Triathlons come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve signed up for a sprint tri, which is the shortest distance of all. It’s about a half a mile swim, 12-14 mile bike ride and a 5k run. So in a way it is a lot easier than training for the half marathon. Somehow when people hear triathlon, they think its tough. Individually taking each sport, its no more tough than going on a medium distance run I feel. Similar amount of effort is to be expended when you swim about 750 meters (about 30 laps of a 25 meter long pool) or when you bike or when you run. However you use different muscles and different skill sets for each. And doing them one after another requires some training. And several additional sets of lungs. Other distances include the Olympic (1 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride and 10K run), Half Ironman (total distance of 70.3 including a half marathon and a 56 mile bike ride) and Ironman (140.6, including a full marathon, 114 mile bike ride). I have no idea why anyone would do the latter (I know one crazy guy). It takes more than 11-12 hours to finish!
And so I figured, I really can do all 3 activities – I don’t have to learn either from scratch, I just have to get really good at them. So I started with the one that I’d have no way out of – swimming. When you’re tired you can walk or get off your bike. No such luck in open water, as most triathlons go.
Today was the first day of bike training. It wasn’t much riding really – only about 6 miles around a loop of 3 miles of Veloway in Circle C in South Austin. But the workout was more about getting the basics of gears today. I took Scarlett over to Jack & Adams at lunch to get Scarlett fitted for me. They made me ride on it stationary and raised the seat quite a bit, raised the handle bar and fixed the pedals. 30 minutes later and $20 lighter, I was outta there feeling more confident about the evening workout. I got to training late thanks to ridiculous traffic in precisely 3 mile bottleneck where I got stuck because of my own foolishness. Anyway, the idea today was to get a feel of the ride and practice changing gears.
Finally I figured out what the gears did! This is after a few days of riding around the neighborhood with Bharath. The right handlebar has the back gears which one changes for small changes in inclination. The left has the front and is meant for bigger changes. And they work opposite to, you click one the other way and vice versa to get higher/lower. This is my first experience riding a bike with gears. Come a long way since I learned to ride a kiddy bike when I was about 12-13 (if you didn’t get it already, I am a late bloomer). I bought an old bike from my then best friend Suchi for Rs. 200, and my close friend Sachu (no relation to Suchi) spent one summer day teaching me how to ride. We labored over it for hours and then finally, one moment I knew how to ride a bicycle. What a triumph it felt then. And what a triumph it feels today, doing such fun things on a bicycle!!
So we did 2 loops of the Veloway which has about 1 steep hill. I didn’t get the hill on the first loop. I was too slow getting on the hill so had no momentum on the hill, even though my gears were easy. But the second time around I was prepared. It wasn’t easy but I got over it. It’s not a very big hill so if I ever want to bike from work to home, it’s no use thanks to the long Lavaca hill!
Liz, the coach said that this was the first Ironchicks training where everyone made it over the hill without crashing. :). On that note, goodnight! More about tri-gear in another post.