Sunday, March 28, 2010

Giving it a Tri

How many clichés are there in the triathalon community that involve the word "tri?"  Tri harder, Gotta tri, etc? There must be quite a few.

I've been tossing around the idea of training for a triathalon the past few months and finally decided to take the plunge. Not an Ironman, mind you, but I'd like to start out with a sprint tri and then go from there. So, a few weeks ago I went out and bought an entry-level Trek 1.2 from my local cycling shop, Chain Reaction. A very good experience, I have to say. In the time since then I culled together some bike shorts, shoes, pedals, gloves, spare tire tubes, tools -- the list goes on and on! Finally, I got everything I needed and today the stars aligned for an inaugural ride!

Now, I've ridden bikes a lot in my lifetime, but never an actual "road" bike. When I was a kid up until the time I could drive I went everywhere on my 10-speed.  I'd bike back and forth from home to the pool, or home to work and back.  It was just a natural extension of who I was at that time. If I needed to get there, I'd pedal. After I got my license, though, I really didn't ride much until I moved to Utah in the early 90s. That area is mecca for mountain biking, and for a couple of years I rode a lot on my trusty Mongoose. I left there in 2008 though, so it's been over a decade since I rode with any regularity.

Today's ride took me around some local county roads, and I had a great time. There were, however, a couple of memorable moments that made it... well, interesting.  At about 3 miles in I was stung by a wasp on the inside of my right thigh. It hurt, but the funny thing is that a voice in my head immediately said "hey, I have something to write about on my blog now!" Fortunately, the road was empty at the time and I didn't flinch into oncoming traffic. Only the squirrel's ears were worse off for my cussing. :) The second event occurred a few miles later when a couple of dogs charged out and started giving chase. Fortunately, their bark was worse than their bite and they lost interest before forcing me off the road. I felt fortunate when they were gone though, because their bark was anything but playful.

I did take away a couple of things from my first ride. First, I could tell the motion was working different muscles in my legs. I expect to feel it a little tomorrow, if not the next day. Second, I didn't much care for the hills. Not because of having to climb up them, but because going up and down (some were really steep) prevented me from maintaining a constant aerobic level. I think I would prefer to cycle on a flatter elevation for that reason. Finally, I realized I know nothing about how to best approach this facet of my training! I feel I need to do a little research and at least come up with some kind of training outline. How far, how long, what cadence, etc?

Next up, at some point, will be swimming. I'm not sure yet where and when I'll fit it in, but I know the 50°F / 40' pool behind my house is not the answer. I may end up getting a YMCA membership and dodging the Prattville Swim League kids I coach in the pool. :)


  1. I hope you "tri" it and succeed!!

  2. At some point I'm going to be giving it a tri also :P

    I have alot to learn first though ... like how to swim, properly. I also need to learn how to take care of a bike, I would have no idea what to do if the chain popped off or if I had a flat tire. It would also help if I owned a bike. I'll probably be making a trip to Chain Reaction sometime in the not so distant future as well.