On yer bike…

Over the last year Ive been focussed exclusively on running. I had decided a while ago, however, that I wanted to do a Triathlon. So, I bought a cheap mountain bike.

I went out a few times with my 2 year old son on the back and did some short distance cycling just for fun. It was pretty much the first time I had been on a bike for many years. Literally since I was a kid I think.

So a month or so ago I knew that I would need to start considering the bike element of the Triathlon and training properly. I started off by going to a spin class to get into the idea of it and start building the basic strength. Im now doing these fairly regularly (2-3 times a weeek when I can) and it seems to be helping.

On sunday past, I ventured out for my first road ride alone. I was heading to a local park with my wife and the little guy. I decided to cycle there and they could follow in the car and meet me there. So I cycled the 6 or so miles to the park and it was a lot of fun. On a downhill section I got the bike up to 30mph. To any cyclists out there that probably sounds like nothing… but to anyone else who, like me, hasnt been on a bike for about 20 years… man its SCARY, and pretty exhilarating too.

We went to the park and had a lot of fun and I headed off to cycle back home. Only problem was that the journey back home was all uphill. Which was tough going. It was about 6 miles home with a steady uphill slope which clinbed 560ft in total. So the total 12 mile journey took me 1 hour and six minutes, with a break of about an hour and a half in the middle.

This is the right distance for a sprint triathlon, but time wise.. phew! Way off! I should be doing it in half that time.

On Tuesday I arived home a few hours early from a business trip. I had started the day with a 5 mile run, but the sun was out, Steph and Zane were not due back for an hour, so I threw my bag in the house, donned my gear and jumped on the bike. I cycled 12.3 miles, this time on a more flat course and managed a slightly more respectable time of 55 mins.

Still WAY off a good time for a triathlon though, but of course my training is just starting.

Today, Thursday, I went to my early morning spin class and discovered it was cancelled. So I jumped on the stationary bike in the gym, set it to 20km distance and started cycling. It seems that in a period of about 36 hours Ive made what can only be described as miraculous improvements as I completed the 20k in 36 minutes 33 seconds. Now that i more like a triathlon time.

What it really shows is that I am never trusting a stationary bike to give me any indication of my ability. Much like running, training indoors on a machine is fine to build up the basics… but nothing prepares you for hills and wind like being out in the open. Ive got to a point where I just cant run on a treamill at all, and while there is obviously a huge advantage to spin classes, I think that I am going to have to clock in a lot more miles on the road for my biking to get to an acceptable standard.

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