In attempting to do my very first triathlon, I am not expecting to really ‘fit in’ with the usual triathlete mob. I currently have no intention of joining a triathlon club or anything like that. I am not the right size, shape, level of ability, level of dedication… And I like training at my own pace and doing my own thing anyway, so being a lone wolf suits me quite well.
However, as I proudly announce to people that I am now the owner of a road bike, I am surprised by the number of offers I get to go on training rides with other riders. I get the impression that it is ‘the done thing’ in cycling world; you go on rides, next to each other. I can only assume that there is a national shortage of willing participants if they are asking me to tag along – I mean, some of these fools have read this blog; they know what they’re dealing with.
One of Shane’s friends, Chris, is a passionate road-biker. I don’t know if that is the correct term but I do like to assign titles to people, so that is what I deem him to be. He merrily informed me that he’d done 150km on his bike the weekend I bought mine. For fun. If that doesn’t make you a passionate road-biker, I don’t know what does. When I told him about my new road bike he was very encouraging and assured me I’d have lots of fun. He is not aware of the existence of this blog and his optimism about my abilities meant I couldn’t tell him about it.
He suggested that I join him for a cycling session with a social group he belongs to. Apparently they have a wide variety of riders from beginners to pros so I should be able to fit in.
He explained that the rides usually go for between 40 and 50km, which sounds like a heck of a lot but actually that is the ideal distance to train on if I want to do a ‘proper triathlon‘. At the moment, I don’t know the safe routes to follow to ride that distance on the bike locally, so my interest was definitely piqued.
Chris said that I’ll need to practice and be sure I can maintain between 25 and 30km an hour to join in; sometimes the group will split into faster riders and slower riders, but if I can keep the pace up I wont be left by myself. They meet at 6am on a Saturday morning and the ride is usually over by 7.30ish he said, which I admit sounds like a very nice way to start the weekend.
I told Chris that I would need to get some time up on my bike – the longest non-stop ride I’ve done so far is 6km. I’ll need to be able to do about 7 times that amount to last the distance with this group. All at a pace that sounds fairly fast.
There is also the slight problem that I can’t turn or signal yet. I didn’t tell him that bit.
But OK, I agreed. I’ll do some training sessions to work my way up to maintaining that pace for that distance and hopefully in a few weeks I’ll arrange to meet the group.
Great, said Chris. Just show up in your lycra and we’ll look after you, he chuckled.
I laughed back; I don’t have any lycra yet!
His face dropped. The conversation suddenly got serious.
You can’t rock up without lycra, Lauren. Make sure you get some if you want to join us, otherwise you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
He wasn’t joking. I was officially banned from my first social cycling session. Dammit – I thought I was in the club because I had the shoes!! But no, the dreaded lycra is what will hold me back. As soon as I got home that night I got straight onto the internet.
As with all internet shopping, I was in my element and turned straight to EBay. But I don’t really know any brands of cycling gear so it was really hard to shop there and know whether I was looking at bargains or rip-offs. I had to find cycling specialist shops. I googled some more.
Which is when I found Cycology, and fell in love with Lycra.
I haven’t bought anything yet because I am saving my dollars and I don’t strictly need it yet because I am nowhere near being able to ride 40km. But I have saved a picture of this one as the wallpaper on my computer:
And oh my goodness, if I could claim that I ‘Live to Ride’ then I would absolutely buy myself this one:
So, I think I am all set for lycra. And socially cycling 40km for fun. What a stupid thing to say/type. How exciting!