Saint Peters RecPlex Indoor Tri tips

St. Louis Triathlon Club Forums – Draft Racing Multisport Events Saint Peters RecPlex Indoor Tri tips

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    • #1795
      Bill Sanders

      (Note: Updated for 2018-2019)
      The very first multisport activity I ever did was a St Peters Indoor Triathlon, in November of 2011. These run twice per month for 6 months, from November through April. Since there are so many of them, they are very low key and either a great introduction to the sport or a great way to do some winter brick work. I’m sharing my “insider tips” here.

      Website for details

      Cost per race:
      $19 Pre-reg, $24 at the door
      The $200 Mega deal includes all of the races, a shirt, and entry into the spring Rookies & Rock Stars triathlon.


      • Short: 300 yds swim / 10 mi bike / 3 mi
      • Long: 500 yds swim / 15 mi bike / 5 mi

      Point System:
      With the new point system, you compete against yourself because you get points for improving your best time:

      • 5 points for finishing
      • 3 points for improving overall time
      • 1 point each for improving swim, or bike, or run

      So, your first race earns you 5+3+1+1+1 = 11 points!

      Points accumulate for: t-shirt (80 pts), + Rec-Plex Spring Tri entry (100 pts), + Rec-Plex Fall Tri entry (150 pts)

      The Inside Story:

      • These events are very low key and quite a lot of fun. A mixture of skill and experience levels (this was in fact my first multisport event of any kind). There are quite a few regulars who are always willing to make the newcomers feel welcome.
      • The swim is in the diving well end of the pool, 25 yds per length. At the end of the swim, you can catapult your way out of the end of the pool (i.e., pull yourself onto the pool deck), or else you can swim across lanes to a ladder, remembering to avoid the swimmers in the lanes you’re swimming across! Many choose to “gracefully” catapult themselves out. You might want to take note of this as pulling yourself out of the end is a bit tougher than it is on some other pools (not much of a lip), so check it out.
      • The swim is done down-and-back with two or three people per lane, so lousy swimmers like me pick one of the rope sides , and good swimmers split the middle and follow that line on the bottom that pools seem to have for some reason (I’m an open-water-swimmer type). On very rare occasion there have been four swimmers in a lane and we’ve done a circle swim.
      • This is not a big deal, but a nice tip. The pool is divided in half (two 25 yard semipools). The moveable divider does not reach all the way to the floor of the pool, so if you are used to looking for where the wall meets the floor, well, they don’t. BUT there is a black line painted on the pool floor close to or at the divider, so you can look for that instead.
      • You get to run in the halls! The bikes are in a separate room, and then the treadmills are further down the hall and up two flights of stairs. Not exactly Castlewood  If you are going to wear running shoes for both the bike and the run, you can put them on when you exit the pool. I choose to use bike shoes for the bike leg, so I leave them at the bike, but I wear water shoes to get from the pool to the spin bike room without falling. You really don’t want to ruin your season in the offseason by injuring yourself…
      • Why would you want to run (or jog, or shuffle with intent)? Because like being outdoors, your overall triathlon time includes the transition times.
      • I have yet to see anyone turned away due to being full, although I suppose that’s a possibility (official entry limit is 30 and I haven’t seen 30 people there yet). You set up by claiming a spin bike downstairs. There are 15 bikes, they have pedals with standard SPD (MTB) cleats on one side and clips (the old fashioned cage like things that you shove running shoes into) on the other. Most people just use running shoes and the clips (cages), but I use triathlon cycling shoes and the cleats because I Am A Triathlete and therefore am really cool. (Actually, I just happen to have a pair with MTB clips, and switching shoes gives me good transition practice during the off season.) If you don’t get a bike before the first wave, you will go with the second wave.
      • So if you want to be in the first wave, you want to get there early to claim a bike. Otherwise, you wait until someone is done with their bike, set up, and head down to the pool, and then the second group will start when everyone gets there. You might get more lane space in the second group.
      • Note that the staff prefer you be there for the first wave if you are doing the Long course, to keep the total time to run the event down.
      • The RecPlex has upgraded to bicycles that estimate power. This makes for a more realistic simulation because you need to generate power in order for distance to be recorded. And in order to generate power, you need to set resistance on the bike. Just setting the resistance to zero and spinning rapidly will not record forward motion! So, it’s like a real bike.
      • If you are new to power, the RecPlex staff recommends a power setting of 10 or 11. This is set by a small lever. If new at this, you will want to take note of your RPM’s and power for future reference. VERY briefly, triathletes in general use a high RPM, usually in the vicinity of 90 RPM. And power, well, that’s certainly very dependent on the rider and their condition and what they are trying to accomplish and yada yada yada. But to give you an idea of what kind of numbers make sense, someone new at this may likely be in double digits for this race, say 50-100 watts or lower. A Tour de France rider would be something like 400 watts or more and probably not at the St Peters RecPlex on a Sunday afternoon. But basically, the more watts, the faster you go. But remember that you still have to run! And now you see how we have made a complex sport…
      • The locker rooms and showers are available. You may stop and change between race legs if you want. Eventually you will become addicted to this sport and will be getting yourself a triathlon kit, a miraculous item of clothing that allows you to do all three legs without changing.
      • There might be music on in the spin bike room; there will be TV’s on in the treadmill room (you need plug-in earbud/phones to hear them). You probably will want to bring something to listen to in order to keep from going bizarro crazy on the treadmill and possibly the bike. This is generally allowed in indoor triathlons.
      • If you have a waterproof watch, or in particular a multisport watch (like a Garmin 910/920/735/935/Fenix or whatever comes out after I update this post), this would be a good time to use it. That way you can keep track of your own time, in case mistakes get made on the clipboards. With possibly two waves, and two distances of races, and three equipment locations, occasionally things get mixed up on the clipboards! But more importantly, it’s good practice for outdoors triathlons.

      I highly recommend these for a fun Sunday afternoon workout!

      • This topic was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Bill Sanders.
      • This topic was modified 5 years, 4 months ago by Bill Sanders.
    • #1813
      Matt VanHoosier

      Thanks for the great info, Bill! I’ve always wondered how these things worked, and calling the Rec Plex directly doesn’t typically get you somebody who knows the answers to the detailed questions.

    • #1814
      Bill Sanders

      Glad you found it helpful, Matt! You are correct regarding calling the RecPlex for info, it rings forward to the main desk, where they are checking in people and so forth. The staff who know what’s going on are generally out and about keeping the place running! So unfortunately it is pretty hit-and-miss as far as trying to reach someone – especially since the up front desk people have to guess who that someone is.

    • #1827
      Bill Sanders

      Good news, they just refreshed most, but not all, of the treadmills. The link will show you a picture of the control panel on the new units:
      Exciting picture of treadmill control panel
      So here’s the scoop:

      • You won’t have to wait forever for id to start, hit the green button or the green icon on the lower right of the touchscreen. You’ll be going in about 3 seconds.
      • The display LOVES miles per hour. Which is meaningless to a runner. How do you get pace? On the right side of the display you will see “Show tools”. Select that, and then on the left of the screen you’ll see something like “toggle values”, and then the number in the upper left will cycle between distance and pace. Sorry I don’t remember exactly what it says.
      • You’ve got plenty of time to play with the rest of the buttons 😉
    • #2305

      With your 910xt at the time, do you use it in multisport mode indoors? I am new to the 910xt so inquiring minds want to know. Or do you record each discipline separate?

    • #2306
      Bill Sanders

      Yes, I definitely use it indoors in auto multisport mode. Here’s a set of tips, see #13 in particular on practicing with auto multisport:
      19 things to know about your Garmin 910xt

      Two more tips. I always wait until I’m indoors, then turn it on, or at least when I turn it on make sure I tell it to not use the GPS. Also, you want to go directly to the swim (individual sport) setting to make sure that everything is OK with respect to “indoor swim”, “25 yard”, and distance alert if you are using it (I always set mine to buzz every hundred yards; part way through the length that will be 100 yards at the end it will buzz).

      Also, you won’t get bicycle statistics other than heart rate. Even if you get an ANT+ bike and sync up with it beforehand, when you leave for the pool, it will use it’s sync.

      Also also, if you want stats from the treadmill, you need the footpad accessory.

      Good luck!

    • #7773
      Bill Sanders

      Something else to update – they have “upped their game” on the end-of-season t-shirts. They have recently been tech shirts and are quite nice!

      Also, you can now register for the whole series and they throw in the Spring Triathlon.

      And, the scoring system, which you can see on the website, has changed. You now score points for progressing through the season, in the individual legs and overall. Pretty cool!

      They now do two waves, starting at 3:00 and 3:45. If you are doing the long course, they prefer you be in the first wave so they can end the event sooner (i.e., staff can turn in their clipboards 😉 )

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