy. Start with the head/hiney/heals motion, and every time your head begins to roll up, take a pull, breathe, arms exit the water (karate chop!), chin tucks, arms recover. If you need to, keep the arms out front, until your head gets set up to roll up for the next cycle.

The head/hiney/heels motion is everything in butterfly. If you don't get, you don't get fly. It needs to be an even rythm too, don't rush the motion and don't feel like your spazzing out.

Hope this helps! =) Good luck!

Brandon said...


basic head/hiney/heals... 2 things she doesn't do: 1 chin needs to tuck down and your trying to look underneath you to see your feet. and 2, she needs to go just a little bit deeper.

Also, notice how her feets slices back into the water, there's no thunk of her feet splashing down.