Equipment Malfunction

What are some of the most annoying things that can happen to you in the sport of triathlon? Hmm, let's see. Here's a quick list below.

-- Flat tire (check)

-- Flat tire on downhill at 30+mph on your first group ride with a new cycling club (check)

-- Flat tire on downhill on a hot day and getting stung by a yellow-jacket while changing it (check)

-- Elbow/foot to face during swim (check)

-- Getting sick before or during training or a race (check)

-- Forgetting necessary equipment for a bike, swim or run (check)

As of this morning, I can now add one more:

-- Completing a time trial and realizing only at the end that your brake pad on the front wheel was rubbing ever-so-slightly.

Unfortunately, check.

The whole time on the bike, I couldn't quite figure out why my speed seemed less than awesome considering how hard I was working.  It was too loud to hear the telltale "thhppt...thppt...thppt" of the brake scraping the rim earlier in my TT because of the freeway traffic along the I-5 bike path.

On the upside, my heart-rate didn't cross into zone 3 until the final 10 minutes of my 45-minute sprint.  Why?  I'm having a very hard time getting my heart rate up while pedaling flat in the aero tuck.  is this normal?  What am I doing wrong?  How can I push harder?  How can I go a little faster?  Besides make sure my brakes aren't holding me back?  Maybe it was fatigue too, which is entirely possible.  I do know this, given my anticipated swim and run stats, cycling between 20-23 mph probably isn't going to get me to the national championships in Alabama.

On another note, I'm having a hard time keeping my front wheel straight when I place it in the skewers before rides.  This undoubtedly is contributing to the brake pad problems. I've tried putting the wheel on from the front of the bike so the alignment is straight.  I've tried from the top down.  I'm always pushing the wheel either to the left or right of the brake pads.  How can I be better about this?  Any tips/tricks?

I won't be getting back on the bike until Sunday.  And thankfully I only had one workout today to complete since my Fortius swim was optional.  Still, that's 8.5 hours of training since Monday.  And tomorrow, I've got a two hour trail run before volunteering at Coach Gerardo's middle school for a career fair.  I hope my legs will propel me through what has been one of the more challenging weeks of training in a long while.

And slightly annoying, too.

167 days and counting.