Armchair Triathlete

I love to bike. I like to run. I have raced in a few 5k and 10k running events and count it as one of the most positive and rewarding things I have ever done. Because bicycling is something I enjoy doing more then running I have always wanted to race or ride in a bike race or tour. But I don't have a good road bike. I am blaming this on the fact that I am cheap. Way cheap. I squeak when I walk cheap. OK that isn't the real reason. I have a mountain bike. A $900 mountain bike. The last splurge before a wife, 2 kids and a mortgage hit me. So it isn't really that I am naturally cheap it is just that I kind of got forced into the cheap thing in recent years. So being cheap doesn't preclude a road bike but having too much month at the end of the money does. And I would be embarrassed, not to mention exhausted, to ride a mountain bike in any sort of road bicycling tour or race. (Most are 50 miles or more) So my mind turned to other events that I could participate in with a mountain bike. An actual trail ride is fun and relaxing but it appears that the mountain bike races and events gone extreme. Frankly, I am too old and brittle for extreme. What else could there be? 

I stumbled on a book.  "Triathlon Training in Four Hours a Week" by Eric Harr is a wonderfully motivating book. I was convinced. A sprint distance triathlon seemed to be the ticket to my competitive bicycling yearnings and my desire to accomplish something outside of my family and business roles. 12 miles on a bike (the average distance of the bike portion of a sprint triathlon seemed very do-able. But as the name implies a triathlon is more then a bike ride followed by a run.


I can't swim. In fact, hydrophobia is very real to me. The only stroke I know is the "survival stroke." But there was that few months I worked out at a gym with a pool doing water drills.  Things like running, water-aerobics and even a few laps.  That wasn't all that bad.  Maybe I could learn to swim after all.  So I did what I usually do...I went to the library and borrowed a book about swimming, read it and made index cards of drills I would practice if I ever actually went to a pool.  Once again 80% knowledge 20% behavior. I have to figure our how to turn that around.




Even though I love to ride a bike, I feel that this is were I can really embarrass myself, at least amongst the ranks of the dedicated cyclists.  I ride bikes, I am not a cyclist.  I just can't bring myself to participate in cycling the way Bicycling magazine or the Tour de France  folks show.  I don't have the time and my bike isn't slick.  I am not slick.  I'm  not bedecked in spandex or bright colors.  It's not that I dislike nice bikes or the style or even people who embrace them. Maybe with a different body type and a fatter wallet,  I would.  But for now  I just want to ride.  Ride in my Old Navy painter shorts and cotton t-shirt.   I love to ride fast and I love the way gliding on a bike feels so graceful.  But my rides normally go 3 to 5 miles and rarely over 10.   I'm just not a 'cyclist'.  For now, I am just a bicycle rider.  Like a kid.




This I can do. At least I have done.   I have completed a few 5k's and and one 10k.  I have trained for and accomplished goals in running.  In a manner that I would like to do for a triathlon.  I don't want to "race"  but rather complete races and perhaps compete with myself but I don't "race".  To me racing is out of my league.  My league is being a dad and a business geek not a racing athlete.  Running and sports is a hobby for me. A way to stay in shape, relax and even find a sense of accomplishment.  John "The Penguin" Bingham  finds the same sort of meaning in his book "No Need for Speed".  This is the attitude I carry into the sport of Triathlon.


So there it is.  I might be an armchair triathlete now, with more book knowledge and desires then miles and laps, but at least I have the goal.


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